Saturday, 28 February 2015

Insurance & Child Abuse

"A BBC investigation has found evidence that some local authorities in England and Wales may have allowed fear of losing insurance cover to alter their approach to child abuse inquiries.... An ex social services chief called the behaviour of one company "disgusting".

"The Association of British Insurers said the investigation "raised a number of serious matters". When Colin Lambert, then leader of Rochdale Council, proposed an investigation last year into a possible cover-up of child abuse in the town, he was shocked by a response from council officers. Former pupils at the Knowl View special school for boys have alleged they were victims of sexual assaults by Rochdale's former MP, the late Cyril Smith and others, in the 1970s, '80s, and early '90s. Mr Lambert says he was told an inquiry could lead to problems with the council's insurers. "I can recall a conversation with officers that this could lead to the insurers withdrawing cover," he says. "Holding an actual open inquiry would expose exactly who did know what - and therefore the council probably would have been liable. And that then opens up the insurers to claims."

"He continued to press for an inquiry - which has now been instituted. The council has not denied Mr Lambert's account of the conversation about insurance - though it says it "would not be influenced by any pressure, perceived or actual, to either withhold or evidence or not to carry out a full and thorough investigation." The File on 4 investigation has found other cases across Britain, over many years, in which councils have expressed concern over the danger of losing insurance cover - and some in which insurers have attempted to suppress information about abuse allegations. Tim Hulbert, former director of social services in Bedfordshire, says insurers "instructed" him on what to do when he was helping set up an inquiry into alleged child abuse at a children's home in the early 1990s. He said: "I had a phone call from the insurers who were anxious to influence the terms of reference of the inquiry, so they didn't actually produce circumstances which would increase the likelihood of claims. "

Parents were not in court for judgement

From Christopher Booker in the Telegraph:

"Why don’t the family courts obey the law?" I quoted a trenchant recent judgment in which Lord Justice Munby, the head of the family courts, went out of his way to emphasise that "one of the oldest principles of our law" is that "no one is to be condemned unheard" – and that "any parents faced with the removal of their child must be entitled to make their case to the court", and to challenge any evidence brought against them."

"I then contrasted this with a case last year in which two parents arrived for a final hearing armed with a pile of evidence they wished to produce to support their case that their two young sons had been wrongly removed from them. (This included photographic evidence to show extensive injuries exhibited by their sons while in care, which were much worse than the single bruise used to justify their removal in the first place.)"

"According to the parents, they were astonished to be told by their lawyers that they could not come into the courtroom (as had happened on three previous occasions). And even more so when the lawyers emerged half an hour later from a private meeting with the judge to say that the case had gone against them and that their boys were to be sent for adoption. The judgment was apparently issued later that day, but the parents were not allowed to see it, and were told there were no grounds for any appeal."

"I found all this surprising, not least because the judge in question, Judge Gareth Jones, has shown himself ready to be highly critical of social workers whom he finds to have acted improperly. When I argued that the case seemed to contradict what Munby called "one of the oldest principles of our law", my article provoked some discussion on legal blogs. Then, 10 months after it was given, the judgment suddenly appeared on the Bailii website (EWFC/OJ/2014/B201). "

"In a key paragraph, Judge Jones referred to "Miss Erwood", representing the mother, and stated "the mother has been present during the course of today but she, like the father, has decided not to remain in this courtroom this afternoon for the purposes of this judgment".

"But the mother, an intelligent woman who is studying for a degree, is adamant that she and the father had not been allowed into the courtroom at all during that day. They had been told to wait in another room until the lawyers emerged to say that the judge had found against them. I gather on unimpeachable authority that the judge was "told" that the parents had "voluntarily left the court", and that it was certainly not his decision that they be excluded from his courtroom."

"On Thursday, I asked Miss Erwood’s chambers to confirm the circumstances whereby her client had been refused entry to the courtroom, but have had no reply. Three days after my last article, those parents were allowed to see their children for the last time. Although this is not the only occasion when I have come across parents being excluded from a family court, this particular case does appear to be such a conspicuous example of how Munby’s principles can be set aside that this matter should not be allowed to rest."

Friday, 27 February 2015

LA`s care application condemned as social engineering

"In a scathing judgment, the president of the Family Division has condemned as "social engineering" a local authority’s application to remove a baby boy permanently from the care of his father and place him for adoption. "

"The case was, he said,
an object lesson in, almost textbook example of, how not to embark upon and pursue a care case.""In addressing these failings, Munby P identified "three fundamentally important points".

"The first point, vital for practitioners on the ground, is that findings of fact must be based on evidence, not suspicion and speculation. As the judge observed, material in local authority files is often second or third-hand hearsay. Although hearsay is admissible in care proceedings, if challenged, a local authority will have to establish its accuracy."

"The second fundamental point is that a successful application for a care order must link the facts relied on to the threshold test, i.e., why do the facts asserted lead to the conclusion that the child is at risk of suffering significant harm?"

