Desperately Seeking Bulger


3:20 pm - January 22nd 2010

by Unity    


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Despite the snarky title, I don’t want to spend too much time raking over the obvious parallels between Cameron’s shameless attempt to gain political capital out of the ongoing trial of two young boys for what is, by any standards, a staggeringly brutal assault on two other children of the same age, and the actions of a certain former shadow Home Secretary who pulled much the same stunt 17 years ago.

The main lesson is all this, such as it is, is that politicians will happily say almost anything if they think there’s an extra vote or two in it.

That said, Cameron’s efforts to jump on this particular bandwagon do serve to reinforce the general impression that both he and his campaign team are desperately inattentive, woefully out of touch and only casually acquainted with real world.

What I do want to reflect on here is the fact that yet again we have a case that seems likely to spawn another significant inquiry into the apparent failings of the UK’s child protection system.

It’s a sobering thought but, between 1973 and 1999, there were more than seventy such inquiries undertaken in the UK.

Some attracted a higher profile than others. Many, had little or no impact on public policy and their recommendations were quietly binned when public interest died down.

In 1999, social policy researchers at John Moores University asked for copies of the findings of seventy public inquiries into cases of alleged child abuse, stretching back to the case of Maria Colwell. Nine of these inquiry reports, most of which dated to the 70s and 80s, were found to be missing and further eight reports, over and above the seventy requested by researchers, were later found to exist at the time the research was undertaken.

What the researcher’s found, in the reports they were able to analyse, will sound depressingly familiar – almost half recommended better training and supervision of care staff and better inter-agency co-operation.

It’s perfectly possible to map out almost the entire history of the major public policy and legislative developments in child protection for at least the last 37 years – if not all the way back to World War 2 and the murder of Dennis O’Neill by his faster father in 1945, which resulted in the 1948 Children Act and the creation of the first Children’s Boards – by setting out a chronological list of dead children and the judges and other public officials who investigated the circumstances leading to their untimely deaths.

In fact, that’s often what people are doing anyway, as its almost impossible to come across a feature article in the press about child protection issues that doesn’t list at least two or three past cases from a long list that includes Colwell and Climbie, of course, plus Peter ‘Baby P’ Connelly, Jasmine Beckford, Heida Koseda, Tyra Henry, Toni-Ann Byfield, Rikki Neave, Kira Ishaq and a depressingly long list of others.

There are some exceptions to this general rule, of course.

There was the Cleveland child abuse panic in which the name most associated with it was that of the Marietta Higgs, the doctor at the centre of the case. There were also the ‘satanic ritual abuse’ panics that are known to the public by the location in which they occurred (Rochdale, Orkney, Broxtowe and Lewis) and although the case of Jon Venables and Robert Thompson is universally known by reference to name of their victim, James Bulger, this is by no means always the case.

When two young boys, Martin Brown and Brian Hown, were killed by an eleven year-old girl in 1968, it was the name of the perpetrator, Mary Bell, that was attached to the case, not that of the victims, whose names have become little more than a footnote to the story so far as most of the public are concerned.

All this seems to be taken for granted.

Rarely, if ever, does anyone make the obvious connection and point out that these cases (and inquiries) seem to have been the primary driving force behind the development of child protection policy, and the systems and legislation that go with it, for the last half century.

We have a child protection system in this country that, on the face of it, has evolved by way of lurching from one fuck-up to the next, and then on to the next one after that, without anyone really taking to time to step back, look at the bigger picture, and wonder exactly what all this is actually for or whether there might be a better way of going about this than simply reacting to whatever the most recent screw-up. A system that’s been built on crisis management.

When you look at it that way – should we really be surprised that the current system is dysfunctional and that is sometimes gets things badly wrong?

If the health of the army and the care of the elderly have, at various times, been thought important enough to warrant taking a step back from party politics to look, dispassionately, at the evidence then why not also the protection of children?

