Monday, January 02, 2006

A year in Blairy England

To all our friends, family, and to the readers of Blairy (rhymes with merry) England.


A year ago G and I were married happily, through a druid ritual in the north ring of the Avebury Temple complex. Our four children opened and closed the proceedings as holders of the mythical gates in the east south west and north. It was a very special occasion, the fulfilment of a dream that I had been only dreaming for 20 years. It was such a delight to have wonderful friends and family willing to risk the fierce cold of a winter solstice open-air ceremony.
It would also have been a wonderful beginning to the year but for a particularly spiteful and stupid head teacher/cum bad fairy at the boys’ school, called Clare Stanley. She felt able to complain to Social Services of her concerns about our parenting, “of J in particular.”
At the same time she also felt able to close down the school for a day due to snow, which failed to fall. It was the only school in the county to close. C was already assessed as the intellectual and emotional centre of his year 6 class by his teacher. He was later chosen for the “gifted and talented” summer school on transition to secondary school, as was my daughter R before him. But J, after an excellent report in year 1 for the second half of the summer term, was floundering in a group of boys described by one teaching assistant as “without motivation for learning”. He had also been paired with a boy with serious physical and mental impairments.
They say it takes a whole village to raise a child. That means co-operation and collaboration. But rather than helping us as parents, supporting J through a change of family circumstances, physical relocation and a change of schools, Charlbury School took an antagonistic stance to G and I. J was not a happy boy last year. He was struggling to adapt to the loss of regular week ends with his dad among many things. By their condemnation of G and I, Mrs Morris, and Mrs Stanley made his life a lot more unhappy.
Even today I remain utterly furious with the treatment we have received.

I resolved to write this diary of life in Middle England under the Government of Blair and Co in a place reputedly as fine as anywhere in the country. It focuses on the spiritual, ethical, political and educational aspects of family life and world ethics. Here is a link to my first entry:


Though I had wanted to focus mostly on family life I became more and more angry with the steady destruction of freedom and dignity for all the people of England.
Almost immediately I found myself picking up in the news the criminal culpability of the parents in the houses of Windsor, Thatcher and Blair, even if Euan Blair is no more than a drunk and disorderly student.

Auschwitz reviewed! Life is awful.

Blairco invited us to remember Auschwitz, at the same time that the stories of torture surfaced among the coalition’s troops in Iraq. My disgust with the hypocrisy reached a new higher level. If we were being abused, then the Iraqis were being brutalised.

The Government’s war on terror had become a war on our own democracy. I wrote “These may be the last days of Liberal Democracy. If we do not stand up and be counted, in parliament and all areas of our lives, the freedom under law which has made this country the highest ideal for many of the citizens and countries of our world will be gone, and probably forever.History is about to repeat itself. A charismatic leader, dismissed by many as a second rate mind, is positioning himself for permanent power. "You are now witnessing the beginning of a great epoch in history," proclaimed Hitler, 72 years ago this week, standing in front of the burned-out Reichstag, surrounded by national media. "This fire," he said, his voice trembling with emotion, "is the beginning." He used the occasion - "a sign from God," he called it - to declare an all-out war on terrorism and its ideological sponsors, a people, he said, who traced their origins to the Middle East and found motivation for their evil deeds in their religion..”

“The rules of the game have changed after 911,” said Blair. He clearly thought he could get away with anything now, as did Bush.

H gets into Cambridge. We go to Social Services. R goes to Africa. The Pope died.

As Blair pressed ahead with laws to terrorise us, I pressed complaints against Charlbury School under the European Laws on Human rights. Meanwhile, H, my older daughter was offered a place at Cambridge to study for a Post Graduate Certificate in education. That would make us three qualified teachers in the family, all of us with significant pastoral responsibility, both for children and adults.

Social Services opened and closed our case as fast as they could. We went to see the closed file. Social Care officially judge us to provide "good diet, clothing, and accommodation, a loving home, affectionate parenting, excellent access to books, toys and good social contacts. The children have a good social situation".
This judgement was backed by two doctors and two health visitors.

But what did Charlbury School offer? The head of Governors substantiated most of my complaints. Bullying and violence at the school continued to escalate. The head has had no real authority since the no-snow closure. Parents’ anger had continued to increase.

Meanwhile on the International scene "US President George Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair deserve life sentences, with the possibility of parole after 25 years, for the war crimes and genocide in Iraq, according to a lawyers' panel”. Another International Tribunal repeated this ruling later.

Nationally, the Government’s assault on parents’ and human rights escalated. The Observer | UK News | Child database 'will breach human rights' I wrote “It is not only Blair and the new Home Secretary who are a threat to our Human Rights. The dreadful Margaret Hodge is on the attack too.”

I discovered the Simultaneous Policy, a strategy for changing the world across all the national vested interest boundaries and a way to focus the world movement for peace and justice.

I attended a panel of Governors to address my complaint that the management of the school was incompetent and a referral to social services abused our human right to privacy. They failed to address the issues properly. The social worker had judged the referral appropriate, so that was the end of it as far as these school governors were concerned. They avoided discussing the school closure, and dismissed my criticisms of management as motivated by retaliation. Mrs Stanley, through her adviser, claimed that “to inform is to consult” in terms of the human rights act. This is absolutely outrageous and an abuse of the English Language and English law.

