Rounding Up The Peasants

There are many things in life that piss me off and that, in some respects, is a good thing because things that piss me off are a constant source of inspiration for things to write about on this blog.

I will freely admit to having many pet hates and something of misanthropic streak which surfaces from time to time, almost always in the face of hypocrisy, wilful ignorance and crass stupidity for which I have a very low tolerance threshold, particularly in people who hold public office and/or positions of authority and even more so when their trenchant hypocrisy, ignorance or stupidity, or any combination thereof, leads them to abuse their position.

That’s why I have ‘issues’ with Nadine Dorries and her attempt to restrict access to abortion services. Its not simply that we have a difference of opinion over a matter of public policy but that, in order to pursue her campaign, she has resorted to lies, misrepresentations, fabrications, the abuse of evidence and outright bullshit and its that that pisses me off and marks both her and her campaign out as being amongst the most disreputable abuses of public office I’ve seen in a very long time.

The same could equally be said of John Hemming, the MP for Birmingham Yardley and his so-called ‘Justice for Families‘ campaign, which amounts to little more that a vehicle for John to pursue an overwrought personal vendetta against social workers, family courts and the entire statutory child protection system because a social worker had the temerity to interview his then pregnant mistress after she disclosed to her GP that she had failed to register a stillbirth she had at the age of 17.

Hemming, at the time, accused the social worker who interviewed his mistress, Emily Cox, of acting ‘”like the Gestapo’ and issued a writ claiming damages of £300,000 which claimed that ‘the family’ had been “defamed, tortured and assaulted”, a writ that subsequently disappeared off the face of the earth without seemingly getting within whining distance of a court, none of which will comes as any great surprise to anyone who’s aware of the uniformly low opinion that Hemming engenders in members of the legal profession whenever he appears before them.

Brian Mawrey QC, who sat as judge in the Election Court hearing into ballot-stuffing in Birmingham in 2005 described Hemmings contribution to the case as follows:

“His evidence was largely inadmissible hearsay. He possesses an inability to give a straight answer to a straight question which would be the envy of a national politician appearing on the Today programme.”

More recently, Lord Justice Nicholas Wall, sitting in the Court of Appeal, described Hemming’s contribution to a case in which he attempted to challenge the actions of the Official Solicitor in an adoption case as ‘not only unacceptable but shocking’.

During this hearing, and without producing any evidence to substantiate his allegations, Hemming accused a psychologist who assessed the competence of the appellant – an appellabt who, from the evidence presented in court, has an effective IQ of between 55 and 70 – of being in the pay of the Local Authority and acting out of bias and under a conflict of interest, prompting Lord Justice Wall to assert that…

124. Even more unarguable – indeed it is outrageous – is Mr Hemming’s allegation that HJ [the psychologist] was the paid expert of the local authority. She was nothing of the kind. Such an allegation is not only without any evidential foundation of any kind: it is plainly contradicted by the evidence.

Not to mention libellous were it not for the fact that Hemming made these accusations in court, which makes them privileged.

125. Mr. Hemming’s allegation that HJ is part of an “evil” system only warrants comment because it comes from a Member of Parliament, and thus from a person in a responsible public position whom one ought to be able to trust only to make serious accusations when they are based on evidence. I am astonished that somebody in Mr. Hemming’s position should have seen fit to put such a disgraceful allegation into the public domain. I reject it unreservedly.

In regards to an allegation that case files had been tampered with, Lord Justice Wall commented that:

It is a profoundly serious allegation. However, it is one for which, in my judgement, there is absolutely no evidence. The only query is the mistaken date on the typed attendance note.

Added this observation on Hemming’s conduct…

88. I find it not only unacceptable but shocking, that a man in Mr Hemming’s position should feel able to make so serious an allegation without any evidence to support it. In my judgment, it is irresponsible and an abuse of his position. Unfortunately, as other aspects of this judgment will make clear, it is not the only part of the case in which Mr Hemming has been willing to scatter unfounded allegations of professional impropriety and malpractice without any evidence to support them.

And if that were not enough of an indictment of Hemming’s conduct, Lord Justice Wall saved the best for last…

As to Mr. Hemming, my judgment is that his self-imposed role as a critic of the family justice system is gravely damaged, and speaking for myself I will not be persuaded to take seriously any criticism made by him in the future unless it is corroborated by reliable, independent evidence.

