The wrong slogan

January 30th, 2009 § 2 comments § permalink


Those few who are raising slogans like ‘British jobs for British workers’ need to sort their arguments out, because they’re wrong and they’re misleading, and they seriously damage the prospects for solidarity. What’s more, they got that slogan from Gordon Brown, and that itself should warn them that there’s something wrong with it.

This is about the way Italian workers, who aren’t responsible for this problem, are being used in an attempt to break trade union organisation among construction workers in the UK, and in particular to break the terms of previous agreements. If it was about anything else, why would the employers exclude them from the jobs in advance? Why shouldn’t the jobs be open to anyone?

Guardian: Oil Refinery Dispute

Seperated at birth?

January 30th, 2009 § 3 comments § permalink

I was watching Question Time last night and was wondering why I couldn’t really take Michael Gove seriously.

Then I saw it: Shadow Secretary for Schools, Children and Families, Michael Gove MP and comdey actor Rick Moranis.

Seperated at birth?

“Dear Diedre…”

January 29th, 2009 § 1 comment § permalink

The Mail

An agony aunt has been appointed to a taskforce aimed at improving social services following the Baby P tragedy.

No. No. You’ve got to be kidding?

This week, ministers announced the 11 people who will join chair Moira Gibb and vice-chairs Andrew Webb and Bob Reitemeier on the taskforce, which is due to report this summer.

Unison and BASW on social work taskforce

Along with The Sun’s agony aunt, Deidre Sanders

Not everyone’s happy about it on CommunityCares’ discussion forum (the individual posts don’t have permalinks unfortunately)…


My colleague has just suggested that if the social workers go out to collect information they could then write to Diedre and she could in her commonsensical way tell us what to do next! She clearly has both the common touch and the ear of the government, what more could we want to help transform our profession? [Wink]


More frontline social workers? What would we know about social work? No, the appointment of Dierdre Saunders is clearly inspired and anyone who suggests it’s a populist concession to tawdry media-led witchhunters is obviously a middle-class elitist with a dubious value base who should be drummed out of the profession forthwith.

I look forward to the day when scriptwriters from Casualty and Holby City are appointed to the professional bodies of nursing, medicine and allied health professions to raise standards of practice. It can only be a matter of time before one of those nice actors from Waterloo Road is appointed to the General Teaching Council.

No, it is clearly so eminently appropriate to have celebrities on professional bodies that I am left with only one question: why can’t we have Jeremy Kyle too?


I’m also concerned about what message this sends to people about the function and role of social workers more generally if an ‘agony aunt’ is on the task force. Are we to be perceived as ‘talkers’ rather than ‘doers’. Actually the more I have thought about it, the more irritated I become.


Let’s get one thing straight – the summary dismissal of Sharon Shoesmith was not in the public interest – we had a right to hear the facts – we could have learned some vital lessons in safeguarding children and that this evidence could have been heard within the disciplinary context and this would have established whether Ms Shoesmith is a culpable party in this matter.

The Sun’s campaign against her was clearly a witch hunt – people did not just write into The Sun to complain of this evil woman, The Sun actually invited people to write in and tell them the politicians how evil she is.

As for Dear Diedre’s statement “those working in the professions in the public sector can get cut off from what are seen as common-sense values in the real world where, if you get something wrong, you lose your job. It’s what would happen to me and it’s what would happen to most of our readers”

What planet is this woman living on? I have been spat at, kicked, punched, abused, chased by dangerous dogs all in the line of my duty of protecting children; for these reasons, I stopped this area of work years ago (but I really do admire most of my children and families colleagues for having to do such a dreadful job. I guess most of us have to such nasty sharp-end violence, and that this demonstrates that if anyone is cut off from reality it is her! As for the bits about losing one’s job if you get something wrong – then all the country would be unemployed and unemployable.

As for The Sun getting things wrong – it does it all the time – it is a paper which always seem to be in the courts over allegations of lying and invading privacy – such is the moral compass and voice for the downtrodden masses.

Then Dear Diedre goes on to state “A big problem after Baby P was that Haringey didn’t even want to say sorry to start with, didn’t seem to accept responsibility”

Well in the climate of hysteria generated by The Sun, individuals and organisations get immobilised by the moral panic with which they are beleaguered – apologies – my guess is that no one in the Local Authority wanted to get in Sun’s firing line, for fear a mob would be beating a path to his / her with a view to stringing him / her up from the nearest lamp post.

Dear Diedre concludes

“If our campaign was seen as a mere witch-hunt in the social work sector, it illustrates the communication gap we have in society”

This is exactly the problem – I have this to say The Sun’s campaign against Ms Shoesmith was vindictive and vitriolic – it harked back to Cromwell’s England when Major Generals, our own Taliban, wandered the burning witches or drowning them in ponds. The Sun is a very much like that – it breeds a climate of fear – sure, there is a communication gap between us and The Sun and this is for good reason. An entire city, Liverpool, has stopped this nasty little rag following its rather nasty little piece on Liverpool following the Hillsborough Tragedy.