"(T)he judge’s third fundamental point that, in the "wise and powerful words" of Hedley J in Re L (Care: Threshold Criteria [2007] 1 FLR 2050:
society must be willing to tolerate very diverse standards of parenting, including the eccentric, the barely adequate and the inconsistent…some children will experience disadvantage and harm, while others flourish in atmospheres of loving security and emotional stability. These are the consequences of fallible humanity and it is not the provenance of the state to spare children all the consequences of defective parenting. In any event, it simply could not be done.""In the same vein, as Baroness Hale explained in the celebrated Supreme Court decision In re B (A Child) (Care Proceedings: Threshold Criteria) [2013] UKSC 33: We are all frail human beings, with our fair share of unattractive character traits, which sometimes manifest themselves in bad behaviours which may be copied by our children. But the state does not and cannot take away the children of all the people who commit crimes, who abuse alcohol or drugs, who suffer from physical and mental illnesses or who espouse antisocial political or religious beliefs."

These judgements are interesting in light of the current trend for early interventions (social engineering) and the expansion of criminal behaviour to include emotional abuse.

See `Cinderella law; emotional correctness gone mad`

Thursday, 26 February 2015

Nightmares at Elm Guest House

Commercial for adoption and fostering causes offence

Barnardo`s have collaborated with KFC to make a propaganda film for adoption and fostering:

by Hannah Meadows

Foster carers and adoptive families who took exception to the new KFC TV advert took to social media to express their views as it hit their screens this week. The ad shows a boy with his social worker, arriving in a foster/adoptive family for the first time to a KFC dinner, and then whizzes through the highlights of his growing up in that family, playing football, getting a girlfriend, graduating... and then returning as an adult to visit his family for another KFC bargain bucket.

Those who dislike the ad have argued that the trauma a child experiences in an abusive and/or neglectful birth family, compounded by the anxiety of being taken into care, cannot be mended by a bucket of chicken, however finger-lickin' good it might be.

They believe that KFC are suggesting their chicken fixes these things. Some examples of the comments on Twitter:

@TheMilesCollins: 'Fostering just got easier - [buy] a KFC 'bucket' - simples! #kfcadvert' @TaKenUK1:

'The new KFC advert is very disturbing. It diminishes the trauma and pain of children going into care and those already there. Complaint sent'

Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Nicholas Fairbairn attempted to hide his private life

Image result for image nicholas fairbairn"Efforts by former Perthshire MP Sir Nicholas Fairbairn to hide his private life from his constituents have been uncovered. In newly revealed documents Sir Nicholas, who died in 1995, demands reporters be banned from investigating his private life and that of other politicians. In the correspondence to the Commons standards watchdog which has been placed in the National Archives, the maverick MP called for press freedom to be "restricted."

"Fairbairn, who is the subject of child sexual abuse allegations in England and Scotland, claimed politicians should be protected from having their sexual behaviour exposed."

"Adultery and fornication have been the habit of most of humankind since Adam and Eve first committed the latter," he wrote a few months before his death. "Is there some ethical reason why those in public life should be holier than thou? Should they have the piety of monks and nuns?.."

"The revelations come hard on the heels of an accusation by a woman who said Fairbairn raped her when she was four. The Met are also investigating claims that Fairbairn had visited the notorious Elm Guest House in London in 1982."

Benefit sanctions are out of control

AFP/Getty Images
"MORE than 80,000 out-of-work Scots had their benefits stopped for at least four weeks since the controversial sanctions regime was introduced over two years ago."

"Payments were suspended for claimants’ failures to conform to strict rules including being late, missing a Jobcentre appointment or failing to apply for work."

"Figures released by the Work and Pensions Secretary’s department show a total of 81,980 men and women - including parents with young children - were hit by 143,671 sanctions which saw them barred from receiving Job seeker’s Allowance, currently £72.40 a week for those over 25..."

"Critics said the number of sanctions continued to push unemployed Scots into further destitution. Dr David Webster, honorary senior research fellow in Urban studies at Glasgow University said: “These figures are absolutely disgraceful. “It shows that claimants are being persecuted. It doesn’t matter if people are doing their best to find work, they are highly likely to be sanctioned. It’s very unfair.”

"John Dickie, director of Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) in Scotland, added: “The UK government’s approach to benefit sanctions is out of control, doing nothing to support people into work and too often pushing families into acute crisis without warning or justifiable reason, leaving them without money even to pay for food or fuel."

An education system which is the envy of Europe !

It`s good to know other people can see Curriculum for Excellence for what it is and have a joke about it.


Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Open data

It was Open Data day on Saturday: 

"Open Data Day encourages citizens in cities around the world to write applications, liberate data, create visualizations and publish analyses using open public data to show support for and encourage the adoption of open data policies by the world's local, regional and national governments."

One of the benefits of open data is supposed to be that it increases transparency and accountability with respect to public bodies and services. Another is that it increases public participation in decision making. But it is not everyone who has the computing facilities to allow big data analytics. It is the big corporations who have these facilities and who are keen to access the data being made freely available by Government. It is why we have the Named Person and early interventions, all the better for gathering information. It is why there is a push towards computer game based learning in schools.

Data, our data, our children`s data is now a commodity.
Bates makes the case that the open data movement, in the UK at least, had little political traction until big business started to actively campaign for open data, and open government initiatives started to fit into programmes of forced austerity and the marketisation of public services. For her, political parties and business have appropriated the open data movement on "behalf of dominant capitalist interests under the guise of a ‘Transparency Agenda’".
In such cases, the transparency agenda promoted by politicians and businesses is merely a rhetorical discursive device. If either party was genuinely interested in transparency then it would be equally supportive of the right to information movement (freedom of information) and the work of whistleblowers (Janssen 2012) and also loosening the shackles of intellectual property rights more broadly (Shah 2013). Instead, governments and businesses are generally resistant to both.
Rob Kitchin, The Data Revolution: Big Data, Open Data, Data Infrastructures and Their Consequences (Sage, London).

