How many mistakes?

The UK government seeks to speed up the process of adoption. There are too few adoptions, it says, and adoptions produce good outcomes for children. Adoptions can be speeded up completely: just allocate every child who comes up instantly among the applicants for parenthood. How many mistakes are you willing to make? What outcomes are considered to be failures?

A different question arises with asylum seekers. The applicant is not going to come with an affidavit from the State Law and Order Restoration Commission of “Myanmar” saying, no, this person has not done anything any Western country would call a crime, but she doesn’t like us so we really don’t like her. Which mistakes will you tolerate? Do you want to exclude every false asylum seeker, and also some genuine?

Some gay asylum seekers have been sent back from Britain, and told to “be discreet”. This could obviously apply to political refugees as well. Just appear to support the Government! Not so much, obviously, that you will be imprisoned after the next coup, just enough to keep out of trouble for now.

I grew to hate the Hippocratic “first do no harm” when observing Charing Cross hospital. It seemed to me that transsexual people were not being supported, because the consequences of wrongly prescribing hormones or giving support were given too much weight. They did not properly take into account the harm which arose from their own inaction, or their moral responsibility for it.

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