Meehan, Shoesmith and Santry – Leader of Haringey Council, its Director of Children’s Services, and its Children’s Services Cabinet Member – have been forced to go following a scathing independent report into the murder of Baby P.
As Balls’ Tory shadow, Michael Gove MP, has just pointed out on Sky News, the same authority was given a “clean bill of health” in a report a year ago. But that there are other failings in a full report that he has seen but which has not been made public in this climate of Government secrecy and cover-up.
Had Cameron not “gone ballistic” at PMQs a few weeks back, Labour would probably have covered up this report and allowed Meehan et al to cling on to their jobs…
Gove can’t say what is in the report as the Met would probably arrest him on a trumped-up charge.
Why has the Department for Public Prosecutions and the Met not started legal proceedings against those who have resigned, given their culpability in the death of this child? These people should be arrested, not Damian Green.
And so it goes on. Ed Balls should reconsider his position and resign – after all, it’s happened under his watch and one of his fellow Ministers was tipped off some time ago by a “whistleblower”.
Kids Company’s Camila Batmangehelidjh has outlined on Sky how there should be a “structural review” of children’s services across the country. The “chronic underfunding” of social services departments and a “lack of leadership of politicians” highlights what she describes as a “political flaw” and which needs a new structure. Individual social workers should not be vilified, she explains, as it is a flawed and badly structured system across many Social Services departments.
Ms Batmangehelidjh, who is one of the most respected “social entrepreneurs” in helping disadvantaged and vulnerable children, is absolutely spot on. It has been clear that this is an endemic problem due to the “political flaw” that Ms Batmangehelidjh outlines.
We don’t need any more weasel words from Ed Balls or his ilk – we need action, for the sake of our kids – put in the resources centrally and sort out the structure in these social services departments. And, most of all, change the “ideology” that Tim Montgomerie bemoans:
Perhaps the most frightening aspect of the whole affair is that the fate of Baby P is the claim that all the usual procedures were followed, all the boxes ticked, all the shibboleths observed. There is ideological problem represented by a hostility to adoption by social workers and not only in Haringey.
This proves that it is the system that it is at fault – if we don’t deal with this “political flaw”, while we are fussing about trying to fix the banks, then we as a society will be a lot worse off. And, for the sake of kids like Baby P, we owe it to them to resolve this endemic “political flaw” and ideology as soon as possible.
1 December, 2008 Posted by Wilted Rose | economy, Gordon Brown, kids, Labour Party, politics, social breakdown, social services | Baby P, Camila Batmangehelidjh, children's services, Ed Balls, endemic, George Meehan, ideology, Kids Company, Liz Santry, Michael Gove, political flaw, Sharon Shoesmith | 1 Comment
Fraser Nelson, writing in the most recent issue of The Spectator, observed that the Tories are seeking to focus on social policy, rather than the economy. The thinking behind this is that Labour’s opinion poll ratings are already sliding as its record for economic competence has been lost.
However, it would utterly foolish of an incoming Government not to tackle the economic problems that underlie much of the country’s social breakdown.
Tax cuts for lower-income workers, and abandoning the absurd commitment to sticking to Labour’s spending plans, are advocated by Tim Montgomerie in an excellent article in today’s Telegraph. Tim demonstrates again why he should be an MP, if not in 2010 then at least in 2014/15, and a future Cabinet Minister. His proposals should become Conservative policy.
Many public sector low-income workers (e.g. £13k a year), as trade unionist Mark Serowtka rightly pointed out last night on Newsnight, are suffering from rising prices and the impact of Bank of England interest rate policy on their mortgages, and are understandably demanding wage increases – possibly indicating a number of strikes.
The danger is that high-tax statists could dictate the policy and preclude tax cuts in favour of increased public spending (and, therefore, by implication lower economic growth, real income and living standards), leading to a failure to get out of the economic morass that Brownian policy has created). There’s no point Osborne (or whoever the next Conservative Shadow Chancellor is) becoming another Alistair Darling.
For some of the more stupid Tories, ruling out tax cuts is similar to Blair’s Clause 4 moment on public ownership. However, the key difference is that Labour was wrong supporting public ownership and renationalisation; tax cuts are morally right.
Tax cuts would not only ease the burden on low-income workers, but it would incentivise British people (whatever their ethnic group) who are currently living on benefits to start working.
Creating a new culture of work in areas of ‘worklessness’ or high unemployment can only help to reverse social breakdown. Economic policy, and taxation policy in particular, are inextricably linked with social policy.
Tax cuts could be the incentivising ‘carrot’, that would be more effective than a ‘stick’ approach to forcing people into work.
I was looking back over some old Wilted Rose blog posts to clarify my thinking a little bit and the penny dropped.
One thing that people just don’t remember about the events of last summer – the Brown bounce, the credit crunch, the social breakdown crisis – was that it was David Davis who started the Tory recovery in the opinion polls.
