Sunday, May 27, 2007

Blog Banter

Some time ago I blogged about Sally Clark, upon the event of her death, and was rounded on by CoralPoetry who later removed her comments. Another who received similar treatment contacted me recently, and it is my fault that I responded I guess, but sometimes it is hard to let a comment go by and especially if someone is assuming I agree with them.

For the record, I would maintain that I don't know what happened to Sally Clark's children, but it was a sad case whatever happened, and I veer towards her innocence. I think the evidence given in court was entirely misleading, and that it is right and proper that the GMC made a decision about Roy Meadow's practice, I think I can trust that they made their decision a long way from the tabloid agenda. I also think that far too much weight is given to medical evidence in courts generally, but I would say that because I am a social worker!
I find this correspondents views unpalatable, but they are his, and I publish them because I no longer wish to deal with them in a private arena via email. I have removed his email address because it didn't seem appropriate to leave it in, but do leave your comments here, though I am guessing we might want to steer clear of the abortion debate?

Subject: Sally Clark
Date: 25/05/2007 10:00:53 GMT Standard Time

Dear Helen, I'm a 'predatory pervert' who has 'just crawled out of my cave' where I 'lure children to my site' so don't dismiss me out of hand. These are some of the spewed out epithets one receives should one have the effrontery to counter the prevailing all consuming, almost religious fervour, that holds that Sally Clark was innocent of the murder of two of her children. The pieties of this narcissistic cult demand a flagrant disregard for truth, the manipulation of words to invert their meaning and the wilful and disgraceful vilification of good men. Egregious journalists like the ranting Sweeney publish lie after lie so that their copy and that of lazy others reads identically and predictably. "Convicted because of Meadow's evidence". Not so. "Released because of Meadow's evidence". Not so.

Meadow's 73 million to one figures. Not his. "real risk of two cot deaths is 1 in 64". Preposterous medical illiteracy. "Harry died of septicaemia". Clinically absurd. And the latest in the Spectator, “Vaccines killed Clark children" (presumably negating the infection certainty ?).

Sorry to inflict this on you if it no longer interests you but having shared the fruitless task of attempting to reason with Coralpoetry who flits from blog to blog at the merest hint of Sally, posting and unposting, leaving a trail of litter all over the place, I thought you might be
Best wishes, David.

Subject: Re: Sally Clark
Date: 26/05/2007 15:58:12 GMT Standard Time

I don't mind you emailing you, but we probably don't agree either, except that CoralPoetry had me entirely baffled. Her comments have been deleted from my website now, but at one point, I apparently had hijacked my own site and was someone else entirely. It was all very odd, and I guess not surprising that she didn't publish my comments to her site, even though they were very mild and simply expressed my confusion.

I disagree with you in so far as I do think Sally Clark was convicted on Roy Meadows evidence, predominantly because courts and juries can give so much weight to medical evidence. I really don't know what actually happened, although I suspect a conversation with the CPS would clarify that, and I am definitely not in the business of demonising a doctor. You appear to be much surer than I can be but I am afraid I am not really interested in being convinced either way.
Best wishes,

Subject: Re: Sally Clark
Date: 26/05/2007 22:42:51 GMT Standard Time

Dear Helen, Thank you for that. It was just that I thought you would be interested in the sort of people who career around maniacally making outrageous comments whose very implausibility suggests the hollowness of their argument. Whether you wish to know it or not the truth is always out there and I for one prefer to be connected to it however disconcerting it may be. Sally Clark’s children died terrible deaths and two innocent lives are now spent, with few willing to grieve for them for we are little concerned for our children when they inconvenience us. I shall not trouble you further.
Kind regards, David.

Subject:Re: Sally Clark
Date: 26/05/2007 23:08:17 GMT Standard Time

"for we are little concerned for our children when they inconvenience us" This is odd David; there is little of convenience about children full stop really, and I don't think anyone has stopped caring about Sally's children. Whatever happened to them is sad, whether they died at their mother's hands or not. Women who kill their children are not generally happy, balanced people, but women who are somehow suffering terribly. I do think it is terribly hard to think that we don't know the answer, but sometimes we can't, and we do have to live with uncertainties. Truth is not an absolute.

