Critical Claptrap

I am all for criticism, keeps one on one’s toes you know but some stuff that gets sent to me is pure balderdash but looks good because the writer seems educated and erudite.  Here for your very eyes are four pages of neatly typed A4 but lacking a signature, which upsets me somewhat as you like to know who you are up against.  It was posted in England and that is all I know of its provenance, perhaps a reader might recognise a certain style that could put me in touch with an obvious fan.

I have numbered each paragraph so that I can comment or not as I see fit at the end.

1. I recently came across your blog and having read several items felt compelled to make this response, in defence of Mike Sheehan whom I believe you have cynically misrepresented to validate your self-appointed representation of some abuse victims.

2. I know of you throughout your time at St Bede’s, which like all institutions had its own systemic and deeply entrenched forms of abuse, though it’s the specific sexual abuse of Monsignor Duggan which you appear to be obsessed by.  I can recall multiple incidents of the much more common emotional, physical, psychological and contemptuous abuse, as well as the endemic bullying which seemed so prevalent in the early years.  The classic and multiple forms of institutional abuse were all there, yet strangely in this comprehensively abusive environment, you focus exclusively on Duggan and one single symptom of abuse.

3. For whatever reason, you left the school in 1963, and as far as I am aware your formal academic education appears to have ended at that time, a fact which you apparently later resented.  Perhaps related to your lack of experience of other educational establishments and comparative teaching methods, you appear to have a distorted assessment of the quality of teaching which St Bede’s provided at the time.  There were some good and a few outstanding teachers like Spike Martin and Bert Whalley but the majority were unexceptional and several were distinctly poor.  Had the school been subject to current Ofstead inspections, then given its culture, systemic management failings, drop-out rate and overall achievements it would almost certainly have been classed as failing and its management removed.

4. Sixty years later, unlike any of your contemporaries the school still retains some unfathomable and obvious attraction for you.  After leaving in 1963, you were amongst a very small number of the 57 intake who chose to maintain close contact with the school via your cricket interests and the Old Bedians Club.  Much later, you sent your own children to the same school which you had seemingly so admired yet would subsequently seek to villify for events which pre-dated their birth.

5. Attracted by the established culture and lifestyle as well as the wage or lump of the demolition and construction industry you appear to have enjoyed the post-academic life of a labourer, navvy or civil engineer.  Hard -working and hard-drinking groups of men, many of whom were single and of Irish descent formed close bonds in work, and especially outside, where alcohol became the mortar for establishing and maintaining those relationships.  Your own association with addiction to alcohol appears to have become established during this period, as does your apparent preference at the time, for socialising with almost exclusively and often older male company, in the pubs, clubs and sporting establishments you frequented.

6. I find your references to MS or Mike Sheehan, especially his “allegations” to be at best unfounded or more likely, a wilful misrepresentation and fabricated explanation of his sad circumstances.  As in so much of your writings, you show no evidence of causal link between your allegedly confidential information and the sad outcome for Mike.  Your connection, devoid of any supporting evidence or balanced argument is enough for you and much of your subsequent campaign of self-promotion and moralist indignation is predicated on this single allegation, which given the circumstances can be neither fully discounted nor confirmed, a convenient impasse for you.  I knew Mike many years after he had left school, he was an honest individual who like so many others in his situation believed or wanted to believe that he had the personal strength and wherewithal to control his addiction.  In my experience he never adopted the victim role, blaming others for his misfortune and took personal responsibility for the circumstances he found himself in, showing commendable resourcefulness and initiative to survive as long as he did.  You have written nothing about his life after school, his friends or family, did you really know him that well?  If you did, you might have written much more positively about a man who showed admirable self-awareness, accepted responsibility for the life he had once chosen, and was completely aware of his unavoidable prognosis.  Mike’s sad  but entirely predictable death was inevitable, only the precise timing and location were unknown.  In my opinion, you have abused the memory of Mike as a cover to somehow validate your campaign, but from my knowledge of the man, had he lived, I am certain that he would never have allowed you to use his name in the way you have done.

