The Telegraph’s Sue Cameron has highlighted a row about demands that individual civil servants report directly to the Public Accounts Committee, headed by Margaret Hodge (left).
Margaret Hodge should know all about responsibility and answerability, having avoided these comprehensively as leader of London’s Islington Borough (1982-1992) when children under the council’s care were made available to paedophiles.
Paedophiles have stalked Islington for many years, and I am not claiming that Hodge is a beast. Her dereliction of duty, however, worsened the situation. She failed to intervene when childrens’ services managers announced that gay men were less likely than straight ones to abuse children, and on that (unresearched) basis started a recruitment drive.
Paedophilia is unrelated to any mature sexuality, and gays are no more or less likely to abuse children than straights or bisexuals. However, the die was cast: paedophiles came out of the woodwork to work with vulnerable children in Islington. Affirming grotesqely Shakespeare’s tenet on the longevity of the evil that men do, one of the abused would later be associated with Baby P in neighbouring Haringey. Nobody claims he abused Peter Connelly (right), but the authorities’ failure to detect him in the family evinces establishment apathy towards vulnerable children.
Hodge would reluctantly accept some blame in the paedophile scandal, so her Islington neighbour Tony Blair’s choice of her as the first Minister for Children was bewildering and concerning, after all the disappearances of evidence and interference with police investigations. (Is it totally coincidental that when the Iranian and Kurdish Women’s Rights Organisation found nine-year-old girls forced into marriage it was in Islington?)
If Margaret Hodge wants to force officials to be accountable, I challenge her to do what she should have done years ago and give all help possible to a parliamentary inquiry into the Islington Council child abuse scandal.