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Thought Police take Children
June 17, 2012 permalink
John Hemming is supporting an English couple threatened with child removal because the mother is a former member of the racist English Defence League. Mr Hemming's comments follow a news article.
WHY TRY TO TAKE BABY FROM EDL MOTHER BUT NOT FROM ‘TERRORISTS’?
SOCIAL workers want to seize a baby as soon as it is born because they are concerned about the mother’s violent links to the English Defence League.
Durham County Council has told Toni McLeod she would pose a “risk of significant harm” to the baby. Social workers fear the child would become radicalised with EDL views and want it put up for adoption immediately.
Mrs McLeod, who is 35 weeks pregnant, is a former leading member of the EDL, in which she was notorious as “English Angel”. The 25-year-old has a string of convictions for violence, including butting and biting a police officer after an EDL march in 2010 and she has been banned from owning dogs after setting a pit bull on a former partner.
However, her cause has been taken up by Lib Dem MP John Hemming who, despite his loathing for the EDL, raised it in the Commons. He contrasts her treatment with that of the extremist Islamic cleric Abu Qatada, who was allowed to remain with his children when he was briefly remanded on bail earlier this year as the Government tries to deport him.
He said: “It raises a curious question as to why Abu Qatada is allowed to radicalise his children but the state won’t take the chance of allowing Toni McLeod to look after her baby in case she says something social workers won’t like.
“I am very strongly opposed to the EDL, which I believe to be a racist organisation, but I do not think we should remove all of the children of the people who go on their demonstrations, however misguided they may be.”
Mrs McLeod has posted racist abuse on social networking sites but denies being racist. She claims she is no longer active with the EDL and has never been charged with violence against children.
Social workers have told her husband Martyn he would be unable to care for his child because he is a full-time soldier just back from Afghanistan.
Mr Hemming, who chairs the Justice For Families campaign group, said yesterday: “This case is one where the ‘thought police’ have decided to remove her baby at birth because of what she might say to the baby. I wonder what the baby’s father is thinking when he fights for a country which won’t allow him to have a child because of what the child’s mother might say.
“Toni now accepts she was wrong to have gone on EDL demonstrations but freedom of speech means nothing if people are not allowed to say things that are thought to be wrong.”
Mrs McLeod wants to move to Ireland for the birth to avoid England’s social services. Rifleman McLeod, 31, plans to request a transfer to Northern Ireland so he can be with his child.
Durham County Council told Mrs McLeod on Friday her unborn baby was being placed on its child protection register. Last month, a judge ruled that her three other children, who have different fathers, should be permanently removed from her care.
The Sunday Express is unable to give details of the judge’s explanation for legal reasons.
Documents seen by the Sunday Express reveal social workers are worried about Mrs McLeod’s previous alcohol and drug misuse, her “aggressive behaviour” and her alleged “mental health issues” .
They concede she is no longer involved with the EDL but believe she is now involved with a splinter group, the North West Infidels. The social worker’s report states: “Toni clearly needs to break away from the inappropriate friendships she has through either the EDL or break-off group in order that she can model and display appropriate positive relationships to the baby as he/she grows and develops.
“Toni has been a prominent member of the EDL. They claim they are a peaceful group, however, they have strong associations with violence and racism.”
Mr McLeod said: “Toni would never harm a child.”
The council said it was unable to comment.
Source: Daily Express
The State is not your Friend (thought police)
This story in the Sunday Express relates to the proposals by a local authority to remove a baby at birth.
Removing a baby at birth is a really draconian thing to do. It has to be based upon a real and urgent threat to the baby. Removing the baby is often harmful to the baby. Hence it has to be a very serious threat.
In the linked case the local authorities concerns are as I said in the House of Commons on Wednesday:
Hansard has the full debate. My relevant section is:
Ms Toni McLeod, who lives with her family in Durham, is thinking of going to Ireland because she is pregnant. It is a difficult situation. She was a supporter of the English Defence League. I hate the EDL. Three of my children are mixed-race, and I protest against the EDL. Toni McLeod says that she is not racially prejudiced, but that children were taken from her partly because of her membership of the EDL. It was “felt that conversations and opinions may be expressed in the children’s presence.” That is a “thought police” approach to care. The system intervened because of what Toni McLeod might say in front of her children. She says that she has many friends who are Muslims and Sikhs, and that she disowns the EDL nowadays, but whether that is true or not, we should ask whether it is appropriate for the state to remove a child because children may be radicalised by a parent. Is that an appropriate use of the phrase “risk of significant harm”? That brings us back to the statutory guidance, which makes no effort whatsoever to give any indication of what is meant by the phrase.
So her husband is fighting for a country which won't allow his wife to keep her baby (and would probably give it to another family) because of what she might say to the child.
I oppose the EDL myself. Mrs McLeod says she now does not support the EDL. My view is that the EDL are generally out for a fight rather than expressing a political position. However, I do not think association with the EDL is good cause to remove a new born child from a mother. She has no real choice but to emigrate because the care system is so orientated towards adoption.
Source: John Hemming blog