A Dickens of a child champion

12th March 2004 at 00:00
"It was his (Oliver's) ninth birthday and he was keeping it in the coal-cellar with a a select party of two other young gentlemen, who ... had been locked up therein for atrociously presuming to be hungry." (Oliver Twist)

No one has championed the afflicted child better than Dickens but as he lies in Poets' Corner we must look elsewhere for a Children's Commissioner.

The job will doubtless go to a worthy bureaucrat but if the commissioner's powers are circumscribed it might indeed be better to recruit a celebrity who could open Whitehall doors (page 6).

Esther Rantzen could do the job (her former ChildLine colleague Peter Clarke is the Welsh commissioner). But Bob Geldof would be more popular. He himself is guilty of a form of child cruelty, naming his daughters Fifi Trixibelle, Peaches and Pixie. But he is a passionate man who politicians listen to. He gets our vote.

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