An SES member says: it's time for an SES apology

Discussion of the children's schools in the UK.
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Postby AntonR » Tue Mar 14, 2006 5:22 am

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Postby chittani » Tue Mar 14, 2006 7:50 am


Nice one, Sancho!

Well, I for one am happy to leave the Sanskrit to others - but in this case I wasn't drawing on any mystical significance. We don't have to look any further than the heart to find the cause and location of all the problems here. As the second half of your post amply illustrates.

Demystification always helps.

For my part, I turned myself around a decade ago when I decided to put my family first, and I'm very glad that I did. I'm sure that in your position I might have been just as bad, but that's impossible to know of course. I think the SES I was in - time and place - was a more sympathetic and human environment.

But Sancho I think I'm going to retire from this windmill-rich environment for a while because frankly it's doing my head in. I came on here to make a statement, not to yap endlessly. I feel a bit low about some of our chats. I might feel that the School is dysfunctional and weird, but I'd much rather be doing something positive about it.

If I carry on I'll be the one doubting my motives ...

Anton, and all the rest of you, I take no pleasure in all of this, but it's been good to get to know you a bit. Good luck.

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Postby Stanton » Tue Mar 14, 2006 10:27 am

Chittani - do stay posting if you feel that you can. It's good to have your input and current experience of the School.

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Postby Goblinboy » Tue Mar 14, 2006 10:31 am

AntonR wrote:But by far more important, for me personally, is to reconcile with my two beautiful daughters....
Hopefully, I may be able to reach them openly on the BB for the world to see, literally.

Wish you and the family all the best with this, Anthony.


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Postby chittani » Tue Mar 14, 2006 11:25 am


I'll second that - I hope it works out for you and your family.

Jo-Anne Morgan
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Postby Jo-Anne Morgan » Tue Mar 14, 2006 9:09 pm

Following on from Free Thinker's post about Leon McLaren being treated as some kind of demi-god, there is a similar phenomenon with the head of the school I used to attend. He has his own chair (with arms!!); his own cup and saucer; he is waited on; when he walks into a room where there is a seated assembled company, everyone stands up; he is held up as the last word, the definitive opinion, whenever there is contention over 'the material'.

You got the feeling we were supposed to regard him as our own personal direct line to 'the Absolute'.

The whole thing reminded me of corporate culture in the 1950s with the head of the school being the equivalent of the Chief Executive. In fact stepping into the school was like walking back into the 1950s, right down to the 'no-trousers' rule for women and reduced fees for 'non-earning housewives'!!

And all this in your spare time after work - you just don't need that crap!!

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Chittani's message of March 10.

Postby andrewhogg » Wed Mar 15, 2006 11:09 pm

Sorry, delayed response. Much as I would like to spend several hours a day going through all these emails, and the backlog, I would like to ask Chittani this in response to his message of March 10.

"I would be very grateful if you would point me towards the innuendo in the book that I co-authored that was not backed up with fact. With regard to "the book's political agenda" there simply wasn't one. It has been argued that the Standard newspaper had a political agenda in publishing the articles when it did. There were other factors at work at the time, however, that dilute (but don't quash) that argument. Namely, the fact that the Sunday Times was about to embark on its own investigation. The book, however, appeared some time later.
And as to the book, what political agenda could there have been? Hounam was to the left of British politics, myself, if anything to the right. We found an organisation that we established to our satisfaction was a cult that had a number of members trying to infiltrate the Liberal Party. We reported that, as any journalist would. That's not a political agenda - that's a story. By the light of what I have read on this message board in the couple of months that I have been a visitor, we only knew the half of it.
There are a number of unanswered questions about the SES, irrespective of the childrens schools that it runs, that need answering. I am in the process of drawing up a list to post. The one that is uppermost in my mind, however, is what would appear to be a connection between
members of the SES and elements in the British intelliegence services at the time the book appeared. I will shortly post the verbatim interview with a senior SES member at the time that indicates a "healthy" dialogue. If that does strike a chord with anyone, please spare me the weird phone calls this time round.
Andrew Hogg

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Postby chittani » Thu Mar 16, 2006 1:40 am

Dear Andrew

Sorry, I must confess that I am going purely on hearsay there. E.g. the Chairman's Report:

1.2 Bad Press
1.2.1 The Newspaper Campaign
(a) On June 8th 1983, a newspaper carried an ?expos?? of the S.E.S. and
?its schools?. This had been written by two investigative journalists,
Hounam and Hogg, who later published their findings in a book (see
Appendix 3).
(b) It may well be significant that when this campaign was continued on
the next day, the day of the General Election, specific mention was made of the Chairman of the Governors, Roger Pincham, who was standing as a
Liberal Candidate for Leominster.

