It’s getting just like the old days. Who can forget that fine June of 2005 when our city’s esteemed wig-wearer -in-Chief, Stephen McNamara decided to take action after the Campaign to Save Daycare in Bristol paraded 10ft-high placards through the city naming seven council officers under the banner: “Bristol social services’ list of uncaring professionals”?
“The council will not tolerate its employees being harassed in this way,” thundered the council’s all-powerful lawyer from the pages of the Evening Cancer on June 7. “If necessary, the council will take legal action through the courts to prevent any such activity.”
Good. Came the reply from campaigner Steve Norman who immediately supplied McNamara with an address for the service of court papers and come June 11 what did we read in the Cancer?
Protesters campaigning against cuts to Bristol’s day care services defied a threat of legal action to drive round the city centre in a truck bearing placards naming seven council employees.
At which point McNamara performed a extraordinarily quiet exit with wig firmly between his lycra-clad legs – never to be heard from again – without a court action in sight.
Roll-on four years. And what do we find?
Only another exercise in futility from Mr McNamara with yet more of his grandiose legal threats aimed at Steve Norman and his family. This time around he wants them to settle their bill with the council’s controversial private nursing care provider Mimosa Healthcare who are currently mired in all kinds of scandal following abuse allegations from their own employees.
And Steve’s response received by the city council this morning?
Due to the lack of care received by my father and late mother and the subsequent revelations regarding this provider and the fact that there is currently an inquest pending in to the death and treatment of a former resident, we as a family are not prepared to condone or support the lack of care and abuse that Mimosa Healthcare provides to the elderly citizens of Bristol placed in their care.
Obviously you are fully aware of the signed statements I obtained from former employees at Kingsmead Lodge detailing what they had witnessed during the course of their employment with Mimosa Healthcare and I feel a public court room and a Judge would be the ideal place for a legal ruling in respect of this outstanding matter.
[We] look forward to receiving your court papers in the very near future and I look forward to defending [this] case for not paying you any fees in relation to this provider or for the safe haven placement we had to find for our parents.
What a great idea! Why hide behind all this secrecy, censorship and bureaucracy and string everything out with interminable never-ending investigations when you can just pop down a court room and get it all out in the open for the public to hear?
Hang on … Is that a lycra-clad lawyer clutching an old wig I see disappearing over the horizon?
That Steve Norman letter in full: