Susan's Musings

Just Thinking Out Loud

The Rotherham Foster Case

I followed the media frenzy regarding the Rotherham Council fostering case yesterday.  I refer to it as the Rotherham Fostering case as opposed to the UKIP case as it wasn’t really about UKIP or at least it shouldn’t have been.

I’m not an expert in this area but I know that the Council should have a process for assessing the suitability of foster parents.  I would venture to add that aside from the fact that foster carers are unlikely to want to look after children who come from a background that they have strong prejudices against, assessments should be designed to pick up such prejudices. (People don’t have to belong to a political party to hold racist opinions)

So against this backdrop I find myself pondering the appropriateness of Rotherham Council’s actions in this case.

  • I’m not a UKIP Supporter but I’m mindful of the fact that UKIP is a legal political party.  I haven’t done a full analysis of their policy, but I understand that they believe that there is a need for controlled immigration due to pressure that immigration places on our services.  It might sound like mere symantics, but I would say that rather than controlled immigration we need better managed immigration – there is already a degree of control anyway.  Besides which whilst immigration may come with its problems, it also brings benefits and over the years it has also provided us with solutions as well.
  • But back to the point of the Rotherham foster carers, let’s say for a minute that UKIP is a terrible racist political party with some unacceptable policies even though it is a legal party; I know from research that there is a reality that people join political parties for different reasons.  They don’t necessarily agree with all of their policies. It’s just as we at times vote for candidates even though we might not agree with everything they say. Similarly from an HR perspective when selecting candidates there may be one or two things we dislike about a candidate, but we tend to focus on what a candidate will bring overall and consider how we can mitigate any issues that may arise from the things we dislike or are concerned about.
  • I therefore believe that in the Rotherham Foster case, the parents that the children were (at least on the face of things) comfortably living with should have been interviewed or re-accessed to determine whether they held views or beliefs that would have a negative impact on the children.  This should have been backed with interviews of the children.

Sadly it seems that a rushed decision was made without any thought for how the move would affect the children. Young people who had possibly already gone through the trauma of a move from one country to another; problems in relation to their parents; and who knows – possibly a number of moves leading up to their more recent placement.


Copyright 2012. This document is the specific intellectual property of Susan Popoola. Content may not be reused or reproduced without the specific permission of the owner or a reference to the source. Opinions may be generated

The Eyes of a Child

I know it’s probably not the end, but I’m glad that there has been a ceasefire called in Gaza..

Even though I have studied it from the perspectives of history, academia and the Bible, I’ve I never fully understood the issue of  The West Bank. I hear people

speak of Israel’s right to defend itself; the folly of Palestinians imprisoned in their own homes and all the other common arguments and I must say –  I don’t believe it’s a simple case of right or wrong.  Sadly it’s inevitable that if things are viewed in simplistic terms there can be no lasting progress.

I find this completely disheartening because one of the worse things as far as I’m concerned is the image of destroyed homes with young children looking wide eyed at what used to be their homes.  I observe them and wonder what long term impact these images will have on their minds.  Will they lead them by miracle to say ‘no more’ or will it lead to a hate and a desire for revenge in their latter years.

I hope that the ceasefire can somehow last, but for that to really occur people need to take the time to understand other people’s point of view, look beyond themselves and compromise.  After all these years of false starts it seems almost impossible but once in a while miracles do occur and there are things that the yes of a child should truly never see.


Copyright 2012. This document is the specific intellectual property of Susan Popoola. Content may not be reused or reproduced without the specific permission of the owner or a reference to the source. Opinions may be generated

The Good and Bad in Us ALL

When the Jimmy Savile scandal first broke, I had no idea how bad things were, but I knew there were bad – the abuse of anyone is bad, the abuse of a child is heinous. So for someone to abuse numerous young people over an extended period of time with impunity ….. words cannot express.

It’s also astounding that normally when someone is accused of a crime – even if they are caught red handed the crimes are referred to as allegations until proven in a court of law. I know Savile is dead and cannot be tried, but even though people may question the extent of his crimes, people are quite categoric about his guilt.

Even his nephew, Roger Foster who originally started of by stating that “The guy hasn’t been dead for a year yet and they’re bringing these stories out. It could affect his legacy, his charity work, everything. I’m very sad and disgusted,” has now come to a different conclusion.

He is now quoted as having stated that, “I cannot understand for the life of me how a guy that did so much good in his life – with the work that he did, his charity work, his trusts, the people that he helped – could have such a dark side to him that nobody knew about.”

Going on to state that “I have this memory of what the man was like, what he meant to me as a person. I still have part of me proud of him, not proud of the way things have turned out, but proud of the things that he did in trying to help other people.  I am so absolutely devastated and disappointed that this dark side is the side that he will be remembered for.”

The only thing is whilst his nephew has now reached the point of accepting the wrong that he’s uncle did, he still talk about a part of him that is still proud of Savile.  I guess this is because of the good that he did.  The only thing is the more that is revealed the more the question arises as to whether there was actually much good in Jimmy Savile as he’s motives are now questionable. Was he really out to Fix It and make the wishes of children come true or was he just using the programme as a means to evil ends?

This question is heightened by a statement of Paul Gambaccini a Radio DJ  who stated that “On another occasion, and this cuts to the chase of the whole matter, he was called and he said ‘well you could run that story, but if you do there goes the funds that come in to Stoke Mandeville – do you want to be responsible for the drying up of the charity donations’. And they backed down.”

It’s not just the threat, it’s what we choose to believe – can someone that does so much good, do wrong, such that Esther Rantzen stated “You see, one child’s word against the word of a television icon, one who was renowned for raising money for charity, who knew everyone from the Prime Minister to Princess Diana, who was knighted by the Queen and the Pope, I think no single complainant dared speak out before.”

It actually goes further, a couple of weeks back, I met an older lady at a supermarket. We ended up talking about the case.  She mentioned that she had met Savile several times as she had a son at Stoke Mandeville Hospital. She went on to say, there was also something about him that she didn’t like that led her to avoid him, she went on to comment on the evil that he did – concluding on the note – but he did so much good – he was just a great philantrophist.

It reminds me of the comment that someone interviewed made about Lance Armstrong following on from the revelations about him – “I’m disappointed in him but I still think he’s one heck of an athlete”

The truth is yes, there is good and bad in all of us and it should be acknowledged, but when I see the media continuing to show photographs of Savile with a grin and/or swaggering around with a cigar drooping from his mouth i.e. the celebrity image.  I wonder whether they have truly come to terms with the gravity of his crimes.  After all, when someone is accused of a crime, the media normally look for the ugliest possible photo of the person that they can find so that people know how evil the person is – even though the person has not been proven guilty.

With Savile there seems to be no doubt, so whilst we recognise that there is good and bad in us all, I’d like to request that the media reconsider the photos of him that they show and the image that it portrays. i.e. that he is possibly still someone to be celebrated.


Copyright 2012. This document is the specific intellectual property of Susan Popoola. Content may not be reused or reproduced without the specific permission of the owner or a reference to the source. Opinions may be generated




About The Author

Susan Popoola

Susan is a Human Resources Capital Optimisation Specialist specialising in areas inclusive of Talent Management with additional interest in a number of other areas inclusive of Education, Community and Social Justice.

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