Subject:Re: Sally Clark
Date: 27/05/2007 11:18:44 GMT Standard Time

Helen, I did not express myself well and was letting emotion dictate the text. I was alluding to the destruction of babies in utero and the terrible images of partial birth terminations as examples of ‘inconvenience’ lives to be got rid of. Like you, and, ironically like Professor Meadow, we mostly agree that the killing of infants by their mother’s has to be looked at with a psychiatric eye rather than a jailer’s. There are absolute truths about man’s place in the world and we don’t necessarily understand them but their pursuit is an obligation that elevates us just as the searching for the more prosaic truths of daily life is a better guide to living than self delusion and may harm fewer people. Not to find out the truth of what happened to the Clark children has lead to the destruction of a good man’s reputation and a dearth of paediatricians willing to take on child abuse work. There will be babies and children who will have to loose their lives because of the vicious and mendacious campaign against those that defend them. I call this the “Sweeney Effect” after the ranting BBC journalist most adept at this tainted work.
Best Wishes, David.

Subject: Re: Sally Clark
Date: 27/05/2007 11:48:43 GMT Standard Time

Great that we agree that a mother who kills her children deserves compassion. Perhaps in your desire for clarity you are making an assumption about how I might feel/think about; "the destruction of babies in utero and the terrible images of partial birth terminations as examples of ‘inconvenience’ lives to be got rid of.". Are you assuming that I am anti-abortion? I am pro-choice, and I place the rights of the mother above that of the unborn child, whatever the images look like.

Cleveland was the first big case where a paediatrician's reputation was in dispute in a child abuse case. It may have blighted the career of one man's life, but we now know much more about how to detect child abuse. Sometimes one man goes and we learn more; it is sad for him, but better for humanity. I would prefer this to taking a medical opinion as fact and far too much weight is given to medical evidence in courts. Whether Roy Meadows is a good man is entirely beside the point. What does matter is that he gave statistically incorrect evidence because he is a doctor, and not a statistician. He was still wrong.

Whether Sally Clark was convicted on Meadow's evidence remains in the Jury room, as it should. I would maintain that sometimes the truth eludes us and that we need to be sophisticated enough to be satisfied with that. I have full confidence that children will not die because doctors are worried about this case. Children who are abused die all the time and those who work with them should be expected to maintain scrupulously high standards. I really don't agree with your comments about the BBC, Sweeney or that anyone is tainted. People like Meadows should be held to account and the media has done a good job of this. It is for the GMC to make any decisions about his practice.


Subject: Re: Sally Clark
Date: 27/05/2007 15:06:36 GMT Standard Time

Helen, my point is that it is perfectly proper and indeed obligatory for doctors who make errors like the ones in the Cleveland case are called to account but when they don’t they should be protected against mendacious journalists like the egregious Sweeney whose purpose is not to find out if murder occurred but to use the adversarial niceties of the Courts to pick at any point in order to protect his story. He will lie to you and say that the 1 in 73 million figures were Meadow’s when they were the statisticians employed in a government survey. He will use this figure and juxtapose it with another that is in fact the conditional probability of a second cot death when you’ve had a first. He will transpose words so that the inverse of what was meant is offered his readers. He is one of the leaders in a vile pack of malign journalists and mothers who have been accused of child abuse who hound those who have dared to expose them “pour encourager les autres’’. Were his accusations to be true then of course there would be no disputing them and he would deserve thanks but they are not true and he either knows they are not and is lying or is so obtuse that he fails to comprehend the incoherence of his copy. The counter to the 1 in 73 million would be the simple enquiry of the chance of a double murder but not a murmur was heard from the Defence essentially because they were not talking ‘cot deaths’ but the Crown thought they were.

It was a disgrace, one of the worst in the history of the General Medical Council, that a medical witness could be hauled before it after a complaint by a relative of the accused.

Like you I defer to the mother in the choice to abort a baby but would rather that a life hadn’t started and wouldn’t like to be the one who ended it “on social grounds”. Crushing a baby’s head as it makes its way towards life near term however seems to me to be a gross evil and those that perpetrate it should be charged with murder. To claim it as a mother’s right is to admit to a moral deficit that is a threat not only to a viable child but to humanity.

Subject: Re: Sally Clark
Date: 27/05/2007 15:11:24 GMT Standard Time

I always find it odd when people who I disagree with use more and more words in an attempt to persuade me of their point of view. I do understand what you think David, but we disagree as I think I said we would in my first response to your email, perhaps we could agree to do so.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Missing Maddy

Rothley war memorial usually looks like this;Today it looks like this because this little girl has gone missing. The safety of Madeleine is unpredictable now that she has become a threat to the liberty of her captors. Let us take a moment to be thankful that it is so rare for a child to go missing in this way that it is making headlines around the world. Let us pray for her family to find the strength they need to bear the pain of being without their daughter and the twins without their sister.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Great Gig!

Thanks Willy Mason, I was mainly sparkling behind a pillar! X

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Pretty Picture

Just needed something nice to look at today, after 2 ugly posts, more ugliness involving Hugh Grant next though!