Rod Liddle

It's not just Ashya King's parents who the authorities despise

Of course normal people can't be trusted to bring up children. They might be middle-class, or have the wrong views, or smoke

6 September 2014

9:00 AM

6 September 2014

9:00 AM

My first act upon returning from my holiday was to sign the online petition to have the supremely irritating children’s cartoon figure Peppa Pig banned from television. I have always found the creature half-witted, arrogant and sinister, and the tune which accompanies her exploits is both grating and didactic. Further, even allowing for the usual anthropomorphic licence employed by cartoonists, this Peppa does not remotely resemble a proper pig, and her snout is worryingly two-dimensional. She gave me hours of misery when my daughter was a toddler, although not quite so much as Balamory — a programme which made me feel physically unwell.

The Ban Peppa petition was got up by some Muslim bloke in vibrant and diverse (except for Israelis, natch) Bradford, who was deeply distressed to find his young son watching the show on TV. Hitherto, the father explained in despair, his son had expressed a wish to become a doctor in later life — ‘but now he wants to be a pig’. Allah (pbuh) had no time for pigs, considering them even worse than Jews and infidels. But he did have a soft spot for cats — and the Bradford chap wishes the programme to be replaced by one about a cat instead. Pigs = haram, cats = halal, you see.

Without wishing to be objectionable, it has occurred to me that Muslims are, on the whole, not slow to be roused to ire and that we must be mindful of their sensitivities on this issue as on all of the other stuff they’re angry about. It is the mark of a democracy, the manner in which we allow for the sometimes odd beliefs of our religious minorities, especially if those minorities are apt to start detonating themselves all over the country.

The King family are members of a religious minority, too. They are Jehovah’s Witnesses, a denomination which in 1874 predicted that 40 years later God’s Kingdom on Earth would be finally and jubilantly established. When, instead of the God’s Kingdom thing, the first world war kicked off, they were not dissuaded from their beliefs. These days there are a little under 20 million of them and the extent to which they impinge on the rest of us is confined only to the occasional dumbo knocking on our doors asking if we want to read The Watchtower. Perhaps this non-militant approach explains why nobody pays them any heed. Maybe they should start blowing themselves up.

The King family have been in the news because of young Ashya King, aged five, who is suffering from brain cancer. Ashya was being treated at University Hospital, Southampton, before his mum and dad — Brett and Naghemeh King — took him away to find better treatment somewhere else. There is no suggestion whatsoever that the family’s religious beliefs were involved in this perfectly legitimate decision, although I will wager a small bet that the terrible existence of those beliefs were lodged somewhere in the minds of the health professionals in Southampton who promptly overstepped their remit and called in the police. The Hampshire constabulary was swiftly on the case and the family were tracked down to Malaga in Spain, and peremptorily arrested and separated from their son. They had fled to Spain in order to sell a holiday home in order to raise money for what they — and a good few health professionals — considered to be more advanced treatment for their son.

Following fairly high levels of outrage among the public and the press at this arrogant and callous treatment, the family has now been told it will not be extradited. But why were they arrested in the first place? The Department of Health’s own guidelines for the medical care of children is quite clear in this regard, and explained in its booklet ‘Consent — What You Have A Right To Expect: A Guide for Parents’. It states at the outset: ‘Parents are expected to make health care decisions for their children, based on what they feel is in a child’s “welfare” or “best interests”.’ My italics.

That is precisely, to the very letter, what Ashya’s mother and father did.  The booklet adds that the quacks can overrule the parents only after first having obtained a court order to that effect. The assistant chief constable of Hampshire, Chris Shead, who appeared to me to be several volts short of a fully charged Taser, told reporters that he made ‘no apology’ for having hounded the King family. Despite the fact that no crime had been committed? Who do you think you are, Mr Shead? Upon being asked under what auspices the Kings might be subjected to extradition from Spain, the Hampshire police muttered something about ‘neglect’, but refused to expand, adding only that the Kings might well not be charged with such an offence anyway. Now there has been a volte face and the Crown Prosecution Service has announced that the family will face no charges.

I think the case of Ashya King is just the latest high-profile demonstration of the disdain and mistrust with which officialdom these days views parents — and the concomitant shift in the care of children away from parents and towards any number of state institutions — the social services, the government itself, the NHS, the police and so on. Parenting is far too important a thing to be left to parents — it is something that can be done only by fully trained professionals, the people who always know best. It is the main reason why we have so many children in care these days — because our social services departments simply do not trust ordinary, untrained people to adopt the kids; they might be the wrong colour, or have right-wing political views, or smoke, or be too middle-class, or be opposed to gay marriage. And in every case, the police does the bidding of the establishment. It is a supremely arrogant ideology — and, more immediately, surely injurious to the health of poor Ashya King.

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Show comments
  • Man on the Clapham Omnibus

    I’ve googled Peppa Pig & Balamory – you are correct. Incidentally, judging by the video on Youtube, Balamory appears to include the entire ethnic population of the Western Isles – trust the PC brigade.