I was picking up on his implication in (b) as well as some comments from members of this board about aspects that you had possibly understood less well than others. I'm sorry, but I haven't read your book. I would now like to after seeing yesterday's C4 News report, and David Boddy's apparent assertion that the Governors had not heard about these allegations before.

Anyway, it wasn't really a main issue in the posting, but again I apologise for making statements that aren't backed up by having read your book. I will do so if I get the time.

So far as the intelligence services go, that is a new one on me. I understand that the book asserted that we were 'penetrating the corridors of power' or some such remark ... our subsequent failure to do anything of the kind may be testament to either our higher purity or ineptitude, I know not which.

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Postby Stanton » Thu Mar 16, 2006 9:46 am

If the SES was trying to penetrate the Liberal Party it made a pretty poor job of it. Roger Pincham was chairman for a while and other SES members were candidates or otherwise active. But to suggest that there was concerted action to infiltrate the party is ridiculous; for a start it was against the strict rules of charitable status (as we were reminded by the School in no uncertain terms after your book was published). Yes, SES members might also be members of a political party. It was hardly forbidden. Andrew Maclaren was an Independent Labour MP and it's already been mentioned on this BB that David Boddy worked for Margaret Thatcher. But it is a bizarre non-sequitur to say that, supposing an SES member(s) personally chooses to be a member of a political party, it therefore follows that a conspiracy is developing. You suggested that in Secret Cult and, by so doing, revealed that you did not really know from the inside how political parties work.

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Postby AntonR » Thu Mar 16, 2006 10:25 am

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Liberal Party infiltration

Postby andrewhogg » Thu Mar 16, 2006 12:30 pm

Chittani ? admirable candour. Apology accepted. Do try to find a copy of the book, though, you might find it enlightening.
Stanton ? I?m not going to get into a slanging match over an issue that is now more than 20 years old. The prevailing view of those SES members we interviewed was that the organisation had a self appointed mission to save the world (in a manner of speaking). If a group of people sharing that common ideal then emerge as a faction within a political party, without declaring their true intent, then that it is entryism, doesn?t matter if it is the SES or Militant Tendency. You don?t need to understand how a political party works for the inside to arrive at that conclusion. As I have stated elsewhere on this message board, the infiltration of the Liberal Party was only one facet of our investigation and was by no means the most important. The choice of date as to when the Evening Standard stories appeared was a matter for the editor alone. The SES has consistently tried to dismiss our work as politically motivated. It wasn?t. Our motivation came from the kind of stories of real distress that appear here.
Andrew Hogg

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Postby sparks » Fri Mar 17, 2006 12:16 am

chittani wrote: after seeing yesterday's C4 News report, and David Boddy's apparent assertion that the Governors had not heard about these allegations before.

They knew or they chose to ignore what was in front of their eyes....either way, the point is that the Governors and David Boddy KNEW ABOUT the allegations 20 years ago.

This gives the lie to their 'new broom, all ok now, we are sincere, we have acted with integrity' spin.

Bollocks, utter Channel 4 pointed out, in 1983 David Boddy not only attended meetings with parents where allegations (which the Townend report has now addressed) were raised...HE DEFENDED THE SCHOOLS AGAINST THEM!
Maybe its time for Boddy to go ...certainly he should never appear on TV again!

Can anyone shed light on why Boddy became head?....wasnt one of the other candidates a current tecahers found by Townend to have mistreated or criminally assaulted children....what a choice of candidates!...were there any others....was Lambie involved in Boddy's appointment?


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Postby sugarloaf » Fri Mar 17, 2006 2:02 am

Its obvious - he was by far the most qualified candidate for the job.

A career in PR, including work for an arms company, a stint as press secretary for a prime minister who believed there was no such thing as society, a long term and ambitious SES member & the organisations media spokesman - who successfully saw off the complaints about st james and the SES 2 decades ago with a strategy of 'do nothing and wait till it all blows over', and a man with no educational experience or teaching qualifications (at least if he had - I imagine he would mention them on hs CV attached to the school prospectus)

No wonder he won the position - he has the perfect CV for a St james headteacher at a time when the schools need to deal with problem with their public image.

