For the last few days a number of people have been trying to draw me into some wildly hypothetical speculations, firstly about my possible future earnings and secondly about my ethical system. I cannot honestly think either of these topics are of any great interest to most of the people who visit this Blog. I rather assume that most people who come here are more interested in objective discussions about home education. However, this subject has now found its way onto three threads and I suppose that I should deal with it. I remember when I was not quick enough off the mark the last time some lunatic dreamed up an idea like this. This was that I was a colleague of Graham Badman. Some fool even wrote to the editor of the Times Educational Supplement with that gem! I notice that the rumour is now being started here that I shall actually be working for Graham Badman.
To answer first the question that is evidently preying upon the mind of one of the people who have commented here. This question seemed to be as follows; whether or not I consider it legitimate for somebody to enquire about my financial affairs if I am campaigning for or against legislation which might at some point in the future benefit or disadvantage me. It is, on the face of it, an extraordinary question. Apart from the Inland revenue, possibly the police and certainly my wife, who can possibly have any legitimate questions about my earnings? Why should a complete stranger, writing anonymously, think that my income was any of her business? My answer to the question is this. A priori, nobody but those mentioned above can have any legitimate interest in my financial affairs. The onus is really upon anybody expressing an interest to demonstrate that their interest is more than vulgar curiosity. I should take a great deal of persuading!
Turning now to the absolutely breathtaking suggestion that I shall be working with, for or on behalf of local authorities if the new legislation is passed, words fail me. I currently run a small charity in east London which provides advocacy and advice for the parents of children with special educational needs. Some of my work entails helping parents deregister their children from school, often in the face of opposition from the local authority. As a result of this I am on pretty bad terms with the London boroughs of Hackney, Islington, Waltham Forest and Tower Hamlets. When I lived In Haringey I unilaterally withdrew my elder daughter from school for one day each week in order to teach her at home. This resulted in legal action. In Essex, I fell out with the elective home education department to the extent that I made several Freedom of Information requests and then made a complaint to the Information Commissioners office. I have rowed with the education department of every local authority with which I have ever had dealings. These rows have always been about home education. What local authority would possibly wish to employ me in any capacity connected with home education? They all regard me as a crazed fanatic. The idea is absolutely mad.
I hope that this puts an end to this nonsense. I am always keen to discuss home education, but my financial affairs and moral code I regard as essentially private matters. It has never crossed my mind for a moment to ask whether any of those opposing the Children, schools and families Bill are doing so because they might suffer financially. Although I regard them as mistaken, I have always assumed that they were motivated by concern for vulnerable children. It really did not occur to me that the fact that they were campaigning against a change in the law would give me any "legitimate interest" in their earnings! It's none of my business, any more than my earnings are any of theirs. Perhaps we could get back to the subject of home education now. I really do not feel inclined to respond to any more of this foolishness, but if anybody really does want to know about my income or ethical code, I suppose that they could email me privately at email@example.com.