Do not stop being angry: Ashya King and the Parental State

The sinister interference of the British state into family life grows ever more contemptible. Such notions as an Englishman’s home being his castle, the right to privacy and , yes, the right of a family to freely choose what is best for their child are privileges made of dust that crumble on closer inspection. This should come as no surprise to anyone. This after all is a country that actually had a “minister for children”, surely a candidate for the creepiest title of government official ever devised and certainly a clue to just how much of a domineering nosy parker the British government has become. The dogma of statism has won and advocates of liberty have lost. It will take an unlikely counter revolution to turn back the cultural tide.

Britain adopted the pernicious leftist instinct to weaken the family in order to strengthen the state long ago. The independent family unit is the fortress of private life; it fosters individuality and protects the inheritance of culture and tradition. This will not do. A powerful state prefers conformism, malleable minds and a dependent citizenry.

A strong family is self-reliant and protective and so is a rival to state power, hence why leftist revolutionaries always strive to break it; because they prefer the all wise, all knowing and all powerful parental state. It is an ideological impulse that leaked through the iron curtain and has infected our society ever since. It is incidents like the maltreatment of Ashya King’s parents that bring this reality into the public consciousness, but there is little excuse for being surprised by this latest development.

The evidence is there for anyone who wishes to see it. The state has long been telling us how to raise our children, from discipline to education, great battalions of advisers are employed at our expense to dispense advice on how to protect us from ourselves, and protect children from their parents. No matter that their advice is often lousy, or discredited, and that the hypocritical governing elites themselves employ nannies and servants to do their parenting for them. If we are deemed to have gone astray the state reserves the right to take away our children and assign them new parents if necessary.

In my time volunteering for a health and social care charity I met many distraught and spiritually dead parents who had been told that they would never see their children again. Such decisions rest on the unchallenged wisdom of the social services and the unaccountable divisions of child snatchers that work in secrecy out of public view. They are subject to no sceptical, independent, evidence based review of their effectiveness and their word is taken as gospel. Hearsay and accusations without evidence can be enough for a family to be broken up forever.

Parents are not given the privilege of the presumption of innocence but are treated like criminals regardless. Parliamentary figures show that the number of application for care orders average over 8,000 a year and of those only around 0.2% are refused. Are some of these justified in the interest of child safety? Of course, but a great many are not, and this responsibility is given to a service that is constantly proving itself to be dangerously incompetent, inefficient and even malevolent. The only time they are subject to pubic scrutiny is when they make yet another mistake that leads to child abuse or death.

The state is also our educator, and its role as teacher is so deeply engrained in our society now that even the recent minimal introduction of autonomy and parental choice has been met with resistance and difficulty. The liberal left especially hates such ideas, its not enough to have a national curriculum imposed and a national inspectorate, they want the peering eye of the local authority in every classroom too. You cannot even escape by educating your child at home as they will soon be knocking on your door and demanding to cross the threshold with refusal leading to legal action. It is illegal to open new grammar schools (that stream by ability) despite their popularity with parents, because the parental state has made this choice for us and has insisted that its ideological devotion to egalitarianism cannot be violated. Not that this devotion stretches to the lives of the political elite, because MPs and ministers send their children to private and elitist faith schools.

The tax system, as we know, has become a social engineering tool. Rather than families being allowed to make their life choices independently they are shaped by the guiding hand of government. There is no longer any need for young women to take any personal responsibility when taking the risk of becoming pregnant and it doesn’t matter if the dad is a total dead beat either. There are a great many financial incentives for becoming a dependent and accepting the state as the breadwinner. We now know all too well the disastrous influence this has had. As Adele, the talented singer laced with an instinctive conservatism, once said: ‘The ambition at my state school was to get pregnant and sponge off the government […] that ain’t cool.’ All taxpayers are forced to subsidise this policy which makes personal responsibility and self-reliance unnecessary while strengthening the parental state.

Meanwhile a unified family unit is punished economically if it decides to forgo a double income in order to raise the child at home. The government wants your baby to be raised in a nursery and encourages this vigorously, and oh so generously, by offering *ahem* “free” childcare (that we all pay for through taxation, duh). This is nothing more than a bribe with our own money to make it push us into the life style choice that it prefers, which is the baby in a state approved nursery being raised outside of the family and the parents both back to work as soon as possible to add to GDP.