Hemming is a Member of Parliament and yet here we have a Lord Justice of Appeal, a judge whose position and status within the judiciary is exceeded only by the Lords of Appeal in Ordinary (Law Lords) and by the Lord Chancellor, Lord Chief Justice and Master of the Rolls, stating clearly and unequivocally that Hemming’s opinions cannot be trusted unless they are supported by reliable, independent evidence.

However, as it turns out, even when Hemming does get his hands on reliable, independent evidence, his opinions and his interpretation of that evidence cannot be relied upon, as he demonstrates here:

We can then look at the figures as to what happens to babies taken into care at birth. If anyone wants the full spreadsheet for 2004,2005 and 2006 they should email me and I will send it. If a lot of people ask I will publish it.

However, I have the figures (from DCSF) for source and destination by age of child. In other words I have the figures for the number of newborns (0-7 days) taken into care in England in each of those years and what had happened by 2007…

…In each case fewer than 1/5 of newborn babies return to their mothers. I have expressed it as the situation where if mother stays then you have to toss a coin twice and get heads both times to keep your baby. The chances are, in fact, worse than that.

You can see Hemming’s figures for yourself – in full – here and what you’ll find are tables for 2004, 5 & 6 showing the numbers of children ‘taken’ into care for the first time (with breakdowns by age) and their outcome as of the end of 2007, whether they remained in the system in foster care, care homes or having been placed for adoption, or had left the system after being returned to their parents, or adopted, or for one of several other reasons… and yes, on average, less than one in five newborn babies who enter the care system eventually return to their parents as do only one in four who enter the system under one year of age.

All of which tells us nothing of value because nowhere in Hemming’s data is there any information on precisely why these children are entering the care system – the data comes from Local Authority SSDA903 returns which provide information on ‘looked after children’, the legal definition of which is any child who

is provided with accommodation, for a continuous period of more than 24 hours, [Children Act 1989 Section 20 and 21], or is subject to a care order [Children Act 1989 Part IV]

So while this includes children going into care under a care order or a police protection order, it also covers those taken into care under a voluntary agreement between the parent(s) and the Local Authority and those who are voluntarily placed for adoption, where the Local Authority is acting as the adoption agency.

And yet, on the strength of this ‘evidence’ Hemming goes on to assert that ‘the statistics above demonstrate that Emigration should be considered [to avoid the possibility of having a child taken into care]’ even though, at best, these statistics are meaningless, because they fail to distinguish between those children who are voluntarily placed in care and those who go into care under a police protection or care order while, at worst, they, and the ‘advice’ offered by Hemming, is misleading, tendentious and potentially dangerous.

The back-story here is a case that found its way onto the pages of the Daily Mail in which a pregnant young woman has ’emigrated’ to the Irish Republic because she fears that she may have her baby taken into care by her local social services department if she gives birth in the UK.

A mother-to-be has fled to Ireland because she fears social services are planning to seize her newborn child and have it adopted.

Sam Thomas, 19, left Britain alone, despite being heavily pregnant.

She discovered that her social worker had told the local hospital not to let her leave the maternity ward with her child – a girl – without social services being involved.

As for why social services has taken an interest in this young woman, the article goes on to note that…

Miss Thomas accepts that she has harmed herself and taken an overdose in the past, but insists she has not been troubled by problems related to depression for two years.

Yet council documents show her past difficulties are still considered serious.

And I should bloody well hope so…

Published estimates for the prevalence of post natal depression vary considerably due to differences in research methodology, so the best we can say for certain is that it can affect anything from 5% to 25% of new mothers. That said, a considerable amount of work has also gone in to efforts to identify the various factors that may indicate that particular individual may be at an elevated risk of undergoing post natal depression and one of major indicators is a prior history of depression – and even on the limited information we have about this young women from the Mail’s article it would appear that there may several other factors that come into play. The fact that she has gone to Ireland on her own and is living in a B&B suggests a lack of social support, which ups the risk. There is no mention of the child’s father in the article, which suggests that this may well be an unplanned pregnancy, and the risk goes up for that as well, and while the article indicates that her mother is trying to support her emotionally and financial, there is no mention of her own father, so we can reasonably infer a low socio-economic status and add another risk factor to the list.

