Hat tip: Dad4Justice
Jim Hopkins, Friday September 14, 2007
Commissioner Wants ALL Parents Checked - Children's Commissioner Cindy Kiro wants mandatory screening of every baby's home life in a bid to halve New Zealand's child murder rate. Under her proposal, parents and caregivers would nominate an authorised inspector for compulsory home visits. Parents who refused to participate would be referred to welfare authorities - News Item
It is with much pride that the Harold now presents a thrilling extract from George Allswell's provocative novel Big Mother Is Watching You:
"Attention all parents!" boomed the strident loudspeaker on top of the big grey Ministry of Love van cruising slowly along the quiet suburban street. "You must be good to your children!"
"I am!" fumed Cindy Smith, near deafened by the din outside.
"And that's an order!!" rasped the harsh metallic voice, apparently unconvinced by her protestations.
"I'd like to order you not to broadcast your stupid messages five minutes after I've finally got little Winston to sleep!" yelled Cindy, her anger lost on the fading voice as the Ministry's windowless vehicle turned into Kiro Lane.
"What's the point," she muttered, resigned to spending another 20 minutes soothing her fractious offspring.
Before she could lift him, there was an urgent knock on the door. Cindy flung it open to two very grey people in very grey, ill-fitting uniforms of a proletarian cut.
"We're from the Family Inspectorate," declared the larger of the duo, presenting a Ministry of Love Identity Badge. "I'm Inspector One and this is Inspector Other One."
"Your baby's crying," said Inspector Other One. "You haven't been ... ?"
"No!" Cindy protested. "I have not!!!"
As if on cue, young Winston's wails became, first a gurgle, then a contented coo. Cindy's relief was palpable.
"We'll suspend judgment on that," Inspector One purred menacingly. "But you have denied access to the approved agencies authorised to conduct mandatory visits for the purpose of assessing family progress, haven't you, Cindy?" She paused. "I presume you think your home's your own?"
"Yes, I do!"
"Well, it's not!!" snapped the second inspector. "So we're coming in. And don't try to stop us. We've got a court order."
"Who cares?" Cindy shrugged. "The police just ignore them!"
"Are you Maori?" asked Inspector One.
"Then I don't think we'll have any problems," she hissed, striding into the house. "Check the nursery," Inspector One instructed her colleague. "You know what to look for."
Cindy waited until the inspector returned. "We've got a problem," the woman snapped, staring balefully as she re-entered the room. "The child has a Grade 7 cut on the left lower arm!"
"He's just learning to walk!" Cindy protested. "He tripped and scratched ... "
"Citizen 3124583 denies injuring infant," murmured Inspector One, noting the particulars in a large black book.
"I'm a good mother," Cindy pleaded. "I read stories to him. See! Thomas the Tuck Engine. It's a lovely story about how brave little Thomas helps the Fat Controllers take all the bad food out of schools!" She thrust it towards her interrogators. "See for yourself !"
"That won't be necessary," said Inspector One primly. "We don't accept books as proof of approved parenting!"
"Especially when a Citizen also possesses this!!" snarled Inspector Other One, brandishing a pamphlet found in the pile from whence Thomas had come.
Inspector One gasped as the offending document was waved under her nose.
"Why We Need Nuclear Power." The woman read the title with manifest distaste. "And you think this is suitable when you have a baby in the house?"
"It's not for him!!!" Cindy raged. "It's for me. I like to keep an open mind."
"Oh really, Citizen?" inquired the inspectors sardonically. "Well, the Great Leader doesn't. She likes to have a closed mind on the subject. She doesn't want nuclear power, the Party doesn't want nuclear power, so New Zealand won't get nuclear Power, Citizen!"
"Huh! Next time you see her, give her a knowledge wave from me!" Cindy mumbled.
"I said nuclear could be the new wave of low emission energy."
"But, Citizen, think of the risks!" urged Inspector Two. "As an approved parent, it is your official obligation to think of the risks!"
"There's risks with everything," Cindy replied. "That's no reason to blindly reject an idea! Look, its obviously risky for 15-year-olds to drive cars but the Leader allows that."
"Enough!!!" shouted Inspector One. "Citizen 3124583, I'm recommending you for immediate re-education as an unsuitable parental entity. Do not approach your child unless supervised and do not attempt to escape. We will be waiting outside until your re-educator arrives!" With that, the two grey figures clicked their heels and left.
Distraught, Cindy slumped into a chair. "When will people like the Children's Commissioner accept that the problem is largely caused by a welfare system which pays people to look after children but ignores how they're doing it? When will she admit it's the state that's failing, by neglecting the very children it professes to help? And when will she stop making ludicrous proposals for everybody else and start putting the Government's own house in order?"
"Don't hold your breath," came a little voice behind her. Cindy turned, astonished, to see Winston. With an inscrutable smile on his innocent face. Cindy couldn't decide whether to be thrilled he'd said his first words or chilled by his prescience.
"Out of the mouths of babes and ... " she whispered, but her message was swamped once again by the blasting loudspeaker on the Ministry van. "Attention all parents! Attention all parents ... "