Meet the overzealous Mr Selous

Andrew “the overzealous” Selous MP is Ian Duncan Smith’s Parliamentary Private Secretary (PPS). He also seems to be a bit confused. Arguably confusion is to be expected since he cherry picks his ideas of right and wrong from an ancient book with a moral compass that points straight back to the bronze age.

Yet with such a public assertion of faith you’d think he’d have read at least parts of the Bible before taking public office.

His confusion over dyed in the wool biblical issues like gay rights seems very odd. He voted strongly against equal rights for gay people and yet vaccilated about gay marriage. Could it be that his 20th century conscience has been pricked a little despite the ‘ancient wisdom’ of a small group of desert nomads?
Andrew Selous MP social issues voting record
Unfortunately he has had no such fit of conscience in relation to homelessness. This is odd in itself considering that his entry for the SW Bedfordshire Conservative Home website reports a keen interest in homelessness and participation in sponsored sleepouts for homelessness charities.

He supports local homeless charities by taking part in annual sponsored sleep-outs.”

Perhaps though his interest is more about keeping homeless numbers up than about helping the homeless themselves. Perhaps his annual sleep out is no more than a form of penance intended to assuage the wrath of God in payment for his other homelessness related activities.
Andrew Selous MP voting record
As if his voting record wasn’t enough to demonstrate his abusive, pathological need to increase poverty and homelessness he recently attacked that other bastion of his Christian faith, the Trussell Trust. And yet even here he seems confused. Speaking about his local foodbank he said:

“I have been a supporter of Foodbank for many years. Working in addition to the welfare system, Foodbanks have been proven to help turn people’s lives around which is why I think so highly of them”

Andrew Selous, Local Constituency MP

And then he goes and does this:
Andrew Selous MP
It seems that the Right Hon. Andrew Selous MP is fine with his own receipt of taxpayer funded nourishment but not too keen on charitable organisations that provide sustenance to people who really are in need. Especially when those organisations, such as The Trussell Trust have the audacity (some might say ‘sense of fairness and social justice’) to question why so many UK citizens are so desperately hungry in the first place.

Apparently asking questions about hunger and trying to do something to change the situation is ‘too political’. I’d have thought that for someone with such a publically professed Christian faith he’d have heard about ‘the sermon on the mount’ and ‘the beatitudes’ with its list of ‘blessed’ individuals. But let me remind the good Mr. Selous of another familiar bible quote:

“Whatsoever you do unto the least of my brethren, do you also unto me.”
Matthew 25:45

It’s going to take more than the occasional night out of doors to make up for this catalogue of oppression Mr. Selous. Not least because, as the good book says….

You shall know them by their deeds.

Care to share magazine issue 7

Just a reminder. Care to share magazine issue 7 is out today as a series of blog posts or downloadable PDF.

Get your free copy here.


Mental Health and Social Care

Don’t forget about my other book – also available from The Care Guy website.

MH and SC simple lessons meme

This easy to follow book has been written with social care support workers in mind. It’s jargon free and packed with reflection points, tips and exercises to guide you through the social care process from basic principles to support planning and relapse profiling. What’s more – it only costs a tenner. You can download a sampler here.

The author, Stuart Sorensen has many years experience of working in mental health and social care. Drawing on past experience of ‘real world’ care services he boils down the complicated theory of mental health care into the fundamental principles of best practice. The result is an easy to follow book that explains what mental disorder is, what recovery really means and what social care staff can do to help

Behaviours that challenge

It’s taken me a while to finish this but my new book ‘Behaviours that challenge’ is now on sale on The Care Guy website. Only a tenner plus P&P.

Go on, you know you want to


Often the advice given to social care workers about behaviours that challenge makes their problems worse instead of better. This easy to follow workbook is full of no nonsense tips, techniques and ideas for dealing with the behaviours YOU face at work (and at home).


Introductory questionnaire
What is Challenging Behaviour?
Legal principles
Theories of behaviour and interaction
Different types of Challenging Behaviours
Its only behavioural
Philosophy and challenging behaviour (rights, paternalism and intervention – people are just people)
Assertiveness – as opposed to aggression, passivity and passive-aggression
Assessing behaviour – ABC, the Pleasure Principle, lessons from research
Basic behavioural management – classical and operant conditioning, reinforcement, gradual progression
Boundaries and the escalation or recession of inappropriate behaviours
The importance of the whole team approach
The problem with punishment
Answers to safeguarding quiz

Issue 4 of Care To Share Magazine

wpid-Screenshot_2013-10-20-13-21-07-1.pngIt began as no more than a whim – a vague idea that it might be nice to set up an online magazine where anyone with an opinion could have their say about social care. That was back in October. At the time I had no idea what would happen or even if the magazine would make it to its first issue. I needn’t have worried.

Today I published the 4th issue of Care To Share Magazine and material is already coming in for issue 5. It seems that there really is an appetite for this sort of publication, free as it is from commercial constraints and hidden corporate agendas.

In issue 4 you’ll find articles on burnout and the hardships of coping with a family member’s suicide. There’s an appeal to regain some community spirit and another bemoaning the lack of simplicity in social care practice. There’s even a philosophical piece about penguins and the lessons we humans might learn from them. The final piece describing the hopelessness experienced by many returning servicemen and women is both informative and heart-rending.

The contents list is below:

Editors notes by Stuart Sorensen
Sponge by Kirstyn Knowles
The Saviour fantasy and emergency responses by Stuart Sorensen
Let’s keep things simple by Hugh Boyden
Community spirit by Henry Hobson
She took her own life by Claire Hirst (CLASP charity)
Penguins don’t obsess by Michelle Longo
The Mentally Ill need to be Mentally Stronger to get Help by Josephine Bloggs
We merry few, we band of buggered by Carl Spaul
Authors’ guidelines by Stuart Sorensen

You can read this and previous editions of Care To Share Magazine by clicking here

You can also like us on facebook here
or follow the twitter hashtag here.