None of this, of course, indicates that she is likely to be an unfit mother, it merely indicates that she may need additional support to help her cope with her baby once its born and that it would be sensible to monitor her progress as she adjusts to motherhood in the first few days after the baby is born, if only to be sure that the major hormonal readjustment that all women go through after giving birth – which is what causes many of them to get ‘the baby blues’  – doesn’t trigger a bout of depression and that, generally, mother and baby are doing fine. Caring for a new baby can be stressful, particularly if its your first and while things tend to settle down fairly quickly, some families are unlucky enough to have a baby who’s prone to crying or to irregular sleep patterns or who develops colic – and all these are indicators of an elevated risk of post natal depression, as well.

So, its quite reasonable for social services to request that a case conference be held before a new mother who make be at increased risk of depression leaves hospital not because social worker are professional baby stealers but simply to ensure that a support plan is put in place to help the mother cope with her new arrival.

Now, okay, somewhere in this specific case, something has gone awry because the mother has got it into her head that she’s likely to have the baby taken away once its born, so that’s something that does need to be investigated. It suggests one of two things, either there are issues here that are causing concern but which haven’t been disclosed or it could be that our runaway soon-to-be mum has got the wrong end of the stick and panicked, in which case, and for her own good, someone needs to get in there and sort the situation out so she can return home to what bit of family support she does have. What no one needs here, however, is the Daily Mail whipping up hysteria about baby stealing social workers, least of all with the backing of fabulist, conspiracy-peddling, MP with a track record of making wild and unsubstantiated allegations that he’s incapable of backing up with evidence.

Not to put a point on it, Hemming is rapidly becoming a public menace and if this carries on then it can only be a matter of time before his low-rent Witchfinder General shtick results in disaster, in someone failing to get they support they really need or, worse still, in someone who genuinely is incapable of caring for a newborn child, skipping town on the back of Hemming’s half-baked ‘advice’, and the worse case scenario is that we wind up with a dead baby, a dead mother, or both, on our hands…

…and if that happens then the one thing you can be certain of is that neither Hemming or the Daily Mail will be prepared to accept a single shred of responsibility for their part in a tragedy. No, it’ll be a quick bout of Pontius Pilates and on with the next witch hunt, the one where social workers should have done more to prevent an ‘avoidable’ tragedy and heads must roll.

There may well be a case for reform of the family court system and for greater transparency and openness in it workings – in fact, one of the best arguments for such reform is the existence of conspiracist idiots like Hemming who, but for those occasions where a court requires them to put up or shut up and finds them wanting, get away with peddling their fictions precisely because the confidentiality of the existing system precludes social workers and other child protection workers from hitting back and telling the real story, the one that exposes Hemming for what he is, someone who is ‘willing to scatter unfounded allegations of professional impropriety and malpractice without any evidence to support them’.

The current system may have its flaws and it may make mistakes from time to time but its still a damn sight better way of dealing with complex family and child protection issues than rounding up the peasants and handing out the blazing torches…

…and yes, this does indicate that I consider Hemming to be entirely unfit to hold public office.

  • I know nothing about Mr Hemmings MP and his personal interests and/or problems but…I do have the very definite temerity to take issue with the judges you quote. I’m not so quick to hold these people as reliable arbiters these days for several reasons, one of which is that this year I have seen e.g. psychiatrists and other clinicians falsifying and distorting medical evidence (I estimate for both political and, essentially egotistical ends).

    In a climate where targets, budgets, career security and institutional cultrues of intimidation have become far more important than service-user/patient care, I think none of us can afford to be complacent.

  • Carla

    I stumbled upon this site whilst doing some research, had to comment because so many assumptions have been made with regards the teenager who ‘ran away’ to Ireland.
    The world seems to forget that Miss Thomas, as a UK National, can live wherever she chooses. She said she ‘felt like she was on the run’…in reality, she hasn’t run away, she has chosen to live elsewhere. This lady has not done anything wrong, not battered a child, not committed a murder…in short, she is not ‘wanted’, not a criminal, but a free citizen. As far as social services go, they could have picked on anyone of around a dozen mums-to-be in the same area that Miss Thomas was resident….so why didn’t they? Simple, she was an easy target, already known to social services, brought in on a voluntary basis after her mum got battered!! As for her baby’s father, he’s a charmer…unmarried, another kid..and had cheated on his girlfriend…classic tale of a bloke who won’t keep it in his trousers or take the consequences.
    So, when a young lady (I won’t even use the term teen, she is almost 20) has a rough time growing up, holds her hands up and says she can’t cope for a while, and receives treatment….becomes pregnant….does that give social services an automatic right to interfere?
    Why are social services not looking at those who are pissed all the way through pregnancy, doing drugs and neglecting themselves? Why is a violent father allowed to set up home with another woman and have a baby, without the intervention of social services? Why is a supposed rehabilitated drug offender allowed a child…without any social services involvment?
    Why? Because this is a free country, and most people are left in peace to have their baby, not persecuted on a probability that they ‘may’ harm their child…a child that hasn’t even been born yet!
    What none of you know…but what I have found out….is that social services are using grounds that Miss Thomas didn’t attend her ante natal appointments…they didn’t even know she was attending at another hospital and had been for months!!
    Anyway…I have had my rant, because I can…because unlike some I have actually done my homework!!
    How about more intervention for the kids that are being battered?

