Friday, November 14, 2008

Baby P: It's Not Partisan to Ask Questions

It seems that even to comment on the case of Baby P produces howls from the left of partisan politics. It is, of course, utter rubbish, and an attempt to deflect blame. If politics is about anything, it is about trying to prevent a repetition of the tragic events in Haringey. Sadly, those are words I could have written ten years ago after the Victoria Climbie case.

The news this morning that four Ministers were told in February 2007 - six months before the death of Baby P - that Haringey Social Services were failing to protect vulnerable children provides yet more evidence of systemic confusion and incompetence, not only in Haringey, but at the heart of government. Four letters were sent to four different Ministers, but instead of acting on them, the Ministers or their private offices just passed the buck to others. One of these letters was sent to David Lammy, a Haringey MP. It seems to me he has some very difficult questions to answer, as does the Child Protection Inspectorate, which was also sent a letter.

Ed Balls announced an inquiry on Wednesday which will report within two weeks. Someone, somewhere must admit that the buck stops with them. Looking in from the outside, that person is Sharon Shoesmith, the Director of Children's Services at Haringey Council. So far she has admitted no culpability and shown absolutely no empathy. She refuses to apologise and says that all procedures were followed to the letter. The woman is deranged. Social workers visited this poor child 60 times and failed on each occasion to spot what was going on. Jon Gaunt writes in today's Sun...
The RSPCA wouldn’t have visited this flat 60 times and done sod all. But the SS — that’s social services by the way — in Haringey left Baby P at the mercy of his “mother” and believed her lies. Why? Probably because they didn’t want to be judgmental and because they subscribed to the New Labour mantra of accepting all kinds of family.

The dignified apology issued on behalf of Haringey Council by one of their councillors yesterday was long overdue but welcome nonetheless. Perhaps the council is emerging from being caught in the headlights, at long last. It now needs to show decisive management action and announce that
Sharon Shoesmith has been relieved of her position. She clearly cannot continue in her post as her credibility is shot to pieces.

One further point. A few years ago the government issued a diktat to local authorities that they should combine the senior management posts of Director of Social Services and Director of Education. It caused turmoil in many councils, with a lot of them warning that the job was too big for one person, and although the overlap between the two positions was clear in the area of children's welfare, this was not the way to improve management structures. I do not know whether this contributed to the management failures that led to this tragic case, but it is at least worth asking the question.


Bob Piper has followed Gordon Brown's lead and descended into the gutter on this issue, accusing me of being "complete scum" for writing the Margaret Beckett quote of the day post below. Like Gordon Brown he accuses me of saying something I never did. He accuses David Cameron of "play acting" at PMQs. What a disgrace to the world of blogging Bob Piper has become. Let me say this to him. Yesterday, I was phoned by a Labour MP who I have only ever spoken to once before. He had read my post-PMQs blogpost. I expected him to defend his leader to the hilt. Instead, he said this: "I want to apologise for the behaviour of my Prime Minister at PMQs. I was ashamed of what he did." Bob Piper should be equally ashamed of what he has written.


Unsworth said...

Piper, like so very many of his politically driven colleagues, is an amoral, idiotic, scumbag.

Letters From A Tory said...

Both Labour and Labour bloggers appear to have spectacularly missed the point about the shameful death of this child.

Anonymous said...

No, it is not partisan to ask questions Iain but I note from the PMQ exchanges that Cameron made no attempt to make an appeal to the whole House where as Brown did and I found the tone of what he said adverserial to say the least.

I think Mike Smithson made many valid points in his piece on Political Betting yesterday too...

Your subsequent blog posting directly aligned itself with putting 'steal in the backs of Conservatives to get Brown out' which I have to say is a partisan response is it not....calling Brown an 'emotional retard' is a partisan response....

Anonymous said...

Well done the lawyer who exposed the governent's lack of response to a dysfunctional social services at Haringey. Obviously the government was not expecting this to become public and it goes a long way to exlain their mock howls of protest on Wednesday.

On Wednesday calls of shame from the Labour benches were not appropriate, today calls of shame from the opposition benches are most appropriate. There needs to be resignations over this, including the man at the top, who could only read a pathetic one line statement without any sign of human emotions.

Anonymous said...

Intrigued, I followed the link to Bob Piper's blog (never read it before). Although he goes well over the top with his language, I do agree with his broad point. Cameron played politics with this, as did Brown in response. And now bloggers are too. Can you please stop, Iain, as you are better than this.

Iain Dale said...

Darrell, I am not sure what you mean by an appeal to the whole House. Cameron asked a question, didn't get an answer and was then accused of playing party politics, when he clearly was doing nothing of the sort.

My blog post was a reaction to Brown's disgraceful comments. Of course that was partisan and I never pretended otherwise.

I also did not call Brown an emotional retard, which you may care to acknowledge.

Anonymous said...


I am more than happy to ackowledge that but your fellow Conservative blogger, Guido Fawkes, did which was symptomatic of the rapid politicisation of this issue by the right in general.

By appeal to the whole House I mean Cameron made no effort to ackowledge that this was an extremly horrific case which should be an issue of cross-party concern.

Brown repeatedly did make appeals of that nature...and the fact that Cameron did not shows to me that he could have come off as adversarial to say the least...

Anonymous said...

The problem with people like Bob Piper and Chris Paul (and of course there are equivalents on the Right) is that they either can't bring themselves to criticise their own side or, if they do, it's with nothing like the vehemence they display when attacking their political opponents. Their loyalty blinds them to objective thinking. Conversely I suspect the majority of people on both Right and Left are happy to criticise their own side when they disagree with them. I lean towards the Tories but I don't hold back from voicing my opinion if Cameron & co do something I don't like.

