The term “Orwellian” is overused, but it’s hard to think of a more apt adjective: officials at a left-wing British council have removed three children from their foster parents because of the parents’ political affiliation and unsubstantiated allegations of racism against them.
Social workers from Rotherham council in Yorkshire, which is controlled by the Labour party, removed the three Eastern European children from the foster parents — and from what was by all accounts a stable and loving home — after learning that the couple were members of the right-of-center UK Independence Party, or UKIP. Among other policies, UKIP wants to tighten Britain’s notoriously lax immigration laws.
Council officials said the party was “racist,” and Joyce Thacker, the council’s director of children and young people’s services, said she had to consider the “cultural and ethnic needs” of the children: a baby girl, and an older girl and boy. But the council’s argument is a series of evasions based on a blatant lie. This is a clear case of left-wing officials abusing their power to persecute individuals for holding politically incorrect beliefs.
Race does not play anything like the role in British politics as it does in the U.S., and for the most part the British left has refrained from stooping as low as their American counterparts. But just as Democrats spent the last few years playing the race card to silence critics of President Obama, when it comes to immigration and Britain’s relationship with Europe, British leftists have for years used accusations of racism to smear their opponents and to discredit their arguments.
UKIP is not racist. As a brief visit to its website will confirm, the party campaigns not for an end to immigration, but for an overhaul of the system to end the wave of largely uncontrolled mass immigration that’s transformed large areas of Britain in recent years. It would also like to see Britain leave the European Union, which in recent years has moved from a trading bloc to an increasingly centralized and unaccountable political entity.
Both positions are supported by majorities of the British people.
And both are fiercely opposed by the progressive, statist, bureaucratic liberal-left elite which controls swaths of British public life, and which invariably dominates the social services departments of councils such as Rotherham.
The couple appear to have unimpeachable credentials as foster parents. The husband works with disabled people and was a Royal Navy reservist for more than 30 years. His wife is a qualified nursery nurse. They’ve successfully fostered around a dozen children over a period of several years.
It’s been reported that the boy has been separated from his sisters and placed with a different family. The couple also claim that the children have been placed with white British families, further evidence that the council’s argument about their “cultural and ethnic needs” is a red herring.
Rotherham council has begun an inquiry into the case, and is under growing pressure to reverse the decision. Meanwhile, the row has handed UKIP a public relations coup, just days before a parliamentary by-election (special election in U.S. parlance) in Rotherham, which suggests UKIP may have had a hand in leaking the story.