Huffpo UK’s post, Douglas Murray free

Breivik: The Strange Silence of Right-Wing Bloggers by Charles Delalande

The horrific events of last week in Oslo were of course shocking: the raw facts of the carnage, particularly the targeting of children, sickening. But if we are honest, it’s shocking for a second reason: no-one expected it from a right-wing, self-proclaimed Christian conservative. A sad truth of modern life is that we expect these kinds of actions from militant Islam, but not from the radical right. And just as militant Islam has tried to hijack and distort a legitimate debate about how Islam and democracy inter-act, Anders Behring Breivik’s apparent act of mass murder has hijacked a legitimate discussion about how the West can balance its cherished freedoms with the diverse cultures of its multi-ethnic societies.

…Only a couple of months ago, Melanie Phillips was telling us that Western Elites were “dominated by the fellow-travellers of Islamo-fascism and genocidal Judeophobia“. Unsurprisingly she has condemned the massacre utterly. But isn’t a bit strange that someone who describes herself as “defending authentic liberal values against the attempt to destroy western culture from within” had nothing to say on this cataclysm, until goaded into it by a rival blogger? No matter, let’s see what The Spectator has to say, a magazine always ready to enter the debate on issues of terrorism, national security and cultural identity. It can’t be that they’re all on their summer holidays – the blogs are being updated with their usual regularity. No, it’s just that they’re focusing on more important things, such as measuring cuddles.

Whenever there is an act of terrorism perpetrated in the name of Islam, it promotes a legitimate discussion about the role of distorted Islamic ideology in radicalising the terrorists. It seems entirely appropriate that mainstream Muslim thinkers are encouraged to speak out against any ideology that might give succour to violent extremism. Difficult questions are sometimes asked about whether moderate Islam can be twisted to give justification for terrorist acts. So, should we not be expecting the same of mainstream conservative thinkers when someone has committed an act of terrorism in the name of Christian cultural conservatism? After all, we in the West cherish free speech and debate. So, come on guys, join in. Surely there’s nothing to hide?

The Spectator has been in contact with us in response to this blog and challenges the author based on the following articles:

http://www.spectator.co.uk/nickcohen/7119058/conspiracy-theories-kill.thtml

http://www.spectator.co.uk/coffeehouse/7117393/bomb-blastnear-the-norwegian-prime-ministers-office.thtml

http://www.spectator.co.uk/coffeehouse/7129123/breivik-and-the-right.thtml

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They just don’t get it: Clarkson

I posted this week on the spectre of nationalism (and the inherent pseudo xenophobic racism) which erupts now and again throughout Europe, highlighting that, even after the Second World War and the millions of dead, not much has changed, and a vein of intolerance, based around nationality, religion, and, yes, colour, continues to thump, thump, thump under the surface of continental, right-wing cultures, not out-of-place in 1930’s Berlin.

This month, we’re looking at some of the people who contribute, in some way or another, to this ideology of intolerance.

Let’s have a look at some crap from people who live in this Little England:

Jeremy Clarkson:

When I was their age it was crystal clear. Newspapers would report: “Fog in the Channel: Europe cut off.” Peter Ustinov would arrive at JFK airport and, having studied the signs saying “US citizens” and “Aliens”, he’d ask a security guard where the British should go. We were separate, different, better.

Reminding ourselves that Peter Ustinov, the quoted epitome of Britishness, the same Peter Alexander Baron von Ustinow, was son of a German father and Russian mother, with a fair distribution of Ethiopian, French and Italian ancestry. Not that I’m disputing his nationality, because, IT DOESN’T MATTER, but be mindful of the people you use to demonstrate Britishness, given that Ustinov was clearly just say British (It helps that his German father was a spy for MI5.)

We had saved the world from tyranny so often we’d lost count; 

Was that because the British Empire, the largest empire humanity had ever seen, which encompassed entire continents at various times in its history, was less than tolerant of other powers within its borders, and our governor’s ruled like tyrants in North America, Africa, Australia, India etc, thereby removing the functionality of other tyrants?

We were defined by our brilliance, our superiority, our technical know-how.