7. When I began reading your blog, I believed that you had some genuine interest, understanding and concern on the subject of abuse.  The more I have read your writings, the more convinced I have become that my initial assessment was wholly erroneous.  For a man who apparently spends so much time researching and writing about his topics you show a lamentable lack of awareness or understanding of the multiple different forms of abuse, or crucially any knowledge of the common denominators which exist in and influence all aspects of abuse.  The significance of the power relationship, dependency, transparent accountability and the distorted personal perception of the relative importance and value of the powerful against the powerless, would be cornerstones of understanding for most genuine students and observers of the subject, but apparently not for you.  There is no exploration or attempt from you to understand the complex history of abusive relationships in every culture and society across the globe which hopefully in the future, may guide our assessment and response to this universal and negative aspect of human nature.  Instead, your reader is presented with your own myopic view of abuse, namely sexual abuse in institutional settings, which interestingly is predominately male on male abuse.  I tried to find reference in your blog to abuse within families, which is generally acknowledged as being perhaps the most widespread and unreported source of abuse, and again could find no mention of the endemic psychological, physical, emotional, or coercive abuses in this area.  Strangely, unlike your frequent references to institutions, there was also no mention of sexual abuse within families.

8. In the absence of any evidentially based alternatives, I am satisfied that you have no genuine interest in understanding the history, complexity, causes or potential resolutions of abuse.  Instead, you have a specific and enduring interest in one form of abuse, namely sexual abuse, the likeliest reason being your own sexual gratification.  There are many charlatans seemingly seeking to understand human nature whilst covertly searching to satisfy the darker and overpowering aspects of their character.

9. You appear to have no awareness or concern about your own abusive personality and the extent to which you mirror and often exceed the abuses of others.  I am not sure if you recognise the importance of the balance of power in all relationships, though I am certain that like all bullies you have a sophisticated and finely tuned system of identifying those you can abuse with impunity and those you should avoid, as witnessed by the physical distance and administrative obfuscation you have used to shield you from legitimate challenges.  The dead, the vulnerable, those who for whatever reason cannot defend themselves, and those who might rightly question the advisability of reasoning with a madman, are the easy targets carefully selected for your gratuitous abuse.  Like so many other abusers you have a distorted or delusional view of your own importance or cleverness and sense of power, crucially linked to your contemptuous rejection and dismissal of those who you deem to be irrelevant, worthless and less important than yourself.  you have the classic prerequisites of the abusive personality; all you needed was real or assumed power in which to exercise your abusive nature.  I have no doubt that in any relationships within family, groups, or organisations in which you have power, your abusive personality will emerge and it would be for others to speculate on the forms of abuse you are engaged in within those relationships.

10. I believe Duggan was abusive in his relationships with staff, parents, and pupils at the school, and for some pupils, the psychological, emotional, physical and contemptuous abuse was at times apparently accompanied by sexual abuse.  However, it is essential to recognise that Duggan was abusive in all relationships in which he held power, control or fear over others, in short, he was an abusive personality in a very powerful position which gave him the scope to exercise the dark and negative aspects of his own personality.  The similarities between yourself and Duggan are quite striking, you are both abusive personalities, apparently oblivious to, or unconcerned about the damage you do to others, cocooned in your delusional belief in your own importance, status and position.  Like Duggan you take vicarious pleasure from the anxiety and fear you create in others, any vestige of shared humanity, concern and respect for the feelings of others are alien concepts on which important men like you and the Monsignor would not waste your precious time or talents.

11. You are a staunch critic of governments, politicians, religious orders and other organisations promoting your ethical values and from the moral high ground you freely dispense your generally critical invective against those who have failed to live up to your implied rather than real standards.  Looking closely at your own and your family’s business dealings prior to leaving Manchester, highlights the serious contradictions in the ethical stance you appear to adopt when judging others.  With your record in business, you should be wary of continuing to throw stones at others.  Maybe you could enlighten your readers with a blog, perhaps entitled “Integrity in business-a personal account”.  After explaining your role in the rise and fall of Kavanagh and Mannion, no doubt your readers, HM Revenue and at least 707 other creditors would learn much from your insight and detailed explanation of the ownership, history and dealings of Topskips, PAL and Toptriangle.  Adding Companies House records of the business successes, dissolutions and administrations of the Attwood/Goodman branch of the family might give the reader a broader understanding of the ethics you espouse.

