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Donald MacLeod: Only resources can stop another horror like Liam Fee killing happening again

Liam Fee (Police Scotland/PA Wire)
Liam Fee (Police Scotland/PA Wire)

ANYONE with a shred of humanity will have been sickened by the murder of two-year-old Liam Fee.

The catalogue of abuse and torture leading up to the Fife toddler’s horrific killing by his deceitful and degenerate mother and her repulsive partner made for very harrowing reading.

We can only hope the full weight and fury of the law will be as merciless on them as they were on little Liam and that they will now rot in jail for the rest of their lives.

I personally wish that the death sentence was brought back for monsters such them.

Of course, no amount of years behind bars will bring poor Liam back. Neither will the eventual conclusions of the many well-meaning but ultimately pointless inquiries that will no doubt follow.

Nor, for that matter, the significant case review being promised by Nicola Sturgeon.

These will become nothing more than revolving doors of blame, finger-pointing and political point scoring.

They will ultimately take far too long in determining fault and will be far too late to save some other children like Liam.

We all know what needs doing, so why isn’t it being done now? Not in a few months’ time or even, as many suspect, a few years’ time.

We could start with ripping up the Scottish Government’s Named Person Scheme.

It’s a well-intentioned piece of legislation from the SNP but one that seems to be nothing more than a weighty bureaucratic tome of state interference which few  want.

The only people who seem to be in favour of it are the SNP government and they seem to be simply carrying on with its implementation regardless of our concerns.

That is not on!

If there is to be a significant case review carried out then it should first of all be carried out on the Named Person Scheme because it clearly isn’t fit for purpose.

Having a state guardian appointed for every Scottish child under the age of 18, regardless of circumstance, is quite clearly bonkers. One size does not fit all.

As for the state guardians themselves – in the main health visitors, social workers and senior teachers – when are they expected to find the time to be one child’s guardian, let alone up to 1000 at a time?

There are some very serious questions to be asked and to date the SNP has been awful at answering them.

One undeniable fact is that vulnerable children are dying on their watch.

They are our state guardians and should be immediately putting resources into the child care agencies, boosting their numbers in order that they can properly target those children who desperately need our help.

The police, social workers, health visitors, nursery staff, the family doctor and a paediatrician were all seemingly told about concerns for Liam’s welfare. Yet despite all this he was still tortured and murdered.

I agree with Nicola Sturgeon that it is a “hard fact” that there is no system that can guarantee the protection of every child.

But equally it is also a hard fact that the system we currently have in place is rotten and needs drastically overhauled.

Liam’s death and the abuse of the other two children could have been prevented but the Named Person Scheme is not the answer.

We already have the laws, the social work departments and the child care protection agencies in place. What they need to be fully effective is more staff and more resources. Not more pressure.

If the SNP wants to keep intact the good record they have in Government, as well as the support of parents like me, they have to accept those hard facts.


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Mother and partner found guilty of killing toddler Liam Fee