Of course, in the same that if I travelled back to Victorian London with a fully charged iPod, I would be defined by my iPod. The Industrial Revolution started in Britain, and, therefore, and obviously, defined us. It wasn’t as if the rest of the world, from the 16th to 19th century, had everything we did, but thought, ‘Wow, the British rock this better than we do’

Empire? When I was at school, teachers spoke with pride about how a little island in the north Atlantic turned a quarter of the world pink, but now all teachers talk about is the slave trade and how we must hang our heads in shame.

I forgot Jeremy left school last month, and has such close grasp of the current history curriculum. Aside from this, the problem with boasting about ‘turning a quarter of the world pink‘, was that it was mostly at the expense, and exploitation, of native cultures.

I believe people need to feel like they’re part of a gang, part of a tribe. And I also believe we need to feel pride in our gang.

This demonstrates what bolsters nationalism: tribes, historically, fought one another, not just for survival, but supremacy, revealing a modern undercurrent of militarism, and a pride in the days of militaristic glory, the kind that Prussian monarchs would have exuded. Whenever Britain is glorified, it usually includes something related to the second world war. Britain has never been a militaristic nation. That’s why people find it hard to swallow when moron’s bleat on about ‘Rule Britannia’. The likes of Clarkson remind me of WWI veteran general’s, who never fought, but sipped brandy, trying to remember the glorious battles.

This is the only country in the world where the national flag is deemed offensive. 

Yes, because, the likes of the EDL and BNP, believing in the kind of tripe Clarkson does, saw a niche in quiet, calm, ‘Britishness’, and perverted the flag. We never had a reason to flutter the flag at our front doors; not because we had nothing to be proud of, but simply because we didn’t see the need to, in the same way I don’t need to walk around with a placard saying ‘I’m Gay’, because I’m neither proud, nor ashamed. I just am. In the same way I am just British. I just am. It’s an attempt to identify with our tribalism, and hark back to militaristic glory, and, usually, challenging someone to say/do something contrary.

I sometimes get the impression Kate McCann is being hounded precisely because she has a stiff upper lip.

I don’t think it is, Jeremy.

Today disabled people get a statue in Trafalgar Square just because they got pregnant.

Again, I don’t think that was quite why. I think it was more because of its artistic and critical challenge, and not a commentary on  the success of someone’s fertility. That’s just an uneducated guess.

Cowardice is the new bravery.

Is Clarkson actually a Klingon Viking? Are we all to aspire to an honourable death in battle?

I want to end with a question. It’s addressed to all the equal opportunity, human rights, diet carbon, back room, bleeding heart liberals who advise the government: “I am English. Why is that a good thing?”

Not for the reasons you think, Jez.

FCKH8

Melanie Phillips, you’re going to FCKing H8 this

The Indy’s front page tomorrow


What do you call a gun with smoke coming out of it? Answer: The fall of Piers Morgan

With it being reported on twitter and on forbes.com that Westminster watcher Paul Staines a.k.a Guido Fawkes, has a recording of Piers ‘The Gormless Anchor’ Morgan authorising the payment to a third-party for hacked voicemail information, despite his protests to the contrary, it appears that the CNN host is about to be in deep and very hot water.

This, at a time when the Mirror Group is denying any involvement in phone hacking, its shares falling, and the likelihood that the paper will follow the News of the World as the newest addition to the tabloid bin, should it be proven that journo’s did have anything to do with dodgy information gathering, and the lack of Murdochian pay-off funds.

He’s alive!!!

So, Johann Hari is actually alive, tweeting

The Independent has asked me not to make any public comment until its inquiry has reported in September.

At 18.16.

 

From The Jewish Chronicle

Controversial right-wing pundit Glenn Beck has compared the victims of the Norway massacre to members of the Hitler Youth in the 1920s and 1930s.

Mr Beck, who last year was criticised for suggesting Holocaust survivor George Soros collaborated with the Nazis, made the comments on his popular radio programme.

He noted that the attacker had targeted young and engaged members of the Norwegian Labour party as they attended an annual summer retreat.

“It sounds a little like the Hitler Youth,” he said. “I mean who sends their kids to a political camp?”.

At its peak, the Hitler Youth had some eight million members. Established in 1922, it served as a training point for young Germans, who were taught ideas of Aryan supremacy at weekly meetings, larger rallies and schools set up for the purpose.

