Week 47: Prat – Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council

by Jackie_South on November 25, 2012

This week, our award for the biggest prat of the last seven days goes to the Children’s Services Department of Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council.

The decision of Rotherham’s children services department to remove three children from the foster care of a family solely because of their membership of UKIP is pretty indefensible.

Whilst Joyce Thacker, strategic director of children and young people’s services at the council, has stated that the party’s stance against multicultural values could bring the parents into conflict with the children’s (presumably continental) European heritage, there is no evidence to state that the foster parents themselves would not respect that heritage.

In fact, they have said the opposite, and have stated that if they had thought UKIP was racist they would not have joined.  Whilst we are no fans of UKIP here at All That’s Left, we recognise that many of their supporters and members are not racist.  This is not the BNP, this is a party that stands for leaving the European Union and is largely a repository for voters disillusioned with the main parties, in particular for  ex-Conservatives.

Thacker admitted that there was no issue about the quality of care the couple provided, but defended the decision on the basis of past criticism for culturally insensitive placements.  So, despite the national shortage of foster carers which presumably is no less true in Rotherham, they have decided that on a social worker’s interpretation of the party’s policy there is an unacceptable risk to the children’s welfare without any real assessment of what the family’s views really are.

Politicians have queued up to condemn this blinkered approach: not only Nigel Farage, but also Michael Gove and Ed Miliband.  In Gove’s case of course there is an element of hypocrisy – only last week he was telling social workers off for being too slow to take children off of families. And of course it was Cameron who labelled UKIP as a party of fruitcakes and closet racists in 2006.

Ed Miliband’s position probably also has an eye on the politics, in particular this Thursday’s by-election in Rotherham.  He already has the handicaps of the MacShane resignation and the mess of the selection process that has left much of the local party disillusioned, without the Labour-controlled authority behaving in such a cack-handed way.

Expect a big boost to UKIP’s vote on Thursday as a consequence.

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