Kate Hawkesby on Labour’s sex scandal

Credit: Luke

Kate Hawkesby writes at the NewstalkZB:

The Labour Party Summer camp scandal, I think we can safely call it a scandal now, has thrown up many issues. One of which appears to be, at what age is a kid no longer a kid?

At 16, kids have a right to privacy, they can have sex, leave school, consent to medical treatment, leave home, drive, apply for a passport, change their name by deed poll, have an abortion, join a union.

Joining a Union is the least of our worries. If only that’s all 16-year-olds could do.

But it appears they can’t handle booze, or be trusted to organise a camp without people getting sexually assaulted. And Labour want 16-year-olds to have the vote?

So who decided that 16 was the magic number for all these things, and what’s the driver behind these laws? Who are they actually made for?

The bulk of laws like this appear to be designed to cater to the lowest common denominator. I think that’s a problem. The lowest common denominator is the minority.

If we structure our society around pandering to the smallest group of people, then are we not failing the majority? What about good kids in reasonable homes with parents who care about them? Parents who want to know if their child has been sexually abused, to be able to provide support and care and guidance.

But Labour hid that from the parents; they didn’t want the parents to know. Who knows best how to help their kids, if not parents?

I know from having teenagers the same age that parental guidance is still very relevant to them. From school subjects to sports fixtures to life advice to how long they should spend (or not spend) playing Fortnite on PS4. 16 year olds are still kids. 

The bulk of them still live at home, still expect food in the fridge, power to be on, bills paid, and to be actively engaged in family dynamics. They are not autonomous islands existing purely for themselves, capable of running their own lives to the extent that they no longer need their parents.

And if they are, then they’ve left home and are making their own way in the world, and are in the minority.

And don’t need any help either.

So how is it the law provides otherwise? Well, laws are a blunt instrument. Parenting and raising kids is not. It’s nuanced and layered and complex, there are beating hearts involved, people invested in the lives and futures of each other beyond the parameters of laws and rules. Bloodlines and DNA beats anything a boffin wrote on a piece of paper in our so called ‘collective best interest’.

Hearing people quote the ‘laws’ in cases like this summer camp sexual abuse scandal leaves me cold. I know from experience that schools will call you if your 16-year-old so much as falls over at a school camp, let alone has someone abuse them. So why Labour’s falling back on ‘but that’s the law’ is beyond me.

It ignores the reality and the morality of the situation. It’s an argument perhaps exclusive to people who’ve never tried to raise a teenager. Nothing wakes you up to reality like having teenagers and being around other people’s teenagers.

I would hope no amount of “but that’s the law” would stop any other parent or adult telling me if my child had suffered or experienced something so gravely traumatising.

So as Labour looks to clean up this mess, it would be more respectful to families if they started humanising things, and stopped quoting ‘the law’.

Labour don’t actually believe in families. They’ve passed law after law to diminish the role of families.

This scandal is a disgrace, and Labour should hold their collective head in shame.



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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet. Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet and, as a result, he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist who takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him, you can’t ignore him.

To read Cam’s previous articles click on his name in blue.