Friday, November 21, 2008

Blood of a social worker

The hysteria surrounding the Baby P case has reached new lows. As the Sun calls for direct action, the crowds are baying for blood.

In the midst of the mass hysteria surrounding the Baby P case, a balanced, informed and well-documented article feels like a rare moment of sanity. Because, in the meantime, it's all becoming surreal.

You may be excused for wondering whether this is Britain in the 21st Century or some medieval land where witches are routinely burnt at the stake by baying crowds. We go from the ludicrously hysterical yet harmless "re-post Derek the Mystical Gnome and raise Baby P from the dead" on Facebook (look here) to the truly vicious vigilante calls. As if plastering lamposts with posters calling for mob lynching is going to achieve anything.

Because aside from Dereck the Mystical Gnome, the now ubiquitous Facebook is hosting about nine groups whose names range from "Justice for Baby P" to ""Baby P killers should be hanged Drawn and Quartered" (see this), containing threats of violence and the addresses of the three involved in the child's death. They are literally salivating for "people to be killed".

Who knows, perhaps the inspiration was the Sun's Blood on their Hands headline, though it referred mainly to the social workers. And if you thought that was bad, have a look at the balanced service to the community coming from Carol Malone in the Sun's sister paper, the News of The World. "Baby P: they're all guilty", shouts the headline, with, on the side, the photographs of all the social workers and doctors involved, however peripherally, in the case. Here we're bordering on horror-film material and the demonising likes of The Wicker Man or Invasion of the Body Snatchers.

Look at Malone's piece: "I don’t give a toss how low their wages are, how hard their job is or how understaffed they are. A vulnerable baby’s life was in danger and they left him to die out of stupidity, ignorance or because they just didn’t care enough. And if these social workers and their bosses can’t spot a child four days from death then they’re not just in the wrong job—they’re dangerous as well". The only consolation is in the fact that a picture of Carol Malone is on the same page. In this witch-hunt hullabaloo, she may run the risk of being mistaken for one of the "guilty ones" and slain by the mob too.

And she continues, working herself up against the "people who have sponged off the welfare state their whole lives", "political correctness" and "this underclass [that] will become even more savage, more feral—and more innocents will die". And then the creepy "Inquiries don’t save children’s lives. Direct action just might". Remember it's the News of the World, so I'll leave you to imagine the comments posted by the goaded pack. Dante's Ninth Circle of Hell comes close.

And so back to sanity. We mentioned at the beginning the importance of balanced, well-informed articles. Rob Williams in today's Independent may not satisfy the rabid packs, but it explains why it often happens that "children at risk are not put into care". You can do a Malone and write "I don't give a toss" as much as you like, but the under-funded reality of social care is absolutely crucial.

But the best analysis comes from Peter Corser on The Social Care Experts Blog: "The singling out of individual workers in the campaign/witch hunt by The Sun is certainly not going to make the children of England and Wales any safer. And presumably that is what The Sun wants". Corser is not calling for his category to be let off lightly. "We do after all get paid to do a job and we should do it well", he says. "In the case of gross negligence then people should lose their jobs. But that needs to be done in a considered manner. Not in the white heat of a witch hunt".


John said...

Take a look at this:"Websites probed over Baby P posts"

Madam Miaow said...

... a picture of Carol Malone is on the same page. In this witch-hunt hullabaloo, she may run the risk of being mistaken for one of the "guilty ones" and slain by the mob too.

Heh, heh! I know a girl's gotta make a living but her rant is ridiculous.

the patriot said...

Claude, Madam Miaow,
you're very good with words and very good at giggling and taking the mick out ofpoints of view you clearly have no respect for...

In doing so you forget that a Baby was brutally murdered. Those poor social workers had 60 chances (SIXTY) to find out about Baby P's plight. Sixty times. Surely you'll admit someone didn't do their job properley.

WE MUST MAKE SURE THIS NEVER HAPPENS AGAIN! Heads must roll, take action and sack those responsable.

I have been sick with anger that this child could have been left to this fate by people employed by society as vanguards of child protection.

Madam Miaow said...

In doing so you forget that a Baby was brutally murdered.

In your humble telepathic opinion, Patriot.

Some of us are able to register the horror of the situation and seek proper solutions rather than burn up our adrenalin on a witch-burning. Thinking and chewing gum at the same time, see?

Now, I wonder which will be most effective. Your way which leaves a few toasted social workers? Or a solution that gets to the heart of what's gone wrong.

Not being an expert, I don't know what that solution is but I'd like to hear some informed intelligent proposals above the shrieking.

BTW, if you think I'm not angry with a doctor who could miss a whole catalogue of injuries only a few days before he died, then you are not very bright. But then that would account for your assumptions.

claude said...

Well said, Madam Miaow.

I found this post on another website. It's signed by some Elaine. I quote:

"i think its a disgrace all baby p ever new was hurt , pain even with a broken back he still managed to smile , he not suffering ang more ,
if social sevices did there job properly and put him in with decent family , he would be alife today . rest in peace my little one"

Some people really cannot think for any longer than 5 seconds. Does this lady, Elaine, really think there are lots of "decent families" out there advertising their availability as care families? We all wish that was the case, but is it really that easy? Does Elaine (and all the people who are so ready to slag off social workers) volunteer as a mentor or foster family, by the way?

But it's the tone as well. Am I the only one hearing echoes of Princess Diana's death? Suddenly the whole world acts as if they all knew Baby P.

Obviously it's a tragedy, but if you don't shout that you want blood and revenge as loud as the rest of the pack, you 're always gonna get someone like THe Patriot saying that you don't care, that you are pc, horrible, that you "forget" and all the rest.

It's called MASS HYSTERIA and
the Brits are amazing at that. No wonder, with the tabloids acting as tannoy system.

Leonard Miller said...

It's uncanny how similar this is to the rants I've delivered in my stupid office.
Good stuff, although your logic is not welcome in this angry mob.
Now, where did I leave my pitchfork?...