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The Society of Qualified Archivists



Taking British archives forward in the battle against political correctness



Updated: 2016-09-30T10:57:06.541+01:00

 



The chicken has come home to roost

2016-09-30T10:48:36.169+01:00

The Public Record Office of Northern Ireland (PRONI) has appointed (or had appointed to it) its second Director and Deputy Keeper of the Records of Northern Ireland to have no archives or records background, setting a trend. Although a similar situation has existed at the UK National Archives (formerly the Public Record Office) with the appointments of Sarah Tyacke or Natalie Ceeney, the same trend has been less evident outside London. The appointment of Ms. Ceeney led to journalist and historian Max Hastings and others decrying the development,as we reported in a previous blog post. The PRONI appointment has elicited a response from John Chambers, Chief Executive of the Archives and Records Association, which covers the UK and Republic of Ireland. Maeve Walls Mr. Chambers has corresponded with the minister concerned and received no reply. The main ground for the concern is that the relevant legislation, the Public Records Act(Northern Ireland) 1923 “states clearly that the Deputy Keeper should be ‘a fit person duly qualified by his knowledge of records’, that is to say someone with appropriate, credible and formal experience of the sector who can make judgements based on best professional practice and established standards and conventions” (quoting Chambers’ letter). The concern about Maeve Walls’ background is compounded by the appointment having taken place surreptitiously, apparently without a competitive selection process. SQA has an insight into what might be happening at PRONI. In view of the fact Ms Walls is a Fulbright scholar and Fulbright is partnered with Common Purpose (CP), it is reasonable to suppose there is a CP involvement. CP is a British based educational charity supported by the UK government whose “graduates” are embedded in public and private sector organisations to further the process of establishing socialist world dictatorship, also known as the New World Order (NWO). This process is necessarily one that starts in a national context. Lenin first laid down this principle in what he termed the National Revolutionary Subversion Process which is to say, the hollowing out of the western democracies from within. The process is best described by the famous Italian Communist Antonio Gramsci, as reported in an earlier post.Thus this development looks like a drastic attempt to keep the NWO project culturally on track. Archives are again being targeted as a counter-revolutionary cultural threat to the NWO for which Northern Ireland has been something of a proving ground. General John de Chastelain, the NATO general brought in to assist with the NI peace process, supposedly from a non-partisan Canadian background in fact represented not only NATO but also the federal North American Union, the nascent superstate combining the USA, Canada and Mexico. General Chastelain is a director of the Forum of Federations, whose main aim seems to be the Balkanisation of existing federal regimes and the creation of new enlarged federations (like the EU and NAU) as stepping stones to world government…i.e. world dictatorship. In NI he thus played an important role in the process of devolution or Balkanisation in the UK.General John de Chastelain Recent revelations have also shown that MI5 and MI6 were involved in the running of the IRA campaign, presumably as a precursor to NI’s part of the Balkanisation of the UK. If Martin McGuinness (MI6 codename “fisherman”) and Jerry Adams were working for British Intelligence it would help explain the NATO involvement in NI and the readiness of royalty to meet both men at the conclusion of the “Troubles”.  Martin McGuinness (left) and HRH The Prince of Wales, Patron of the Intelligence Services, in congenial mood Lord James of Blackheath confirmed the extent of the government’s management of the IRA and its funding arrangements in a speech in the House of Lords, while the EU’s control of financial institutions extends to undermining attempts to deal with members of the NI judiciary who a[...]



Will you stand by and watch?

2012-11-07T22:23:32.598+00:00

Following on our recent blog about the trashing of Ruskin College, Oxford's archives SQA is saddened to learn of academic disappointment with the various archives advocacy, professional and umbrella organisations' record in intervening in or speaking up for archives under threat of closure, destruction or dispersal. This it transpires extends beyond Ruskin College to a surprising number of third sector organisations including the Women's Library (London Metropolitan University), the Scottish Roman Catholic Church, the Law Society's Mendham Collection held by the University of Kent at Canterbury and Canterbury Cathedral Library. Where's the fire brigade? This disappointment is expressed by Anne Summers in a post entitled Archives: A House on Fire? on History Workshop Online In her post Ms. Summers echoes many of SQA's concerns down the years, levelling at the National Archives, Archives and Records Association (ARA) and the Parliamentary Group on Archives and History the accusation that they have been conspicuously quiet and ineffective in defending archives. It is an indictment on these organisations that Summers can say in 2012 "no single body in Britain holds the ring for archives". She goes on to accuse "those bodies who do have a protective remit of gross dereliction of duty." Furthermore, her approaches to ARA and the Parliamentary Group for further information went either unanswered or even unacknowledged. The best metaphor to emerge from Ms. Summers' article is that of the burning house. Let us quote her in full. The other day I stood politely at a reception at the House of Lords, organised to launch the Campaign for Voluntary Sector Archives, as representatives of The National Archives and of the all-party group talked about the good work they did issuing guidelines for the care and maintenance of organisational records. It was as if a bunch of firefighters were handing out leaflets on fire prevention while standing, apparently oblivious, next to a blazing building. When are they going to get out the hoses?This picture contrasts with the official public image of the National Archives as national leader for archives under recent arrangements following the demise of the Museums, Libraries and Arts Council and its allies at the launch of the Campaign for Voluntary Sector Archives attended by Tristram Hunt MP, chairman of the Parliamentary Group on Archives and History and Oliver Morley, Keeper of the Public Records and Chief Executive of the National Archives. Ms. Summers might have added that for good measure that ARA had just completed its self-congratulatory annual conference where members were at least able to put out fires of a different kind at Horatio's Bar on Brighton Pier. So far, so good. Ms. Summers has drawn the appropriate conclusions about the archives umbrella organisations in the UK. However, like other bystanders watching the house on fire, she has yet to see through the smoke and identify the real nature of the malaise. Conspiracy theorising doesn't come easily to self-respecting acamedics, even after considering and excluding all rational explanations and in face of the fact that nearly all conspiracy theories are borne out. Katherine K. Young, professor of religious studies at McGill University, states "the fact remains, however, that not all conspiracies are imagined by paranoids. Historians show that every real conspiracy has had at least four characteristic features: groups, not isolated individuals; illegal or sinister aims, not ones that would benefit society as a whole; orchestrated acts, not a series of spontaneous and haphazard ones; and secret planning, not public discussion." Where is national archives legislation? Why are archival collections not listed or scheduled like historic buildings? Conspiracy in the corridors of power is not far to seek. Alongside the inocuous sounding Parliamentary Group on Archives and History is the Parliamentary Group on World Government which aims to steer the UK towards submission to unaccountable collectivist world governmen[...]



The NWO comes to Ruskin College, Oxford

2012-10-22T12:28:30.647+01:00

SQA has performed the sad duty of reporting the destruction of archives previously, in Dublin and Iraq and we have looked at the development of threats to documentary heritage whether at the hands of the EU, Common Purpose run Plymouth City Council or NATO. Ruskin College, Oxford It is reassuring in a strange sort of way that we are not alone in recognising these events and threats as evidenced in our previous post. Lord Prescott This time we turn our attention to the city of dreaming spires, a place, we might have supposed, that was impervious to cultural vandalism. Ruskin College, a bastion of academic support to the Labour movement for a century, has destroyed a large part of its historical administrative records and it seems is set on a course to destroy more. The college has attempted to refute allegations in its latest news pages but this article has something of spin about it. In view of the specific concerns expressed about named record series not mentioned by the college's spin doctors, SQA judges the critics' statements more credible. Leading the critics is Dr. Hilda Kean, a former dean of the college. She provides some background and detail in her article and leading academics have written in protest to The Guardian Dr. Hilda Kean Denise Pakeman, a graduate of the college, provides horrifying corroboration in another article. It seems the scandal first came to the attention of the wider public through an article in The Daily Telegragh of 5 October 2012. Readers of SQA will not be surprised to know that SQA's main priority is to understand exactly how this situation came about. Too often observers focus on the local circumstances or at best seek to explain closures, cuts and under-investment through the convenient national debt crisis. However, to SQA it is clear a pattern has been emerging. We asked Benedict Crumplethorne, principal spokesman for SQA, for his thoughts on developments at Ruskin College. I am saddened to hear about the partial loss of of the college's archives. However, I am not surprised. This is the latest evidence of two long term trends in the history of British archives, firstly preventable loss exacerbated by lack of safeguards in the form of legislation, which so far extends to protecting other heritage such as historic buildings, ancient monuments, sites of special scientific interest and archaeological remains, etc.; secondly, we are seeing deliberate and systematic cultural vandalism as previously witnessed in Dublin, Iraq and Kosovo. Archives are an anomaly. It is unlikely we will get the necessary legislation because archives have been identified as more damaging to the communist Common Purpose political agenda. To legislate to protect archives would undermine the Communist subversion process. Archives are dangerous because they constitute evidence of previous systems but buildings, archaeology and other cultural remains are less easy for the layman to date, let alone interpret. We are seeing yet another microcosm of this plan at work. Whilst genuinely motivated, the supporters of Ruskin College's archives fail to see the wider context, something SQA has previously bemoaned in the case of commentators on changes at West Sussex Record Office. The macrocosm is globalist war against all evidence of the nation state, seen as the stumbling block to regional and world government. We note the irony in Lord Prescott's support for the archives: he was the mentor of Julia Middleton, founder of Common Purpose. To help people understand why the Labour movement should want to destroy its documentary heritage, we should look at the party political events of the months leading up to the 2010 General Election. The Liberal Democrats were negotiating with both Conservatives and Labour to form a coalition government. They could have done this with either but chose the Conservatives. That is by-the-by. However, we see even more significance in David Cameron's New Year's Message for 2010. In this, he stated there were no longer any major [...]



