Back to my roots this week. I was on the picket lines with Probation Officers on 31st Mar and 1st April, on the 20th anniversary of my retirement. The service is still locked in a desperate struggle for survival. Still a NAPO member, I get the advice being sent to serving officers. It includes the following;
“Combatting Disingenuous Government PR
Forceful verbal representations from Napo yesterday make it absolutely clear that we are appalled by the delusional Ministry of Justice propaganda that everything in Transforming Rehabilitation (TR) is fine, and the evidence that you are sending in strengthens our case. As we have said in previous messages, the faster the government proceeds with TR the more mistakes arise and the more concrete evidence we have to challenge it. Over this week we are providing witness statements to our lawyers referring all relevant information you have sent in to us.”
Chris Grayling has a summer schedule of public relations events to promote TR. He has been saying that the tests that the Trusts are undertaking are all going swimmingly. Of course he would. It needs to be confronted with hard evidence. Senior managers or any bidders or politicians that might visit offices need to know the real story.
The next bit is my comment only. I don’t want anyone else being sued for libel. Before I became a Probation Officer in 1964, I worked in a solicitor’s office. In those days there was a defence to libel ‘Fair comment on a matter of public interest” No doubt it has been abolished in the meantime, but here goes anyway. I cannot prove my suspicions, but neither can the government rule out that one possible motive for their determination to push through the privatization of a well respected functioning organization, built up over many years, with no trial pilot areas, to the utter distress of its employees, is that they have to deliver what their paymasters have paid for.
Until the Euro and Council Elections on 22nd May, less than 6 weeks hence, my blogs may be short, but not necessarily sweet. Despite my recent disappointment with some aspects of the Green Party, it is still vital that we are successful in these elections.