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LIBERTY - jokes that offend


Social workers sacked over 'sick' image of paedophile Gary Glitter carrying a child in a shopping bag

By Lucinda Cameron

Last updated at 12:44 AM on 24th November 2008

Fifteen council staff, including social workers, have been sacked or reprimanded after circulating a tasteless e-mail of reviled paedophile Gary Glitter carrying a child in a shopping bag.

An investigation was launched after an employee alerted bosses to the appalling image, which shows the convicted paedophile holding a plastic bag with a superimposed child's head popping out of the top. Staff had circulated the email on the office network, where it spread within hours.

Some of those sacked are trained social workers – whose job is to protect vulnerable children.

A council source said: 'These emails mocked the very children these people were being paid to protect.'

Yesterday, South Lanarkshire – the authority at the centre of the scandal – confirmed that staff had been sacked or warned. A spokesman was forced to deny reports that the image of the youngster superimposed on the picture had been taken from the council's own register of 'at risk' children.

She said: 'It is totally untrue that images of children on South Lanarkshire Council's at risk register have been circulated in an email.

'We do not hold photographs of children on our at risk register. 'As of today a number of employees across the council have been dismissed and others have received final written warnings over the circulation of an email featuring the image of a child's face superimposed on a shopping bag carried by Gary Glitter.

'The image is one currently circulating throughout the United Kingdom.'

She added: 'The image is totally inappropriate and represents a gross misuse of council email.'

The council would not confirm how many staff had been sacked or warned because employees have the right to appeal against any decisions resulting from the disciplinary action carried out yesterday. Most of those involved are based at the council's office in Rutherglen, near Glasgow.

Last night Liberal Democrat MP Annette Brooke, an ambassador for children's charity NSPCC, said: 'It is totally unacceptable that anyone, let alone anyone involved in child protection, should find Gary Glitter's behaviour remotely amusing.'

Is this the most conclusive sign so far that we now live in a totalitarian state?
Vote: Should circulating a joke at work about a paedophile be a sackable offence?

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Members Comments

WindyWeather 24-Nov-2009 16:3
The 'mocking' is not on the child, but on the sick Gary Glitter, I received this same e-mail, and altho' I would have rathered an image of Gary Glitter being hung, drawn and quartered, I took the e-mail as it was intended - a humerous portrayal of a sick being, reaffirming my disgust of the conduct of this despicable beast.
AndrewSlade 5-May-2009 16:24
South Lanarkshire says it all: the heartland of dour Scots dominies: never been any sense of humour there! Office jealuosies probably.

Besides, G. Glitter has never shown any interest in children. All his proven deeds in UK have always concerned young women of 16 or over. Vietnamese birth certificates (as in all Developing Countries) are very approximate documents anyway.
dignitas 17-Dec-2008 20:25
if they are in breech of contract then, like any one else, they should be accountable and the appropriate punishment metered out, the content of the email is irrelevant. so yes in that regard.

However, if the reason for disciplinary action is purely the content of the email and deemed 'offensive' than that is purely relative. 'offensive' to who? how offensive?

unless the persons in question are breaking the rules of contract then should not reprimanded on the grounds that someone may find something offensive.
jeffreymarshall 29-Nov-2008 18:31
It matters a great deal when children are tortured to death – no matter what one feels they might turn into in future. If care isn’t the answer, then adoption should be tried – provided the child can be rescued from its unfit parents soon enough.

Doctors, nurses, schools and – yes – social workers have an obligation to attend to such cases of appalling cruelty and intervene when necessary.

It is not ‘totalitarian’ to sack a person for misconduct. In any case the sacked will have all the usual rights of appeal.

The behaviour of professionals who circulate ‘jokes’ about paedophiles – when some of these people are actually entrusted with the responsibility of protecting vulnerable children – is simply disgraceful.

It is far worse than the recent fuss about Brand and Ross.

Andromeda 29-Nov-2008 8:48
I am of the view that only parents who care for their children and do not cause them to be killed by sadistic boyfriends deserve to have children.

It does not matter that unfit mothers kill and neglect their children since unfit mothers are the ones who are giving birth to the next generation of feral youth.

There is nothing you can do if your mother doesn't care if you live or die. Making it easier for social workers to take you into care (where you will be just as likely to turn feral) is not going to help your life chances. The victims of feral youth crime sprees could be understood for expressing the wish that children from such backgrounds to be strangled at birth in the name of crime prevention.

Therefore totalitarian measures to sack people for enjoying a joke, however tasteless, will not help society or children in danger of being battered to death or prevent child sexual abuse.
jeffreymarshall 28-Nov-2008 22:0
Recent events in Haringey have shown these sort of 'professionals' quite incapable of protecting vulnerable children – either 'at risk' or otherwise.

The task of protecting vulnerable children should perhaps now be left to charitable volunteers - from the NSPCC, for example.

All the council employees concerned should be sacked with immediate effect.

The resulting vacancies should not be re-advertised.

This would, I imagine, represent a very welcome saving for council-tax payers in South Lanarkshire.

The loss of a bunch of staff dumb enough to participate in a 'joke' of this kind is no loss at all.

Why – after all - do these useless timeservers imagine the people of Haringey are so angry at the moment?

Do they have no imagination?

The civil liberties issue is completely irrelevant, by the way.

These people are meant to be at work.

Instead they are wasting the public’s time & money.
All comments are subject to approval.

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