LETTERS FROM LONDON
REASONS TO BE CHEERFUL
1 November 2013
Ah Bless

Channel 4’s Gogglebox is one of those guilty pleasures you can’t believe you
not only watch, but enjoy in the most perverse sort of way.

Ordinary people critique the week’s telly. This week surpassed the last ones. An
Asian school boy with a crippling stammer transcended his limitation with the
aid of his teacher’s solution - music. He read a poem, won an award, the
teachers got all teary, as did the school audience, every
Gogglebox watcher
and me as well. It was a shared ‘ahhhh bless’ moment.

All the men nearly drooled over the ridiculous Nigella as she drooled over
herself. Predictable – and pathetic. The women weren’t conned.

Sandra and Sandy, Stephanie and Dominic, Stephen and Chris, June and
Leon, posh, pensioners, gay, lads, families in Liverpool, Brixton, Brighton,
North London, Wigan, Kent, etc.

All together now. They argue, they squeal, they roll their eyes at each other,
they sing along with
X Factor. They emote, they mime, they act out scenes,
they clap. They eat, drink, stroke their pets, yell at their mice visitors. It’s
bonkers. It’s addictive. It’s real reality TV. Help.


Walk on the Wild Side

BBC’s Jeremy Paxman on Newsnight interviewed Rufus Wainwright regarding
the death of Lou Reed. Huh? Whose idea was that? That of the new and
controversial
Newsnight editor Ian Katz? ‘Oh we at the BBC are so modern and
cool’. No you aren’t and certainly Rufus Wainwright is anything but.

As a good (?) friend (who on twitter wasn’t now that he’s dead), I’ll give him that
and a shared arrogance, they played music together Wainwright informed us. I
missed that.

Wainwright is irritating. Reed was irritated. Wainwright sang a cappella. Lou
Reed sang
Perfect Day. Chalk and cheese(y).

Is it really necessary to say Lou Reed personified cool and Rufus is the
opposite. All that vibrato. Toe-curling. He should listen to (favourite) Nico
singing
Femme Fatale. Heaven. RIP LR.


The Buck Stops Here

Child protection officer, Sharon Shoesmith, was the director of Children’s
Services in Haringey. She presided over one of the most wicked, heart-
breaking child abuse scandals in modern British history.

Baby P was tortured to death: broken back, finger nails missing, Pavlovian
response training, battered and bruised, more than 50 injuries, ad inf.  He was
17 months old. Professionals and the police had made 60 home visits. You do
the maths.

Visits to the home of the mother, who appeared in her police photo as someone
who couldn’t connect two brain cells together, was allegedly so clever and
manipulative, these social workers and doctors were totally duped. How is that
possible? Are they all autistic? They have no intuition, no awareness of human
nature, no previous experience? Take a bloody course. Baby P’s mother has
been released after only 4 years. Just enough time to obtain social worker
qualifications surely.

Inappropriately at the same time, we will happily hand over possibly £700,000
for Sharon Shoesmith’s ‘distress’ due to her unfair dismissal via Ed Balls in
2008 after a damning Ofsted report on Haringey’s children’s welfare services.
The terms of the agreement are confidential. And the reason as it is our cash....
Distress...death. Shouldn’t the head of children’s services at Haringey Council
take some responsibility? A rhetorical question.

Yet £133,000 a year Sharon Shoesmith has remained silent, except for blaming
Baby P’s mother and her boyfriend (and lest we forget, his brother and his girl-
friend). Self-pitying, self-righteous, SS thought £1.5m was appropriate for all
her misfortune. She announced she has been forced to live on benefits.
Really? And her husband, savings?

Not satisfied with having sympathy for herself, SS posted a statement online: ‘A
final farewell to Haringey as my case concludes. I wish those of you in
children's services, especially in Haringey, success, strength and courage in all
that you do. Children have been my life’s work and I hope to continue in some
capacity soon now that my PhD is almost complete.’

When she first won her appeal SS declared on the steps of the court that she
was ‘absolutely thrilled’. Keep this woman away from all playgrounds.
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