It can be better understood why school curricula are being changed around the world when the data revolution is taken into account. Education is moving from a traditional knowledge based curriculum towards an outcome based system where it is not what a pupil knows or understands that counts, but rather the skills and attributes they have as persons. These skills might include motivation, team work, emotional and social learning, the soft skills that a future employer finds advantageous in its workforce. It is the kind of information they are prepared to pay for.

When it comes to gathering and using children`s data the U.S is at an advanced stage but it does allow us to see what will be coming our way soon. First, the curriculum was changed to Common Core and then each child was attached to a computer for personalised learning and assessments.

Here is the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation:
We’re investing in a new generation of courseware that adapts in sophisticated ways to students’ learning needs. We’re also supporting game-based learning that generates rich data about students’ progress and challenges them with exactly what they need to learn next...
We’re particularly focused on providing students and their teachers with more rapid, useful feedback to inform their learning all along the way. The combination of more transparent and useful data and clearer expectations for students can help educators’ flag young people’s needs early and often, so their path to college and careers is a smooth one.

Well that is the hard sell.  Here is the other side:
Stealth learning platforms and assessments (platforms and assessments that operate in real-time within the technology without a child knowing it) foster an education system where parents will have very little control over what our children learn and what they are tested on. Meta-data can be tracked through every key stroke, as well as facial expressions and behaviors through computer cameras, etc. And, the data collected from our children’s learning platforms will be used to control what and how their teachers teach, as well as what federal mandates will be placed on teachers and schools in order to make individual children "college and career ready."
The corporations obtain the data free, do the number crunching, create the products, and then sell the products back to the government, paid for through taxes. The government gets better control of the population, corporations make a profit, but the data subjects themselves gain nothing worthwhile.

It`s a nice arrangement if you can get away with it.

Monday, 23 February 2015

Backlash against the named person

Image result for scottish parliament
Dani Garavelli has written an article in support of the named person proposal in the Scotsman:

Unfortunately she is a bit confused about the named person`s role because she quotes a list of children, failed by child protection services - one of them from England, implying that if there had been a named person in place. the children might have been saved.

But according to the Scottish Government, the named person`s role is to be the first point of contact for those families who may need extra help. Once a concern is brought to their attention the named person may need to take action to promote, support and safeguard the child`s development and wellbeing. That support may be as simple as pointing a mother in the direction of the nearest food bank.

On the other hand, child protection is covered by the Children (Scotland) Act 1995 and nobody speaks a word against it. The problem for children who have been failed by child protection services is that those who are paid out of the public purse to protect children do not always abide by the principles and guidelines of the  legislation. So really, if we want to address these failures it is child protection practices that need to be examined. Foisting a named person for all children into that mix is not going to be helpful. Logic tells us that the system would be overloaded.

She goes on:

Strange then that when the Scottish Government tries to introduce a new law to make the line of accountability clearer it faces a backlash from people who think the state should butt out of family life. 

Named persons have been reassured by the Scottish Government that if it ever happened that there was another child protection failure it would be the local authority, not them, who would be held to account. So what is Dani Garavelli talking about ? As for there being a backlash from people who think the state should butt out of family life, that does not apply to child protection at all. There is no such backlash.

Ever since the named person provision, included in the Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014, was first mooted, it has attracted opposition from a weird alliance of political commentators and right-wing Christian groups who seem to believe they – and presumably they alone should be exempt from scrutiny. 

When parents become aware that the named person will undermine their autonomy and threaten their children`s right to privacy, they invariably oppose the proposal. Weirdness has got nothing to do with it.

However, I do think it is weird that Dani Garavelli believes that health visitors and teachers already exert control over children and have the right to `stick their noses into their domestic affairs whenever they see fit.`

Children need protection from the Garavellis of this world and only their parents can do it. After all, history has much to teach us.

Adolf Hitler"The state must declare the child to be the most precious treasure of the people. As long as the government is perceived as working for the benefit of the children, the people will happily endure almost any curtailment of liberty and almost any deprivation."

Sunday, 22 February 2015

The politics of early interventions

There is a good article in the Scotsman speaking out against the named person legislation:
The private sphere has since been targeted as the cause of social problems. It is an approach that suits politicians, for it is one that eschews social and political solutions to real problems. Forget improving education or growing the economy, ignore structural issues; if you haven’t hugged your son or daughter often enough before they turn three, you have caused untold damage.
Up until this legislation, professionals involved in children’s lives had to have a particular professional reason to be there – education or health or concerns about abuse. Now they are present full-time because they have been officially appointed by the state. Up until this law, state intervention required justification. That is no longer the case.  

Those who believe that voting against the SNP will get rid of the named person are mistaken. It is more insidious than that, as it mentions in the article:
The named person is supported by the main opposition and many children’s welfare organisations.
Those who believe they can escape the intrusions of the named person by moving to other parts of the UK need to know that all systems employed by the named person are already in place there. These shifts cut across all the main political parties. They include the shift towards lower thresholds of concern, early interventions, multi-agency working and data sharing. A lead agent is brought into play once a family is on the radar for low levels of concern. It is this cluster of ideas which threaten and undermine all families.

True, the named person takes this one step further and is a warning to everyone, but the political will is already there to interfere in family life.