Anonymous said...

Iain said:

"Cameron asked a question, didn't get an answer and was then accused of playing party politics, when he clearly was doing nothing of the sort."

This is just outright distortion. When Cameron slipped in 'I don't expect he'll answer, he never does' he turned it in to a cheap party political point-scoring game. Brown's big mistake was to point this out - a better politician (e.g. Blair) would have left it. But I really think you need to leave this alone because you are starting look deluded.

Anonymous said...

"What a disgrace to the world of blogging Bob Piper has become."

What a pompous oaf Iain Dale has become.

Oh, and get your fingers off that delete button and let some comments through, you coward.

Iain Dale said...

Desperate Dan, you're living up to your name, I see.

Anonymous said...

Look, it's quite simple. Cameron is Leader of the Opposition. This is a formal position in our system. We have an adverserial systems. His job is to oppose.

His question at PMQs was completely reasonable. Brown botched the answer. There were lots of things Brown could have said that would have answered the question. He simply could have said that of course there needs to be an independent local inquiry and that announcements would be made in due course. He could have simply said that he would consider the points that Cameron had made.

The way our system works is based on arguement and debate. It is based on people being tested and held accountable for their action.

The only reason that this has blown up like it has is because Brown couldn't think on his feet when asked about a topic he wasn't fully briefed on. Blair would have handled it, Brown didn't.

When the Opposition (of whatever colour) cannot ask questions for fear of being accused of being partisan then Parliament no longer has a point.

Some people want a consensual, 'let's all sit around the table and come up with the best answer' sort of politics. I don't. The adversarial approach has many limitations but helps to avoid the 'groupthink' that consensual decision making leads to.

The adversarial approach relies upon questions being asked (and answers provided). Long may it continue.

Anonymous said...

A quick perusal of Bob Piper's blog shows that he has absolutely nothing to say about the Labour Party or the government's performance. All his recent posts seems to be rather obsessive rants about the Tories.

In short, a blog that typifies the mentality of the NuLab project - attack, bully and smear anyone who disagrees with them or who dares criticise the government and its narrative.

What a nasty and vindictive bunch of people. All we need is state-sponsored violence in the streets and you'd think we were in 1930s Germany.

ps Very amusing to see a local councillor refer to others as "failed politicians"....

Anonymous said...

@ desperate dan

In the same way that Piper has allowed my comment through.

Anonymous said...

Not really, Iain. Just think you are blind on this one. Dave quite clearly sought political advantage with his PMQ performance (and I use that word literally). Brown was certainly a prat for responding as he did - the guy has no political sense whatsoever. But your contributions are not really showing you in a good light either.

Old BE said...

Anyone not outraged by this situation is not human, in my humble opinion. Funny how to attack the "system" is to be partisan but if I remember correctly in the bad old days every time something terrible happened it was personally the fault of John Major. Jamie Bulger springs to mind.

I think that Balls and Hughes had struck the right tone by saying that the people responsible for the system's failure need to take responsibility.

You can tell when the government is past its sell-by date when it starts defending the indefensible.

Anonymous said...

so weak, Dale

Anonymous said...

Piper can piss off. And so can Dan and Darrell.


Brown presumably knew about the ministers ignoring the whistle blower and so no wonder he did not want to be questioned about it and tried to frighten people off.

He is a Bastard. He has presided over a massive increase in the growth of an underclass and Labours immigration policy is just an admission of defeat. They only care about covering the problem up.

The only labour MP with any honour on this is Frank Field.

Bastards bastards bastards - the lot of them. That poor baby - tortured under the noses of clueless shameless labour ministers.

David Boothroyd said...

Describing Haringey's comments as 'long overdue' is engaging in severe hyperbole. The case was sub judice and was only revealed publicly late on Tuesday afternoon. Haringey issued written statements immediately; the on-camera comments came on Thursday morning - a matter of hours later.

It is not *necessarily* partisan to ask questions - but it is political. And it is undeniably party political to ask political questions in a way which brings your party in. I note almost no blogs have even mentioned the basic facts learned in the inquiry report which has been freely available, such as the fact that Haringey wanted to take Baby P into care on 25 July 2007 but was told it couldn't. The report reminds me of the well known aphorism about the medlar fruit which I will forebear to repeat.

The behaviour of Tory bloggers over this has long since given the game away. The argument seems to go "It's not a party political issue, and it's typical of you horrible Labour people to behave this way!" Are you all genuinely stupid in failing to spot the contradiction, or are you openly lying?

Anonymous said...

Hey Iain, I commented on Bob Piper's blog - another Labour politican *completely* out of touch...

Anonymous said...

I agree with Bob Piper. Your gutless refusal to acknowledge what Cameron did* is sickening. You, sir, are a hypocrite.

(* He asked a perfectly fair question which he is absolutely entitled to do, on an entirely appropriate topic for PMQs. However, by saying in the middle of his question - "oh I know you won't answer my point, you never do" - he immediately linked the issue with cheap party politics (- sub-text: "listen everyone, he won't even answer a question about this, oh and look how cross I am"). I don't even suggest that he did this in a pre-meditated calculating way, it might have just slipped out, but nevertheless he did it. His anger at being pulled up on this by Brown, if it wasn't play-acting can only have been anger directed at himself.)

Anonymous said...