0 Comments

2012-07-13T21:50:20.318+01:00

We're not alone It isn't quite clear yet to most archivists and their users that the economic crisis has been manufactured and is intended to serve as a pretext for restructuring, much like perestroika in Soviet Russia. Like the general public, heritage professionals continue to believe we are the victims of some kind of natural even cyclical economic decline, recession or depression, almost like cyclical climatological or oceanographic events such as global cooling, global warming, exceptionally high tides and floods. Nothing could be further from the truth. They haven't heard of the Bilderberg Group. We have revealed previously that government and public sector spending is set to increase, not decrease, in coming financial years. Still the penny hasn't dropped and redundancies and cutbacks in archive repositories and other heritage services are being taken stoically, almost as a duty. Soon, maybe, archivists and their users will notice that while archive services contract, other local government and public sector services expand as resources are re-aligned in a quiet cultural revolution. And revolution it is: an attack aimed at the cultural heritage which supports the inconvenient old world order and national identity. SQA is grateful to Stop Common Purpose (and also see)for bringing to its attention an intelligently observed contribution to this subject from Brandon Smith over at Alt-Market, in an article entitled The Collectivist War Against Cultural Heritage. We feel compelled to reproduce the article in its entirety here. Naturally, every age thinks that all ages before it were prejudiced, and today we think this more than ever and are just as wrong as all previous ages that thought so. How often have we not seen the truth condemned! It is sad but unfortunately true that man learns nothing from history. (Carl Jung) Two things make man what he is; his soul, and his memory. Lose one, or both, and he ceases to exist. He might as well buzz over his own garbage like an insect. When a society is drawn into the repugnant shadow of totalitarianism and collectivism, it is usually because the masses have abandoned (or been enticed to abandon) a piece of their inner and outer heritage, something which kept the darkness at bay, a lesson from the past, or a principle long honored. In the wretched and psychotic quest for the “perfect” establishment system, we are even often encouraged by the elitist ilk to slough off the warm remnants of our cultural inheritance like so much skin and “look forward” to a bright and more promising tomorrow, where everything will be different, and certainly, better than today. The ideological brand of so-called progress that we call “collectivism” relies heavily on the notion that the values of the past are inadequate to the requirements of the future. We are taught by the peddlers of collectivist propaganda that our beliefs and our principles must evolve along with the perceived growth of our species as a whole. They see themselves as visionaries and prophets foretelling a grand reinvention of the world that we laymen are unequipped to imagine or understand. We cling to the old ways because we are “afraid of change”, or too ignorant to fathom the beauty of their Utopian beyond… Pretentious bile? Absolutely. However, within the rhetoric and strategies of the collectivist agenda there are treasures to behold; reoccurring themes and indicators that can be found in nearly every modern tyranny and most ancient tyrannies that have ever existed. Words and actions that warn us of the true intent of the elite. The fact is, collectivists drive so hard to admonish respect for the past because every lie they tell us now has been told before a thousand times, to build a thousand gruesome empires. The Futurists To gain an insight into the stunted philosophy that underlies collectivism, globalization, centralism, socialism, communism, fascism, etc., it is important to acknowledge the ways[...]



Seeing is believing

2013-10-16T23:14:00.562+01:00

SQA has previously enquired into the undermining of history as a subject at school and the decline in the numbers of historical researchers and in the standard of their critical analysis. One such instance was our blog on Professor Frank Furedi's article, Where have all the intellectuals gone?We have also noted the dumbing-down of captions and interpretation in archives, museums and exhibitions (see here and here). Consequently, our attention was drawn to the strange development of the UK government including the official version of the events of 11 September 2001 in the school curriculum, specifically and openly to contradict and confound so-called conspiracy theorists. In view of our professional interests in promoting a future generation of well educated students and adult researchers and our own entirely separate concern with the centrality and value of evidence in the form of archives, and research skills, SQA has looked into the events of that day, to ascertain whether the doubters really are conspiracy theorists or whether the authorities in attributing the events to terrorists, have an ulterior motive.Boris Johnson: supports the official US Government conspiracy theoryIf the latter, we may need to be concerned for the survival of our documentary heritage in the face of an organised international conspiracy to subvert evidence of any kind. If the so-called conspiracy theorists are wrong, we still need to be concerned at suppression of dissent which as an expression of advanced critical faculties in any society, especially a democracy, is something to be developed rather than suppressed......unless people in high places have something to hide. In the UK, Common Purpose members in senior positions push the official US government conspiracy theory. Boris is not alone. We conclude our preamble with a quotation from our previous blog:Political correctness. The name given to the first of the four stages of the long term Soviet/Leninist ideological subversion of the world's nation states (the national revolutionary subversion process) leading to world communist government: demoralisation, destabilisation, crisis and normalisation. The first stage, demoralisation, comprises ideological attacks on orthodox Christianity, education, the media and culture leading to charismania (worship of false heroes and role models), Luciferian fog, ignorance of history, addictive fads, groupthink, acceptance of lies and the emergence of the common mind.The so-called conspiracy theorists, who prefer to call themselves the Truth Movement or Truthers, can trace their origins to the controversy aroused by the Waco massacre in Texas in 1993 and the early broadcasts of Alex Jones from Austin, Texas in 1999.The Truth Movement received a boost in 2007 when the former Italian president, Francisco Cossiga, stated in the Corriere della Serra newspaper, that according to his sources in Italian intelligence agencies, the 9/11 attacks were carried out by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and Mossad. Here is the original text from the edition of 30 November that year:Da ambienti vicini a Palazzo Chigi, centro nevralgico di direzione dell'intelligence italiana, si fa notare che la non autenticità del video è testimoniata dal fatto che Osama Bin Laden in esso 'confessa' che Al Qaeda sarebbe stato l'autore dell'attentato dell'11 settembre alle due torri in New York, mentre tutti gli ambienti democratici d'America e d'Europa, con in prima linea quelli del centrosinistra italiano, sanno ormai bene che il disastroso attentato è stato pianificato e realizzato dalla Cia americana e dal Mossad con l'aiuto del mondo sionista per mettere sotto accusa i Paesi arabi e per indurre le potenze occidentali ad intervenire sia in Iraq sia in Afghanistan». In translation: From circles around Palazzo Chigi, nerve centre of the directing of Italian intelligence, it is noted that the non-authenticity of the video is testified from the fact that Osama bin L[...]



One more nail in the coffin

2011-07-21T23:15:12.886+01:00

The Common Purpose inspired assault on heritage, including and especially archives, continues unabated. SQA has watched and reported on this process for seven years now.The latest victim (with question marks still hanging over several local government record offices) is West Sussex County Record Office. This office has been stripped of staff despite its increasing stock and the record office's potential to contribute to learning for all ages and sections of the community but is now set to lose the post of County Archivist. It is undergoing a merger with the West Sussex Coroner and County Council's Registration Service, both of which teams will be co-located with the record office.Retiring: County Archivist Richard ChildsThe effect of this is not only to curtail the activities and functions of the record office but to blur the function of archives in the public mind and of course ultimately in the social engineers' plan to divert those intellectually curious, investigative and analytical members of the public away from their documentary heritage. This is because documentary heritage constitutes evidence of how our ancestors arrived at the democratic systems of our immediate past. By detaching the public from their heritage, in the broadest sense of the term, it becomes possible to mould a new mentality more accepting of the European Union and the New World Order (NWO).While to those unititiated in the dark arts of the NWO this may seem far-fetched, the evidence is available on the Internet (at least until it becomes subject to fully-fledged censorship), * in abundance. SQA has previously noted this very same process at work in Iraq and elsewhere. The strategy was first revealed to the popular English speaking audience by Dr. Richard Drayton, senior lecturer in history at Cambridge University, writing in The Guardian of 28 December 2005, in an article entitled "Shock, awe and Hobbes have backfired on America's neocons". We quote Drayton from our earlier blog: "it has been usual to explain the chaos and looting in Baghdad, the destruction of infrastructure, ministries, museums and the national library and archives, as caused by a failure of Rumsfeld's planning." But the German newspaper [Suddeutsche Zeitungquotes] quotes US soldiers as saying to looters "go in Ali Baba, it's all yours!" and Drayton explains this was a deliberate part of the US strategy which he says was "at least in part a mask for the destruction of the collective memory and modern state of a key Arab nation....to create a hunger for the occupier's supervision." Thus regime change is only a small part of the changes being enforced on Iraq, Afghanistan, Egypt and Libya. The end game is total subservience to the NWO.The contributor of a valedictory letter in the Chichester Observer, Kim Leslie, West Sussex Record Office Education Officer 1970-2007, suggests West Sussex County Council is making these changes "so the grading and level of the [County Archivist] post fits neatly into new management structures being implemented throughout West Sussex County Council". Clearly he hasn't been reading SQA's previous reports. When yet another county council downgrades the post of chief archivist, reduces staff and blurs the boundaries between different services and in doing so simply repeats a process that has now cut a swathe across England, it doesn't take a genius to work out there is a national or even an international force at work.This is not just a local internal reorganisation. This is made abundantly clear by virtue of the similarities between changes made in widely geographically separated authorities and can be glimpsed by even a cursory reference to Archon, the National Archives' online directory of record offices which includes job titles. Examples of such far flung offices are Kent, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire.It would also appear the office's reliance on or appreciation of its worthy volunteers is not understood in the [...]