People need to see the bigger picture.

Mother pleads for autistic son`s release

"RUTH Barlow's campaign for her 16-year-old son Sam is backed by her MSP Tavish Scott, former Labour justice minister Hugh Henry, three mental health charities and more than 1800 people in Shetland."

"THE mother of an autistic teenager jailed for three years after aiming an air rifle at police has broken her silence to plead for his release."

"Ruth Barlow wants her 16-year-old son Sam freed from a young offenders’ institute more than 400 miles from the family’s home on Shetland while his appeal against sentence goes through court."

"His family believe first offender Sam, who has a history of mental health problems, brandished the air rifle while trying to get himself shot by police."

"He had previously been tormented by bullies who are still being investigated by police and was diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome after the incident on September 23 in which no one was injured."

"Community nurse Ruth asked for judges to pay more attention to a detailed psychological report which highlighted her son’s extreme vulnerability."

Credit should go to the police officers at the time of the incident for their measured response.

However, the system as a whole has proved itself inadequate to deal with a vulnerable young person`s crisis.

So much for the Children and Young People (Scotland) Act and multi-agency partnerships !

Saturday, 21 February 2015

Compulsory sex education for five year olds across Europe

From the Telegraph who refer to the proposal for compulsory sex education in England:

"Children as young as five should be given compulsory sex education amid concerns schools are failing to keep pace with the sexualisation of children by the internet, MPs have said. A report by the Education Select Committee has called for sex and relationships education to be placed on the national curriculum for the first time making it a statutory requirement in all state primary and secondary schools."

"A cross-party group of MPs criticised the Government’s "weak" strategy for improving sex education and said its rhetoric on the topic failed to be backed up with action...They also found that sex education need to be improved in 40 per cent of schools, according to Ofsted, and suggested the topic should be given the same importance as English."

"Elsewhere the report warns that some children were unable to name body parts or properly understand what was meant by giving consent."

"High quality PSHE teaching has a vital role to play in this giving young people a better understanding of the society around them and supporting them to make informed choices and stay safe."

From RT who have a bit more to say about the world around us:

Screenshot from Ruptly video

"Some 150 Hamburg residents protesting against ‘early sexualization’ in German schools were pelted with bottles, firecrackers and snowballs by counter-demonstrators who outnumbered them 4-to-1. Holding placards with slogans such as “Stay away from our children” and “Kindergarten is not a swingers club” the Concerned Parents (“Besorgte Eltern”), as the group calls itself, had to be guarded by police on all sides as they marched through the northern German city."

"The conservative and mostly religious demonstrators were soon engulfed by a colorful crowd from sexual minorities carrying rainbow flags and hand-painted signs celebrating diversity and tolerance to radical left-wingers and anarchists. Several of the more militant counter-protesters attempted to block the crowd from completing their planned route between the central station and the city hall, as scuffles broke out."

"A fifteen-year-old boy sustained head lacerations, and at least one counter-demonstrator was taken into custody. Previous demonstrations by Concerned Parents have ended with similar incidents, including one in the south of the country that saw members of the group pelted with feces."

It is difficult for some people to understand where the push to sexualise children and destroy traditional family values is coming from; but a good place to begin to get an answer is at the United Nations World Health Organisation:

"The World Health Organization (WHO) is a specialized agency of the United Nations, founded in 1948 and based in Geneva. It deals mainly with public and international health issues in all regions of the world:" provides information about the work of the WHO Collaborating Centre for Sexual and Reproductive Health, based at the German Federal Office for Health Education (BZgA). BZgA has been a collaboration partner of the WHO Regional Office for Europe in the field of sexuality education and family planning since 2003.
Scotland is well ahead in the rush towards one world global citizenship and early childhood sexualisation. Sex education in schools is covered by relationships, sexual health and parenthood education (RSHP) from age five and across the whole curriculum, making it difficult for parents to opt-out their young children. When children are Gilleck competent it is impossible. (age 12)

So well done to the thirteen year old girls who refused to take part in the mixed class demonstration: putting a condom on the model of a male penis; and then refused to take part the following week in a parenting class where they were expected to take home a baby doll in order to `look after it.`

Having had sex education from age five these girls from Glasgow were still able to discern the debauched mixed messages. 

Thursday, 19 February 2015

BBC report Nottinghamshire care home abuse but fail to mention Melanie Shaw

"Police failed to properly investigate allegations of sexual abuse in Nottinghamshire children's homes, a former senior social worker has said. More than 100 complaints of abuse have been made since investigations began in 2010. But, the social worker said reports she made in the 1990s were not believed because of the children's backgrounds."

"Police and Crime Commissioner Paddy Tipping said: "Historically, victims haven't been listened to enough." Mr Tipping, who was himself a social worker in Nottinghamshire in the 1970s, was interviewed as a witness in December. "

"Speaking to BBC Radio 4's Today Programme, the former social worker - who wished to remain anonymous - said she made three complaints as recently as the early 2000s after children disclosed sexual abuse to her. "The difficulty that we had was that the residential staff would deny it. They would provide alibis for each other," she said. "The children or the young people: where were they going to go? Even if we moved them... the staff moved around."...

"The investigation has centred around the now-closed Beechwood care home in Mapperley but has since widened to include 12 others across Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire. The force said it was "one of the largest" criminal investigations it had ever undertaken with more than 100 victims and potentially "more than 150 abusers". Supt Helen Chamberlain, head of public protection, denied police were overwhelmed by the scale of the inquiry. "What's emerging today is a very complex scenario where we have a number of allegations made by over 100 people quite often more than 30 years on," she told Radio 4. "Much of the information recorded at the time has been destroyed and some suspects have died."...

"In a joint statement, Nottingham City Council and Nottinghamshire County Council, which ran Beechwood and other homes involved, said they were "frustrated" an independent review could not start until after the criminal investigation. "Survivors of child abuse can be assured that we are supporting the police investigation to try and get to the truth and hopefully bring any perpetrators to justice."

There was no mention of Melanie Shaw, child abuse survivor and whistleblower, whose testimony was responsible for the instigation of operation Daybreak. Since her release from Peterborough prison a few months ago Melanie has suffered police harassment and has recently been returned to prison but it is not clear on what grounds.

The BBC will not report the matter.


Authorities failed Blake Fowler

Blake Fowler
"A seven-year-old boy who died from a severe head injury tried to tell the authorities about the abuse he was forced to endure at home - but his pleas were repeatedly ignored, according to a damning report."

"Teachers, health workers, police and social workers have all apologised after failing to act swiftly enough to save schoolboy Blake Fowler."

"Before his death in December 2011, the little boy was beaten, exposed to pornography, forced to drink vodka, and neglected, the report found."

"No one has ever faced any criminal proceedings over his death, despite traces of the ceiling material Artex found in Blake's hair by forensic experts following his fatal head injury."

"The boy was turning up to school showing signs of injury and on one occasion told teachers the bruising from his head was a result of his dad banging his head on a bike and bed, the report added..."

"A serious case review into Blake's death, published by the Local Safeguarding Children's Board (LSCB), states Blake was 'physically, emotionally and sexually abused' and suffered neglect in every way."

See also

Chief constable to discuss searching children below age of consent

Sir Stephen House is due to appear at Holyrood's Justice Sub-Committee on Policing to discuss stop-and-search policies

"Police Scotland’s chief constable will face further questions today on the past and future use of consensual stop-and-search in Scotland."

" Sir Stephen House is due to appear at Holyrood’s Justice Sub-Committee on Policing to discuss the controversial practice."

"The meeting comes after it emerged that children under 12 have continued to be stopped and searched on a consensual basis, despite a clear commitment last year to end the practice for children. The chief constable will be questioned on the issue alongside Assistant Chief Constable Wayne Mawson, who told the committee in June that searching children below the age of consent was "indefensible" and must stop throughout Police Scotland."

"Justice sub-committee convener Christine Grahame said: "It is appropriate that the chief constable has agreed to attend the sub-committee to explain the latest Police Scotland position in relation to ‘stop-and-search’. "This is an issue that many members of Parliament have concerns about and I look forward to hearing how Police Scotland and the SPA are responding to those concerns." ...

"However, on February 4 it emerged that since June, 356 children in that age group had been stopped and searched by Police Scotland...."

"But the force says ending the practice will leave gaps in their ability to protect the public, with tackling under-age drinking and anti-social behaviour identified as one area of concern."

Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Appeal against Named Person Service to be fast tracked

"Campaigners opposed to the Scottish Government’s controversial Named Person scheme have been granted their request for a fast-track appeal, after losing an initial legal challenge last month. The motion, granted at a hearing in Edinburgh yesterday by Lady Clark, means the case could be heard as early as June."

"The request was made by lawyers acting for the No To Named Persons (NO2NP) group, which is spearheading opposition to the SNP’s plans. A NO2NP spokesman said: “We are delighted at this decision which allows us to challenge the decision as quickly as we can, possibly in early June. “Speed is of the essence as this draconian legislation poses a threat to the private lives of every family in the country that has a baby on the way or a child aged up to 18.”

"Under the plans, an allocated state official – or named person – will have the power to share information with a wide range of public authorities and intervene without parental consent.... "

"Michael Urquhart, headteacher of Murrayburn Primary School in Edinburgh, has previously spoken out in favour of the scheme but has admitted his staff had expressed concern over the plan."

Kincora abuse victims taking legal action

Kincora Boys' Home
"MI5 is facing allegations it was complicit in the sexual abuse of children, the high court in Northern Ireland will hear on Tuesday. Victims of the abuse are taking legal action to force a full independent inquiry with the power to compel witnesses to testify and the security service to hand over documents."

"The case, in Belfast, is the first in court over the alleged cover-up of British state involvement at the Kincora children’s home in Northern Ireland in the 1970s. It is also the first of the recent sex abuse cases allegedly tying in the British state directly. Victims allege that the cover-up over Kincora has lasted decades..."

"Amnesty International branded Kincora "one of the biggest scandals of our age" and backed the victims’ calls for an inquiry with full powers: "There are longstanding claims that MI5 blocked one or more police investigations into Kincora in the 1970s in order to protect its own intelligence-gathering operation, a terrible indictment which raises the spectre of countless vulnerable boys having faced further years of brutal abuse..."

"Colin Wallace, a former army information officer in Northern Ireland, said: "There is now irrefutable evidence that previous inquiries were deliberately engineered or manipulated to mislead parliament by concealing the role of government agencies in covering up the abuses." The demand for an inquiry with full powers was supported last week by parliament’s home affairs committee...."