Although many joined voluntarily, it remains a subject of debate as to how many were conscripted against their wishes.

Pope Benedict, who was 12 when the Second World War began, was technically a member, but always denied that he chose to join it.

Mr Beck’s comments were criticised as “a new low” by Torbjorn Eriksen, a former spokesman for Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg.

By Melanie Phillips

On her blog, July 25

A concerned reader has sent me a post by Sunny Hundal on the Liberal Conspiracy blog.  Hundal brings us what he clearly considers to be the most important news about the Norwegian atrocity. This is that, in the ‘manifesto’ reportedly published by the terrorist suspect Anders Behring Breivik, two of my articles are quoted.

Golly. Is Hundal suggesting that my writing provoked the mass murder of some 93 Norwegians?  Doubtless with one eye on the law of libel, he piously avers:

…there is no suggestion that his actions were inspired by Melanie Phillips, nor am I making that claim.

Yet apart from a glancing reference to Jeremy Clarkson, whose remark about the flag of St George is also cited in this ‘manifesto’, I am the only person to whom Hundal refers to in this blog post, quoting at some length both my article and Breivik’s comments on it. He therefore gives the impression that I play a major role in this supposed ‘manifesto’, which he describes as warning of the ‘Islamic colonisation of western Europe’.

But in fact, there are only two references to me or my work in its 1500 pages. Those references are to two articles by me published in the Daily Mail, a mainstream British paper — one on mass fatherlessness in Britain, and the other on the revelation by a former civil servant of a covert Labour government policy of mass immigration into Britain. There is no reference whatever to my writing on Islamisation.

Not only that, Breivik name-checks a vast number of mainstream writers and thinkers, including Bernard Lewis, Roger Scruton, Ibn Warraq, Mark Steyn, Theodore Dalrymple, Daniel Hannan, Diana West, Lars Hedegaard, Frank Field, Nicolas Soames, Keith Windschuttle, Edmund Burke, John Locke, Thomas Jefferson, Friedrich Hayek, Winston Churchill, Mahatma Ghandi, George Orwell and many others; indeed, it’s a roll call of western thinking and beyond, past and present.

So why doesn’t Hundal refer to any of these people who have also been thus name-checked? Why has he singled me out in this way? It looks like yet another crude attempt to smear me by a writer who has long displayed an unhealthy obsession with my work (see here andhere  and here for example).

The supposed beliefs of the Norway massacre’s perpetrator has got the left in general wetting itself in delirium at this apparently heaven-sent opportunity to take down those who fight for life, liberty and western civilisation against those who would destroy it. On Twitter and the net and in the liberal media, the forces of spite, malice and venom have been unleashed in a terrifying display of irrationality.

After all, we don’t even know yet whether Breivik acted alone. We don’t know whether this ‘manifesto’ was indeed written by him or indeed what it is: as Mark Steyn observes here, it reads like as weird kind of cut-and-paste job. If it is indeed the work of a psychopath, it doesn’t bear examination for a single minute.  And yet the words of a deranged individual are being cited by people like Hundal who are taking them entirely seriously. Since when did people ever use the ravings of a madman in public debate? As Steyn writes:

…when a Norwegian man is citing Locke and Burke as a prelude to gunning down dozens of Norwegian teenagers, he is lost in his own psychoses. Free societies can survive the occasional Breivik. If Norway responds to this as the left appears to wish, by shriveling even further the bounds of public discourse, freedom will have a tougher time.

Already, through the selective and distorted use of this document and the amplification of such malevolence through Twitter and the net, a blood-lust is building. Thus I am receiving emails such as one from Carsten T Holst-Lyngaard who says:

I congratulate you on your part in the Norway massacre;

or this from Taper Collins:

blood on your hands. hope you’re happy with the effects of your anti-everyone vitriol. abhorrent.

Breivik may be one unhinged psychopath – but what is now erupting as a result of the Norway atrocity is the frenzy of a western culture that has lost its mind.

By Flying Rodent

On Liberal Conspiracy, July 26, 9:02 am

Melanie Phillips and the gaggle of paranoids that make up the internet’s nutty ‘Counter-Jihad’ movement are loudly insisting that they don’t advocate acts of violence or terrorism.

For now, let’s assume that’s true and move on from there.

