In looking for a venue for the forthcoming public talk on Wednesday evening we first approached Keswick School. The school’s Queen’s Hall would have been an excellent venue and has been used previously for meetings by Cumbria Trust.
Below is the incredible response we received from the Headmaster of Keswick School, Simon Jackson.
Thank you for the email. Our letting of school premises/facilities policy states under exemptions (section 2):
* The school will not allow its premises to be let to persons or
organisations that in the Governor’s view, disturb the principles of
Community Cohesion, or bring the school into disrepute.
* Lettings will not be allowed for political meetings or for other
purposes as specified by the Headteacher or Governing Body.
In this case it would not be appropriate for the school to appear on
either one or other side of what is fundamentally a political argument. We also have to consider our own school community where many of our families rely on employment in the nuclear industry.
The same principle would apply to the nuclear lobby should they wish to use the school premises on this matter.
This excuse is hardly comparing like with like as we know that the “nuclear lobby” are so entrenched in the School that students are regularly packed off to take part in days organised by the now discredited Nuclear Management Partners. One of the organised days was to come up with PR for new build. The pretend £50,000 concept budget was split between PR proposals, safety fines and the design model. Just like real life with the emphasis on PR rather than safety.
The school it seems is well into Stepford Wife mode.
Dr Ian Fairlie wrote a letter to the press which puts it very well….
SIR – This is a copy of a letter I have sent to the headteacher of Keswick School:
Dear Mr Jackson, I was concerned to read your recent email to Ms Birkby refusing your school’s facilities for a meeting to discuss proposed new nuclear power stations in your area.
Your reason apparently is that “The school will not allow its premises to be let to persons or organisations that in the Governor’s view, disturb the principles of Community Cohesion…”
As far as I’m aware, “community cohesion” is not really a principle, certainly not a widely accepted one: it all depends on what the community cohesion is about.
For example, history abounds with examples of community cohesion for bad purposes.
A moment’s thought will reveal that your alleged cohesion in favour of nuclear power may offend against several real, widely-accepted principles, such as the Precautionary Principle, the Principle of Sustainable Development, and the principle of not passing difficult (eg nuclear waste) burdens willy-nilly on to our children and grandchildren. They certainly will not thank us for them.
The reality is that opinions on the wisdom or otherwise of nuclear power as a means of satisfying our energy requirements are quite polarised, especially in Cumbria. However several civilised, sane countries in Europe (and at least one nation in the UK) have taken reasonable decisions to reject nuclear and pursue more economic, more sustainable, more democratic and far more ethical, energy options.
In my view, it would have been more principled to host a friendly informative meeting to discuss these matters than to have banned it.
Dr Ian FAIRLIE,
Independent consultant on radioactivity in the environment,