‘They are warm, friendly and hug people – perfect social workers!’

Could it be that in social work, Big Brother has at last met its match?

And could it be that as well as being BB’s nemesis, social work students Sam and Amanda Marchant, are an embodiment of true 21st century social work values?

I realise that many Community Care readers may pour scorn on this idea, seeing “Samanda” as more suitable subjects for General Social Care Council disciplinary
action. But many praise their street-cred, warmth and spontaneity. Let’s look at the evidence.

BB majors on manipulation, getting us all to think the worst of each other and putting people centre stage most of us would run a mile from. This series, Charley
Uchea has been the perfect patsy, headlined by the tabloid press as “the most hated housemate ever” and brought back from phoney eviction to boost BB’s uncertain ratings.

As for the twins, well, OK, maybe they have over-egged the giggling, screaming and jumping about. They’d hardly have made the show if they hadn’t. But as people have said to me, “They’re just nice girls, there’s no nastiness in them.”

There is more to it than that. Sam and Amanda don’t cause or feed arguments. They don’t bitch. They aren’t twofaced over nominations. They don’t make claims to be unique or try to be outrageous. It hasn’t been easy to drag up dirt about them. They have girls and boys as friends in the house. They appear warm and friendly.

They comfort and hug other housemates when they are upset. Could we be seeing what led them to be on a social work course in the first place? Aren’t these just the sort of qualities service users repeatedly say they want from social work practitioners?

No wonder Big Brother has sought to get rid of the twins by trying to rig their eviction. They fly in the face of all its dismal values.

I don’t suppose the twins will win Big Brother 8. Brian is the bookies’ favourite. But I say give them your vote to win. Not only could it be a vote for social work, but perhaps more important, it will be a vote against all the hate-generating values of Big Brother.

Peter Beresford is professor of social policy at Brunel University and is involved in service user-led groups

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