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Andrew's posting has now been edited by John D. Clare to say the following:

As a result of unfounded allegations made against two of the members of our Administration Team on another Forum for which no explanation or apology was given, Andy Walker and John Simkin were put on moderation here on July 22nd 2005. This meant that all their posts would be moderated before they appeared publicly, but that any posts they made once moderated would be allowed through. No topics have been deleted at all.

The moderators have discussed this issue extensively, and it was a joint, unanimous and carefully-taken decision.

However, Andy Walker requested that his account be deleted and we have complied with his request.

The moderators regret that Andy - who has been a long-time member of the forum - chose to respond by resigning from the forum.

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This is a very strange turn of events, but I hope all parties concerned are eventually able to put this episode to one side, thus enabling normal 'hostilities' to resume on the History Teachers' Discussion Forum.

I have also posted the following on that forum:

I'd just like to echo Dafydd's comments. If Andy and John have overstepped the mark somehow, I think they have a right to know exactly what it is they are supposed to have done. They have both been most valuable contributors to this forum for quite some time and they deserve an explanation.

http://www.schoolhistory.co.uk/forum/index...indpost&p=43218

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This is a very strange turn of events, but I hope all parties concerned are eventually able to put this episode to one side, thus enabling normal 'hostilities' to resume on the History Teachers' Discussion Forum.

I have also posted the following on that forum:

I'd just like to echo Dafydd's comments. If Andy and John have overstepped the mark somehow, I think they have a right to know exactly what it is they are supposed to have done. They have both been most valuable contributors to this forum for quite some time and they deserve an explanation.

http://www.schoolhistory.co.uk/forum/index...indpost&p=43218

Thank you for this Chris. As you know we also disagree about the merits of Tony Blair and New Labour. However, you are intellectually confident enough to be willing to discuss these issues in a free and open manner. Glad to see that you have not succumbed to the tyranny of authoritarianism.

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One of the consequences of my self imposed liberation from the schoolhistory forum is that I cannot even see the thread in which these discussions are taking place.

To the outside world (of which I am now happily a member) the schoolhistory forum is all about worksheets, Mr Men and the Attainment Target. I had no idea they were really quite that frightened by debate.

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John D. Clare has just posted this:

This request was not, I'm afraid, totally ingenuous. Andy and John were both initially contacted about the matter at issue and then informed a second time when they were placed on moderation. The issue has also been quite openly made explicit for all forum members (see above: 'As a result of unfounded allegations made against two of the members of our Administration Team on another Forum for which no explanation or apology was given, Andy Walker and John Simkin were put on moderation here on July 22nd 2005.'). There is no need to say more, and the moderators would rather not comment on the issue itself, because - as people have correctly pointed out - the matter is outwith this forum. And 'Charges'??? 'Defend'??? It's not a court of law. Perspective please.

John D. Clare is misleading members with this statement. The only emails I have received is from Dan Moorhouse (last week) and an email yesterday from Andrew Field that I have been put on permanent moderation as a result of unspecified complaints about things I have made on another forum.

The emails of complaint Andy and I received have been from Dan Moorhouse. This concerned things that Andy and I said when objecting to his involvement in the E-HELP project. This discussion took place in a forum restricted to E-HELP members. However, it appears a member of the E-HELP team leaked this information to Dan. What is more, he appears to have leaked something we did not say.

That is why the History Forum moderators cannot specify the charges against us. However, if they post it on this forum or their own History Forum, we will be able to defend what we actually said. In fact, if Dan so wishes, I am willing to release the whole thread where we discussed his proposed membership of the E-HELP project (if this is agreed by other E-HELP members).

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As Andy and other non-members of the History Forum cannot read this thread I thought it would a good idea to post some of the highlights of this discussion.

This one is from Ed Waller (red) dealing with a posting by John D. Clare(blue):

The History Teachers' Discussion Forum exists to allow History teachers to discuss matters to do with History teaching, and THAT is what the moderators wish it to concentrate on. I am replying to this issue out of politeness, but I would prefer to return to History matters. Neither will anyone who posts sensibly about History matters be edited. (John D. Clare)

You are quite right to suggest that the forum has been an excellent place to exchange ideas, resources, thoughts etc in the interests of improved history teaching and student engagement with history. As such it has been an enormous hit with just about everyone who reads it (although a sixth former recently felt it was quite sad for there to be a discussion forum for history teachers - her funeral is next week).