Since World War 2, Royal Commissions have been convened to examine questions about civil liability and compensation for personal injury, the role and influence of the press, the structure of local government, the provision of legal services, environmental pollution and trade unions and employer’s associations.

Surely someone out there thinks that child protection is important enough to deserve the same consideration rather than treating it as just another cheap way of getting votes?

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'Unity' is a regular contributor to Liberal Conspiracy. He also blogs at Ministry of Truth.
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Reader comments


1. the a&e charge nurse

“Surely someone out there thinks that child protection is important enough to stop treating it as just a cheap way of getting votes?”

Child protection will never be a vote winner, especially for the Tories, since there can be no confident prediction that the next shocking case is not just around the corner, nor that resources for this difficult work will be maintained, in fact, quite the opposite (i.e. cuts in funding are more likely).

I suspect social commentators like Dalrymple might be considered something of a pariah in certain quarters but his observations in the wake of the death of Peter Connolly seem apposite?

Dalrymple notes, “When procedures become so exacting and time-consuming, the exercise of judgment is deemed neither necessary nor possible. Indeed, it will get you into trouble, because it is not part of the procedure. There is simply no contest between the most obvious reality, staring you in the face, and what the form says. The form says it all, and wins every time. This is particularly the case when the staff have little confidence in themselves and will not be supported by their senior staff if anything goes wrong. As anyone who has worked for organisations such as child protection services knows, when something goes wrong the purpose of internal, and sometimes of external, inquiries is NOT TO LEARN from experience, but to find the person lowest in the hierarchy who can be blamed. This is not an atmosphere conducive to the exercise of common sense”.
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/columnists/guest_contributors/article5133966.ece

I would also like to see the phrases “improved inter-agency co-operation” and “improved inter-agency communication” abolished for the meaningless gibberish that it is (come the next major enquiry) – most big organisations find it hard to communicate, or co-operate with colleagues working two floors up, let alone ‘outsiders’ who often seem to be marching to the beat of a different drum?

Child protection itself won’t win votes but characterising extraordinary tragedies as symptomatic of wider social breakdown does (and *all* the parties have played that game).

Child protection isn’t actually ‘a difficult ballancing act between too much interference and too little’ as even the most reasonable people attempting to mediate between these extremes think of it. The fact is that almost identical actions in almost identical circumstances will often deliver vastly different outcomes and those outcomes often can’t be predicted no matter how attentive you are.

There’s an unrealistic expectation that a magical formula will be discovered that will end such tragedies once and for all. I’m not saying thee aren’t individual lessons to be learned but a people need a more realistic view of what social services can or can’t do. No government or opposition can ever admit that face without being crucified because it comes perilously close to saying ‘shit happens’. Instead they’ll look for a conveniant scapegoat and rush through badly thought out legislation because the ‘narrative’ (shudder) is ‘WE MUST DO SOMETHING!’

Shatterface:

That’s why something like a Royal Commission, which is charged to consider the evidence and look at the totality of the issue, may prove to be a better way forward.

Be fair to Cameron – the statistics don’t back his claim that Britain is broken.

What can he do other than make policy by anecdote?

@2

The fact is that almost identical actions in almost identical circumstances will often deliver vastly different outcomes and those outcomes often can’t be predicted no matter how attentive you are.

Agreed.

people need a more realistic view of what social services can or can’t do. No government or opposition can ever admit that face without being crucified because it comes perilously close to saying ’shit happens’.

Can anyone provide some evidence to show that social services do anything positive to stop the shit from happening?

That their interventions or non-interventions make an overall difference to the outcomes at all?

5
“Can anyone provide some evidence to show that social services do anything positive
No – it doesn’t make front- page news, and those who have been assisted by the Social Services do not shout about it either.

No – it doesn’t make front- page news, and those who have been assisted by the Social Services do not shout about it either.

So that’s a No then?