Davis brilliantly captured the public mood on the social breakdown and gun/knife crime issue, while Jacqui Smith and Gordon Brown hid away from the public glare. Davis has now captured the public mood on our freedom and liberty, although the press and media (and some prominent Tories) don’t realise it yet.
Brown came in as Prime Minister and it made me and many others despair. I noted that, “the Conservatives on 33% – David Cameron who alongside David Davis stood tall against crime and social breakdown at the weekend.”
So, although the credit crisis was also starting off, social breakdown and gun crime – so tragically highlighted by the brutal murder of an 11-year-old boy in Liverpool – with feral youths running wild on our streets. The social breakdown crisis was dealt with brilliantly by David Davis, so much so that the Conservatives starting seeing an improvement, particularly winning the ‘key demographic, the over 65s, as the Brown Bounce deflated.
And the polls climbed upwards, and all along David Davis has been a superb Shadow Home Secretary which has given the Tories consistently high ratings on law and order.
Dominic Grieve may be well entrenched in his new post as Shadow Home Secretary. But actually, once the by-election is over and Davis returns with a huge majority and vindication of his much-criticised move, Cameron should bring him back into the Shadow Cabinet.
And what’s more: he should promote this enormous talent. In line with a radical shift towards a lower-tax policy and an abandonment of the crazy ‘commitment’ to match Labour’s spending plans, Cameron should appoint Davis as the Shadow Chancellor.
Sainsbury’s in Merton, nowhere more quiet and respectable, you would think? Not so.
No one speaks to anyone else in there … not a sign of friendliness or camaraderie … just seething resentment and anger.
Which bubbled up yesterday into a murder of someone in a queue. An accusation of queue jumping. A woman allegedly phoned her “partner”, no doubt has who sired her ba****ds who will we suspect by now have been taken “into care”, and he allegedly knocked the victim to the ground, who apparently wasn’t even the guy blamed for queue jumping.
Mindless violence. An alleged perpetrator so thick that he could not even attack the ‘real’ queue jumper (if there was such an incident).
This incident crystallises and encapsulates how violent our society has become. People are scared of these ‘alleged’ thugs and other brainless, semi-educated, benefit-claiming, knife-wielding hoodlums. Labour has allowed violence to spiral out of control, so such an incident isn’t really surprising – just part of every day life. Is it any wonder millions of Britons have voted with their feet and left this country?
Last summer, moved by the murder of an innocent little kid, 11-year old Rhys Jones in Liverpool, I wrote that it was time for the Government to get a grip on teenage gun crime. Matt Sinclair hits the nail on the head with his analysis of family breakdown and the rise of teenage pregnancy and illegitimacy.
You only have to read this post to see how completely out of touch with the lives of hard-working families some sections of the ‘third estate’ are (despite many of them working and presumably living in LONDON):
The second area of weakness I would highlight is the current Tory fondness for decrying Britain’s “broken society”.
I cannot bear this phrase – as I don’t believe the country as a whole is suffering from social breakdown, despite screaming headlines proclaiming the contrary – and I imagine many centre-ground voters share my displeasure.
It smacks of a carping Opposition-based approach, not of a party ready to govern what remains one of the greatest nations in the world. Please drop it, Dave.
How is society not broken when an 11-year-old can get shot on a nice middle-class estate in Liverpool, if a 16-year-old gets his throat slit by a thug wielding a glass tray from a bakery, and if an 18-year-old boy who was loved by all who knew him (and who had a bright acting career ahead of him) dies at the hands of a murderer outside a pub in a nice commuter suburb of London? Yes, Sidcup.
Many centre ground voters are actually tearing their hair out in despair, because of what they see around them. Try wandering round Lewisham or Lambeth at night, where even “good kids” have started carrying knifes to defend themselves against feral youths. They are scared, so are their parents, so is most of society.
As always, there is a more credible viewpoint in Simon Heffer’s column, where he links youth crime to welfare dependency and the welfare state, and describes society as “destabilised”. The lack of a father figure in the home in many cases does not help matters (and, after all, Labour MPs essentially abolished fatherhood last week in a notorious parliamentary vote). Welfare is much adored by the left, as Heffer explains, because it, ‘gives them a clientele to control. All in all, it is a corrupt, corrupting, demoralising and poisonous concept.’ He goes further and says that:
Why is it that the criminal underclass can carry on as it does? It is because the state pays for it to do so. Why do children grow up feeling they have to kill each other at the slightest provocation? Because the state has removed the need for them to grow up in a coherent family unit, in which such feelings would seldom be fed. Why, when sociologists from Charles Murray onwards have linked single parenthood, social and economic failure and crime, does the state still sponsor so extensively single parenthood as a career option for young women? Because it assists the socialist state’s mission to control and expand a clientele.