"Three men were jailed for their part in abuse at Kincora in 1981, but attempts to establish the truth about British state involvement have been blocked. It has persistently been alleged that William McGrath, Kincora’s housemaster and the leader of an extreme evangelical Protestant group called Tara, was an informant for British intelligence. McGrath was jailed for sexual offences in 1981 and is now dead."

"The allegations of British state complicity in the abuse of children initially appeared to be a conspiracy theory. But detectives who investigated Kincora in the 1980s said at least one Tory MP visited the home at the time boys were being sexually abused there. Brian Gemmell, a former army intelligence officer, has said he was warned off his investigations into Kincora by an MI5 officer."

"Among the first to accuse the Ministry of Defence and MI5 of a cover-up was the former army information officer Wallace, who was himself the victim of dirty tricks, and subsequently left the MoD."

"In 1980, as more people began to take notice of his claims about Kincora, Wallace was arrested and convicted of manslaughter. He spent six years in jail amid suggestions he had been framed. His conviction for manslaughter was quashed in 1996 in the light of fresh forensic evidence and shortcomings at his trial. In 1990, Margaret Thatcher was forced to admit that her government had deceived parliament and the public about Wallace’s role."

Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Transforming the economic development model

"The alarmists keep telling us their concern about global warming is all about man's stewardship of the environment. But we know that's not true. A United Nations official has now confirmed this. At a news conference last week in Brussels, Christiana Figueres, executive secretary of U.N.'s Framework Convention on Climate Change, admitted that the goal of environmental activists is not to save the world from ecological calamity but to destroy capitalism."

"This is the first time in the history of mankind that we are setting ourselves the task of intentionally, within a defined period of time, to change the economic development model that has been reigning for at least 150 years, since the Industrial Revolution," she said.

"Referring to a new international treaty environmentalists hope will be adopted at the Paris climate change conference later this year, she added: "This is probably the most difficult task we have ever given ourselves, which is to intentionally transform the economic development model for the first time in human history."

Read More At Investor's Business Daily:

I wonder if Education Scotland will modify Curriculum for Excellence to take account of what globalisation in the 21st century actually means. Probably not.

Here is an excerpt from `A life of dignity for all: accelerating progress towards the Millennium Development Goals and advancing the United Nations development agenda beyond 2015:
In defining a new agenda, Member States can also benefit from the insights of a set of illuminating reports. My High-level Panel of Emminent Persons on the Post-2015 Development Agenda, co-chaired by Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, President of Indonesia, Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, President of Liberia, and David Cameron, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, called for major transformative economic and institutional shifts: a new global partnership and a data revolution for monitoring progress and strengthening accountability.

Below is Iain Duncan Smith helping to collapse the old world order:

Collaborating to support secure attachments for all Scottish children

The Early Years Collaborative

They believe they have a strong evidence base about what works and with the appropriate methods can ensure that every baby, child, mother, father and family in Scotland has access to the best supports available.

According to a learning session by the Early Years Collaborative "We are all born with attachment seeking behaviours such as crying, clinging, imitation and smiling. These behaviours are designed to keep carers close ensuring that the baby`s needs for survival, safety and sensitive care are met."  More controversially they make the point that failure of the attachment process in the first two years could be catastrophic for children: neurologically, physically, emotionally, socially and psychologically.

Whilst no-one would deny the importance for survival of attachment behaviours for babies, the claim that attachment issues  in the first few years of life are easily defined and determine once and for all the long-term development of children is not an uncontested view.  Yet there are many organisations working with the Scottish Government who push forward these ideas.  For example, Scottish Attachment in Action (SAIA) say they have played a key role alongside partner organisations in placing attachment onto the political agenda and have contributed to fundamental policy and legislative changes.  (See the proposals that named persons should be involved with unborn babies.)

Scottish Attachment in Action 

"In February 2014 representatives from the SAIA Advisory Group were included in the invitation from NHS Health Scotland and the Scottish Government to the first meeting of a national round table discussion on attachment. The purpose of the round table was to develop a collaborative approach to supporting secure attachments for all children in Scotland."
The Scottish Attachment in Action (SAIA) is a multi-professional group constituted in August 2009.  It is committed to promoting better experiences of attachment in the Scottish population and effecting positive changes in social policy, education and mental health. The group believes that altering the existing understanding of, and attitudes towards attachment, is essential for improving Scotland`s current record on poor health and socially destructive behaviours.
In other words, behind Scotland`s poor health record the true culprits are the parents who fail to bond with their babies. It is estimated by the Sutton Trust that four out of ten children experience attachment issues. Extreme as this view is, it has become part of the prevailing political ideology.  


Ben Goldacre: Evidence based education
It might be wondered how there could possibly be a collaborative approach to supporting secure attachments for all children in Scotland since attachments exist between children and their carers within families.

The SAIA provides a clue by referring to an evaluative project carried out in the Jeely Nursery in Castlemilk over a three-year period between 2007 and 2010. "The purpose of the Jeely Nursery project was to meet the particular needs of children exposed in their earliest years to highly adverse social and economic circumstances, including the experience of living with parental substance abuse and addiction. The Jeely Nursery project developed a collaborative strategy that involved children, nursery staff and parents together in ways that helped to build the emotional resilience needed by children to overcome adversity."

