This Blog is NOT about me – Please read this one “with care”

A couple of Thoughts on Contained Jargon in an Uncontained World: or why you can be an arsehole too!

A friend sent me the link that I’ve pasted below. It’s a very personal and moving account of what it is like to be the parent of a child who is being ‘supported’ by UK social services. But I would extend this to anybody who has anybody they care for within the UK care sector.
I used to work in the UK care sector. I left school at 16 years of age with no qualifications. The only real option for me was to go away to sea. This was firstly in the UK merchant navy and then the UK Royal Navy. It was hard work, full of hard men and women. It was a life full of the ‘rude’ and the ‘savage’ to use Ruskin’s words. It was a wonderful world full of colour and ‘dance’. Then I left the sea and became a ‘care worker’ in the UK ‘supporting’, ‘caring for’ the up to date jargon escapes me, young people with profound learning and physical disabilities. I have seen brutality in my life. I have seen what human beings can do to one another and the care sector was a brutal and brutalising place to work.

During my time working in the care sector I saw staff physically abuse, assault, degrading behaviour, and in admittedly an extreme case I caught a member of staff attempting to set fire to a client’s testicles. Prior to joining Royal Holloway to do my PhD I began a PhD at Lancaster. I supported myself by working at a residential home for a similar ‘client’ group.
Here I found abuse on an industrial level. When I reported an incident of assault by a member of staff on a client to the manager, the member of staff was promoted. At this particular ‘care’ home I found a young woman who was ‘challenging,’ being illegally and cruelly confined in her room. This distressed her more so she began to bite chunks out of her body and tear at her orifices. Her experience is beyond words. I was faced with the ‘choice’ of staying and in effect condone the behaviour or report it and leave and as a consequence lose my support for the PhD. I had no choice.

As an aside it may be tempting to tell yourself ‘Ah, this is men.’ The problem that you have there is that I saw women abuse as well. When I reported the setting fire to the testicles incident it was women who actively attempted to cover up the incident. I was ostracised by these women because “they thought I was going to report their friend.” No one or nothing has a monopoly of moral height; in the words of that eminent philosopher, Frank Zappa, “You can be an arsehole too.” To think otherwise is to take yourself and the rest of us down an intellectual and ethical cul-de-sac.
So why is this appearing on a webpage by someone who writes and thinks about social and political thought? Precisely because I write and think about social and political thought.
After the sea a friend, Richard Shipp, the same friend that sent me the link, persuaded me that I needed to be educated (He has a lot to answer for). I enrolled on a course in Politics, Philosophy and Economics. The only regret for me was the litany of despondency that is otherwise known as the reading list. It was a world of solipsistic fantasy that in spite of itself still managed to be impoverished. I had come from a world of colour and now found myself in a world of black and white, of either/or. A world of childhood tantrums where certainty is always self-assured. It was a world in which the language used was unrecognizable to which it was applied. It was a world in which the different lights that humanity have used to stumble through the condition of being human, have suffered, to misuse that most poignant of phrases from Tagore, the silence of obscurity. It is the world of the representative agent in which the uncontainable nature of humanity is contained, controlled, and feared. It is a world in which challenges, if not in your language, or what you define as language, become threats. The truth is that he or she confronts me through despair at my proselytizing certainty. It is from this world of words that the ‘representative agent’ becomes ’empowered’, with ‘circles of support and influence’, who ‘feed into’ ‘care plans’ that ‘promote independence’. Whilst this may be good for conferences, interviewing skills, to use as keywords or fashionable research themes the reality is that it disguises, it looks away and reassures itself, you and me, from this brutality through the use of jargon that it inherits from social and political theorists. It is like the stage setting in a theatre that sets order, the narrative but which fails to acknowledge the chaos behind the set designer’s construction.
In our world, the world of those that spend their time thinking of the social and the political, we nicely side step the ‘rude’ and the ‘savage’ when we restrict the use of the political and the social and how we can think about such terms. We restrict vision and the social possibilities of the everyday, to a brutal account of the rationality of a tradition of a word. If we do not see it, it does not need to be changed. We then gift this to the applied sciences. It is a philosophy of constipation that treats thought as a historical artefact that blinds us to the genealogy and to the political and social status that it has privileged. If the political and social theorist requires certainty may I suggest beginning with three certainties before you start transforming the world into your own image. It is the world in which the model of living, and the paucity of thought on, in the ‘Western’ democracies condemns the most disadvantaged to three certainties. They know that they will be poorly educated, they know that they will be provided with poor life opportunities and they know that they will die earlier than those with better socio-economic and political advantages. The greatest opportunity that we can offer those that we silence, and we offer it with pride, is the opportunity to kill or to be killed for us, or at least what we are told is a ‘us’. Welcome to their world and you wonder why you fear them. They experience these certainties every moment of their lives. These are lives in which Cosmopolitanization is for an Islington coffee table. This is the world that the young man in the article lives in. He and his family, because of their dependency to the law, are amongst the most vulnerable in the UK. Their world is the world of the unsaid. Rather than condemning life to the obscurity of silence, unable to ‘communicate appropriately’, the problem of social and political thought, and the tools we give to others, should be to provide a ‘space’ through which worlds reveal itself to ‘I’.
We are face to face with and also inhabit the unsaid. But by relying on a genealogy of a tradition of ‘thought’, Thought fails to acknowledge that human beings experience communication, communicating and communicate in a variety of ways beyond a precise science of language. And whilst a strain of de-colonial thought may privilege itself by distancing itself from these people and their experiences, the problems of living together will not be answered through any sort of ontological or epistemological account of moral height but in an account of humility and openness. Theory must be relevant to the features of our political and social situation. It must be realistic from the perspective of the lived experience. What it describes must be imaginable beyond ‘your’ imagination. In challenging imagination you create new possibilities. The theorist can write of abstractions, of agents, of individuals, and project his/her certainty to the outside world in order to provide someone else with a better future. But before you do this look at your own world and if your words cannot be seen behind the face of the most vulnerable and fears beyond your own, then set your pen aside.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/blogs-ouch-23423541

