14 Nov 2008
Where Does the Buck Stop?
Haringey Social Services have been criticised for failing to protect Baby P. Two baby boys are stabbed to death in Manchester by their mentally unstable mother, despite Social Services intervention. Aberdeen City Council are roundly criticised in a Scottish Office report for “failing to protect vulnerable children”. Little Shannon Matthews was taken into foster care following a false kidnapping and imprisonment, instigated by her own mum.
In the wake of such tragedies, it is easy to finger-point and apportion blame. Everyone does it, because no-one is willing to accept responsibility.
Karen Matthews was “a good mother” until she met Craig Meehan, we are told. Ms Shoesmith has adamantly stated that she will not be resigning over the Baby P affair, and neither will any of her staff. Social workers monitoring Ms Mullings decided she was capable of caring for her children (despite abandoning one of them at Manchester’s A&E) and closed the file. The McCanns left three under-fours alone in an isolated apartment, but the subsequent and continued disappearance of one of them is, apparently, the fault of the PJ and the lack of an Amber Alert.
At what point, exactly, did it become the “done thing” to waive all responsibility for our own actions? And at what point does the buck-passing stop?
Watch a small child caught red-handed, doing something naughty. “I didn’t do it!; she did it!; it’s somebody else’s fault!” Responsible parents teach their children to own up to their own behaviour – so why can’t grown adults accept culpability? It’s supposed to be learned behaviour, after all; like standing in orderly queues, or saying please and thank you. (Unless, of course, the adult in question was never taught the meanings and consequences of rights and responsibilities in the first place, in which case the parents are 100% responsible IMHO).
We live in a society that has increasingly, over the years, shifted away from the ideals of social responsibility, to the concept of people’s “rights”. We now have the spectre of obese people suing McDonalds because the burgers made them fat, although no-one actually forced them to eat there; the husband who has affairs because his wife doesn’t satisfy him; the spendaholics who are tens of thousands in debt because the bank keeps giving them credit cards.
Society is imploding, because no-one is responsible anymore. But to abdicate all responsibility, relegates us to the role of “victim”. And that serves no-one, least of all the victim, because it’s the quickest way to guarantee an unhappy und unfulfilled life.
Time to own up, claim responsibility, apologise and rectify our mistakes, and move on. If you are someone who wants more control in your life, then taking responsibility for yourself is a great step in the right direction. That’s what grown-ups do.
For Kate McCann, Ms Shoesmith, Manchester Social Services, Aberdeen Council, and Karen Matthews. Get a grip. Take control, take responsibility. Answer the questions. The truth will set you free.
Posted by ratonthebeam at 18:01