  • all i have to say is that she has a right to do what she wants move to malta she is a free spirt and needs to start again i feel the social services should look at the bigger picture as said before look at the mums doing crack drinking abusive fathers why pick on her. as long as she can look after her child thats all that matters. find some other way to earn your money i do know the lady in questions mother and i feel she knows her daughter better than anyone else wat a country we live in!!!!

  • Truth

    What one must remember is that this mother has committed no crime and has the prerogative to move anywhere she chooses, this is not nazi Germany where Jews movements or in this case parents moves are restricted, this country rejected Nazi oppression at a dear cost measured in human lives, yet not so long after seems happy to embrace the same ideology in the name of progression.

    There is no evidence the child was at risk nor would have been, there are just fears and many people fear anything, including a mothers free movement or spiders both are irrational and illogical.

    Good luck to her, she has saved her baby from the risk of emotional damage by the state, for that she should be applauded. The UK does simply believe they are the child

  • Mark

    I also consider Hemming to be entirely unfit to hold public office too.

    If you compare him with other politicians you will see the difference, he is; a defender and representative of the people (not just in his own constituency), which is not normal for the usual riff raff seated in the commons, so yes he does not fit in with the status quo therefore is unfit to hold office, but most people don

  • Linda

    I am a social worker and know how these things work, this woman was considered to be a risk to her child, this concern must have come from a professional and nobody should question that judgement, a judgement I may remind you that has already been made.

    Remember the child

  • V Samuel

    “I saw the mother

  • Linda

    Samuel

  • Andrew
  • Quoting from:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ministry_of_Truth

    The Ministry of Truth (or Minitrue, in Newspeak) is one of the four ministries that govern Oceania in George Orwell’s novel Nineteen Eighty-Four. As with the other Ministries in the novel, the Ministry of Truth is a misnomer and in reality serves an opposing purpose to that which its name would imply, being responsible for the falsification of historical events; and yet is aptly named in a deeper sense, in that it creates/manufactures “truth” in the newspeak sense of the word.

    Let us look at the quotation from the Aston Election Petition:

    Mr John Hemming
    706. I feel Mr Hemming deserves a mention. True, he was a dreadful witness. His evidence was largely inadmissible hearsay. He possesses an inability to give a straight answer to a straight question which would be the envy of a national politician appearing on the Today programme.

    707. But, when all that is said and done, Mr Hemming was right and his critics were wrong. He said that there was massive, Birmingham-wide electoral fraud by the Labour Party and there was in fact massive, Birmingham-wide electoral fraud by the Labour Party. He may have played the part of Cassandra but, like Cassandra, his prophesies were true. He emerges from the case with credit which is more than can be said for those police officers who treated his complaints as no more than Operation Gripe.

    Anyone who quotes from 706 without quoting from 707 shows no commitment to the truth which for the “ministry of truth” would be an expected position.

    It should not surprise anyone that I have upset Court of Appeal Judges. They are presiding over major abuses of human rights that I hope will be recognised by the ECtHR.

    As fas as the issue of Sam Thomas is concerned – get your facts right.

    The Social Worker who has posted here has confirmed that parents are expected to prove their innocence. I tend to think that is procedurally wrong, but it would fit comfortably in the regime of 1984.

  • fred

    @John Hemming MP – It appears the recent The Times campaign was right. It’s called Cognative Dissonance or What Happens when “Good People” Do Bad Things. See Times article.

    I can’t believe this hounding of this young girl by social workers on this board. The baby will have few rights, you betcha.

    It’s Witchfinder Pursuivant. Meanwhile John Hemming wears the White Hat in doing something about this.

    The screams of prtoest are unbelievable. Theses people should be considered for being banned from statutary child abuse work.