For what I consider illuminating reasons, current Conservative spin keeps reminding me of these quotes from Hitler’s Mein Kampf about how to produce really effective propaganda:

“The great masses of the people will more easily fall victims to a big lie than to a small one.”

“Make the lie big, make it simple, keep saying it, and eventually they will believe it.”

1. the a& e charge nurse . Good points. The problem is that some organisations are better at team work than others . The social services, medical services and police forces appear to have problems working together.

Anyone notice this speech made in 2007?

“Opposition leader David Cameron pledged to introduce elected mayors in all of England’s big cities.

“In his keynote speech, which brought the curtain down on the Conservative Party conference, leader Mr Cameron said: ‘I believe it’s time in our big cities to have elected mayors, so people know who to blame if things go wrong and who to praise if things go right.’”
http://www.lgcplus.com/news/cameron-pledges-elected-mayors/111226.article

South Edlington is located in Doncaster, which has had an elected Mayor since 2002.

So much for elected Mayors and the good that does but then only 11 authorities in Britain have elected Mayors.

@ Unity and Sunny

Seriously with the title!? Offensive!

@ 5 I know of a family from my children’s school who were helped substantially by social services and others. Obviously cases like this aren’t published, but it would be good if stats were available.

Social Workers are prevented by law from talking about specific cases, and the simple fact is that the situations when Social Workers are needed are never edifying.

My mother was a paediatric social worker for 25 years and saw some terrible things, including in one of her worst days the body of a school friend of mine. On her first day as a duty social worker in the local hospital she was faced with a baby who had fallen out of a first floor window and got away with just bruises, and another with a broken thigh whose parents claimed had fallen out of bed (she explains the chilling fact that babies’ bones are like pencils: they don’t break if you drop them, they need pressure to snap them). She was threatened with rape and death and at one point our home was targeted by an abusive father.

But it is a mistake to think that all paediatric social work deals with physical or sexual abuse. Much of her work was serving to find and assess homes with loving families for children who for whatever reasons no longer have anyone to look after them (such as the two young girls whose mother committed suicide and whose father wanted nothing to do with them). Happy endings do happen. They are what makes the job bearable.

Nobody ever seems to mention role of the the quango-tastic General Social Care Council, started in 2001 with the specific aim of maintaining standards in Social Workers:

Registration will ensure that those working in social care meet rigorous registration requirements and will hold them to account for their conduct by codes of practice. Qualifications, health and good character are checked as part of the registration process. Registered social workers are also required to complete post-registration training and learning activities before renewing their registration every three years.

You don’t hear much about the role of the GSCC in the Climbie case or Baby P, yet theoretically they passed all the social workers involved as A1. A while ago I did some work for the GSCC and was astonished by the disdain with which Social Workers were regarded (to be fair, it’s probably no different than people working in call centres sneering at customers). It occurred to me at the time that the professional body responsible for regulating social care workers applies the same knee-jerk disaffection with their ‘clients’ as the tabloid press because it does not employ former social workers. More to the point, their regulation of social workers is based exclusively on the kind of box ticking that renders any notion of quality assurance impossible. The GSCC is useless and next to invisible and needs to be reformed or dissolved.

Social work in general, and paediatric social work in particular, is astonishingly difficult both intellectually and emotionally. The systems in place – the checks and balances – are all their due to professionals perceiving weaknesses and assessing ways to strengthen them. They are never going to be perfect, but to take isolated and extremely rare cases and use them to suggest that the whole system needs an overhaul is more of a reaction to media coverage than any experience on the ground and ignores the thousands of positive outcomes every week achieved by social workers up and down the country. Social workers need to be valued by the broader community, and that is only going to start when politicians of all colours routinely praise them instead of jumping on ignorant tabloid commentary.

Not to sound rude but when is a politician going to say that some people are better off not having kids, & it might be a good idea for them to stop having unprotected sex?

