Rod Liddle

If fat people can’t adopt, who’s to say that drinkers or blacks won’t be next?

Rod Liddle says that the discrimination against overweight applicants wishing to adopt is only the latest vindictive witch hunt by bureaucrats and social workers against a minority. It is no more sensible than targeting an ethnic group or a social class

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Should blacks be allowed to adopt healthy children? Or should they be kept as an emergency reservoir of care for the damaged or ill children nobody else wants? It is time we got a little more rigorous about who we allow to adopt the kiddies, don’t you think? Black people are slightly less likely, on average, to abuse their children sexually than are white people — however, that’s pretty much their only plus point. They are slightly less likely to stay together as parents and disproportionately more likely to have been involved in some form of crime. Black fathers will be less well-educated, on average, than their white counterparts and black families are more likely to be wallowing in the lowest income quartile. None of these indicators bodes well for the adopted child.

I’m not sure the white working classes should be allowed near the kiddies either. As you may have gathered recently, when children are hideously abused they are almost always in the ‘care’ of white working-class or African parents or relatives. The Africans do weird witchcraft stuff and then kill them, while the white chavs drug them and keep them hidden in a drawer under the bed in the misbegotten hope that they might extort money from the press, somehow, for their safe return. Which is another thing: the white working classes are also poorly educated in comparison with the norm and can be fantastically stupid.

They’re tightening up the adoption requirements in Leeds, at least. Not enough for me — I’m not convinced that anyone in Leeds should be allowed to adopt a child — but it’s a start. The gargantuan Damien Hall, for example, was rejected as an adoptive father because he is too fat. Damien weighs more than 24 stone; he is ‘morbidly obese’ with a body mass index of 42. Are you aware of your own body mass index? You should be. One morning you will wake up and the scary shovel-faced government minister Dawn Primarolo will be standing at the foot of your bed jabbing you with a stick, shrieking at you that your BMI is too high and there’ll be no breakfast today, you fat slattern.

I wondered why Damien had been disbarred. The obvious answer was that social workers feared he might crush the newly adopted child to death while rolling over to help himself to another piece of deep fried spiced gristle from his mid-afternoon party bucket. But it wasn’t that. Nor was it that, being a lard mountain (although only a little above the average weight of most people in Leeds), he might be a poor role model for the child. It was, instead, that he might die sooner than someone who was thinnish. They didn’t say how much sooner. Blacks and white working-class people tend to die earlier than the norm, too. There’s another reason not to let them adopt.

With the possible exception of the police, is there any official body of people in the country more slavishly politically correct and prone to the latest fashionable ideological whims than our social workers? Right now there is open warfare against fat people, as you may have noticed from the pointless bloody government adverts braying at you from your TV set every night. And when the government’s guns are turned on one particular group within society, the Old Bill and the social services follow suit. This year, it’s fat bastards. And it is not enough that they should be lectured about their weight (at our expense), but also stopped from adopting children, on the entirely haphazard and cruel assessment that they might die sooner than the median average age. How fabulously vindictive.

Last year it was smokers the government turned its guns upon — and the social services decided that people who smoked couldn’t adopt kids either. If you check out the website of the British Association for Adoption and Fostering (BAAF) you won’t find any mention of the no-kids-for-fatties rule, presumably because they haven’t got around to it yet. But you will find the ghosts of other similarly fatuous political fashions: prospective adopters ‘with an experience of disability will be positively welcomed’, it says. In other words — if I understand it right — disabled people will be afforded positive discrimination. Why? Maybe Damien Hall should apply again citing this stricture — people who need a hoist and a mirror to locate their own penises can surely be classed as disabled these days. There’s also the usual tired, offensive and racist guff about how children must be placed with parents who reflect the children’s ‘ethnic or racial’ background. Oh, and you can be a convicted criminal if you like, too — they have no problem with that. Unless you’ve messed around with kids.

My suggestion — that black people, the working class and almost everybody in Yorkshire should be prevented from adopting children — is, of course, stupid and offensive. And equally obviously I do not mean it. But the rationale, the logic behind it, is hardly worse than that which was applied to Mr Hall. Indeed, given an endless reservoir of spite, you could probably make a fairly good case — based upon observable evidence twisted into generalisations — for any and all social groups within the country being denied the right to adopt children. Any people whom the government decides it doesn’t like any more. What’s the betting that people who drink, or who fail to recycle their rubbish diligently, will be next? I am not entirely joking.

What gets lost, in this rush to embrace the latest shibboleth, is common sense — never a quality associated with social services departments. You will remember previous outcries when they discriminated against middle-class families, and the days when they would drag black kids away from their loving white adoptive parents because they were being brought up in the wrong ethnic milieu. You may remember, too, that it was one of these fashionable shibboleths which prevented social workers from taking decisive action in the terrible case of Victoria Climbié, the little African girl murdered by her aunt. African people bring their children up a different way, as is their right, so leave them alone — nothing wrong with a bit of voodoo here or there.

With Mr Hall barred from adopting a child, one assumes that at least one orphaned kid in the Leeds area will be left to the mercy of the one social group we know to be extremely dangerous: social workers.