Friday, 29 August 2014

Why does any of this matter to me?



Three people contacted me yesterday and asked why I was bothering with this business about Education Otherwise. After all, I’m no longer a home educator; why should I care? The reason is simple. I am very strongly opposed to censorship and am very much in favour of free speech.  What I have seen happening in home education in this country over the last five years or so, is the emergence of a group who are committed to quite the opposite point of view. They wish to suppress debate and prevent others from expressing their opinions. This is awful, both in the abstract sense of being a bad thing, and also in the practical sense of being unhealthy for home education.

Readers with long memories will perhaps recall that I was at one time widely hated by many other home educators. This didn’t particularly bother me. Those who felt that I was a fool or a rogue could say what they wished about me; why should I object? This was so, even when they told lies, such as that I was a relative or employee of Graham Badman. It didn’t occur to me for a moment to try and stop them speaking. What I did find a little disturbing was that I was thrown off all the home education lists to which I belonged, so that I was unable to explain my views. Even more alarming was that anybody who supported me or even said that I might have a point, was also shouted down and thrown off various groups. This was back in 2009 and in retrospect, was a warning of how things were developing in the world of British home education.

After I was chucked off the various lists, such as the one run by Education Otherwise and Mike Fortune-Wood’s HE-UK, I started this blog. The aim was always to allow people to come here and debate. I never operated any moderation, although of course that has now changed. The reason that comments are now moderated is that a small group of home educators and former home educators cannot bear others to exercise free speech. Some of you might remember that there were pretty lively debates on here, with anybody being able to say anything at all. I was widely insulted and in return, expressed my own views freely. It was a forum where anybody could come and say what he or she pleased. Not any more.

As time passed after I was thrown off those internet groups, I realised that others were suffering the same fate. Sometimes they would be removed, at others, their comments would be removed or they would be placed on moderation. Slowly but surely,  free debate about home education was strangled. This became so bad that people started a face book group where they could discuss things relating to home education freely. This was called Right to Reply. It no longer exists, although there is a second incarnation; Right to Reply 2. 

The fate of this blog and the Right to Reply facebook groups are very similar. They were both targeted by Alison Sauer and her friends. Threats were made, involving both legal action and more direct, physical harm; such as the rape of family members, nuisance deliveries to people‘s homes and the sabotage of email accounts. The police were called, arrests were made and writs issued. The consequence of all this was that I had to start moderating and deleting comments on this blog; which had the effect of preventing free discussion. The Right to Reply group was closed down and on the on the new version, posts are copied and sent to the police, as well as a writ being issued. All this has had the effect of preventing free discussion there as well.

The same, small group of people is behind all these actions. This group includes Alison Sauer, Mike Fortune-Wood, Katya Lamb and Cheryl Moy. It is some of these people, who have caused so much harm to free speech and open debate, who are now involved in the attempts to acquire influence or control over the largest home education group in the United Kingdom. That is why I am concerned and it is why I have started blogging again for a while.

32 comments:

  1. Amen! You are preaching to the converted.

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  2. How pittyful that a small group of h.ers can cause havoc. I thought Mike was decent until I read this. Alison Sauer sat in the all party education select committees debate on h.e. chaired by Graham Stuart. The allegations made about these influencial people is very worrying. They have got into a position where their opinions matter. I am very very distressed to read the allegations about the way they have conducted themselves. I would be interested to read any response these people wish to make to the allegations contained in this blog.

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  3. Katya Lamb caused a major shit storm on facebook recently by compiling a list of 'people who should be reviled' based purely on whether they liked a couple of facebook pages and comments, and then published it in Cheryl's group where none of those people named could defend themselves, as they are not allowed to be members of that group. Now one of those named on the list has lost all her friends (shame on those friends for believing a psychotic bitch like Katya!) and her child has also lost his friends. Real life consequences of someone's words - think on Katya if you're reading this.

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    1. Not quite true, up until a couple of days ago most people outside CMs group and R2R2 knew nothing of it. Some one decided that they would do a good deed for the rest of us and post a long account of this event in HEUK, MFW old group. This of course informed the rest of us of the event.
      The poster said they were doing it because the group had been mentioned and a child had been harmed. The usual row ensued. Anyone who suggested that the posting of this was no better than the original event was jumped on and yes Hitler got mentioned etc etc etc.
      When asked what did the poster expect the rest of the group to do, such as stop being their friend or hound them off face book, the response was, I sincerely hope not, completely missing the point being made, that this was exactly the point of the post. This was followed by lots of posts about how this had effected a child and we all needed to know.
      It was obvious from the responses that most posters had not know about this until then.
      So it was not just KL that was responsible for the shit storm but others who fanned and propagated it.

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    2. To correct the above.
      I have since been told that it was posted in HomeEducation UK not MFW old group HEUK. My apologies for the error
      poster of the above post

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    3. To correct the above.
      I have since been told that it was posted in HomeEducation UK not MFW old group HEUK. My apologies for the error
      poster of the above post

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    4. Oh, so everyone should have kept quiet about it, should they? What about the people named on the list who would not have known they were there being lied about unless someone had pointed it out? After all, CM's group has 4000+ people on it. I think if I had been named on that list, I would like to be informed.

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    5. AFAIK, HEUK was never MFW's group, he has always had his own group on Facebook.

