WHY do I, an MP and a blogger, continue to want to write about the Baby P case, when all that happens is that I become angrier and sadder, and feel more unable actually to achieve anything positive, with every word I write?
That’s the question I’ve been asking myself tonight as I’ve re-read the Executive Summary of Haringey Local Safeguarding Children Board Serious Case Review (in which, confusingly, the victim is referred to as “Child A”).
And here’s what I’ve concluded: it’s okay to get angry at the people who killed this innocent child. It’s okay to hate them for the terrible injuries they inflicted on him. It’s fine – I would suggest it’s even desirable – to want them to suffer in turn, to seek revenge, not just justice, against these sub-humans who once lived among us and, infuriatingly, will do so again one day.
Because when a child has already been tortured and killed by the deliberate actions of those who were entrusted to care for him, then hate for them is all that’s left.
Christians are supposed to forgive, to turn the other cheek, to love and never to hate.
Well, here’s a confession: I’m not a very good Christian. I’ve always been rubbish at it, which is why I’ve flitted in and out of church for the last 28 years.
And whatever God and the Bible says, here’s what I say: sometimes it’s good to hate. Sometimes it diminishes the worth of a victim by offering forgiveness to his killers. Sometimes people don’t deserve forgiveness. Sometimes they deserve to suffer. And when those circumstances arise, it is utterly maddening to know for certain that our justice system, our society, will not insist that they suffer as they deserve.
And before you start praying for my soul or worrying for my state of mental health, I know the difference between emotion and logic; I understand the need for politicians and law-makers to take a step back and to bite their tongues, to bite back the bile and to make the right decision, even when it feels like the wrong one.
So Baby P’s “mother” and her awful henchmen will be punished, though not for the murder they undoubtedly committed. Some lesser charge has sufficed because lawyers have pointed out that no court could say for sure which of the culprits dealt the killing blow.
Good for them.
No similar case has affected me in quite this way, so accept my apologies for the rant. I needed to get it off my chest. In fact, I had planned to write a post about the afore-mentioned executive summary. But it’s getting late, and as I said, I feel too angry, too sad and too tired to write any more.
I’ll go to bed now and hope I can wash my mind of that awful image of a 17-months-old child with a shaved head and with chocolate smeared over his face by his “mother” to hide the marks left by his attackers to ensure the attacks could continue unhindered by the authorities.
And, inevitably, now that we know of his fate a few short days after that photograph was taken, I dread what I see as the sorrow and reproach in his young eyes.
I hope we are all haunted, just a bit, by that picture. Baby P deserves that much justice, at least.