Wednesday, 12 November 2008

MSM Comment On The ‘Baby P’ Case…

I don’t have much to say on the case yet, preferring to keep my claws sheathed until the inevitable enquiry, when I suspect certain social workers will become as infamous as Lisa Arthurworry (but will probably not face any more ‘punishment’ than she did…).

I was just struck by the comment from the big dailies. From the ‘Telegraph’:
Sharon Shoesmith, chairman of Haringey's Local Safeguarding Children Board, said: "The very sad fact is that we can't stop people who are determined to kill children. I am satisfied that the action that should have been taken was taken."

The complacency of this comment is breathtaking. There was nothing inevitable about Baby P's death. It was largely the result of a series of poor and negligent decisions taken by numerous individuals, each of whom assumed that final responsibility could be passed on to someone else within the vast, bureaucratic system. It was about allowing a child to be killed.
From the ‘Times’ (by the great Theodore Dalrymple):
Will anyone benefit in the end from this terrible case, that causes one to tremble when one reads of it? Will Baby P have died in vain, as (apparently) did Victoria Climbié? Yes, there will be beneficiaries. I have little doubt that information technology consultants, asked whether they can come up with a system that will co-ordinate all the information about all the children at risk in the country, so that nothing like this ever happens again, will come up with a plan that will cost billions to install and that will not work. But they, the consultants, will have benefited enormously.

What seems to have been the stunning incompetence of the Haringey social services is actually by no means unusual in contemporary Britain; it is the dramatic and immediate human consequence of that incompetence that is unusual. We see the same incompetence in other spheres of endeavour every day.
From the ‘Guardian’…? Just this self-pitying list of excuses from the likes of Sharon Shoesmith, chair of Haringey local safeguarding children board, and Ian Johnston, chief executive, British Association of Social Workers. Only Tim Loughton, the shadow children's minister, is a dissenting voice.

Still, they have to think about their audience, I suppose….

14 comments:

Obnoxio The Clown said...

And far more attention needs to be given to the implications of the fact that where this really difficult work goes on is usually in the child's home. There are many examples in child death cases from the past 30 years of children having injuries which were not picked up in the home because social workers did not walk across the room and touch or engage with the child. Yet the policy and practice momentum is primarily about creating new systems for improving inter-professional cooperation. The energy devoted to organisational reforms such as children's trusts and the emphasis on service user rights in social work education must no longer be allowed to divert attention from providing social workers with the knowledge and supports that are essential to performing such personally and professionally demanding work.
Harry Ferguson, professor of social work, University of Nottingham

He's basically saying that social workers are too busy fucking around with new databases to do their jobs properly. Doesn't sound familiar to me, how about you?

Obnoxio The Clown said...

You've pissed me off now.

JuliaM said...

"Doesn't sound familiar to me, how about you?"

Hmm. Tricky. Does ring a bell or two... ;)

"You've pissed me off now."

Frankly, anyone NOT moved to tears, then to sheer killing rage, by this case and the incompetence and buck-passing is a suspect human being. And I say that as someone with no maternal instincts whatsoever.

Interesting that one of the defendants had a history of cruelty to animals, according to reprots.

Letters From A Tory said...

Welcome to the latest justification for the ContactPoint child database - which the government will sell as saving children's lives, even though it will do no such thing.

Stan said...

This is a most distressing and disturbing case. I've heard that the couple smeared chocolate on the child to cover up bruising - so nobody asked them to wipe it off? Incredible!!!

I'm infuriated by the fact that the names of these people are also being witheld for "legal reasons" - presumably either to protect their rights or to protect the identity of the child. Why? Nobody bothered to protect the child while he was alive and being tortured by these sick psychos - why is it so important now he is dead? And as for the rights - they have none left. Their only right should be the right to dangle from a hangmans noose. Would I pull the lever? Gladly.

Ross said...

"I'm infuriated by the fact that the names of these people are also being witheld for "legal reasons" - presumably either to protect their rights or to protect the identity of the child."

They don't normally protect the identities of dead children, which is why I'm wondering whether there is another child involved here.

Bill Quango MP said...

The only social worker I know socially is an ex-heroin addict herself. A single mum from an abused home she is considered the best possible candidate to interact with the junkies she visits. that may well be the case. But when she tells various stories about MR x did this she naturally has a lot of empathy with these people. Seeing from their perspective.
I should think that it would be simple to pull the wool over this particular persons eyes.

woman on a raft said...