  • V Samuel

    I wrote

  • Linda

    I am not familiar with all law in detail particularly case laws and that is why social service departments have legal teams and managers to assist in making decisions, even then these legal teams have to look into things and cannot always provide an immediate answer to a question and they are qualified in law, I do however look into things myself from time to time to become a more understanding person, however this has nothing to do with any work that I do and is only for my own personal education, sometimes what I learn can be applied to my work obviously.

    I will take time to read the link you posted however I am confident the judgement is probably not as you portray, social workers do only what is best for parents and most importantly children, the best for the parents may be removing children as parenting can be stressful and in many other ways can be beneficial to the parent.

    John Hemming has no bearing on the work I perform or any other professional, he is entitled to his opinion however wrong that opinion is, note Lord Justice Wall

  • Andrew

    “I feel like I am under attack”

    It’s a mental illness you have.

  • “we don

  • V Samuel

    Dear Linda

    Fair enough, if you don’t fancy my summary of the law, there is always the RCM’s (which I followed) and Clare Dyer’s summary for the BMJ.

    BMJ 1998;316:1477 ( 16 May )
    Trusts face damages after forcing women to have caesareans
    Clare Dyer, legal correspondent, BMJ
    http://www.bmj.com/cgi/content/full/316/7143/1477/g

    (selected paragraphs)

    “The judges ruled that the operation itself was unlawful and therefore a trespass, even though a High Court judge had sanctioned it. The decision gives Ms S the right to damages for false imprisonment for her eight days’ unlawful detention and for trespass to the person for being forced to undergo treatment against her will.”

    The report briefly explains why the original judgment was faulty; the judge failed to ask the correct questions about competence, but his job wasn’t made any easier by facts being misrepresented and crucial data being withheld from him.

    “The ruling opens the way for up to a dozen other women who have been forced to undergo caesareans after rushed ex parte applications to sue trusts for damages.”

    It wasn’t a one-off.

    “The appeal court reaffirmed the absolute right of a competent adult to refuse medical or surgical intervention, even if the result is certain death for herself or her fetus.”

    This not about child protection because until birth there isn’t a legal personality to protect – that’s why the judgment is careful to use the word fetus. What is at issue here, and applies in Ms Thomas’ instance, is the autonomy of the individual to exercise their normal rights of freedom of movement. She doesn’t have to attend ante-natal clinics; it is her choice, even if that choice sucks. She can go to an EU accession country if she likes. It would be a bad move if you ask me, but the law set the priority for us; her autonomy takes precedence until there is a live birth, unless somebody goes to court and shows a correct application of the mental health acts. (The reason I say EU country is that will give her reciprocal health treatment if she wants it.) The social services simply pass the file to the receiving country, same as they would if the person was moving to here from there. The Irish child protection services are as competent as anyone else – they’ll manage, please God, when the child is born.

    Please note that it was you who asked me to provide references to back up a point which “I simply cannot believe this to be the case”. This I duly did, only for you to be “confident the judgement is probably not as you portray” – even though you haven’t read it yet.

    JH’s and others claim that social workers tend to make up the law, get huffy when called out on it, and don’t read things, preferring to jump to conclusions based on prejudices, such as: “I saw the mother

  • Carla

    Hmmm….. another social worker who doesn’t know Miss Thomas, and heaven help us she bases her judgement on pictures and the word of some other very questionable social workers (like you I am entitled to my opinion)!
    Once again I am going to tell you, I have done my homework, now time you did yours before you pass judgement of any kind.
    Miss Thomas is not ‘uneducated’ she also comes from a very good home, so does the father, though his morals, if they exist, need repair! The only reason she had difficulty in the first place was because the very same system that snatches babies, let her down!! It won’t be too long before details will be more public, so I agree with others on here….go get yourself some legal advice, and in my own opinion, try another career, if in fact you do actually have one at all.
    My research goes on, maybe in a town near you 🙂

  • Anz

    @Mark

    Hemming is straight talking, straight to the point, and actually gives a damn! The problem here is massive, don’t hear of many MPs actually helping their constituents in such cases. Keep it going John, and good luck to Miss Thomas, she is a very brave young lady!

  • Carla

    @Linda
    Would you like to post your picture so we can all make up our minds whether you are, in fact, for real!

  • Carla

    Section 8 of the Human Rights Act …..
    Article 8: Right to privacy

    (1) Everyone has the right for his private and family life, his home and his correspondence.

