Ill Eagle 20, sep02
A question of good faith
One of my associates tells me that Hewson, the head of CAFCASS, which was set up to reform the family court system, “speaks with a forked tongue”. As for me, he strikes me as a dear old boy. For me, the only trouble is that, coming into the hot seat from an irrelevant background in other fields, he will not be able to learn enough fast enough to contribute to viable reform.
Unfortunately, “Speaking with forked tongue” is confirmed for me when firstly we hear him tell us; “You are pushing at an open door,” but then we find the following.
Thorpe misbehaved, and made a judgement that an “expert” court official could not be cross-examined in court on behalf of the father. After years of effort by us, new law overruled Thorpe. Now we find that this was a Pyrrhic victory. The legislation has been sabotaged by a Statutory Instrument dated mid-2001. This says that the court may limit the range of cross-examination of an expert witness. This is Hewson territory. Either he betrayed our children, or he is incompetent. Either way, he is not in a position to contribute to reform.
I originated the idea that we would encourage better behaviour in the family court system through research into “outcomes”. Outcomes meant the statistics on, for instance, what proportion of children who were the victims of sole custody ended up five years later teenage pregnant, dead through suicide, drug-taking etc. compared with children who were given continued access to their fathers. These statistics could be established rapidly, in five years from now.
Radfems, lawyers, social workers did everything they could to confuse the term, trying to make it mean whether a child was upset by the way a court official interviewed it, and such short-term “outcomes”. After years of hard slog, even enemies of the family now accept that outcomes should be investigated. However, the Lord Chancellor’s Department has sabotaged it by putting the vixens in charge of the Outcomes committee. Out of ten, there is only one man. We, who established the principle, are not allowed to have a representative on the committee. Even though radfems have as part of their dogma that statistics should be manipulated for political ends – since statistics are part of linear, patriarchal oppression, the LCD has packed the 10-woman committee with four women from Leeds University, who with Julie Bindle instigated the evil, deeply sexist, “Zero Tolerance” campaign.
Mr Lee, our ManKind member in Birmingham, writing to his MP Estelle Morris, caused the Lord Chancellor, to write to her about his consultation with ManKind. As we, now a charity, come more and more into the mainstream, we have to consider how our contributions are treated. I am convinced that the suicide rate among young men will continue to increase, and ManKind is only willing to share some of the blame for future increases if there is an honest attempt by those who will be to blame to accept our contribution to the reform process in good faith. Govt officials need to remember that we are in unequal combat with anti-social radfems who receive massive funding, in the millions, from their anti-social radfem sisters in the Home Office, in the Rowntree Foundation and elsewhere. They use some of this money to fabricate false statistics. In contrast, first we were obstructed in our successful attempt to achieve charitable status for years. Second, for many years
now, we have received no funding whatsoever to balance the subsidy for anti-father radfem propaganda.
The above two examples of misconduct by govt officials mean that positive gestures are now required from govt officials to reassure us that we will truly be welcomed to help in the reform process. Otherwise, the Charity ManKind needs to distance itself from anti-social, incompetent govt depts and initiatives.
We made a major decision when we allowed ourselves to remain involved in secret courts, which obviously are fraught with problems. Here we see that if they are to be in any way viable, their procedures must be much more rigorous than those of open courts where misconduct by a judge can be seen by the public. [This last is a paraphrase of Denning. ".... in the darkness of secrecy all sorts of things can go wrong. .... in public you can see that the judge does behave himself .... it keeps everyone in order." - Lord Denning on radio in 1960.] - Ivor Catt, Editor, Ill Eagle. 12aug02
To Anthon Hewson, CAFCASS;
This is a draft of the next issue. Please comment in order to reassure us as to whether we are just being exploited, or taken seriously. We are only willing to take some of the responsibility for the coming crisis if you and other govt officials give us a chance to influence events. IC
Dear Ivor, Thank you for providing me with an opportunity to respond to your editorial in the latest edition of Ill Eagle. Let me be clear on a couple of things. Firstly, when I said "you are pushing on an open door" I meant just that. At CAFCASS we want to listen to all stakeholders who have views on our remit and service. Indeed I know a number of your members attended the consultation workshops we organised recently to assist in the development of our next corporate plan and we welcomed their contribution.
You've set out your concerns about a number of issues in relation to decisions taken by the judiciary or the Government in recent years. Just to be clear although I'm sure you know, CAFCASS is a Non Departmental Government Body. We don't have legislative or legal powers. We exist to support children and their families in family courts and other settings, ensuring their voices are heard, so decisions can be reached that are in the best interests of the children. This is our main focus and will continue to be so. I hope that we will continue to have a constructive dialogue with MANKIND and other stakeholders interested in our work. - Anthony Hewson CAFCASS Chairman 16aug02
[Note again the threat, that if govt agencies pretend to listen to us, we will be partly to blame for the accelerating suicide rate. Note also the game of claiming to have no power. In the end, we will probably find that nobody has the power to clean up, or shut down, the family courts. – Ed]
[From Ill Eagle 4, sep99, p1]