    • Kitty MLB

      I should imagine that The Three Little Pigs will be for the chop next…Oh sorry to be a boar.

      I’ve googled sinister..what on earth is that all
      about.Mind you I searched the past and found something named Andy Pandy and Loopy Lou…talking plants apparently..I assume they were early BBC programmes.

      • post_x_it

        BBC children’s TV has always been for indoctrination. Remember the Wombles?

        • Kitty MLB


  • Bring Back Free Speech

    Yes, the episode alighted nationwide fury – except among politicians, who only piled in after the outcry – because ordinary people felt they could be in the same posiition and were shocked at the international manhunt, as if loving parents were killers on the loose. It was another example – after the revelation of the Rotherham grooming (which is in fact nationwide – see Easy Meat by the Law and Freedom Fountation – of corrupt authorites working together against innocent people.

    • Teacher

      Just read about a quarter of ‘Easy Meat’ but cannot continue as it is unbearably horrific. Of course, it is nothing new. I have been following the story from way back and I never had any sympathy for any religion or culture which was based on misogyny, but it is still upsetting to read the overview and of individual cases.

      What makes it worse is that the more the truth is revealed the more the left defends the multiculturalism that gave rise to the abuses by awarding client groups special privileges and immunity from the law. ‘Nice’ liberal people are still reserving their ire for the ‘nasty’ right and spitting blood about heartless ConDems and Kippers. I imagine that to face up to their responsibility for allowing the rape of little girls would be too much for those whose main aim in life is to think well of themselves.

  • post_x_it

    It was also interesting to see the BBC embarking on 24-hour non-stop coverage of the “international manhunt” for the parents over the entire weekend. News bulletin after breathless news bulletin, wow even Interpol involved now… parents believed to have gone into hiding etc. It was as if the world’s most bloodthirsty monster was on the loose threatening the safety of children all over Europe, and all other world news had ceased to have any importance.

    • CO Jones

      “It was as if the world’s most bloodthirsty monster was on the loose threatening the safety of children all over Europe, …”

      No, that was Rotherham, and a slightly different story.

      • post_x_it

        One might suspect that this is one of the stories they were trying to drown out with the sheer volume of Ashya King coverage.

        • MikeF

          Yes – exactly what I thought or perhaps more exactly that the Hampshire police wanted to show how differently they reacted to any perceived or imaginary threat to a child than their counterparts in South Yorkshire.

  • Kitty MLB

    Hey Roddie, have you ever eaten raw hedgehog..oh never mind!
    Also never mind Peppa, what about the scurrilous attack on
    Thomas the Tank Engine (for lack of female trains) or Red Riding
    Hood…for the sinister undertones..both attacks by Labour.
    What ever happened to Paddington Bear and The Magic least Paddington was well travelled.
    With Balamory…googled it..children are being brainwashed..
    I know Middle-Class people send shoeless working-class children
    up chimneys (as Labour says, so it must be true) but atleast
    they are not brainwashed by sickly pc rubbish dribbling out
    of televisions.

  • Damaris Tighe

    I’d love to know whether the same amount of energy has been invested in tracking down Muslim girls taken out of school & sent to Pakistan to be forcibly married, as with these Jehovah’s Witnesses.

    • Suzy61

      My first thought also.

    • dado_trunking

      Do they too get on free flights with private jets from Spain to the Cheque Book Republic?

      You have been conned. It’s one big advert for radicalised privatisation.

      • Damaris Tighe

        Hello Telemachus. You are Tele aren’t you – he said you were the same as he about 10 days ago.

        • dado_trunking

          I am Dan Hodges on Mondays, and MEP on Tuesday and the rest of the week I am me. Who are you, a plain ‘pork-hater’?

          • Damaris Tighe

            Love bacon, love ham, love pork. Always have, always will.

  • Damaris Tighe

    The book ‘The New East End’ by sociologist Geoff Dench et al makes the point that in the 50s migration from the East End to Essex meant that the local extended family, providing care & support for its members, was replaced by the ‘more welfare-state-friendly nuclear family’ — ‘and then by a progressive unravelling of household structures into a complex skein of single-person households, consensual unions, gay partnerships, step families & a thousand & one other varieties.’ What the book doesn’t add is that the latter are even more welfare-state-friendly.

    State interference in parenting & the state-sponsored destruction of family life are symbiotic phenomena.

    • mandelson

      Patriarchy, two parents of opposite sex, fathers who provide, mothers who stay at home, boys and girls inherent gender roles, tradition and history – all our constraints on the liberal god of self autonomy and must be destroyed by the tools of political correctness, both parents wageslaving, childcare, state control, liberal bias in the media, mass immigration from the 3rd world. I fear the process is irreversible.

      • Damaris Tighe

        Couldn’t agree more. It’s deconstructing boundaries in every sense.

  • Andrew Smith

    It seems no-one is allowed to make any form of decision without having undergone some form of “training” to qualify you for it. As those with “training” are invariably drawn from the middle classes, this is often amplified by snobbery. The outcome: ordinary people with nothing more than common sense between their ears are ignored when they decide to do anything (at school, in the hospital, in their own homes) which doesn’t fit with prevailing fads which will probably chage in a few years anyway.

