It’s enough to make strong men weep. A 91 year old man living with his cat Fluffy was forcibly removed from his home where he had lived for over 50 years and locked in a dementia unit against his wishes by his caring social services of Essex Council.  And to add insult to injury, Essex Council had the temerity to charge him £25,000 for the privilege.

Fortunately for him, but not before 18 months of incarceration, his friend raised the alarm and he was rescued.  The judge who heard the case was scathing in his criticism of the Council’s conduct, which they sought to justify to the bitter end.  The elderly gentleman’s pleas to be allowed to return home fell on deaf ears, giving rise to a comment from the judge that the Council’s conduct was nothing short of reprehensible.  Whilst at the age of 91, being incarcerated for 18 months must have seemed an eternity, the Council was required to pay him £60,000 in damages, which no doubt will come out of their budget as provided by the taxpayer.  The sad reality is that nobody on the Council was prepared to take any of the blame, as in their book, there was no blame to take.

Over the years, I have done my best to defend Social Services from their catatonic mistakes on the basis they they have to make decisions that will affect the welfare of many in their care.  You will remember not so long ago the catalogue of mistakes relating to vulnerable children, where Social Services failed to act despite the clearest warning signs, and the children died horrible deaths.  In their defence, such as it was, they saw nothing to arouse their suspicions.  It beggars belief.

The good news for those of us nudging at the margins of advancing years is that the Social Services cannot simply walk into our homes and march us off to the twilight home for the bewildered. They need a court order, and we are entitled to be legally represented and to be heard.  So if some Gauleiter comes knocking at your door, tell her to get stuffed with my compliments. As somebody once said: “Don’t let the buggers get you down!”