As for Dear Diedre saying that she was not responsible for the editorial content with regard to Ms Shoesmith, this is bit like saying “I am not responsible for the gas chambers in Auschwitz, I merely stoked the ovens” These “no flies on me” kind of statements sound quite disingenuous.

And as a parting shot to all those those Sun apologists, what kind of filthy little rag has headlines “only ten days to go, Lads, before we can bare Lisa’s boobs?” Surely, it encourages filthy old men to commit sexually illegal against young women.

The interview “fx7” references is here.

I’ll leave you with the notion that it could just be a damage limitation exercise by ministers, as Emma Maier muses…

… giving The Sun the inside track on the taskforce could be a clever because it is always more difficult to slate something you are involved in.


Washed out

January 29th, 2009 § 0 comments § permalink


Iraq will not renew the licence of US security firm Blackwater, which was involved in an 2007 incident in which at least 14 civilians were killed.

Five former Blackwater guards have gone on trial in the United States over the killings in Baghdad.

They have pleaded not guilty to killing 14 Iraqi civilians and wounding 18 others by gunfire and grenades.

A US embassy official confirmed it had received the Iraqi decision, and said US officials were working with the Iraqi government and its contractors to address the “implications of this decision”.

Teeth needed

January 28th, 2009 § 0 comments § permalink

The Guardian:

The Press Complaints Commission is investigating a front-page story in the Sun newspaper that claimed Islamic extremists were targeting The Apprentice star Sir Alan Sugar.

The PCC has launched an investigation and will consider whether Abuislam is Jenvey. The regulator has contacted the Sun and is awaiting the paper’s response.

It is understood that the Sun story originated from a news agency.

The Sun declined to comment on why it had removed the story from its website.

Via Tim

2-0 to the atheists’

January 28th, 2009 § 2 comments § permalink

A pro-Christian advert that claims a vaccine to prevent cervical cancer in young women increases teenage infertility has been banned by the advertising watchdog.

Paid for by fundamentalist group Christian Voice, the advert in the New Statesman entitled, ‘Violent crime – sowing and reaping’, condemned government health policies, including giving a key cancer vaccine on the NHS, for focusing on curbing teenage pregnancy at the expense, the advert claimed, of teenage fertility.

“Every government initiative, including the HPV [Human papillomavirus] vaccine, will increase [teenage infertility], but as all the targets revolve around pregnancy, no-one in power knows how many young people they are making sterile and nobody cares”, it read.

But after receiving complaints that claims linking the HPV vaccine to teenage infertility could not be substantiated, the Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) ruled the advert broke advertising rules and could not be republished

Try making ads that have a modicom of truth in it, instead of reasoning like…

Mr Green, national director of Christian Voice, said the availability of the vaccine “encourages people to just keep on fornicating, increasing promiscuity”, which he claims will then lead to an increase in teenage infertility.

Erm. It’s a vaccine against cervical cancer. It is not a contraceptive. It doesn’t protect against the clap or crabs, or stop a baby from being made.
In light of this new information, what is your problem with this vaccine? Or is your problem with two people doing what comes natural?

Mr Green said the ruling against Christian Voice represented “double standards.”

“On matters of faith and morality the ASA seems to make up the rules as it goes along,” he said.

Oh, boo hoo! It’s so unfair!

Just because you’re paranoid…

January 28th, 2009 § 0 comments § permalink

Remember this?

The Fisher-Price Little Mommy Cuddle ‘n Coo is meant to make realistic baby sounds and occasionally cry out for its “mama”.

But some parents claim that one of its noises sounds just like “Islam is the Light”, and have complained to Mattel, which owns Fisher-Price.

Well, them eeeeviiil muslims must be desperate to turn young girls to the dark side cos they’re at it again, apparently

KNIGHTSVILLE, Ind. (WTHI) – Months ago, Rachel Jones was shocked to discover her 4-year-old’s baby doll seemed to have a hidden message: Islam is the light.

Imagine her surprise when a game for her 8-year-old daughter’s Nintendo DS had the same message.

Best start checking the spaces vacated by the Reds.

Eye Need

January 27th, 2009 § 0 comments § permalink

In the back of Private Eye…


Test Post

January 27th, 2009 § 0 comments § permalink

Quality journalism

January 27th, 2009 § 0 comments § permalink

Rebakah Wade speaking at the Cudlipp Lecture:

The quality of our journalism will make or break our industry, not the recession

If that’s the case, a few papers should expect to disappear soon, then.

Where am I?

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