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Because We Can

June 17, 2015

I am laying on a bed in a Birmingham hotel with a bitter taste in my mouth. No, I’ve not devoured a whole bag of pear drops. I’ve been catching up on the day’s activity on Twitter.

My blog post about the Tory template letter response to #LBBill has attracted a few comments along the lines that I am being too defeatest or too cynical. Or I don’t want to piss off the very people we need to bring the Bill to law. I definitely don’t feel defeatest  – I’ve always realised the Bill’s journey was going to be a very long haul. With many twists, turns, highs and lows. For me, the template letter is a low. Not a low point for the Bill as such but a low point in public engagement. My cynical response mirrored the cynism of the letter. Our elected representatives can treat their people with contempt because they can.

I was reading a fabulous article in Community Care, the latest in a series of “DoLs will be the death of us” type articles. CC have done some terrific research and one astonishing statistic they discovered was that, even in the aftermath of Cheshire West, 50 Local Authorities have made 0 (ZERO) applications to authorise deprivation of liberty in Community settings. Like supported living schemes. None at all. In 50 boroughs. Think what it must be like to be a learning disabled person in a restricted, service centred supported living placement in one of those areas. You’ve got no chance of having your living arrangements scrutinized. The LAs must believe that nobody is going to challenge their blatant ignoring the law. And they’re probably right. How do they get away with it? Because they can.

I’ve also been following Sara Ryan’s live tweets today from an NHS Human Factors conference. One tweet in particular quoted a medic saying: ” What do we fear? Not litigation. We have insurance. We fear the GMC”. Personal/professional reputation rather than doing the right thing by the patient. Commendably honest but shocking. With a slight feel of the untouchable about it. How do people in relationships where they hold all the professional power start to believe that nothing can touch them? Because they can.

No more Twitter today. I need some positive karma. I think I’ll watch Murder She Wrote on the hotel TV’s endless choice of channels. It must be on somewhere, it usually is. And I will. Because I can.


From → Social Care

  1. I love your posts and yesterday’s was no exception. I didn’t see it as cynical or defeatist. I did see it as angry and that is no bad thing. I am furious that a hollow template letter can be used when addressing the death of a real person from a real family and the template letter mirrored the lack of attention to that humanity that was found in the whole of the treatment of LB and his family. So, enjoy Murder She Wrote and wishing you good karma.

  2. Shirley Buckley permalink

    Mark it might be cynical but it is facing reality. Undiluted power, and the more vunerable one is the greater the power. How do they get away with it – because they can. How do we stop them? LBs Bill is the first step, then MPs, then what? I dont sleep at night with this moral dilemma, they fight dirty and we cant. Last night I thought I would escape and watch the soaps, but four frantic calls from Martin for help, and I collapsed exhausted. Today chase a complaint with bucks NHS no answer, chase a complaint with the DWP – a total shit answer. An e mail from the CoP, negative. No energy left for anything

  3. Trevor permalink

    Hi Mark, I believe you were spot-on with your breakdown and summing-up of those template letters and like Rachel, I think your posts are great and generally a very good source of information.

  4. nicI permalink

    the template was cold and it elicits a negative emotional response, hands up to feeling brushed off. My Mother would send people she didn’t really care for ugly Christmas cards (” candles for them “) I used to help her divvy them up in my childhood. When I voiced the opinion the cards were dismal she responded that she didn’t care if the recipient had a merry Christmas or not ! she was merely doing what was expected of her. One candle or two.

  5. Nichola permalink

    Behind you all the way, Mark. Weasel words from the powerful and ineffective should be held up to scrutiny. Those template letters obfuscate, fail to point the finger and expose the lack of accountability. Never mind the bleeding hearts who want to us to walk on eggshells and avoid causing offence. Righteous fury, not compromise, is the only way to tackle the soulless bureaucrats.

  6. simone aspis permalink

    disapointed despite the last meeting agreeing that inclusion of UNCPD Article 24 promotion of inclusive education has not been included in the Bill – what a big disappointment especially when Independent living courses in residential colleges will be used to pay for IL via the SEND route. That loop hole must be closed….. I very much hoped if Article 24 was explicitly included that it would made it easier for Alliance for Inclusive Education to support the LBBILL.

  7. I’ve come to expect these things, after nine years of campaigning and those early years fighting, in the end, for nothing at all except to be sent `letters for the weekend` as I called them, timed to upset you when you couldn’t phone a support worker in an office and find out where you stood in terms of your rights, or your child’s rights.

    It is all totally cynical. Politicians don’t like being treated by the public in the same way – witness the reaction of some of those dumped by the Scottish electorate at the Westminster elections – one even said that he was going to enjoy telling the public to *@!^ off – rather missing the point that that’s what they had just done to him!

    Autism Rights is doing similar campaigning in Scotland to that of the LB Bill campaign in England, so you may want to read (almost) all about it:-

    Our `Call for Action` to take people with Learning Disabilities and Autistic Spectrum Disorders out of the provisions of the Mental Health Act is the same as the LB Bill’s Clause 8. We have been campaigning on this for nearly 4 years, and we’re the only group to do so. Other groups lobbied behind the scenes years ago and got nowhere – now MSPs are submitting Amendments to the current Mental Health Bill that will at least set up a Review of this within a set timescale and other amendments are to create published statistics on deaths in the mental health system, because there are none at the moment, and to create alternatives and restraints on the use of psychotropic drugs.

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