12. I have failed to understand what motivates you to spend so much of your time and energy in producing the abusive elements of your blog.  Like Roy Keane, you are a driven man but where that wasted drive comes from and what it is intended to achieve is a mystery.  I suspect that its intention seeking and certainly it’s about your self-promotion, no-one would accuse you of being a team p[layer, but it’s also about power.  Like the aloof and unaccountable despot Duggan in his robes, you share the same sense of importance, authority and contempt for lesser mortals in your writings having like all bullies, first carefully assessed the threat to your own safety.  You appear to be a very angry and resentful man and throughout your writings I had the impression of an author who was much more focused on trying to show how clever he believed he was rather than presenting a balanced view of the issues he was discussing.

13. You have consistently failed to gain any significant support for your campaigns from any of the former pupils of the school, because  they quickly identify your abusive and manipulative personality but also the self-evident conclusion from reading your blog, that you are demonstrably, neither a credible witness nor author.  Any barrister representing a plaintiff bringing a case against Duggan’s abuses would quickly identify you and your writings as a liability to be excluded from forming any part of their litigation.  Though you could never accept the fact, you are a severe hindrance rather than a help to anybody considering taking proceedings against Duggan’s abuses.

14. Having carefully reviewed my contact with Mike Sheehan, I am not persuaded that he made any allegations to you, but on balance I am convinced that the man I knew would have rejected your self -appointed advocacy, allegedly made on his, rather than your own behalf.  In my opinion you have cynically used the death of a former classmate, for your own abusive ends.  I have dismissed your implied interest and concern in the subject of abuse, such claims are fraudulent, you have an obsessive interest in only one form of abuse, namely sexual abuse, predominantly male on male from which I believe you gain some form of gratification.  Undoubtedly Duggan was an abusive personality just as you are, but like him, in his shared deluded sense of your own self-importance you fail to see or ignore the impact of that abusiveness on others.

15. I suspect that you have already had significant involvement with the psychiatric services in Roscommon and possibly in Stockport previously.  Whilst these services cannot alter your underlying sociopathic/psychopathic personality, they may have the capacity at times to ameliorate the worst excesses of your behaviour.  You will not change as your condition precludes you from having that opportunity but stop misrepresenting a decent man, Mike Sheehan, to excuse or validate your own warped self-interest and abusive personality.

On behalf of my memory of Mike Sheehan

Well that is it 2287 words of pure poorly written half researched nonsense.  Full of long sentences and even longer words, wanting to impress rather than make his point.  His character assassination of me was like water off a duck’s back  It is like writing a dissertation at the end of a degree course and not putting your name to it.  He considers I was right with Duggan’s abuses but he considers I am not fair to Mike Sheehan and it is for that I deserve such a blunt attack on my persona.  I have trawled through the 429 postings I have made on this blog and have come across four where I have mentioned the poor man, viz:-

1. Decline and Fall published 31.1.10.

2. Geoffrey Burke, Auxillary Bishop of Salford and Titular Bishop of Vagrouta published 1.3.10

3. Teenage Years published 2.3.10

4. Monsignor Thomas Duggan published 3.3.10

Google them, read them, and think about it, none of these seems to cast Sheehan in a bad light and except for the exuberance of youth with which I share my responsibility, the text is mainly in praise of the man.  I did not know him too well in his mature years because by then work and family life had made us drift apart but I was certainly a key figure in his life up to the age of 25 0r 26.  Certainly at school we were inseperable and I was at his wedding and sadly his funeral mass  where Dave McGarry officiated as he did at the funerals of most fractured Old Bedians.

Sheehan was never at the fulcrum of my campaign against Duggan and others but he was certainly a catalyst, because after I had written the first of those postings mentioned above, I was bombarded with e-mails from all over the world from former pupils explaining how they also were victims of Duggan’s sexual abuse.  Other forms of abuse fall into insignificance when compared to this.

At this time over five years ago I was totally naive as to this problem, I mentioned it in passing in the last line of that first posting thinking Sheehan was the only one ever abused.  Little was I to know what can of worms I had opened.

