Just when Polly Toynbee writes an excellent piece in the Guardian, more uninformed robotic pc follows swiftly in the same paper.
I’ve posted the comment below this morning at the Guardian social worker Warren Commission piece today by Rachel Williams:
UPDATE: THE COMMENT HAS BEEN REMOVED. WHAT DO YOU THINK – IS IT ABUSIVE…OR FREE SPEECH?
As a fellow journalist, I find this an astonishingly ill-informed piece.
While you are quite correct in pointing out that many ‘hate-blogs’ do exist (and it is often hard to tell social services abuse from deranged parent) your article falls into the same hate-blog trap of being woefully unbalanced.
There are a number of serious points to be made. Please allow me to make them.
First, the problem is rarely with staff (although paedophile penetration of the service remains a problem about which everyone from Ed Balls downwards is in denial) but rather management. In Stafford, Plymouth, Liverpool and Glasgow – in my lengthy experience – they seem to see themselves as having three functions: delaying any and all FOI requests; dumping targets on overworked staff; and then covering up the inevitable mistakes.
Second, there is a blatant issue of arbitrary judicial power involved here – and we are not talking the endlessly offered ‘small minority’. It is almost unheard-of in 2010 for a judge anywhere to show the slightest doubt about what social workers say on any subject, be it psychiatric or familial. Their word is (literally) law – and judges dish out the most illiberal gagging-orders based on pure hearsay.
For many years now, the secrecy of the The Family Court system has been a stain on British justice. Neither Harriet Harman nor Ed Balls have kept to promises made in 2006 to reform it and allow media presence. I’m astonished that a newspaper so liberal (and itself such a sufferer from gagging orders) can allow publication of an article on this subject, without the secret court system being mentioned at all.
Third, the sheer volume of psychobabble and corruption involved (in ensuring that the desired result is obtained in Court) is far too well documented by myself and many others to be dismissed as ‘myths about social services’. At the base of this response is a brief selection of ‘accusations’ that are anything but mythical. Not one of the people named has injuncted my site – and not one of the authorities involved has rebutted the evidence. Your piece doesn’t really explain what’s holding them back – beyond guilt, and fear of broader discovery. If you wish to truly understand how psychiatrists benefit from local government contracts, I suggest if nothing else you read my piece about Staffordshire social services.
The real tragedy here Rachel is that my site (which is not baby-nap obsessed, and covers many injustices going unreported by the wider media) has a circulation of around 1200 a day. The readership of your column is far bigger than that: access to such an audience demands a sense of responsibility, and getting to grips with the subject.
People reading the comments above mine will doubtless argue that the sense of persecution, anger and (frankly) low IQ evidenced in some of it makes your point for you. It does not: these are vulnerable people, in some cases suffering from the cynical oppression of target-setting, judicial collusion and half-baked psychiatric theories used as a means to an end.
Your article is a hugely wasted opportunity, and an indictment of the Guardian’s editorial quality standards.