Sunday, March 25, 2012
Evil and lawless British social workers again
"Social workers took away our baby for nine months": With no evidence against them, couple were banned from looking after their son
When Julie Nevin put her only son to bed in late December 2010, he was seven months old. The next time she was allowed to perform that simple act, Reilly was a 16-month-old toddler. She and her husband David lost nine months of their little boy’s life after social services took him away over a minor bruise on his forehead.
They believed Mr and Mrs Nevin may have slapped their beloved son, with the couple at one point being arrested on suspicion of assault and subjected to the humiliation of police taking their DNA, fingerprints and mugshots – despite all the initial checks coming back clear.
The couple’s nightmare only ended when a consultant paediatrician belatedly conceded that the bruising had most likely been caused by the little boy accidentally bumping into the metal legs of the family’s sofa – as they had originally suggested.
A judge dismissed the council’s application for a care order, ruling that Reilly was already a ‘well-cared for child’, and his parents were allowed to take him home.
Last night the Nevins told how their lives had been ‘turned upside down’ by the horrific experience, and called for an urgent overhaul of the child protection system.
Mrs Nevin, 40, who works for the Red Cross, said: ‘Reilly left us as a baby and came back as a toddler. We have had to start all over again. For nine months we came back to an empty house, it was very distressing.’
‘The whole system is loaded against parents. You are guilty until proven innocent. Nobody believed us apart from our GP. Our backgrounds and medical history were checked and there was nothing.’
She added: ‘We felt we were stuck in a system in which social workers were ticking the right boxes just to make them look as if they were working.’
The couple’s ordeal began on Christmas Eve 2010, when Reilly woke up at the family’s semi-detached bungalow in the village of Rhos, near Swansea, with a minor bruise on his forehead.
Mrs Nevin called her husband, a manager in a dairy company, who advised her to take Reilly to their family doctor to be on the safe side. The GP concluded he was a ‘well, bright and lively’ child who had probably hurt himself rolling around the sitting room floor, and that there was no evidence that the injury was deliberate.
But five days later, Mrs Nevin took Reilly for a check-up at a medical centre, and staff referred him to the paediatric assessment unit at Morriston Hospital in Swansea. There, a consultant paediatrician suggested a slap could have caused the bruise, describing it as a ‘non-accidental suspicious injury’.
His parents rejected this and gave other possible explanations, including him hitting his face on the metal legs of the sofa, or on his cot bars, or on his toys. But Mrs Nevin said: ‘Although the paediatricians did not say it in so many words, they thought we had slapped him.’
Reilly stayed in hospital for two nights for observation and tests, including one for shaken baby syndrome, which all came back clear. Despite this, the devastated couple were told they were not allowed to take Reilly home because of concerns about his safety.
Arrangements were made for the baby to stay with relatives, initially his uncle and aunt. Reilly then spent the next nine months being fostered by Mrs Nevin’s parents, who live a few miles away from Rhos, with a social worker acting as his legal guardian.
The couple were allowed to see their son, but only on a strict schedule, and they had to be supervised at all times. They visited each day but overnight stays were banned.
Mr Nevin, 48, said: ‘On the first day, we got back home and we just hugged each other in the kitchen and cried. Even though it was New Year’s Eve, we were in bed by 8pm and cried all night.’
Then in February last year, the couple were arrested for suspected assault. A few weeks later however, police told the Nevins the case was being dropped because of lack of evidence. Despite this, social services still sought a care order and told the couple Reilly might be put up for adoption.
Over the next few months, the couple, who have been married for nearly four years, attended the family court in Swansea four times to try to get Reilly back. A second consultant paediatrician, instructed by Reilly’s guardian, initially told the hearing the bruising was caused ‘most probably by a hand slap’.
But after various alternatives were put to him he changed his evidence, conceding the bruising was narrower than he would have expected if Reilly had been slapped. He eventually said he believed the most likely cause was Reilly bumping against a sofa leg.