What, exactly, do they imagine it is that they are advocating?

I ask because the message they’ve been sending out loud and clear is that Europe is under threat of imminent enslavement, and quite possibly genocide, at the hands of a sinister cabal of Marxist fifth-columnists in cahoots with one of our largest ethnic minority groups, the latter of which they portray as irrevocably violent and totalitarian.

Unsurprisingly, they’re stridently in favour of “resisting” this theoretical dictatorship.

That being the case, what kind of “resistance” do they expect the urgent threat of Nazi-Commie-Jihadist European domination to inspire in their readership? A sudden upsurge in the creation of idiot blogs?

It isn’t good enough to pimp this fearmongering lunacy then disown the crazy actions of your ideological stablemates.

If your message amounts to this:
“I’m not saying that we need to take up arms in extreme violence against our compatriots or viciously repress our nations’ ethnic minorities.  I’m just saying that inaction will inevitably lead to the total destruction of the western way of life and the enslavement of our loved ones at the hands of a foreign invader whose motivations are entirely alien and malign.  But I’m definitely not urging violence in the face of certain genocide”.

…What is it that you want your readers to take away from your work?

There are plenty of calls for calm around, with reasonable people counselling against linking one man’s horrific crimes to the deranged views he espouses, those being a half-baked political analysis that has been festering on the internet and even in the pages of the mainstream right wing press such as the Mail and the Spectator for years.

I disagree. I think that now, more than ever, fingers need to be pointed squarely at those who have been disseminating this poisonous cack, and searching questions need to be asked.

First up – What the fuck did you think you were doing?

Breivik, and Europe’s perennial problem

As the number of victims of terrorist Anders Behring Breivik, and his actions last week in Norway, is revised to 76, more details are emerging of his motivation for the atrocities.

This morning, his lawyer claimed Breivik was insane. This much is obvious.

Breivik, the knight and face of residual European fascism

One of the reasons Breivik’s case is going to be held in closed session, aside for reasons of his own safety, is that, in fact, Breivik has already stated his case.

His manifesto, ‘2083-A European Declaration of Independence‘, contains various sections and articles, one of which is the behaviour of his followers, or Justiciar Knights, when apprehended and arraigned for the acts of terrorism, and the manner in which to address prosecutors and the court:

We, the PCCTS, Knights Templar and the Justiciar Knights of Europe and this country, have dedicated our lives to defend and sacrifice ourselves for the freedom of our people, our culture, Christendom and our nation

The closed session clearly removes the ability for Breivik to further spread his beliefs, and encourage further such terrorist acts by similar minded citizens, especially given his claims of international cells.

Breivik’s actions were apparently motivated by the supposed Islamization of Europe, believing that western governments are promoting Islam, revising history to this effect, and indoctrinating youth, through the Church and educational establishments.

Of course, as usually occurs in nationalist/xenophobic literature, is the distortion of facts, spun into perverted beliefs, usually wrapped up in a completely stupid argument:

A lot of people believe today that Christianity still is and was as evil as Islam?! I can attest to the fact that this is absolutely incorrect. Jihadi motivated killings, torture and enslavement count for more than 10 times as Christian motivated killings. However, the politically correct Western establishments want us to think otherwise

Or, maybe, this little chestnut of nonsense from Breivik’s manifesto:

I believe people need to feel like they’re part of a gang, part of a tribe. And I also believe we need to feel pride in our gang…if you say you are a patriot, men with beards and sandals will come round your house in the night and daub…slogans on your front door

(However, what is surprising is that the last quote didn’t just come from the fascist, murdering terrorist’s document, it also came from a publication much closer to home: The Times, and, a member of the Chippington Norton-set, the middle-aged-man’s-homo-erotic-mid-life-crisis-in-human-form, Top Gear‘s Jeremy Clarkson, in an article titled ‘We’ve been robbed of our Englishness‘. And, I’m sure Melanie Phillips of the Daily Mail, didn’t mean for her comments to be quoted so fully. Like Sunny Hundal, I don’t claim that Breivik’s actions were inspired by Phillips, or Clarkson, or Churchill, Gandhi, Orwell, and all the others he quotes.)

