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Welcome to a new member
Posted: Fri Feb 10, 2006 8:34 am
I see we appear to have been joined by Andrew Hogg, a journalist with an interest in cults. Presumably the co-author of Secret Cult. Welcome.
Posted: Fri Feb 10, 2006 9:41 am
GB - you are such an astute vegie - how did you notice that???
Should we flag it with a subject header change like above?
Or do we wonder if it is really him...
Re: Andrew Hogg
Posted: Fri Feb 10, 2006 5:12 pm
a different guest wrote:GB - you are such an astute vegie - how did you notice that???
The memberlist at the top of the page shows every subscribed user.
Re: Andrew Hogg
Posted: Fri Feb 10, 2006 11:21 pm
a different guest wrote:Or do we wonder if it is really him...
That's always an issue.
Posted: Sat Feb 11, 2006 1:59 pm
Yes, I was the co-author of Secret Cult, but knew nothing of this message board - or the Townend enquiry - until told last week. I was convinced at the time of writing about the SES with Peter Hounam that we were performing a public service in exposing its activities. Having read some of the posts here, and the Townend Report, I feel utterly vindicated. Unfortunately the Standard chose to publish our work on the eve of the 1982 General Election, which has allowed the SES to maintain that our work was primarily politically motivated. This is the line an author called David V. Barrett swallowed wholesale when interviewing David Boddy for his book The New Believers. (Interestingly enough, Barrett made absolutely no effort to contact either Hounam or myself before writing a piece based entirely on what Boddy told him. So much for objective research!) The Editor of the Standard may well have sought to capitalise on the political infiltration line by deciding to publish when he did. But that was not our motive for writing. By way of explanation as to why I have joined the message board - I felt when Secret Cult was published that we had barely scratched the surface regarding the SES. Some of the accounts people have posted here show me some of what we missed.
Posted: Sat Feb 11, 2006 5:07 pm
I was at the schools at the time the book and the Standard report came out, and for the kids old enough to understand, it was the first sign that we were not being treated normally in the eyes of the outside world. It did send massive ripples (erm...I guess that would be waves then!) through the organisation and there were many edicts passed down about speaking to journalists and not reading non-ses material anyway.
What is more interesting though, is that you mention that Boddy was instrumental in spinning away the negative publicity at that time. But now, his story is that that was the old school and this is the new-and-improved school - yet there he was 20 years ago, defending the whole organisation just as he is now.
Again, it is yet another example that the schools have not really changed - you still have the same bunch of people preaching the same mis-guided rubbish with absolutely no authority to do so - and fighting for the organisation that is quietly stashing away gullible peoples money by buying prime properties.
My advice to any parents thinking of sending their kids to the school is...don't be fooled!
Anyway, thanks for being the first to lift the lid on the whole outfit and in doing so, keeping up the great tradition of investigative journalism. Hopefully the current media coverage will continue the good work that Peter and yourself started.
Posted: Sat Feb 11, 2006 10:18 pm
The Editor of the Standard may well have sought to capitalise on the political infiltration line by deciding to publish when he did.
Was the political side such a big deal??? My understanding from the other side of the world (au) has been that the British Liberal party were something of a non-event (but perhaps I am wrong in that?).
Posted: Sat Feb 11, 2006 11:03 pm
Alban, sorry if I gave the impression that New Believers was 20 years old. It was in fact published in 2001. I am particularly irritated by the author's myopic view of the SES as I know the book has subsequently been used to reassure at least one parent St James' parent that Hounam and myself were largely acting from political motives. We weren't! It was the kind of heart-breaking stories that I have seen here since joining this message group that led to our determination to see our articles published.
Posted: Sat Feb 11, 2006 11:09 pm
To a different guest:
No, the political side wasn't that big a deal. The schools were. Once we established that some parents had no idea they were affiliated to the SES we felt they had a right to be told. The Liberal Party was a side show, but an interesting side show nonetheless.
Posted: Sun Feb 12, 2006 3:17 am
Is there anyway for us to verify Andrew Hogg is really who he claims to be? It would not be the first time an imposter has used the site.
If Andrew Hogg is genuine I apologise now, but after a few years at St James trust is not my strong point.
If Andrew Hogg is an imposter from the SES then may you spend the rest of your life being force fed chips, beefburgers and white bread whilst listening to the red hot chilli peppers at full volume!!! Ooops ,nearly forgot .... and being genuinely inferior to a female!!
Posted: Sun Feb 12, 2006 9:48 am
The Liberal Party was a side show, but an interesting side show nonetheless.
Shame a "sideshow" would see an edtior choose a release date because of it. And how "interesting" could it have really been if the Liberal party there are such a non-event? A case of smoke and mirrors?
Certainly reading the book here I kinda skimmed quickly over the political bits - not only not relevent to here, but I'd already had it in my head that the Uk Libs were NOT a political force that needed reckoning with.
I suspect tho that the SES here are RIGHT behind the aussie Liberal party. ("right" being the operative word *g*)
Posted: Sun Feb 12, 2006 10:00 am
andrewhogg wrote:Alban, sorry if I gave the impression that New Believers was 20 years old...
No, my mistake, I've just re-read your post and realise that I misread that Boddy was defending The Secret Cult rather than The New Believers. He was probably too busy spinning away Margret Thatchers mistakes at the time anyway!
Posted: Sun Feb 12, 2006 10:19 am
In answer to Bluelight, I've been press officer for the British charity the Medical Foundation for the Care of Victims of Torture for the past few years. So a call there (0207 697 7777) would establish my bona fides. Alternatively you could search the 's BBC online news site for the name of the charity + Hogg and a story or two quoting me should come up. But I'm happy to meet in London with anyone still suspicious! Frith would recognise me as we met while the book was being researched. And anyone who witnessed the fracas outside Chelsea Old Town Hall in Kings Road when the Standard photographer tried to take a picture of Leon MacLaren would recognise me!
Posted: Sun Feb 12, 2006 1:07 pm
Welcome back Andrew!
I was wondering what your thoughts were on encountering this forum so long after your previous involvement. Is any of this new ? or were you aware of some of it back in ?83? I was a pupil at the schools at the time, and remember hearing about the standard articles and thinking ?cold showers at st vedast? - is that the worst thing they?ve found? I would have loved to have talked to you then, but I also think you wouldnt have got the whole story. Its taken me 20 years of growing up in an environment free of SES to be able to really evaluate what went on there. We were also left in no doubt that there would be serious retribution if we talked to a journalist.
A fracas outside Chelsea old townhall? I thought the SES were always impeccably behaved...
Posted: Sun Feb 12, 2006 2:04 pm
I visited St. Vedast on a couple of occasions and was very uneasy about the atmopshere there, but I think it's fair to say that neither Peter Hounam or myself were aware that excessively harsh discipline was an issue, for the children at least. With hindsight, it doesn't surprise me. In answer to your question - I'm frankly rather dazed at the outpourings I have read here. Secret Cult seemed to emerge into a void - few with any experience of the SES came forward to support our findings, it didn't generate much of a debate, and journalistically life moved on. I have always remained convinced of the importance of our work, however, and having read what some of you went through, am even more convinced. I am still intrigued by how such a group of "eminently respectable" people could have got things so badly wrong!