District Judge Jane Garland-Thomas dismissed the care order application, ruling that Neath Port Talbot Council had failed to prove the injury was non-accidental and that there was ‘no evidence whatsoever’ of any other causes of concern. She added: ‘Reilly was a well-cared for and no doubt still is a well-cared for baby and these parents have been totally compliant and engaged fully with the social services.’
Finally, on September 27 last year, the couple were able to take Reilly home.
Nearly six months later, Mr and Mrs Nevin are still recovering from the pain of being separated from Reilly for nearly a year.
They have written to the Prime Minister asking for changes to child protection procedures, highlighting the ‘stress, heartache, family upset and depression’ they suffered.
Mrs Nevin, who was prescribed anti-depressants, said: ‘He is the most loved child ever. But I still don’t think I have got over it. I am even afraid to take Reilly to the doctor now.’
A spokesman for Neath Port Talbot Council said: ‘We take safeguarding of children extremely seriously. We are satisfied that all appropriate actions were taken.’ [Self-righteous scum]
Meet the British students taking on the state
If you think student groups are all PC, censorious bores, you clearly haven't heard of Liberty League.
‘It’s pretty much totally unprecedented.’ Anton Howes, a 21-year-old undergraduate student at King’s College London, is referring to the rapid rise of the pro-freedom organisation Liberty League on campuses across the UK. Howes and a group of fellow students launched Liberty League 18 months ago.
For decades, university students in Britain who wanted to change the world often had little more than a handful of left-wing groups to sign up to. And, as time has gone on, these radical groups have become more and more outdated and divorced from political reality. Left-wing student associations are now more likely to call for state intervention into people’s lives, embrace the welfare state and demand fewer cuts, rather than fundamentally challenging the state’s role.
Howes recognises this phenomenon. ‘People are sick of seeing tonnes and tonnes of Socialist Workers Party or Marxist groups hounding them on tables outside campus all the time, posting fliers and posters everywhere. They think “well, I don’t agree with this”. Students want to see an alternative group on campus that has pro-liberty ideas.’
Howes, like an entrepreneur, explains that the reason for establishing the Liberty League was a case of supply and demand: ‘There’s a growing demand for an end to interference in people’s lives. More and more people are getting annoyed with the state, but they might not necessarily pin it on the state at the start.’ This is where Liberty League comes in. ‘What you need’, Howes continues, ‘is the infrastructure of a group of people that say “well here’s your problem”’.
The demand for such a group is coming from a mix of students, says Howes, who place themselves all over the traditional political spectrum, from left-wing anarchists to young conservatives. Liberty League now has 30 active student societies on campuses across the UK and it is rising all the time.
One enthusiastic Liberty League supporter is Gabrielle Shiner, a young American studying at Queen Mary, University of London. Shiner recounts: ‘When I got to the UK I couldn’t really find any student group to join. It was really disheartening for libertarian students. And then Anton, who I’d never heard of, started tweeting asking me if I was looking to get involved in something and I was really excited about that.’
Howes and Shiner both say that they are neither left-wing nor right-wing. Instead, they prefer to call themselves ‘libertarian’. ‘Right now what unites us all [at Liberty League] is we are all working towards having small state where people can live more independent lives and where power is given back to the individual’, says Shiner. ‘That’s the fundamental principle that everyone wants to see realised.’
Both of the students recount frustrating experiences of being wrongly pigeonholed. ‘People automatically throw us next to the Tory group on campus before they’ve even interacted with us or spoken to us’, says Shiner. ‘A lot of people think we’re just the really extreme Tories, which is totally bizarre to me.’
Shiner has, however, found that right-leaning students are more open to discussions on campus than some left-wing ones are: ‘When I send invites for debates to the socialist societies, they just aren’t really willing to engage with them’, she says. ‘It’s really hard to strike up a conversation and I really want my events to be about debate. I don’t want to be in a room with the people who already agree with me. What’s the point of having a student society if you’re not engaging with - and challenging - ideas?’