We should, of course, all be free to make our own decisions on whether to raise a child at home, or return to work, that is up to the individual. But is it right for the state to use a punitive tax system to effectively make this decision for us? Anyone visiting this website will surely answer in the negative.

I am trying to highlight just how many tentacles the state has, and how they have penetrated further and further into every area of our lives, every aspect of our existence, and how its attempts to usurp the family can be easily traced in a recognisable pattern. So, let me return to the plight of Ashya King and his beleaguered parents. It exposes to us all the suspicion with which the family is viewed by state officials.

Two loving parents were suddenly turned into criminals in the eyes of the law because they dared to defy the great monolith, the National Health Service. They were treated like unhinged kidnappers. The officials involved ensured they were portrayed as if off their rocker. It was implied they possible religious nuts, or just plain neglectful. The media frenzy and the international alert and subsequent manhunt would ordinarily be reserved for dangerous killers, it was absolute hysteria. Luckily the media turned when the received more information and helped disarm the zealous police and NHS. What if none of this had been reported? I dread to think where they would be now.

After finally being released from the Spanish prison where he had been held without charge, for no good reason at all, Brett King was unapologetic and unequivocal: ‘They were going to kill him in England or turn him into a vegetable.’ Basically, they were not happy with the treatment being received under the NHS or the arrogance of the doctors unwilling to listen to their questions. They were fearful of the horrible side effects of the treatment he was receiving which they had been told could leave him brain damaged or deaf, if it even worked. And so these desperate parents researched an alternative treatment called “proton beam radiotherapy” which is used in much of Europe and the USA. It is thought to give better long term outcomes but is not available on the NHS.

When the Kings dared to question NHS orthodoxy the doctors refused outright to refer their son for alternative treatment, or to transfer his paper work, and threatened to issue a control order and remove Ashya from their custody. The parents made the decision to sell their Spanish holiday home and pay for the treatment privately in Prague (where doctors have since been very positive about the potential for the successful treatment of Ashya). The Kings still insist that they informed doctors of their intentions. It made no difference, the full force of the authoritarian parental state kicked in, and only a huge public backlash forced the very belated involvement of politicians and the eventual release of Brett and Naghmeh King from prison, without charge.

It was shocking, terrifying and enraging but it is simply part of the statist culture; the assertion that parents cannot be trusted to raise their own children and state officials have unquestionable right to overrule them. We have since learned how wrong they were, and how inaccurate the unpleasant propaganda campaign against them was. They were not acting wildly and irresponsibly, they were making a free choice that they thought best for their son.

Unfortunately, because the choice was to turn their back on the “envy of the world” NHS, that has Cancer survival rates that linger well behind most western European countries, they were depicted as neglectful parents and kidnappers. Remember all the alarming talk of how Ashya could die at any time because they did not have the necessary equipment? Well, they did have that equipment after all. We being covered in a slurry of lies.

What crime did these parents commit except assuming they had authority as parents? Are they not free to travel where they please and to seek out alternative medical treatment? When the dust settles people will forget all about this. They will stop musing over the fact that state officialdom has revealed to us all quite explicitly that they believe it is their right to expunge our liberty at will. That they have the power to arbitrarily overrule the parents rights over their own children.

Anyone who cared to notice already knew this, but the wider public should not allow their outrage to subside because although this case has been resolved, the authoritarian culture that created it has not been. This is a culture in which the parental state mistrusts the family and encourages us all to be suspicious of parents through propagandistic, fear mongering campaigns. They are designed to convince us to presume guilt, to believe that the family is always potentially a corrupting influence and parents a threat to their children. In such a culture of fear where are we encouraged to turn? Why, to the big, strong embrace of the wise and benevolent parental state, of course.

 

 

Don’t jump to conclusions on Ashya King case

As an NHS GP who ultimately gets his income from looted fund via the government I feel compelled to offer some commentary before condemning the doctors involved in Ashya’s care.

