Jack be quick, and learn

Scotland’s controversial first minister, Jack McConnell, has made no secret of his low opinion of social workers. Since his rise to the top job in Scottish politics, he has been quick to slate the social care profession whenever things have gone wrong. This culminated in his insulting proposal that every social worker in the country dealing with children should undergo retraining in child protection because of “too many past failures”.

But now it turns out that his own team at the executive have made a rather embarrassing mistake of their own. Thanks to poorly drafted new rules, it is now a criminal offence for children’s services inspectors to fail to carry the right paperwork. Ministers have attempted to play down the blunder but, rather than try to spin their way out of the situation, perhaps they should concentrate on the lessons to be learned.

And perhaps the first minister should pause for thought next time he is about to launch one of his tiresome knee-jerk attacks on social workers.

As a former teacher, you would hope he had more understanding of a profession trying to do its best under difficult circumstances.

● See Scotland’s inspectors running risk of prosecution after bureaucrats’ gaffe

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