"Piper, like so very many of his politically driven colleagues, is an amoral, idiotic, scumbag."

It's this kind of comment that really doesn't contribute anything to the debate, other than grime. No Piper isn't as you describe. He may have political views you disagree with and he's spat the dummy with Iain on this one but, reading his blog, he seems genuinely angry about this. As did Cameron at PMQs. I feel sure that Brown was angered by Cameron's tone and insinuations too.

Piper's point, if he has one, is that it is obvious that all of us are appalled by this terrible case, and that lessons need to be learned, but petty point-scoring by politicians and political bloggers is inappropriate and unhelpful.

Anonymous said...

We all know the left preach tolerance, but are the most intolerant of all political persuasions if you dare to disagree or stand up to them. This is an absolute disgrace, and it shames me to live in a country where this can happen. It was disgusting of the odious Brown to accuse Cameron of being politically motivated, and he and fellow lefties know they have bombed big time over this, that their idiotic policies have been shot to pieces, and that they have no proverbial leg to stand on. It's going back to the Blair-Campbell days of just insulting any opposition, and it's a disgrace. Any decent, moral human being would have brought the issue up as Cameron did, and I really do hope that if the public THOUGHT Brown was horrible, they now KNOW he is. Labour has given nastiness a new meaning over 11 years, and this is yet another example of the kind of people who run our country. Roll on the next Election.

Anonymous said...

Brown is a father, and lost a young child himself, so to insinuate that he doesn't care about this case and is happy to use it cynically is very low indeed. To be fair to Cameron, to accuse him of play-acting at PMQs is equally low. But I do think his tone and language was bordering on the inappropriate but, to give him the benefit of the doubt, perhaps this was actually genuine human passion getting the better of the usually smooth political operator.

Anonymous said...

The really sad fact here is that it's not just Haringey who are useless. Not three years ago Norfolk Social Services pursued a pregnant mum to Ireland to try & get her unborn child, having taken her three previous children away on spurious medical evidence.

This after two cases similar to that of Baby P under their jurisdiction.

This issue needs to be raised as a humanitarian one, not a political one, perhaps we can get back to the point.

I don't give a flying f**k if Bob Piper or Iain Dale is a windbag, I do care that yet again our social services have let down a vulnerable child.

Baby P
Victoria Climbie
Lauren Wright....

There are many others, all victims of the incompetence of Social Services, names that matter a damn sight more than Bobs & Iains.

I'm sorry for ranting, but I've seen the misery Social Services can cause by their incompetence.

Anonymous said...

Piper's bluster makes him look silly. And there was no party politics involved in Cameron's PMQ attack. But I certainly think he did what he did for personal advantage, and he succeeded in making Gordon Brown look silly.

Jess The Dog said...

The reported buck-passing by ministers and the local MP David Lammy with regard to reported failings in Haringey is very disappointing, as is Brown’s refusal to accept that this was somehow appropriate as the “correct procedures had been followed”. We need to be very careful as, at the heart of this tragedy is the death of a child. The Speaker acknowledged this appropriately and humanely at PMQs, and many Labour MPs have been commendable in their analysis of the situation and the political response. This tragedy cannot be used as a political football and it is wrong to attack Brown (in particular) for perceived emotional flaws – he lost a daughter after all, and his wife wholeheartedly supports a number of children charities. However, David Cameron was entirely right to be angry at this case, as is the whole country, and angry at continued failings and the refusal to accept responsibility. This is endemic within authorities and the state, and is exemplified with the latest reports of buck-passing and Brown’s refusal to acknowledge the responsibility of those who were contacted. They may have followed the “correct procedures” but did they really act with responsibility, integrity, best endeavours and to the honour of their offices? The answer is clearly “no”. They had no foresight of this tragedy, but their intervention may have indirectly prevented the death of poor Baby P. This is the key issue – we must all take responsibility, whether this is acknowledging failings or whether it is discharging the duties placed upon us to our best abilities. This applies especially to those appointed or elected to office, and they need to lead by example. We can look to history and to those recently honoured for their parts in rescuing persecuted Jews, such as Sir Nicholas Winton and Frank Foley – they could have simply followed “correct procedures” and stood by, but it is a service to humanity that they did not. David Cameron is right to say we live in a “broken society” and no-one is doing a thing about it. Brown needs to get a grip of this, for all our sakes - he is happy to talk about leadership and courage but needs to show it. He can show it by acting decisively in this tragic case.

Anonymous said...

"...petty point-scoring by politicians and political bloggers is inappropriate and unhelpful."

And he'd be saying just that if the positions were reversed, and a conservative or liberal dem giovernment was in power.

I'm sure ...

Anonymous said...

man on a clapham omnibus

I think you put it very fairly here. The really shameful part of this is that being brought up in the so-called 'care' of the state is actually something that causes immense damage to already vulnerable children. We as a society all share some blame for this, as we are happy to turn a blind eye - this is not a new problem.

Man in a Shed said...

John Cuddas made a similar comment on air on the Daily politics. He didn't even try to defend what Gordon Brown said and openly admitted the behaviour did not reflect well on his party.

I note with some alarm the combination of Education and Social Services posts. I think this has more to do with co-opting education for the Balls/Brown class warfare attack on the middle classes through social engineering than saving money.

Anonymous said...

BJ - I agree and in normal circumstances making Gordon Brown look silly is an excellent and worthwhile thing. But using this case to do it? That's what makes me uncomfortable about Cameron's PMQ performance.

strapworld said...