You might even want to have a go at writing an article or two yourself. Just check the authors’ guidelines first.

Either way – why not click across to the Care To Share Magazine blog to see what all the fuss is about.



Safeguarding 9: Discrimination

As most people are aware many forms of discrimination are unlawful in British society as they are throughout much of the rest of the world. However the nature of discrimination (what it actually means) isn’t always so clearly understood. The confusion about what is and is not discrimination isn’t helped by the way that certain individuals or groups claim ‘discrimination’ when really they are simply failing to get their own way.

A recent example of this involves the Bristol ‘Healing On The Streets’ (HOTS) team. This faith-based group published materials claiming that any and all ailments from mental disorders to cancer would be cured by the power of prayer. They did not state this as mere opinion but rather they presented it as fact without any reasonable evidence to support the claim. This would be a problem in any organisation, not just a religious ministry.

Hayley Stevens is a paranormal investigator who was ‘leafleted’ by a member of the HOTS team. She was concerned that the published material may offer ‘false hope’ to desperate and vulnerable people. She was also concerned that it might discourage people from seeking medical care and so she contacted the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) who upheld her complaint and ordered the group to remove such claims from its publications. The HOTS team subsequently issued a statement claiming that Hayley represented a group, generally opposed to Christianity. They have since removed that statement from their website.

Criticising fraudsters for false advertising is fair comment. The reason for criticism of the HOTS team is not their religion, it is their unethical behaviour in making false claims that would be a problem whoever produced the publicity.

We can see then that what does or does not constitute discrimination depends upon relevance. It would be discriminatory to say that all religious people are liars but it is not discriminatory to ask all people, religious or not, for evidence to back up claims of miracle treatments and to expect them to abide by the law and by accepted advertising standards when they cannot.

It is when we make unreasonable distinctions between people that we are guilty of discrimination. For example when we make assumptions about someone based upon characteristics that have nothing to do with the issue at hand. This sort of discrimination, based upon irrelevancies, is what happens when people make judgements based upon skin colour, religious affiliation, nationality, ethnicity, disability, profession or sexual preference. Skin colour for example has nothing to do with trustworthiness and disability does not invalidate a person’s right to be treated with respect. In both cases, colour and disability, the ‘condition’ is irrelevant to the point under consideration.

However the fact that an individual belongs to a group that is regularly discriminated against does not mean that they can do no wrong. A gay man who assaults his neighbour in a dispute about a garden fence will still be prosecuted. But he will be prosecuted because of the assault. His sexuality is irrelevant. He may claim discrimination on the grounds of his sexuality but his claim will not be taken seriously by the courts because his sexuality is not relevant to the case at hand.

On the other hand a gay couple refused accommodation in a hotel or guest house would be supported under anti-discrimination legislation for exactly the same reason. Their sexuality is not relevant to their right to use services.

Similairly if the manager of a residential drug rehabilitation unit were to evict an Asian man because of his use of illicit substances on the premises he could not then claim racial discrimination. The eviction would be because of the rules of the service which are applied equally to all service-users regardless of skin colour or racial type. Colour is simply irrelevant and therefore the decision to evict is not discriminatory – it is simply an appropriate response.

The basic ‘rule of thumb’ then is to ask if the alleged discrimination is relevant. Is your action the result of the individual’s need or behaviour or is it motivated by the fact that they belong to a particular group.

If it’s because of individual circumstances and would be the same whatever subgroup the person belonged to then it’s probably not discrimination. I say probably not because there is the additional aspect of institutional discrimination that we will consider in a later post. If it’s because of the subgroup they belong to (eg religion, LGBT, disabled, Asian etc) then there’s a good chance you really are discriminating.

As ever ‘relevance’ is the key when deciding whether or not you’re being discriminatory.

About the Safeguarding series

This blog series first appeared on Stuart’s personal blog early in 2010. It has been reposted here as part of a process of ‘rationalisation’ in which work from several blogs has been removed and reposted on only two.

Safeguarding 1: Introduction and contents

This blog series was originally written in 2010, partly in response to a political debate raging at the time around the rights of workers vs the rights of vulnerable adults. When I began the law was clear and, I believe, appropriate in placing meaningful restrictions upon those who wanted to gain unsupervised access to vulnerable people.

However I never completed the series. That was because in May of that year the indecisive general election here in UK resulted in a new coalition government who proceeded to change the existing and planned safeguarding arrangements in UK.

The ConDem government changed the safeguarding system

The ConDem government changed the safeguarding system

What follows then is not what was originally planned. Instead I’ll be posting the basic principles of safeguarding that have remained constant. The series then is likely to be of use to front line care workers trying to make sense of what abuse is and is not as well as their own role in protecting people.

This series will cover…

Safeguarding 2: A little history

Safeguarding 3: Basic definitions

Safeguarding 4: Horror stories

Safeguarding 5: Financial abuse

Safeguarding 6: Physical abuse

Safeguarding 7: Sexual abuse

Safeguarding 8: Psychological/Emotional abuse

Safeguarding 9: Discrimination

Safeguarding 10: Institutional abuse

Safeguarding 11: Neglect

Safeguarding 12: Record, report, communicate

About the Safeguarding series

This blog series first appeared on Stuart’s personal blog early in 2010. It has been reposted here as part of a process of ‘rationalisation’ in which work from several blogs has been removed and reposted on only two.


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