Prompted by the estimable Anna Raccoon, can I suggest that anyone who cares a whit about personal freedom read this - a lengthy but mind-blowing set of Hansard minutes. You'll know whether you are interested or not just by reading the first few pages.
No-one, I think, underestimates how difficult and ugly some social-services cases can be. But even disfunctional people must have the right to appeal their cases openly, and contact their MPs. And if the courts, the lawyers and the council officers get the taste for beating up on little people, it isn't long before they get into the habit generally.
Much as all 'establishments' like to extend their powers, I can't imagine the Government has any real interest in letting this state of affairs persist. They are pretty busy just now, what with the economy, Japan & Arabia. But less dramatic things are important, too.
Thank heavens for diligent back-benchers.