    (2) There shall be no interference by a public authority with the exercise of this right except such as is in accordance with the law and is necessary in a democratic society in the interests of national security, public safety or the economic well-being of the country, for the prevention of disorder or crime, for the protection of health or morals, or for the protection of the rights and freedoms of others.

  • Carol

    @Linda
    I have been following the comments here and decided it was time I placed my own. Seems there are far too many people willing to take on ‘opinions’ of so called professionals as fact. Perhaps you would like to read the following and reflect on what you have posted, you have only served to make yourself sound stupid but then everyone is entitled to their say.

    ‘Economical status and the lack of a father’
    …… since when has that been a barrier to having children..and what do you know about either more to the point?

    ‘no means to get to Ireland in the first instance’…
    …really? What do you know about that to allow you to comment on it?

    ‘being most probably uneducated’ ….. oh we are getting above ourselves here, but once again, you are wrong!

    ‘she has been funded and guided’ …BINGO …1 correct statement!! I am her mother, I funded and guided her, very soon you will be telling me that I am uneducated too!

    ‘one should not applauded that fact when a child is at risk’. I am used to thinking about the child first and not the mother, that is why it worries me that she has left the jurisdiction of her local authority, other people might not take issue with a child being at risk and choose to demonise social workers instead, that is fine but one needs to prioritise the situation.

    …Sam is free to live wherever she chooses, she has not committed ANY crime nor harmed another individual let alone a child! ONE needs to look at the facts.

    ‘If it was not for these newspaper stories scaring women into doing these things then this woman would have remained within the UK and plans for the child that the local authority had made would have been executed, nobody would be non the wiser and the child would be safe, the mother would have been supported until she can care for the child if that was at all possible’

    Well done to the Daily Mail, they won’t allow these situations to be swept under the carpet, nobody would have been any the wiser you say,that is exactly what needs to change!! That is exactly why the press are involved, because there are many women in the same impossible situation.

    ‘Once child protection is involved they do have to prove themselves, the decision to take a case to court depends upon whether they are a fit parent’

    Have you ever considered that child protection should never have been involved to begin with??

    Am waiting with baited breath for your response, such an interesting debate don’t you think?

  • I told those that commented earlier to stop making personal attacks and instead debate the situation, but the attacks continue

  • I do question the professional judgment of many social workers, but not all social workers. The evidence is clear with children being adopted from their mothers because the mothers are victims of DV whilst children are starved to death notwithstanding a referral to Childrens Services.

    The question as to when the state should intervene is something that needs public debate.

    I have experience of the Child Protection teams in Ireland and Sweden both who are far more professional than those relating to this case.

    What we need to do is to improve the standards in the UK so that the analysis done for example by Cafcass FCAs is of an adequate standard (note that Ofsted are as critical as I am of the standard of analysis of Family Court Advisors.

    There are some good judges. There are also some judges who act as expensive rubber stamps.

  • Andrew
  • V Samuel

    Chilling:

    “I deal with these sorts of people everyday, however it does present problems to the child as it holds them back and in general puts them at increased risk as explained within this article also people on benefits for prolonged periods cause society to degenerate.”

    “Cause society to degenerate?” Critics of the formulation of the 1989 Children Act and other policies warned repeatedly that there was a danger that children of either single parents, or disabled parents, or merely low-earning parents, would be re-allocated on the grounds little short of soft eugenics because you can always make a case that it would be in the best interests of these children to be with somebody richer – well, basically, more middle-class – and that this was practical and justifiable as it would tend to the betterment of the whole of the society.

    Don’t fiddle around trying to improve the economic environment for those families; let’s move straight to re-homing the puppies. Job done, especially for all the middle-classes who put off having children until their ovaries withered. In fact, it

  • In view of that last comment, I think its time to come back in and make a couple of points.

    Its certainly not the case that there aren’t a number of issues relating to current practice and professional standards in children’s services that desperately need examining – because there are, as I say that as a trustee of a charity that provides, amongst other things, family support services.

    BUT…

    Whipping up false hysteria about the supposed existence of baby-stealing social workers isn’t the way to go about tackling those issues.

    Hemming’s problem here is the same one he demonstrated during the vote-rigging issue in Birmingham – he can’t help but follow his ego and start with the Don Quixote routine of tilting at imaginary windmills for all that there are valid and well evidenced lines of argument that could be followed if only he’d restrain himself.

