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Why so much party politics on here?

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littleoldme | 14:09 Sun 16th Nov 2008 | News
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I've been reading several threads on here, particularly about those poor murdered babies, and it saddens me to see debates about these tragedies rapidly degenerate into the usual left v right slanging matches. I find it offensive to have it implied that only those on the right care about these issues, and that those on the left are in favour of leniency for the perpetrators. What next? Will voting Tory be put forward as the only way into Heaven? The apologists are no better - I cannot accept that there is any way social services can visit a child 60 times and not see how at risk he was. I'm sure it is a difficult job, but isn't this exactly what they're trained for? Would we accept detectives being unable to catch a murderer because the suspect told a few fibs and tried to cover their tracks?

As you may realise, I don't neatly fit into a particular political pigeonhole - I'm quite "left wing" (whatever that means) on some issues, quite "right wing" (likewise) on others. Law and order is an area where I may be considered quite right of centre, though I stop short of advocating the return of capital punishment.

Can we not just accept that while we may have different views on apportioning blame, a huge majority of people, whatever their political persuasion, find these crimes abhorrent and terribly sad, and hope those who carry them out spend very long years in jail?

There is a time and a situation for cheap political point-scoring, on both sides of the divide. This isn't it.

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Well said.

There is a tendency for people to use threads as a platform for social and poticical posturing, and as you rightly say, the violent death of a baby conjoined with the inadequacy of systems designed to protect him is not one of them.
-- answer removed --
Of course everyone is totally appalled at these murders, sickened and saddened.

But I find your willingness to pass judgement on the social workers on the thread where you say this subject is not a topic for point scoring a bit hypocritical, unless you are trying to spark a debate about that issue.
It's one thing to be trained for a job, another to have to do twice as much work as you're got time for. Likewise, I'd say it is the job of a detective to see through fibs - but not necessarily of a social worker; their default position will generally be that a child should stay with its parents unless there's some very good reason why not (remember all that hooha about children being taken away from their parents because of supposed satanic abuse?), whereas a detective is free to assume all the suspects are lying.

I've no idea whether this is a left or a right point of view, though. Whichever, I think it's pointless blaming Gordon Brown and/or David Cameron because not every child in the country is loved.
I'm not sure this is political or not but...

The social workers (and the other agencies involved) have made huge errors and should be held accountable. The system is flawed. If we don't acknowledge that and try to get to the bottom of what went wrong, we'll never improve things.

Having said that, the vitriol now directed at social workers is distasteful to say the least. It'll never happen of course but it would be nice if the mongs that make up the angry mob look at themselves and realise that they've contributed to this.

They've rendered the job of social workers nigh on impossible - presumably because they regard them as interfering wishy-washy do-gooders.

These ranters spend their time criticising over-zealous social workers for breaking up families, for playing god, for suggesting that parents don't know best and for representing nanny government.

So is it any wonder that social workers - having got it in the neck about this for so long - are reluctant or unwilling to take children into care?

This doesn't excuse what is clearly a massive, multi-agency f*ck-up. But it's saddening that the venom spat at social workers shows such a glaring lack of context and perspective and consistency.
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Ethel - while I see your point of view, I am not scoring any points, especially not political ones! I am merely pointing out, as Quinlad says, that IMHO these particular social workers - and others - have made huge errors. I also don't see what is wrong with holding certain people accountable - how else are we to prevent things like this happening again?

I am most certainly NOT saying that all social workers are useless (far from it), nor that they didn't care about their responsibilities, nor that it wouldn't have happened under a council of a different political colour, just that these particular people who were supposed to be protecting this child have failed in their duty of care. I'm not even suggesting they should necessarily lose their jobs - but measures need to put in place at a higher level to ensure that lessons are learned and these tragic mistakes are not repeated. But then, we've been here before, haven't we?
Social Services are finding it increasingly difficult to recruit staff because of the public perception of them.

As Quinlad says, they can't do right for doing wrong.

Don't forget this child was examined by medical professionals who failed to see his spine was broken and other injuries.

The parent of this child and all those involved in the abuse are convincing and accomplished liars. The SS do not have the power to go poking into drawers and cupboards and when the mother told them that the men had moved out, when in fact they were hiding in the house, the SS couldn't search to see if this was the case.

It is very political. To give the SS more powers needs a change in law.

Many people who need help genuinely are already too frightened to seek it from SS because they fear their children will be removed or they will lose contact altogether. I know frail, elderly people who are worried about asking for help in case they are forced in to a home they don't want to go to.

This is skewed public perception. To give the SS even more power could have dreadful and dire consequences in the long term. At present the SS cannot forcibly enter a house; cannot remove a child; do not have the powers to search.

It angers me beyond belief when blame is pushed from the perpetrator to the authorities, whether it be this case or cases such as fatalities that arise during police chases, as examples.

People are too frightened to interfere and 'do gooder' is considered shameful. Standing by doing nothing is shameful.

