Dear Chief Secretary to the Treasury,
I'm afraid to tell you there's no money left.
Signed, Liam Byrne

(Outgoing Labour Chief Secretary to the Treasury. May 2010)

Friday, 22 January 2010

Edlington and Balls

Responding to this Mr Balls said
the justice system had to ensure the Edlington brothers "get support in custody to try and turn things around for them."

... Mr Balls said, "we have to ensure they get the support in custody to try and turn things around for them."
He also says this
“The first time that the inspectors said there was inadequacy in Doncaster was December, 2008,” Mr Balls said. “When that report came back we immediately sent in diagnostic experts who reported back to us.”
So you got a report and, err, looked at it more carefully? What a waste of time, money and effort..

Anyhow, what Mr Balls said doesn't appear to be entirely true, because.
Seven children known to the authority have died in the borough since 2004, prompting serious case reviews, Ofsted inspections and a Government investigation.
Seven children died!

Seven children who were known to Doncaster Social Services and Mr Balls is suggesting nobody noticed? - Cobblers! They'll have noticed all right. 

And, referring, to the one particular Edlington family :-
"Although many services tried to work with the family, none were able to make an effective change to the behaviour and problems of the boys and their family.

"There was too much reliance on using agreements and warnings to change their behaviour. This reflected an insufficiently authoritative, consistent and assertive strategy in working with a family who were unco-operative and anti-social in attitude and behaviour.
There you have it Mr Balls - over reliance on pussy footing around, not wanting to upset the little darlings, and the end result is two vicious little thugs who knew they could do what they liked because they continued to terrorise the community, as they and their family had done for years - and got away with it, probably because everybody was too scared to challenge them. They were truly untouchable.

Mr Balls wants to make sure they "get support". Yes, they need support - they need support to make them learn and understand what punishment is all about. They need to learn, and properly learn, what happens when social rules are broken. They need a firm hand that makes them behave, and makes them want to behave, makes them respect not only others but themselves.

That'd be quite a novelty in 2010 Britain, and it's where all Mr Straw's lovely new, very petty, laws, have proved to be part of this country's social downfall - because it's likely an individual will be more harshly punished for  "disturbing a pack of eggs" than for being a thug, a thief, a murderer or a rapist.

It's the lawmakers and law enforcers who helped make these boys what they are. Look at this :-
People living on the estate where the two young brothers were brought up have described how the boys and their family terrorised their neighbours with senseless vandalism and sporadic violence. ...

... the 11-year-old brother has already appeared in court on four separate occasions for ''acts of violence'', the last being in January when he received a 12-month supervision order for an offence of battery.

The 10-year-old had been reprimanded for violence, including offences of causing actual bodily harm and common assault.

At the time of the Edlington horror he was on bail facing two charges of causing actual bodily harm and one of burglary.

The hearing heard both boys were on the child protection register.

They were also expelled from their local primary school and were being taught at a Pupil Referral Unit.
Just a week before the attack on the two boys, the brothers attacked another 11-year-old boy at the same place and in strikingly similar circumstances.

The boy, who also can not be named, believed he was going to die until a passer-by disrupted the attackers and he fled.
What, pray, is the point of a "supervision order" if there is no supervision - it's clearly a waste of paper, the words are trite and empty of meaning. They're there to satisfy the form fillers that something's been done.

Not only were these boys known to Social Services they were on the At Risk Register - putting a name on the list and doing nothing is little more than neglect, especially in this instance, and it is neglect by those who are paid and trusted to keep children safe. It is their responsibility to ensure that 'at risk from harm' children are safe, it's also their responsibility to ensure those who are 'at risk behaving abominably' are kept away from those they can hurt.

The Edlington boys had been in court many, many, times - yet with nothing more than a verbal warning. They could deal with that, because their parents used to thrash them. They'd been kicked out of mainstream school too - but probably didn't care - these are not 'normal' children, not by any stretch of the imagination. They may have been brutalised, but they learned to be brutal, not passive.

It's as a direct result of laxity, failure to enforce the law, failure to punish real offenders and the lack of authority on the part of the so-called 'authorities' that these boys were left free to do whatsoever they wanted - resulting in the near murder of two ordinary young lads.

There should be culpability, but we've seen it all before - people at the top are virtually untouchable - just like those thuggish boys.

There's little doubt that, unless the system gets more rigorous and less bleeding-heart, one day they will be back on the streets with their identities protected at huge cost from the taxpayer - just like those who murdered Jamie Bulger.

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