Now we know why the Labour Government did not want a PUBLIC ENQUIRY.

The Conservative Party should DEMAND a public enquiry following these latest revelations.

As for Piper, iain. always remember the schoolyard refrain 'Sticks and Stones may hurt my bones but names will never hurt me!

BUT also never forget who placed that ridiculous thought process into the juvenile heads of the Piper's of this world. Non other than the BBC Political Editor ROBINSON who on the Daily Politics Show said that Cameron could not believe his luck and used all his questions to avoid the economy!!!

Such bias and such nonsense. I have complained to the BBC.

But does this not tell us many things. The main one being that we are in the control of a wicked and subversive government. Helped by their friends in the Media.

No bloody wonder they want to control BLOGS!! This is the only way we, the people, can get to the truth. Watch your back, Iain, they will be after you!

Anonymous said...

Of course Cameron was right to bring it up at PMQs, and the point is that Brown was left completely flat footed and looked a buffoon, and not a very nice one at that. I'm sure the thought of some political capital was on Cameron's mind - he's a politician, and much of the root of this evil is Haringey Council's odious PC zealotry. And lets all be honest, if the table's were turned, Brown and his motley crew would milk it for all it was worth.

Anonymous said...


I will reiterate what I said on the previous post.

The Labour anger is not roused by the Baby P questions per se, rather it is the fact that the attention has slipped away for the moment from the economy.

PMQs was meant to be a ritual humiliation of Cameron following Mervyn King's comments re. fiscal stimulus earlier that morning.

Mandelson was the architect of those particular tactics and he was in the House to watch the fun.

It didn't happen and Brown was mightily p*****d off. Maybe Cameron was coldly opportunistic to stick with Baby P once Brown had made his gaffe - only he will know.

The core Labour strategy now is to keep 100% focus on the economy and to push the 'serious man for serious times' meme, egged on with some mischief making to attack Osborne's judgement whenever the chance arises (e.g. fuel escalator).

It's painful to say this, but one man who emerges from this with some credit appears to be Ed Balls. The calm way he took control on Wednesday afternoon was impressive - let's just see how he plays the findings of the inquiry into Haringey. He may just get the kudos of being the man who sacks Shoesmith.

By the way, being diverted onto a blogger v blogger row is probably just what they want.

Anonymous said...


You are of course right that if the boot were on the other foot, labour and lefties in general would be queuing up to 'play politics' with it. Doesn't make it right though. I think bloggers and politicians should think harder about the way they're behaving on this, Iain included.

Anonymous said...

Brian Potter,
Your wider point about the long-term failure of the care system is a very important one. Governments of both parties have let us all down on this.
I'm slightly perplexed though as to why you would choose to make such a serious point under the nom-de-keyboard of Peter Kay's character in Phoenix Nights...

Anonymous said...

I'm a card-carrying Labour-voting leftist, and I find the usual right-wing BBC-bashing tedious and laughable, but I must admit I was astonished by Nick Robinson's comments about Cameron. How the hell did the begoggled slaphead get away with that? Mischievous biased speculation dressed up as 'comment'. Brown is lucky to have him there.

Anonymous said...


I know you are well connected in the upper reaches of the Tory party. Can you shed any light on this rumour I heard this morning? Apparently Cameron is seriously considering 'doing a Davies' and resigning his seat to fight on the Baby P issue. Surely that would be madness and he'd in effect be giving up on the chance to become PM.

Anonymous said...

"The core Labour strategy now is to keep 100% focus on the economy " ... what like 3000 job losses at RBS?

Unemployment rising beyond 2 million?

I was in Scotland yesterday talking to a few people in a local authority. ALL were aghast at the notion of trying to spend our way out of a depression. ALL of them knew there would be a bill to pay.

Brown is not fooling people on this.

Mervin King has cocked up big time - is anyone listening to him anyway?

Anonymous said...

we are all in the gutter, Iain, but some of us are looking at the stars

Hacked Off said...

Sack the whole team responsible, right up to Chief Executive and which ever councillors were supposedly providing oversight.

Anonymous said...

The trolls are out in force I see.

Boothroyd, why don't you admit you are wrong? Nothing you say on God's earth will make you any less wrong so just admit it or go away.

I saw DC two hours after PMQs and he was still visibly angry - so much for 'play acting'.

Sea Green - very well put.

Mulligan said...

Caveat Emptor; those who are apathetic (nay even supportive) about 42 days without charge and compulsory ID cards carrying so much data on the basis that "you don't do anything wrong you've got nothing to fear" should consider what the likes of Mr Piper and his socialist mates would ideally like to reclassify as serious offences against the state (aka terrorism). This whole unedifying episode serves to show the level of censorship against free speech and opinion within their utopia.

John Pickworth said...

[Comment written for the previous blog entry but Iain seems to be of a similar mind, so I'll post it here where its more relevent]

May I inject some reality here...

Over the past couple of days several commenters here and elsewhere seem somewhat offended that the 'Baby P' affair has become a political issue?

Well, I'm not sure if these people are reading the news but it IS unavoidably a political issue. If the Labour Government didn't wish it to be so, they are entirely free to stop putting up their own spinning spokespersons and talking-head Ministers in front of the media.

As it is, the Tories have said little... but what they have voiced are the perfectly understandable questions the public at large and indeed the media want answered.

Also, given the circumstances of this truly horrific case; the responses here and elsewhere have been remarkably restrained thus far.