We are responsible for ourselves and for the society we live in.
Why shouldn't some judgement be passed onto the social workers in question?

Baby P was visited 60 times by health and social work professionals. They were not failing to talk to each other, according to the Haringey safeguarding report. But they were repeatedly failing to touch or examine him.

The Times.

On a lighter note however, a person phoned a late-night radio station last night and said "wouldn't it be a good idea to fit CCTV cameras into homes where the authorities thought there were children at risk"?

What if the children where not at risk, can one imagine the implications behind this rather ill thought out suggestion?
Ethel

Your abriviation of 'Social Services' is a little inapt.

One has other visions of the SS searching in draws and cupboards.
The Social Services in Haringey must be held accountable, this child was handed back against police adivice, thats a Social Sevices decision.

I agree, in the main, Social Services do stirling work, and you never hear of it, but in this case, they are as guilty as the parent and stepfather, and should be held accountable.

ps
I'm not being political here.

They are NOT as guilty as the mother, stepfather and lodger - the SS wanted to take the child away, and the lawyers told them they couldn't.

Even if that weren't the case, they did not raise a finger against that child.

Don't let the mother, father and stepfather off the hook -they are solely to blame for this tragedy.


Like most services which are managed by local authorities, the standard of service provided varies enormously. This is almost invariably due to the political climate that prevails in the area concerned and so inevitably any discussion almost always leans towards the policies involved.

Policies prevailing in Haringey (the area involved) unfortunately do not put the needs of the child as paramount. Paramount seems to be the need to allow dysfunctional �families� to lead a lifestyle of their choice, regardless of the consequences, and the needs of the social workers to protect their own backs. This is not their fault, but that of their senior managers and political masters. One only has to see the reaction to the criminal convictions of Haringey�s Director of Social Services to see what I mean.

Overarching all of this is the pernicious influence of �political correctness� which refuses to allow judgement to be passed on people who are clearly leading a lifestyle which is not conducive to the successful and safe rearing of children. Of course, if Baby P had been the child of middle class parents of whom the Social Services had the slightest suspicion of mistreatment, he would have been taken into care immediately.

There have been failures at all levels in this sorry affair, but if the mother of Baby P and her associates had been discouraged from living their pathetic and dangerous lifestyle (with the threat of the child being taken into care in the event they did not comply) he may still be alive today.
"but in this case, they are as guilty as the parent and stepfather, and should be held accountable."

Lonnie, Lonnie, Lonnie. It's exactly that sort of stupid knee-jerk vitriol that I'm talking about.
Quinlad,
I have had dealings with Social Services (and still do) for the past twentyfour years, so I believe I know a little about how they work, and as I said, the decision to return this child would have been theirs, and theirs alone, knowing this child was at risk, that makes someone in Haringey Social Services just as responsible for his death the ones who actually killed him.

I appreciate that you and others don't agree with that, but we'll just have to agree to disagree.
Yes Lonnie, but you have to consider under which policies and guidelines they operate.

Unfortunately for various reasons the notion that such people should exercise their own discretion does not come into the equation. Just look at what happened to the "whistleblower" who tried to highlight the shortcomings.
I'll have to disagree too, Lonnie. The people who killed him are the people who killed him.
Over the last 20-30 years, cases of neglect resulting in death and murder by a guardian or parent have cropped up with monotonois regularity. This is regardless of which political persuasion the Government of the day belong. That is why on other threads I have atacked attempts to blame the Government or the council for Baby P's death.
I must correct a factual innaccuracy in your question. Baby P was visited 60 Times by a combination of Police, medical practicioners and Social Workers. It is not true to say that just Social Workers visited 60 Times. From which I conclude that Baby P was let down by everyone, and it is not right to blame one agency, all three had the opportunity to put this child out of harm.
I am sad to say, that whenever the Conservatives take power again, that children will continue to die because this has nothing to do with a Labour Government or Council. It I dividuals are going to attak and kill children in their charge, they will do it irrespective of who is in Downing Street.
I have no political interest in the story at all, but the doctor and social workers should be sacked.
I'd better not say what I'd like to see done to the hideous man that hurt that poor baby, and the mother's no better.
Ice.Maiden,

Why wouldn't you sack the Police who visited Baby P several times? They were the agency who had to power to prosecute the mother and put the child out of harm. The mother was arrested twice for child neglect before Baby p was killed, yet the charges were dropped and Baby P remained with the mother and her murderous boyfriend.
No, I.M.

If anybody is to be sacked it is the politicians, directors, senior officers and managers who refuse to allow the Social Services, police and other agencies to implement effective policies to deal with problems like this.

There is a growing section of society who cannot or will not lead acceptable lifestyles. If further tragedies are to be prevented their activities must be controlled. They must no longer be showered with gifts and money; they must stop introducing multitudinous strangers to their taxpayer funded homes where their children live; they must be told that if their activities continue unabated their children (and any more they might have) will be taken into care.

It�s unpalatable to some. It is not politically expedient. But it�s the only way.

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