By Mark Drakeford, Ian Butler (author)
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Extra resources for Scandal, social policy and social welfare (Revised Second Edition)
The relatively minor acts of cruelty and dishonesty that were alleged at Ely were transformed by their setting: harm in a place of healing, corruption among those whose calling spoke of incorruptibility. It was the stage, as much as the events that took place upon it, that set the scandalised tone of the News of the World reporting. Nor is this dramatic metaphor accidental. As in so much drama, audience involvement depends not just upon the intrinsic attractions of the plot but also on the lessons for their own lives that can be drawn from the unfolding events.
It is the revelation of those conditions that distinguishes those events that transformed the potential for scandal into its reality. Discovery may be the first prerequisite of scandal but, as Ely demonstrates, the necessity of drawing attention to that discovery follows closely behind. Conditions at Ely had already been discovered by far more powerful individuals than Mr Pantelides, exercising prerogatives of inspection that were quite outside his own remit. What he possessed, as much as they lacked, was the determination to bring these discoveries to the attention of others.
It nevertheless favoured what Porter (1996, p 395) describes as “removal of defectives from the community … in the interests of national efficiency – so as to prevent criminality, idleness, and the multiplication of low-grade types”. A pamphlet issued in support of the parliamentary Bill that followed, and sponsored among others by the Archbishops of Canterbury and York, argued that action was necessary: “BECAUSE they are frequently producing children, many of whom inherit their mental defect, and nearly all of whom become the paupers, criminals and unemployables of the next generation” (quoted in Porter, 1996, p 394).
Scandal, social policy and social welfare (Revised Second Edition) by Mark Drakeford, Ian Butler (author)