So we learn that Alfie and Chantelle, very VERY young parents, have brought young Maisie into the world. Alfie's not going to be prosecuted for getting his girlfriend knocked up - well, none of the other teenagers regularly partaking in underage sex get put in the slammer - and thinks he's going to make a good father, though he's not sure how his infrequent £10 handouts are going to go towards the upkeep of the nipper. Four foot Alfie's own dad is proud of his son: ' "He could have shrugged his shoulders and sat at home on his PlayStation. But he has been at the hospital every day," he announced.
Yesterday I went to eight different outlets to find a Daily Telegraph but shock, horror and rage: there were none, so I had to buy the Independent instead. A novel experience. There was a good (albeit longwinded) piece on 'Political Correctness': very timely since Harry has to go through the indignity of attending an 'Equality and Diversity' course (whatever the hell that means: equality reduces individuality to an amorphous mass, which can hardly be called diverse), Geert Wilders is being barred from the UK presumably because that be-suited monster, 'Lord' Ahmed threatens to storm the hallowed portals of the HofL with a thousand Muslims to if he entered (despite having hosted a book launch for the antisemitic Israel Shamir), and a school receptionist has been threatened with the sack because she intervened when her daughter was told off for raising theological issues during a lesson. Even the tone in which someone says something is up for censure: Jeremy Clarkson pointed out that Gordon Brown is a one-eyed Scottish idiot, and so he is: he has one eye, is Scottish, and an idiot. Clarkson spoke only the truth, but out rushed the BBC, Labour's propaganda machine, and demanded an apology on the behalf of outraged Scots and the blind.
What the hell is happening here? You can disagree with everything these people stand for - or agree with it; but the only way to formulate opinions and strong, deeply held beliefs and convictions, to be truly distinguished from the animal kingdom, is to be exposed to every argument. To strangle debate or the ability to speak freely is to deny us our humanity. A state that believes that it is its mission to censor, to dictate what may or may not be said, that thinks politics is the only arena in which correctness may be found, is a repressive and totalitarian one.
And still the harrowing news continues to pour in. Meddlesome social workers took away three children on the suspicion of child abuse only to find three years later that the child's injuries were due to its physical condition; but the parents don't get their children back. Ever. Full stop. We can have absolute outrages like Baby P, in which a child is not taken away from its abusers, or the poor little girl who developed such a fear of dentists that she stopped eating and the medical profession didn't notice until she actually died, or grandparents robbed of their grandchildren who are adopted by a gay couple entirely against the grandparents' wishes - but still, no-one ever, ever takes responsibility. In fact, the only ones who have indicated a sense of contrition for their actions - albeit scripted - are the bankers who set the economy plummeting.