What Breivik’s actions demonstrate is that the spectre of nationalism, in all it’s racist, xenophobic, and fascist ‘glory’, is ever-present on the European Continent, and continues to haunt democracy, tolerance and equality. This time, it claimed the lives of 76 people, as though 78 million was not enough.

As if Europe could somehow forget the trouble (‘trouble’, in this context, being an understatement for murder, rape, extermination, genocide etc) that ensues when you support nationalist policies, we see far right xenophobes gaining power in Sweden, the Netherlands, Finland, Denmark, France, and, of course, Germany. Only this month, the remains of Rudolf Hess were exhumed and cremated to prevent pilgrimages from Neo Nazi’s.

A disturbing revelation from Breivik also, is of his apparent connections to the English Defence League, though this is denied. Of course.

What is some what comforting, is that our own home-grown racist bigots, of the white and pseudo Christian variety, have neither the deeply dangerous intelligence, nor the funds, to mimic Breivik, and usually are undone by a few pints and a football match.

Harry Potter and the Finally Fulfilled Promise?

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

Image via Wikipedia

My post from February 2011…

Ok, so this isn’t a review of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 by Warner Bros, given that Part 2 is scheduled for release this summer, and would be rather lacking in punctuality, but I was inspired after listening to Mark Kermode’s review of the latest installment, and the ensuing historic battle of books vs movies, and, hold on to your Sorting Hats, the phenomena that there are sections of our society who have never read the books, but very much like the movie franchise, having never read the books. I admit, there are more shocking things in life, but, I’ll juggle those balls another time. Beware, spoilers this way come…

I, myself, am a born-again-Harry-Potter-book-fan.

I first encountered the wizarding world on dvd, with The Philosopher’s Stone in 2001, and my visits thereafter followed the same route…screen only. Until, that is,The Goblet of Fire came along, and, WOW, I was hooked, and sought out my Rowling literary fix. Fairly or unfairly, I followed the general rule, and dismissed the first two books, believing the films to have covered all the bases and given an adequate introduction (a position I still maintain, having now read those books).

Now, as we approach the finale, and I let out the occasional squeak whenever I think about how the Battle of Hogwarts shall be rendered, I want to address some of my own issues with the books vs the movies debate.

In the book corner, my favourites are the last four, and the movie roll call is much the same, save for…Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince

This book was, by far, my favourite, and, as opposed to the overall reception, the movie was by far, the most disappointing.

Having come to the glorious literary bosom of J K Rowling via the films, and the belief in the superiority of the novels, I appreciate the impact and general fidelity of the films, which is what makes me also believe that The Half Blood Prince is a cinematic Jezebel – the fact that the positive reception is due, on the whole, to the on-screen performances and visual effects, the film utterly betrayed me as a ‘bookie’ so much was removed, so much background and set ups for the final installments, which is why HPMOFs (Harry Potter Movie Only Fans) have problems in following the new on-screen details, and don’t appreciate the lack thereof in the last movie.

If The Half Blood Prince had been an act in two parts, the final outing would have been set up much better – I agree, the performances were fantastic (save for Bonnie Wright’s Ginny, and the excruciating “shoelace” moment), as were the visuals, which, admittedly, the franchise does so well, and were the initial reason I picked up the books.

So, maybe the problem lies not on the screen, but, behind the camera.

No doubt, David Yate’s directorial rendering has been very good, but he, and Steve Kloves (the franchise’s scriptwriter, save for The Goblet of Fire), definitely screwed the pooch on this one – the guts of the book were lost in translation. In both mediums, there is a great deal of exposition. The difference is, the book has more dialogue and less action than earlier editions, and the film adaptation has less action, and the WRONG dialogue eg. all the ‘won, won’s’, and love potion indulgence vs Marvolo Riddle’s revelations.

Over 600 pages of content and background were clumsily crushed into the last 40 minutes – plus, the obligatory quidditch scenes. Personally, I would have happily traded Ron not getting spiked and discovering his inner strength, to see the Riddles’ home, Snape’s romantic obsession, the importance of Volde’s snake Nagini, or even Aunt Petunia as a kid, all of which are important in the ensuing installment.

There seems to be some debate about the decision to split the final film, but, clearly, it should be because someone (Warner Bros, Yates, Kloves etc) dropped the ball in the last film. I know that’s wishful thinking, because I actually agree with some that it’s about money, but, hopefully, The Deathly Hallows: Part 2 will fulfill the promise of the first half, and be just as enthralling, and finish with such a deafening crescendo as each of the books did, I for one can’t wait to find out.

