I read a story in The Metro on the train this morning. It was so mad and made Labour look so bad that my partner was convinced it was a Tory set-up. Here’s The Mirror’s version.
The gist of it is this: The Watford council – so the story goes – has banned parents from supervising their own children on the borough’s playgrounds because they have not had the legally-required police checks. Instead, specially screened council employees are hired to mind the children.
Did a Tory council hatch a plot to generate negative headlines for Labour by enforcing the letter-of-the-law with great relish to make Labour look stupid?
It’s certainly a bold idea.
Well, it turns out that it wasn’t the Tories. The Watford council is overwhelminglyLibDem – in fact, they hold 27 of the 37 seats. The Tories only have 4.
So was this a LibDem plot to play to the regular tabloid narrative in which Britain becomes an pathetic nanny state?
Of course, even if this were a cynical ploy, it wouldn’t get our lawmakers off the hook. What incompetents – or lunatics – write legislation in which barring parents from supervising their own children in the park is even a reasonable (if literal) reading of the law?
But it turns out, there was no dirty political cloak-and-dagger stuff after all – just the tabloid press getting the short end of the stick and beating around the bush with it.
But still, it was an interesting strategy to contemplate. I’d be surprised if it hadn’t been tried before.