When it became apparent that the GMC would bring a case to have Dr Valerie Murphy, LB’s consultant psychiatrist struck off the medical register, thoughts turned to whether we should live-tweet it. There’s more about my thinking here but essentially it came down to the opportunity to shine a light on these really rather murky processes. We launched a crowdfunding campaign to cover the costs of my travel, accommodation and a small amount towards food and other expenses each day. We agreed that any additional funds would be used to live tweet the HSE prosecution when it happens.
The tweets from the tribunal are all available on twitter here. At the end of the first week I was contacted by a journalist from LD Today who was considering a piece on live tweeting tribunals and wanted to ask me a few questions by email. This one in particular I knew I couldn’t answer:
What type of person backs a crowdfunding of this nature – is it typically friends/relatives or does it resonate more widely?
In fact I’m not sure it was the best question; I wanted to know why people supported, as much as who supported. So I asked our punters:
Email interview request re live tweeting tribunals, the glamour of @JusticeforLBGMC
So peeps why did you support? https://t.co/C4gbde4uEf
— GeorgeJulian (@GeorgeJulian) August 11, 2017
You can click on the tweet above and head directly to twitter to read all the replies, or I’ve attempted to group them in some way, in case anyone is interested.
Reason 1) Open Justice
Open justice. Pure and simple. Firm believer.
— Kate Masters (@katemasters67) August 11, 2017
Defined on wikipedia as legal processes ruled by openness and transparency, letting the public see and hear trials in real time as they happen. This had worked brilliantly at LB’s inquest in October 2014, enabling people to follow along in real time, something picked up on by supporters:
Agree with this. Also I witnessed 1st hand George's efforts for one afternoon of @LBInquest so have trust in the transcribing.
— John Wolfie Lish (@LostTransport) August 11, 2017
Because I could. Because it matters. Because it worked for the inquest. Because I would like to see more of this public service.
— Rachel Robbins (@DorisDayRobbins) August 11, 2017
Reason 2) Because this is for all our children
A number of responses came from others who recognised the same could happen to their families, and that LB represented so many more than just himself.
Because this is for all our children
— Toby (@tobefair78) August 12, 2017
Reason 3) To change things for others at risk
There was a hope that exposing what happened to LB might help change the current system where dudes are locked away from their families and communities
We need to change this despicable system where young people are locked away, lose their liberty & separated from family & community. (2)
— Deborah Woodhouse (@DeborahWoodhou1) August 11, 2017
Reason 4) To bear witness
Alongside a desire to bear witness to the inhumanity of a system that allows deaths through neglect, and then continues to harm their family while they try to get justice.
And to bear witness to the inhumanity of the system that allows abuse of vulnerable people and their families.LB is still a much loved dude.
— Nicola Bartzis (@nbartzis) August 11, 2017
— Grannie Wise (@Wisegrannie) August 11, 2017
Reason 5) To expose reality and shine a light on learning disability services
There have been many times through JusticeforLB where I know a part of my brain would never quite have believed what I was told if I’d not seen or heard it for myself. I think this need to expose the reality of services is at the core of JusticeforLB, and clearly fed into why people were prepared to part with their cash to support us.
4. I can't think of a better way of exposing the truth of LD inpatient services. 5. You're an absolute brick, George.
— Mark Neary (@MarkNeary1) August 11, 2017
Exactly that. Light needs to be shone esp on way families treated.
— Alexa Wilson (@AlexaDWilson) August 11, 2017
Reason 6) It’s the right thing to do
Particularly pertinent this week. I’m reminded of an old blog post I wrote about the standard you walk past is the standard you accept.
And because no one should ever accept the unacceptable
— Chaos In Kent (@TheAsplands) August 13, 2017
— Andrea Sutcliffe (@Crouchendtiger7) August 14, 2017
Reason 7) To change the system for others seeking justice
What started out as a campaign about LB and other learning disabled dudes has had much wider ramifications for others; if anything we do can pave the way to improve things for other bereaved families, then that’s a result.
The 'system' isn't geared to achieving justice and honesty. #JusticeforLB can change the whole system for everyone.
— Martin Russell (@martinr2015) August 11, 2017
Reason 8) To contribute financially when life doesn’t permit permit you to do more/different
We have always tried to make JusticeforLB as open and accessible as possible, we’ve been supported in many different ways by lots of people. This particular action quite simply could not have happened without supporters donating their cash, so I feel humbled that people felt prepared to donate. I particularly liked Hatt’s point about specific actions rather than large charities.
— Kara (@KaraChrome) August 11, 2017
2) Because I'm lucky & money is a way I can contribute to #JusticeforLB.
3) To encourage other to contribute, if they're in a position to…
— Chris Hatton (@chrishattoncedr) August 13, 2017
5) The #LBInquest live tweeting I think was a really important public service – same for GMC hearing.
— Chris Hatton (@chrishattoncedr) August 13, 2017
Reason 9) To help the system see why it needs to change
It’s all well and good those of us outside lamenting the system but we need those within it to see the opportunity, to see the reality and inhumanity of what currently exists. I hope that the tribunal tweets will help people experience it a little from someone else’s perspective.
To join the voice of challenge and help the system see why it needs to change. Reading makes me see just how inhumane the system is.
— stanley (@Stanley468) August 11, 2017
Because I keep telling myself that "we" don't act like that. That it couldn't happen again. But we do and it does
— CarmenSoto (@gourmetpenguin) August 11, 2017
To shed light on a process where the cards are held by those in the system. Human justice and to support my mate.
— JaxRafferty (@jaxrafferty) August 11, 2017
Reason 10) Solidarity
Pure and simple this one, because LB’s family are not alone and he mattered. He really did.
To show @sarasiobhan and family they are not alone. Because LB mattered and SH tried to dismiss his death as an unimportant accident
— Liz (@jesslinworld) August 13, 2017
So there we have it, why people supported us to live tweet the MPTS tribunal:
- Open Justice
- Because this is for all our children
- To change things for others at risk
- To bear witness
- To expose reality and shine a light on learning disability services
- It’s the right thing to do
- To change the system for others seeking justice
- To contribute financially when life doesn’t permit you to do more/different
- To help the system see why it needs to change