So a collaborative approach to support secure attachments has shifted to a collaborative approach to build emotional resilience in children - not quite the same thing. You have to ask why the authorities are studying children in this way instead of tackling the highly adverse social and economic circumstances that are supposed to have produced the problems in the first place? It is difficult to say, because it is unclear whether or not the small group of children being studied remain with their original families.

But it does not end there.  A further project builds on the Jeely Nursery research by working with two primary schools. The main aim of the project is not only to support those children with attachment issues who have moved on from the Jeely Nursery, but to develop a sustainable model which will develop the capacity of teachers to identify and support any children with attachment issues. The project focuses on working with the schools to develop and extend existing practice and to map this practice onto current support structures, procedures and national policies, namely Getting it Right for Every Child (GIRFEC) and staged intervention."

"The next phase of the project which began early in 2012, involved replicating this model of support with all teachers and support staff in both schools... An important finding at this stage of the project was that teachers were beginning to recognise and respond to children who previously would not have been noticed or would perhaps have been dismissed on account of behaviour."

Teachers have been trained to observe certain behaviours as `attachment issues` who then go on to see `attachment issues` in other children. The researchers say: " The responsibility that all teachers have towards every child is at the heart of GIRFEC and it is this connection between practice and policy which we are continuing to build on."

But really should teachers be diagnosing `attachment issues` - or any other type of non-academic issue for that matter -  in order to engage in collaborative support work in the classroom?  Supposing they get it wrong?  Supposing attachment theory has overplayed its hand which is most likely the case?  It would be difficult for any family to disengage from the staged interventions and bang would go their privacy. Perhaps that`s the idea !

Newsletter June 2014

The SAIA are holding a network seminar `Why attachment matters for all ` on 27 March 2015 where they will be looking at `Research from the Jeely Piece Club.`

Monday, 16 February 2015

Named person proposals include unborn babies

"THE welfare of unborn children will come under scrutiny as part of the Scottish Government’s proposals for a named person for every child in the country."
"Guidance on the implementation of the legislation, which was published last week, states that the named person could be involved with families and setting up "planning and support" during the last trimester of pregnancy. The legislation, which is due to come into effect in 2016, covers children from the day they are born up until the age of 18."

"But the guidance suggests that the named person, chosen by the state, would become involved at an earlier stage – a move that is likely to raise fresh concerns about the prospect of state interference in family life."

"The named person for each child would be identified about seven months into the pregnancy. Pregnant mothers will then be offered an opportunity to meet with their baby’s named person and a midwife, which the official guidance suggests should take place in the family home."

"The disclosure that the scope of the proposals includes unborn babies comes as more details are emerging about how the legislation will work in practice."

"The guidance states: "Where additional wellbeing needs are anticipated at birth the prospective Named Person should be involved in planning and providing supports to eliminate, reduce or mitigate risks to wellbeing."

"This would have to be done on a "non-statutory basis" because unborn children are not covered by the Act."

"But the named person would play a "lead role" in drawing up ante-natal support when the anticipated needs of the new-born baby are not generally available from routine services, the guidance states."

"As concerns grow about the impact of the legislation, teachers yesterday voiced concerns that they will struggle to fulfil the role of named person because of already stretched workloads, and the prospect of recriminations if a major abuse is uncovered where they are the named person."

"Liz Hunter, professional officer with the Scottish Secondary Teachers’ Association (SSTA) said: "Our concerns with it would be the time it would take the teachers to compile the work to support the child properly. It would be the time for task."

"The named person would be the co-ordinator for the children’s plan. In that plan they would have to speak to the parents, they would have to speak to the child, they have to speak to, if they had one, a social worker or a healthcare professional or an educational psychologist or a speech and language therapist."

"Under the guidelines, children who may have behavioural problems may require a risk assessment..."

"Colin Hart, a No to Named Person (NO2NP) spokesman said: "The guidance regarding pregnant women is symptomatic of the general problems associated with this law which undermines parents and stretches already limited resources. Parents will become helpless spectators in the lives of their children and that will start in the mother’s womb as state control is extended there."

Professor Walker-Smith wins appeal against General Medical Council

"In a stunning reversal, world renowned pediatric gastroenterologist Prof. John Walker-Smith won his appeal against the United Kingdom’s General Medical Council regulatory board that had ruled against both him and Andrew Wakefield for their roles in the 1998 Lancet MMR paper, which raised questions about a link to autism. The complete victory means that Walker-Smith has been returned to the status of a fully licensed physician in the UK, although he had already retired in 2001 — six years before the GMC trial even began."

"Justice John Mitting ruled on the appeal by Walker-Smith, saying that the GMC "panel’s determination cannot stand. I therefore quash it." He said that its conclusions were based on "inadequate and superficial reasoning and, in a number of instances, a wrong conclusion." The verdict restores Walker-Smith’s name to the medical register and his reputation to the medical community. This conclusion is not surprising, as the GMC trial had no actual complainants, no harm came to the children who were studied, and parents supported Walker-Smith and Wakefield through the trial, reporting that their children had medically benefited from the treatment they received at the Royal Free Hospital."

"While John Walker-Smith received funding to appeal the GMC decision from his insurance carrier, his co-author Andrew Wakefield did not — and was therefore unable to mount an appeal in the high court. This year, however, Dr. Wakefield, who now conducts his research in the US, has filed a defamation lawsuit against Brian Deer, Fiona Godlee and the British Medical Journal for falsely accusing him of "fraud." The suit is currently underway in Texas, where Wakefield now lives. The ruling today bodes well for Dr. Wakefield’s suit against Deer, on whose reporting the entire GMC hearing was based."

