Maire Stafford, Mike Fortune-Wood and Nikki Harper try to have me arrested!

The title of this piece is not one which I could, in my wildest dreams, have ever thought that I would be typing. Never the less, it is actually the case. Having realised that action against me for libel would be horribly expensive and in any case unlikely to succeed, Nikki Harper has decided to go for the cheaper option of reporting me to the police for supposedly harassing her and her husband on this blog. As readers might know,  Mrs Harper posted a piece on her blog at the beginning of May, naming me and saying some unflattering and untruthful things about me:

Since then, I have made the odd reference to this woman and her husband’s eccentric ways of making a living. Then, a week or so ago, Nikki Harper began coming on here and getting herself worked up into a regular state.

Now of course this is nothing unusual on the internet; spats like that happen all the time. By a stroke of ill fortune for her though, Mrs Harper fell under the influence of that most malevolent of women, Maire Stafford. This is when things took a decidedly surreal turn, as Maire Stafford advised Nikki that she had a duty to beetle off to the police station and report me for saying upsetting things about her such as that she was an astrologer. Mrs Harper duly did so and, it will come as no surprise to readers to learn, she was promptly given the bum’s rush by police officers who have more important things to investigate than this blog; things like murders and rape, for example.

In order to give her the brush-off courteously, they being unwilling to be too brusque with somebody who was obviously distressed and whose mental state was clearly a little fragile, they told her that if I was in the habit of upsetting people in this way, then they would get in touch and have a word with me.

Enter, stage right, Maire Stafford. Readers with long memories will recall that Maire Stafford ran a campaign against me on the HE-UK list a few years ago, after pieces of mine about home education were published in the Independent and Times Educational Supplement. She devised rumours, spread lies, coordinated the online comments on the articles and generally made a thorough nuisance of herself. To give just one example, when Paula Rothermel claimed that Graham Badman had suggested that home educating mothers were suffering from Munchausen’s and also questioned the validity of her research; many parents were annoyed and upset. On November 4th 2009, Maire Stafford posted on the HE-UK list, trying to make people think that this was in some way my fault! She wrote,

And considering it was probably him who told Badman that Paula Rothermel's
work was not sound I think he has an immense amount to answer for. Wouldn't
be surprised if this wasn't the source of the Munchausens fiasco too

She also helped to spread the ridiculous lie that I was a former colleague of Graham Badman’s. Even this was nothing compared to a Tweet of hers in September 2009, to the effect that I was really not a home educating parent at all, but a home education inspector!  I don't suppose for a moment that Maire Stafford believed all this, she just felt that lies like this would make people view me with suspicion. Much of this malicious activity was undertaken on the HE-UK site, with Mike Fortune-Wood’s aid and encouragement. Maire Stafford is a strange woman. The very fact that she describes herself on her blog as being sweet, mild, timid and shy should be enough to alert any objective observer to the probability that she is actually unpleasant and aggressive and so it has proved over the years.

Yesterday, Mike Fortune-Wood appealed for information on his list that might help Maire Stafford to help Nikki Harper to get me prosecuted. The idea is that I have been revealing personal information about people here and attacking them. As a result of what she has been told by Maire Stafford, Nikki Harper is convinced that I  have, 'a reputation for attacking people, making very unpleasant accusations about their children', as she puts it.  I have no idea what these unpleasant accusations are about children, but Maire Stafford and Nikki Harper are currently scouring this blog for them. I will not go into all the things that were said about me on both HE-UK and various other lists and blogs in the past, but I will instead limit myself to remarking that it is a good thing that I was not the sort of chap to feel that he was being harassed online! It is to be hoped that this nonsense will end soon and I shall be able to get back to blogging about home education, which is after all the purpose of this place. I have an idea though that this business has a little way to run yet.


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