The Dail Mail and its lies about child protectionThe "Dail Mail"? Is that something to do with the Irish parliament? Sorry, it was a cheap shot. But those are often the most satisfying...
The Daily Mail is vile.That's quite a strong assertion. Why is it vile?
Everybody, apart from its readers, must know that.Yes, its readers are clearly too stupid to understand. After all, why else would they deny what is obvious to all goodthinkful people?
But the problem is the sheer number of people who do read it – more than the Guardian, Times, Telegraph and Independent put together!Isn't it terrible that lots of people read a publication we don't like? If only we could do something to stop them!
Still, if it's got all those readers, the Mail must be doing something right, eh?
Many social workers, with their tendency to a more liberal and tolerant world view...No shit, Sherlock! So "liberal and tolerant", in fact, that they allowed homosexual paedophiles to abuse children without objecting, for fear of appearing "homophobic".
Not so liberal and tolerant when it comes to people who, Heaven forfend, disagree with them, though, are they? Those people are vile (and stupid).
But, to return to Ms Snell's clearly-reasoned discourse on the evils of the heretics:
Many social workers, with their tendency to a more liberal and tolerant world view, prefer to just ignore the Mail and all it stands for. But the trouble is the Mail doesn’t ignore them back."A constant drip drip of poison"! Ms Snell's assertion that the Daily Mail is vile is, however, a well-reasoned and objective critique of the newspaper.
It feeds the 2.3million people who read it every day a constant drip drip of poison against social care staff, questioning the profession’s competence as well as its motives.
And why would anyone cast doubt on the competence of social workers? After all, the Wathey and Faunch case was a one-off, wasn't it? Just like the Victoria Climbie case was a one-off. And the Rochdale "devil worship" case, that was a one-off as well. As were all the other one-offs.
And I say 2.3million – that’s the number who buy it, meaning that at least twice that number read it. That’s quite frightening really.Don't you just love this woman? The thought of people reading a conservative-leaning newspaper frightens her. You can just picture the sanctimonious expression of benevolent concern etched across her face when she considers what can be done to teach the dear little people the error of their Mail-reading ways.
It suggests that almost 5 million people will have seen the story yesterday about the “scandalous” behaviour of social workers who have told a woman called Fran Lyon they plan to take her baby away from her shortly after it is born. The piece is written in an emotional, some would say lurid, style, detailing how the woman, “who has never harmed anyone” does not know if she will get to hold her baby.Now, there may very well be another side to the story. But has Ms Snell heard it? Or is she just working on the basis that if a social worker says something, it must be correct?
It’s clearly a very sad case but, as every child care professional reading it will know, there is another side to the story. A side that those 5 million Mail readers will not get to hear.
Ms Snell seems to believe that if a social worker makes an accusation then, no matter how outlandish that accusation may be, we should all accept it at face value. What we should certainly never do is criticise social workers! But I'm afraid that I do not agree. There have been a considerable number of cases of social workers getting things wrong - often with very serious consequences. Taking a child from its mother is a huge step, and yet one that social workers can take all too lightly. After all, it has been alleged in The Times (also vile?) that social workers are now taking children from their parents solely in order to meet government quotas. The family courts have a default position of siding with the social workers. For a mother whose child is being unjustly taken from her, the media is often the only resort available. If the Daily Mail helps people at risk of injustice at the hands of social workers to fight for their rights, then good on the Daily Mail.
Why should we care about what Mail readers think?Why worry about the little people? Never mind that their taxes pay our salaries; they can't stop us taking their children, so let them eat cake!
Well, for one thing it helps stoke up real hatred against social workers. The story of Fran Lyon prompted one person to write a blog headed “Save A Life – Shoot A Social Worker".My moment of fame, cast in the coveted role of 'ignorant Daily Mail reader'. Of course, Ms Snell doesn't seem to have noticed that I actually wrote about this long before the Daily Mail did, and that I linked to the Sunday Telegraph report of it, rather than the report published in the Mail.
