Social skirmishes: a round up of social care oddities

Resurrect the unemployed

The Dutch have a well-deserved reputation for liberalism: cannabis cafes, legalised brothels and REO Speedwagon loving darts players such as Barney. So it is no surprise that when the UK government is beating vulnerable people with the big stick of welfare reform, the Dutch have come up with a novel approach to help the unemployed back to work.

The council in Maastricht (you can imagine the Euro-phobes frothing at the mouth already) is pioneering a 10-week course of regression/resurrection therapy. The aim is to help “welfare claimants come to terms with their past lives and this will help them find jobs”, Luc Winants, social affairs councillor, told the De Limburger newspaper.

The local mystics at the complementary centre explained the theory behind the courses: “Reincarnation therapy can help, because people’s complaints and problems have causes not just in the present but also in previous lives.”

But, just as Dutch liberalism is wilting under the heat of “weekends on the weed” holidays, the Maastricht Council adds a UK-style threat: “Dutch citizens may be required to undergo past-life regression or risk losing their welfare benefits.”

With such a sanction, maybe the government will pilot the therapy in the UK. After all, several ministers may need to resurrect their careers after the next election.

Although what would Professor Layard, with his talking therapies, make of it all? I imagine communing with the dead is rather quiet.

The therapist wanted for war crimes 

While the Dutch story may have driven the proverbial nail in the coffin for alternative therapies, the news on “bio-energy healer” Dragon Dabic is the soil landing on the coffin.

Dr Dabic is better known as poet and trained psychiatrist Radovan Karadzic, arrested recently on a Belgrade bus for his murderous activities in Bosnia in the 1990s.

Dabic claimed he had lived and learnt his trade in California (where else?). The blogosphere says Karadzic/Dabic practised “laying on of hands”, had articles published in Healthy Life magazine and was becoming a bit of a guru with a following of several hundred people.

Sadly, thousands of people had a less than healthy life when Karadzic’s minions went around “laying on hands” in the 1990s.

Celebration of toilets

Monday is press day here at Comcare Towers, so we are too busy to attend any functions (hint, mid-week is much better). Therefore we missed the reception at the London assembly for the opening of a new disabled toilet. The do for the new loo included presentations on “toilets and inclusive spaces, design and delivery of the project and the opportunity to see the facility”.

Backchat is all in favour of toilets for the disabled but questions whether a three hour reception with food and drink is really necessary – unless the loo needs to have a thorough testing on its opening.

We also noticed on the invite that details of any special “dietary requirements” needed to be forwarded to the organisers – no doubt as a warning of any need to “inspect the facility” during the evening’s entertainment.

Jersey press coverage

Fresh from being “banged to rights” for invading the privacy of Max Mosley and his non-Nazi themed spanking sessions, the News of the World went all guns blazing on the Jersey story.

Its front paged screamed: “A shock secret police report into the Jersey House of Hell children’s home reveals youngsters there were murdered then burned in a furnace to cover up the atrocities,” (13 July).

Meanwhile, the more sedate Jersey Evening Post, which has been accused of being “the voice of the oligarchy” by some on the island, led on the front page with “Ban the burger in schools”. Further downpage it managed a brief “Secret dossier? News to us, say police.”

Somedays, it’s so hard to know who is telling the truth.

Sex pistols: an apology

Stewart Fowler takes Backchat to task over From the Vaults (17 July) failing to remember that Steve Cook and Paul Jones of the Sex Pistols did release a record with great train robber Ronnie Biggs, called “No One Is Innocent”. One thing we can both agree on – it was terrible.

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