If Baby P’s mother had said she couldn’t cope & requested an abortion I wouldn’t have paid much heed to evangelical or Islamic objections. If Karen Matthews spent the whole of her fertile life on the pill I wouldn’t have taken the Catholic Church’s objections particularly seriously.

Does no one else think this when they hear about problems being passed through the generations?

The people who are least capable of forward planning (due to lack of education & often low natural intelligence) & putting off having kids until they are ready are the ones who are least likely to make good parents. When they are all concentrated in certain areas & attending certain schools they will corrupt others. It almost happened to me. Yet I am here typing these words rather than involving myself in fuck knows what because I had two parents who offered a supportive upbringing.

I have no idea, though, how to stop this. Because I would hesitate before cutting the welfare state as perfectly harmless & decent people would lose heavily.

Mindlessly vilifying social workers will get us nowhere. I can still remember that I once had a second job at weekends, sorting mail & so on, & so often we got all the illiterate twats sending through the Baby P petition. These people had real influence, but did it actually help anyone or was it just a cynical tabloid scheme to make money out of fuckwits?

Louis @ 21

My mother was also a social worker and, like you, I was exposed to some of the horrific and gut wrenching stories of the appalling things we human beings are capable of doing to each other and our children.

Misanthropy should always be the default diposition.

Of course we can all point to social work interventions that lead to good outcomes- the happy endings that make the job bearable. But how many cases would have had positive outcomes without the interventions and in how many cases did intervention make the ending less happy? As far as I can tell nobody can answer this question.

My point is that social work, as we currently understand it, is a late Twentieth Century phenomenon. Before that, such problems were dealt with by Police and charities and the responsibility for a child dying was laid fairly and squarely on the shoulders of the killer.

Apart from anecdotes, is there any evidence that was a worse system?

I wouldn’t mind Cameron used this trigic event for a cheap stunt if he could truly learn from it. He will do no such thing of course, he is not interested in the implications of this story. Tax cuts for the rich will not solve this.

If he thinks this would have been averted if only the parents married for a ten quid a week tax cut, then he is sadly out of touch.

Not to sound rude but when is a politician going to say that some people are better off not having kids, & it might be a good idea for them to stop having unprotected sex?”

Because someone will inevitably scream “EUGENICS!”

Look what happened to Keith Joseph when he raised the point.

17. Just Visiting

Jim

> If he thinks this would have been averted if only the parents married for a ten quid a week tax cut, then he is sadly out of touch.

He didn’t say that, and it is disingenuous of you to suggest he did.

Talking society – itt’s a multi-dimensional issue.

We’d have a better debate here if we could weight the dimensions sensibility and leave out the trivialisation.

Just visiting @ 17

No, never never said that in so many words. He has implied that the problems of the Nation are partly due to to the breakdown of the family and marriage would help restore the balance. Well look at this family, and tell me that a tax cut would have solved these kids.

@Pagar

Of course we can all point to social work interventions that lead to good outcomes- the happy endings that make the job bearable. But how many cases would have had positive outcomes without the interventions and in how many cases did intervention make the ending less happy? As far as I can tell nobody can answer this question.

Well, no of course they can’t, but that’s because your question is in essence hypothetical. We don’t have two realities running side-by-side for us to evaluate which course of action was better, we have to make our decisions and then face the consequences.

Social work isn’t black and white. In some cases the intervention may make both parties less happy yet effectively forestall a tragedy. Drug dependent parents, for example, may love their children dearly and yet not be fit and capable of looking after them. Intervention here is never likely to have a happy ending, but it would take a fool to suggest that it isn’t necessary. That’s the rub of social work: damned if you do and damned if you don’t.

@ Jim & Just Visiting

Quote from Cameron in the Times:

To criticism that a marriage tax break would be backward-looking he said: “What is so backward-looking, in a country where we have social breakdown and social problems, in saying committed relationships and encouraging people to come together and stay together is a bad thing?”

