Thursday, 26 July 2012
Finita, la commedia
I dare say that loyal readers were made anxious a couple of weeks ago when I announced that Nikki Harper, ably assisted by Maire Stafford and Mike Fortune-Wood, was trying to have me arrested for a criminal offence. This supposed offence was poking fun at her on this blog. When she contacted the Lincolnshire police on July 11th, she did not put it in quite that way of course. Instead, she suggested that she was a victim of harassment, contrary to the Protection from Harassment Act 1997. It was a brave and inexpensive attempt to get at me, once she had discovered that bringing an action against me for libel would have ruined her financially.
I have gained a great deal of pleasure from this whole affair. It is the first time in sixty odd years that I have been accused of a crime and so it was a novel and interesting experience for that reason alone. Even better was the discovery that Nikki Harper was every bit as excitable and verbose when speaking to a police officer as she was when complaining to Lincolnshire County Council about a circular letter which she received from them. The police file on Mrs Harper’s views and opinions about me and my blog is extensive, because of course she was unable to keep to the point without bringing astrology and spiritualism into the matter. One is reminded of Mr Dick from David Copperfield, who, it will be recalled, was unable to write anything with introducing King Charles’ head into the case.
When first Mrs Harper told them that this was a case of online harassment, the police assumed that I had been sending her abusive or threatening communications via email. Either that or pestering her family and friends by contacting them and saying things about her. When, after some time, it merged that what had actually happened was that she had blogged unpleasantly about me and I her and that she had been coming onto my blog and rowing with me via the comments, they rather lost interest. It might be annoying for somebody to tease you on a blog; it is not a criminal offence.
I wonder if anybody can guess what advice the police gave Mrs Harper, if she wished to avoid becoming distressed and upset by me and my blog in the future? Yes, they told her that the best thing she could do was to avoid contacting me or having any further communications at all with me. They also suggested that if I had been telling lies about her, she might pursue a civil remedy. Case closed.
As a matter of interest, one of the things that this well known astrologer was irritated about was what she described as ’malicious tagging’ in my posts here. She told me in a comment here that she objected to this. On July 6th, for example, she asked me, ’ What are your reasons for tagging this post with "Ashby Spiritualist Church"?’ She went on to suggest that this was part of a smear campaign against her. Talk of a 'smear campaign' leads one to suppose of course that she had no connection with the 'church'. The problem is that when you are writing for the Huffington Post about home education and introduce yourself there as an astrologer, that does rather bring the subject into the debate. When you are using your articles there to promote a book aimed at dragging young people into this mad belief system and getting them to subscribe to this nonsense, that too makes your views on both astrology and what is described as, 'mind, body, spirit', a fair matter of comment. As for the Ashby Spiritualist Church, the linking of which with her name Mrs Harper views as a 'smear campaign'; she is being less than candid. Here she is promoting and advertising it in a tweet from March 1st this year:
You can hardly demonstrate your involvement with the place one minute and then the next go racing off to the police and say that you are being criminally harassed because somebody has linked your name to it on a blog!
Anyway, this will mercifully be the last mention here of Nikki Harper; a matter of some relief to us all. As long as she follows the advice of the police and avoids coming here or communicating with me, I see no reason why there should be any further contact between us. I am sure that this will be a great relief to her as well as me. She is currently in the process of trying to take Lincolnshire County Council to a judicial review for what she sees as their unlawful policies. This is proving harder than expected and will, I think, be enough to keep her out of mischief and away from here for the foreseeable future.