Media lynching no answer to the tragedy of Baby P

An important corrective to the Sun’s hue and cry from Polly Toynbee. Did you know this? You wouldn’t if you depended on the tabloids.

Surprisingly few children are murdered, given how many parents are drug addicted, psychotic, violent or profoundly inadequate; 29,000 are on the child protection register and another 300,000 are reckoned to be “in need”, with concerns about their quality of life. Yet last year of all those children in danger, 68 were killed (15 of those by strangers). Given how extraordinarily vulnerable children are, that is a relatively low figure to be balanced against the thousands who survive precarious lives, often thanks to social workers, who are never thanked.

Not that there isn’t a case for a compete overhaul, after just one sacking, the paediatrician who has said she was “deeply affected” by the case. Better to wait a week or two until after the full local report before picking on individuals. But who advised these people to stay so silent for so long, even to express regret?

Former BBC journalist and manager in Belfast, Manchester and London, Editor Spolight; Political Editor BBC NI; Current Affairs Commissioning editor BBC Radio 4; Editor Political and Parliamentary Programmes, BBC Westminster; former London Editor Belfast Telegraph. Hon Senior Research Fellow, The Constitution Unit, Univ Coll. London