TNA, the New World Order and the Internet of Things

2011-01-04T16:18:13.039+00:00

To countless historical researchers, many of them family historians and genealogists, to suggest a connection between the UK's National Archives and the New World Order (NWO) would seem far-fetched, even outlandish, always assuming they had even heard of the NWO. However, such a connection does exist and the disbelievers can now be challenged and informed.Global warming hits the British Isles (2 Dec 2010)The connection has been appearing over several years and SQA has blogged it at intervals. We have observed the influence of the EU's Malvine Project, TNA’s dabblings in Iraq, opaque organisational changes at TNA including a reduction in opening hours and TNA’s advocacy of fewer record offices and their replacement by regional offices. More recently TNA has associated itself with the NWO’s global warmism ideology, although this has been debunked by the revelations of Climategate.Add to this the dumbing-down of history and teaching noted by Professor Frank Furedi, sustained and condescending attacks on Britain’s achievements, illustrated most recently by Prime Minister David Cameron’s apparently deliberate comment that Britain was a junior partner to the USA in 1940 despite the fact the USA only joined the Second World War in December 1941, we have a combination of propaganda, disinformation, lies, manipulation and deception on the one hand and cultural vandalism on the other.An important part of the complex NWO strategy requires the EU (a regional part of the NWO), the puppet UK government and all NWO national agencies including TNA, to undermine national identity and people’s ability to analyse and critique historical and cultural evidence (and therefore understand their identity), through dumbing-down. The outcome of this is that the general public can be socially engineered to accept the NWO. It is very sad that as a promoter of Who Do You Think You Are, TNA is simultaneously working against national identity.The latest cause for concern is the involvement of TNA in plans for governments throughout the world to turn the World Wide Web into a global database delving into all of our electronic transactions and each and every use of equipment, machinery and "objects" or "things" generally, hence the "Internet of Things", whether these "things" are vacuum cleaners, cars, computers or trees, linked to the Internet. TNA is given as the UK representative organisation on the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), acting through the Office of Public Sector Information (OPSI). OPSI states “we want all data in one place, but we also want it to be decentralised” i.e. they aim that data should be controlled centrally by NWO but in such a way it can be drawn-down from the NWO Internet of Things for intrusive and monitoring use. Thus TNA is fully participating in the creation of a global database and Internet of Things which will enable monitoring of all human activities and active, interventionist control of all aspects of human activity.It is sad and alarming that archives preservation, even digital preservation, now amounts to an active intervention in the dismantling of accountable government and parliamentary government. What would Sir Hilary Jenkinson make of this?Further readingMLA web site on Fewer, Bigger, Better: the government's consultation on future archives provisionLinking data using Semantic Web technology, John Sheridan, OPSI, March 2009 click here Internet of Things — An action plan for Europe (Access to European Law) 2009 click hereInternet of Things, Europa Summaries of EU Legislation click here Explanation of Climategate for Dummies by Alex Jones click here The Internet of Things courtesy PrisonPlanet and YouTube and here Dr. Tim Ball on the hacked CRU emails courtesy of YouTube click here UN security staff suppress debate on Climategate courtesy of YouTube see hereLord Monckton's blog in full, Science and Public Policy Institute web site [...]



Ignorance Indeed

2010-02-10T23:31:07.559+00:00

SQA is intrigued to learn that the sole character in the recently broadcast BBC4 Storyville drama set in 2055 and starring Pete Postlethwaite, The Age of Stupid, is an archivist. Intriguing, because he seems to have no archives despite manning the "Global Archive", yet another instance of the term archive coming to mean heritage collection generally. Books, films and scientific reports are referred to but not manuscripts or documentary heritage. Presumably so far into the future the Malvine Project has seen to that. However, we are confident he would qualify for membership of the Society of Archivists [sic]Lord MoncktonIn proceeding to review events leading up to 2010 (Copenhagen) and beyond, the Archivist fails to mention opposing evidence and the theme rapidly becomes the goal of redistributing western wealth to Third World countries, through the equally unmentioned New World Order. Few viewers will realise they are watching the blueprint for the ending of freedom and democracy and the means of generating wealth in the first place.An emphasis is placed on India early in the film, observing the progress of Mr Jeh Wadia in establishing a new airline, Go Air. This culminates in a baffling and ambiguous conclusion that seems to endorse his polluting business, presumably an indication that India as one of the poorest countries in the world per capita, is entitled to expand while the west contracts. A YouTube video (see below) throws more light on this anomaly.Antarctic ice shelves are referred to as collapsing but evidence so far shows they are stable (Cryosphere Today). How convenient that the British family featured have poor French and even the subtitles translate their pigeon French, it's almost as though the average British viewer could identify with them in handling the language of a nation so unpopular in Britain. In this, they are impliedly compared to the African villagers whose English is correspondingly patchy. Hurricane Katrina is dredged up despite a reduced collective intensity in storms and hurricanes in recent years (see Lord Monckton's video below). The crude evidence for Global Warming in the programme relies on the twin frailties of short term human memory and overwhelming anecdote, entirely from unqualified persons, with continuous reliance on news presenters and personalities and scant scientists. The producers and editors have clearly decided that earthy language will help the public relate to the subject. The foul language used throughout also panders to the lowest common denominator in ingratiating and persuasive techniques.And there's a sub theme: while we're at it, let's bash the British Empire as well! And let's forget the slaves taken to north America and the West Indies were already enslaved and that slavery was not just associated with white empires but black African empires too. There are even three derisory cartoon features depicting Americans as fat, surely coming close to racism. This leads on to the programme's questionable arguments on matching world population to resources (which tie in with NWO depopulation plans, see Endgame below) despite increasing agricultural productivity and the advent of GM foods, which we have long been assured will feed the starving masses. The programme's theme is openly anti-capitalist despite demanding that first world countries transfer wealth to poorer countries under Copenhagen, leaving us to ask: where does the money come from once the capitalist countries have been bankrupted? Nowhere of course, it's a communist plan to reduce the world to a friable and manipulative condition.FEMA coffins for opponents of Global WarmismThere is ironic reference to the collapse of society if Global Warming is not tackled, but this is precisely what Global Warmism is trying to achieve. Ideologies tending towards world domination are quickly passed over (we are asked to accept the fai[...]



The Malvine Project is alive and well

2009-12-25T22:32:45.803+00:00

Sir Hilary JenkinsonThe Archivist is not and ought not to be an Historian. He will need of course, some knowledge of History and may be interested in it personally, just as he may be interested in Metallurgy or any other science: but his duty is to his Archives, independently of any of the Research subjects (of which at present History is the most prominent) which make use of Archives for their own ends; and therefore an interest in any of these subjects, since it might give him a prepossession in favour not only of a subject but also perhaps of a school of opinion within that subject, might be more than inconvenient or inappropriate, it might be positively dangerous.(Sir Hilary Jenkinson, Deputy Keeper of the Public Records and founder of the British archives profession in A Manual of Archive Administration, 1922.)In previous blogs SQA looked at the underlying motive of the Malvine Project, an EU project underpinning much archival thinking and one that seeks to reward archival institutions for participating in selecting collections identified as capable of supporting research into and justifying European integration and the fabled common European heritage. The EU achieves this by making available funds for conservation of and facilitating access to such favoured collections and repositories, with, impliedly, all those other collections and custodial archival institutions not deemed as being relevant to the European project languishing to the point they are conveniently disaggregated or decay. This is similar to the tactic well known to generations of planning officers in respect of achieving the otherwise difficult outcome of demolishing listed buildings lying in the way of brave new developments such as petrol stations, multi-storey car parks and housing estates. In this blog we look at how the Malvine Project is progressing.The Daily Telegraph reports that an exhibition in the museum of the UK National Archives at Kew has aroused controversy by misrepresenting not only its own exhibits including photographs in galleries entitled Empire and Colonisation and The Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade, but also the contributions of the Royal Navy, government policy, anti-slavery organisations and prominent anti-slavery campaigners like William Wilberforce in suppressing slavery. That TNA’s museum ignores British imperial achievements in education, commerce, law, religion, government, defence and human rights almost goes without saying. We have previously lamented that TNA has ignored Commonwealth Day (formerly Empire Day) and generally complained about the iconoclastic view of British history taken by those charged with preserving the documentary, artistic and physical evidence of our heritage. Unlike other commentators, heritage organisations and the national press, SQA has clearly understood and stated the reasons for this and it is necessary to once again remind ourselves of these. In doing so, we also reveal the complicated geopolitics of the European Union and the New World Order of whose development the great majority of people, even in the developed world, are wholly ignorant.We should begin with political correctness whose origins are associated with the expounding of the principles of Leninism, explored in a previous SQA blog. Crucial to Leninism, which is the means by which Communism or its watered down version, Communitarianism, is to become the global system of government, is the undermining of the western Imperial powers including and especially Britain and by extension the USA and the Old Commonwealth countries. Associated with the destruction of western Imperial powers is the fomenting of racial hatred which it is believed will lead to civil unrest and even civil war in multi-racial societies like Britain and thereby, most importantly, through the enactment of repressive legislation to the imposition [...]



