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2 December 2016 - Max article 01: volley... an initial broadside 

J’accuse… all those creative yarn-spinners. Please note, I categorically refuse to be silenced by the present deceitful operational standards of our inglorious culture sector.

I have tried unsuccessfully for over three years to get a national museum to share CCTV footage which would surely clear me of allegations they have made of a personal nature. This indisputable source of evidence has been suppressed by the museum, who during this period have not even acknowledged those requests were ever made. In a saturated visual world where we laud technological development of photography and video (certainly in our criminal courts), I find it astonishing that such openly accessible material should be intentionally discarded. If you were looking to add weight to your case you would be extremely keen for that data to be used, would you not? For reasons yet to be explained, this museum chose not to do so. Instead they imposed a 33-month public membership ban, based on unproven claims and dubious pretext. However, the limits of their spurious strategy do not end there.

This museum has now manipulated the circumstances of a more recent interaction with their staff, to not only remove my membership but to bar me from their premises. This action again prompted me to call for a review of their CCTV, which true to form was completely ignored. In a move to fend off further accusations, I submitted a Freedom of Information Act request to obtain the footage which could support my refutation. That FOI pack not only omitted this data, but made no reference to it at all. Furthermore, just as the museum was about to un-ban me (because they agreed staff acted incorrectly in the performance of their duties), they took umbrage that I had complained of a lengthy delay in respect of my appeal decision... and being 'vexed' that a nonentity would dare to protest, ego intervened and they decided to extend the ban indefinitely. It appears that two wrongs do indeed make a right!

I would suggest to those complicit organisations and public serving individuals, who have also repeatedly disregarded my call for assistance in this protracted matter, that the sector must do more than pay lip service to the Museum Association’s Code of Ethics. Ethical values should go beyond a few corporate soundbites in a document which can be abused so readily by national subscribers, without fear of regulation or penalty. To protect the public from an empire legacy old boys network, a procedural mechanism needs to be introduced. One that offers a trustworthy, independent and autonomous council to settle disputes. Institutions should not be permitted to invoke some sort of ‘cultural immunity’ to avoid challenge.

The FOI information I have, clearly indicates incestuous networking at play. Bombastic rhetoric and class privilege is a festering visible rash, but to discover derogatory remarks and other covert activity across the grid of our hallowed elite, is quite another thing altogether. I assure those empire stick wielders (no doubt monitoring this article), cronyism will merely encourage me to expose such petty behaviour from people who really should be acting with greater professionalism and decorum. When conscience and moral character truly permeate the dogma of cultural business tenets, I may give them a break.

At this juncture, the sector clearly believes it can not be embarrassed into addressing a deep-veined pomposity and they may be right. On the other hand, I’ve only just started and as we know, all great discoveries begin with a single scratch to the surface. Personally, I see no greater cause than to fight for the right of full access to educational establishments in order to facilitate my personal development and learning. However, it would appear that the big boys of the sector are administrating over a dismissive system that ensures some are considerably more equal than others.

As long as duplicitous networking predominates, I will continue to share social media comments and opinions that seek to dismantle the ivory towers. You see, I am unmoved by your grandiloquent authority and I have little left to lose. This makes me feel empowered, something I know the culture sector is so very keen to deliver to the masses along with that other crock of gold, transparency. If all that sounds a bit indignant, here’s the bottom line.

The effort to drag the cultural sector kicking and screaming towards decency, has proven to be significantly more painful than my struggle to provide palliative care for a loved one. And seriously, that thought alone fills me with loathing. Yes, very much to be continued...