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Home > Culture and Society

WAWIBF... Paedophilophobia

31 July 2006

No parent wants their kids to be molested by a pack of dirty great paedophiles. Or even one paedophile, acting on his own. And yet very few parents have ever actually suffered such a fate. Which is not to suggest that, if the unthinkable ever did happen, they would actually get something of a kick out of it, but rather to suggest that even the mere thought of one's children being sexually abused is *so* incredibly hideous that most people are prepared to go out on a limb and confidently declare that they definitely wouldn't enjoy it. Much like cancer. Indeed, it might not be too far removed from any kind of accuracy to suggest that paedophilia is the cancer of modern Britain. In a way that cancer itself never really was. You might even say that paedophilia is cancer multiplied by immigration. To the power of AIDS. And in this environment, although we might be a little surprised to find ourselves agreeing with the adorable Ann Widdecombe, can we really be surprised when a vicar is taken to task for kissing a 10-year-old girl on the cheek?

This week being of course, the first that Alan Barrett, the 58-year-old vicar of Tamworth, can no longer boast a second job - that of local school governor. For the Reverend Barrett made the grievous error of showing affection to a child that wasn't his own, bestowing as he did a chaste kiss in conjunction with a certificate for being good at maths. The presentation was made in front of the entire school, as normal, but still, something clicked in the mind of the child's mother. She's seen the headlines, you see, and she knows, there are paedophiles *everywhere*. So she lodged a complaint. Barrett was cleared on all counts of course, but asked to step down as school governor because 'in today's climate, previously acceptable innocent behaviour is now subject to misunderstanding and suspicion'. This according to a spokesman for the diocese. Ann Widdecombe meanwhile, laments that 'such natural, wistful, cheerful behaviour' - kissing children - 'is deemed inappropriate' and rightly lays the blame on 'the general hysteria about child abuse that is now rampant'. This she does in her column in the Daily Express.

Sadly, in today's climate, there really is only one surefire way to eliminate the unwanted attentions of the potential paedophile in all men, and that is to make the child invisible to them. To wit: My Little Hijab. It'll happen. The paedophilophobia dollar is *huge*.

Comment on this article: letters@thefridaything.co.uk

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