Interesting to note that the parents of the two boys found guilty in Edmonton were still together. Didn’t stop them from being rubbish parents though. Do you reckon tax breaks would have made any difference?

Carl @ 19

Drug dependent parents, for example, may love their children dearly and yet not be fit and capable of looking after them. Intervention here is never likely to have a happy ending, but it would take a fool to suggest that it isn’t necessary.

OK. Let’s look at your illustration.

The smart thing for the social worker to do is take the kids away from their parents. He can argue that the parents were drug addicts and were incapable of caring for the children and he eliminates the possibility of a potential future tragedy where one of the kids accidentally takes a drug overdose.

But while having drug addicted parents may be less than ideal, it may be a better than the alternative of a childhood of abuse in the care system and by taking the children you may be removing the last motivation for the parents to get their lives together.

That’s the rub of social work: damned if you do and damned if you don’t.

I agree.

Which is why, on balance, I think social workers should stay out of peoples lives at least until a crime has been committed or their help is requested..

@pagar

You would replace social workers with charities and the police?

I can’t believe you can seriously entertain such a regressive notion. Charities lack authority and the police only intervene in cases of suspected criminality. Who, then, cares for the uncared for, those who suffer abuse, those who are strung out on drugs or are depressed? What happens when a child is seen in school with bruises, but refuses to complain?

The social services are vital and necessary, most of their work is unreported and unregarded. Social care is a constantly evolving concept which attempts to alleviate the suffering of the most vulnerable people in society. It’s inception is one of our greatest achievements.

Is a country just a place where we live? Or is it a place where we try to build a fair society, a place where we look after our vulnerable as well as caring for our own, where the common good is valued over narrow self-interest? I accept that the status quo is never good enough and there must be argument and trial and error before we can lay out a plan for the future, but the debate must also look at what we do right as well as sneer at what we do wrong. There doesn’t seem to be much balance at the moment,

Louis @ 22

Charities lack authority

They don’t need authority, they help people.

the police only intervene in cases of suspected criminality.

That is their proper role.

Who, then, cares for the uncared for, those who suffer abuse, those who are strung out on drugs or are depressed?

Charities.

What happens when a child is seen in school with bruises

If there is reasonable suspicion a crime has been committed, the matter should be investigated by the police.

Everyone hears the pain of the child brutalised by the very people who should be caring for him but what about the screams of the child being forcibly removed from his parents by the agents of the state?

God would know what to do for the best- social workers can only guess. As I said above, misanthropy is the default disposition.

21 & 23
It’s a long time since I’ve encountered concrete thinking at this level. Do you really believe that children do not become damaged unless a crime has been committed, or that abusive parents contact Social Services to report themselves?
You also appear to be reflecting on some mythical, ideal golden age, when charities stepped-in and the police were the custodians over the prevention of child-abuse.
There are quite good sources on the internet exploring the extreme child-abuse in the 19th century, no state-intervention or Social Services then.

Do you really believe that children do not become damaged unless a crime has been committed, or that abusive parents contact Social Services to report themselves?

No of course not. But nor do I believe there is any evidence to show that social workers are generally effective in preventing abuse taking place or even in mitigating the consequences.

If you have such evidence, please point me to it..

@pagar 25

nor do I believe there is any evidence to show that social workers are generally effective in preventing abuse taking place or even in mitigating the consequences.

If you have such evidence, please point me to it..

And how, exactly, do you find evidence for something that has not happened? Clearly you cannot, but neither can you prove that something wouldn’t have happened had the social worker not intervened. You could play this game all day and it wouldn’t get anybody’s argument any further. Like I said, people make decisions and live with the consequences, what else are they supposed to do?

Pagar

So what would a charity do differently from the state and perhaps more importantly how would your charity do better in this case than the state?

26 27
I totally agree, I wonder if pagar would like to take the risk of removing the police force on the basis that there isn’t any evidence to show that it reduces crime and without it crime would not increase. Because this is a similar argument to the the one he/she makes.

