Friday, 23 June 2017

We're So Sorry...

Apologies don't necessarily bring 'guilty parties' to account when something goes badly wrong, but they can play an important role in putting things right again. 

In recent days the Prime Minister, Theresa May, has apologised for the 'failure of the state' to respond effectively to the Grenfell Tower fire tragedy in London.

Even more recently, the Church of England has apologised over the behaviour of one of its bishops who was jailed for sex offences against teenagers and young men.

Now no one is suggesting that those doing the apologising are responsible for these terrible events, but the fact that someone in a position of leadership stands up and admits that 'we' got it wrong can go a long way to make amends.

So how about a recognition from Council Leaders in Scotland who presided over the equal pay debacle for years in councils like Glasgow, North Lanarkshire and South Lanarkshire.

The Stephen Purcells, Charlie Gordons, Gordon Mathiesons and Fran McAveetys no longer rule the roost in Glasgow, and only the 'ghosts' of Jim McCabe and Eddie McAvoy are to be found these days in the corridors of North Lanarkshire and South Lanarkshire Councils.

Nonetheless, I imagine a heartfelt apology would be welcomed by the thousands of low paid women workers who were cheated and duped out of the equal pay they were entitled to all those years - instead of having to fight a long battle through the courts.

And while we're at it maybe Scotland's trade union leaders would like to apologise for their craven role in joining forces with these councils instead of standing up for the interests of their lowest paid members.

So let's hear what Unison and the GMB have to say - I wonder who might step up to the plate?


Queen's Speech 2017: Prime Minister Theresa May apologises for 'failure of state' in wake of Grenfell Tower tragedy

By FRANCESCA GILLETT - Evening Standard

PM Theresa May speaking in response to the Queen's Speech - Photo Credit PA

The Prime Minister has apologised for failing victims in the wake of the Grenfell Tower tragedy.

Theresa May told Parliament she has taken the responsibility to “put things right” as she outlined plans to help residents rebuild their lives.

The comments were made as MPs debated the Queen’s Speech which was delivered in Parliament on Wednesday.

She told MPs: “I’m sure the whole house will join me in sending our deepest condolences to the friends and families of all those who lost loved ones and today we also think of those who survived but lost everything.

“One lady I had met ran from the fire wearing no more than a t shirt and a pair of knickers. She had lost absolutely everything.

“So let me absolutely clear. The support on the ground for families in the initial hours was not good enough.

“People were left without belongings, without roofs over their heads, without even basic information about what had happened, what they should do and where they could seek help.

“That was a failure of the state, local and national, to help people when they needed it most.

Jeremy Corbyn and Theresa May at the Queen's Speech today. (AFP/Getty Images)

“As Prime Minister, I apologise for that failure. And as PM I have taken responsibility for doing what we can to put things right.”

Mrs May added: “That is why each family whose home was destroyed is receiving a down payment from the emergency fund so they can buy food, clothes and other essentials.

“And all those who have lost their homes will be rehoused within three weeks.

“There will also be an independent public enquiry chaired by a judge to get to the truth about what happened and who was responsible and provide justice for the victims and their families who suffered so terribly.

Mrs May’s remarks came after criticism of the way authorities handled the fire, which ripped through the high rise building in the early hours of Wednesday, June 14.

Protests erupted across the capital on Friday night as fury came to a head over the help and information given to Grenfell residents.

People stormed Kensington town hallwhile a separate group of protesters marched to Whitehall in anger.

Theresa May met survivors in hospital before inviting some of the residents to Downing Street at the weekend to hear their concerns.

Since the tragedy, the Government announced it was triggering a £5 million emergency aid fund to help those affected.

Church 'colluded' with sex abuse bishop Peter Ball
BBC England
Image copyright - PAImage caption - Ball was jailed for sex offences against teenagers and young men between the 1970s and 1990s

Senior figures in the Church of England "colluded" with a former bishop who abused young men, an independent review has found.

Peter Ball, who is now 85, was jailed for 32 months in October 2015 after admitting sex offences against 18 teenagers and young men.

The former bishop of Lewes and bishop of Gloucester carried out the abuse between the 1970s and 1990s

Dame Moira Gibb's review criticises ex-Archbishop of Canterbury, Lord Carey.

He has been asked to step down from his position as an honorary assistant bishop by the current archbishop, Justin Welby.

Dame Moira, a former senior social worker, said there was a failure of the Church to respond appropriately to misconduct over a period of many years.

Ball was released from jail in February after serving 16 months.

'Safety of others'

In her report, "An Abuse of Faith", Dame Moira said: "Ball's priority was to protect and promote himself and he maligned the abused.

"The church colluded with that rather than seeking to help those he had harmed, or assuring itself of the safety of others."

Her review found that Lord Carey received seven letters following the arrest and cautioning of Ball in 1992, and failed to pass them to the police.

Ball was not listed on the Church of England's "Lambeth List", which names clergymen about whom questions of suitability for ministry have been raised.

Ball was given funds authorised by Lord Carey to support him.

Lord Carey also wrote to Ball's brother, Michael Ball - another bishop - in 1993 saying: "I believed him to be basically innocent".