Is Race Discrimination a one way system, only?

“If someone discriminates against you because of your race, the colour of your skin or where you’re from, that’s racism. And racism is a crime”.

 

Dear Sirs,

We are forced to make a complaint about racial discrimination, we should not be victimised because of it, or treated differently.

 

The complaint is in support of my elderly mother, Mrs. Elvira Maggini; an Italian national and citizen born in Milan, Italy, in 1921. I have full Power of Attorney registered with the Office of the Public Guardian in England.

 

Race discrimination against my mother and I was produced to us, in writing, on more than one occasion by Mr. Stephen Day (Director of Adult Social Services at Ealing Council) and his staff.

 

This was written by Mr. Day and/or on his behalf:

 

·         “She falls within the second class of persons from abroad”

·         “As Lord Phillips in the case of Kimani v London Borough of  Lambeth [2003 EWCA Civ 1150]”

·         “She should be deported”

 

It is clearly not my intention to examine the legitimacy of UK laws and legislations with regard to UK Border Agencies regulations and it is, of course, the duty of every citizen to respect and obey them.  While in his correspondence, Mr. Day has clearly, and rightly so, stated that: “prohibition on local authorities to provide social care services to EEA nationals – as part of 2002 and 2006 Regulations and Acts”, he did not have to inflict and insert racist statements.

 

We strongly disapprove addressing a ninety-two year old Italian national as a “second class person” and are offended by the unfounded suggestion that she should be deported. We also find it offensive that my mother, a Caucasian Italian national should be compared to an illegal immigrant from Nigeria that was expelled from UK on the basis of a bogus marriage.

 

It is with vindictive and racist ire that Mr. Day and his team continued with such allegations for a period of over five months.

 

Where Mr. Day  has addressed my mother as second-class/person-citizens, there is a sense in which, in addition to his gross moral failings, he is supporting the notion that she is an inferior person and is thus showing hatred and being contemptible towards her. The equal status of European nationals, in modern liberal societies, is enshrined both in anti-discrimination legislations, and in social practices which largely affirm the ideals that underpin such legislation.

 

All Councils should be seen as fair and racial discrimination on the part of an official body is extremely upsetting and worrying. Ealing Council have ignored the rightful pleas of an elderly woman and constituent – they have expressed an utter disregard for her well-being and human rights, inflicting false attacks, racist remarks and allegations.

 

I would kindly like to request an investigation into Mr Stephen Day and his team.

MPs and Councillors don’t assist, – at all.