    • Bonkim

      And Britain is a free country!

    • Damaris Tighe

      Very true. Did you know that you now have to have a certificate in food hygiene to get a job as a school kitchen assistant? Even the most menial jobs offered by my local authority require some sort of certification. It means that people at the bottom of the heap can’t just walk into a job anymore. No wonder there’s high unemployment.

  • This is one of the many reasons why I never wanted parenthood: it’s a stick of your own creation for the state to beat you with.

    • twowolves


      • Happier. What do you live by? There’s no Valhalla.

  • Retired Nurse

    Before the case of david glass went to the European Court of Human Rights, quacks had a right to fill a syringe full of morphine and kill your child in their ‘best interests’…david glass was apparently ‘dying’ ..mainly because he has cerebral palsy and drs couldn’t see any point in continuing to feed a disabled kid…anyway ‘a fight ensued’ as they say, in which he was rescued but two arrogant middle class would-be-murderers got a bit of a shove, for which the family got criminal records. – one of the ”seriously injured doctors” who got criminal injuries compensation was filmed taking part in a bike race immediately after the court case too!
    Theirs is the case that established the supremacy of a parent’s decision about treatment over that of an entire stranger in a dump of a hospital…..

  • Retired Nurse

    and btw, the threat of a court case has been used to coerce hundreds of relatives to ‘give consent’ for their loved ones to be put on ‘the liverpool care pathway’…which is a syringe driver full of morphine and midazolam that kills them ,but which the state still refuses to admit kills them, in case they get prosecuted…..I don’t consider anyone under those circumstances gave legally valid ‘consent’.

    • Damaris Tighe

      Shocking. That’s why I don’t support legalised assisted dying. It WILL be abused.

  • Sean L

    Re pbuh, isn’t Allah by definition a power than which there can be no greater and as such the source of peace, to which any appeal for peace must therefore be addressed? So one is asking him in effect to put peace upon himself. It’s akin to saying “God bless him” or “RIP” of God himself. Good piece, outrageous that no politician will stick their neck out on these terrible abuses of state power, even in this case they’re just jumping on the bandwagon. But as with the no less outrageous cases of old men being prosecuted for decades old offences on no other evidence than the uncorroborated say-so of their accusers, they don’t see any advantage in it for themselves. They might even find themselves depicted as “paedo sympathisers” or some such. Even among journalists, it’s only yourself, Booker and Littlejohn who’ve said anything. Who polices the police? For the most part they’re a law unto themselves, enforcers of state sanctioned orthodoxies. Scary.

  • Terry Field

    Buy your ideas from the propagandised BBC
    Buy your food from an exploitative shop chain.
    Buy your tiny starter box from a dreadful ‘national builder’
    Sell your working decades to a corrupt finance house.
    Be lied to about the condition of the economy , religious threats and all manner of social matters by an utterly exploitative and irresponsible government.
    Dare to argue with the deranged Egomania that is the NHS and act as a parent and the super-oppressive British state – in the form of corrupt police forces, corrupt State prosecution systems, and their cynical associates will haul you back in chains to face Politically Correct non-justice.
    And may God have mercy on your ever-so-tiny and utterly inconsequential smelly little soul.
    Oh, and don’t forget you are a subject of ‘take a life to save a life’ ‘Invictus Harry’ and his super-pugilistic little boneheaded fellow crown-wearers.
    Stuff it.

  • Jackthesmilingblack

    Suck it up, Southampton NHS.

  • greggf

    “Parenting is far too important a thing to be left to parents — it is something that can be done only by fully trained professionals, the people who always know best. Because our social services departments simply do not trust ordinary, untrained people; they might be the wrong colour, or have right-wing political views, or smoke, or be too middle-class, or be opposed to gay marriage, or object to community sex, or dislike sharing vigorous sex with worthy young newcomers to Britain, or believe that other religions are not open to sexual experiences….or simply feel our towns are unfashionable – which is definitely wrong!”

  • James

    You’re on the right track Rod. You’ll learn even more if you peruse this chap’s stuff. There’s money in stealing other people’s children.

  • Max07

    ‘But have you passed your Advanced Arrogance course yet?’, my partner once joked to a member of the family who had just qualified as a junior doctor. The young doctor in question has since broken off all diplomatic relations, which rather proves the point, to my way of thinking.

  • Nick Booth

    The head of children’s services at my local council was also the mayor. He used to justify every new money raising, motorist robbing, parking sting with the words “I’m sure you will agree that the safety of children is paramount.”

    He’s in prison now. They found loads of child porn on his laptop. (Well, the FBI did.The council IT department did bugger all)

    The safety of children is paramount. Indeed.

  • Mr Grumpy

    “Over the past few decades, so many things have got so much better. Britain is more tolerant and open.”
    – one Douglas Carswell,writing in his Telegraph campaign blog yesterday. Words fail me.