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11th September 2013: The world's gone mad and I'm the only one who knows
13th August 2013: Black is white. Fact. End of.
11th August 2013: Electric cars, not as green as they're painted?
18th June 2013: Wrinklies unite, you have nothing to lose but your walking frames!
17th May 2013: Some actual FACTS about climate change (for a change) from actual scientists ...
10th May 2013: An article about that poison gas, carbon dioxide, and other scientific facts (not) ...
10th May 2013: We need to see past the sex and look at the crimes: is justice being served?
8th May 2013: So, who would you trust to treat your haemorrhoids, Theresa May?
8th May 2013: Why should citizens in the 21st Century fear the law so much?
30th April 2013: What the GOS says today, the rest of the world realises tomorrow ...
30th April 2013: You couldn't make it up, could you? Luckily you don't need to ...
29th April 2013: a vote for NONE OF THE ABOVE, because THE ABOVE are crap ...
28th April 2013: what goes around, comes around?
19th April 2013: everyone's a victim these days ...
10th April 2013: Thatcher is dead; long live Thatcher!
8th April 2013: Poor people are such a nuisance. Just give them loads of money and they'll go away ...
26th March 2013: Censorship is alive and well and coming for you ...
25th March 2013: Just do your job properly, is that too much to ask?
25th March 2013: So, what do you think caused your heterosexuality?
20th March 2013: Feminists - puritans, hypocrites or just plain stupid?
18th March 2013: How Nazi Germany paved the way for modern governance?
13th March 2013: Time we all grew up and lived in the real world ...
12th March 2013: Hindenburg crash mystery solved? - don't you believe it!
6th March 2013: Is this the real GOS?
5th March 2013: All that's wrong with taxes
25th February 2013: The self-seeking MP who is trying to bring Britain down ...
24th February 2013: Why can't newspapers just tell the truth?
22nd February 2013: Trial by jury - a radical proposal
13th February 2013: A little verse for two very old people ...
6th February 2013: It's not us after all, it's worms
6th February 2013: Now here's a powerful argument FOR gay marriage ...
4th February 2013: There's no such thing as equality because we're not all the same ...
28th January 2013: Global Warming isn't over - IT'S HIDING!
25th January 2013: Global Warmers: mad, bad and dangerous to know ...
25th January 2013: Bullying ego-trippers, not animal lovers ...
19th January 2013: We STILL haven't got our heads straight about gays ...
16th January 2013: Bullying ego-trippers, not animal lovers ...
11th January 2013: What it's like being English ...
7th January 2013: Bleat, bleat, if it saves the life of just one child ...
7th January 2013: How best to put it? 'Up yours, Argentina'?
7th January 2013: Chucking even more of other people's money around ...
6th January 2013: Chucking other people's money around ...
30th December 2012: The BBC is just crap, basically ...
30th December 2012: We mourn the passing of a genuine Grumpy Old Sod ...
30th December 2012: How an official body sets out to ruin Christmas ...
16th December 2012: Why should we pardon Alan Turing when he did nothing wrong?
15th December 2012: When will social workers face up to their REAL responsibility?
15th December 2012: Unfair trading by a firm in Bognor Regis ...
14th December 2012: Now the company that sells your data is pretending to act as watchdog ...
7th December 2012: There's a war between cars and bikes, apparently, and  most of us never noticed!
26th November 2012: The bottom line - social workers are just plain stupid ...
20th November 2012: So, David Eyke was right all along, then?
15th November 2012: MPs don't mind dishing it out, but when it's them in the firing line ...
14th November 2012: The BBC has a policy, it seems, about which truths it wants to tell ...
12th November 2012: Big Brother, coming to a school near you ...
9th November 2012: Yet another celebrity who thinks, like Jimmy Saville, that he can behave just as he likes because he's famous ...
5th November 2012: Whose roads are they, anyway? After all, we paid for them ...
7th May 2012: How politicians could end droughts at a stroke if they chose ...
6th May 2012: The BBC, still determined to keep us in a fog of ignorance ...
2nd May 2012: A sense of proportion lacking?
24th April 2012: Told you so, told you so, told you so ...
15th April 2012: Aah, sweet ickle polar bears in danger, aah ...
15th April 2012: An open letter to Anglian Water ...
30th March 2012: Now they want to cure us if we don't believe their lies ...
28th February 2012: Just how useful is a degree? Not very.
27th February 2012: ... so many ways to die ...
15th February 2012: DO go to Jamaica because you definitely WON'T get murdered with a machete. Ms Fox says so ...
31st January 2012: We don't make anything any more
27th January 2012: There's always a word for it, they say, and if there isn't we'll invent one
26th January 2012: Literary criticism on GOS? How posh!
12th December 2011: Plain speaking by a scientist about the global warming fraud
9th December 2011: Who trusts scientists? Apart from the BBC, of course?
7th December 2011: All in all, not a good week for British justice ...
9th November 2011: Well what d'you know, the law really IS a bit of an ass ...

 

 
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The recent cases of the murder of BabyP and the kidnap of Shannon Matthews and the failure of Social Services to protect them have attracted enormous publicity and righteous condemnation - and so they should have done.
 
There are evil people in the world, and evil people will do evil things. It would be good if they could be prevented from doing them, but realistically we should accept that sometimes they'll slip through the net however small and well-maintained the mesh. In these two cases the mesh just wasn't properly maintained, and this is a dreadful derogation of duty by public servants who are paid to do a job and didn't do it.
 
