My testimony on Blake’s Cottage is finished

I have finally posted the last chapter of my testimony about what happened with Blake’s Cottage.

You can find all the chapters in the “My Testimony” section in this webpage. Please do go there if the following link doesn’t work: My Testimony

I am grateful to those who have had the patience to read so far. I am also grateful to the process itself: it has been immensely liberating. Throughout the writing of this testimony I have been able to engage joyfully again with William Blake’s work, without feeling anymore the pain and even sense of threat that the sole mention of his name used to trigger after this ordeal.

One day, after working on a chapter, I went to Bunhill Fields – a place I thought I’d never be able to visit again – and just sat there on a bench close to the familiar inscribed stone and fig tree. I recognized all the trees that I had come to love after many visits, and enjoyed again the quiet, the shade: peace. It was a most happy day.

Telling the truth performs this kind of humble miracles. I do hope that this testimony will do its bit, in time, towards a visible restoration of truth around Blake’s Cottage.

I do hope too that the Cottage will be saved from ruin, that its grounds will be saved from the aggression of the “multi-purpose building” that the Blake Cottage Trust is planning to impose, and that this small and much loved building will have its dignity restored.

I also demand pristine financial reports, backed by the relevant documents, from the Blake Cottage Trust and the Blake Society regarding Blake’s Cottage, and I remind the Trustees of both organisations that slandering is a serious offence. The sexism involved in their slandering of me would also, I think, have been offensive to such a libertarian as William Blake.

Image result for william blake

New chapters of my testimony, and financial concerns

I have added chapters X to XII to my testimony. You can find them in that section of this webpage, or in the following links:

Click to access chapter-x-my-testimony-blake-cottage.pdf

Click to access chapter-xi-my-testimony-blake-cottage.pdf

Click to access chapter-xii-my-testimony-blake-cottage.pdf

The final chapters, coming soon, will deal with what happened after I left the Cottage appeal and the Cottage was acquired; how Mr Heath appropriated the Cottage project; the extensive lying to the public by both the Blake Society and the Blake Cottage Trust; the futile attempts of both the Big Blake Project, me and other campaigners to engage in dialogue with them; the disrepair of the Cottage and its muddled finances.

I have also posted today a document in the Documents section in this webpage raising my concerns about the Blake Society’s recent report on how the money for the Cottage was raised, since the inconsistencies are still there:

Inconsistencies in Cottage’s finances, April 2017

I have received further confirmation that the Blake Society Trustees are slandering me. Slander is a serious offence. The sexism involved in the nature of their slandering is quite serious too, and something that anyone claiming to honour William Blake should be deeply ashamed of.

My testimony – new chapters

I have just added chapters V to IX to my testimony. You can read them in the My Testimony section in this webpage (https://blakecottage.com/what-happened-with-the-blakes-cottage-appeal-my-testimony/).

Unfortunately I can’t make a simple, concise narrative of events: because of the degree of dishonesty and the slandering involved, I see myself in the need, for truth’s sake and for my own protection, to include in this testimony all the evidence I have in the form of documents and correspondence, which will make the reading of the testimony harder, longer and repetitive. I’m sure it won’t be a pleasure to read, but it is a document that shows to whoever cares to know what happened exactly with the Cottage appeal, step by step; it shows that things have been very wrong indeed; that the Blake Society Committee always knew things were wrong and decided to ignore it, then collude; that my actions have never been stirred by resentment or ill will, and that the Blake Society is slandering me.

As for the inaccurate document on “how the funds were raised” in the Blake Society webpage mentioned in my previous entry, I insist: the Blake Society and the Blake Cottage Trust must respond directly to every single inconsistency in their handling of their finances pointed at in this webpage.

And the lies continue

I am finishing the next chapters of my testimony of what happened with the Blake Cottage appeal.

Meanwhile though, on visiting the Blake Society’s webpage, I’ve noticed two curious changes. One is that they have made disappear the minutes of the AGM held in January this year, which I have contested earlier in this blog since they were, again, lying about what took place that night.

If the Blake Society is planning to amend or manipulate them again, the reader and Blake Society members may be happy to know that I have saved the minutes they had originally published, so that we can compare if they decide to publish an altered document.

It is also interesting to see that they’ve published a little document called “How the Cottage Funds were raised”. They are lying there again.

They mention, disingenuously, donations made “through” the Blake Society. I’m afraid they have their prepositions wrong. The word is “to“. These donations were made to the Blake Society, who was running the appeal and responsible for the project as I have amply proved in the first chapters of my testimony.

In this webpage I have pointed that the Blake Society and the Blake Cottage Trust were lying saying donations made to the BS were made to the BCT and I mentioned evidence about if from, for instance, the  Heritage Lottery Fund, so they  have corrected the HLF’s item only, without bothering to say why the financial reports of both the BS and the BCT were lying in the first place.

They are still lying now, and still listing as donations to the Blake Cottage Trust money that we applied for, or received, as the Blake Society way before the Blake Cottage Trust even existed.

This spurious little document is not clarifying at all the inconsistencies in their finances I have made clear earlier in this blog, nor does it explain why the amounts mentioned as raised in the past have varied so widely. Please do take a look again at that entry in this blog.