Make no mistake, the anger of the public is running white hot about the failure to protect this child. I'd frankly be disgusted if the politicians on BOTH sides weren't responding to this anger. As it is, you have to wonder why some should want to bury the affair or place the blame on those that dare to raise their concerns?

Shame on you.

A child died, and many believe unnecessarily so. Its up to ALL of us, no matter what our tribe, to make sure this does not happen again. Its absolutely inconceivable that heads won't roll for this... and I don't particularly care whether they're held to account by the Government or the Opposition, as long as someone is doing it.

Throughout, there is a suspicion that some are out to protect a failed profession, a Government that promised us 'never again' and a PM concerned with his own political interests over those of a child left to suffer at the hands of monsters.

The actions of the Government have been at best deplorable... something is rotten here and it needs fixing without any further delay. Now is not the time to play nice.

Anonymous said...

"Now is not the time to play nice."


Anonymous said...

So it now emerges, as always, that ministers were told about suspected failures at Haringey and did nothing. Or passed the buck to someone else. Or will now deny having been told the first place, "honest guv, it was all my civil servant's fault".

And no surprise that Patricia Hewitt's in this somewhere. It's the ideology of lefties like her and Harman that children don't need fathers and should ideally be brought up by single mothers at the state's expense, or shouldn't even be alive in the first place because there should be unlimited abortion on demand, that overshadows social services under NuLab.

So it's very easy to get political over this because it's a fact that left-wing ideology destroys families and harms kids.

Newmania said...

Would either Bob Piper or Betty Boothroyd like to comment on the extensive use of the Bulger case to bash the Conservative Party on no grounds whatsoever under Gordon Brown`s Election management . Sickening and still not forgiven.
This is a political matter if not specifically Party political. I trust we have not forgotten Margaret /Enver Hodge . As a direct result of her bureacratisation of Islington`s children’s services child abuse drugs and pedophiles to infested them as was later discovered ( I wonder if Harringey has a budding children’s Minister ). You have to remember that in a place like Harringey ,the ‘clients’ are on benefits and the social workers live in a symbiotic relationship. Both become de-humanised over time . These Boroughs are little soviets and take on many of the typically heartless character of that vile state .This is what happens when forms and keeping your nose clean count more than people and personal responsibility . It is death by bureaucracy , death by socialism , and it is far from the first time in London’s basket case Boroughs . Here Labour’s dirty little secret squats in darkness and Emily Thornberry Dianne Abbot and co cannot wait to get their own children as far away as possible .

(In 1995, the White Report into sexual abuse in Islington Care homes reported that the council had failed to adequately investigate the allegations.) However in 2003, Hodge was appointmented as Minister for Children......... Nice .

Anonymous said...

The really pathetic aspect was GB's response to the first question: "Is it not unreasonable that the leader of Children's services should investigate her own dept?" There was no mention of the party running the council in that first question – I've just checked. Any number of responses ranging from "Yes it sounds unreasonable" to "Let's have a look at the report first before we pass judgement on it" would have dealt with the issue in a reasonable way. Instead, he went into attack mode, escalated it into a crisis and then, later that evening, backed down and did exactly what DC was suggesting.

Anonymous said...

On Wednesday Nick Robinson made snide comments about Cameron taking advantage of this blow-up to take the heat off his response on economics. I felt at the time that he'd have been better to have asked why this matter took so long to surface and whether ministers know earlier. It is right that it should be edging up the agenda.

Kcila said...

What really pisses me off about Labour and Broon is that they have and continue to use every opportunity to be party political. And no doubt will again as soon as they feel its to their benefit.

This tragic death, so avoidable, lies squarely at this government's feet. They continue to ignore policing incompetent Labour authorities where children are being murdered under the noses of social services yet encourage councils to act like nazis in pursuing people who let their dogs put on weight.

So typical of the Trots - priorities up their arses.

Anonymous said...

"I saw DC two hours after PMQs and he was still visibly angry - so much for 'play acting'."

Sure you did, lady f. That settles it then. He wasn't putting it on or playing party politics. Thanks. Before your contribution, people didn't seem to know one way or the other. Great that you've sorted it out for us.

Mind you, my brother-in-law's cleaner saw Dave 1 hour after PMQs and she said he was laughing like a drain...

Wrinkled Weasel said...

Well said, Pickworth.

But I am astonished at the way this has descended into the gutter.

I have not read the details of Baby P, how he died, what his injuries were, because I know that I would be haunted by it, night and day, for a long time. The idea that any child can go through this hurts me to the core. PMQs was not edifying either.

I have one point to add.

The bridge between the politically correct, New Labour Odyssey and public credence is decaying. Labour have been shown with no clothes. They have faced the true consequences of ten years of nihilism and deceit. Brown faced it at question time. Haringey is merely one symptom out of hundreds of the moral banckrupty and moribund philosophy of New Labour.

The result, as if Iraq was not a wake-up call, is that people DIE.

Anonymous said...

"it's a fact that left-wing ideology destroys families and harms kids."

Is Chris Morris posting comments on here?

Anonymous said...

Thank you for that Old Holborn. Just as I thought, baby Peter's torturers are white trash through and through.

Anonymous said...

I'm with J Pickworth on this - the state of affairs in Haringey is a political matter.

As previously noted, it was the Government that moved the deckchairs around in Child Care/Education, and the complaint from a Haringey Social Worker who blew the whistle fell through the cracks.

Had Cameron said something like "Labour policies kill children" the reaction from Bob Piper et al would have been appropriate.

