Bob Marshall Andrews

February 25, 2010

The answer Bob Marshall Andrews, MP, gave on Any Questions in the week after Baby P, when asked about the case-

Can I address the question directly because it is an extremely interesting question because it centres on class and class structures and the protections that were within class structures? The working class of which I certainly had some considerable experience, the working class had its own solidarity, its own communities and within that solidarity and those communities there were disciplines that existed. The question that you are addressing is whether we now have a dysfunctional group and class of people who it is extremely difficult in those circumstances to monitor and to deal with and the answer to the question simply I think is yes very much so. Our class structures have changed almost beyond recognition for a large number of reasons. Now having said that and which is directly relevant to it can I just say something about social workers? Because as a politician it is sometimes tempting to welcome the idea that there is a class of people that are more loathed than you are. (LAUGH) But may I just say something for social workers. Social workers do an ill paid job, a vocational and dedicated job in the most difficult and trying of circumstances. They, day by day, live with dangerous violent, dysfunctional, manipulative and deceitful people. They have to take agonizing decisions not about what is best for a child but what is least worst for a child that they see. Those are not decisions that I would wish to take and the other thing that they have to live with as well is the prospect of being pilloried and vilified in hate filled campaigns by some elements of our national popular press which is not something which adds to the national debate at all, egged on by editors sitting in highly paid offices who would not be driven down the streets in which these social workers operate let alone get out of the cars that they are in and one of the most (APPLAUSE) distasteful things in the whole of the dreadful saga of Baby P was in the press conference which was held by the Minister Ed Balls in an atmosphere, a quiet atmosphere of horror as people contemplated the pain and the torture that was inflicted upon this child before they died in it. In the course of the conference a reporter no doubt on the instructions of his Editor attempted in a question to glean some credit for the Sun newspaper. It was a despicable thing to do and I am very sorry that my Minister Mr. Balls did not have the courage (LAUGH) in these circumstances to treat that question with the contempt that it deserved.

I just had a conversation which reminded me that there are honorable politicians, which is not something I forget, but is something which I take for granted.

(PS.Sorry about fonts, I don’t know how to fix)



  1. Indeed. Bob’s one of the good guys. Shame he’s standing down this time round.

    • He really is. When he said that on Any Questions, it was the absolute first time that week a politician stood up and said so. The treatment of social services by our media, along with the widescale looking away from the issues that social work deals with by the british public, and the resulting lack of resources- has crippled our childrens services. Every week Ofsted says another local authorities Childrens Services, are not fit for purpose-and yet they are not ringfenced in the upcoming budget cuts. Not at all.

      But who will get the blame as the tragedies that are inevitable come?

      Ed Balls, and his successors need to stand up to tabloid media. When I went to work on the Monday after he said that, it was being played on iplayer repeatedly for people who hadn’t heard it. I had colleagues who pulled over in laybys to hear what he said. I left my office for the last time, that week.

      Well done Bob Marshall Andrews for saying this- it appears noone else will.

  2. […] Bob Marshall Andrews « Deeplyflawedbuttrying's Blog […]

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