Friday 13 February 2015

Brendan O'Neill quits journalism

It's a sad day for me. A former hero of mine has decided to quit journalism and join in the lucrative narrative building industry with this appalling piece of lazy hackery on the matter of Rotherham.

Political correctness has not been used for any reason of cultural or racial sensitivity. It has been used as a tool of bureaucratic malice. Adele Gladman was sent on a diversity course not because they were afraid of racism, but because they wanted to shut her up and harass her so she went away.

She was saying that social services had dropped the ball in a big way which would have threatened some nice sinecure positions, not least £85K directorate heads - and would have embarrassed the council politically. PC was just the convenient tool for the moment to silence a council critic.

The true crime is not what happened per se, but the culture of denial and evasion and hostility to whistle-blowers, which is a common thread in all local authority and health scandals; - Baby P, Mid-Staffs, Donnygate, Rochdale etc. The Pakistan aspect is irrelevant and so is the cultural aspect - and so is political correctness.

It wouldn't matter what the subject matter of the failure was, the result would have been the same - hostility, defensiveness, denial and corruption. It is also totally irrelevant that it's a Labour council too (incidentally).

There is a little bit of evidence that the lower orders in Social Services were a bit cagey about saying what they thought - but that's because they've rightly been trained to reserve their immediate interpretations - but this was AFTER the council knew about the epidemic, and if there had been the leadership and the political will, it would have been sorted. That's what these £185k a year council CEOs are notionally for.

PC is barely relevant. It's certainly not causal. Basically this is an inevitability of a corporate scale councils behaving the way any organisation would without consequences for failure. Nobody loses their pension over this, and the guilty will take up similarly cushy jobs in other authorities.

The way we cleaned up the airline industry was with criminal negligence laws. If an Airbus design manager signs off a repair that can be proven to be knowingly inadequate at the time of sign off then that mo-fo goes to prison. But malfeasance in public office is an only an offence in common law and thus has to be taken up by the victims - who can often be intimidated, paid off or silenced - if they can afford justice at all.

If these councils were broken up and there was an inspectorate with very sharp teeth, and there was a real threat of jail and financial ruin for these council CEOs, they would be personally auditing every department asking all the tough questions. But instead they work three days a week when they're not out playing golf - or entertaining directors and middle management of council suppliers. Either that or sitting in meetings talking about statutory reporting requirements for gay and lesbian tennis outreach programmes. Anything but do a days fucking work.

If you bark up the tree of political correctness then you fall for the decoy - and that's why we'll see more Baby P's, Mid Staffs and Rotherhams. That Brendan O'Neill, a major influence and former hero of mine, would fall into this sloppy narrative crap saddens me greatly.

For the record, I was born and raised in Bradford, lived in Manningham, and have worked for four Northern Social Services departments. Meanwhile, I wonder if Brendan can find Rotherham on a map. He knows more about Australia than life outside the M25. I love the guy when he's right, but on this, he's talking out of his arse and sounds more like Melanie Phillips than an actual journalist.

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