Yesterday it was reported that Rotherham Council (of recent Asian sexual abuse fame) had discovered that a couple who were foster parents were also members of UKIP, and as a result they had removed the three children currently being fostered by them on the basis that UKIP is a racist organisation. I suggested in my blog that there should be an immediate investigation by the Minister for Local Government.
This incident has caused widespread outrage from both Labour and Tory MPs as well as various fostering organisations. It has also gained UKIP some useful publicity at a time when polls suggest they have support running at 9-10%. The gist of the outrage is based on the fact that UKIP is now considered to be a "mainstream" political party and under no circumstances should membership of such a party debar a person from being a foster parent.
However, much to my surprise, Michael Gove, the Minister who heads the Government department responsible for children's
services has leaped into action. Mr Gove, who is about the only Minister in the present government whom gives me any cause for hope, described Rotherham's
decision as "indefensible". He said "I will be investigating just how this decision came to
be made and what steps we need to take to deal with this situation.".
This affair has somewhat embarrassed David Cameron who, in 2006, described UKIP's
members as "fruitcakes, loonies and closet racists, mostly", a statement from which Downing Street is rapidly trying to backtrack! There is a by-election there on Thursday to elect a replacement for the disgraced MP Denis MacShane, it will be interesting to see how this affects the Labour and UKIP votes.
I think this matter will be running for some time; the real losers will be the children who have been moved from a caring home because of prejudice by the council and its social workers.
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1 hour ago