Had Brown managed to overcome his loathing of Cameron and handled the matter as well as Ed Balls did in his interview on C4 later in the day, none of this would have been necessary. And despite loathing Mr Balls, I'm quite happy to acknowledge sense when I see it.

As for using tragic cases for political fodder, I can recall when T Blair was Shadow Home Secretary, he muscled in uninvited when a young local bobby was murdered in my Borough, hoovering up the publicity with great and sickening gusto.

Anonymous said...

**Cameron is making an announcement at 3.00**

Is 'glass to the wall' right? Is he going to resign his seat?

Anonymous said...

The danger here is that the left is trying to focus the issue on PMQs, and not the actual quetions that David Cameron asked, I do not beleive that anyone in reality believes that this was party politcal drive, one only ahd to see the real passion whcih DC had to see that. However I do think that the Cabinet member if she had any decency would resign. What is the point of having cllrs who themselves just issue apologies and did not question chief officers. Also the Council Officer refers to following the rules, have they not ehard of the old saying that rules are for the guidance of wise men and the obeyance of fools? DC must not be deflected from asking some very serious questions, questions i beleive he would have aksed had it been a Conservative or Lib Dem Council.

Anonymous said...

Hey Smart Aleck (Jimmy Hill)

I happened to see him when I was lunching with a friend in Portcullis House - not all of us work at Burger King like you.

Anonymous said...

I can imagine a scanario like this:
Brown appointee BOE King, an ineffectual economics academic with a melancholy face endorses Brown's economic stimulus (having previously endured a hole in the foot power-drilled by Brown cronies). Armed with this, a number of backbench Labour MPs looking like my son's toys which made meaningless noise and nod, have each given questions that should follow after their leader Brown has ritually bled Cameron with knife thrusts delivered in Brownian epithets , a mix of half truths, self-delusionary congratulations etc. He had his book full of quotes and episodes blaming Tories going back to Pitt The Younger! Lord Sleaze is sitting in the gallery to savour the delight.

Ex-sheet metal worker Martin calls Cameron. When bottler Brown is expecting a round of cannon fire, he sees a few exocets
coming his way. No economy, no backseat cronies, no ritual slaughter and no Lord Sleaze gloating. The quintessentially one-dimensional Brown, as ill-prepared as the German soldiers guarding the Pagasus bridge on D-Day has no where to duck. He is as bewildered as those German soldiers, and as his gene mutations are triggered, he becomes an incrediblly pathetic Stalinistic hulk and shoots his mouth. Charles Clarke is vindicated! The effort of his crony Nick Brown in lining up supporters to complete the slaughter has gone to nought.

Supporters of Brown the terrible like David B are frustrated. They say it is not fair. Brown the admiral did not see the sea skimmig exocet coming towards him.
It should have been a round of cannon fire

Anonymous said...

Hey lady f

You are one deluded old crone. Dave was hamming it up at PMQs for all he was worth - that swipe of his notes was classic!

Anonymous said...

Paul Waugh, Evening Standard states:

"I'm told that Cameron's central charge - that Haringey's director of children's services had been allowed to oversee the probe into the case - is not exactly accurate. It turns out that although Sharon Shoesmith commissioned the "serious case review" into the death, it was actually authored and conducted by an independent team of experts, CAE Ltd"

CAE Ltd are a small management consultancy company: Children's Act Enterprises Ltd.

Directors: Fergus Smith BSc (Hons), MA, CQSW, DMS, DipM and Jennifer Kate McPhee.

CAE Ltd appear to have written and produced a number of Children's Act manuals, such as Law Made Simple (!) for LAs, SS depts etc, as well as having authored department procedures and carried out investigations - see below.

This raises a number of questions:

1. Did CAE Ltd carry out an investigation into procedures they had themselves developed?.

2. Were they paid by Haringey?

3. Is the lyon's share of their work for Local Authorities and Social Serices.

4. If the above is the case, could this be seen as representing a conflict of interest?

CAE Ltd's website states:

Fergus Smith (also lead consultant)

"Operational and consultancy experience of local authorities and the independent sector which includes:"

"Serious case reviews for ACPCs/LSCBs
Child care audits for DfES purposes
'Best Value' and service reviews
Interim management of fieldwork services
Drafting Youth Justice and ACPC Annual and Children's Services plans
Audits of staff supervision, family support, child protection, residential and after care, unaccompanied asylum-seeking children's services
Developing guidance for Youth Justice Board
Conducting research for the Prisons and Probation Ombudsman, Youth Justice Board and for local authorities
Independent investigation of management concerns and service user complaints
***Co-authoring London, Sussex, Berkshire, Essex, Hampshire, Isle of Wight, Portsmouth, Southampton, Kent and Medway Child Protection procedures etc"

Anonymous said...

It was Brown at his worst. Leopards do not change their spots.

Anonymous said...

lady finchley

you seem to be well connected - is DC about to resign his seat to fight on the 'Baby P' issue?

Anonymous said...

Lady F

Burger King? You'll be calling me 'white trash' next. Is this what passes for wit these days amongst the political classes? Or are you just an obnoxious cretin?

Anonymous said...

Apparently Cameron was still angry at 5pm.

PMQ's just showed that Brown has no empathy in him, he was a disgrace.

The question should now be, what happens next?

Everyone is now busy passing the buck, so how are we going to find out which government department should have taken action?

The other question I would like answered is why OFSTED has taken over the inspection of childrens services. Not really the same as inspecting schools.

Anonymous said...

I see that Mr Piper slyly reminds us that you have a Jack Russell.

