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Posts Tagged ‘news’

Who’s the boss?

Hillary Clinton’s totally understandable response to being asked at a press conference in her capacity as Secretary of State has provoked reporting about her ‘extraordinary outburst’ (e.g. The Times). What’s extraordinary about it other than the fact that most government figures would not expect to be asked for their spouses views on an important matter rather than their own? It would never happen to Bill, or to any other male politician. I don’t think her response was anything other than a clear expression of how unacceptable the question posed actually was – if  I was Hillary it would drive me mad and – unlike Hillary – I would probably lose my rag and respond with the kind of hysterical response that she is being credited with. Extraordinary is that her response is a bigger deal to the press than the idiocy of the question.

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Happy 2nd Birthday! Pink and Proud

Wow – Pink Tape is 2 years old. I confess I didn’t really think this far ahead when I made my first blog entry and landed on the name Pink Tape. I didn’t really think ahead at all – it seemed like a good idea at the time. But it’s been fun, and moderately successful, and long may the Pink Tape wind on and on.

complete with pinstripes, pink tape and post its

complete with pinstripes, pink tape and post its

2 years ago things were a lot different: for family law; for me. The ‘Secret courts’ were all the talk – now we have open justice, perhaps soon to be open reporting. The Baby P scandal had yet to break – now we have social work and CAFCASS collapse as a result of the fallout.

Some things were ever thus: proposals to slash legal aid for family practitioners were afoot, there were hotspots of CAFCASS delay and the bar had not really found its way to the blogosphere (perish the thought of embracing technology).

At home, I was just pregnant (or just about to be).  And working in London. And whilst my short period of maternity leave was perfect opportunity for blogging about the job I was taking a pause from, the return to work in Bristol coupled with the ever increasing mobility and ever increasing volume levels of a 15 month old present an ever increasing challenge to making time in my life for the blog (both this one and the Family Law Week blog).

To those who poo-pooed the idea and to my nameless but very learned friend who suggested it was downright unprofessional and demeaning for a member of the bar to be involved with such trash as a blog, 3000 hits a month respectfully submit that you were wrong and that there is something of value in between Heat Magazine (to which you compared this blog) and a legal looseleaf. Clever is good. Clever and interesting is better. And successful is good. But successful and happy is better.

But enough of bitching about the past (although I do feel better for having got that off my chest), what is the future for Pink Tape? Well, I’m always happy to hear suggestions for the direction of the blog, you may like to comment on this post. But in general terms: here’s to another two years at least. It may not go on for ever, but I think I have a clue who may be inheriting the Pink Tape mantle when I hang up my keyboard and blog my last…as you can see from the picture he is earnestly in training already.

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I am really pleased to see that from this week health visitors will be switching over to the World Health Organisation growth charts for measurement of infant growth. I have had one stuck in my boy’s red book for months, diligently plotting his growth on both the bottle fed based chart that officialdom requires and the WHO chart which I felt was more appropriate. The only time I asked my health visitor about it she had never heard of it, so I hope that some training is being rolled out. Luckily he’s been storming ahead on both charts (‘robust’ is the word I think) but I don’t think he’s obese just yet.

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These charts may seem trivial but they are important – because they form the cornerstone of health visitor intervention in the early months. This helpful document explains why the new charts are different and better.

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In Train

A wealth of little family law stories in this morning’s Metro:

  • ‘homebuyers returning to the market’- first time buyers apparently are out in force trying to bag a bargain, but of course a large number of them are likely to find it difficult to raise funds unless they have a hefty deposit.
  • ‘police deal with 20,000 child sex crimes a year’ – reported as if allegations equal crime, apparently one in four of this large number involved children 4 and under. I wonder what proportion result in a conviction?
  • ‘Deaths of 8 children ‘are a scandal” – yet another local authority, this time Birmingham, has been accused of a systematic failure identified after 8 children known to Birmingham social services died of suspected abuse or neglect.
  • ‘few ‘good’ reasons to force births’ – unsurprising story about the overuse of induction on pregnant women, 28% of which were not done for a medical reason. Gosh the medical profession do know how to disempower us and make us feel incapable of doing anything by ourselves…we’ve only been doing it for thousands of years.
  • Finally, ‘big rise in racial mix families’ – one in ten children in Britain lives in a racially mixed family. Almost half of black caribbean men are in a mixed-race relationship, but only eight percent of men with a pakistani background according to the EHRC – I’d be interested to read a cultural exploration of the differences in mixing as between different communities.

Well, that kept me occupied on the train into chambers…

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Baby P

It is really quite striking how much of a frenzy there is surrounding the tragic case of Baby P. I have made no effort in this blog to keep up with the astonishing amount of news coverage of the case and of the question of child protection generally – I have a full time job after all. But what I can tell you is that by virtue of posting something about Baby P last week combined with the magic of google this blog has had one of the busiest weeks ever. My stats page tells me that ‘Baby P’ is pretty much all anyone is googling at the moment.

As yesterday’s OFSTED report apparently tells us (I say apparently because I haven’t had time to read it, and because frankly it’s not news to me) this kind of tragedy is going on all over the country. Sadly many kids are killed by their carers, and no doubt sometimes this could have been prevented. But as the slathering media machine churns on and on  I am beginning to feel a little bit like the gawping at the spectacle of Baby P is not only unhealthy in itself but a little bit disrespectful to all those other forgotten babies and children. I’m afraid what is being reported as ‘shocking’ to many of us is probably ‘normal’ for many many unhappy children.

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I have yet to have the opportunity to look at this review headed up by IDS but those of you with spare time on your hands may wish to do so.

P.S. Is this where the phrase ‘Guest parent’ has suddenly sprung from? I’ve certainly heard IDS on the radio this week opining about the state of society viz a viz Baby P and I think he is the one to have coined this new buzzword.

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Part 1 was a bit of a disappointment for me, but I’ll keep an open mind until the end of all four episodes…It was a bit crammed with the entertaining archaisms and amusing traditions which are frontloaded onto entry into the profession and frankly a bit hackneyed – the formal dinners and all the other stuff you have to contend with when training, and the whimsical stories everyone gets told on their first mini-pupillage (red bags etc). It’s not really representative of what the bar is all about. I can’t think when I last wore a wig and I have made a point of avoiding obnoxious formal dinners since I earnt my twelfth dining point and got called. And I shake other barrister’s hand just to annoy them (tradition says we don’t do that at the bar).

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I had understood that one of the barristers being followed was a family barrister, perhaps he or she will make an appearance in later episodes along with a bit more reality tv (I mean that literally not pejoratively) and a bit less confirming of stereotypes.

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Notwithstanding all the mildly amusing stories it wasn’t exactly an exciting piece of telly, but don’t let that dissuade you from watching future episodes – we are really not as dull as you might think from part 1 and I think it will get better….

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