Thursday, February 25, 2010

Andrei Political posturing 101: the empty apology

What is it with politicians pompously apologizing for things they didn't have anything to do with.

It makes me gag.

Here is Gordon Brown apologizing for the Empire Settlement Act of 1922, passed nearly fifty years before he was born under which homeless and orphaned children were resettled in the colonies, including New Zealand.

And for some of them it worked out fine, for others life remained hard. Would it be any different if they had remained in Britain?

Reality check, no government can provide an idyllic childhood for every child and life is unfair. Very Unfair!

Political posturing at its worst.

3 comment(s):

Bearhunter said...

A few points here.

True, governments cannot provide an idyllic childhood. However, it is surely incumbent upon governments to ensure that children in their care - that is in state-run or state-sponsored institutions - are not abused or mistreated.

The British Government passed the law and the British Government apologised. Where's the problem with that? If there is no continuity from administration to administration, what's to stop the Maori tribes who signed the treaty from declaring that treaty null and void (as the administration that signed it is no longer extant) and could all those who are not able to prove tribal links move out now?

Also there is the issue that the authorities in many cases lied to the parents of children deemed by the state to be better off overseas. That needed an apology, as did the fact that the state should presume to know what is best for a family's children.

By the way, I'm not saying for a moment that all these children were harshly used and I am sure many of them were glad to come to a cleaner, more hospitable country. What's equally sure is that for many of them it was a life of misery. So I see no reason why the British government should not apologise.

libertyscott said...

Indeed the government can't provide an idyllic childhood, but when it intervenes to export the children it smacks of the kind of social engineering of authoritarian states.

If the state decides to intervene to save orphans (and some were not and were lied to about their status) it has a duty to take reasonable care to place the children somewhere appropriate.

I was very lucky I was adopted by a loving caring couple. Had I been adopted by criminals or serial abusers, then I'd expect the state to be held responsible.

The state should always err on the side of doing less rather than more, but when it does more it should make damned sure it is right.

Andrei said...

I don't disagree with what you say LS
but I also know that the children came from appalling circumstances and it was hoped that their futures would be brighter in a new country - and in some cases most probably most it happened that way.

And I also know that today 2010 there are both here and in Britain children in appalling circumstances - right now in Auckland there is a woman on trial for murder of a toddler in her care!

There are no easy answers, God knows I wish there were.

Now there were people of good intention who did a good job, the best they could given the constraints of that time.

And there were scumbags who took advantage of these children.

And the same things go on today in different guises -it makes me want to weep.

Life is a lottery for us all when it comes down to it.

Apologies wont change that

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