I was in the newsagents today and I saw one of the headlines which went along the lines of ‘9 day’s later the Police still haven’t got a clue who took her’ or words to that effect. I’m referring to the awful situation in Portugal of the missing child, Madeleine.
I was instantly reminded of that spoof American Police Department voicemail message which starts off "Please select one of the following options: To whine about us not doing anything to solve a problem that you created yourself, press 1." *; It’s often easier to blame the police than the real cause of the problem, that being the parents of 3 children under 4 who thought it acceptable to leave the children unattended in a hotel room in a foreign country while went off to share a meal at a nearby restaurant. So they returned every half hour to check on them, as if that makes leaving the kids unattended somehow OK. I’m a parent, a lot can change in two minutes let alone 30, especially with toddlers.
Am I the only one getting fed up with all the hand-wringing in the media about how brave the parents are being and how caring they are? Is it, I wonder, anything to do with their ‘middle class’ social & financial standing that they are not being criticised more for what, had it happened down the street in one of our own towns, have probably have led to an arrest for child neglect? (oh yes, I can quote several jobs where parents have been nicked for leavig their kids unattended) I wonder if a single mother from the local scum estate had left her kids alone while she went up the road for a swift few halfs of white cider would be subject to quite the same amount of support.
I can’t believe any parent would think it OK to do this, even at home, let alone in a holiday home in a foreign country where you haven’t got the first clue about who might have access to your flat while you’re out. If you’re thinking I’m being harsh just ask yourself this, how much cash would it take for you to not want to leave it unattended in a hotel bedroom? £100, £500, £10,000? And how much is a child worth?
It’s like those people who wouldn’t dream of driving home with a brand new 8 piece crockery set costing £150 loose on the back seat of the car but think nothing of allowing the kids to jump around without a seatbelt.
Isn’t it about time we learned what is really important in life?
* I’ll post the full version of this voicemail message later, for those who haven’t come across it.