That's doggism, pure and simple.

Anonymous said...

What do you know Jimmy Hill? Were you there? I know people who were on the bench next to him and have vouched for this.

Interesting that you call anyone who disagrees with you old as if it were an insult. And if I was a crone that would make me wise - something you'll never be.

Anonymous said...

Labour trolls and the odious Brown apologists should realise ...

Whats clear to anyone reading Hansard is that Cameron started by asking a perfectly reasonable question - is it OK for Harringey to investigate itself.

He got waffle from Brown - he did not say yes he did not say no.

Cameron's subsequent questions were interrupted by labour hecklers (playing politics). Brown refused to answer 3 times and only then did Cameron say he did not expect to get an answer.

Labour are shameless and shameful.

Anonymous said...

Sorry for so many typos, I'm posting in my work breaks.

Theo Spark said...

Yet you still link to Bob Piper, Iain. If he wants to know what scum looks like he should look in the mirror.

Anonymous said...

Lady F

Interesting that you say I work in Burger King as if that were an insult. Vile snobbery. Some people have to work in boring jobs for little money - that's capitalism.

Anonymous said...

oh, and I said 'old' because your moniker always conjures up the image of the Thatcher witch for me

Anonymous said...

Iain, by making that Beckett comment a "Quote of the Day" you attempted to trivialise a serious issue.

Bob Piper is right to say that social workers are "bloody hard working, committed people doing one hell of a job under desperately sad circumstances."

Beckett was right to say to what she said. There's nothing wrong with recognising your limitations.

I think you've made a mistake to perpetuate this Baby P tragedy as some kind of party political contest.

Not one of your finer moments.

Iain Dale said...

I wish I had a £1 for everyone who says "not one of your finer moments". That comment is certainly not one of yours. Beckett's comment was ludicrous and I make no apology for highlighting it. The spin you put on it is, of course, wrong. Are you seriously suggesting that what I have said in the first part of this post is not a legitimate comment? What are we all supposed to do. Go mute? There are legitimate issues for discussion here. It's not about party politics, but if Gordon Brown turns it into that, please don't blame me if I respond.

Anonymous said...

Tough titty, Jimmy Hill.

Anonymous said...

Iain - "I wish I had a £1 for everyone who says "not one of your finer moments"

You get that alot then?

I don;t think Beckett's comment was 'ludicrous'. It was honest and it is obviously how she feels.

For example, why didn't you go become a social worker? Why did you want to be a politician (even if that ambition was unrealised)?

What is right or wrong about having certain skills for certain jobs?

I think you are being unreasonable and your argument is unhelpful. It's almost pointless.

The facts need to come out into the public domain and appropriate action needs to be taken. Your personal attacks don't make any sense.

Anonymous said...


I would definatly contest your first paragraph but I guess that is part of the problem now isnt it. Whomever you blame most (Brown or Cameron, left or right) the fact is that the exchange at PMQ's has now polarised the debate on the substantive issues.

If what one of the comments said above is true and it's not even technically correct that this department was 'investigating itself' then that further muddies the waters.

Substantively it is true that there should be independance for any inquiry and it should be left to this inquiry to determine the competancy or lack of it of the people involved. If people are found wanting then they will lose their job and that is as it should be.

Anonymous said...

Iain, Why was Beckett's comment ludicrous? She was being honest.

Why didn't you become a social worker? Yet you wanted to be an elected politician? (a still unrealised ambition)..

Perhaps she thought she could serve the public best by doing what she does. That's her right.

It's unhelpful to make petty personal comments for partisan reasons when you're dealing with a human tragedy.

So, here is another £ for you...
"Not one of your finer moments", Iain.

Anonymous said...

This urgent message has just gone round BBC news. Sigh.


Do Not tape the David Cameron statement on Baby P coming from ITN around 1730 Live.
He referes to Baby P as a GIRL.
It will need to be edited.

David Lindsay said...

Social Services are having a well-deserved bad week. We now have a whole new light in which to view their highly organised kidnap of children from Old Labour homes in order to place them, via Family Courts whose secrecy is incompatible with the rule of law, in New Labour homes.

And the old line from Yes, Minister that social problems increase in order to occupy the time of the number of social workers employed to deal with them springs horribly to mind. Those who killed Baby P are their client class. The working class, properly so called, is not.

But they are not the only people who deserve excoriation.

How dare the Tories, of all people, preach about these matters? Not only (though certainly) because they brought in Thatcher's Children Act.

And not only (though certainly) because the economic basis of paternal authority was destroyed - initially in working-class families and communities, but then very rapidly throughout society as a whole - by their heroine, who had left her own small children to hired help while she pursued first her legal and then her political ambitions.

There are many ways in which the Tories have long, or even always, been actively hostile to the views and values of those on whose votes they depend. Support for the anti-national, anti-farming, anti-manufacturing, anti-shopkeeping, anti-local, anti-family “free” market is one. Their actual record in office on the EU and on Northern Ireland is another. And there are plenty more.

But there is none more flagrant or more fatal than the fact that they are not just largely products (which they cannot help), but also almost invariably users and stalwart defenders, of just about the most anti-family institutions imaginable, founded on the premise that children should be brought up with as little parental contact as possible except when it comes to paying the bills, and organised towards the acting out of adolescence in single-sex residential environments.

Anonymous said...

One of the papers published pictures of the social worker who dealt with the case, her boss and the head of the council.

The social worker looked harassed and probably overworked.