Fewer, Bigger, Better

2009-11-19T21:14:00.066+00:00

User groups are lobbying Plymouth City Council for a pledge to safeguard Plymouth and West Devon Record Office. A consortium led by David Holman, chairman of the National Federation of Family History Societies, Dr. Tod Gray, chairman of the Friends of Devon’s Archives and Maureen Selley, chairman of Devon Family History Society argues in a recent press release that the future of the record office and its collections is at risk through years of neglect by the council, with the disaggregation of collections looking possible.Vivien PengellyAt a public meeting, the leader of the Plymouth City Council Vivien Pengelly stated that a replacement building or History Centre was the second priority of the council, after a so-called Life Centre.SQA examined the record office’s score in the 2008 self-assessment exercise carried out by the National Archives. The scores (row 84) are highly creditable, except for buildings, security and environment which score 37% (*). The other scores are governance and resources 59.5 (**), documentation of collections 67.5 (***), access 51.5 (**), preservation and conservation 60% (**) and overall 52.5 (**)In terms of its status for holding Public Records, the record office is not recognised as an Approved Repository by the National Archives under the Public Records Act 1958 but instead has Place of Deposit status for local classes of Public Records. These constitute only a minority of the record office’s collections and include such records of local branches of central government as magistrates’ court records. The council’s own records together with deposited and donated unofficial, parish, business and charity collections, etc., are not necessarily affected as they are not Public Records but withdrawal of Place of Deposit status in 2013 as reported would entail loss of prestige for the city council such that it would be hard for it to justify continuing the service at all, thus in fact endangering all other collections.We asked outspoken Ellison Millinocket, SQA’s chief spokesman on conservation and security, based in nearby Taunton, Somerset, to assess the situation.It’s typical really, the authority has the makings of being a responsible parent authority capable of running a full spec BS5454 record office. It is clear they have benefited from good staff who have not lost the opportunity to advance the service as far as they can within their governance limitations. It comes down to under-investment in the premises in this case. If the council can grasp the nettle, by achieving the same standards in buildings as in archival professionalism, they could end up with a high calibre record office. However, even high professional standards are threatened in future if the proposed service name comes about, “History Centre”. This is yet another instance of blurring archives by changing an easily recognised service name like Record Office. Perhaps too there will be a blurring of the role of chief archivist. Will there even be a qualified, professional archivist in charge?Next we asked Benedict Crumplethorne, principal spokesman for SQA, to put developments in the wider context.Reading the consortium’s press release and the local newspaper articles, the whole issue might seem to be a storm in a tea cup, especially as the press garble the National Archives’ official line. However, there are considerable forces at work which are not even hinted at by the press and consortium.Firstly, we should look at the National Archives (TNA)’s consultation on a revised government policy on archives, entitled Archives for the 21st. Century. This envisages “fewer, bigger, better” local government record offices thus implying the closure of record offices and the creation of regional offices. It is therefore quite plausible that TNA is using Approval and Pla[...]



Who controls the past, ran the Party slogan, controls the future

2011-06-23T20:36:59.935+01:00

SQA reacts with despondency to recent expressions of outrage following the UK National Archives' announcement of closing its public areas on Mondays and the shedding of expert staff. The merits of such a policy decision by TNA, such it would appear to be (rather than a need to make savings) can be debated but the inadequacy of user groups' response is almost conspiratorial. It is as though all our efforts in alerting the world of archives, professionals and researchers alike, over the last few years, have been wasted (see our previous post Common Purpose) However, the optimists we are, we will persevere in explaining developments in a more strategic context, so lacking in all other analyses of this and other related events.The UK National ArchivesLet us begin by reminding ourselves of the function of the National Archives, formerly the Public Record Office, established in 1838 and originally situated in Chancery Lane, London but which completed its move to Kew in 2004. Their web site states:The National Archives (TNA) is the UK government's official archive, containing almost 1,000 years of history, with records ranging from parchment and paper scrolls through to digital files and archived websites.We give detailed guidance to government departments and the public sector on information management, in order to ensure the survival of records, and advise others throughout the public and private sectors about the care of historical archives. We also publish all UK legislation and advise upon and encourage the re-use of public sector information.Note archives as evidence is not mentioned. Information and evidence are not the same thing.TNA is distinct from the pattern of local government record offices throughout England and business, financial, university and charity archives, not to mention the National Archives of Scotland and the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland. The archives held by TNA are known as Public Records and the TNA's activities and collections are defined by the Public Records Act and other legislation.Opening hours are currently Monday and Friday 09.00-17.00, Tuesday and Thursday 09.00-19.00, Wednesday 10.00-17.00 and Saturday 09.30-17.00. The new opening hours represent a 16% reduction on the current ones.Righteous indignation abounds. Protestors include Saul David, Antony Beevor, Professor Jane Ridley, Jonathan Foyle, A.N. Wilson and Nick Barratt. Professor David is quoted in The Independent on Sunday on 19 July 2009 as saying "the future history of our country is at stake". Presumably he means access to archives as evidence is at stake as there is no stated limitation on the nature of independent historical research leading to the publication of new history text books. It is uncertain whether this is intended irony on his part or whether like all other commentators it is through ignorance of the agenda behind the changes.The newspaper goes on to slavishly quote TNA briefing notes which typically of modern newspapers lacks the investigative and critical analysis skills to go beyond them: "the changes come as part of an ongoing drive to digitalise [sic] records so that they can be accessed directly online." The critics of TNA's proposals have questioned either the maths or efficacy of the proposed changes. No-one so far appears to have looked behind them for an agenda. SQA understands this agenda all to well.Nick Barratt, a former employee of TNA and well known as a consultant on the BBC TV series Who Do You Think You Are?, makes his views felt in a letter to The Times and in the Action4Archives web site, see below.A humbler researcher, Ruth Wilcock of Brentwood, Essex, writing to The Daily Telegraph, offers a savings argument to explain TNA's proposed changes even though making savings is not actually given by TNA as their reason[...]



National Archives of Ireland falls victim to the Euro

2009-05-08T20:56:41.803+01:00

When Michael Collins excused his forces' destruction of the Public Record Office of Ireland at the Four Courts in Dublin in 1922 by saying better a state with no archives than an archives with no state, it is doubtful that he anticipated current developments in the Republic of Ireland, now suffering under the thumb of European Union.The Irish government has announced plans to merge the National Archives of Ireland in Bishop Street, Dublin with the National Library of Ireland. For the Irish state to be overseeing the disbandment of a national institution is doubly ironic: that the national archives should again be disinvented when there is no obvious threat to Irish statehood and for it to be done by the political successors to the founding fathers of the Irish state.The mining of the Public Record Office, Dublin, 1922Observers of Irish archival provision will be both bitterly disappointed and bemused. The present National Archives was a much heralded step forward for a service once split between the Public Record Office of Ireland and the State Paper Office at Dublin Castle. It also means the Republic of Ireland falls behind the example of Scotland whose National Archives of Scotland, formerly the General Register House, even preceded the establishment of devolved government there. Thus the Republic of Ireland, a fully independent state (except for being a member of the EU) has no national archives while Scotland, a minor part of the United Kingdom, producing 20% of the UK's GDP, does have a national archives.The National Archives of Ireland, Bishop Street, DublinSo what has brought this sorry state of affairs into being?In the words of the Bruges Group:The Bruges Group’s detailed examination of the severe strains facing the Single Currency .... finds that the entirely ‘man made’ problems that confront the eurozone today have their origins in the fatally flawed notion that one exchange rate and one interest rate are appropriate for economies with very different and disparate histories, structures, performances and sovereign governments.The euro was meant to bring convergence to the economies of the European Union. Yet it has caused even greater divergence.This much applies to all of the Euro Zone. What about Ireland? Writing in The Daily Telegraph of 28 February 2009, Gordon Rayner says:Irish government bonds are rated as the riskiest in the EU and there has been panicky talk of Ireland being the next Iceland. On the streets, there is a whiff of revolution, with 120,000 people staging Dublin's biggest mass rally in 30 years ... to protest at the government's handling of the economy and its decision to impose what amounted to a pay cut on public sector workers.Businesses in the north of the Republic are on their knees because competitors in Northern Ireland are undecutting them by as much as half. Thousands of workers who have lost their jobs in other sectors have been allowed to set up as cabbies, meaning that Dublin now has 16,000 licensed taxis. New York, with a population 17 times as large, has 13,000.Crucially, the Irish government is powerless to act because, as a member of the eurozone, it has no control over interest rates or currency devaluation.Further readingCould the EU invade Ireland?Archives and the stateAnyone give a damn?O Minister, Minister! wherefore art thou Minister?New EU working laws will be disaster for NHS The Sunday Telegraph 18 January 2009Ditching the euro could boost our failing economy Independent.ieJohn Black, president of the Royal College of Surgeons has issued a dramatic warning that the National Health Service will not be able to cope with the effects of the controversial European Working Time Directive.Mr Black is meeting Alan Johnson, the Health Secretary, in February to propose a "s[...]



