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Thursday, 13 February 2014

A longish comment on Kate Belgrave's blog piece

Shutting homeless hostels, then slapping Asbos on rough sleepers. Brilliant!

Swheatie of the KUWG writes:

Hi, Kate

Thanks for this. Friends of mine live in Notts in a safe Tory parliamentary seat — at least for the 'good constituency MP' who opposes local hospital closures and the like — and I had thought from that that the Council might be mainly Tory blue, but the Nottinghamshire Council website reveals an overall Labour majority.

The ideological background to what Nottinghamshire County Council is doing

I note also that this blog piece ties in with an article I've just read in the Social Work Action Network reply to Secretary of State for Education, Children & Families, Michael Gove MP. Gove [who was adopted by a wealthy couple when he was a few months old] has accused social workers of lacking compassion and intellect, and social work education of being riddled with dogmas that disempower; and in the Social Work Action Network reply pamphlet 'In Defence of Social Work: Why Michael Gove is Wrong' [17 authors], Mark Baldwin [senior lecturer in social work at the University of Bath and a member of the SWAN national steering committee] aptly states what is really going on as 'Blame and pathologise the victims of social forces — they are worth more that way'. He observes that "by insisting social workers should not address 'individuals as victims of social injustice', Gove is taking social work outside the law." As Baldwin states:

"Social workers are ... required to work within the Human Rights Act, which, inter alia, ensures that service users have a right to 'liberty and security of person', prohibits service users being exposed to 'inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment', and also includes a prohibition of discrimination in a wide range of circumstances including 'property', 'birth or other status'....

"[The evidence-base affirms that] the effects of poverty and disadvantage and the pernicious ways in which they deny young people opportunities for the [power to take individual responsibility] that Gove is so concerned they should have."

If Gove gets his way, who stands to gain? Answer: profiteers devoid of a social service ethos that seeks to empower:

"When the service is required to make a profit for a commercial organisation, the ethos of empowerment, the motivation to get people standing on their own despite their social circumstances, will be overtaken by the motivation to maintain those people as pathologised individuals requiring a service.

"That is why people with learning difficulties in Edinburgh, when campaigning against day centre cuts wore tee shirts saying 'we are not for sale'...."

Emphasising this point is the fact in relation to what Nottinghamshire County Council is doing, a large proportion of the UK prison population have learning difficulties and / or drug problems. And as Baldwin's article does not state but the Social Work Action Network National website does, Swan has campaigned against the sponsorship of a 'Social Workers of the Year' award by one of the most despised global corporations, G4S!

(And of course, Kilburn Unemployed Workers Group members who use jobcentres do not enjoy the 'service' they receive from that particular global corporation's 'security staff'.)

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