I spoke at length with our local Health Visitor who insisted she never made a referral without discussing it first. It is a matter of ethics. The new Childrens’ Department of the county council must decide which policy is correct for them.

The death of the Polish Pope made huge headlines. Bush and Blair turned up, despite his condemnation of their war crimes. Never mind the ethics, never mind the politics, this is good media coverage! Spin! Spin! Spin! But George hears the word of God direct.

Stanley buckles under the pressure. The truth hurts Blair too.

I used to live next door to Rowan and Jane Williams in the village. Rowan is a saintly man and quite a contrast to the new ex-Hitler youth Pope. As well as speeches against the war he has begun writing about parenting.

“Jane would come back regularly and say that the problem was not teaching children how to read;” wrote Rowan, “the problem was communicating with children who were simply not used to talking with adults at all or being talked to by adults. Children had, in effect, been turned loose. Literacy is not only about words; literacy is about the reading of feelings and persons, about speaking and listening: emotional literacy, social literacy. "When H was six her teacher commented that you could have a conversation with her as if she were an adult. That is how we brought her up, with deep respect for her intelligence and humanity. It was hard for me to listen to her pain one afternoon about not having her chosen college at Cambridge. But I listened patiently as I always have.
In many ways we are not merely good enough parents we are really good parents. I cannot stand being judged by my inferiors as has happened this year.G told me the other day that H described to her the "loving" and "listening" qualities she values in me. I am also proud that she has formed such a confiding relationship in G.

Election torpor gripped the country. The only excitement was a stream of leaks exposing Blair’s lying connivance with Bush over the secret war plan.

Evidence started to build up that Bush had stolen his second election. New Labour was caught rigging ballots with false postal votes.

The “Respect agenda” was launched. I wrote “Mr Blair wants us to forget his sins and think of the future of education. If we re-elect Blair and the Opus Dei-fied Ruth Kelly, we will have to put up with an even tighter stranglehold on education from a National Curriculum that has already failed our children. We will also have to put up with an ever greater intrusion of the state into the lives of parents.No wonder parents and children are in revolt.Set us an example of respect for the truth, and direct honest clear communication, Mr Blair.No more plagiarising student theses. No more lies and spin.It is not the footballers' foul mouths we need to worry about affecting our children. It is political leaders who are war criminals, too powerful to be brought to justice.”

Suddenly, just as we are about to take J away from school in utter disgust and dejection, Stanley resigned. Several middle class children, including the son of a governor, had already been removed from the school. Stanley would still be there till the end of term but a back up head would be on hand, part- time, to help. From sources inside the governors I have discovered the school was heading for special measures, and the staff were actively resisting improvements suggested by the chair of governors. But some staff and governors chose to claim that all the school’s problems with parents were my fault for complaining.

The tide has turned.

The Downing Street memo leaked just before the election. The Tories stale old message offered too little to topple New Labour, but the Blair majority for a Tory agenda had been wiped out.

We decided to keep J at the school. Under the influence of the incoming head things started to improve. He is happier and more confident. R may not have won the county swimming this year but she has made a huge step forward intellectually and socially after the Africa trip. She proves the case that late developers can go on to do really well at secondary school.

The blogosphere is making a big difference. People are finding the truth no longer comes in state manipulated media and television. But information comes fast on the web through blogs like mine. A vast engine of assault on the Bush Blair dominance of the world is building strength.

By the end of the month I was confident enough to write a positive assessment of how we are as a family.

Making the G8 History?

Those early months of 2005 had been some of the darkest of my life. I have never been so hurt and angry. By April Stanley had resigned but the slur on my family remained. My work had suffered. I had become depressed.
Now I became more confident, joining the Joseph Rowntree Power Enquiry and writing open letters to my MP, David Cameron. He replied to some of them. But he avoided the Downing Street memo issue. We have an elite consensus conspiracy here just like in the states.
I now made one of my daftest decisions of the year. I took us all to Edinburgh to campaign on poverty. Bob Geldof, the organiser, after telling us to come in our millions, was much smarter. He did not turn up, preferring pop songs in Hyde Park. Naturally so did all the media.
It was amazing, camping by a midge infested lake, listening to the destruction of the Lions rugby team on the radio while driving into almost deserted Edinburgh streets. I am not sure the boys even understood the gesture. Edinburgh was full of Christian NGO’s. The real activists were all camping in an ecology centre near Gleneagles. You live and learn, maybe.

The G8 made some doubtful commitments to Africa. Blair, Brown and Bush felt happy. Most of us felt cheated.

H graduates. Euen Blair crashes his car on the way to graduate.

It is a great day when you see your daughter graduate. “It is the day when almost 20 years of preparation for life culminates in a short ceremony. I am painfully aware that is her dead mother’s wealth that has supported her though university, while G and I have merely done our best to help her learn to play the Academic English Literature game.”

Too bad the event was overshadowed by the crushing security put on for the attendance of the war criminal prime minister who runs our country.