And then there's the Cafe and Public House, which are also great places for History teachers (et al) to discuss issues not directly to do with teaching, yet provide interesting debate on what might often be called in broader terms 'History'. These two provide amusement and political/historical (intellectual) stimulation. What got me into history while at Uni was precisely the kind of debate that is to be found there. John S and Andy W have made excellent contributions to these places.

And who is to define "sensibly" when it comes to posting? Is one person's "sense" another's "sensibility"?

Having read the thread 'elsewhere' on this topic, it does not seem that they are clear on exactly which posts on exactly which other forum(s) are causing the offence. Restating the 'charge' Ed Waller

As a result of unfounded allegations made against two of the members of our Administration Team on another Forum for which no explanation or apology was given: (John D. Clare)

Isn't as clear as one might hope. Equally they may have a good idea... I couldn't comment... but there's nothing like being explicit.

I doubt many students would accept as fair a detention in which the teacher said "your behaviour wasn't acceptable" without the addition "when you threw the Stanley knife at Kevin"

I don't need to know the details myself (although naturally intrigued, I guess), and in all likelihood they should never appear here.

PS as the film goes... "I'm Spartacus" (Ed Waller)

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What is wrong with political discourse? As long as members post in the correct forums (Broader Issues and Political Discourse or The Cafe), I don't see a problem. I very rarely agree with John and Andy on political matters, but I enjoy having a debate with them (time permitting!). As for your last comment - "attacking members' views" - I have seen many examples of reasoned argument and disagreement if that is what you mean.

Surely it is possible for this forum to be a depository of brilliant ideas on teaching and a place where teachers can engage in stimulating political debate. If John and Andy cease posting, as seems possible, the forum will be much poorer as a result. (Chris McKie)

Neil hasn't been backward in coming forward with his views recently on the London bombs, and that was a really enjoyable set of posts, no matter whether or not one agrees with points of view expressed. I wish all my classes engaged in debate in a similar manner!!! I'm not trying to criticise Neil in saying that (and I know him from working in a previous school with him). He is fun, dedicated and lively. His (or "your" if you're looking in, Neil) views are welcome, as all views should be.

Can political discourse be avoided in discussing NC topics like "Bloody" Mary, the Gunpowder Plot, the execution (hooray - to add discourse of my own!!??) of Charles I, and GCSE's conflict in N Ireland? As historians we have a view on these subjects, and have both a right and a duty to acknowledge them as interpretations, i.e. AN answer etc rather than THE answer. (Ed Waller)

Speaking personally, CD (not as 'a moderator') I actually tend to agree with you! Anyone who knows even a little about me will realise that I'm well up for a political argument - I do it professionally here at home, for goodness sake!

Nevertheless, as I have gone on with the forum over the last couple of years, it has increasingly struck me that a significant number of members not only don't take part in the debates about politics, but are actually turned away by them. Apart from all-too-frequent moments of personal weakness, therefore, I have tried to be strong enough with myself to not take part in those threads which are about politics for the sake of politics. It strikes me that - if one wants to discuss politics - there are plenty places to go and discuss politics, and that's where one ought to do so. (I am aware that my personal record on this resolution is abysmal, but please forgive my moments of personal weakness.)

HOWEVER, unlike those members who would ban politics altogether, I do think that there are whole areas which are absolutely correct for discussion on the History Teachers' Discussion Forum which you can't properly discuss WITHOUT involving politics. Issues like re-structuring, work-force reform, funding, specialist schools, government initiatives cannot be discussed without making 'political' statements, and discussion would be all the poorer if we didn't do so. This is what I see the 'Broader issues and political discourse' section to be for, not to discuss matters such as nationalisation or the government's policy on social housing (PS I chose those topics because I don't think anyone has ever mentioned them, and so I wouldn't insult anyone; if you have brought up either of these as a topic, please accept my apologies).

NEVERTHELESS, I do believe that the core content of the forum ought properly to be the matter of teaching History, and apolitical.

(As I say, these are my personal views, and not in any way a formal 'admin team' view. I don't know what such a 'view', if one existed would comprise.)

QUOTE

As for ... "attacking members' views" - I have seen many examples of reasoned argument and disagreement if that is what you mean.

That is true also, CD, but there is a 'line' where excited debate slides into personal abuse - as you can see if you browse the web for other forums. Now I am aware that where that line is is a matter of opinion. However, all I would suggest is that that is why we have a team of moderators (of which, accepted, I am a member). It is the job of the moderators to decide where that line is. It would be a miracle if everyone agreed with their decisions. Nevertheless, unpopular as it may be from time to time, surely it is the moderators' unpleasant job as they feel necessary to make the move and impose their definition of what 'attacking members' views' is. As long as this is accepted, I have no problem with what you say. My only problem is that - whenever the moderators do make a decision - they are accused of ALL KINDS of things!!! (John D. Clare)

No, political discourse cannot be avoided in these cases, and if we look at the key element of historical significance, it is encouraged as it makes a link between the past and the present/future. Moreover, politics is everywhere (like the advert says) and I would be more than happy to debate it on another thread (without beer as I don't drink)!