- See more at:

WARNING Do not take any article at face value. Please do your research and seek medical advice before making a decision you are not sure about.

Munby criticises Liverpool judge

Lord Justice Munby
"Two weeks ago, Munby again made headlines when he and two other judges in the Appeal Court magisterially tore apart a Liverpool judge, Robert Dodds, for his handling of a case-management hearing involving an intelligent boy, described as an “over-achiever” at school, who was desperate to return to live with his mother."

"In 2012, Liverpool social workers sent the boy to live with his abusive father, who was sent to jail for assaulting him. They then placed him miserably in 14 different foster homes. The social workers were now considering that it might be best for him to return to his mother. But Dodds refused to hear any evidence and, without issuing a formal judgment or even giving his reasons, instantly ordered that the boy must remain in care."
"After highly critical rulings from the other two judges, Munby weighed in by saying that he wished to emphasise two “important” points. The first was that it is “one of the oldest principles of our law”, going back 400 years, that “no one is to be condemned unheard”. Any “parent faced with the removal of their child must be entitled to make their case to the court”; and if they wish “to give evidence in answer to a local authority’s care application”, they must be permitted to do so. Secondly “there is the right to confront one’s accusers”, and to cross-examine any important witness on whose evidence the local authority is relying. Judge Dodds’s adoption of such a “ruthlessly truncated process” in this case was “fundamentally unprincipled and unfair”.

Saturday, 14 February 2015

Scotland`s `womb to tomb` database

The Scottish Government is inviting written responses to the following joint consultation by 25 February 2015:

"The Scottish Government and National Records of Scotland ("NRS") are undertaking a joint consultation on the proposed amendments to the National Health Service Central Register (Scotland) Regulations 2006. The proposals are to enable certain data contained on the National Health Service Central Register ("the NHSCR") to be shared with certain named bodies and for the NHSCR to hold additional postcode data."

From Amberhawk:

"The Scottish Government’s plans are outlined in a document entitled "Consultation on proposed amendments to the National Health Service Central Register (Scotland) Regulations 2006". The intention is to transform the current NHS Central Register ("NHSCR") so it can be accessed by more bodies, to increase the number of individuals recorded in the Register, and to use a Unique Citizen Reference Number ("UCRN") for each citizen."

"The NHSCR can then be accessed by well over 120 Scottish public authorities (including police, prison, national security, visas and immigration) and certain publically owned companies..."

"Those who lived through the Westminster debates concerning the Identity Card Act a decade ago will recall that a population register functionality, known as the Citizen Information Project, formed 20% of the business case that supported the creation of a National Identity Register. The proposals create this population register functionality for Scotland..."

"Like the Identity Card Act 2006, there are wide ranging powers that allow personal data to be obtained or disclosed; powers which are subject to minimal scrutiny..."

"The current NHSCR which has been established under section 57 of the Local Electoral Administration and Registration Services (Scotland) Act 2006 ("LEARS"). According to the Registrar’s website it contains the following details:"
NHS Number - for babies born in Scotland, the civil registration number of their birth, or a special number given to a patient who was born outside Scotland but who registers with a Scottish doctor;
Community Health Index number (this is an identifier used by the NHS in Scotland);
Surname, forenames, any previous names and mother’s birth surname;
Sex; Date and place of birth; Postcode and address reference number;
Date of enlistment and discharge for Armed Forces personnel;
Current and any previous Health Board (or health authority in the rest of the UK) area of GP registration (and equivalent information for Armed Forces personnel and their families);
Medical research information for people who are registered as having had cancer, or are part of a medical research project;
Date of death or when contact with the patient has been lost.
"According to the Consultation, powers are to be used to add "Postcode and a unique property reference number" to the NHSCR. This is slightly confusing as "Postcode and address reference number", according to the Registrar General’s website, is already held in the NHSCR (see list above). About another 100 identified bodies could gain access to details on the Register for their purposes."

"A Unique Citizen Reference Number (UCRN) for each citizen will also be developed and used as part of identity assurance processes (i.e. when an individual establishes a digital identity, a UCRN will be created and added to the NHSCR in relation to that individual and used when an individual obtains service electronically from a public body). The Consultation explains that "bodies that have access to the UCRN and to be provided with data from the NHSCR".  



Whistleblower has been forced to flee

"The whistleblower who started the online petition to "Return ‘Whistleblower Kids’ and Abuse Survivors of London School to their Russian Family!" is now saying she has been forced to flee the country amid fears of incarceration by UK authorities."

Sabine McNeill
"The original petition includes a video in which a young girl is seen on camera saying "my dad lies to my mum. He doesn’t only see us on Saturdays. He sees us every single day in school where they do sex to us." Other videos include the brother and sister talking about shocking systematic abuse by authority figures, teachers, officials and business owners in Hampstead, North London."

"Allegedly after the mother reported the crime to Barnet Police they confirmed the children’s story after medical examinations but then closed the case and had the children taken into care shortly after corroborating their story."

"According to the original petition the children have been detained by the same abusers and are being held by the police that were involved in the actual abuse."

"Just days after the campaign was launched on by Sabine McNeill, the petition’s creator, says she has been forced to flee Britain saying that the authorities involved in the case are mounting a prosecution against her."

- See more at: