From the vaults: Keith Sellick surveys Community Care’s archives

A round-up of the social care news and gossip fron the past.

Thirty years ago
This is upsetting, so if you’re a social worker sit down, pour a drink and prepare to be shocked.You are more scary than that scourge of political correctness, 1960s and social workers, the Daily Mail’s Melanie Phillips!Thirty years ago Mel was the social services correspondent with The Guardian. She was sent to investigate the effects of the social worker strike in Newcastle by knocking on doors.
At one house, Mel struck lucky. Chatting away to the mother on the doorstep she began to compile details for her story only to be disturbed by a cry from the upstairs window.
A young lad was shouting “Mum, mum! Don’t let her in” and threatening all sorts of behaviour and becoming increasingly frantic.
Mum shouted back the reassuring words “Don’t worry son, it’s not your social worker.”
What a putdown.

Twenty Five years ago
How many ways can you describe a cut? Well as we enter a recession, politicians of all shades will be using euphemisms.
They could do little better than follow cigar smoker and jazz fan Ken Clarke MP, who was minister responsible for social care in 1983.
Clarke was speaking at the annual social service conference where he was to announce new social services inspectorate to look at children’s homes. During the speech he declared that there had been no cuts in the health service, only a “delay in growth”.
Clarke’s euphemism for reform was, however, heard by few people because all the Labour supporters walked out in protest at him speaking while shouting “shame” and “people are dying” while the Tories gave the “walker outers” the slow hand clap.
The rest of the speech was taken up by themes of voluntary and private sector involvement. However, our reporter did notice that Clarke had departed from an earlier speech by Prime Minister Thatcher by stating that social services departments were at “the very centre of social care”.
The Blessed Margaret had other ministers “disappeared” for a lot less, so hats off to Clarke for surviving.

Twenty years ago
One social services director developed an interest in the stock market. For a year, he tracked the rise and fall of his fictitious investments. And because the market was ever on the rise he found that his imaginary investment of £1,000 had become £8,000. So, he went to his local building society, took out his savings and handed them over to his broker in return for shares.
Then a month later came the October 1987 crash and within a week he went to his broker and took back his savings – all £25 worth.
A year later he was at the annual social services conference where, mumbling and gibbering to himself, he was referred to social services by some unknowing delegates .

Fifteen years ago
David Townsend of Croydon was accusing Denise Platt of spreading rumours that he grovelled to royalty. The “lie” was revenge for likening Ms Platt to Bet Lynch, Coronation Street’s then landlady noted for bright blond hair and leopard print catsuits.

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