Published: 04/07/2002, Volume II2, No. 5812 Page 18 19

'The betrayal of our children' screamed the Daily Mail last Friday.What could this be? It is that heady mix of teenage sex and contraception which saw the return of traditional moral outrage to the Mail 's front page on a slack news day.With the worst teenage pregnancy rate in Europe, the government is planning to invite secondary schools to provide contraception to pupils.

'Family campaigners branded the idea a betrayal of our children's innocence', the Mail said, although strangely no family campaigners were actually quoted as using the words 'innocence', 'betrayal' and 'children' in the same sentence (or any sentence for that matter).There was Nuala Scarisbrick from charity LIFE, who claimed the policy would cause more pregnancies.By the way, LIFE is an anti-abortionist organisation, as the Mail didn't bother pointing out to its readers.

On Sunday, MPs-turned-tabloid-journalists shared with us their carefully considered view of mental health policy.First up David Mellor, the Sunday People 's Man of The People.Under the headline, 'Yes, lock them away BEFORE they strike', he attacked Iain Duncan Smith for criticising the draft Mental Health Bill and suggesting the 'mentally ill have a right to be heard'.

'Are you nuts yourself, Iain?' the former government minister demanded.'do not you realise, you berk, It is the public who need protection, not the next Michael Stone.'He went on to attack the one safeguard against abuse of the new powers, the tribunal system, which has a 'dreadful reputation' for releasing 'dangerous inmates to kill again'.

What can the government do - make Robert Kilroy-Silk prime minister, That is what.The daytime TV celebrity wasted no time in telling Sunday Express readers just how wrong the world was to ignore him on care in the community.'I hate to say I told you so, 'he lied.'But I said all this in the '70s and '80s when I was an MP. I repeatedly pointed out that closing the large mental institutions would tip the mentally ill on to the streets where they would be a danger.'

'I called daily for more secure units so that the mentally disordered would not be kicked on to the streets or shoved into prison.'Continuing his bang 'em up philosophy, he then goes on to call for the immediate incarceration of all known paedophiles.'They are obviously mentally ill.'