I would add, I don't hate all social workers. Indeed, I'm sure that many of them are perfectly decent people. But I do hate people who are possessed of power in as great a degree as social workers are, and who use that power incompetently or abusively. Fran Lyon's case is just the latest in a string of cases in which it has been shown that a significant number of social workers fall into one, or sometimes both, of these categories. And those social workers - yes, I hate them.
That can’t be a good thing.Notice the unwillingness to come out and attack Ms Lyon personally (because doing that wouldn't look too good, would it?). While she is accused of lying, the accusation is made indirectly, with the Mail and the Telegraph (is that vile too?) getting the blame for "highjacking" the story. Well, that's just not good enough. Ms Lyon provided those newspapers with the supposedly misleading information, and she has subsequently spoken directly in the comments thread following Pete Moore's post on the case at ATW (in which she endorsed the entire Sunday Telegraph article, bar one minor factual inaccuracy regarding her degree), as well as at her own newly-established website. Let's face it, if, as Ms Snell alleges, there has been misrepresentation going on, then Ms Lyon has certainly been complicit in that. It would be nice if Ms Snell could come out and make her accusations directly.
But, for what it’s worth, Community Care readers will get to hear the other side. On September the 20th we will be running a feature examining the way Fran Lyon’s story was hijacked by the Mail (and the Telegraph) through no fault of her own and how key facts about her psychiatric history were omitted.
Some Community Care readers have written in saying they don’t want to read about “child-snatcher” allegations against social workers in the national media. Notably 32 members of the social work team at Bolton Council protested at our coverage of John Hemmings [a Lib Dem MP, actually Hemming - FR] and his claims that children were being taken into care to meet adoption targets.Well, the other side of the story is certainly something to look forward to. Hopefully it will explain a bit more than Ms Snell's post did. I particularly note, that Ms Snell never mentions any of the numerous criticisms of the very concept of Munchausen Syndrome By Proxy, the highly-dubious psychiatric condition which has provided the justification for taking Ms Lyon's child. Nor does she explain why the evidence of one particular doctor was accepted over that of others, even though he was not a specialist in the area in question, and even though he had never actually met Ms Lyon. Perhaps these will be explained on the 20th. But, until these, and the other rather serious questions hanging over the case, are satisfactorily answered, then it is likely that people will continue to sympathise with Ms Lyon. After all, the arguments in Ms Snell's post really amount to little more than "we elevated social workers know better than you, and you should just accept what we say, and never ever criticise us. If you're lucky, we'll explain why in a couple of weeks".
I think Community Care shouldn’t ignore every anti-social worker story that appears in the national media (though you have to ignore a lot of them otherwise it becomes too exhausting!) Hopefully our coverage of Hemmings – and the forthcoming feature on the Lyon case – is helping, just a tiny bit, to set the record straight. It’s at least worth a try, surely?
Finally, I couldn't let this go without once again emphasising the liberal smugness with which this post is riddled. Far more than a comment on Ms Lyon's case, about which it really says very little, it is an attack on the Daily Mail and, arguably, upon any who dare read it. Now, I can appreciate that the Mail is not beyond criticism, but Ms Snell's comments about this "vile" paper, providing "a constant drip drip of poison", go far beyond criticism, into irrational hatred. After all, I wrote the post of which she complains a full ten days before the Mail first mentioned this case. And yet, I am held up by Ms Snell as an example of an ignorant person, corrupted by the wicked Daily Mail. This post really does provide a fascinating glimpse into the liberal mentality, in which a newspaper can become the object of such fanatical hatred, that the facts themselves can be ignored and misrepresented in order to further justify the hate. The rest of the piece also does quite a good job of showing quite how patronising, quite how sanctimonious, and, for all their talk of being open-minded, quite how convinced of the indisputability of their own beliefs, the average liberal is. Do you know, I even think that Ms Snell might be the new Thick Lizzy?