Andy Hayman, the Grand Guffaw of the Murdoch Empire

Out of the mire that is the ‘Phone Hacking Scandal’, one of the people who have proven to be the Jar Jar Binks of this saga, is Andy Hayman, former Met Police Assistant Commissioner.

His outstanding performance before the Home Affairs Select Committee this week demonstrated beyond all doubt the reason why this buffoon is a ‘dodgy geezer’.

Can I just draw your attention to Andy Binks’ response to the question of whether he had ever taken a bribe: ‘I can’t believe you suggested that!’ Why can’t he believe that? Given the circumstances…

Mr. Hayman resigned in 2007 following dodgy email and text in a very dodgy context, dodgy expenses, following accusations of a dodgy inquiry into dodgy copper Ali Dezaei, dodgy handling of the investigation of the Stockwell Tube Shooting of an innocent man, a dodgy investigation into phone hacking at the News of the World, then, while leading the investigation, a dodgy dinner meeting with the people he was investigating, and he now WRITES AS A COLUMNIST for The Times (Murdoch owned, of course).

Andy Hayman, it has nothing to do with your accent, the reason you were referred to as a dodgy geezer, is..BECAUSE YOUR A DODGY GEEZER.

He said he would eat his words if there were any new evidence in the Hacking cases…well, I fear the upcoming inquiries may very well serve up a nice plate of deep-fried corrupt-must-be-pursued-without-favour-or-fear, with a side order of regardless-of-the-repercussions wontons.

Enjoy Andy! because, I’m looking forward to you being roasted and shish kebabed!

Manifestations Of Mind

The team leader, demonstrating to the team how you abuse someone, this technique involves the use of a chair to pin the vulnerable adult, in this case Simone, and the application of foot to hand.

Last month, BBC’s Panorama programme, Undercover Care-The Abuse Exposed, explosively provided not only an insight, but literal window, into some of the abuses that can take place in the UK care system.

From waterboarding to a knee in the throat, from prompting suicide, to slapping someone in the face, the actions of a wide group of support workers at Bristol’s Winterbourne View care home, Castlebeck’s unit for people with learning disabilities, and the failure of the regulator, the Care Quality Commission, to act on information provided by whistleblowers, demonstrated to a shocked and disgusted nation the ‘standards of care’ currently stalking the corridors of these 21st Century Bedlams.

To date, 13 have been suspended, and nine have been arrested and bailed, and Castlebeck have apologised. As has the CQC, and the Government has not ruled out a public inquiry.

What has been exposed demonstrates the need for the largest overhaul of the care system, and the services provided to people with special needs, to date. I am addressing the concerns for this group specifically, as anyone with any experience, will understand, ‘one size does not fit all’.

I must start by declaring an interest: I am a support worker with adults who have autism, aspergers and other complex needs . I also have a younger brother, who uses non-residential care services. This provides a rather dynamic view, and approach, to the work I do, the standards I apply to myself (as well as those which regulate my profession), and, just as importantly, the standards of my colleagues, and, my employer. This doesn’t mean I think I’m some sort of one man justice league or Six Billion Dollar Support Worker; it’s my job.

Blogger, mental health author and former nurse, Connor Kinsella, writing in his blog about the state of care, and the evolution of the system from the asylums of the early 19th Century, asks,

Has anything changed, and what other reasons are behind such appalling abuses?

Well, money matters

Castlebeck, the provider at the centre of the abuse scandal, is ultimately owned by Swiss based Lydian Capital Partners, an independent private equity fund which

invests in market leading businesses in order to achieve long term capital growth (The webpage this was retrieved from, strangely, is no longer accessible, along with contact details. Hmmm)

It counts amongst its senior team Irish tycoons and entrepreneurs JP McManus, John Magnier, and Dennis Brosnan, as well as home-grown businessman Mike Parsons.

This group has investments, and ownership, in numerous service providers, including Cygnet Healthcare (a secure mental health care provision), Wellness Foods, and Barchester Healthcare, about to become the third largest private social care provider, assuming it consumes the failing Southern Cross.

