Wednesday, 17 November 2010

The Advertising Campaign

As far as I can tell, the adverts promised by the Abbot to publicise Lord Carlile's inquiry have amounted to exactly three adverts.
  1. An advert on page 17 of the Ealing Gazette on 24th September.
  2. An advert in the Eveing Standard on or around 3th October.
  3. A very small advert in the Daily Telegraph on 22nd October.
The easiest way to contact Lord Carlile, one which he himself recommended,  was via his Parliament email address. So of course, his email address was not included on any of the adverts in the papers, nor was it included in the Call for Evidence on the school website. Curiously, the email address was included in the email sent out to Old Priorians, and is shown on the homepage of the OPA website.

The Telegraph ad is particilarly pitiful. It is very small (about 3 inches by 1.5), and the text is so small as to be more or less unreadable without a magnifying glass. It was published on a Friday (generally regarded as being the day with the lowest circulation for national papers) and it was tucked away among the legal notices which is a part of the paper nobody reads unless they are a lawyer..

The headmaster promised that adverts would be placed in local and national newspapers. So he hasn't quite lied, in that adverts have been placed in more than one paper, and at least one local and one national newspaper have been represented. But it is perfectly clear that the advertising has been the most minimal that could possibly be regarded as consistent with the letter of the promise.

If you are a parent who attended the meeting on 14th September I would be interested to know whether this level of publicity is consistent with what you understood was promised at the meeting.

When I met Lord Carlile on 12th October, he told me that there would be "a further round of advertisements in the national papers" in the next week. Plural for advertisements and plural for papers. I've raised this with Lord Carlile since, saying that if he was told that there would be adverts, he has been lied to. One advert in one paper does not make a round by any reasonable meaning of the word.

Publicity in the national papers is very important. Former pupils of the school live all over the country, indeed all over the world. Therefore adverts in the Ealing Gazette or Evening Standard aren't going to reach many of them.

Those who have been abused are in general going to have moved away from the area in much higher proportions than others, in order to try and leave their bad memories behind. For the same reason they are less likely to have kept in touch through the OPA.

It very much appears to me that the adverts have been carefully crafted to involve as little publicity for the inquiry as possible, and to ensure that victims are under-represented in those reached by the publicity. And Lord Carlile appears to be going along with this.


  1. Yeah, but every pound saved on silly ads is another pound which can be used to feed, clothe and provide legal representation for a paedophile priest (and pay the damages awarded against them)

    Gotta get the priorities right!

  2. Oh my goodness! How wonderful to see this hoary old ‘advertising campaign’ up and running again, after something of a fallow period! And, what's more, it's clearly lost none of its old subtlety!

    But then, as we all know, obsession will out and the West has still to be won!

  3. Two wonderful posts from the same person. Abbey supporters do anything in their attempts to discredit this blog and its owner.

  4. You reckon the two posts before yours are from the same person? Please explain how you come to this conclusion?

  5. Becasue s/he didn't or won't or can't read!

  6. The administration of St Benedict's achieves top marks for delivering the bare minimum to accord with Shipperlee’s statement that the Trust would place advertisements in newspapers to encourage former pupils to contribute to the school’s most recent effort at a credible inquiry. If Carlile accepts this limp attempt at ‘casting a net’ then the broader agenda of his misleadingly termed “independent” inquiry comes more into focus and the outcome perhaps more predictable. After all we have seen two previous failed attempts at “independent” reports by the Trustees of this charity. One can tell when further reports are being considered by the noise of hub caps preceding the arrival of the shortlisted ‘expert’s’ in the car park.

    If Carlile’s report is a toothless production, Shipperlee along with his biddable Trustees and the demonstrably ineffective “school advisers” will have failed the victims of abuse once again, and the setting will continue to be a perilous place for young people. I for one hope this does not happen, but increasingly I suspect this report is a "matey" production designed to re-veneer the school’s reputation. Will this be at the expense of ignoring the root and branch changes needed to finally introduce a safeguarding culture and attendant protocols that care for the child first? We’ll see.

    Among the changes needed is a forthright Chairman of Trustees, one who possesses a backbone rather than someone who adopts the impression of the last person to have sat upon him.

    Enjoy your respective weekends.

  7. My God, 14:27, your outspoken, independent views must have Carlisle, as you call him, shaking in his boots! Or - as he's probably now read these exact same remarks several dozen times over - maybe not!

  8. .
    It's Carlile 18.50

  9. Does anyone really imagine Lord Carlile has the time to read this sort of stuff?

  10. 14:27 is obviously more interested in delivering venom that accuracy - what's new? Maybe Lord Carlile will sue him for his attacks on his probity!

  11. Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? We are entering the territory of Plato's noble lie, perhaps.

  12. Well, maybe, but who knows? For who knows what Plato or his myths have to do with any of the above!? Unless 14:27 and his ilk are imagined shackled in the Republic’s dark cave?