And appointing one of the other candidates who had a history of mistreating children would just not be very clever would it? even for the SES - even though hes still teaching at the school.

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the apology thing....

Postby ross nolan » Sat Mar 18, 2006 3:19 pm

Greetings, Having just caught up with the last two weeks of the forum I am none the wiser as to where it is going .

The subject of this thread is "An apology from the SES" - presumably for the corporal punishment and mental anguish associated with the St James schools (only) and the insistent calls for such an apology from many of the expupils, leaving me thinking;

Imagine that you have received that apology --in whatever words you desired -- what would happen the day after that ?

Would the continuation of the SES 'as per normal'not trouble you at all ?

What is it about a spoken (or written) apology that is all important ?

(This is a genuine question that I am seeking the answer to -- it reminds me of the neverending campaign by Aboriginal (whatever word I use will attract shrill criticism from one party to this BB..) activists,sympathizers etc for an apology for the British settlement of Australia .

Wiser Aboriginal leaders have said that an apology can only ever be symbolic and only real action and acceptance of responsibility to fix problems can make a damn bit of difference . This is true.

Would a grovelling "I apologize" from some SES leader terminate the whole campaign ? If so then is it any more than a symbolic gesture that cannot repair past or prevent future damage ?

Is there anybody who wants to see the deception and insincere exploitation of 'seekers after enlightenment' brought to a complete halt , the school stopped and it's ill gotten assetts resumed? (as with any charitable or sporting body that has grown under tax free and mutualized status which is wound up for reasons of misconduct etc )

If not then why not ? It seems a little like someone who grew up in the Hitler youth ,say, and therefore has some fond memories of the camaraderie and feelings of belonging etc, only asking for a sincere apology for the 'overdone' bits of discipline but not wanting the NAZI party to be stopped or those gas chambers shut down .......

OK the analogy is a bit severe but the "SES youth" is what is being focussed on with the rest being left to go it's own (un) merry way.

Why ? Is there any redeeming factor that should let the parent organization "off the hook" (the whole SES ) when it so blatantly misrepresents it's actual business and leads to the numerous testified cases of family and individual breakdown and, at best, seems to push an indefensible mess of corrupted Hindu/Zen/ Ancient Greek/ off beat medieval quasi religious -quasi philosophical bona fide cult rubbish.

It is no charity, nor is it a church , nor is it a study organization or 'think tank' -- it appears to offer the community and the nation nothing of value but may end up costing much in psychological counselling and lost benefit from it's members contribution to society.

If it is not entirely toxic by nature then it is at least a threat to much of what constitutes an asset to a nation -- it has been declared to be as much by the governments of Belgium and Holland (fairly liberal and not agnostic regimes )

What then is the justification for wanting to protect the whole organization and it's manipulative,deceptive and destructive activities ?

What does a 'defender' of the organization describe as it's agenda or raison de etre and the case for it's continuation ?

These are generalized questions relating to the broad picture of the whole entity that is the SES -- it seems that most of the similar 'transcendent' groups that grew out of the early twentieth century mystics and theosophy have naturally withered and dissappeared along with many other damaging cultish movements as education and exposure of charlatans has increased -- but not this one .

If it does no essential good and trades on government exemption status and abuse of proper rules of conduct (for charities and educational - adult- institutions) then why stop short of applying lawful remedies to an identified problem?


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Postby chittani » Mon Mar 20, 2006 10:34 am


You make some valid points, but there are a lot of extreme and wild remarks as well. I think you should consider whether concision would enable you to make your point better.

Plainly, I disagree with your view that the School does no good and is incapable of reform. Rational people like Bella and Stanton seem quite happy to proceed within the School, in full awareness of its imperfections. I think that you should consider whether you know the organization as well as they do.

As for St James, the same is true of many of the pupils posting here. They know that they attend good schools. The girls' school in particular has just been ranked 20th in the UK on the Financial Times listing, which I believe tries to look at 'added value'. That is, schools that have high-achieving pupils at the start are given less credit than non-selective ones like St James. How does that square with your view that the School, or St James, do no good?

When you say that an apology alone would do nothing, I agree. But I do not agree that an apology would mean nothing. It is the first, symbolic, step.

Your 'slash and burn' attitude to the whole matter puts you on the extreme end of things. I think you ought to consider also whether someone like you is right to indulge in ranting, while others who have far more cause keep their cool. Personally, I feel that it's important to respect the complainants and give them the centre stage.

Skepticism is a discipline.

It's never too late to start.

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