My response to Graham Watson's Letter: Our Children, Our Choice

Graham Watson, Director of the Seckford Foundation wrote a letter to me yesterday (that you can see under my reply below).  This is my reply:
Dear Mr Watson 
As you are "monitoring my blog" and "do not intend to engage in further correspondence" I have decided to reply to your email on my Blog so I can be sure that you can see it. 
Many thanks for your reply to my recent email about Margaret Read. I am somewhat surprised that you are not more concerned that someone you do not know is emailing local schools and the County Council and circulating information about events that you are organising. This is at least giving the impression of a connection to The Seckford Foundation. 
As for not "engaging in further correspondence" you have ignored almost all the correspondence I have sent - with the exception of the request for a comment on the story I published about Beccles Free School Proposer Tony Callaghan - where you moved very swiftly to distance yourself from Mr Callaghan. So the Seckford Foundation can and do respond to correspondence where your own interests are clearly under threat. 
Which brings us to the nub of the matter. Thankfully I studied Latin at school so understood your suggestion that I have no locus standi in this issue. As you know locus standi is a legal term meaning "standing". 
Standing or locus standi from the Wikipedia Article 
I can only imagine that who might have legal standing is an issue on the mind of the Foundation at the moment. In any case I think you are probably mistaken as the threat to the North Suffolk Skills Centre could directly impact my own children and our local schools in Stradbroke.
Such a suggestion I think shows where the Seckford Foundation completely mis-understand their involvement in state education. The thing is that everyone has standing when it comes to state education. Parents, children, members of the community - everybody. We all pay for it and the socialisation of children is a societal activity that we all have a clear interest in - it takes a a village to raise a child
If you do become involved in state education I think you will find an incredible number of people will expect you to be accountable to them. I doubt they will appreciate being told that they don't fit a legal definition for having an interest so you do not intend to correspond with them! 
I think the Seckford Foundation would command more respect if it was prepared to stand up and be counted. Rather than hiding behind personal assistants and ignoring emails you could choose to engage with people and answer their questions. They might not agree with you but they would certainly have more respect for you if you did. 
Independent schools have a great deal of experience of marketing and public relations but this approach is unlikely to be as successful in the state sector. People opposing what you are doing is part of the cut and thrust of public life. It is a reminder that we live in a democracy where the will of the people is what counts ultimately - our children, our choice.
Yours sincerely 
James Hargrave
Blogger, taxpayer, parent, school governor, parish councillor, Suffolk resident, journalist
Links related to this article:

My original article about Stoke by Nayland Free School
Report by Wordblog of the "monitoring" by Seckford
Blog post "Seckford Foundation if you can't win the argument intimidate your opponents"
Ipswich Spy "Threatening Bloggers is never a good idea"

This letter is in response to:
Dear Mr Hargrave 
We do not know Margaret Read or what, if any, interest group she represents. She may be, like you, someone who has no locus standi beyond having an interest in the subject of free schools. Please note that we do not intend to engage in any further correspondence with you but will continue to monitor your blog in case you publish any defamatory comments in the future. 
Should we be approved to pre opening stage you will have an opportunity to raise any points you wish as part of any public consultation process. 
Yours sincerely 
Graham Watson
Seckford Foundation 5857864002316540244

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