"First Minister Jack McConnell has accused council carers of “incompetence” in the case of an 11-year-old heroin user.
He said they had been guilty of a potential “lack of caring” for the girl, who was admitted to hospital after collapsing at her primary school in Glasgow last month.
It later emerged she had been smoking the drug for more than two months, buying it from a dealer outside a shopping centre in the Pollok area of the city. She was under the care of the social work and education department at Glasgow City Council at the time.
The First Minister told Holyrood magazine: “I think that different agencies have let this girl down, and let her down badly, and people should be held accountable for this, absolutely.
“ I am stunned at the level of incompetence and potential lack of caring that some of the professional adults involved have displayed.” McConnell said more children of drug addicts needed to be placed on the child protection register.
“I am determined to take a lead on this and put my neck on the line,” he said."
Do you suppose that Mr McConnell is expressing a considered view on this matter, taking into account the advice received from his officials after a review of the case files of the relevant social work and police authorities? Do you suppose that he has fully considered the implications of what he is saying, given the Executive's responsibilities for instituting any remedial action into whatever shortcomings may in due course be found to be associated with the policies in force for drugs, childcare and associated criminal procedure? Do you suppose that he has reflected long and hard on how what he is saying may impact on the morale and practice of local officials who have to deal with the immensely complex moral issues associated with cases such as the one in question?
Or do you suppose that he is looking for a quick headline portraying him as a toughie?