What we must ask, armed with this information, is this: is being rich a good enough qualification to be operating a care provider?

the business is supported by strong future demand based on the demographics of the UK population, the long-term growth in older population and rising affluence continue to offer opportunities for investment in the sector (from the financial report of one of Lydian’s businesses)

I mentioned evolution of the care sector. It would appear that funding care has, sadly, yet to grow a thumb, as the problems, moral and ethical, were noted by John Connolly, resident physician at the Middlesex County Asylum in 1830, when he wrote:

care…being generally lucrative…the prospect of certain profit allures some capable of no feeling but a desire for wealth

Of course, this case brings to light more than just the question of private vs public care. I disregard the argument that if carers were paid more these abuses would never take place. What this argument means, is, if the pay was better, it would attract better people. No, it wouldn’t, unless providers ensure better recruitment practises.

Recruitment, training, care

Imagine, you struggle to understand the world and communicate. You don’t understand why you have to get dressed, what the green light at the crossings means, or what people are saying to you, you can’t tell others you need to go to the toilet, or understand and explain why, when you have to go in the bath, it upsets you, or even makes you angry. You need someone who is going to be your champion, your voice, your comforter, your translator, your support. Someone who understands you.

The right people must always be recruited. How do you know who are the right people, I hear you ask. Well, the CRB check is a start…at least they’re not on ‘the register’. Then, maybe, just maybe, there should be say, a qualification? Should this be combined with some experience? Of course!

Care is a vocation, not a professional half way house. A lot of support workers have come from a background totally unrelated to care, usually due to unforseen circumstances, and without any intention. I was a retail manager before I was made redundant several years ago. However, it was that job that was the half way house for me. Social work was where I was headed in college, but, circumstances change. I’m now in the sector I felt I needed to be in.  I wish I had qualified in my social care studies, to back up my own personal experiences of care, before I’d started, a situation I’m rectifying with my employer’s assistance. Thankfully, a lot of providers do train their staff to the highest standards. Some offer degree courses, alongside their work based learning. This is great. But, these qualifications and experiences should be gained before you’re expected to put your arm around someone to comfort them when they’re upset, or, as sometimes happens, redirect and talk someone down when they want to jump out of second story window. As Panorama showed, Wayne would have been discovered long before he entered Winterbourne and terrorized its residents had this been the case.

Sadly, other factors affect the standard of care in residential units like this. On a Facebook group set up shortly after the abuses were shown on BBC, someone asked

How did they employ so many like that in one place? Did they get each other the jobs or what?

A very pertinent question. Sadly, it’s true. Best friends, husbands and wives, fathers, sons, mothers, daughters, sometimes whole families, all working under the same roof, with the same group of service users. This doesn’t mean that all such people are ‘bad’ or going to do something ‘bad’, or, would refuse to report something ‘bad’, but, imagine you work in a care home, as does your daughter, and your daughter pokes a service user in the eye, or, throws them in the shower, fully clothed, to cool them off because, they got angry when she poked them in the eye? What would you do? Of course you would speak up…or would you? What happens to family life, after you daughter looses her job, and is barred from working in care again, or, is imprisoned for her abuses? Or, your autistic son tells you he’s been hit by his carer. When you ask who saw it, the only other person there, the only other witness was the carer’s uncle? These are a desperate situations, surely ones which no one should ever face.

Firstly, and most importantly, because abuse should never take place, but secondly, because responsible care providers should act with some propriety and professionalism. Protecting vulnerable adults is ensuring their safety, at all times.

What’s just as disturbing, is care providers who don’t foresee such problems, and who, in fact, incentivize the employment of friends and relatives, and thus create a closed shop culture, in which instances of abuse or neglect are allowed to go unreported.

Earn £250 simply by referring a friend to work for any…home, contact your home manager (A message featured on a carer’s payslip)

The response ‘You know what kind of person you’re taking on if they’re sponsored by an existing employee’ is a very poor one. You can’t know everything about someone’s character, even your family’s, especially how they would react to strange and difficult situations. What if your care assistant son was punched by a client with mental health issues, who thinks they are a character from Star Wars, and he retaliated, punching them back, or pinning them to the floor with a chair, and you, their team leader, saw it?

Come off it. It’s a untenable situation.