The Blake Society’s new document, and their hiding of the minutes of their latest AGM, are further proof that they are manipulating information and trying to deceive the public. They are behaving like common thieves, but we still want the truth, and we still want them to be accountable and respond to every single issue raised in this blog regarding their murky finances.

You can read the two relevant entries here:

https://blakecottage.com/2017/02/16/fictitious-minutes-piling-up-chapter-iii-of-my-testimony/

and here:

https://blakecottage.com/2016/09/18/inconsistencies-in-blake-cottage-trusts-financial-report/

Keep an eye on this space. The next chapters of my testimony are coming soon.

(In case the BS keeps on playing games and decides to re-publish the 2017 AGM minutes after reading this blog, below is a screenshot of 4 April, the date of this entry, showing how they’ve been made disappear.)

SCREENSHOT NO MINUTES AGM 2017

Fictitious minutes piling up / Chapter III of my testimony

The Blake Society has just published in its webpage their minutes of their AGM last 20 January.

It’s a pity that so few paid Blake Society members attended and had the chance to see what the Committee that supposedly serves and represents them is capable of, so if you want to know what happened precisely at that AGM, please refer to my former blog entry, “A Time of Bullies”, of 22 January 2017: https://blakecottage.com/2017/01/22/a-time-of-bullies/

These new minutes of course do not record how I was shouted into silence, the Treasurer’s mention of my role in the Blake Cottage appeal, or the fact that I had to correct him and Mr Heath regarding the actual date of the setting up of the Blake Cottage Trust.

They make this curious claim, though, regarding one of my objections to their minutes of the 2016 AGM:

“She [that’s me] claimed that there had been no election because no vote had been held, despite her objection to one of the candidates. There had therefore been no lawfully elected Executive Committee during the year. The Chair and Secretary repeated the point made at the previous AGM: paragraph 16(5) of the Society’s constitution requires a ballot only when the number of candidates exceeds the number of vacancies on the Committee, which had not been the case.”

Apart from the fact that nothing was “explained” to me, since they didn’t allow any kind of dialogue in what was simply a display of silencing tactics, I think that the Blake Society Committee should read its Constitution again, because what paragraph 16(5) of their Constitution says is: “Nominations for election to the Executive Committee must be made by members of the Charity in writing and must be in the hands of the secretary of the Executive Committee at least 14 days before the annual general meeting.  Should nominations exceed vacancies, election shall be by ballot.”

This is not quite what we’re talking about, is it? I mean, namely, the BS members’ right to object to the election of Trustees who betray public Trust through the mismanagement, poor performance and/or unethical behaviour. The Constitution doesn’t say anywhere, in any way, that members cannot excercise such a righ. 

The Constitution’s paragraph 16 (2) also says, regarding Annual General Meetings, that: “All the members of the Charity shall be entitled to attend and vote at the meeting.” 

This is obvious. If members didn’t have such a right, why on earth would the Committee bother to go through the motions of asking for their members’ vote?

More importantly, where, if not at the AGM, do members of the Blake Society have the opportunity to call the Trustees to account?

In a document that the Secretary, Mr Antony Vinall, circulated among the Trustees on 23 October 2012, regarding governance options for the Society should it engage in major fund raising projects, he refers to “the Society’s present governance arrangements, under which members elect the Chair and Executive Committee at the AGM, where they also have the opportunity to call them to account.”

And that’s as it should be. Nominations exceeding vacancies or not have nothing whatsoever to do with every member’s right to excercise this crucial right.

I don’t expect an answer, since the Blake Society Committee never responds to uncomfortable questions, but still I will ask whether if they don’t believe that their members deserve any respect, and what exactly do they think they are doing when lying in their minutes and manipulating information  in this way.

Since they go on showing no respect whatsoever, for anybody, I will continue on writing my testimony of what happened with the Blake Cottage appeal. You can read chapter III in the section in this webpage titled “My Testimony”, or clicking on this link: chapter-iii-my-testimony-blake-cottage

Last Call

The Blake Society has published in their Webpage an interesting timeline and excerpts of minutes in an attempt to get away with the false information that they are giving regarding Blake’s Cottage.

I therefore see myself in the position to contest quite a few of the statements found there and include in my response the relevant evidence, so that the public, Blake Society members and donors are fully informed.

That will take time and I am extremely busy these days but my comments will be here soon. Keep an eye on this space.

I am not looking forward to this use of my time, and it is bound to bring trouble for the Blake Society and the Blake Cottage Trust.

So I am making a last call to both of them: for dialogue, and truth. The inclusive dialogue with everyone who has been involved in this project that I have been calling for for over two years, so that among all of us we find the fair and honest solutions for the Cottage to thrive, and so that public and donors stop being betrayed.

After the harassing and bullying I was subject to last 20 January (please see my former post, “A Time of Bullies”) at the Blake Society’s AGM, I doubt that the BS or BCT will listen. However, I’m still calling. People have held constructive dialogues in far worse problems than this. The power for doing that, to do the right thing, is in all of us.

It is possible. Apologizing, explaining, putting right what has gone wrong, is possible. Treating each other with respect and tell the truth, is possible.

If they are willing, I hope to hear from them over the weekend.

Otherwise they will have to face the consequences of their actions and of this prolonged attempt to hide the truth. It has taken too long. Too many things and people have been trampled on already.