@26

And how, exactly, do you find evidence for something that has not happened?

In this argument, I don’t need to. If you are arguing that social workers add value you need to be able to point to the evidence. In terms of the outcome of the Doncaster case, I can show that they did not improve the situation or the outcome.

@27

As was pointed out above, the charity does not have any authority- its sole role is to help. It would therefore be viewed very differently than a state sponsored agency would be. If you were feeling suicidal would you phone the Samaritans or the police?

@28

No, he wouldn’t. But that’s a very different argument.

People are surprised that the traffic flows better and there are fewer accidents when traffic lights are turned off. I think that’s a better analogy.

29
Where is the evidence to support your claim about traffic lights? Perhaps there is some comparative study that I can’t find on the internet or is it an anecdotal observation of your own?

31. the a&e charge nurse

[29] “in terms of the outcome of the Doncaster case, I can show that they did not improve the situation or the outcome”.

Compared to what?

Steveb @ 29

Or even better why not remove the standing army on the same basis? We could have a militia completely staffed by guys turning on of there own whim and supplying their own weaponry. The defence budget wiped of the balance sheet and the army becomes exactly as the Libertarians want all authoritarian, state owned leviathans. They become leaner, fitter, non bureaucratic and better equipped to boot. Everybody wins.

A government department and spending is erased.
State employees are replaced by volunteers.
The State pension black hole gets slightly shallower.
People become self reliant.
Militias are more accountable to membership.
No more unpopular wars.
The Government of the day no longer has cannon fodder.
Libertarians can put their money (and the lives) where their mouths are.

So where is the downside?
Libertarianism means you are free from having to think things through.

@30

http://www.dw-world.de/dw/article/0,2144,2143663,00.html

@31

Compared to anything.

Are you arguing that, without the input from social services the outcome would have been worse?

@ 32

Sounds like Switzerland.

Pagar @ 35

Does it sound like Switzerland enough for you to back it?

36. the a&e charge nurse

[33] “Are you arguing that, without the input from social services the outcome would have been worse?”.

Are you suggesting that the entire concept of state backed social work can be judged on a single case?

Are you suggesting that the entire concept of state backed social work can be judged on a single case?

No of course I’m not.

But I am saying that I think we need to do more work in terms of measuring the efficacy of what we are doing. There are situations, as in the Doncaster case, where beaurocratic hand wringing will not help. A thousand multi-agency case reviews would not have redeemed these kids.

We need to accept that we cannot solve everything by well meant advice and support- if social policy is to be effective we need to apply methods appropriate to the circumstances.

They become leaner, fitter, non bureaucratic and better equipped to boot. Everybody wins.

A government department and spending is erased.
State employees are replaced by volunteers.
The State pension black hole gets slightly shallower.
People become self reliant.
No more unpopular wars.
The Government of the day no longer has cannon fodder.

So where is the downside?

Jim. If I didn’t know you better, I’d think you were beginning to get it.

38. Just Visiting

Pagar himself may not be asking this directly – but he is at a sensible theme: how do we measure the effectiveness of social work?

If the state spent twice as much on it – would that give us better outcomes?
or conversely spent only half as much?

Is there really no evidence anywhere, as to the effectiveness of current social work?

If not, how do social workers themselves know what to do to improve their own effectiveness?

Secondly, maybe one argument might be that we want the social work system to solve problems which we as individuals making up society are not willing to help out with ourselves?

Maybe society is a little more broken than it was 30 or 50 years ago. Maybe then, a wayward son in trouble at school would also incur the wrath of his father + family: no matter what ‘social class’ they were in.
Whereas today, from the anecdotal stories I hear from teachers – the parents of troublemaking kids don’t support the school’s attempts to help bring the kids into line so they and the rest of the class can get on with learning.

There have been uncooperative parents all along of course -but maybe it is more common now.

