Vir Cantium

I'm right, you know …

If You’ve Nothing To Hide, You've Nothing To Fear

Whether it’s 42 day’s detention, ID cards or the DNA database, we hear it every time.

I don’t know what deputy headmaster John Pinnington’s politics are, or whether they have changed as a result of his experience, but clearly, by any just measure, he would have had nothing to fear … you’d have thought. The Register has the story:

John Pinnington … was fired from his job when an enhanced criminal record background (CRB) check turned up allegations of abuse made against him. He took his case to judicial review, arguing that the allegations were seriously flawed, were unsubstantiated, and that the police should only include them in a CRB check where there were some grounds to believe they might be true.

This view was rejected, as Lord Justice Richards ruled that there was nothing unlawful about the actions of the Police force in passing on allegations. And future employers “should be aware” of the accusations, however weak and unreliable they are.

In relation to employment with children or vulnerable adults, it is information of which an employer should be aware. It is then for the employer to decide whether the employment of the person concerned involves an unacceptable risk.

[We have] no way of knowing whether these allegations were true, false, or the deluded imaginings of politically-correct Martians.

What we do know is that police investigated and took no further action, and that at least one set of allegations was based on the controversial “facilitated communication” method of eliciting statements from children too damaged, otherwise, to speak on their own behalf. On any objective scale of evidence, they belong in the category labelled “weak”.

Of course, it’s “for the children” so no measure is too draconian. Just like, err, terrorism, hate crimes, in fact anything that can be extrapolated to the point where “lives are at stake”.

I know, we wet libertarian types can bang on about it as much as we like, but Walter Wolfgang, having been arrested for heckling a minister, under anti-terrorism powers, didn’t actually go to prison, did he? If a council uses powers intended for surveilling terrorists to combat the scourge of parents playing the system on school catchment areas, nothing really bad happens to them, does it? I mean, lives are never lost because of a bad “enhanced” CRB check or unproven allegation. Are they?

The trouble with “nothing to hide – nothing to fear” is that it’s becoming increasingly hard to define what is worth hiding. That lame joke about “pikies” (a racist term nowadays) that you shared in the pub? Taking the mickey out of chavs in the post office queue? Tut tut, we have to promote social cohesion you know. Just don’t try applying for a job.


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