Para 13 suggests I have failed to gain any significant support and that lawyers would run a mile if they saw me coming but the truth is that we have probably 50 witnesses who will swear under oath of their abuses under Duggan, all telling roughly the same story as Sheehan, some I’m afraid are a lot, lot worse.  The case against the Diocese of Salford is scheduled for the High Court in London in May 2016.

So Mr “On behalf of my memory of Mike Sheehan” Dickhead expose yourself there is plenty I would be willing to discuss with you man to man because as you say that is how I like it.

Two last words before I post.  When I started this posting I numbered the paragraphs intending to disseminate each one but having finished my task I had to ask myself is it worth it, but if any reader wants to ask a question or make a point let them do so but I am really against cowards who cannot put their names to their writing.  The last and final word is from my ever youthful wife of 42 years.  She said ” I have a list of complaints about you but what this person has done is missed you by a mile.  He keeps adding up 2 + 2 and getting five”

Good day eejit.

10 thoughts on “Critical Claptrap

  1. Paul I just do not understand what this person is trying to say. Is it not libellous? Did this person know Mr Sheehan? Did this person attend St Bedes? Without a name of course you cannot conduct any sort of reasonable dialogue. One comment – Paul Malpas uncovered Duggan’s sexual abuse and without this no-one would have known about it. This is enough for me. I was there in the 1950’s. Please whoever you are have some respect for what Paul has uncovered. David Andrew

  2. Those 15 paragraphs are not totally devoid of merit, but if we extract everything that is worth saying it would amount to just a few sentences. The only real criticisms that I think could be made of Paul’s blogs are (1) that his style sometimes alienates people unnecessarily, and (2)that he sometimes makes claims without presenting the evidence to support them.

    As regards (1), it is Paul’s blog, not anyone else’s, and if he chooses to write in that way it is his business, and his alone. No-one is obliged to read his blog. I would agree with the anonymous author that on occasion Paul’s style may be counter-productive, but there are other times when it is just what is needed.

    As regards (2), I have learned not to dismiss Paul’s claims too readily. For some claims that I found implausible at first, supporting evidence has eventually turned up, in Paul’s blog or elsewhere. (That does not mean that I accept uncritically everything he writes, of course.)

    The author is entitled to his views, though it would have been better if he had expressed them courteously. It is hypocritical to criticize Paul’s robust style by writing in an abusive tone.

    The big problem with what the author write is that he doesn’t have the guts to identify himself. (If he had done so, he might have felt constrained to make his criticisms sensible and constructive, and to express them politely.) Mainly for that reason, I am not inclined to take either him or his opinions very seriously.

    1. Well Linda, thanks for that measured comment, at least you have put your name to yours while that jerk could not. I would have taken it all on the chin if he had and replied to all his points which were either totally wrong or at least a little false.

  3. Whoever wrote that should remember that he is projecting, whether he wants to or not, which sadly leaves all his arguments inert…

    Yours Faithfully

    Secret Squirrel

  4. Ref Helen’s ‘last and final word’ – I agree, excepting he’s missing the entire point of your expose campaign: adding 2 + 2 and getting 3.

  5. Let us remember that no one can accuse Paul Malpas of jumping on a bandwagon here.

    His campaign regarding the abuse at Bede’s pre-dates by around 18 months the death of the disgraced DJ Savile.

    Many others, in the wake of Savile’s outing, have since been convicted.

    Also puzzling is the fact that the abuse at Bede’s was reported on the BBC 10 o’clock News back in January 2014. So even the BBC were interested at the goings-on at the Alma Mater. If the matter was so spurious, why would the BBC bother running a report on it?

    Then there’s the little matter of the case to be heard, hopefully, in the High Court next May.

    No, I’m afraid our anonymous complainer here is the one lacking credibility, when clearly they’re so sure of their “facts” they can’t even put a name when sending the letter.

    A coward of the First Order.

  6. Yes, anyone who clearly wishes to remain anonymous here is so certain they’ve got everything right.

    Somehow, I think not…

  7. To Glen

    The Dark Arts are at work here.

    I thought we were told it would all stop when Mandelson retired, how wrong can you be. However, in some ways, the Spinmeister Supreme is sorely missed.

    I’ll bet the Labour “Rebuttal Unit” under Mandelson wouldn’t have let Cameron & Co get away with all the whoppers they’ve been telling for the past decade….

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