Tuesday, 10 December 2013

OECD : Office of Essential Capitalist Dissemination and thoughts on China and Sri Lanka, Oh! and Andrew Mitchell

It would be good to know more of this very clever  -  much more clever than any of us, you know  -     international body called the OECD which last week told us our useless kids and their useless teachers are trailing light years behind those hard working and nice non-hoodies, Korean and  Chinese schoolchildren, in the pursuit of doing sums. To tell the truth I am pleased about the success of children from far Asia, because for so long my generation was told that people from those countries  were either technologically neanderthal or copycats and certainly they were, we were informed,  culturally rather backward.

How things have changed, for while our UK prime minister, David Cameron, MP sniffs the posterior of  Chinese government and Chinese industry and their gold, he feels rectitudinally big enough to exercise his cane on the backside of the Sri Lankan government which has treated some of its people rather poorly. I am sure, because here in the United Kingdom we are a respectable and fair people with a respectable and fair government, that our prime minister will  provide us with evidence that the Sri Lankan government is nastier to its people than the Chinese government is. There can be no doubt that if this were not so, our noble and very wealthy prophylactically helmeted leader, our top Etonian, would be courting the world media to report that China is not too hot on human rights and so maybe we oughtn't to make trade deals with it.  It is mere happenstance that the Sri Lankans don't have the financial muscle of the Chinese and it would be cynical to think the relative poverty of Sri Lanka, and the less attractive trading opportunities it offers, allows our government the "moral strength" to front up to the human rights violations of the Sri Lankan government and, at the same time,  to wipe out from our collective memory some of the human rights atrocities that have occurred in China in recent decades. Actually when I come to think of it we're not too good on treating people humanely. As well as giving the nod to a little bit of torture here and there, our interventions in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya have hardly lessened the suffering of humankind, and as for the way we treat our own poor.......

"Well, that feels better. Got rid of a lot of stuff there."

Getting back to the OECD, I think it tells us that China is on the right lines and how it is going to be the greatest economy in the world soon - indeed it may already be so. And well, well, well the OECD isn't holding out much hope for the Sri Lankan economy.

It is an irony, though perhaps rather small beer,  as we simple folks try to make sense of all the big issues which are far beyond the thinking capacity of our little minds,  that the OECD is now telling us, that we, the United Kingdom gas consumers, are sadistically wounding and bankrupting those deserving shareholders of the energy companies who blithely, merrily, happily, verily and rightly stitch up, and keep cold, the poor and the less well off. You'll understand now that it's not right to vote for wee Ed in the next general election because he'll put a stop to their rightful and justified profiteering.  What an undeserving economic disaster that would be for "them thar"  paragons of energy  -  what with Christmas coming up so soon too.

I do hope I voted for the OECD. I am sure I must have done because its proclamations are delivered on the BBC daily and nobody seems to provide a dissenting voice. So that proves OECD must be right.

Us plebs  -  sorry Andrew, I am, in some measure, so sure you didn't say that word even if you did say f**ckin' -  have got to break free of our negative and fallacious obsessions about the selfishness of the important people  -  who are, let's face it, so much more worthy than you and me,  -  represented by the  OECD. We are drowning in our envy and the OECD is saturated in its altruism.

"OK, I'll come quietly officer. Oh ! don't tell me I've got it all wrong again. No, I don't necessarily support the OCCUPY movement.  I was only......................"

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Three cheers for the increased support to children in foster care ! Now let’s do it for those in children's homes

My lack of sympathy for the current United Kingdom Conservative-led coalition government is a secret I have tried desperately to keep, though not, I confess, entirely successfully. It is a government which has not altogether covered itself in glory in its treatment of troubled families and troubled children and so the announcement made today, December 4th, 2013, by the government minister for Children and Families, Edward Timpson, that children being looked after in foster care in England will continue, if they so wish, to have their foster care and support funded until the age of 21, is one to be welcomed. This is something that foster carers and others involved in the care and education of children looked after in the care system have long called for. 

Mr Timpson, whose own family fostered nearly 90 children, stated that the government would pledge £40m to this initiative over three years and the measure will be introduced during the third reading of the Children and Families Bill next year. I congratulate Mr Timpson. His intention will give us something of which, as a community, we can be proud. 

There is of course another smaller, though significant, group of looked after children. These are children in children's homes and they are perhaps the most vulnerable group of young people in our community. They are children who for a variety of reasons are not available for foster care. Too frequently their difficulties are seen as 'more problematic' rather than - as they should seen - ‘different.’ So the residential care they are provided with becomes, quite wrongly, understood as a  'last resort’ sump of care when it is clear that for these children it is a ‘first resort.’ It is what they need. Let us hope that within a very short period of time the government will announce a similar level of support for children and young people who are in residential care beyond the age of 18 years. Their needs for further support may well be different, perhaps more expensive, but if such support is provided it will be a further welcome sign that as a community we are attempting to edge towards becoming civilised. We will have demonstrated that we are as determined to establish, as much as we can, positive future prospects for young people in residential care, which are equal to those now being put in place for children growing up in foster care.


John Stein writes : 
I agree with your comment about residential child care being 'first resort' rather than last resort. I couldn't agree more. (Except that I strongly prefer the term, 'residential treatment' to residential care). Virtually every child I met in residential placement needed coordinated treatment in the life space. 'Care,' especially here in Louisiana, implies 3 meals a day and a roof and a bed with an adult with no more than a high school education to look after them. After all anyone can care for kids. That attitude is all too pervasive in our social work profession here, and it runs the programs.