But to our minds there is something even worse, and that's when self-seeking officials victimise totally innocent people. In one case in particular the consequences have been truly awful - a whole family smashed apart, and innocent children snatched from their parents and forcibly sent for adoption with the authority of an unfair and secretive legal system whose minions will stop at nothing to get their own way and to prevent the public from knowing about their activities.
 
The reason we use the expression "self-seeking" is that local authorities stand to gain financially from sending children for adoption, thanks to monetary payments offered by central government to encourage officials to seek out and kidnap any children they can claim to be "at risk" - however tiny and imaginary that risk may be. While social workers shy away from taking appropriate action in cases of real danger, they're quick enough to act when their victims are law-abiding families who pose little risk to themselves, and the Family Court system ensures that the families are not able to fight back effectively.
 
Some time ago we wrote at length about the Hardinghams (now known as the Websters, for some reason we don't understand) from Norfolk - see here, here, and here.
 
Now we read in the newspapers
 

 
A couple who had their three oldest children taken away by social services after false claims of abuse went to court last week in a bid to make legal history by reversing their adoption. A lawyer acting for Mark and Nicky Webster made an impassioned plea to three appeal court judges to right the unimaginable wrong that robbed them of the children - all under nine - who can be known only as A, B and C.
 
And the Websters, who now have another son, Brandon, and a fifth child on the way, are hopeful of success after judge Lord Justice Wilson remarked on the brevity of the original hearing that ruled they should be put up for adoption. He told the Appeal Court `One thing that strikes one about that judgment is not only that it is very short but that there is very little context.'
 
The children were taken away in 2003 after B suffered leg fractures that doctors wrongly deemed were due to abuse. Speaking outside court, Nicky explained "We want to clear our names properly and we want the children to know the truth. They need to know that their mummy and daddy did not hurt them, that they loved them and cared for them."
 
The Websters first hit the headlines when Nicky fled to Ireland before Brandon was born in 2006 so Norfolk social services could not take him away. The couple fought a long battle to prove they had not harmed their children and last year experts agreed B's leg injuries were not due to physical abuse but a disorder that stopped him eating anything other than soya milk. At that stage, a judge concluded Brandon, now two, was not `at risk'.
 
But winning back the older children, now eight, seven and five, will be much harder, as reversing an adoption means rewriting the law. Nicky said "It's taken us years to get this far and this isn't the end. But we have to fight. We've been told adoption is irreversible and that however wrong it was there's nothing we can do about it so to just give up. But would you do that if they were your children? When would you decide, "Well, we've tried for long enough now. We'll just stop"?" The two eldest children, A and B, were adopted into one family while the youngest, C, went to another.
 
Nicky said "I gave birth to those children and we were a family for longer than they have been with their adoptive families. So it's hard to sit and listen to lawyers argue that we can't fight to have our children back because it would be unsettling. When it comes down to it the only feelings I'm interested in considering are my children's. We still "feel" the children. Brandon looks so like his brothers, it can really catch you off-guard. I know I'm expecting a girl this time and I'm excited but I'm scared. Will she look just like my first little girl?'
 
Astonishingly (and smugly) last week, Norfolk County Council's lawyer argued the Websters have no right to contest the adoption as the children are no longer theirs. "Adoption orders possess a peculiar finality," she said. "The child becomes to all purposes the child of the adoptive parents as if he were their natural child."
 
But Mark and Nicky's QC, Ian Peddie, said "It is hard to understand how the parents cope with this injustice but the children also stand to suffer if they do not know the truth of what caused them to be taken from their parents. It is assumed that the older children are aware of their Webster heritage. Child A was five years 11 months, Child B almost four and Child C two years five months when the adoption was finalised. They have sibling contact three times a year. Child A had spent more time with her natural parents than the adoptive parents and may well have memory of her time with them. We are well aware that adoptive orders are meant to be permanent and final. But we assert that this is a fundamental miscarriage of justice and denial of natural justice and in that case this court will interfere with an adoption order. We are conscious of the floodgates argument but this case is quite exceptional."
 
Judgment was reserved until January. In the meantime, the Websters are still unable to work with children. Nicky said "We're still on the abusers register. Mark wants to be a taxi driver but he's not allowed to drive a child unaccompanied. A friend asked me to help at a music class for pre-school children. But I'm not allowed."

 

 
We aren't lawyers of course, but it seems to us that if the original adoption order was granted illegally, then the adoption must itself be illegal - and it has to be illegal to kidnap children from their rightful parents without due cause. And in this case the authorities have now admitted that there was no due cause. QED, we would have thought, in our innocence - but then "innocence" is a moveable feast with these people, isn't it? Did you know that many years ago an American expert on child abuse proclaimed that one of the surest signs of guilt was to proclaim your innocence? No, we're not making it up; it really happened, and it has been taken seriously ever since by those in whose interests it is to do so.
 
We very much hope that the case will go the Websters' way. If it doesn't, we hope that (a) they will keep fighting and that somehow the financial means to do so will be found, and that (b) the case will make Norfolk Children's Services think very carefully about their future actions. This is not the only case in which they have acted in such a draconian fashion - another one is ongoing (see here and here).
 
What would be really good is if Lisa Christensen, the Director of Norfolk Children's Services, met the same fate as her colleague Sharon Shoesmith from Haringey who has been sacked without financial compensation.
 
You may be interested to read this article by Harriet Harman in which she expresses her belief that the Family Courts are too secretive.
 
There are several No.10 petitions open, demanding that the government reform the Family Courts. Here are three of them
 
http://petitions.number10.gov.uk/OURFAMILYLOVE/
 
http://petitions.number10.gov.uk/suspend-social/
 
http://petitions.number10.gov.uk/CAFCASSprejudice/
 

 
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