Blame game won’t help these children

By Charlotte Hofton

Published on Friday, January 25, 2013 - 11:14


THE VIEW FROM HERE FOLLOWING a damning Ofsted report into child protection on the Island, last week’s IW Council meeting saw Cllr Dawn Cousins, cabinet member for children’s services, severely torn apart.

Having cornered Cllr Cousins, her foes were baying for blood, demanding her resignation and blaming her for just about everything.

Cllr Cousins was plainly rattled and it is to her credit that she was. She has a conscience, she accepted responsibility, but she said she wasn’t going to resign.

This enraged her critics even more. They had somebody to blame and they weren’t going to give up kicking Cllr Cousins around.

Blame is an odd thing. It can turn people into the worse sort of playground bully. Scenting blood and a vulnerable quarry, they can lose sight of the real issues.

If Cllr Cousins had resigned, would that have been a satisfactory conclusion which would have solved everything?

Unlikely. She is not standing for re-election in May, so a new cabinet member will have to be found in any case after that date. What would be the point in having some interim person in the post for a few weeks, who would scarcely have a handle on the situation before there was another reshuffle?

Cllr Cousins, who is by no means without ability, is probably best placed to sort out this mess as much as possible before the election and there is no doubting her commitment to this task.

Of course, everybody was so excited at having Cllr Cousins in their sights, scarcely a mention was made of those who were directly involved with the Island’s children and did not do an adequate job to protect those at risk.

Some seemed to think Cllr Cousins was absolving herself by blaming a handful of staff.

Well, Cllr Cousins may be at fault. But it is those who saw those children, who went into their homes (or failed to do so) who should be truly ashamed and who should be thoroughly investigated and, if necessary, suspended.

When things go wrong, those responsible should carry the can. But the blame game can become a sport which is overplayed, wasting time on pursuing some political quarry rather than directing real focus and energy on the victims.

Those children on the Island who are at risk have no interest in whether Cllr Cousins resigns or not.

They just want somebody on hand who actually sees their suffering and does something about it.

50 per cent off brevissimae bracae feminieae

THE Pope has taken to tweeting in Latin, a development which may excite classical scholars but is unlikely to raise the intellectual level of your average Twitter devotee.

The vacuous dispatches generated by most tweeters are the stuff of supreme triviality, both mind-numbingly boring and yet horribly intriguing.

Who are these people who feel the need to share a visit to the vet or the purchase of a bargain in the sales, or what the weather is doing outside?

Is it possible the poor things have had a spell cast upon them by Fairy Fluffbrains? Will they eventually disappear into a black hole of banality, texting "Love Ya all!" as they descend towards the hell that is 140 characters of everlasting twaddle?

Perhaps the Pope imagines his initiative will be a spur for some improvement in the Twitterati world.

His opening gambit demands: "Unitati christifidelium integre studentes quid iubet Dominus?" Got that, Kayleigh?

Well, no, I didn’t think you’d be interested, not with the much more pressing business of your latest foray into Primark.

Still, the Pope is nothing if not optimistic in his mission. The Vatican has produced a special dictionary in the hope Kayleigh will develop an interest in classical linguistics when she learns that "brevissimae bracae feminieae" is the Latin for hotpants.

Of course it may be the Pope is just showing off to his Anglican counterparts. He must already be feeling quite smug after nabbing a fair number of Church of England discontents, who are now busy genuflecting and whizzing in and out of the confessional.

One up to the Pope, then. And there’s the dreadful muddle the CofE is in, with gay priests and women bishops. Two up, Your Holiness.

And now this tweeting in Latin. Surely the CofE can outdo the 85-year-old pontiff when it comes to media-savvy spirituality in the modern world?

Ah yes, here we are, a recent communication from the Most Rev Dr John Sentamu, Archbishop of York.

"I bought Waitrose Aberdeen Angus burger and chips, which I ate on my way home," the Archbishop tells us. "Very succulent, too — well done, chef!"

Game, set and match to the Pontiff, I fear. And a bonus lap of honour in view of the Archbishop’s topically unfortunate choice of meal.

Please God, we don’t have to add horses to the mix of gays and women at present disrupting the Church of England.

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