“But not a single sparrow can fall to the ground without your Father knowing it.”

For ‘Father’ read ‘the State’. At least, if some people get their way…

In Long Eaton:

A coroner wants authorities to be allowed to enter the homes of obsessive hoarders after hearing how a woman was found dead beneath a pile of rubbish following a fire at her home.

Yes, clearly, there’s no harm in giving the council staff more powers, is there? No unforeseen consequences? And I’m quite sure they’d use them wisely, and never abuse them, or use them to silence unwelcome voices

Local authorities only have the power to enter private houses where there is a risk to public health – but not when they suspect a fire hazard.

Paul McCandless, Derby and South Derbyshire Assistant Deputy coroner, said: “I will write to the relevant Department of State, as that is something that should be given proper consideration to. Local authorities should have the power to enter the house if they have cause to believe that there is hoarding going on within the property and one that does pose a fire risk.”

In Croydon:

A concerned councillor issued a warning two years ago about twin sisters found dead in Upper Norwood on Monday following a suspected carbon monoxide leak.

Pat Ryan, who lives on the same road as Jackie and Stephanie Berry in Beulah Hill, Upper Norwood, fired off an e-mail to Croydon Council in March 2010, saying there were issues that needed to be “addressed urgently”.

In his e-mail, Cllr Ryan called for the pair’s mental health and antisocial behaviour to be looked into.

Just what is it that Cllr Ryan thinks the council could have done?

He said: “I have been in touch with the council, but every time there has been nothing positive done.

“This shouldn’t have happened in the 21st century, there were enough opportunities for social services to get seriously involved in what is a tragic case.

“You could clearly see they were undernourished. They were very slim, but not a healthy slim.

I know there are rules and regulations and the council can’t go barging into people’s properties. I wouldn’t expect them to.

“Nevertheless it was so obvious something was going wrong and it should have been addressed.”

But you cannot (yet!) force people to accept ‘help’:

The council said the Berry sisters did not come to them for help and officials went round several times, but were turned away.

It seems some people are very reluctant to accept that there’s a balance to be struck between personal freedom (which must necessarily include the freedom to be introverted, or even eccentric and reclusive) and the coercive power of the State to interfere in people’s lives.

And yes, that may mean they live them – and sometimes die – not in accordance with others’ wishes. But the alternative is unthinkable.

10 comments for ““But not a single sparrow can fall to the ground without your Father knowing it.”

  1. April 2, 2012 at 8:11 am

    Shit happens. Something must be done. This is something, therefore we shall do it. Shit will no longer be allowed simply to happen. 🙄

    • April 2, 2012 at 12:39 pm

      But it will anyway and so the cycle starts all over…

      • April 3, 2012 at 6:55 am

        Thus providing jobs!

  2. john in cheshire
    April 2, 2012 at 9:44 am

    Mr Ryan lives on the same road as the two ladies in question. If he is so concerned, what if anything did he do to offer help to his neighbours? And if he did make such an offer and it was rejected, then what bloody business is it of his how these people live their lives?

    • April 3, 2012 at 6:57 am

      It seems people did try, like their neighbour:

      “He said he offered to help the twins, aged in their 50s, but says the women lived like recluses.

      Mr Boothe said: “This has made me cry. I woke up at 4am on Tuesday and just stared at their window. It must have been hell for them.

      “They used to speak to me, but I was one of the very few they would talk to.

      “They were very private and very quiet and I guess they didn’t want to impose on anybody.”

      Ultimately, you can’t help people who don’t want to be helped…

  3. Andrew Duffin
    April 2, 2012 at 4:55 pm

    Hoarding going on?

    Hoarding of what, I wonder – baked beans, gold?

    Can’t have that sort of thing happening, clearly.

    Whatever would happen if people were independent of the state?

    • April 3, 2012 at 6:57 am

      Quite!

  4. Steve W
    April 2, 2012 at 7:04 pm

    I thought we were meant to be hoarding petrol?

    Did I miss the part where it was anybody else’s business?

    • April 3, 2012 at 6:58 am

      It seems everything is now someone else’s business…

      • Steve W
        April 3, 2012 at 1:38 pm

        Sad, but true. Or at least someone (or a lot of someones) think that it is.

        I think that’s far more reasoned than my initial response which was to be “Who asked you?” 😉

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