Sleep you stinking cowards

2009-02-27T21:11:18.357+00:00

Philip PullmanAre such things done on Albion's shore?The image of this nation that haunts me most powerfully is that of the sleeping giant Albion in William Blake's prophetic books. Sleep, profound and inveterate slumber: that is the condition of Britain today.We do not know what is happening to us. In the world outside, great events take place, great figures move and act, great matters unfold, and this nation of Albion murmurs and stirs while malevolent voices whisper in the darkness - the voices of the new laws that are silently strangling the old freedoms the nation still dreams it enjoys.We are so fast asleep that we don't know who we are any more. Are we English? Scottish? Welsh? British? More than one of them? One but not another? Are we a Christian nation - after all we have an Established Church - or are we something post-Christian? Are we a secular state? Are we a multifaith state? Are we anything we can all agree on and feel proud of?The new laws whisper:You don't know who you areYou're mistaken about yourselfWe know better than you do what you consist of, what labels apply to you, which facts about you are important and which are worthlessWe do not believe you can be trusted to know these things, so we shall know them for youAnd if we take against you, we shall remove from your possession the only proof we shall allow to be recognisedThe sleeping nation dreams it has the freedom to speak its mind. It fantasises about making tyrants cringe with the bluff bold vigour of its ancient right to express its opinions in the street. This is what the new laws say about that:Expressing an opinion is a dangerous activityWhatever your opinions are, we don't want to hear themSo if you threaten us or our friends with your opinions we shall treat you like the rabble you areAnd we do not want to hear you arguing about itSo hold your tongue and forget about protestingWhat we want from you is acquiescenceThe nation dreams it is a democratic state where the laws were made by freely elected representatives who were answerable to the people. It used to be such a nation once, it dreams, so it must be that nation still. It is a sweet dream.You are not to be trusted with lawsSo we shall put ourselves out of your reachWe shall put ourselves beyond your amendment or abolitionYou do not need to argue about any changes we make, or to debate them, or to send your representatives to vote against themYou do not need to hold us to accountYou think you will get what you want from an inquiry?Who do you think you are?What sort of fools do you think we are?The nation's dreams are troubled, sometimes; dim rumours reach our sleeping ears, rumours that all is not well in the administration of justice; but an ancient spell murmurs through our somnolence, and we remember that the courts are bound to seek the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, and we turn over and sleep soundly again.And the new laws whisper:We do not want to hear you talking about truthTruth is a friend of yours, not a friend of oursWe have a better friend called hearsay, who is a witness we can always relyonWe do not want to hear you talking about innocenceInnocent means guilty of things not yet doneWe do not want to hear you talking about the right to silenceYou need to be told what silence means: it means guiltWe do not want to hear you talking about justiceJustice is whatever we want to do to youAnd nothing elseAre we conscious of being watched, as we sleep? Are we aware of an ever-open eye at the corner of every street, of a watching presence in the very keyboards we type our messages on? The new laws don't mind if we are. They don't think we care about it.We want to watch you day and nightWe think you are abject enough to feel safe when we [...]



A new twist to multiculturalism

2009-03-18T21:05:18.955+00:00

Farhad Hakimzadeh, a wealthy Iranian businessman who went on trial in November 2008 for stealing and mutilating manuscripts at the British Library, London and Bodleian Library, Oxford, has been imprisoned for two years. Mr. Hakimzadeh had a special interest in western European experiences of travel and colonisation in the Middle East from the 16th to 18th. Centuries.Rather like another thief of archives convicted recently, Oliver Fallon, Hakimzadeh had the cover of a reputable organisation, in his case the Iranian Heritage Foundation of which he was founder and director.Iranians in Britain have mixed reactions to their fellow countryman's activities, some seeing his criminal activities in the context of conflict between Islam and the West, others a conflict between the Persian and non-Persian sections of Iranian society.Farhad HakimzadehHowever, of concern to SQA is the ease with which Hakimzadeh committed his theft and vandalism, over the lengthy period of 1997-2005 or 1998-2006, according to different reports.We asked Benedict Crumplethorne, principal spokesman of SQA, to offer his thoughts on the episode.It seems the national institutions are not quite on the ball as regards security procedures, exemplified in this instance by the British Library. It is axiomatic in the heritage professions that no matter how trusted researchers are, the same standards of security should apply as for the general public. This is common sense, of course. I tend to suspect that the heavier presence of academic types among the curatorial staff of such institutions causes them to lack the same orthodoxy of qualified archivists, who are almost certainly not to be found at the upper levels of British Library management. Instead, they empathise with their fellow researchers.The founder of our profession, Sir Hilary Jenkinson for whom the physical security of archives was the paramount objective, would be turning in his grave. In referring to Jenkinson, I am reminded of his injunction that archivists' judgment should not be clouded by engaging in their own original research.I must next address some of the odd statements made by the British Library and the police. Firstly, I quote a British Library spokesman:Theft from the British Library is an extremely rare occurrence. Because we are a research library, not a museum, we are committed to making our collections available in the interests of scholarship and research: to facilitate this an element of trust is necessary. Hakimzadeh fundamentally betrayed this trust. I don't quite see how being a research library makes security issues different to those in a museum...say the British Museum. Do museums not make their collections available for research? Is the BL saying museums don't have security arrangements? Are they also saying they recognise different tiers of researcher, all ostensibly card carrying readers, but some more equal than others? In any case, all archive repositories exist to make their material available for research. However, the crucial sentence is the second last sentence. This seems to suggest BL staff took a calculated decision to favour Hakimzadeh, or to trust him as they put it. This policy is at best mysterious and at worst negligent.Secondly, I refer to a comment made by Detective Chief Inspector Dave Cobb of the Metropolitan Police, that:It is extremely difficult to detect the absence of these pages as Hakimzadeh took care to select material that only an expert would be able to identify, as early printed books are unique. The original owner might have commissioned additional illustrations, or pages might have been missing when the libraries acquired them.This carries forward the mysteriousness of the BL's own statement and i[...]



Archivists Against Global Warmism

2009-11-21T13:15:58.132+00:00

In a letter to The Daily Telegraph of 9 January 2009, John McGibbon of Cambridge advises anyone unable to heat his home properly during the present cold snap to spend a day at their local council offices, perhaps researching their ancestors. As the temperature holds a sultry 75F, be prepared to strip down to not much more than underwear in order to blend in with the staff.We asked Benedict Crumplethorne, principal spokesman for SQA, to comment on this apparent suggestion that local government record offices' public searchrooms are not only swelteringly hot but staffed by women wearing only bras and nickers.You hint that the majority of local government record office staff are women. This is indeed the case, so we may deduce that the office Mr. McGibbon has visited to obtain this impression is typical of the trend, confirmed in various national surveys. As to a public searchroom being 75F, this gives very great cause for concern. We expect temperature and humidity in searchrooms to be controlled in broad conformity with BS5454 to ensure that documents temporarily relocated for research purposes from the strongroom to the searchroom will not be subjected to widely varying atmospheric conditions.Devon Record Office: in bed with the Met OfficeWe also asked Ellison Millinocket, conservation spokesman for SQA, based in Taunton, Somerset to comment on the technical implications of searchrooms being heated to 75F.Benedict is quite right. And may I say how heart-warming it is to see Fahrenheit used, instead of the fiendish metric Celcius system. Most British people prefer Fahrenheit, despite Met Office bullying. I would prefer a searchroom to be air conditioned so as to ensure documents are less subjected to microscopic mechanical wear through hydrolysis. There are other threats of course including photo-degradation but fluctuation or variation in temperature and humidity between or in document storage areas and searchrooms is something to avoid. And finally, may I enquire where these scantily dressed women archivists and archive assistants are to be found, I find I am free for the next few days and would like to pay them a visit....We thanked Benedict and Ellison for their contributions.However, still curious as to why a letter writer to a national newspaper should seem to want to grouse about the temperature in a local government record office searchroom, we invited Dr. Pochin Sturge of Wigston, Leicestershire, honorary consultant anthropologist to SQA, to offer some explanation.Well, I rather regret this current obsession with global warming is behind the criticism. Local government has nailed its colours to the mast on this one, slavishly implementing EU directives on waste disposal and fining miscreants, so that any council is bound to be associated with the global warming phenomenon and become a target for disgruntled members of the public.Even the national Archives has swallowed the bait. Their web site states Projects will soon be underway to understand the issues surrounding the impact of climate change on local environments in The National Archives, and archival collections globally. Existing models such as life-cycle costing, risk assessment and predictive modelling protocols will be applied to evaluate and define sustainable energy solutions and to optimise current preservation practices.....A climate mapping exercise has been carried out in all storage areas. The results will be used to develop The National Archives´ environmental monitoring programme as well as to improve the hardware and the Building Management System.The significance of this for the tax-payer is that it may all be unnecessary.The great shame is that there is no such thi[...]



Take Note

2008-08-05T23:14:53.701+01:00

We believe some colleagues in the archives profession will be chastened to read the following notice published in the British Weights and Measures Association annual report for 1907. The information is perhaps still as relevant now in the computer age as it was then.

(image)

Most progressive people now-a-days use card indexes of some sort or other, and with these obtain the necessary drawers, etc, for filing them. The standard sizes of these cards are 3 x 5, 4 x 6, and 5 x 8 — cabinets being sold to fit. We would warn all our members to make sure in purchasing these cabinets that the drawers will fit these sizes of cards. There are some cabinets on the market at present with drawers presumably of the standard size, but on looking closely at the circular or catalogue describing them, you will find the word “approximately”. These cabinets are not made in England, and are made to take cards according to millimetre sizes, which are incommensurable with British sizes.

If you should unfortunately get this make of cabinets in your office you will find yourself tied to obtain your future supplies of cards from the firm, or pay extra if you go elsewhere, as a drawer 75 x 125 millimetres will not take a 3 x 5in standard card. The difference is slight but just enough to tie you to one firm for supplies at their prices. We don’t want tied houses in the stationery trade, neither do we want confusion introducing into our sizes, which are based on the Imperial standard inch. There are excellent makers who supply cabinets to British standard sizes, and our members should insist on having these sizes.

Further reading

British Weights and Measures Association



The Treaty of Lisbon exposed

2009-03-25T23:26:50.345+00:00

Readers may recall our recent report of a hidden agenda within the Church of England in support of European integration, a policy that extends to divesting itself of its own bibliographical and documentary heritage in order to remove any sense of national identity and a record of centuries of achievement. It seems this has stimulated a discussion between our patron Lindsay Jenkins and a mildly Eurosceptic vicar.We reproduce their email correspondence below.Lindsay Jenkins29 April 2008Dear Mr. Knight,Thank you for taking an interest in my posting.I am very sorry to hear that both Archbishop Temple and Bishop Bell are today revered in the Church of England. Indeed I am surprised but no doubt you are in touch with a broad grouping.Archbishop TempleMy own family tell me that Archbishop Temple was very far from universally revered while he was alive; many were appalled – even at a time when some were thoroughly hoodwinked by Stalin.What was thought through in 1940 (and the thinking started a lot earlier than that) is what we now see in the Lisbon treaty – the EU in all its intrusiveness.The end of the nation state was exactly what Archbishop Temple and others were working towards. He was not proposing a cosy federation of friends. The aim was political union and that was exemplified by the first serious attempt with the help of a beneficial crisis in June 1940 – Anglo-Franco Union.An Oxford lawyer, Professor Zimmern, wrote a detailed constitution of the proposed combination of France and the UK into one country and it had been agreed with sympathetic French in Paris in 1939. But it was stopped by the French government - cowering in Vichy and selling out to the Germans. You may remember the exchange:General Weygand leading the defeatists said, ‘In three weeks England will have her neck rung like a chicken.’ (Churchill later replied, ‘Some chicken - some neck!’). Jean Ybarnegaray exclaimed, ‘Better be a Nazi province. At least we know what that means’.An even more comprehensive constitution (similar to the treaty of Lisbon) to include most of Europe was written by an Australian solicitor, Ronald Mackay, who had settled in Britain in 1934, building on constitutional work begun by Lionel Curtis, and the American lawyer, Professor A H Goodhart of University College, Oxford.That constitution was presented to a 1940 conference in Oxford organised by the Fabian Society with which Archbishop Temple was most closely associated.On the World Council of Churches (WCC), if you have not already read it I found the Memoirs of the Rev Dr. Willem Visser ‘t Hooft illuminating: he was the first Secretary-General.Many people over the last decades have not realised what was creeping up, because generations of politicians have either not read the texts (Ken Clarke), not believed them or have deliberately lied.Should you be interested I have written a book on who has created the EU and why called Britain Held Hostage, The Coming Euro-Dictatorship.With kind regardsLindsay Jenkinswww.lindsayjenkins.comFrom Rev. R. KnightSubject: Re: THE CHURCH & ITS SUPPORT FOR THE EU - Another Letter to Bishop of Chichester29 April 2008Dear All,I’m glad you are all vigilant about misrepresentations of what is going on with the Lisbon Treaty. I was dismayed to read a letter in the “Times” which seemed to imply that the Church of England supported Lisbon.That cannot be so for the reasons I included in my letter to the Bishop of St Alban’s.I must say, however, that I do not at all agree with Lindsay Jenkins and, as a clergyman in the Church of England, I must suggest that it would becounterproductive to use his [...]



Ummm

2008-06-03T21:19:36.957+01:00

The light-fingered brigade has been at it again, exposing deficiencies in the security aspects of several major UK archive repositories.Last year we learned that a series of major thefts of archives from the London Metropolitan Archives (LMA) had taken place. The thief had targeted the Jersey Collection there and had stolen documents including letters from Queen Victoria and the first Duke of Wellington. The Islington Tribune was informed by the LMA’s parent authority, the City of London, that a security review was taking place and that Detective Inspector Joe Lock of Islington CID was asking for further information.We await further news on the recovery of these stolen documents and the identity of the thief.Scottish Catholic ArchivesMeanwhile, in Scotland we hear the Scottish Catholic Archives has been raided by Oliver Fallon, better known internationally as a Sanskrit scholar, who has recently been convicted by a court in Edinburgh. 300 documents with a market value of £26,000 were stolen during five visits he made to that office in July 2006. Fallon adopted the normal technique of the archives thief, that of cutting or tearing off parts of pages or secreting smaller documents on his person. 132 documents are still missing and damaged documents require repairs costed at nearly £5000. The Edinburgh court learned from Fallon’s solicitor John Mulholland that he was already serving time in England for similar, apparently unreported thefts south of the border. SQA is unaware of any official connection between the LMA thefts and the Edinburgh thefts at this stage.Oliver FallonSeveral sources place emphasis on Fallon’s story he was a postgraduate student, as though to say the Scottish Catholic Archives or its apologists need defend giving access to their archives to anyone. The issue in this instance is that Fallon was left unsupervised while he consulted the documents. It is unlikely in the extreme the public searchroom at LMA was unsupervised.The Scottish Catholic Archives have also stressed researchers are not allowed to remove documents from the premises and must use pencils only, which is rather beside the point.The Herald reports Fallon had also obtained documents by deception from the Catholic Archives in London although we are not aware of such a repository.In an unrelated breach of security of a different kind, 29 forged documents have been inserted into 12 government files at the UK National Archives by Martin Allen, an enthusiast of Hitler’s Germany, in order to support spurious or unsubstantiatable claims. At least one forged letter was written on a blank page from an old book, a classic forger’s trick. The Times quotes Sir Max Hastings as saying it is hard to imagine actions more damaging to the cause of preserving the nation’s heritage than wilfully forging documents designed to alter our historical record and John Fox states how on earth were these documents slipped in? This is something that the National Archives has to answer. Whoever got these documents in must have done it in a very clever, sneaky way, so you can’t entirely blame the security. But maybe there are questions with the security.The National Archives is reported as saying new security procedures had been put in place.We asked Ellison Millinocket of Taunton, Somerset, the outspoken security and conservation spokesman for SQA, to offer some comments.It really beggars belief. A searchroom left unsupervised? Have the Roman Catholic Church in Scotland no concept of security? I notice their entry in British Archives, 4th. Edition, states they allow access to bona fide researchers[...]



