Its been four weeks since I wrote my last post and its been a very full on four weeks.
Yesterday was day 107 of the #justiceforlb campaign. The final day. The first anniversary of LB’s death in that shithole of an assessment and treatment unit. It has been a very moving 107 days but yesterday was quite phenomenal, with so many people recognizing the importance of the campaign. I do feel hope. In the last couple of weeks we’ve had several of the great and the good wringing their hands and declaring that they are at a loss about what to do about ATUs and the future of the people trapped in them. The Winterbourne JIP has failed to bring about any meaningful change. Norman Lamb says the right words but admits he has hit a brick wall. This week I was invited onto BBC Radio London to discuss adult social care and one of the leaders from ADASS was on, also confessing his fears of the future. Its looking like these people can’t do it. I’m not sure the will is there. Perhaps the system can’t be changed from within the system. Perhaps it will be movements like #justiceforlb that change the social care world. The will, the passion, the energy, the humanity is there. I think we have to stop waiting for the leaders and the social care world to show its humanity. It ain’t going to happen. Apart from some isolated (albeit powerful) examples, I don’t see any drive from within social care to truly serve the people they are meant to be serving. Service is dead. The drive, the humanity is coming from the families, ordinary people and the legal world. Coming together makes us very powerful – we’ve already seen lots of examples of the system feeling very threatened by that power. Good. This isn’t the time for observing niceties. This is the time for action. I’m sick to death hearing about culture changes being needed. Sod organizational cultures – let’s start applying the law. The human rights act. The mental capacity act. If your culture means you can’t apply the law, in fact you break you law, then you’re not fit to do your job. Let someone else take charge.
On a personal note, I’ve found writing the daily #107days blog emotionally draining. I thought I’d got an emotional handle on 2010 but writing it all out again has brought lots of stuff back to the surface. It has also made me realize that I probably won’t be telling those stories again. They belong to history now. During the #107days campaign I’ve spoken at a few events as well as the radio interview. Most of what I was asked to speak about was the present tense. And that’s where my energy now lies.
Last week we went to Clacton. Steven has become much more nervous about things since 2010. When we last went to Clacton in 2000, when Steven was 11, he was like most 11 years old – full of adventure and wonderment. This year, he wouldn’t go on the rollercoaster. He got anxious if I went off somewhere on my own. 2010 was a harsh lesson for him about the unpredictability of life. On top of that, there has been Julie’s death to work through. On Thursday we went on the little land train and Steven reminded me that “mum got seaweed stuck in her costume” last time we were there. He also remembered Julie buying him a Cornetto at the ice cream parlor we stopped at. This stirs up strong emotional stuff, for which there is no answer but to carry on with love.
Pulling this post together, I guess I’m hopeful for the future for Steven, and for social care because the #justiceforlb campaign showed that you can have your guts ripped out but through love, humanity, downright common sense and a fantastic dogeddness, find the strength and compassion to fight on.
In fact, you need love, belief and balls