Sara Bedford on the Watford play areas ‘Flat Earth News’ day

by Stephen Tall on October 29, 2009

I reported here on LDV this afternoon on the serious mis-reporting of Watford Borough Council’s children’s adventure playgrounds policy, indulged by Iain Dale and some newspapers.

For all the media attempts to stir-up some cliched ‘political correctness gone mad’ controversy, it’s clear that Lib Dem Mayor Dorothy Thornhill has acted sensibly and straightforwardly throughout. I hope all those who have copy ‘n’ pasted the mythologised story without first verifying their sources will now ensure they amend their articles to reflect the facts.

One person who does know what she’s talking about – both as a local councillor, and as the mother of a child who uses the play areas in question – is Lib Dem blogger Sara Bedford. Here’s an excerpt from her article on the issue:

On the day that we learned that Gordon Brown hadn’t actually been asked to name his favourite biscuit, Flat Earth news leaves the net and shuffles sideways to Watford with this story about Watford Council’s adventure playschemes. The schemes, based at two play areas at opposite ends of the town, are different from other play facilities in that they are designed to be more stretching that a ‘normal’ play area and are opened only under the supervision of professional staff. Children are registered and the scheme runs like any other playscheme, with trained staff and no parents. …

For those of you still not convinced, I ask you two questions. Firstly, would you be happy if other parents turned up in your child’s playground at lunchtime, ignored the instructions of the teachers and started yelling at your child? And secondly, how would you feel if you left your child at a supervised event and found that they had been hurt when the supervisors had been distracted by dealing with a parent on the site? If you tell me that those issues do not concern you, then you are someone who put politics above the safety of children.

It’s well worth reading in full – you can do so here.