Better start breaking out my Derrida and Foucault... (Nick Dennis)

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Thanks for that :angry:

Ed Waller sounds as though he would be better placed on a more mature discussion forum.

On a more serious note it should be abundantly clear to all that what has happened to John and I has occurred as an act of revenge by Dan Moorhouse.

We expressed serious doubts as to his suitability as a member of the E-Help project in a private and restricted section of our own forum.

Somehow he has received a half baked and innacurate version of these doubts and then tail spinned into his favourite game of getting others to fight each other.

All that has occurred since in terms of the carnage that now replaces previously positive working relationships has gone to confirm the accuracy of our doubts.

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Andy, may I request that you reconsider your withdrawal from the forum? I do not always agree with what you or John write, but as others have said, discussions would be poorer without the both of you (and the Mr Men comment, although unjustified in my opinion, made me laugh out loud)!

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Andy, may I request that you reconsider your withdrawal from the forum? I do not always agree with what you or John write, but as others have said, discussions would be poorer without the both of you (and the Mr Men comment, although unjustified in my opinion, made me laugh out loud)!

Thanks for this - cheered me up alot.

But I am afraid like all good catholic boys I will not be reconsidering my withdrawal.

I have had a gutful of them ( those who know me will know that this is a lot).

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But I am afraid like all good catholic boys I will not be reconsidering my withdrawal.

I have had a gutful of them ( those who know me will know that this is a lot).

I will also be leaving as well (for the same reasons as Andy). However, I will remain a member for a few days yet so that I can read what they are saying about me. This is currently being discussed in an area that is not open to general public. It is one of the reasons why our International Educational Forum is different from the History Forum.

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I see that the History Forum moderators are still refusing to outline their charges against Andy and myself. Why are they so reluctant to engage in free debate?

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I see that the History Forum moderators are still refusing to outline their charges against Andy and myself. Why are they so reluctant to engage in free debate?

Neither have they responded to your offer to release the private and restricted area of the Education Forum where they believe on hearsay that they have been wronged.

What a curious muddle they have go themselves into.

Perhaps I should just copy the thread in question and mass mail it to all our members?

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I have asked Dafydd Humphreys to post this on the History Forum.

I note that the History Forum administrators are still refusing to provide details of the charges against us. Maybe they are testing out some new ideas being proposed by Tony Blair. I believe New Labour are rather keen to bring in measures where people can be imprisoned without being told what they are charged with.

To sum up, it seems the administrators put Andy and myself into permanent moderation because:

(1) Andy and I rejected the proposal that Dan Moorhouse should be the Historical Association representative of the E-HELP project. (I bet Richard Jones-Nerzic must be pleased he gave those jobs to Carole Faithorn and Russel Tarr otherwise he might have been put on permanent moderation).

(2) The moderators have not liked our political postings on the forum. It seems you are now an extremist if you criticise Tony Blair. As several members have pointed out, you cannot disentangle politics from history. Nor can you stop history teachers from wanting to express comments about events like the invasion of Iraq. After all, it is only our understanding of history that made us realize that this was a disastrous decision.

When it was convenient for the administrators they accepted this argument. For example John D. Clare used my debate with him over Appeasement as a teaching resource. However, it obviously got uncomfortable for the administrators when they could not find the arguments to defend New Labour.

Andy has found the conditions of permanent moderation intolerable and has resigned. I also find these conditions unacceptable and will no longer post on this forum. However, I will not resign, as to do so means I will not be able to read threads like this (as Andy has discovered).

Being on permanent moderation means other members of the History Forum cannot communicate with me via the Forum. If you want to communicate with me you can email me at johnsimkin1945@hotmail.com. If you want help with anything post your query on the International Education Forum:

http://educationforum.ipbhost.com/index.php?act=idx

I will now go off to those forums that still have freedom of expression. Of course, Andy and I have lost this battle. The administrators have got what they wanted. This sends out a terrible message to others who sometimes feel they want to make a political posting. I hope that these events will not result in them employing “self-censorship”. As George Orwell once said, this is the most dangerous form of censorship of all. Especially keep posting about Tony Blair’s scandalous educational policies.

Good bye. It was good while it lasted.

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