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    6. In response to the comment that starts 'not quite true' I would say your comment was not quite true. The only reference to anything to do with the nazi regime came from Katya and not the comments. The comments were, on the whole positive and many people voiced how glad they were that this had been posted. I attempted to post the op, to let readers decide for themselves but it is too long.

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    7. Another reason why the comment that begins with 'not copletely true' is not true is that Uk Home Education has never been Mike Fortune-Woods' group. You really don't seem to know what you are talking about.

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    8. I think the original poster corrected that themselves if I have read the posts correctly

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    9. I did correct that when I was told I had made an error, one of the problems with being a member of so many similar groups.
      As to the comments there very definitely was a comment about Hitler and Nazi's by the usual commenter, one of their stock phrases I think. The posts were not on the whole possitive but those who did challenge this post and other commenter's posts were silenced by the usual techneques

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    10. Wasn't the poster of the comment that starts "not quite true" making the point that what Simon says about KL alone having caused a shit storm , was what was not quite true not any content of the post or comments on it.

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    11. The Nazi/German reference occurs frequently and irrelevantly in arguments. It is pointless and used to close down an argument when something isn't going their way. No-one can argue the atrocities perpetrated by the Nazi's but it is hardly applicable within a home ed facebook group

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    12. the only comment to a nazi regime was by Katya. It was not discussed. It was in the OP.

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    13. there was defo a a godwins law comment
      but lets face it posts get deleted
      no surprises there folks

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    14. No posts were deleted on that thread.

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    15. I also read the Nazi reference in the comments, but like you say stuff gets deleted then denied.

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  4. Right to Reply's first incantation was not closed because of the group mentioned but because of the tactics used by to close down any conversation started by someone unfavourable. The process is as follows:
    1: Conversation topic started
    2: People wanting a serious conversation debate the angles
    3: Certain personalities enter the conversation
    4: Those personalities use the conversation to make personal comments
    5: Discussion falls into disrepair with certain personalities having entered the conversation and making comments for the sake of an argument
    6: Personal comments/arguments ensue
    7: Original topic forgotten, (CM/KL/WCW are usually mentioned at this point despite having no relevance often)
    8: Nazi's & Gaza brought up despite being irrelevant
    9: Certain personalities call for admin to "do something" despite frequently being the cause
    10: Certain personalities congratulate themselves for being wonderful people
    11: Certain personalities run back to their cliques and groups and PM each other about how mean everyone else is
    12: PM's leaked by the variety of secret C&P'ers who are working both sides to cause further disruption

    This is not limited to right to reply but occurs over numerous groups by a core group of people and not just the ones mentioned in the above blog post. Should the LA's be following the various facebook groups they would probably consider home educators a group in need of monitoring. Forget Badman, Balls & future politicians the group most dangerous to home educators are home educators with massive egos and too much time on their hands.

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  5. You seem to be saying that the person who set up the Right to Reply group did not get a communication after a writ for defamation was issued to one of the members of the group; a communication which threatened her with the same legal action. I think that she was told that unless she closed down the group, she too would end up in court. A condition of not proceeding with legal action against her was that she did not tell anybody about the threat. Are you saying that this is not what happened?

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    1. No she didn't though it would suit some people to propagate the idea she did. (first time poster)

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    2. Surely the same fate would have happened to R2R2 had that been the case

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    3. Simon said: "The Right to Reply group was closed down and on the on the new version, posts are copied and sent to the police, as well as a writ being issued. All this has had the effect of preventing free discussion there as well." So the same fate may well befall R2R2 at some point.

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    4. I think the post "not quite true" means Simon Webb has not got it quite true.
      If you read right to the bottom they say Katya Lamb was not on her own at causing a shit storm but that by posting a copy of it in another group that other people were part of it too not that the post was not true

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    5. This is confusing it was not Simon Webb that posted about Katya Lamb but someone else commenting, got confused because someone else thinks Simon Webb posted it, All these anonymous posters

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  6. MFW at least understands the value of freedom on ed and autonomous ed and fought hard against the Badman proposals to implement registration and monitoring of home educators.

    Simon, on the other hand, fought hard to make the case for registration and monitoring and cast doubt upon the efficacy of autonomous ed.

    http://www.tes.co.uk/article.aspx?storycode=6019184

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  7. 'MFW at least understands the value of freedom on ed and autonomous ed and fought hard against the Badman proposals to implement registration and monitoring of home educators. '

    Interesting. It is Mike Fortune-Wood who is now pressing for monitoring to be accepted by home educators. He doesn't call it that of course; he refers to it as 'annual contact with local authorities'. I

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  8. Good to see you back Simon I have missed you blogging. causing the usual havoc I see. Well done

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  9. The problem with home ed arguments is that people choose a part of the argument, take it out of context and argue that part to death. They don't read the whole argument and don't argue from a point of knowledge - the posts above prove this after the poster corrected themselves about the group, clearly people don't read the whole discussion, only the point they want to argue.

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  10. This post hit a nerve, more posts on here than the other posts. Are they all the same poster arguing with themselves I wonder.
    But
    On a more serious note Such a shame no one dare leave their name any more, that is what all the in fighting and writ serving has done.

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  11. I have not left my name as I have no desire to be berated in groups I do not particpate in by people who have nothing better to do than bicker from behind a keyboard.

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  12. What is a shitstorm? I'm afraid that I am not 'down with the kids' enough to know.

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