Over the past few week’s I’ve been idly watching the #Assange hashtag on Twitter and the screaming arguments going back and forth. I have no legal training, so what I think I’ll do is simply state the facts that are self-evident.
1. Julian Assange has been accused of rape and sexual assault. The actions he is accused of would be considered sexual assault both in Sweden and Britain.
2. The complainants have a right to their case being investigated. The Swedish police and judiciary have a right to investigate. Mr Assange has a right to be considered innocent until proven guilty.
3. The American government would, I’m sure, dearly love to “get” Mr Assange by fair means or foul, though they haven’t made any moves to date. Quite possibly they may be more than happy for him to be stuck in a London embassy for the time being.
4. The Ecuador government no doubt gains a certain amount of political propaganda by being seen to raise a middle finger to the Yankee Imperialist Great Satan.
5. The British government would hand Mr Assange over to the US in the blink of an eye if they asked. Probably far more quickly and easily than the Swedish would. The reason they haven’t is because they haven’t been asked to.
6. Under no circumstances should the British government commit a grievous violation of diplomatic immunity by removing Mr Assange from the Ecuador Embassy.
7. Likewise, under no circumstances should the Ecuador government get away with abusing the concept of asylum for a non-political charge such as rape.
8. The British government should not and almost certainly will not grant Mr Assange safe passage to Ecuador.
So, what should, and almost certainly will happen seems pretty straightforward. Julian Assange isn’t going anywhere. Either he spends the rest of his life in the Ecuador Embassy, or he leaves the building and gets put on a plane to Sweden to answer the prosecutor’s questions. As for any (at this stage, entirely hypothetical) extradition to the United States, that can be protested against when it’s actually proposed.
Oh wait, that’s far too rational. Nobody’s going to agree with any of that! Let me try again.
1. The accusations of rape are clearly bogus! I demonstrate this by repeatedly asserting it!
2. David Allen Green may be a staunchly liberal lawyer with a passion for human rights and who successfully defended the Twitter Joke Trial case. However, his analyses of Assange’s legal case clearly show that he’s also a CIA agent.
3. Green’s refutations of myths about the Assange case are not accurate because I am SHOUTING VERY LOUDLY!
4. Why won’t the Swedish police interview Assange in the embassy? Police are supposed to conduct investigations at the convenience of rape suspects!
5. How dare the US hypothetically try to extradite him to their territory! Those potential swine!
Is that better?
Last night’s Panorama documentary ‘The Truth About Adoption’ was a vivid, honest portrayal of the heartbreak and joy of fostering and adoption. As the adults, the social workers, carers, adopters, parents, the court, went about their business, it was impossible not to be profoundly moved as the stories of the children unfolded and their hopes and fears revealed.
Despite the setbacks they have faced in their short lives, all were remarkably optimistic about the future. Undeterred by delays and adoption breakdowns, they hoped for the love, care and security that we professionals call permanence. And why not: it’s the least our society should be able to offer.
Increasingly there’s guidance being issued by the various regulators – General Medical Council, Nursing and Midwifery Council etc – on how health and social care professionals should behave on social networking sites. I’m a firm believer that professionals can and should use blogs, Twitter etc in order to facilitate dialogue between the people who work in and use services. I think so long as you follow a certain amount of common sense, it can be done in an ethical and responsible way.
This evening I’ve been watching various paramedics risking their registration by talking on Twitter in a way that could get them fired and hauled up before the Health Professions Council. Here’s a prime example of how not to do social networking.
Last night, I was involved in a ‘Twitter Chat’ about DPULOs (Disabled People’s User-Led Organisations). This is a new, regular ‘chat’ (with the hashtag #dpulo) that runs on Tuesdays at 8pm – 9pm GMT and initially I had been reluctant to ‘join in’ because I think, for obvious reasons, the discussions should very much be ‘user-led’ and in my role as a social worker I didn’t want to overextend my role in these situations.
The discussion yesterday though was about an issue which is particularly close to my heart – namely – how DPULOs can be extended to all service user groups.
Working as I do with a group of people who often have the quieter voices in the disability movement, I feel an obligation as a social worker to ensure that these groups are not forgotten. I take my role as an advocate seriously.
The interplay between management and leadership is one that has been milling around in my mind for a while but in the light of the next ‘Twitter Debate’ by SWSCmedia on 1st November (8pm GMT) and the opinion piece written on that same site about Leadership in Social Work I thought it would be a good opportunity to crystallise some of my thoughts on the topic as sometimes 140 characters just isn’t enough.
As an introduction, the piece above is fantastic. I will state very clearly that I am neither a manager nor a leader and am not desperately keen to identify myself as either.
I asked on Twitter for responses to the question about the differences between Management and Leadership in Social Care because I had been concerned that all too often the two have been intertwined in unhelpful ways.
The responses tended along the lines of ‘Managers Do and Leaders See’.
I’ve been a bit slow in getting some of the social networking links up and running. Today I created the Facebook page, which you can see the link for on the right hand side of the box. If you like us you can, er, like us.
I’ve also created a Paper.li for the Twitter feed.
Hope you all enjoy these new features.