This post appeared yesterday in Brussels Journal and also at Vlad Tepe’s blog, which is where I happened upon it and left a comment. Today, the author of this post, A. Millar, sent a email thanking us for the mention. It suddenly occurred to me that this story would make a good post for Gates of Vienna also.
Unfortunately, it’s a sad story. The sadness lies in the fact that social workers are involved. All too often it is the case when social workers show up, lives get torn apart as though they were mere scraps of paper. Such is the nature of events when bureaucrats interfere with others’ lives.
Here is Mr. Millar’s report. If you live in the UK, he has some suggestions for what you might do.
Kerry Robertson, 17, and Mark McDougall, 25, haven’t broken any law. But they are on the run from the authorities, and from their home in Dunfermline, Scotland.
Less than eight weeks ago the couple were excitedly planning their wedding. They had booked church ceremony for the 5th of September, a Saturday. She had already chosen and bought her wedding dress. They had bought the rings, and invited 20 guests. Two days before the big day, however, social services told them that their wedding would have to be cancelled. Fife Council wrote a letter, objecting to the marriage, to Dunfermline Register Office, who consequently refused to marry the couple.
Social services claim Kerry cannot understand what marriage means, because she has learning difficulties. They are mild, it seems. She is able to read and write, and is going to college to “catch up.” Her partner Mark told the Daily Mail: “‘I didn’t even know she had learning difficulties until we’d been dating for two months.”
Kerry is 29 weeks pregnant – with a boy they have named Ben. “Although Ben isn’t born yet,” Kerry says, “I already love my baby and know I will be a good mum. Mark and I talk to him inside me every day and tell him we love him. We’ve already bought him clothes and my cousin, who recently had a baby, has handed down a beautiful crib for him.”
Social services say that Kerry – a college student – isn’t intelligent enough to bring up her child with Mark. They plan to allow the couple only a few hours with Ben after he is born. Then Ben will be taken from Kerry and Mark, and placed with foster parents.
Willie Rennie is the MP (LibDems) for Dunfermline and West Fife. I’m sure he would love a polite letter or email drawing his attention to the plight of this family. He can be reached at:
You already know what I think of social workers. My opinion comes from having served as one for several years until the Alice-in-Wonderland environment became more than I could take:
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I have seen social workers make destructive arbitrary decisions about clients simply because they were annoyed.
I’ve watched federal and state laws get enacted that no human being could possibly stay in compliance with in order to continue to receive funding.
I’ve sympathized with social workers who wanted the best for their clients (we were supposed to call them “customers”. Seriously. We were told to use that word) but were frustrated at every turn by the lack of money and resources to make any meaningful change in their clients’ lives.
It’s a corrupt, cynical system. That is inherent in any organization where those who dream up the regulations are so very far from those who must attempt to function under their needlessly complicated rules. That’s why more government intrusion inevitably results in more corruption. It’s a fact as unyielding as the law of gravity, though you’ll never convince a socialist of that. They live on a plane so far removed from reality’s hard truths that communication is impossible. The level of corruption inherent in this situation sometimes attracts the power-hungry and the sadistic. Which is what these particular social workers appear to be — either one or the other or both.
This young woman, Kerry, can’t be very feeble-minded; the evidence of her life’s circumstances belies any such judgment. Just look at the description of the things she did to organize her wedding. As any woman knows, those arrangements leave even the sanest of us a bit wobbly. In fact, I heard a wedding consultant refer to the usual condition of the about-to-be-married as “bridal psychosis”. A fitting diagnosis.
But this girl was having fun; she was joyful and ready to celebrate her new life with her friends there to witness her pledge. At least that was the scenario until the bad fairies showed up to spoil things.
Kerry also has proved her intelligence by managing to make her get-away before these officious people could move in on her and deprive her of a basic liberty without so much as a hearing. Instead of whining about how unfair it was, she just got out of Dodge. In my experience, those are the girls who succeed. They don’t hang around to complain about the unfairness of it all, they simply get away. I hope — I pray — she is wise enough not to believe the promises they make in order to capture her. Those promises are always lies.
I hope someone helps them assume a new identity in Orwell Land so that they are able to raise their son, Ben, in peace. Or as much peace as you can have when the Iron Maidens are after you and your child.
My prayers go with them. I hope that folks in Scotland and environs will put on the necessary pressure on the politicians so as to get those ugly gorgons pushed back into their lair.