IoS letters, emails & online postings (4 November 2012)


Many children's lives are saved and many more children's lives enhanced by the intervention of social workers and those in the voluntary agencies ("New Gove plan aims to attract elite to social work", 28 October). The casual demeaning of this work by suggesting that "elite graduates" are fast-tracked into the profession, where they can stay for all of two years, is indicative of the easy stereotyping and negative attitudes towards social workers that make their profession so widely criticised.

As for linking Gove's announcement to the Savile scandal, Jimmy Savile was not able to serially sexually abuse children because of a failure by social workers, but because so many who could have stopped him turned a blind eye.

A Unicef report in 2007 rated the UK lowest in a league table of 20 OECD2 countries for child well-being, and little had changed in its 2011 report. When we stop demonising our vulnerable children, start taking responsibility for them and respecting their rights, then children will be safer, social work will be valued and society will be better for it.

Veronica Grant

Cwmbelan, Llanidloes

While it is essential that social workers have good intellectual ability, they also need to be compassionate and have authoritative communication skills, qualities not exclusive to the best of Russell Group graduates. Vulnerable children deserve better than having to rely on ill-thought-through but high-profile special schemes which at best will have a marginal impact and at worst undermine the changes already in train.

Philip Hoare

Senior lecturer, applied social services Worcester University

During 20 years in childcare, what worked in child protection was multidisciplinary teamwork and support, professional commitment and resources. It took years to establish the fruitful networks, including police, around the Inner London Education Authority. ILEA was becoming an effective counterweight to childhood need and family deprivation, but it was a shameful casualty of the Thatcher/ Livingstone spat. What let us down repeatedly was the legal system, and the Child Protection Service and its obfuscations.

Ann Kutek

London SW6

If ever there was a job where running a home and raising children counted for more than a degree, it is social work. That graduates, with their huge debt and unhoned life skills, should be thought fit to support impoverished households in trouble, only shows how little Gove knows about the reality of life for countless families.

Kathy Fields

Groombridge, East Sussex

The Rommel family still defends the reputation of its wartime general ("Row over film that portrays Rommel as more rat than fox", 28 October). Yet Rommel called Hitler his "sun lamp", and developed only a passing involvement in the plots of 1944 as he disagreed with Hitler's later military decisions, not his other policies. The plotters envisaged an army dictatorship which would have traded occupied Europe in exchange for a ceasefire allowing them to focus on fighting Russia. There would have been no democracy or Nuremberg trials. Some hero.

Ian McKenzie


All the London television critics seem to bewailing the end of The Thick of It ("Tucker's no more...", 28 October). Why? Am I the only one who finds in the cold, cruel, cynical attitude much that is wrong with today's television? This repulsive stuff is too self-regarding to be proper satire.

Geoffrey Darmon


The creature with which you illustrated Jane Merrick's article "How do-gooders threaten humble bee" is a hoverfly, not a bee (28 October). Hoverflies are good mimics – it's a trick intended to fool birds, small mammals and picture editors. The figure of £20bn given as the value of "bees" to the British economy does not specifically refer to "hive bees". Bees are not the sole or even major pollinators of our crops. If the £20bn quoted is the value to the British economy of crop pollination, I would claim that flies (the two-winged Diptera, such as hoverflies) can claim a similar value. The one in your picture is clearly helping to pollinate a flower.

Darwyn Sumner

Bulletin editor, Dipterists Forum

Have your say

Letters to the Editor, The Independent on Sunday, 2 Derry Street, London W8 5HF. Email: Online:

React Now

  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Senior Accounts Assistant - Accounts Payable - St. Albans

£26000 - £28000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: Senior Accounts Assistan...

Ashdown Group: Treasury Assistant - Accounts Assistant - London, Old Street

£24000 - £26000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, glo...

Recruitment Genius: Installation and Service / Security Engineer

£22000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is part of a Group...

Recruitment Genius: Service Charge Accounts Assistant

£16000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you a a young, dynamic pers...

Day In a Page

Read Next
A Gold Ferrari sits outside Chanel on Sloane Street  

Sunday Times Rich List: We are no longer in thrall to very rich people

Terence Blacker
David Cameron was openly emotional at the prospect of Scotland leaving the union before the referendum  

Remember when David Cameron almost cried over Scotland because he loved it so much?

Matthew Norman
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence
Public relations as 'art'? Surely not

Confessions of a former PR man

The 'art' of public relations is being celebrated by the V&A museum, triggering some happy memories for DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef succumbs to his sugar cravings with super-luxurious sweet treats

Bill Granger's luxurious sweet treats

Our chef loves to stop for 30 minutes to catch up on the day's gossip, while nibbling on something sweet
London Marathon 2015: Paula Radcliffe and the mother of all goodbyes

The mother of all goodbyes

Paula Radcliffe's farewell to the London Marathon will be a family affair
Everton vs Manchester United: Steven Naismith demands 'better' if Toffees are to upset the odds against United

Steven Naismith: 'We know we must do better'

The Everton forward explains the reasons behind club's decline this season
Arsenal vs Chelsea: Praise to Arsene Wenger for having the courage of his convictions

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Praise to Wenger for having the courage of his convictions