Sunday, 8 July 2012

Defaming the Harpers

No class of person is more loathsome to me than those who exploit vulnerable people, such as the grief-stricken and bereaved, by pretending to have supernatural powers. I detest this sort of thing and avoid those involved in it wherever possible. Sometimes, it is impossible to give them a wide berth and when I do come into contact with people mixed up in that racket  I am always sure to make my feelings known pretty plainly.

I am currently being threatened with legal action for libel because of remarks which I have made on here about a husband and wife team who claim to possess magic powers to foretell the future and summon up the dead. It is a pretty awful way to make a living and I have passed several comments about them on here, because they are also home educators.

Let us look at what I have said about these two characters and see whether or not it actually amounts to libel. This will give me an opportunity to repeat the statements of which they complain and to expand upon them, thus making it easier for them to bring action against me if they wish; a prospect to which I look forward with relish. Imagine sitting in a court and watching somebody try and prove that he is really in touch with the dead!

I must first say a few words about libel. The essence of a libel is that it is an untrue statement which tends to lower the person about whom it is made in the estimation of right-thinking people. It must be a statement of fact, rather than opinion. If I say, ‘Smith is an idiot’, this is not libellous because it is clearly my opinion. If, on the other hand, I say, ‘Smith is a thief’, this is a statement of supposed fact and could be libellous. The statements which I have made about the Harpers are a mixture of opinion and fact.

One of the statements which I have made, to which Mrs Harper objects and about which she threatens legal action, was that, ‘she is a very odd person called Nikki Harper who, with her husband, contacts the dead and reads the skies for a living.’ Clearly, the suggestion that she is a very odd person is my opinion and could not possibly be libellous. The statement that she and her husband contact the dead and read the skies for a living is a statement of fact and might well lower them in the estimation of right-thinking people. If untrue, it might be considered libellous; but is it untrue? Mrs Harper claims that at least part of the statement is untrue. She says bluntly of her husband, ' he doesn't make a living from being a medium.' The problem here is that both she and her husband claim in various places that contacting the dead is exactly what he does for a living. For example on Home-Education Biz, Mrs Harper says: ‘my husband I work full time from home. I'm an astrologer, author and writer, and he is a spiritualist medium and healer.’ and also, ’ My husband works as a platform medium in spiritualist churches, and does private readings’ This may be seen here:

On her blog, the same one where she is  threatening to sue me, Nikki Harper states that, ‘I am an astrologer and mind body spirit author; my husband writes too and is a spiritualist medium and healer. We both work from home.’ This may be found here:

Finally, her husband is on Linked in as a self-employed medium. See here:

Is anybody left in any doubt at all that Nikki Harper reads the skies for a living or that her husband contacts the dead? I cannot imagine why either of them should wish to deny it, although they may of course be ashamed of their careers; as who would not be?

Another statement to which Mrs Harper objected was contained in this post of mine:

You will see that I said, ‘There is something quite terrifying about madness like this. One recognises some of the usual suspects here, people like Nikki Harper from Lincolnshire who is quoted. I do hope that local authorities are reading this stuff, so that they have an idea of the sort of disordered thinking which affects some parents supposedly capable of delivering an education to their children.’

Now Nikki Harper did not actually take part in this conference and nor did I say that she did.  A post of hers is linked as evidence though, in Section 9. She posted this under the name ’Elysian’. It is perfectly true that I recognised most of those who are seen on this conference, as well as those to whom the links lead one. How this could be considered libellous is another matter. I did not think, nor did I say, that she took part in the thing. As for the bit about disordered thinking, I cannot do better than quote Mrs Harper herself on the subject of her daughter's education, ' XXXX is showing a real interest in herbalism, spell work and so on.'  Spell work; that would be spells as in magic spells, yes? Does anybody here think that teaching a seven  year-old to take a real interest in casting magic spells is not an example of disordered thinking? This is not incidentally make-believe; the mother really believes in this stuff and was actively encouraging her child to do the same. What about the statement that, 'Aquamarine prevents water-retention'? Water retention can be a symptom of various serious problems, including congestive heart failure, kidney failure and pre-eclampsia. Hands up everybody who thinks that it is disordered thinking to expect the possession of a semi-precious stone to help with potentially fatal health problems like these? This advice may be found here;