Open Letter – Ealing Council – Adult Social Care
This open letter follows both my meeting with a representative of Ealing Council (Linda C.) on July 4th 2013 and my letter addressed to the council on July 15th 2013. Despite all that Mrs Hunter has implied in her long reply to my letter, no complaints have been addressed or resolved successfully – ever.
I am still waiting for updates, implementations, conclusions and the visit from the occupational therapist – all as promised by Ealing Council, five weeks ago. It is upsetting enough that nothing has been achieved over this time, but I now understand that Linda C. has gone on holiday until August 22nd.
Am I therefore to assume that nothing will be done until September?
I would have thought that the department could have put in place the necessary measures to accommodate for those members of staff being on leave during the holidays. Unfortunately, my mother cannot take a holiday from her own distress!
It feels as if Ealing Council has kept adding bad ingredients to an already rotten soup in the blind hope that it may, one day, be edible. Both Mrs Hunter and Mr Day have acted in an intimidating and obstructive manner consistent throughout my 15 months long dealings with Ealing Council. Both have exhibited bullying and, at times, racist behaviour including the utterance of a racial slur – “second class citizen”.
It is utterly disgraceful that all other political parties and other official bodies involved and informed of this case (including those represented by MPs and local Councillors) have decided to ignore the rightful pleas of an elderly woman and constituent – that these individuals have expressed an utter disregard for her safety, well-being and human rights.
However, it is plain to see that in the public eye, any sustained process of constraint, intimidation, neglect, manipulation and viciousness against a ninety-two year old elderly person is despicable, unjust and discriminatory. For this reason, it is a specific concern of mine that Ealing’s local newspaper (The Ealing Gazette) has refused to cover the affair.
Nobody can understand the level of aggression, abuse and harassment that my mother and I have received over the last sixteen months, at the hands of Ealing Council. However, there is now significant interest in the wider media community, regarding poor standards of care provision. Despite the welcome interest – I sincerely hope that we can draw this case to a suitable conclusion before it becomes a topic for serious discussion in the media or in the Courts.
While I never expected the best for my mother, I deem it to be vital that she is, at least, treated with dignity and not like an animal.
I look forward to your response and to a time when we might find some conclusions to our last meeting.
Kind Regards

No News is good news, but should Stephen Day resign?

Back in January 2013 <http://tinyurl.com/bjmysld> and, again, in February 2013 <http://tinyurl.com/awx5qzw>, Italy News brought to the public’s attention a shocking case of discrimination in which Ealing Council targeted a ninety-one-year-old woman named Elvira Maggini.

Elvira Maggini is an Italian national who has every legal right to reside in the United Kingdom. When we last covered her situation, she was in so poor a state of health that she had to be cared for, during every moment of every day. And so we were shocked to learn that council management had planned to suspend Elvira’s vital social care services. They had instead decided and insisted that she should be asked to leave the country. We were then appalled to hear that members of Ealing council staff had even described her as “a second class citizen” because of her nationality as an Italian living in the UK.

Six months ago Italy News spoke to Elvira’s son, Max Procaccini (MP). He had been forced to turn to his solicitors in order to counter the false accusations laid out by Ealing Council. We interview him here, asking whether the situation has improved. We want to know how he and his mother have dealt with racial intolerance, bullying and obstruction from the very people who are meant to ensure their civil rights.

Journalist  –  Is your mother still receiving care in Ealing?

MP – The Director of Adult Social Services at Ealing Council, Mr Stephen Day, has been very clear in his position that my mother should be made to leave his constituency. That includes his suggestion that she be deported but has also been made apparent by his department’s repeated attempts to prevent my mother from accessing any care at all. We have been waiting over half a year for the situation to be properly internally assessed but it has dragged on and on without much hope of conclusion. My mother is still eligible for limited care but the standard of those services is appalling. She has gone through five potential agencies and over twenty-five new carers in the time that it has taken to communicate with Ealing Council. In the meantime, I have tried to keep all communication with Stephen Day to a minimum because he clearly feels that it is okay to bully my mother into silence by alleging that she will be thrown out of the country.

In several letters Mr. Day argued, with certainty, that a piece of legislation not pertinent to our case, meant that my mother is not to be considered a family member and – as per Schedule 3 of the Nationality Immigration and Asylum Act 2002 Schedule 3 NIAA 2002 and EEA Regulations 2006 – he insisted that she should therefore return to Italy.

Journalist – How accurate are these allegations?

MP – Mr Day is the Director of Adult Social Services at Ealing Council. A man in his position should really know what he is talking about, including how and where relevant laws and legislations are applicable. Earlier in the year I asked for assistance in dealing with Ealing Council from my local representative in the House of Lords. Baroness Ludford MEP offered to look at the situation in regards to my and my mother’s paperwork and rights to residency. Baroness Ludford was able to summarize that my mother and I both possess full rights of residence in the UK. She then pointed this out in a letter addressed to Mr Day. He has persistently ignored her expert advice. Mr Day has instead maintained an arrogant position and has continued to bully my mother with hollow threats.

