VOICE FROM THE WILDERNESS

When Peter Cook passed away in 1995 at what now seems the ludicrously young age of 57, I recall the BBC putting together a fitting tribute programme not long after, one that included recollections of the great man from family and friends, many of whom are now also sadly no longer with us. Among those offering their remembrances was Cook’s partner-in-crime Dudley Moore, who outlived Cook by just seven years, dying aged 66 in 2002. In one of the most moving moments of the programme, Moore confessed the first thing he did after being told of Cook’s death was to ring his answer machine just to hear his old comrade’s voice one last time. The ‘ghost voices’ of the recently-departed that are now preserved in a digital rather than analogue format (often as social media Personal Messages) are always poignant testaments to the individual in question when they’ve just left us. I have one in my Twitter messages list today.

‘Thanks so much for taking the trouble to contact me,’ it says. ‘I’d be delighted to read your book.’ The message relates to a novel I published last year called ‘The Kamikaze Harvest’. The book fictionalises the odious virus of the false allegation, an insidious symptom of contemporary society that was facilitated in its legitimacy by the likes of Sir Keir Starmer in his role as DPP; that Starmer now seems odds-on to become the next leader of the Labour Party tells you everything you need to know about how this toxic trend has both shaped the twenty-first century narrative and infiltrated the thought processes of the ruling class, one wracked with guilt over the imagined crimes of its ancestors and desperate to be seen to right wrongs in a culture that prizes victimhood as an achievement.

After he had re-tweeted several posts from this here blog, one of the first people I contacted upon publishing ‘The Kamikaze Harvest’ was the author of the quoted message, Simon Warr, whose death at the age of 65 was announced yesterday. Having undergone an awful ordeal that far too many have experienced in recent years, I surmised Simon Warr might get a story that I didn’t see any mainstream writers too terrified to poke their heads above the parapet daring to tackle in the form of fiction. He was kind and courteous in his response and provided me with an address to dispatch said book to as he continued to regularly speak publicly on a subject whose genuine victims he had become a tireless campaigner on behalf of. But just a couple of days ago, he abruptly issued a final tweet that read ‘I have a serious health condition and am now receiving care in a hospice…I’d like to thank you all for your friendship and support’. His death from cancer was announced barely 24 hours later via his Twitter account.

A man with a long and distinguished career in teaching, Simon Warr first appeared on the wider public radar with the 2003 Channel 4 series, ‘That’ll Teach ‘em’, one of those sub-reality TV shows characteristic of the 2000s, in which present-day kids submitted to the typical regime of a 1950s boarding school. The success of the series brought with it the kind of attention that would eventually be exploited by despicable parasites capitalising on the post-Savile compensation climate of the 2010s. In 2012, Warr was the recipient of a dawn raid by the Tractor Gestapo…sorry, Suffolk Constabulary, who promptly arrested him on charges of Historical Child Abuse.

The allegations had been made by an ex-pupil of a school Warr had taught at thirty years previously, an ex-pupil who had never been a member of Warr’s class and who alleged he was abused during a lesson in a subject Warr hadn’t taken – PE. Not that such trivialities troubled a police force indoctrinated in the Starmer-sponsored ‘Believe the Victim’ mantra, in which traditional routes to justice such as corroborated evidence and the presumption of innocence re the accused were regarded as secondary to vindicating the ‘victim’ by whatever means; if that included canvassing other former pupils of St George’s in Suffolk, so be it. The boys in blue were determined to get their man and placed him on bail limbo for nine months as Warr was exposed to the joys of social media with his name and reputation dragged through the dirt whilst the police trawled yellowing school registers in a desperate attempt to persuade other ‘victims’ to come forward. They even approached the author of a disreputable website spreading similarly vile accusations about teachers in order to bolster their shaky case.

Two other ex-pupils eventually joined the fantasist chorus conducted by the Suffolk Constabulary and the case came to court as Warr was faced with little option but to take early retirement from the job he’d devoted his working life to – a job he’d been prevented from doing during his tenure on bail as he found himself socially blacklisted, as is customary for those branded with the ultimate career-destroying slur in which guilt is instantly presumed and promoted as fact. At his seven-day trial in 2014, Warr was found not guilty on all counts, with the jury taking less than 40 minutes to reach their verdict; he chronicled his horrific experience in a book, ‘Presumed Guilty: A Teacher’s Solitary Battle To Clear His Name’, and was able to establish a reputation in media circles as a respected voice of reason, often highlighting other cases of false allegations that the CPS were all-too eager to pursue.

As an erudite individual who was able to articulate his ordeal in print and via broadcast mediums, Warr’s high profile brought much-needed attention to a shadowy netherworld of policing and dubious legal practices that hundreds of individuals and their families have been subjected to in recent years – the short and long-term ramifications of which can be unimaginably devastating for those it draws into its black hole. Whilst media outlets are rarely slow in promoting the allegations of those crying abuse, the accused tend to be cold-shouldered and excluded from the debate. This is why the likes of Simon Warr, Harvey Proctor and Paul Gambaccini are vital in presenting balance and acting as spokesmen for those who have no public voice as they undergo a trauma with the potential to span years.

Warr himself admitted he contemplated taking his own life in the immediate wake of his arrest, and it’s telling that one of the last examples of the tragic consequences of the CPS ruthlessly pursuing a case which Warr publicly spoke about was that of Caroline Flack. If it takes the suicide of a TV star to belatedly alert a public who had previously shown scant sympathy for the casualties of a legal body not fit for purpose, all well and good; but Simon Warr had already given invaluable support and hope to many in positions he himself had experienced – some of whom were not as fortunate when their respective cases came to court, and found themselves behind bars for something they didn’t do.

I don’t claim to have personally known Simon Warr, but I do mourn his passing. Having known people directly affected by the kind of ordeal he underwent, I understand how important his presence in the public eye was to them as they too were banished to the periphery of society by the malicious avarice and moral bankruptcy of that society; and he was kind enough to volunteer to read my book, something which mattered to me. One hopes his own book will serve as a memoir of madness to future generations who will look back at this insane era with rightful incredulity. He seems to have been a good, decent man who didn’t deserve the treatment he received at the hands of the police and the Clown Prosecution Service. Sadly, he wasn’t the first and he won’t be the last; but he made a difference.

© The Editor