Liberty League campaigners have been experimenting with different initiatives to try to open up debate around freedom issues. One such experiment was the Freedom Wall, established by Shiner and her friends at Queen Mary. They persuaded the student union to let them erect a 16ft-long wall where, over the course of a week, students could write whatever they liked.
‘A lot of campuses in America have set up Freedom Walls, but it hadn’t been done in Europe before’, Shiner explains. But setting one up wasn’t without its problems. ‘I spoke to my student union and they were like “oh but someone might write something racist on it, you can’t do that!”’ Shiner didn’t give up and after a lot of discussion eventually got the green light.
While some of the messages posted on the wall were banal, Shiner found it served its purpose. ‘When discussing it some people made some weird connections, saying things like “If you support free speech and you support being able to question all ideas, then that means you support Islamophobia”. That’s absolutely ridiculous, but that’s the kind of attitude a lot of students had. Illogical conclusions were being drawn, but the positive thing was that it started up a conversation among people about what free speech means.’
There are now plans to set up Freedom Walls on other campuses and Liberty League has several other campaigns in the pipeline, too. Howes is excited about a forthcoming campaign to challenge the increasing obsession with putting health warnings on food, drink and tobacco.
However, Liberty League is defined mostly by a strong belief in holding lively, no-holds-barred debates. Shiner will shortly be organising a public debate in London entitled ‘Libertarians and Marxists: Friends or Foes?’. At the end of this month, they are organising a national conference, the Liberty League Freedom Forum, which is supported by spiked. There will be discussions on everything from Ancient Greek conceptions of freedom to free speech at football matches and free-market environmentalism.
In stark contrast to the Occupy movement, which eschews aims and demands, the Liberty Leaguers have a clear sense of what they want to achieve. ‘The ultimate aim is to have a Liberty League, or associated group, on every campus in the UK’, says Howes. ‘In five years’ time I want our conference to have 1,000 participants.’ Speaking more broadly about what he calls the ‘liberty movement’, Howes rules out the idea of moving into party politics: ‘In 10 years’ time, it should be a kind of constituency - big enough and powerful enough so that during student elections and local and general elections, those running for posts and office will be asking themselves “how do I keep the libertarians happy with this policy or that policy?”. That’s the dream.’
Shiner has set her sights on helping to organise the liberty movement internationally. She is a supporter of the Students For Liberty organisation in the US, which has gone from having 100 people at their founding conference four years ago, to attracting over 1,000 people at their conference in Washington this February.
After graduating, Shiner plans to dedicate her time to building European Students For Liberty, which she is on the board of, and the nascent student liberty movement in Africa. But she recognises a lot of misconceptions about libertarians need to be nipped in the bud as the movement develops. ‘As a libertarian, you’re told all the time that you’re horrible and immoral, that you want to kill poor people and don’t care about equality, women’s rights and racism. Nothing could be further from the truth.’
Shiner believes that the idea that people need the state to help them make their way in life urgently needs to be challenged. ‘People aren’t stupid. Look at what we have achieved and still achieve despite everything we’re up against. The idea that people aren’t capable of achieving anything and that they’re all just going to starve to death and die with less state support - that’s ridiculous. People are incredibly innovative and creative, especially when you have a culture that promotes and supports independence, rather than undercutting people’s ability to make something of themselves… So much of libertarianism is about respecting the potential of humanity. It’s about a love for what our potential is and about wanting to see individuals and societies flourish. So it’s the exact opposite of trying to favour a small handful of people. It’s the belief that every individual has those capabilities.’
Such words should set alarm bells ringing among the tired, left-wing student groups currently colonising political activities on campuses in the UK and beyond. With such genuinely radical arguments being made by campaigners calling for less state interference into our lives, traditional left-wing groups may well find their longstanding monopoly on student politics is coming to an end.
Outrage as teacher tells pupils to hold minute's silence for Toulouse terrorist
Typical Leftist thinking
Pictures have emerged of injured police officers being brought out of Thursday's raid in Toulouse in which serial killer Mohammed Merah was shot dead.