  13. The pain that 14.27 has caused the Abbey supporter/s is manifest and all because the points s/he makes are recognisably valid. Look at the number of 'inquiries' which have depended on a 'safe pair of hands' to get their targets out of a jamb. Why is Lord Carlile doing this job? It makes little sense - the risk / reward does not stand credible inspection and I doubt its altruism. So why, given the potential scale of a messy and odious downside?

  14. What is the connection between Carlile and the school which has led him to being entrusted with this whitewashing exercise? Is it just that he and Chris Patten are both members of the Athenaeum Club?

  15. I suspect there is no connection between Lord Carlile and the school. I hope there is not because this is the chance for an independent investigator to find out exactly what was going on at the school. Anyone who thinks Lord Carlile would risk his reputation by presiding over a whitewash is seriously mistaken.

  16. No dears, those you call ‘Abbeyvistas’ are not, I suspect, in the least exercised by your friend 14.27. They're just bored stiff by what s/he is trawling over for the umpteenth time and no less bored by his/her paranoid fear no one will either see or get his/her point of view. We know that this blog is, to put it mildly, repetitive, but really enough has to be enough!

  17. It's not often that this lapsed Catholic feels anything other than indifference towards or contempt for a Pontiff, but I have to applaud this wise and humane change of heart:

    Note, change of heart, not just doctrine, which should always be subordinate to the heart and not vice versa.

    I look forward to seeing the first married Pontiff one day, when she visits Britain...

  18. My God, how wonderful! A reasonable change of tune at last!!

  19. 12.09 says:

    Look at the number of 'inquiries' which have depended on a 'safe pair of hands' to get their targets out of a jamb.

    And can you 16.36 name one inquiry where a "reputation" now lies in ruins as a result of being a ‘safe pair of hands?’ Of course not. Such tripe is written by those desperate to defend the indefensible – but please note none of the defenders engage meaningfully because its’ too frightening for them. They relying on Carlile.

    Most proper 'inquiries' are of a certain substance and stature. St Benedict’s on the other hand is a second or third division independent school run by a succession of lawless monks (viz: No statutory Notifications returned to the DfE or its forerunners, under the Education Acts since the school's inception) from a long established paedophilic franchise . What kudos does this have for Carlile? None. Add to this he is neither qualified in nor has experience of social care or the subject of abuse in commercial settings, and this does not appear to be the man for this role. There are many better qualified people who would be more effective and less costly and who would bear little or no risk in doing the job because it is what they do all day every day, and they are known for it.

    Carlile on the other hand is an experience free zone. Child abuse is a unique subject, and child abuse in independent schools has a set of complex and unique dynamics. His previous experience of abuse in independent schools? Zero.

    So he is unqualified for this inquiry. Shipperlee may as well have chosen someone from Eggheads (BBC2 – 18.00 Monday) but none of them carry the same Lordly gravitas – but they do share Carlile’s inexperience and all are bright. So why not one of them? They will miss the mark just as effectively as Carlile but for far less money.

    So why is Carlile doing this job?

    • It’s not for the kudos.
    • It’s not for the money.
    • It’s not because he has subject specific experience.

    So the question WHY? is valid.

    If it’s a “matey” operation as 14.27 speculates, then who is the mate and what is the connection - we are all entitled to know, indeed it should have been disclosed at the outset.

  20. Surely, 20:41, outside the context of this blog, neither particularly humane nor wise - just downright, plain common sense!

  21. Exactly! Who needs pontiffs, of whatever sex, to come up with what stares every sane person right in the face?

  22. Really, what's wrong with you all? The Pope isn't advocating some kind of free for all. As ever, the Holy Father has been quite specific and set us definite boundaries. According to the BBC, the Papal guidance on this matter is quite clear: if you want safe, sinless sex you have,for example, to get hold of a nice male prostitute. Obviously the Holy Father knows what he's talking about here, so do be careful, papal statements are not always what they seem or what we might wish them to be!

  23. Certainly proof that there many posters on this blog are just venting their anti Catholic if proof was needed.

  24. How does one vent an agenda?

  25. 18:05 I think you'll find that this blog has an anti-paedophile agenda.

    It can't reasonably be interpreted as anti-catholic unless you regard being anti-paedophile and anti-catholic as being necessarily the same thing. Do you?

  26. To come back to the issue of venting. The pope can vent, as in invent, as many agendas as he thinks fit. That's Catholicism in a nutshell, at least a la folks such as 18:05; and, there are many things in the world that simply can’t be tolerated and must, if possible, be un-invented. Though, it's naturally good to hear that male prostitution escapes censure. The Holy See is really full of the most delightful little surprises!

  27. I went to St Benedicts in the 1970's and have evidence from that time of paedophile activity by staff of the school. Where should I go with my evidence?
    I always use my real name on the internet (means I'm damned careful not to say anything defamatory!) and always post my email address:
    I have only come across this campaign today, and would dearly like to help,