    He’s a menace because he’s a distraction from the real issues, because he sprays around hearsay and tendentious pseudo-legal arguments rather than sticking to the facts – FFS, just read the full judgement in RP vs Nottingham City Council and the Official Solicitor…

    http://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWCA/Civ/2008/462.html

    Lord Justice Wall didn’t just slaughter Hemming for the fun of it and he certainly didn’t lay into him because the Appeal Court is systematically covering up human rights abuses. Hemming threw into proceedings a stream of allegations so serious that its only because of the privileged status of evidence given in court that he has hasn’t been sued for libel, and he manifestly failed to provide the court with any evidence to support any of his allegations.

    FFS, the plaintiff in this case was assessed by a clinical psychologist who determined that their effective IQ it somewhere between 55 and 70 which, on the Stanford Binet scale equates to a mental age somewhere between 8 and 12 and, under the now (thankfully) disused Goddard classification, would make her a moron, which was one step up from an imbecile (IQ between 25 and 50) and two steps up from an idiot (IQ under 25).

    Now, if your going to a challenge such an assessment of competence then the minimum pre-requisite is that you go into court with an expert witness to challenge those findings, instead of which Hemming started throwing around unfounded and unsubstantiated allegations of bias which he failed to prove.

    This isn’t difficult – if HJ gave a biased assessment of RP’s metal capacity then a reassessment of her capacity by an independent clinical psychologist should reveal discrepancies in HJ’s assessment because the kind of bias that Hemming tried suggested might exist would manifest itself as much more negative appraisal of RPs mental capacity than would be evident in an ‘unbiased’ opinion.

    So where was this second, contrary, opinion – the one that, had it been put to the court, have demonstrated that HJ gave an unduly negative assessment of RPs mental capacity and, therefore, supported the allegation of bias?

    Nowhere – and the most likely reason why such an opinion was not obtained was because no competent clinical psychologist could assess RP and arrive at any opinion of their mental capacity other than that put forward by HJ.

    If you actually both to look at the documented cases where bad decisions have been taken by social workers and/or doctors you’ll find a couple of common themes running through them.

    One is that of a healthcare professional exhibiting a hubristic belief in the rightness of their own opinion to the exclusion of any consideration that they may be in error and should proceed with much greater caution – that’s the story with Sir Roy Meadow, David Southall, Marietta Higgs, etc.

    The second is that of a social worker substituting their own own value judgements for an unbiased clinical judgement founded on evidence – if you look at Vs example of the case of the ‘forced c-section’ and read it properly, everything that happened in that case proceeded from the assumption, right at the outset, that no rational, competent, individual could reasonably decline life-saving medical treatment having been made aware of their situation. From that assumption, those involved in the case went to have the woman committed under S2 of the Mental Health Act, on which basis they obtained a court order overriding her wishes.

    To correct the assertion that V made, they didn’t provide the court that waived the woman’s right to consent with misleading information at all, they merely advanced an erroneous opinion, the validity of which the judge accepted having failed to give due consideration to the correct application of the law.

    These are cock-ups for sure, but they don’t add up to a conspiracy to steal babies for adoption, and that’s the point I’m making here, that those who pursue their own fabulist agendas and peddle conspiracy theories aren’t doing anything more than creating unnecessary distractions from the real issues.

  • >Hemming

  • Andrew
  • As a point of interest to regular readers, I’ve just had to retrieve comments 4, 5 and 9 from the moderation queue as a result of Andrew’s last comment triggering the spam filter…

    As for why, the reason is that all four comments came from the same IP address…

  • Andrew

    If I understand correctly, posts 4, 5 and 9 were available to view yesterday how exactly were they queued?

    My IP is common it is an AOL one which is a proxy, often i’m banned or have already voted in polls nearly everywhere.

    Any thoughts on posts 27, 28?

  • “…an unbiased clinical judgement founded on evidence…”

    Er, we are not talking about a Cambridge Starred First here, we are talking about a thick as pig shit poly-wallah who can barely construct a sentence. You don’t believe me, I can tell. OK, take a trip over to this forum and just read the semi-literate drivel that spews out there. Then look at the photos. Bloody ugly to boot.

    It is actually for that reason that I suspect that “Linda” is actually a fake. Sorry, but your average lump of social work shit is not bright enough to construct grammatically correct sentences.

  • Ffion

    Exile said…
    POSTED ON: SEPTEMBER 9TH, 2008 AT 9:37 AM