When we joined the EEC all those years ago, habits and standards we thought acceptable were deemed inadequate.
The bar was raised in many areas. Powerful interests were challenged and often discommoded. Improved standards in the residential care offered to adults with intellectual difficulties is one an example of where the adequate replaced the unacceptable.
Though EEC membership helped to make this society the affluent one it is today, that advance came with a price — the EEC forced us to behave in better ways,to be more ambitious and more responsible in areas where we were too complacent.
Our membership of the UN and its Convention on Enforced Disappearance will have a similar impact.
Our Government has signed, but not ratified, the convention. Intent has been signalled but compliance has been deferred. Had the convention been ratified, the Government would have no option but to locate the remains of thousands of children who died in mother and baby homes.
This will be traumatic and probably divisive, but it also seems essential.
After all, if the EEC can encourage us, forcefully, to treat our disadvantaged citizens better than we did, the UN can help us remember those consumed by a system we, all of society, used to hide disadvantage citizens out of sight and sadly, out of mind too.
Let’s ratify the convention and take our medicine.