A lack of responsibility, spending of £620 billion on welfare (in which Heffer admits even Labour MP Denis MacShane can see opportunities for reductions), youth crime spiralling out of control…
Tax cuts would help enhance people’s quality of life and, yes, it is important (absolutely vital, in fact) to fix the economy. But one of the ways that both the economy and society could be fixed together is by slashing the welfare bill, handing the savings back to tax-payers and encouraging the workshy recipients to go to work – not the folks who are unable to work due to disability or mental health problems.
it is time to sort out two of the greatest ills that afflict the UK today, social breakdown/teenage crime/welfare AND taxation, at the same time. Not only can people keep more of the money they earn. But also families can be supported to stay together. And people can be encouraged to work, rather than be dependent upon welfare, making something positive of their lives. And youth crime can be stamped out.
At PMQs the Speaker asked Gordon Brown to use ‘temperate language’. On this subject I’m afraid I will have to refrain from temperate language.
Yesterday, Brown made a speech about his commitment to liberty, which is a joke given his commitment to increasing the detention limit from 28 days to something like 56 days. It is a joke, considering his Government’s policies on the liberty of the unborn child. The liberty to be born. The right to life. All thrown aside for the right to a medieval practice that has no place in a civilised country.
Some campaigners, who are often the very same people who support abortion, are furious with the Government for not banning smacking. I personally could never smack a child, but many parents do; criminalising parents would be asburd. But do you really expect baby murderers to ban smacking?
The science proves that at 22 and 23 weeks (by the way, around 5 months of pregnancy) babies are not only fully formed, but viable, i.e. they have a chance of survival. As the brave MP Nadine Dorries points out on her blog, the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists study which Dawn Primarolo used to avoid reducing the abortion limit from 24 weeks,
“It failed to mention the Hoekstra study which demonstrates how with good neonatal intervention, 66% of all babies (that is babies born naturally because there may have been medical complications not healthy babies aborted) at 23 weeks live.
“It failed to mention how in the UK at good neonatal units such as UCH London and Hope hospital in Salford, 43% of 23 weekers live.
“Instead it chose to quote a study which averages out births at all hospitals across the UK, which puts the figure at 10 -15%.”
That makes the Labour Government baby murderers (the RCOG are anyway, and they sully the name of doctors), aided and abetted by the likes of Dr Evil Harris MP.
What exactly happens to a baby (not a foetus, or an embryo, which are dehumanising medical words) when he or she – a potential Ben or Emily – is ripped from the womb? If not already dead, the baby is murdered by the medical team responsible for the abortion. We are not here talking about abortion at 5 or 10 weeks, where the baby may look less baby-like though I believe it is equally wrong, but about the killing of a viable baby in the womb (or after being forced from the womb). Evidence from the US shows that babies feel pain during abortions.
Even Lord Steel, a man who has much blood on his hands for his Private Members Bill to legalise ‘abortion on demand’ in the 60s, is now appalled by the fact that there are around 200,000 abortions per year. These are due to the social breakdown, and immorality, that has ripped apart the fabric of this country. Almost 200,000 of our fellow Britons are denied the right to life, so the day after Ms Primarolo’s despicable decision is hardly a day for Brown to make a speech about liberty.
And, frankly, it would be ludicrous of this Labour Government to ban smacking when it has given the green light to many more murders of babies in the womb who could survive, who are fully formed, but somehow are denied the right to life because they have not yet been born. Worse still, these murdered little souls will never be able to vote but the babies’ murderous “mothers” do have a vote and that seems to be what the Government is calculating in this decision. Anyone who cares about the right to babies to life, however, should never vote Labour.
Again there is the heartbreaking image of another child in a football shirt whose life has been ended violently (an image that has moved the nation, just like the earlier killing of 10-year-olds Holly and Jessica), another family’s lives torn apart. And yet we are no further on since last year’s murder of Kiyan Prince and that of many other teenagers across the UK. A feature of the recent murders is that the perpetrators and the victims are both children (usually teenagers). What is striking – and all the more tragic – about the murder of Rhys Jones is that he appears to have been caught in the crossfire. And he was only 11.
What is even more alarming is that Croxteth Park, where the murder took place, is a middle-class area (bordering some tough estates, including Croxteth) and one of its councillors is a Liberal Democrat. The truth is that under Labour the country has become more dangerous, especially if you are young and live in a city (particularly London); and the Government has simply not got a grip on teenage crime.
The Times recently published a factfile revealing that no fewer than 10 kids have been shot or stabbed to death this year already. Their killers (or, in some cases, alleged killers) are frighteningly young and the young murderers (or alleged murderers) have bleak life stories often involving abusive parents, family breakdown, etc.
The Government needs to get a grip on this menace that is blighting the UK’s cities, which is not something that is likely given the failure of a succession of lacklustre Home Secretaries (John Reid actually looked like making some progress, but didn’t last very long in the job, and Jacqui Smith could still prove herself). But we are not holding our breath for Labour to make any progress on this issue. That in itself is a major tragedy.
15.23 Update: An excellent article by Jock Coats argues that Government policy is responsible, and he also points to some helpful insights from Kids’ Company’s Camila Batmanghelidjh in today’s Independent.
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