This week I wasn’t sure what to focus on – the summer solstice and the longest day, or the football – but instead it’s the expression ‘nothing to look at here; move along’. I’m glad I didn’t choose the longest day as its only 12 degrees in South Yorkshire from where I am writing this piece, and I’m seriously thinking about the central heating. If you are an England fan there wasn’t much to write home about on Friday night either. So actually there isn’t much to look at in these topics anyway.
‘Nothing to look at here’ seems to be one of those expressions that are rolled out when those in office or power don’t want to admit that something is not quite as it should be and want us to move on to fresh pastures, to focus on something else. It may be the case that there is actually nothing to see whilst opponents will probably try to keep badgering away to demonstrate that there really is. But in the end the expression is deployed as a statement of finality. There’s nothing more to be seen nor said.
But it’s not just politicians who want us to shift our gaze. Individuals and organisations who are convinced that all is well with their view of the world, will also get frustrated if others are trying to find out something that may tell a different story. That’s why some folk see safeguarders as people who shine the spotlight on nooks and crannies that we’d rather not explore. And not just the dark and dusty corners but the people or poor practice hiding in plain sight. Safeguarders don’t easily move on if they spot a concern and their tenacity can sometimes result in others trying to convince them that really, yes really, there is nothing here to be worried about. Can’t you see?
If you are a London District reader your church and circuit will have just submitted your safeguarding audit. Thanks so much for doing so. It may have been hard work in places and maybe made you scratch your head at times. But the reason for completing it was so that the things that need to be done to keep our churches safe are in plain view. In so doing we avoid the hazards that lurk hidden away when others may tell us to ‘move along, nothing to see here’. If someone says that I invariably think there is.