Socialist Worker

LETTERS: A vulnerable child’s future was used to foster racism

Issue No. 2570

The Daily Mail took up the case

The Daily Mail took up the case


The issue of a “white, Christian child” who was fostered by a Muslim carer has been used to increase Islamophobia and racism.

A report in the Times newspaper, which was then taken up by the Daily Mail, said the child had been found to be “very distressed”.

They said a necklace with a Christian cross was taken from her and she was banned from eating bacon. The Mayor of Tower Hamlets says these claims are false.

We now know from court documents released last week that an assessment of the foster placement determined the child was “settled and well cared for”.

The court-appointed guardian, who acts in the child’s interests, carried out an assessment of the placement with the Muslim family mentioned by the Times.

This included speaking to the child alone. “The guardian has no concerns as to the child’s welfare”, said the report.

It has also emerged that the Daily Mail and Mail Online altered an image to illustrate the story in web and print coverage last week.

The original image of a couple in Islamic dress with a child was originally captioned “happiness couple in Dubai park”.

But it was amended to cover the woman’s face with a veil.

There are complex issues around fostering and adoption relating to the ethnicity and religion of the child and their carers.

But this issue was never used seriously used by the Times and the Mail to examine those.

Instead they gave heart to Britain First, the English Defence League and similarly vile forces.

There are many children from other faiths and backgrounds being looked after by “white Christian” families.

One charity last week said that over 1,500 Muslim children spend time living in non-Muslim foster homes every year.

The most important immediate issue is whether children are safe, well cared-for and happy.

Shame on those who saw this just as an opportunity to make racist propaganda.

Tim Jeffries, South London


Sixth form cull comes from the rankings

St Olave’s grammar school in south east London has been forced to retreat over its decision not to let some pupils enter its upper sixth. Parents objected after pupils were dumped because they were not expected to get “good enough” A-levels.

In fact many schools weed out pupils between lower and upper sixth. They’re worried about the league tables. One teacher at St Olave’s said, “Weak students are treated as collateral damage”.

Small differences in results move schools up and down the tables. So children are stressed, and some told they’re failures.

It can lead to long-term damage for these children. Let’s abolish the grammars and the school league tables as well.

Sue Falkirk, Wolverhampton


What happens when cars don’t use petrol?

Sometimes socialists need to take the long view.

Have we thought through the effects of the end of petrol and diesel cars?

Even the Tories say there will be no such new cars sold by 2040. Car maker Volvo says it expects all of its new motors will be electric or hybrid after 2019.

There will still be substantial demand for oil for other uses. But overall demand will slump and oil prices collapse.

What does this mean for Saudi Arabia or Russia—or Venezuela?

Does it mean no more “wars for oil”? I would hope so. But perhaps the most precious resources for the powerful will be water and territory in areas not immediately affected by climate change.

There are very profound shifts taking place.

Amanda Howson, Leeds


Let’s trust Hawking, not Hunt

World famous scientist Stephen Hawking recently made an important intervention in the debate about the future of the NHS.

He said, “The NHS is in a crisis, and one that has been created by political decisions.

“These political decisions include underfunding and cuts, privatising services, the public sector pay cap, the new contract imposed on junior doctors, and removal of the student nurses’ bursary.

“Failures in the system of privatised social care for disabled and elderly people have placed an additional burden on the NHS.”

The speech drew the kind of response that you would expect from the odious health secretary Jeremy Hunt.

He all but accusing Hawking of lying.

It has had a galvanising effect on campaigners trying to combat the government’s attacks in Brighton.

Sussex Defend the NHS has invited Hawking to speak at our march and rally on Saturday 24 September.

Steve Guy, Brighton

Socialist Worker was right about the crisis in GP recruitment (30 August).

The NHS is now going to pay private agencies up to £100 million to recruit GPs from abroad.

They will be paid £20,000 for every doctor found.

What a waste! Stopping attacking migrants would be a help.

Lucy Jones, Bristol


Don’t let May go ‘on and on’

So Theresa May reckons she is “here for the long term” and might fight the 2022 election as leader

She’s deluded. The Tories know she’s a dud and will use her to take the flak over Brexit and then dump her.

Let’s fight to get Jeremy Corbyn as prime minister now.

Martin Palmer, On Facebook


Fear of law hit flood victims

Just like Grenfell Tower, immigration laws are having a terrible effect in the Houston floods.

Some estimates suggest there were 600,000 undocumented immigrants living in the city before Hurricane Harvey hit.

The well-founded fear of arrests and deportations mean these people don’t go to rescue centres and emergency accommodation.

They suffer twice over from the flood and racism.

Alix Wilson, Glasgow


Fire cuts risk more horrors

After the Grenfell tragedy it was terrifying to read about more fire cuts.

Fire services in England have lost more than a quarter of their specialist fire safety staff since 2011.

These people inspect high-risk buildings to ensure they comply with safety legislation and take action against landlords where buildings are found to be unsafe.

Jayden Peck, East London


What is Unite leader doing?

before the general election, Unite leader Len McCluskey talked down Labour’s chances by saying it would be a “success” if the party held 200 seats.

Now Corbyn has a chance of getting into 10 Downing Street, what is McCluskey’s contribution?

Talking up shadow foreign secretary, Emily Thornberry as Labour’s next leader.

John Curtis, Ipswich


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