Well that was a busy few days with literally thousands of people reading my blog from all over the world, especially the length and breadth of England and especially from the North West. Friday was a record day for me and traffic on Saturday exceeded that, with a levelling off yesterday, our supposed day of rest but it was still hectic. With thousands of people all spending 15 or 20 minutes every day reading what has been written, you begin to realise what a powerful tool a blog can be.
It all started off with news coming through on Friday about the Manchester Evening News report on the abuse at St Bede’s College that was scheduled for their Saturday edition and this was then followed by what seemed at the time a torrent of comments on my previous couple of blog postings and a barrowful of e-mails from supposedly disgruntled pupils, one suspected master and one ex-governor of the school.
When analysed, what looked a lot was in fact less than 27 pupils encouraged by twitter and facebook to write in some absolutely inane comments about how in their little cocooned world they loved the school and its headmaster and fuck its history. None of it alarming, some of it not unreasonable but typical of an immature mind. To say it was orchestrated is beyond my powers but the content was mainly similar and the same IP addresses and e-mail addresses were used quite often.
It was hardly a cross section of opinion but more of a rant by a few, mostly hiding under the shadow of anonymity and accusing me of everything from criticising the school, themselves, their teachers and almost for stealing the crown jewels. None of which I have done. I might have criticised the leadership of the school, Quinlan, the Chair of Governors and Kearney, the headmaster and to a lesser extent Pike, the Deputy Head but as far as I know they are fair game when the complaints that have been put to me by parents and others are concerned and after all it is only my opinion based on what concerned people tell me. I certainly criticised the crew of the Salford Diocese but I have been doing that for years, they seem to like a little flagellation; it seems to go with their celibacy but they and their forbears have been covering up the historic and modern sexual abuse that has totally blemished Bede’s reputation recently.
The big trouble at Bede’s is not the downgrading of the school although that is important but knowing the paucity in the mindset of the management it is inevitable and I think eventually damaging to its ethos and reputation. The big, big thing is that Bede’s will not confront its abuse problem, it keeps shovelling the shit under the carpet. Only one voice, a mother of a pupil, has had the bravery and foresight to say this in a comment on this blog this morning. More parents need to say it and get the desperados in charge to face up to the College’s past and I am afraid, not too distant past either. This hiding, ducking and diving from the elephant in the room is totally detrimental to any progress.
Anyway now that things have settled down on the internet, perhaps we can look at other issues that cropped up, like the Manchester Evening News report on Saturday, 4th May on the forthcoming court case against the Salford Diocese and the Board of Governors of the College and the fact that six of them resigned last Monday, 29th April and which was barely recorded in that torrent of comment and e-mails previously mentioned. True to its word, they having informed me on Friday, the article was printed and true to the paper’s style it had some alarming errors in it. It was written by its supposed chief investigative reporter Dan Thompson, who hardly lived up to his title as he was handed the information on a plate. To me it was all old hat but one or two found it a powerful piece, however it needed to be accurate as its main thrust was on the resigning of a bevy of governors on the foot of the court case. So if some of my acquaintance found it powerful others also might have done so and it probably served its purpose but I wish I could have written it. Anyway it was better than that tawdry piece written by Keegan, the MEN’s top cub reporter and old Bedian two years ago last March about the Bishop’s halfhearted apology to the abused of Bede’s.
What I find strange about this Governor mass resignation is that they have all known about it since early April 2012, over a year ago. Since then nine governors have resigned. One other, a solicitor and probably aware of what was coming down the tracks resigned a month before in February 2012, three of the nine resigned in January this year and six resigned last Monday, 29th April 2013. Thus leaving a rump of seven governors and a secretary. Five clergy, two laymen, one of whom is the accountant and the lady secretary. The clergy consist of one bishop, two monsignors and two priests, one of whom should not be there anyway as he supposedly has been relieved of his duties whilst facing impending charges of child sexual abuse. All the governors with the exception of the offending priest, the accountant and the secretary are all in their 70s. A strange elite to have in charge of a College that no longer declares its Catholic ethos.
Since these resigning governors have known about this situation for over 13 months it is a little disingenuous to suggest it is because of the court case. The correct time for these people to have resigned would have been in February 2012 like the solicitor mentioned who must have given reasons for her dive. By resigning now does not allow them to escape the rigour of the law. All governors of all schools have to realise that when they take on the role of governor, they become responsible for “the sins of their fathers” or in other words previous governors who had a vicarious liability towards abused pupils. It is no good jumping out the back window when the police come knocking on the door because there are half a dozen waiting in the backyard for you.
So to get back to the article, six and not seven governors resigned last week leaving a rump of eight and not ten remaining governors. It also said that at the time of the abuse by Duggan et al, the College was run by the Diocese. There might be a fine legal point here but who the hell is it run by now with a bishop, two monsignors and two priests on the board along with three also rans?
The article also said Mr Byrne resigned in March, it was registered in Companies House on 29th April, so that was when he and the five others resigned and it went on to say they resigned because of impending legal action, which as I said they had known about for over 13 months. Well they resigned in two tranches, Messrs Carr, Keegan and Edwards on 28th January 2013 and Messrs Byrne, Moynihan, Gillespie, Driscoll, O’Flynn and Walsh on 29th April 2013 which hardly smacks of an agreed reason for going. I think they resigned for different reasons and could I suggest one being a difference in opinion on how the school was being managed.