Anthony Douglas, CEO of CAFCASS
If you are the kind of person persuaded by notions like good and evil, heaven and hell, God and Satan, you will doubtless be more than a little freaked out by this recent image of Anthony Douglas, King of CAFCASS. You might believe that CAFCASS has done so much sterling work for the Lord of Evil, keeping kids away from loving parents, that Mr Douglas has at last been rewarded with his Very Own Darkness (TOH Eddie Izzard and The 20p Kid)
Or maybe he is modelling himself on ‘Father’ from Orwell’s 1984 – played brilliantly in the film by Richard Burton
Or you may take the view that Mr Douglas has messianic delusions, so powerful is his organisation. This passage could have been written for him:
“Do not think that I came to send peace upon earth; I came not to send peace, but the sword. For I came to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother…and a man’s enemies shall be they of his own household” (Matthew 10:34-36)
Certainly Mr Douglas is not going for the usual ‘cuddly but useless’ look – where is his beard and ridiculous jumper?
But, joking aside, let us consider the possibilities. How about an argument from analogy?
We talk on our home page about the way that time changes everything, and that, at one time, slavery was de rigeur. Now, we are not for one minute suggesting that PA is like slavery, but there are some interesting parallels, not least the deprivation of the victim’s liberty. Of course, we in Britain are (shamefully) very well-qualified to talk about slavery, and it is particularly resonant for me as a Liverpudlian, Liverpool being described at one time (by Liverpool) as the ‘slavery capital of the world’.
So, let us travel back in time to the year 1800 when the trade of our fellow humans was at its height. Imagine that you live in Liverpool, or Bristol, or London, (or for that matter, Lisbon, Amsterdam or any one of a number of other large European cities). Slavery was simply part of the fabric of society. Black people were not seen as people, any more than Jews were seen as people in Nazi Germany, 130 years later. You are well-to-do. You do not trade directly in slavery, and you are intelligent and educated. What do you do? Well, like millions of Germans 130 years later, and the rest of Europe in 1800, you just kind of go along with it. Although perhaps you do not trade in slaves, everything you do and every societal benefit you enjoy, is derived from the competitive advantage your company, your city or your country gets from slavery. You KNOW what’s going on, right?
But you do nothing. You do not speak out.
And why do CAFCASS not speak out against the evil of Parental Alienation, with a clear, unequivocal voice?
Why do they hide behind cowardly reports that they themselves commission, from their friends? Why indeed, do they commission a report on PA in the first place from a lawyer (former CAFCASS) and two sociologists – all public sector? Why not ask Hamish Cameron, Craig Childress, or Darren Spooner? Or Amy Baker, Richard Warshak or Kirk Weir? Where are the psychologists/psychiatrists from the private sector? This is an issue for the disciplines of psychiatry/psychology, not law or sociology.
Well, maybe CAFCASS just instruct those that will agree with their own prejudiced and long-established narrative? I mean, why would you believe a report prepared by experts paid by the tobacco industry to the effect that there is no established causal link between tobacco consumption and cancer? Or from experts paid by Tate and Lyle on the evils of aspartemine-sweetener? I mean, to paraphrase Mandy Rice-Davies in the Profumo scandal, ‘they would say that, wouldn’t they?’
Surely we need input from experts. Surely we need input from parties that have no axe to grind…
CAFCASS seem, like our ‘friends’ from 1800 to have grown four hands – two to cover their eyes, and two to cover their ears, whilst, like an obstinate child that will not go to bed, they repeat “no, no, no, no!”.
Well, just as bed, rice pudding, homework, the dentist and school are unpleasant realities for children, so PA is a reality, however unpleasant, for CAFCASS – and indeed the rest of the world.