The issue that has annoyed me most this week has also left me a bit shaken and unsure of my footing, like a mountain goat with oiled hooves. I’ve agreed with the Tories over the Guardian. Or to be more exact, Lemn Sissay’s article about adoption in the Guardian. Thankfully solace can be found in the comments section, usually the preserve of those with only a finger’s grasp on sanity yet possessing the same unwavering belief in their opinion as a petulant teenager, though this time the voice of sanity.
In the article Sissay was sets out a case against the Government’s new plans to speed up mixed-race adoptions. He felt that we were reverting back to the pre-1985 consensus where there was no importance placed on the cultural needs of the child, leading to some abuses at the hands of adoptive parents. Whilst these stories cannot be ignored, I do wonder if he feels that any progress has been made in nearly 30 years? Is Britain still populated by mini-Alf Garnetts lamenting the growing diversity? I don’t think so. It is fatuous to claim that everything is like a United Colours of Benetton advert, but neither is it acceptable to extrapolate one unpleasant experience of someone in Wigan across the nation. Not least because Wigan is not the most diverse place in the UK (according to the 2001 Census) thereby lacking the ideas of cultural sensitivity so inherent in the metropolises. Sissay urges us to throw down the shackles of colour-blindness in order to live (apparently for the better) in a world where we are demarcated in terms of race. That sounds like a step forward doesn’t it?
At the core of the arguments both for and against is a desire to house the child in a loving household and a tacit acceptance that the longer a child spends in care, the worse it is. How Sissay can’t see the neon-rimmed, arrow pointing solution is beyond my understanding. Having more prospective adoptive parents is a good thing, regardless of their race. To think that it is reminiscent of colonialism is appalling and surely a nice hearty slap in the face to those who gladly open their homes to children in care. And whilst it would be ideal to have more black prospective adopters, I am not sure if it is the duty of the government to do so.
How someone so intelligent can have such a conspiratorial idea of how government works is also beyond me. By no means perfect (by no means…), those at the top aren’t seated in a ‘Secret Cabal Room for the Disenfranchisement of the Poor & Minorities’, no matter how much the Tory Annual Conference seems like it. Moreover a policy supported by the NSPCC and Barnardo’s cannot be totally fascistic; now call me odd, but I would rather back two organisations who’s raison d’etre is child protection. We cannot afford to place race above the needs of children.