Meanwhile an English teacher sparked outrage across France yesterday after calling for her pupils to observe a minute’s silence for Merah.
In disturbing scenes at Gustave Flaubert High School in Rouen, Normandy, Lorraine Collin, 56, described the terrorist as being the ‘victim of an unhappy childhood’.
This prompted up to 15 pupils aged between 17 and 18 to storm out of their classroom and report Ms Collin to their headmaster.
Luc Chatel, France’s Education Minister, called for Ms Collin to be ‘suspended immediately’, saying he ‘condemned this unspeakable behaviour without reservation’.
Ms Collin drew attention to the fact that Merah was from a disadvantaged French-Algerian immigrant background and had been drawn to Islamic extremism while serving a prison sentence.
Referring to French President Nicolas Sarkozy, Ms Collin even said that Merah’s links with Al-Qaeda had been ‘invented by the media and Sarko.’
It was only when her students began to leave, or to argue with her, that she appeared to back down, saying she was ‘not feeling too well and perhaps take some time off.’
Ms Collin’s comments were soon afterwards reported by the Paris Normandie news website, who quoted an unnamed parent saying: ‘The students acted as responsible citizens by leaving the classroom. They hope the teacher will be suspended.
‘Otherwise, I will give permission for my daughter to boycott English classes until the end of the year.’
A spokesman for the school said what happened was a ‘sad incident’, and that a disciplinary procedure was underway.
Meanwhile hundreds of people participated in a minute of silence to pay tribute to the victims of the Toulouse school and three French soldiers, at the Capitol square in Toulouse, France.
Atheist Group Demands Christian Church Be Evicted From Public Building In Hawaii
The Solid Rock Fellowship Assembly of God is a church that is stationed inside of a low-income housing complex in Kalihi, Hawaii. Run by Pastor Taavao Alualu, the house of worship has been in operation since 1996. Despite its 16-year history, the Hawaii Citizens for the Separation of State and Church (HCSSC), a group that values church-state separatism, is seeking to have the church evicted.
In addition to urging the Hawaii Public Housing Authority to evict the church and prevent it from using the public space, the group wants the state to collect back-rent that the house of worship didn’t pay during some of its time using the building.
“It’s basically a separation of church and state issue,” explains David Tveraas, director of HCSSC. “The issue is this is a state building and the state is not allowed to be funding any private churches.”
On the surface, the notion that the church used space free of charge may raise questions. But Pastor Alualu explains that when he opened the church, it was in an old building that was so run down that nobody wanted to use it. In exchange for permission to utilize the building, now called Towers at Kuhio, the faith leader claims he and his congregants agreed to renovate it.
“The place was all rubbish. In front of the building was all graffiti, parties, drug dealing, and gangsters,” he said. “We prayed for it and I asked the management office if we can use it. They said the place is too old. It is not safe.”
In the end, permission was apparently granted. Pastor Alualu claims that he spent $37,000 to reinvigorate the building, which has since been used for prayer meetings, outreach projects to youths, a food bank and more. But, despite these investments, HCSSC believes that the church must be booted from the property and that taxpayers are unfairly footing the bill for the church’s use of the land. Alualu, of course, disagrees and believes that his church’s contributions to the local community more than justify its presence.
“They knew that I spent a lot of money here, so that’s my rent. And I’m willing, if they want me, whoever wants me, to pay more rent,” he said. “Even though it’s not fair — I will.”
The Hawaii Public Housing Authority is investigating the dilemma, with Executive Director Hakim Ouansafi claiming that he was only recently made aware of the atheist group’s request.
“This entity (the church) has spent over $40,000 in renovation and maintenance and they do bring a lot of service to the community,” Ouansafi said. “Having said that, it is something we were not aware of and are in the process of getting to the bottom of it to make sure that no laws are broken.”
Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.
American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.
For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN (Note that EYE ON BRITAIN has regular posts on the reality of socialized medicine). My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when blogger.com is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here.