I observed that the country has become a police state, and wrote the “After Downing Street rap.” My poems on Falluja in Charlbury were printed in Australia.

Blair’s cuckoos came home to roost on 7/7. The bombers explicitly blamed his war crimes. He responded with ever more frightening measures of control. The battle between Blair and the Law really started to hot up.

Holiday time, but the politics stay hot.

G and I had a wonderful week off in Wales together. The five of us went surfing in Cornwall. We started as a motley crew but finished as a tight team. We had triumphed over wind, rain and cold weather. The surfing was a disappointment. We enjoyed camping and playing cricket.

A school transformed. A happier family
And a production in Oxford

The new head, Jane Holt, has made changes that have turned the school around. Very soon J is learning to read fast. He has a decent new teacher. Even in September the transformation in the running of the school is extraordinary. I only wanted an apology from Stanley. Though I still did not have one, this was worth more. The Stanley faction of governors have mostly gone and been replaced with better ones.
Joel thrives now, and R and C are doing very well at Chippy School.
Suddenly my reclusive life has become more outgoing. I directed a play in Oxford with R and her three best friends as the actors. Directing your own daughter is not exactly easy, but we battled our way through it. I am glad to have done it though I doubt I shall do it again. The girls were as good as they could be under a very tight schedule.

Hurricanes blew through America. But even the destruction of New Orleans was not enough to prove just how corrupt the Bushmen are. But they were humiliated.
In England Blair was no longer strong enough to enforce his most draconian terror measures. The forces of democracy are rising again.

Big steps forward

G gave up smoking and drinking. We all worked very hard to support her make these changes. I am so proud of us all. Within a short time G was fitter, stronger, and full of energy, looking forward to teaching again. All the extra building blocks I started to assemble in January to make us a good working unit were fitting into place. Our general practitioner had advised us to have every possible check on J to ensure our case against the education department. Every check outside the school came out very positively. I can say with little fear of contradiction now that J’s problems were natural and normal, except for the destructive effects of the dysfunctional school environment.
Our local authority has been defensive and complacent in response to my challenge. But the corruption of the Bushmen and Blairco was under ever greater scrutiny. The obscenity of Iraq will not go away. The destruction of Falluja ranks higher than Guernica as a war crime.
Blunkett and Blears had turned our Home Office into a great big joke. In 1984 speak they resigned because of misconduct, while simultaneously insisting on their uncompromised integrity. Yes Sir, and black is white, too, in Blairy England. Now he blew Pensions. Eventually he was laughed out of office, a contemptible corrupt immoral creep. The most reactionary and repellent cabinet minister in 100 years ended his political career as a Whitehall sex farce character. He was one of the last of the big Blair beasts. Thankfully, he is gone.

Family therapy and more.

I have had family therapy to help earlier parentings as well as being a family therapist myself. This was a much better experience. The children were amazingly open and honest about life in our family. The therapists were impressed. But at the very first session they decided we did not need their help. I do not suppose they often meet a well functioning family like this one. I am so proud of us. Our lives get better by the week.
On the world scene the annus horibilis continues for Bush and Blair. Both are lame ducks, maybe even ripe for plucking.

By giving dictatorial powers to a crackpot head the Government has tyrannised my family this year. But we have come out stronger. Now the county must learn its lessons and so must the government. More power to heads is not justified. More power to governments is still less justified. But redress has begun. Now one Bushman is on trial and others will soon join Scooter Libby. Bush and Blair are being pounded by the forces of freedom and democracy for the first time. At last the craven media has joined in. Blair’s last deforms seem doomed to be defeated. There is renewed talk of impeachment for both Bush and Blair.




Althea Hayton came to visit us at the end of November unleashing an extraordinary burst of energy in both of us. We find we can both be our better selves! An outside world that had offered both of us much rejection in recent years suddenly started to welcome us once more with enthusiasm.
To cap it all we suddenly decided to move house. We could have stayed here till at least spring, but a stunning cottage presented itself to us outside the village and we could not resist.
I have been 14 years in Charlbury. R has lived here all her life. She is a swimming legend here in her young lifetime. But it is time to move forward. Many people have supported us in our struggle with Stanley. Many congratulated us on her going. The transformation of the school is there for all to see. But Charlbury has not offered us true friendship. Our best contacts are all outside the place.
I have lived here longer than in any other place, though I have worked in Oxford. I will doubtless miss so much about it. But G and I can now start afresh in a new place together. Over the next few weeks we will try to tie up the loose ends.
Nationally Cameron has had a remarkable triumph. I had a letter from him from the House of Commons the day he was selected as Tory leader. But his stance on Iraq is reprehensible. He fails to appreciate the monstrous crime we have perpetrated on the children of Iraq with our depleted uranium nuclear war.
The year ends with Harold Pinter receiving the Nobel Prize for writing. He denounces the crimes and corruption of the current world order in his acceptance speech.

We are with you Harold. Here is to a new year of poetry and education, and the repeal of repressive laws everywhere. Perhaps Blake’s England can rise from the ruins of the Blair experiment, the Blair disaster.

Please join me in a toast to International Peace and Justice and the rejection of tyranny.


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