Arthurworry was on radio in June, giving a long and ill-advised interview. I've some sympathy with her; she was alway hopelessly out of her depth from the very beginning and probably should have only been in charge of filling the kettle and opening the post. Laming used her as a scapegoat, an attitude which was eventually overturned.

Her main aim in giving interviews now is that she wants to be cleared of the life-ban of working with children. She argues that she is not malicious or bad and that her current listing brackets her with predatory paedophiles. That much is fair comment - the list does not distinguish between the dangerous or the incompetent, but then for practical purposes it doesn't much matter which is which.

Unfortunately Arthurworry is so terminally thick that she doensn't understand that nobody in their right mind would hire her for childcare duties, so it makes not a jot of difference whether she is removed from the list or not.

woman on a raft said...

For info: Dalrymple (Anthony Daniels) is usually good, but he has blind spots.

In The Spectator 3/9/08 he wrote an poorly-researched piece about David Southall, failing to grasp the depth of problems around this figure. This is what happens if you accept partisan briefing rather than do proper cross-referencing. As with the piece he wrote for baby P, it is an article of faith with him that doctors are right and everyone else is wrong.

Theodore Dalrymple examines the evidence against two much-vilified British paediatricians, Professors Southall and Meadow, and finds it sadly lacking

Jame LeFanu wrote a swift letter rebutting the main points - he was much more polite than some people are.

Not a defence

JuliaM said...

That's interesting, WOAR.

A lot of people went to bat for Southall and Meadows initially, vilifying their critics as hysterical women with something to hide.

We all make mistakes...

Umbongo said...

As a Haringey Council taxpayer, I would add that Haringey is notorious for ignoring everything apart from securing its electoral base in the Eastern part of the Borough. The refusal of Haringey Social Services to apologise in the Baby P case (as if an apology from this lot means anything anyway) is only the tip of the iceberg of Haringey's contempt for its tax payers let alone its "clients".

Just last month we learned that Haringey has thrown £37 million down public conveniences designed in Iceland. Closer to home, Haringey shuts its eyes to repeated contraventions of the planning regulations in conservation areas. OK it's only Muswell Hill and, anyway, why should the middle-class wish to maintain the quality of their neighbourhoods when da yoof in Wood Green will suffer unless another Black History month is "celebrated"?

Furthermore, we receive a monthly propaganda sheet "Haringey People" telling us what a wonderful (and green) world Haringey is creating at our expense. To be fair, the only realistic alternative on offer at the next local elections is the LibDems. I can safely predict that, were the LibDems to succeed in overturning 40 years of Labour incompetence, the replacement would be years of LibDem incompetence: the gravy train would roll on, accelerated by even more useless and expensive green add-ons to council expenditure.

North Northwester said...

This is where you can find the Haringey Council Social services budget. There's a PDF file which you download.

http://www.haringey.gov.uk/index/council/performance_and_finance/council-budget_2008_09/council-budget_2007_08.htm

Look amongst the pages for 'children and young peoples' services' p 25, or 'social services' p5 under cost of services, and 'children and young people' p 103.

May be some repetition there, but still, I can't quite see where it says 'check under the chocolate, there's a dear.'

http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2008/nov/11/childprotection-ukcrime2


Take a deep breath, and s-l-o-w-l-y squeeze the trigger

Aaliyah said...

hi my name is Aaliyah and I am 12 years old.

I have read all of the storys on Baby P in the newspapers,news,internet ect. After I had read that the step father is only going to prison for 14 years my friend annd I were both shocked. I think that Baby P's step father should go to prison for ever and I hope he rots away just like he let Baby P's bottom rot.

I think that the social worker should have picked up on the fact that there was something wrong with the injured baby. All she had to do was pick the baby up or even just touch him not just say 'hello little fellow.' However it wasn't the social workers fault.

Baby P's mother was very, very clever when the social worker came over as she smothered Baby P's face in melted chocolate and placed a biscuit in his hand so it looked like she had been giving Baby P food and letting him have fun.

In a way it's the second best thing for Baby P to be dead because now at least nobody can hurt him; the better option was him to be put into a carehome.

Thankyou for reading this,
Aaliyah, 12

Anonymous said...

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