Anorak News | Baby P: Sharon Shoesmith Loses A Sun Campaign And Ed Balls’ Crowd Pleaser

Baby P: Sharon Shoesmith Loses A Sun Campaign And Ed Balls’ Crowd Pleaser

by | 23rd, April 2010

UPDATE: Sharon Shoesmith has lost her case.


WITH impeccable timing, Baby P returns to the news agenda. It’s time to learn whether or not Sharon Shoesmith lost her job as head of children’s services at Haringey council unlawfully. Sheosmsith claims she lot her job in a “flagrant breach of the rules of natural justice”.

Baby P, was abused despite being on Haringey Council’s “at risk” register.

Was Shoesmith sacked from her post because Baby P was an emotive issue and someone who could have saved him had to be blamed? No, not Baby P’s mum Tracey Connelly, her lover Steven Barker and their lodger, Barker’s brother Jason Owen. Not them. They are all in jail. Was Shoesmith the victim of the need to punish someone who could have saved him who worked for the state?

Where did the buck stop? At the top? Shoesmith was on £130,000 a year. Ofsted inspector Heather Brown, said the quality of practice in Shoesmith’s department as the “worst I had ever seen“.

Well, something has to be the worst. But why was it the worst? It was Children’s Secretary Ed Balls who ordered an urgent review. Was he not the top man? Does the buck stop there? Balls said Shoesmith was “not to be fit to hold office”.

But she did not resign. What happened was the Sun mounted a camping to have Shoesmith and others sacked. Sun readers were invited to sign this petition:

“I believe that ALL the social workers involved in the case of baby P, including Sharon Shoesmith, Maria Ward, Sylvia Henry and Gillie Christou should be sacked and never allowed to work with vulnerable children again….

“…I also demand that the doctor involved with Baby P, Sabah Al Zayyat, should lose her job and not be allowed to treat the public again.”

Said Ed Balls, the swivel-eyed Education Secretary:

“People are asking how these despicable acts of evil can happen in this day and age and in Haringey of all places.”

Yeah, the bucolic splendour of one of the most impoverished, dirty, depressing places in the entire country. If there, then anywhere…

The Sun told us:

“Councillors were forced to act after 1.4 million Sun readers signed out petition…demanding sackings.”

So. The Sun’s action’s mattered. And Baby P was owned by the Sun. He was one of them. Forever.

Tragic Baby P was finally given the dignity he deserves yesterday – a headstone from The Sun bearing his name, Peter Connelly. We erected the memorial at Islington and St Pancras Cemetery in North London after a two-year wait.Well, not quite. The Sun has quick to stick a plaques to Baby P in the cemetery.

The Sun’s James Clench held a candle in the cemetery.

“Caring parents and kids from across the UK turned up to pay their respects to the mite whose tortured death social workers failed to stop.”

It would have been Baby P’s third birthday.

Here was Sara Dee, with her two-year-old daughter. They had travelled up from Colwyn Bay, North Wales. Young Emily was holding a “blue party balloon”.

This was mourn porn. Baby P was emotional totem. And the Sun was tapping in to the feeling, skilfully.

There was new thread to report on. After Baby P, we met Baby A, Baby M And Baby T and Baby S.

The Sun’s Dr Carol Cooper looked at the pictures opf Baby P and said: “I don’t like the look of it at all.

Well, the child was already dead. The doctor went on:

“It is also possible make-up was used to cover other injuries.”

Yes, that would be possible doctor. But let’s stick to the facts, you are, after all, a scientist…

Emotions were high and the paper were keen to feed the pain:. The Daily Star spotted the “DI SHRINE TO BABY P”.

“A Princess Diana shrine is springing up at the spot where tragic Baby P’s ashes are scattered.”

Then Sharon Shoesmith was sacked. The council’s leader George Meehan and the cabinet member for children and young people, Liz Santry, resigned.

Ed Balls opined in a statement:

“In the case of Baby P things did go tragically wrong.”

Madeleine Bunting said Shoemsith had been the victim of the media hunt:

Sharon Shoesmith, the disgraced former Haringey director of children’s services, went to Pret a Manger last week and then out for a pizza with friends. Who knows, and who cares? But it still warranted a substantial picture and story in the tabloids, to whom this woman has become a hate figure. This is how the 21st century does voodoo: instead of sticking pins in wax dolls, newspaper reporters crawl all over the victim’s life – relatives, in-laws, homes, and even their trips to a sandwich shop.

The Sun wanted to show it cared for the little kiddies by making professional child carers enemies of the state.

The stern-faced mum admitted she and her officials had not been prepared to handle the massive surge of public anger.

Shoesmith told us:

She accused Balls directly of making the task of protecting children in Haringey more difficult. The consequences of his “reckless” attack on Haringey, said Shoesmith, would be to make it “more of an uphill struggle” to achieve his aim of raising the standing and status of the social work profession.


Sharon Shoesmith said she was driven to thoughts of suicide after a receiving a series of abusive anonymous calls.

Balls again:

In a statement, Mr Balls said: “I make no apology for the actions I took in Haringey last December, which I judged absolutely necessary to make sure children in that borough are properly protected. Social workers do an incredibly difficult and sometimes dangerous job every day to keep children safe. They are unsung heroes of our country. But when things go wrong it is vital that we act.


She said: “I was inundated to resign from people who didn’t know me, didn’t know anything about me.

“I was equally inundated by so many people asking me not to go, to be strong, how could they help me, please hang on in there, we know it’s difficult, we need you, don’t go.”

She added that to resign would have been the weakest thing to do because her staff needed her so much at that time..

Later we learnt:

“Children’s Secretary Ed Balls is urging 30,000 former social workers to return to the profession after the Baby P case led to a staffing crisis with almost one in ten post remaining unfilled.”

Ms Shoesmith’s lawyers say “documents released after the main hearing of her legal challenge at London’s High Court show that Ofsted rewrote the report under political pressure to make it more critical of her. Ofsted officials denied the allegations.”

We await the ruling…

COURTS Baby 134204

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PLEASE NOTE MANDATORY CREDIT REQUIRED ITV NEWS. NO CROPPING OF LOGO PERMITTED. Undated ITV News handout photo of Baby P. A court order banning publication of the name of Baby P's mother and boyfriend expires at 2359 today. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Monday August 10, 2009. See PA story COURTS Baby. Photo credit should read: ITV News/PA Wire

Posted: 23rd, April 2010 | In: Key Posts, Reviews Comments (4) | TrackBack | Permalink