Rogue employers, well almost

2008-04-29T17:15:24.450+01:00

Following up previous posts on unsatisfactory salaries or person specifications at Durham, Bromley and the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland (PRONI), we return again to Bromley where it seems a previous advertisement for the post of archivist at Bromley Central Library is being re-run.Bromley Central LibraryThe salary offered is £25,440 to £27,009 which suggests a slight move in the right direction. The advertisement also states the successful candidate will be a qualified archivist. However, we asked Garth Bland, County Archivist of Loamshire, to comment on the Bromley situation.I think we are dealing with quite a common situation, one not at all beneficial to the cause and promotion of archives. Many local government archive services are beholden to library services even to the extent they are physically contained within a library building. It goes without saying the building is branded as a library and the archivist reports to a librarian. Usually in this context, the archivist is seen as a specialist, almost as a specialist librarian. Indeed, I have seen many advertisements for hybrid archivist/librarians. Unless such post-holders are qualified archivists and librarians, and there are some such beasts, this is an appalling cheek and damaging to our profession.We continue to fight a battle for the equipping of stand-alone archive repositories headed by qualified, professional archivists employed at the same level as chief librarians and museum curators. Municipal traditions are hard to overcome, as is the strong position library services are in when it comes to competing for funding and access to decision makers. University libraries are much the same. This gives rise to difficulties based on the more specialised needs of archive services and representing such to committees, quite apart from the wider public and politicians.I tend to think archives authorities should respect the spirit of the National Archives’ Standard for Record Repositories, which states thatBeyond the very smallest, record repositories accordingly require the services of(a) one or more professionally qualified archivists with training or experience relevant to the kindof records held(b) one or more professionally qualified conservators(c) one or more non-professional archivist or records assistants, and appropriate clerical staff(d) support staff, who may include word processor/keyboard operator(s), porter(s) and cleaner(s).(section 2.2)We thanked Garth for his contribution.A scorpion and a frog met on the bank of a stream and the scorpion asked the frog to carry him across on its back. The frog asked, "How do I know you won't sting me?" The scorpion said, "Because if I do, I will die too." The frog was satisfied, and they set out, but in midstream, the scorpion stung the frog. As they both began to sink, the frog had just enough time to ask "Why?" And the scorpion replied: "Because it is my nature..."Do you still not understand the nature of the EU?[...]



The Church of England’s hidden agenda

2008-06-03T21:17:16.852+01:00

For those observant and critical enough, the signs of the Church of England’s tendency to support European integration have been there for some time. We recall the letter from the Dean and Chapter of Coventry to a national newspaper in which they collectively stated their support for European integration.We recall the Bishop of Exeter’s exclusion of the UK Independence Party’s representatives from the regional forum for the South-West Constitutional Convention. We recall the new Prayer Book which includes a prayer for European Institutions. We recall the appointment of a bishop of Europe. We recall the CofE’s involvement in the Council of European Churches and the Soul for Europe programme.The latest activities of the Church of England to come to our attention are the disposal of numerous cathedral libraries, we assume as part of an act of self-censorship for removing inconvenient printed evidence of the rise of the Protestant based British Empire. The Church has not gone so far as to burn its books in the style of the Nazi Germany in the 1930s but the abandonment of its printed heritage amounts to a most useful act of self-imposed Europhile collaborationism, suited to supporting the gradual dismantlement of the national institutions of the most hated and democratic country in Europe.The Frauenkirche after restorationAfter all, was it not Protestant Britain that stood in the way of Spanish, French and Papal attempts at achieving European or world dominance? The Protestant-based constitution of Britain also undermined later German attempts at defeating Britain in two world wars. The modern European and German domination of Britain is symbolised by the officially sanctioned abandonment of the ruined medieval Coventry Cathedral, destroyed by German bombing and the recent rebuilding of the Frauenkirche in Dresden, after destruction by RAF and USAF bombing.So what prompts SQA’s latest concerns?A Bible sold by Truro CathedralIn 2005 Pusey House, Oxford sold most of its pre-Tractarian library; Truro Cathedral sold Bishop Philpott’s Library; and writing in The Church Times, Professor Jonathan Clark in an article entitled The C of E is losing its own history reports the sale of cathedral libraries from Bangor, Canterbury, Ely, Lincoln, Llandaff, Lichfield, Exeter, St. Asaph and Wells on AbeBooks. Manuscript items are included in these various sales.The critics of these actions mainly express concern about the Church’s financial incompetence. The Truro sale, described by one eminent librarian as a disaster, raised £36,000 for stock eventually sold on for half a millon pounds. However, to SQA it looks rather more like self-imposed asset-stripping allied to Europhile tendencies.We asked Benedict Crumplethorne, principal spokesman for SQA, to offer comment.Two things come out of this, the Church’s naivety in relation to book dealers and the Church’s naivety in relation to politics. Somewhere hidden away in the Church’s institutions is also a rabid pro-Integrationist agenda which sits very easily with self-imposed asset stripping. European integrationism sits well in turn with ecumenism. And ecumenism sits well with Roman Catholicism, as the EU is clearly modelled on the Holy Roman Empire and is founded on the Treaty of Rome. If the EU are to be our new political masters, then so must the Roman Catholics in religion. In short, the CofE has seen which way the wind is blowing.Our Lady of Europe, Strasbourg CathedralMy own pet theory is that many clergy and laity support European integration because they bel[...]



Anything but ordinary

2008-05-01T22:37:35.355+01:00

As inveterate readers of SQA’s pages are aware we keep an eagle eye on job advertisements in the sector, identifying rogue employers offering unsatisfactory salaries and those not requiring applicants for archives posts to be professionally qualified.The PRONI logoOn this occasion an advertisement by the Northern Ireland Civil Service (NICS) has been drawn to our attention. It is for the post of Director of the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland (PRONI), in Belfast.We are informed The post-holder will be an expert in archival and records management matters although as there is no mention of the successful applicant having to possess the postgraduate diploma in archive administration, conveniently available from University College Dublin, the NICS clearly envisages the possibility of finding such an expert who is not qualified. For its part, SQA is mystified that such a species can be considered to exist.At £56,100 - £78,540 the salary is certainly not an issue: the devil looks after his own and while the rest of the profession laments the absence of national archives legislation which might regularise gradings at least in the public sector, civil servants sit pretty.SQA has previously blogged its concern at similar developments elsewhere at national governmental level, particularly the appointment of Natalie Ceeney to head the UK National Archives.We asked Benedict Crumplethorne, principal spokesman for SQA, to comment.I heartily sympathise with SQA’s position. However, the trend in central government (if I may term the Euro Regional government of Northern Ireland such) is for non-qualified persons to be appointed to these senior positions. However laudable the retention of their original title (the Scottish Record Office, Edinburgh and Public Record Office, London having changed their titles to the National Archives of Scotland and The National Archives respectively), PRONI is clearly still dedicated to dyed in the wool civil service officialese.And meritocracy? I note the advertisement states ALL APPLICATIONS FOR EMPLOYMENT ARE CONSIDERED STRICTLY ON THE BASIS OF MERIT. Well, clearly qualified archivists are not recognised as meritorious by the meritocrats!Intrigued by the situation in Northern Ireland, we asked Garth Bland, County Archivist of Loamshire to offer some comments on the constitutional position north of the border.Very deceptive and messy, actually. Northern Ireland is a Euro Region exactly like London, Wales or Eastern England. The creation of devolved government there has always been viewed in the context of the Troubles but actually it would have come anyway and is merely a forerunner of planned EU regional governments throughout England and the rest of the UK. Nationalism in Ireland, Scotland and Wales has played into the integrationists’ hands perfectly.Current elitist thinking concerning Northern Ireland is that by a process of national governments gradually relinquishing power to the EU, the devolution of power from Westminster to Belfast will make sectarian divisions irrelevant. Once the process is complete, the nationalist community will be unable to unite to the Republic of Ireland and the Loyalists will not be able to unite with, or remain united to Great Britain, because under the Treaty of Lisbon the process of the creation of the EU superstate will become complete and both states will cease to exist. The future EU is one of regions with no national governments or legislatures worthy of the name. It is not surprising Sinn Fein is campaigning a[...]



The Genocide Convention

2008-04-21T11:51:48.509+01:00

We must congratulate our patron Ashley Mote MEP for drawing attention to the European Union’s genocidal war against the British people. This is something SQA has expressed concern about previously in our blog The Natives are Revolting, in which we examined the implications of the UN General Assembly’s adoption of the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.Ashley Mote MEPThis useful development has been reinforced by the Genocide Convention. Mr. Mote has asked the European Commission the following question:Given that Malta appears to be the only nation state in the European Union that has failed to sign the Genocide Convention of 1948, can it be assumed the European Union considers itself a party to it? If and when the Lisbon Treaty is ratified, will the EU sign the Genocide Convention? In which case, can the Commission explain how it will then defend its present activities and immigration policy in the light of Article II, and specifically sub-section (c)? To save the Commissioner looking them up, I can remind him that the relevant words are:Genocide means any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group as such...(c) deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part.As the Commissioner will have seen in my recent pamphlet J ' Accuse...! the effect of present EU migration policy has been systematically to destroy national identity in the UK, and - for that matter - in most other nation states. Given that the Genocide Convention makes specific and separate references to "national", "ethnical", "racial" and "religious" groups being threatened, (implicitly either in isolation or in combination) is it not obvious that the uncontrolled influx of economic migrants and the mass influx of Muslims to the UK represent real and present dangers which fall within the Convention ' s definition of genocide? If not, why not?We look forward to their reply.Mr. Mote has correctly understood that the current large scale immigration Britain is experiencing is not the result of something conveniently called Globalisation, it is deliberate policy aimed at dismantling British society and national identity and forms an essential Leninist plank for Communist world government.Against such large scale immigration and anti-British policies and viewed as an obstacle to Europeanisation, the guaranteed preservation of British archives, which enshrine our identity and rights, becomes highly questionable.We asked Dr. Pochin Sturge, honorary consultant anthropologist to SQA, to comment.I suppose the principal effect of mass immigration is to undermine social cohesion. Islam in particular challenges the existing legal as well as religious and political status quo in the UK. In other societies, similar developments are taking place, this is not unique to our ancient culture. I must congratulate Alethea on including a video supportive of Islam in her reading list. Balance is of the essence and in a way the defining characteristic of a healthy society. However, I must point out one glaring error in Dr. Sultan's diatribe. She states the Jews are responsible for most of the world's inventions. According to a recent Japanese government survey, I quote several web sites which quote their findings:In electronic computing, the biggest new industry to arise in the last half-century, British brainpower provided the ideas, foreign industr[...]



