Among the flimsy paperwork I was sent for my Access to Records request was a Sloven briefing to Monitor about LB. Before I have a bit of a chunter about this document, it’s worth having a speedy recap on a few points. We know LB shouldn’t have died. His death was preventable. We know the unit he was in (and other Oxfordshire provision run by the Slovens) was/is shite and this level of crapness was no real surprise to anyone involved (other than patients and their families neither of whom really count because of the old learning disability obliterator).
Over at Sloven Towers, KP and her crew are able to seemingly draw on unending resources to buy in whatever expertise they want to try and maintain the different, now flapping, bits of their reputation. There will be a bundle of Freedom of Information requests I’m sure around how much they’ve spent trying to scrabble out of the pit they themselves dug.
All funded by, er, taxpayers.
So, the Monitor briefing. Well it’s more of a version than a briefing really. A version that skips through a sunny and bee-buzzing orchard, plucking rosy red apples from the trees, carefully positioning the maggoty rotten ones beyond view. Bit like the chronology of communication with us the Sloves produced for their key stakeholders. A chronology so full of holes it’s (not) laughable. But these documents can be circulated without scrutiny (well, until someone in the know points out you can request them) behind closed doors. The Sloves free to construct a version of events which paints them as ‘doing right’ and me (because I’m always a random lone ranger in Slovenworld) as unreasonable and irrational. Because that’s how it works. The same lack of real scrutiny in overseeing their provision in Oxfordshire until LB’s death apparently extended to their actions since.
The Monitor version has a whole section on social media, some of which I tweeted yesterday. A core paragraph;
Sadly, since the publication of the independent report the Trust has been subject to trolling on Twitter, a number of staff have been directly targeted and have felt intimidated by the Twitter traffic, we are aware of at least one staff member’s account having been hacked and a bogus Trust Twitter account set up.
Eh? Really?? Trolled? Sadly? Wow. Hacked and intimidated? Breathtaking. Hacked and intimidated? Really? For the record, sadly doesn’t come near the preventable death of a completely vulnerable young man in ‘healthcare’ provision milked at a cost of £3500 per week. And doesn’t touch what we’ve experienced since.
The Sloves go on to inform Monitor that:
We should be clear that there is absolutely no evidence that Sara Ryan is personally responsible for this trolling, hacking or intimidation but there are clearly some people who wish to use this case inappropriately.
You are kidding me? This is a wind up, surely? A briefing document to a government regulatory body containing such a snidey, spurious, pointless sentence. What sort of level are we operating at here? I have an image of the people of Monitor sitting around, puffing on pipes (dunno why) muttering ‘Ooof… Trolling eh? Nasty business.. I put my money on that bloody mother again. And the lead piping…No, no the candlestick. The candlestick!’
Do Monitor care about alleged ‘trolling’? Is it relevant in any way to what they do as an organisation? If there’s ‘absolutely no evidence’ I was responsible why bother to mention it? Other than to discredit?
Awful. And so wrong. For so many reasons.
Not least because it completely disregards the organic and transformative level of engagement that #justiceforLB/#107days reflects and has generated. A drop of positivity to emerge through such a catastrophic and unimaginable happening. If I was in any way connected (through work) to such an awful event (that simply added to long known about shortcomings, failings and the complete shiteness around how a particular group of people are treated) I’d welcome the emergence of a movement that seemed to capture something fresh, different and open up different ways of engagement. Of making some sense of the incomprehensible.
The Sloven briefing/version was written a few days before the start of #107days. At a point at which they were clearly completely internally focused, denying LB any humanity and relentlessly working silly discrediting lines of action. Stuck in the groove of the last century.
Given that we’re now at the halfway mark of a campaign/movement that’s broken campaigning rules (by not having any) as well as illustrating the ‘power’ (not sure if we have any real power but hey ho, hopeful till proved otherwise), potentially democratising space, and inertia smashing of social media, maybe Sloven staff/directors (and other relevant organisations) could try take a moment and think beyond themselves and their reputation?
Maybe have a bit of think about how they would feel if LB if had been their child? Their brother, grandson, nephew, cousin or friend. Try and kick aside the stale and worn bolt holes of defence, discredit and denial as a default position. Who knows. Maybe this will encourage an authentic turn to openness and transparency?
Which may lead to something.
Postscript 1: Victoria Betton has written a thoughtful response to the trolling accusation here with sensible suggestions for better NHS engagement on social media.
Postscript 2: I can hear the reverberation of ‘Well she calls us Sloven on her blog and Twitter which is pretty rude/disrespectful…’ Yep. I do. Because, as I’ve described above, we don’t really have an awful lot of power here. Irreverence is something LB had in buckets and one of the (many) characteristics I really admired about him.
Postscript 3: I despise describing LB as a vulnerable young man. It’s something I fought against his entire life. Until the end. When he was completely vulnerable. And should have been properly looked after.
Postscript 4: I’ve now changed the last sentence of this post about five times because I don’t have a last sentence. Just throwaway words that don’t mean anything. Maybe we can have a pending end to the post. If anything actually happens.