The Slog is in the process of putting together a special on abuses in the childcare system, systemic paedophilia in Britain, and the crisis faced by a shortage of reliable foster parents. But many observers think that disturbing signs of ‘child-stealing’ may hide something much worse than Broken Britain.

This site (and its predecessor Not Born Yesterday) has devoted much time and hundreds of column inches to the plight of non-coping families. As Gordon Brown remarked two months ago, “These people’s lives are more chaotic than most people understand”. But the chaos and frequent depression make them more vulnerable than socially dangerous in most cases. Whatever the Daily Mail likes to suggest, serious parental abuse and infant murder remain extremely rare.

The predators are sometimes paedophiles, sometimes cynical social care target-achievers – and from time to time, it increasingly seems to me, private and government organisations with an at least partially hidden agenda.

Most claims I receive about ‘stolen children’ turn out to have an innocent explanation. But a few don’t….and when this happens, a seedy world of judicial cover-up, gagging orders and local government incompetence comes to light. The police, in particular, play a role in some parts of Britain; a role that is, at best, hard to explain.

In this context, Ed Balls runs away to Tweet and mouth platitudes about crackdowns and databases of twelve million…while the ‘Minister’ for Women Harriet Harman shows no signs of caring for mothers. But little is done.

In a forthcoming piece, The Slog tries to separate lunatic-fringe conspiracy theory from truth, and expose a disgrace that UK governments have been ignoring for decades.

If you have any factual evidence to support instances of stolen and/or wrongfully removed children, please contact me by emailing to john@johnaward.net.

There a thousands of Madeleine McCanns out there. Not all of them have erudite parents with access to the media.