Monday, 6 August 2012
Beware; dangerous and inflammatory!
I must warn readers that they are about to read something which is inflammatory, perverse and conveys a sense of urgency and danger. Brace yourselves against some heavy piece of furniture and prepare to be alarmed. Ready?
Just on the offchance that nobody else has noticed, I thought that I would mention that next month a bill will be introduced in Wales which will require home educators to register with their local authority.
I must apologise to those who found this something of a damp squib, but commenting here yesterday Alison Sauer was most disturbed by the thirty six words above. So disturbed in fact that she had over seven hundred words of her own to say about this brief post! She had a number of objections. The first was that instead of stating that the bill would be introduced next month, I should rather have said that it would be announced next month when the Welsh Assembly meets after the summer break. Mrs Sauer also felt that I should have explained that just because a bill is introduced, that does not mean that it will be passed. I thought it quite unnecessary to mention this. Surely, since the Badman debacle, there can be few home educators who are unaware that introducing a bill and getting it passed are two very different things?
Before going any further, I might mention that apparently some people did not know about all this until I posted about it here. Within hours of my post, the subject had appeared on various list relating to home education. It seems that I was right and this one had slipped past many people's notice. This makes Alison Sauer's irritation all the more difficult to understand. I may not have phrased it as precisely as I could have done, but surely she would be pleased for home educators to find out things like this that they did not know about?
Other objections to this short post made by Alison were that it was inflammatory and designed to convey a sense of ‘immediacy, danger and urgency’. I am sorry if any readers were inflamed by reading it and apologise to those who felt that they were in immediate and urgent danger as a result. Perhaps in retrospect, it was a little thoughtless and irresponsible of me not to have chosen my words better. I must ask those who really were inflamed by this post to calm their passions. I am worried now that last night might have witnessed scenes in Cardiff like those from an old horror film, with a crowd of yokels carrying flaming torches and armed with pitchforks attempting to storm the Welsh First Minister's home as consequence of reading my inflammatory post. The last thing I intended was to stir up the Welsh population to mutiny and I would be most distressed to hear that I had been the cause of any unpleasantness.
Nor was this all that Alison Sauer objected to. She was concerned that I was using secondary, rather than primary sources in a blog post. Now of course as somebody who writes history books for a living, I am perfectly familiar with the concept of primary and secondary sources. I have never in all my life though heard of anybody criticising a blog post for relying too heavily upon secondary sources. The explanation is of course that Alison and her husband are both history buffs. They read a lot on this subject and so it would be natural that they might seek to apply the tools of scholarship to a casual, thirty six word, personal blog post. Alas, to the rest of us, this might seem barking mad. Still, that is what it is like when you are absorbed in a hobby of that sort. So keen on history is she, that Alison Sauer dresses up at weekends to enact battles with the Sealed Knot. Those interested in such things can easily unearth some charming photographs of her on google, dressed as both a Victorian barmaid and a 17th Century camp follower. No harm in that of course, but it does, as we saw yesterday, give one a rather skewed perspective when reading things that are not history books. Primary and secondary sources in a blog post, indeed!
One final point is that I was very puzzled about just how angry Mrs Sauer seemed to be about this little post. She was careful to point out that, ‘This is all I know and I have no involvement other than as an observer.’ Since that went without saying, I could not help but ask myself why she would tell us that and just why this business mattered so much to her. I did a little digging around and found that one list was saying that one person was already involved in the proposed consultation over the proposal to register home educators in Wales. This person ended by asking , “Guess who that is?’ I wondered if this was a hint about Alison Sauer. I was curious and asked Alison if she had any particular interest in the thing. She says she does not.
I hope that this has reassured any readers who were inflamed or put in apprehension of danger by my drawing attention to what is being proposed in Wales. I read the post over and over and still cannot see that it is anything from which I might gain, as Alison Sauer puts it, ‘a perverse joy.’ Without giving away to many details of my private life, I think that I am prepared to share with readers the information that there are things in my life which do furnish me with perverse joys. Blogging about the activities of the Welsh Assembly is not one of them.