Rewriting History

2008-02-04T14:20:17.660+00:00

Members of SQA’s south east, eastern and north-east Euro Regions have been approached by the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council (MLA) to assist in the trialling of MLA London Euro Region’s Revisiting Archive Collections toolkit, part of a process of expanding the project outwards from London to the rest of the UK.MLA informs us: The Revisiting Archive Collections toolkit takes collection managers through the process of opening up their records to external scrutiny and comment and capturing new information and understanding in their core collection description and cataloguing systems. The purpose is to help archivists to attract and serve non-traditional audiences and people wanting to access the material from non-traditional perspectives.Also:Participating archives will be trained and supported to use the toolkit by a team of consultants with expertise in both archival cataloguing and description and in facilitating community participation.This development almost certainly stems from recognition of the huge potential arising from the publication of electronic archival finding aids on the web. Online finding aids stand to benefit researchers who will be alerted to the existence of many relevant collections and documents for the first time. This all seems very harmless and indeed beneficial, but only when viewed from the standpoint of archivists unversed in current political trends.To the Leninist however, the advent of online finding aids to historical source material, available alongside contemporary socio-political web sites through search engines such as Google, has prompted the appalling realisation that objective archival description of documentary evidence of the development of the world’s most influential state, England, and its empire, laws, customs, accountable government, rule of law, presumption of innocence, habeas corpus, etc., will undermine their surreptitious scheme for Communist world government. The MLA web site reveals some clues as to their real motives:The Revisiting Archive Collections toolkit takes collection managers through the process of opening up their records for external scrutiny and comment and capturing new information and understanding in their core collection description and cataloguing systems. The purpose is to help archivists to attract and serve non-traditional audiences and people wanting to access the material from non-traditional perspectives.It is at this point the whole devious plan is exposed. What the metropolitan elite are proposing is that archival descriptive lists are written or re-written on advice from persons who are not necessarily objective, qualified archivists, so as to conform to the Leninist world view. Based on our prior knowledge of the Malvine Project, which seeks to “harmonise” the archives of the EU member states alongside the accompanying dumbing down of history, we knew it wouldn’t be long before EU collaborators got to grips with the bread and butter work of archivists, descriptive listing, which clearly forms the first stage in access to and interpretation of archives. As if it’s not good enough for qualified, professional archivists, who are already expertly trained in identifying and describing material of socio- historical value, to be effectively retrained on the job, archivists will now be suitably politically indoctrinated and politically re-educated by MLA commissars who are not identified at this stage and whose credentials therefore cannot[...]



It's Queer up North

2008-01-17T13:33:21.030+00:00

Rogue Employers UpdateOur members continue to cast their eyes over job advertisements in the archives sector in order to help maintain professional standards.The latest to come to our attention is that of County Archivist of County Durham, based at County Hall, Durham. The post is advertised at £28,919-£31,606 and is currently subject to a job evaluation exercise which means it could go down or up.SQA believes the advertised level of remuneration is unsatisfactory. However, of even greater concern to us is the failure of Durham County Council to stipulate the postgraduate diploma in archive administration is an essential qualification.Instead, they require a degree and a further degree or post-graduate qualification in archive administration. Thus, while Durham County Council is aware of the existence of the professional qualification, they recognise it as merely an option and will accept another postgraduate qualification instead. This is a disgraceful.The unsatisfactoriness of the Durham County Council position is compounded by their requirement for the successful candidate to undertake to obtain the NVQ Level 4 in Management within 3 years of appointment. No similar stipulation is made as regards obtaining the University of Wales archives diploma or the University of Dundee MLitt in Archives and Records Management by distance learning.We asked Benedict Crumplethorne, principal spokesman for SQA, for his observations on the Durham situation.This is rather similar to developments we have observed elsewhere, e.g. Cambridgeshire. Increasingly, we are witnessing the downgrading of the senior professional role in repositories, with the highest professionally qualified staff operating at assistant archivist level. This cannot be conducive to promotion of or advocacy for an archives service beyond an archive service or within the community. It relegates the most experienced staff to a more junior level and prevents the correct level of influence from being exerted on policy makers.We are certainly seeing the politically correct trend towards dumbing-down the management of highly specialised professions, with the emphasis instead being placed on management skills. This is a mistake of course as the management issues around archives are rather too specialist for pure manager types to grasp and develop. Employers are now beholden to the cult of managerialism, by which it is deemed all services and professions can be competently managed by any Tom, Dick or Harry.We should also take into account the possibility that more senior departmental managers overseeing archive services such as County Durham’s are genuinely unaware of the range of skills involved in managing such a specialised operation.A local government chief archivist is responsible for prioritising the listing and conservation of collections, ensuring their correct arrangement and documentation, observance of the relevant standards and compliance with professional ethics, guiding colleagues and researchers in the specialised use of archives and above all, perhaps, he is expected to be sufficiently professionally expert in palaeography and administrative history to be able to give the right quality of lead to his service especially when representing it to the wider community.These skills are all the more important for an authority shortly to become unitary*, with added responsibilities for the archives of the former district councils, stemming from t[...]



Stress in Wales

2009-11-21T13:23:07.311+00:00

SQA turns its attention to Wales in this report, having previously focused on stress in Loamshire. It appears a former county archivist of Flintshire has been entangled in a dispute with his former employer, Flintshire County Council, in a spat of the kind we would normally associate with the benighted Garth Bland, county archivist of Loamshire.According to Gareth Hughes writing in the North Wales Daily Post under the headline “Unfairly sacked...now he must wait for payout", Paul Sillitoe, county archivist of Flintshire, was dismissed by the county council in 2006 for gross misconduct.Mr Sillitoe joined the council in 2003 after managing archives in Wolverhampton, Oldham and the Waterways Trust, but went off with work-related stress in 2004 after complaining about his workload. The dispute began after he returned to work.Mr. Hughes informs us the dismissal followed an internal disciplinary tribunal at which allegations of bullying and harrassment by an administrative assistant, Ms Helen Davison were upheld. The bullying and harrassment is described by Mr. Hughes as having consisted of instructing the junior colleague to ask permission to leave the office even before going to the toilet.Mr. Sillitoe admitted he was task-focused but explained telephones had to be answered and he needed to be kept informed as to Ms Davison’s whereabouts. Ms Davison found his style of management generally to be “rude and abrupt” although at one point Mr. Sillitoe appears to have been misled about the true extent of Ms Davison’s complaints.Julia LorkinMr. Sillitoe was dismissed the employ of Flintshire County Council for gross misconduct in March 2006 following a disciplinary hearing chaired by Julia Lorkin, Director of Corporate Strategy. In June 2007 an employment tribunal ruled Mr. Sillitoe had been dismissed unfairly. A subsequent tribunal took place on 23 November 2007 to consider compensation for Mr. Sillitoe but reserved its judgement.The tribunal chairman, Mary Cocks, is damning in her findings. She said it was right for allegations of bullying to be taken seriously and fully investigated but because of the potential consequences for the employee the conclusions had to be based on clear findings from the evidence.“The respondent in this case fully investigated but then went on to draw conclusions about the seriousness of the claimant’s conduct which could not be sustained.....by the evidence,” she stated.In the interim Mr. Sillitoe had tried to earn a living as a proof-reader and editor and was now fortunate, he said, to have been awarded funding to study at Liverpool University for a doctorate in archive studies.We asked Garth Bland to comment.Sadly, many local government disciplinary hearings involve an over-reaction, either motivated by personality issues or political correctness. I have even known panel chairmen falsify the minutes of disciplinary proceedings and meet with complainants outside the official disciplinary procedure to do a stitch up. I am not saying this occurred in this instance, however.I am curious to know whether at any point expert witnesses from the National Archives’ National Advisory Services, the Association of Chief Archivists in Local Government or the Society of Archivists [sic] were called upon to give evidence in Mr. Sillitoe’s favour, at either the disciplinary hearing or the tribunals.The issue of staff cover is important and might be ove[...]