The third thing which apparently upset Mrs Harper was an attempt to connect her husband to Martin Smith, the home educating  ’psychic’ who was convicted of rape and then hanged himself. She said, ’ I was disgusted to read the indirect linking of my husband and Martin Smith by either you or one of your commenters’ I have drawn a complete blank on this. I have certainly made no such connection and nor can I find any in the comments on this blog. However, following what Mrs Harper said, I looked into the matter and found one faint and tenuous link between her husband and Martin Smith. Jon Harper has appeared on stage with Ian Lawman, a rather dubious character about whom various allegations have been made. This fellow has been on Britain’s Most Haunted, a television programme on which Martin Smith also appeared. So the most we can say is that Nikki Harper’s husband shared a stage with a man who might have met Martin Smith. I had to dig around even to find this and would never have done so if Mrs Harper herself had not put the idea into my head!

I do hope that the Harpers follow through on their threats to sue me. If they really feel that I have made untruthful statements about them which tend to lower them in the estimation of right-thinking people, then I urge them to go ahead and issue a writ. I shall not post any more on the subject here, because it really has little enough to do with home education, which is after all the purpose of this blog!


  1. Nikki Harper here. You appear to have tried to prevent me from commenting under my wordpress ID. Good grief, Simon. How dishonest can you be?

    I see you have deleted the comments, under the "how strange are home educators" post, which tried to link Jon to Martin Smith. Too late, I'm afraid.

    I see you also deleted your reply to "cheshire cat" under the "Trivialising the Holocaust" post, where you tried to imply that there was more than meets the eye to Lincs' involvement with my family. Also too late. I do have copies, as do other people.

    While I'm glad that you have seen sense and removed some of these remarks, that you felt the need to do so merely shows that you knew all along that you were in the wrong.

    To now post as if you have no idea what you've done wrong is pathetic. Still - dishonest to the last, eh?

  2. I'm afraid that I can't always post comments myself here. You will see that some of mine have had to be under the anonymous heading. This is not a conspiracy against you; simply how blogger behaves from time to time.

    I certainly removed the comment which I had made in reply to Cheshire Cat. I did this not because I thought it wrong or libellous, but because on reflection it was open to misinterpretation. You say, 'where you tried to imply that there was more than meets the eye to Lincs' involvement with my family.' This comment had, as we both know, nothing to do with your family. I suggested that your rage at Lincolnshire County Council was too fierce to have been caused merely by getting a routine letter outlining their new policy. I thought that you had probably had some previous arguments with them, not necessarily about home edcuation, and that this had put you in a bad mood with them before you even got the letter.

    As you know, I mentioned that you had blogged over five thousand words in three days about your dispute with Lincolnshire County Council and I observed that I thought there was more to the business than met the eye. Nobody could grow so angry over just receiving a circular about a new home education policy.

    After you objected to what I had been saying, I re-read some of the comments and realised that a different construction could be put upon that one in particular. It could have looked as though I was hinting that your home circumstances were such as to raise apprehensions in the local authority. Since this was not at all what I meant to convey, I deleted it. I still think that there is more to your dispute with your local authority than meets the eye. Nobody could write so many thousands of words just because their council wrote to them like that! I see that you are threatening them with a judicial review, as well as hinting that you will sue me for libel. I hope that you are not one of these vexatious litigants that one reads about!

    I am happy for you to comment here, but cannot guarantee that you will not have to use the anonymous bit. I take it that you are now receiving comments on your own blog?

    'To now post as if you have no idea what you've done wrong is pathetic'

    I am still waiting for you to explain clearly just what you think I have done wrong. Do you say that I have been telling lies about you? What are the 'disgusting insinuations' about which you complain? Don't be shy, there is no censorship here and you may speak freely. I am not going to issue a writ against you, no matter how demented or rude you are!


  3. No apology for trivialising The Sho'ah yet?