Social workers alone can’t fix it – in the absence of a society’s set of agreed values that underpins right behaviour, and that acts to enforce it, from the small local level up.

Maybe like the AA rule – that someone has to want to be helped, before you can help them – and that therefore you need to let an alcholic hit rock bottom and not try to assist to prevent the rock bottom being reached.
Maybe as a society, until we admit we need help – we will continue to let social workers carry the can, and we won’t be willing to ask the tough questions; what aspects of society are broken, why, what has changed in society’s attitudes and what are the choices.

Pagar @ 37

I have always got it.

Libertarians are greedy bastards who genuinely think that if they are rich enough they can live outside of the State. They have the right to reject any evidence, science or facts that curtail them or their beliefs. They also are allowed to make up facts or evidence to back their ideology up too.

The same people who think that the entire scientific community concocted and maintained the ‘greenhouse effect’ ‘myth’ tell us that the guy sacked from the drug advisory board was just telling us the ‘scientific truth’.

Libertarians are also in favour of banning certain forms of architecture.

It comes as no surprise that few of these Libertarians have felt it necessary to emigrate to one of the many failed states throughout the World, instead they live in the Stasi run UK.

You can find many Countries run on the lines of ‘small Government’ favoured by Libertarians; Somalia springs to mind. Not state to speak of, no welfare state, health and safety, EU, Global Warming propaganda, gun control, smoking ban, speed and CCTV or even a five a day leaflet,, whats stopping you guys

I think perhaps pagar and friends miss a point about evidence when they demand proof that social work stopped something from happening. You cannot prove a negative.

What you *can* do is look at the likelihood that Event A would have happened if social workers had not acted. If Event A was very likely, and did not happen after social workers stepped in, and this pattern repeats itself with great enough frequency, then it’s reasonable to assume that social workers have some role in reducing the likelihood of Event A when they step in. But if Event A happens very frequently, totally regardless of the social workers’ intervention, we may assume that the current intervention is not effective and seek an alternative method of preventing Event A.

The fact that Event A is so incredibly rare as to attract such major media attention would seem to suggest that there is some success in preventing Event A on a wider scale, but that such prevention is only quite likely rather than guaranteed. Occasionally Event A will happen, because individual factors may prevent a 100% prevention rate.

What you cannot do is prove that Event A would or would not have happened even if they didn’t step in, which is what pagar is demanding we do.

With medicine, the aim is to prevent Illness/Death, and restore Health. We test the medicine to see how effective it is- how often Health is restored, and how often Illness/Death prevails instead. If Health is usually restored with medicine, but Illness/Death usually prevails in similar situations without medicine, then we infer that the medicine works to treat the illness and restore health. Same principle at work.

The fact that Event A is so incredibly rare as to attract such major media attention would seem to suggest that there is some success in preventing Event A on a wider scale, but that such prevention is only quite likely rather than guaranteed. Occasionally Event A will happen, because individual factors may prevent a 100% prevention rate.

Sorry Red but your logic is entirely flawed. You discount the possibility that Event A is not being prevented but is, actually, very rare.

Where is your evidence that children routinely tortured other children pre-1950 and modern social services? Or that such crimes are common where social services have not been alerted and involved?


Reactions: Twitter, blogs
  1. Liberal Conspiracy

    Desperately Seeking Bulger http://bit.ly/61SZhk

  2. Myles Winstone

    RT @libcon: Desperately Seeking Bulger http://bit.ly/61SZhk

  3. Unity

    @johnprescott Does it matter? It#s bad PR either way and there are more important questions to address – http://bit.ly/61SZhk

  4. Unity

    RT @libcon: Desperately Seeking Bulger http://bit.ly/61SZhk – Is crisis management the right way to run a child protection system?

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  7. Rebecca Z.

    @Shoq re:bulger ~ Soros pays you to mess w/ UK politics, too? 🙂 http://liberalconspiracy.org/2010/01/22/desperately-seeking-bulger/





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