Who controls the past, ran the Party slogan, controls the futureSQA 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 Archives
Let 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, and states "in the current economic climate, it is inevitable that some cuts will be necessary," a superb example of how the recent economic downturn, believed by some to have been part engineered by Common Purpose and the Communitarian inspired government, can be used to justify change in policy. TNA's own statements make it plain the changes are not brought about by Government imposed cuts, they are entirely self-directed and have been given the nod by the relevant Government minister. This is an important point, one we shall come back to.
So much for setting the scene.
We asked Garth Bland, benighted County Archivist of Loamshire for his analysis of the situation, honed by decades of work in the archives sector.
I think we should for a moment look above the fog of war that is already obscuring the landscape. The teaching of history beyond Year 3 has been discontinued so will there be a constituency of historical researchers in future years and if so, how big and how well trained? Latin has already fallen by the wayside. The National Archives of Ireland is merging with the National Library of Ireland. Throughout the UK, archivists are seeing fewer academic historians and students in their searchrooms. The EU backs only cross-border projects, in the form of Interreg, to bolster support for a fabled Common European Heritage. The Heritage Lottery Fund will not support the cataloguing of archive collections and in any case their resources are being siphoned off to support the London Olympics. Local Government archive services are not included among the National Indicators in the Government's Local Area Agreements
Multiculturalism continues to undermine and embarrass the indigenous population in its striving for self expression and the preservation of its cultural identity. National archives legislation has not appeared. Three archives organisations, the Society of Archivists [sic], National Council on Archives and the Association of Chief Archivists in Local Government are proposing to merge. Politicians mislead the general public by manipulating history. The Community Archives Project challenges the collecting policies of local government record offices. Do you think these simultaneous developments are accidental, or could there be an agenda?
In the local govenment archives sector we note the obvious contrast between TNA's revised opening hours and the importance attached to our own, as measured in their annual or biennial survey of our services. As some wags have remarked, by their own benchmark TNA has now become a three star service thus presumably repudiating any pretension to leading the wider archives sector, which could indeed be part of the plan. This will be seen as an undermining of a collective approach to archives but few will understand why.
We asked Benedict Crumplethorne, principal spokesman for SQA, to develop Garth's suggestion that there is a hidden agenda.
Yes, indeed there is an agenda. It's called Communitarianism and it's often found to be associated with graduates of the crypto-Communist management training organisation Common Purpose. These so-called graduates are either trained in post or move from one post to another after graduating. In returning to their existing posts or taking up new ones, the Communitarian agenda can be more thoroughly established in the public sector, in readiness for the imposition of EU compliant government in what is now commonly termed the post-democratic age.
In layman's terms, Communitarianism is a diluted form of Communism, but not much diluted. Crucial Communist features are present most obviously totalitarian government, lack of accountability, manipulation of the economy and corruption, achieved through an elite high echelon of management and employees' uncritical acceptance of political correctness. A critical part of this process is control of elected politicians by civil servants associated with the merging of the policies of the main political parties.
Common Purpose makes clear its goal:
we develop leaders who can lead beyond their authority, beyond their direct circle of control.
TNA represents a huge threat to this Communitarian goal by supplying source material evidencing parliamentary democracy and has been identified as a target. More is to come. Replacing hands-on access to archives by digitisation ensures database oriented researchers are enabled only to navigate archives randomly without learning to apply academic research techniques, especially those involved in correlating different classes or series. The absence of staff and researchers skilled in navigating finding aids and hierarchies of archives will be a feature of the future, with inexpert researchers floundering around databases unable to unlock, relate and analyse evidence. Intuition will be insufficient.
While family historians figure prominently in the present discussion, it is the academic users who are the actual target. And by the way, please can we know what TNA personal visit statistics are for recent years? Have they really fallen enough to justify an emphasis on digitisation?
We thanked Benedict for his contribution.
We next asked Ellison Millinocket, SQA technical adviser and consultant conservator and repairer to comment on TNA's variable car parking fees, based on engine size.
This is the usual Government ruse to mobilise public opinion behind the case for Global Warming, which the alarmists say is caused by carbon emissions. In fact, while carbon emissions are increasing, there is no evidence to connect carbon emissions with global warming, apart from which we have been experiencing global cooling since 2001. If there is global warming, whether long term or short term, it could be caused by fluctuations in sun spots or ocean currents. The warmists are believed to be pursuing their agenda, along with the second strategy of a global war against a barely existent terrorist threat, in order to promote world government. The idea being that people, once suitably propagandised, will accept both draconian legislation on the one hand and regional or world government on the other. Regrettably therefore TNA has stooped to playing the Warmist card. This development provides an insight into how the different strands of the New World Order agenda are combining and converging in practice.
Further reading or viewing
Common Purpose Exposed: a video courtesy of YouTube
Robert Peston denies undermining Northern Rock BBC News
Robert Peston denies undermining Northern Rock in an interview, video courtesy YouTube
Nigel Farage MEP, Leader of the UK Independence Party, takes apart Gordon Brown, UK Prime Minister, for selling the UK Gold Reserve at less than its market value, courtesy YouTube (another video you haven't seen!)
Where Have All the Intellectuals Gone?
National Archives of Ireland falls victim to the Euro
Demos and David Cameron
Video on the Iluminati, courtesy YouTube
Archivists Against Global Warmism
The Madeleine Foundation [see also WikiLeaks below]
What Really Happened to Madeleine McCann: 60 Reasons which suggest she was not abducted , courtesy WikiLeaks
Posted on Britannia Radio - Cameron on Lisbon and no referendum
This is the consequence of the all the hot air which has been created by all those groups who claim to be opposed to being incorporated in the EU. At no time, other than the proposed action of A Few has there been anything other than hot air - all talk and no do! If this country finishes as a province of the authoritarian Franco/German Empire it is entirely because there is no will among the people of this country to be and remain part of a sovereign and independent democratic Britain. It means the end of our 1000 year history of independence. It will go down in history as the destruction of the most remarkable and productive nation which has ever existed on this earth. It will be recorded as the history of a Junk Generation of no good layabouts and degenerates who are in no way worthy of their illustrious ancestors. The suffering which will be visited on the future population of this country will be terrible but wholly deserved. Those who cannot determine their own fate are completely in the hands of others and history amply describes the excesses which follow. Worse this nation has been amply warned of its fate by those who have written to warn them of the future most particularly by the works of George Orwell.
I am a Canadian - you suckers who are British deserve all that will happen to you. You are a nation of miserable curs. I fought for your freedom. My friends died for that freedom you do not value.
In utter disgust.