The latest government proposals requiring all adults who regularly drive children to sports or social clubs to undergo criminal record checks come as no surprise. It is part and parcel of the sort of measures this government keeps bringing in.
What are they actually trying to achieve here though? Presumably they think that their plans will make children safer. However as usual there will be unintended consequences from this new law. I will have a quick stab at some of the things that will flow from this:
1) Some (perhaps many) adults will be highly insulted to have to go through a criminal records check in order to run their children's friends to clubs and will therefore not bother.
2) Children will become even more overweight. There will be fewer adults to run the kids to their sporting events and therefore over time, fewer of them will participate. And when children get less exercise they get fatter.
3) There will be more anti-social behaviour from children. Because they won't be going to as many clubs they will have more time and their hands. And what happens when some kids have more time on their hands?....
4) Perhaps worst of all, society will just get that little bit worse. The bonds that form between parents of a child and that child's friends will get weaker because the law is making the adult feel like a potential danger until they can "prove" themselves to be safe.
I weep a little bit every time I see another one of these measures drifting onto the statute book. If I saw an unaccompanied child fall over in the street and start crying I would be reluctant to directly intervene. I would likely try and find the parent or do something from afar to assist but the idea that I would walk over, pick them up, dust them off and check if they are OK is frankly for the birds. I have grown up as an adult in a culture where that sort of thing is frowned upon. However when I was a child 30 years ago this was a lot more likely to happen and I think we were stronger as a society for it.
This latest measure will by degrees make our culture a little bit worse.
UPDATE: I forgot to mention that this post was inspired by Radio 5 Live's Nicky Campbell's tweet explaining that is the topic of their phone-in this morning. Anyway he very kindly read out my points from the blog on the breakfast show this morning as Dazmando has just informed me on Twitter. You can hear it here from around 2:50:45.