Risk assessments are a major feature in care planning, but, it usually focuses on the use of lifts, crossing the road, the administration of medication etc. Surely, risks should be evident in the employment of friends and relatives.

This also makes a mockery of whistleblower procedures. Most services provide their employees with the basic, statutory protection under whistleblower laws, but, without the foresight to considers situations where, having reported the malpractices of carer A, an employee is left to work alongside their husband, carer B, who’s less than happy at what you did. What would you do? My advice: without hesitation, speak up, and weather the storm. Afterall, it’s someone’s life. But, some don’t for fear of retribution and revenge, and this will continue to happen, unless prevented by adequate statutory provisions, robust policies, and their application by fearlessly professional employees, from the top down.

Terry Bryan, myself, and all the other people who actually care, will keep on fighting, speaking up, and being a voice for those that have none. We’ll continue to laugh, sing, joke, explain and support. Not because we’re angels, or heroes, or anything like that. Simply because we care.

What all of this highlights, in an admittedly very poor way, is that NOT A LOT OF CARING IS GOING ON. There are too many self-interested people in the sector, where there’s an awful lot of money to be had by cutting corners and turning a blind eye, while the most vulnerable in our society undergo waterboarding, get kicked, slapped and punched.

This needs to stop. Things must change. Now.

What’s left of the Left

On your marks–get set.., GO! The ‘March For The Alternative’ is in full swing. Tens of thousands have descended on London to protest the coalition government’s plans to cut public services.

The intent is to

…give a national voice to all those affected by the cuts…show that people reject the argument that there is no alternative.

In the run up, the long run up, I’ve been bombarded with several tree’s worth of literature from my union, urging me to take part. I haven’t. Because, I’m not sure were my position is. I’m not sure I want to back my union, and the rest of the Trades Union Congress. Because, I’m not entirely sure of their motives.

Don’t get me wrong, I HATE the Tories being in any way, shape, or form, in control of my past, present, or future, and UTTERLY DETEST the Jellied Eels, sorry, Lib Dems.

However, what I also dislike, as does the Chief Medical Officer, is fat people getting fatter; The fat people in this case being public sector workers and, to some extent, union bureaucrats.

I don’t need to catalogue the failures and problems of the Coalition. Their problems are omnipresent. What is annoying me is the hypocrisy of the public sector.

It seems public sector workers have basically dropped a bollock at the thought of their pay being cut, or their pensions being touched.

‘We’re all in this together’ is the phrase that has been most abused since this government came to power, but if I have little in common with the Bullingdon Club, and the cabinet millionaires, I likewise have little in common with the public sector, and, in fact, the cause of the TUC.

Today’s march will no more achieve its goals than the marchers did before the Iraq War (though, it was an exciting day out, but did spoil my trip up to Trafalgar Square).

However, what I do agree with, wholly support, and wish I was there to participate in, is the actions of UKUncut.

As I’m writing, the group, formed in October 2010, is currently occupying Fortnum & Mason’s.

We are going to have to endure a period where there is not going to be much money floating, but we must ensure that what is there, is spent correctly, and money that should be there, just like Fortnum’s £10million, Vodaphone’s £6billion, Tesco’s £90million, is collected



LIVING ON A BUDGET

Well, George ‘Porgey’ Osborne, has delivered his second Budget as Chancellor of the Exchequer; the second of the Coalition Government.

There doesn’t seem to be any highlights, which was to be expected, I suppose, during these apparent times of austerity. Austerity being relative, of course.

What I did want to point out amongst all of this bluster (and there will be bluster, but, not here as there’s a chance I may develop Carpal Tunnel syndrome if I were to list the issues arising from this new ingredient in the soup of nonsense), is something we should all bear in mind…the people making all of these decisions are not all, as good ol’ Porgey puts it, in this together.

Let’s remember that 23 of the 29 members of the Con Dem government are millionaires, with Lord Strathclyde (£10million) topping the list. Two have made their fortunes from direct involvement in the banks (one of them ACTUALLY with RBS),  four made it from their City investments, and three married wealthy heiresses (heiress being the operative word for daughters of Baronets). And, just to throw this into the mix, David Cameron and his wife are descendents of Royalty…not it that makes a difference to talent, and hard work of course…)