I somehow cannot imagine her boss actually "getting her hands dirty" and actually dealing with a case like this directly personally. This applied even more to the head of the council.

Anonymous said...

Oh, thought one of my comments didn't go through so I posted again...

apologies for double-ish post.

Anonymous said...

Oh dear, the post-coital bliss of the Obamasm must have worn off as Canvas is decidedly cranky again.

Anonymous said...

I have just seen the photo of baby Peter in the Telegraph and more than ever I wish the worst on those bastards who were responsible for his death. To see that poor, trusting, innocent face and then to imagine the horrors done to him is just heartbreaking.

Anonymous said...

Just to diversify a little, one of the things I noticed in all of this was the assertion at PMQs that the report into Harringey's performance had only been delivered to the Children's Secretary that morning.

I believe this may turn out to be a bit of a Brownie. The document took, I think, a little bit less than 15 months to write - a huge time. One of the reasons for this was that it was bounced backwards and forwards between all the interested parties for comments, corrections and counter-arguments. One of the interested parties, who will have had ample chance to see and comment on the drafts of the document, was Balls's department. What happened at 10.00 on Wednesday was only the first sight of the document as a final version in printed form, not by any means the first opportunity to know anything, indeed everything, about what was in it.

Cameron knew this, of course. So did Brown. In fact anyone who has had anything to do with the operation of government knew this.

The question, therefore, is why did Brown try to fob Cameron off with such an evasive answer to a straight question? Cameron was right to be annoyed. Brown's answer was economical, to say the least. Cameron knew that too. In the circumstances, who wouldn't be angry?

Anonymous said...

I am happy to embrace the full-blooded political processes that should be at the heart of our parliament. I am however thoroughly disgusted by those on the government benches, in office and on the back benches, who fail to understand that Baby P’s fate is entirely of their making. What are Social Services for if not to prevent such heartbreaking events – much of government service has been corrupted by the overlay of socialist “principles” promoted by people who would seem incapable of tying their own shoelaces. “These people” (I am aware of the background of this phrase) are unfit in every respect to be in government, their incompetence knows no bounds, they bring shame on our great Nation and should find a dark corner, in which to curl up and die.

Anonymous said...

Who the hell is Bob Piper?

Anonymous said...

Its difficult to believe that any rational person would deny that Browns behaviour at PMQs was sickening and heartless.
However having linked to Pipers website its obvious he doesnt fit into that category.

Unsworth said...

@ workrobotwork

More pertinent, who the hell does Piper think he is?

Anonymous said...

I won't claim to have all 88 comments in detail but am not surprised that the discussion is no longer about an infanticide case but about reactions of politicians to it, then the reaction of bloggers to the politicians, then the reactions of the great unwashed like me to the bloggers.

Who the blue blazes is Bob Piper? Can anyone tell me why he matters?

John Pickworth is the only poster whose contribution has served any obvious end other than his own moral vanity.

I saw saw something like this once. In 1986, a female student fell out of a window onto some railings in the middle of the night. The student common room had a "something must be done" debate and everone started attacking each other like rats.

It's bred in the bone. Humanity is collectively insane.

Over and out.

Anonymous said...

So that's OK then, everyone followed procedures, so noone is to blame. I'm glad we've got that straight. Or maybe the procedures are wrong? (Not least the procedure for referring complaints back to the local authority which committed them in the first place).

David Lindsay said...

If the Parental State had not replaced Baby P's natural father, then this tragedy might very well have been averted.

The presence of the natural father is far and away the strongest defence against child abuse of whatever kind.

Yet, even in this of all cases, how long has it been before anyone has even bothered to track him down and ask him what he thinks?

She who massively extended the Parental State with her wretched Children Act and other measures also destroyed the economic basis of paternal authority, initially in working-class families and communities, and then very rapidly throughout the society that, in any case, she denied existed at all.

Her party (which went on to give Helen Brook, weirdo coiner of the very term "the Parental State", the CBE) has learnt nothing, to say the least.

It did not even whip its MPs to oppose the legal abolition of fatherhood, now that two women can be named as the parents on a birth certificate.

Expect many, many, many more Baby Ps.

Anonymous said...

Oh here we go again, David Lindsay, when all else fails,blame Lady Thatcher. The reason the father wasn't involved is that he was an alcoholic - also unfit to bring the child up. Although he did see the child he was not considered fit to have custody. And what, he didn't have eyes in his head to see what was becoming of poor baby Peter? Didn't he see the weight loss, the bruises, the cowering? All well and good for him to cry crocidile tears now - where was he when his son needed him? Knocking back the drink. You're full of crap as usual, David Lindsay.

Anonymous said...

In the Indie today it reports that

".....there has been a huge decline in the number of child protection cases before the courts since new care proceedings came into force earlier this year.

"The cost of taking a case to court rose from £150 to £4,000 in May. Social workers need to gather stronger evidence before judges will consider a protective care order."

"Social workers and lawyers say there has been a huge decline in the number of child protection cases before the courts since new care proceedings came into force earlier this year.

"Fees were increased in an effort to make the courts pay for themselves. The move was opposed by senior judges, the Law Society and the NSPCC. "

"A Ministry of Justice spokesman said: "Children's services have an obligation in law to protect children. It would be unlawful for them to avoid taking court proceedings for financial reasons. For these reasons we do not accept that the new fees should have any impact."

So the cost in time and man/womanpower of getting a case to court has no impact of the number of cases referred by cash strapped local authorities with a shortage of social workers?

Sanctimonious twats.