Ixworth Free School: are some supporters trying to prevent debate by ripping down posters and online abuse?

When faced with someone you disagree with you have two main choices, argue your point as strongly as you can or try and prevent debate and abuse your opponents.

Sadly some supporters of the Ixworth Free School proposal seem to have taken the latter approach.

This morning we had reports that posters put up by the Suffolk Coalition Opposing Free Schools had been ripped down and leaflets left for parents removed. You can see photographs below of what has happened:

In addition to this over the weekend a strange looking username appeared on this Blog and on Twitter. It was called “AGraverHotspots”. Strangely this account followed only one person. Me.

There are some funny names on Twitter so it took me a few looks to work out that there was something very strange about this user.

If you re-arrange the letters in the word you get “Hargrave Tosspot”.

To be honest after blogging for a while this kind of abuse is par for the course but still in the words of Margaret Thatcher that my fellow blogger over at Riverside View loves to quote:
‘I always cheer up immensely if an attack is particularly wounding because I think, well, if they attack one personally, it means they have not a single political argument left.’  
Sadly there appears to have been a concerted effort since the Ixworth School was first proposed to stifle any free discussion of the issue and prevent parents hearing facts and arguments that might lead them to decide to question the free school. A few examples of this:
  • Refusal to allow me to attend an “open meeting” about the free school
  • Attempting to keep the names of the proposers secret
  • Refusing to answer or ignoring questions asked 
  • Failing to correct information admitted to be inaccurate or misleading
  • Attempts by local politicians to control information sent by local schools and in the press 
The free school proposers have every right to suggest a free school at Ixworth and to engage with local parents. However others have the same right to oppose it. We have a long tradition in this country of free debate on matters of public policy. Those in public life expect to get challenged and questioned.

If the free school proposal is such a good idea it will stand up to a bit of opposition and scrutiny. Trying to stop opposing views makes it seem the proposers know it isn’t a good idea and don’t want parents to find out the facts.
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