It appears that the initial social services and subsequent police involvement was triggered by Ashya leaving the hospital, without staff knowing he was leaving or where he was going. This is a significant event and does need a timely response in a child who is severely ill and would need hospital care within a short period of time. The hospital would call social services, to raise concerns, and the police, as rapid contact with Ashya was needed.

Doctors involved in care are legally and professionally bound to raise safeguarding concerns in children or vulnerable adults. When this has not been done the doctors can, and have been, disciplined and struck of by the General Medical Council, as well as the usual vilification in the press and by politicians. Baby P was such an example.

It is highly unlikely that a child cancer centre, which deals with complex children and their families in extremely difficult circumstances, would flippantly aim to remove a child from their parents due to hurt professional pride or a difference in opinion, especially when this would involve multiple staff to make this decision, not just one ‘rogue’ doctor.

Once the acute concern (finding Ashya) had been dealt with it is not the doctors who determine what happens next. That is up to social services. What happens in Spain once the family are met is up to Spanish police in liaison with Hampshire police.

Just because the initial raising of the alarm led to a heavy handed police response doesn’t mean the initial action from the hospital was at fault. Bear in mind the difference in professional views that occur however (and I have first hand experience of this): doctors may feel patients are ill unless otherwise proven; social servies believe parents are bad unless otherwise proven; police think people they encounter are lying criminals until otherwise proven.

Taking an ill child abroad, without even letting the hospital know they were leaving, is a cause for concern, in a society where the current consensus is that the state has a role in protecting the vulnerable. I am liberty orientated yet on many occasions have raised concerns to social services, including in cases of unexplained injuries in the vulnerable, as well as cases where the parent is a feckless substance abusing disaster, yet is still the most responsible carer holding the baby, other family and partners having left or been kicked out for domestic violence.

Doctors disagree with patients, parents, nurses, the media, other doctors and themselves every day – it is part of the job. Vaccines are not compulsory for children in the UK and the cases where treatment is mandated by a judge are rare indeed. Much as I’d like to refer to social workers when I see a child with a head moulding helmet for plagiocephaly (they grow out of it – have you seen many adults with misshaped heads recently?) this isn’t part of medical culture in the UK.

In summary I would be cautious over the facts of this story. Every similar story I have first hand experience is reported poorly. I would also differentiate between the initial alarm and the subsequent treatment by Spanish police of the family.

As to when others can intervene in the case of vulnerable children – that is perhaps the subject for someone else to post on, yet an absolute position that acknowledges parental rights only does has demonstrable problems.

I wish Ashya and his family all the best.

NHS knew on Friday where Ashya had been taken

This is the video message dated 30th August in which the father of a child with brain cancer appeals to the authorities to stop chasing him around Europe. Why did he end up a refugee? Because he dared to ask for a different medical treatment for his son, one which might stop his brain being damaged by radiotherapy treatment. The Southampton based doctor stonewalled requests for medical information from a Prague based practitioner and in an unrelated conversation (about chemotherapy) threatened to get a court order to keep the sick child’s parents away from him. Instead of remaining a victim of that system, Mr King took responsibility and removed his child from that system on the afternoon of the 28th.

On the 29th the public were told that this father had snatched the child from the hospital, with the press hinting at religious reasons, and a manhunt was launched in France and Spain. We were told about a snatching and a ferry journey to France, while the court were simultaneously authorising law enforcement to pursue them in the Czech Republic:

court-order-extract-ashya-king

Why the Czech Republic? Perhaps because Prague, where Mr King was liaising with a radiotherapy practitioner for advanced proton beam technology, is the capital city of the Czech Republic. If so then this is a smoking gun that shows a police chase and European Arrest Warrant was issued for a case in which a father was known to have sought treatment outside the NHS. He was not a mad religious nut snatching his kid away from scientifically rational NHS doctors; nor was it a parent who did not understand the gravity of the situation; it was straightforward case of NHS care not being good enough for Mr King. The NHS knew this with enough notice to correctly guess where Mr King was going and file a lawsuit accordingly.

Was Mr King right? That is not for a court to decide. It is Mr and Mrs King who have responsibility to their child and a practitioner with a different opinion to Mr King has a duty of care to persuade him of the better course – not the other way around.