Journalist – Have the council continued to press for deportation even in the absence of evidence: is your mother to be deported?

MP – Council legislation demands that EEA nationals who wish to claim for social care benefits must have lived for more than five years in the UK. We have been able to produce paperwork which supports my permanent residency and my mother’s residency as my dependent. Much of this paperwork dates back to the 1980s and 90s. Some of it was even signed by Ealing Council with whom I used to work as an independent contractor.

The lack of social care has been absolutely crippling and has forced me into early retirement so that I can remain at home in order to properly care for my mother. The constant threats of deportation and the racist slurs such as “second class citizen” have been deeply upsetting. Ealing Council have intimidated my mother over the last year and a half to the extent that her health has begun to deteriorate dramatically. We have been put under an incredible amount of unnecessary stress. My mother was eventually hospitalised for twenty days in March 2013.

On 19th March 2013 an unpredicted letter arrived from Ealing Council. We had been contacted by Mrs Angela Morris, Head of Older People Services at Ealing Council. After twelve months of communication regarding my elderly mother this was the first time I had been made aware of either Mrs Morris or her department. Completely to my surprise and in contrast to Mr Day’s opinions, Mrs Morris wrote: “I have decided that it would be inappropriate to withdraw social care services from your mother. It is important that we build a collaborative on-going working relationship.”

Journalist – Good news then… And out of the blue! Where does that leave you now?

MP – I certainly wish it had turned out that way. After my mother was released from hospital a new care plan was set up by Ealing Council. There were two good carers but another three care assistants clocked off early at the weekends and still claimed for their full hours. The time that they stole amounted to fifty percent of the time my mother was allowed to spend with carers. I was able to prove that this was happening but instead of simply replacing the carers, Ealing Council decided to carry out an initial investigation – which has taken three whole months and which has delivered no results!

Instead of taking a disciplinarian or common sense approach Ealing Council decided to change the care agency, yet again. It has been a continuous disaster with most of the new agencies and their care workers. Suffice to say that there have been many more recent dissatisfactory incidents.

I suppose that leaves us here. We don’t have to worry about being deported. The very idea was ridiculous. It was enough to badly scare my mother though. And nothing has actually changed. We still have to worry about the source of the problem: the obstructive behaviour and the bullying attitudes that generated those threats in the first place.

Journalist – What happened to the “collaborative on-going working relationship” and what about finding support elsewhere?

MP – I met Mrs Morris in April 2013 but I have not been able to get hold of many people from the council since then. I have sent emails and left messages but they have been ignored. Baroness Ludford is the only representative of any official body to have helped with my mother’s case but her influence, as an MEP, is somewhat limited.

Our local MP, Mr V. Sharma has never taken into consideration or addressed my case. He is actually failing his constitutional obligations by ignoring this case. Three weeks ago a letter written from a member of the House of Lords was addressed to Mr. Sharma asking him to look into my mother’s situation. He has ignored this letter as well.

All of my local councillors are aware of the degrading state to which my mother has been abandoned and I have presented our case to several MPs including but not limited to Lynne Featherstone, Don Foster, Jeremy Hunt and Liz Kendall. All to no avail. Charities such as Dementia Concerns and AgeUK have also stayed well away from our case and institutions, like the Ombudsman have failed to reply to my concerns since November 2012.

Journalist – What do you think to be the main problem and the proper solution to all of this?

MP – Sorry if I reply with a question but would you eat in a restaurant where the food you are served is cold and the plates are dirty; would you want to go back to a restaurant infested with mice and cockroaches where they also ask you to pay the bill?

There are two problems. Firstly that the Care Service Providers are failing to support their clients; and my mother has suffered as a result. Secondly, Ealing Council have refused to confront this as a genuine issue. Nobody can truly understand the level of aggression, abuse and harassment that my mother and I have received at the hands of Ealing Council. Ultimately this problem goes far beyond my mother’s anguish and my distress though. There will be many others like ourselves who are caught up in this failing system. The council have wasted huge amounts of their funds and I suspect that they will simply not address the issue for fear of being held to account. And once again it is the innocent and the vulnerable that have to suffer. People like my mother. Ealing Council has spent and wasted a vast amount of public money by delaying my case and I would like to see them answer for their failings if only so that we can establish a system in which people, like my mother, can receive the vital care they need. That would be the care that it is outlined and promised in many brochures or on Ealing council website. The care for which we have already paid our taxes and where money from the EU has been pouring in.

Blog 6 luglio