I wish to state the following in rebuttal of a defamatory article published online in 2017 by one Johnny Vedmore. The allegations put forth in the article are wholly untrue and I will address them in turn below.
My alleged “fake online diploma”
I have never procured any such thing: the Doctor of Education degree that I was awarded by St Regis University, Liberia (for which I paid the fees stated on their website, just as most university students pay fees) was fully earned, not bought. I have written extensively about my experience and views concerning St Regis University, Liberia, and its closure by the government of the United States following Operation Gold Seal. I have made it clear in my article that my dealings with SRU as a student were pursued with integrity and I do not regret my support for SRU. I have known schools with problems similar to SRU overcome those problems and turn around with the right management. I have also known schools that today are very much an established part of the educational mainstream that did not look so very different from SRU during the 1980s and 1990s. It is a tragedy that SRU’s potential was never truly realized.
I have never been contacted on any matter by the FBI or other American law enforcement authorities and therefore I was not contacted at any stage of the investigatory or pre-trial process by anyone connected with Operation Gold Seal. Had I been contacted, I would of course have co-operated fully with any investigation and offered any assistance that I could have provided. None of the vast number of court papers that I have seen (in the course of my own research) identify me or any of my business concerns, which were always fully separate from those of SRU, so I can only doubt the veracity of whatever documents Mr Vedmore claims to have seen.
What is true is that I have consistently advocated for non-traditional distance education for more than twenty years. In my professional practice, I have provided expert opinion on both traditional and non-traditional credentials from all over the world. I have founded and administered several non-traditional institutions myself, and served on the faculties and boards of others. In my exploration of distance education, I have sought quality and distinctive provision among schools that are not part of the mainstream sector, and on quite a few occasions I have found it.
All of my other doctorates are genuine, legally issued credentials, and the status of each one is explained in detail in this website. Three of my doctorates were issued by governmentally accredited universities listed in the International Association of Universities/UNESCO World Handbook of Universities.
The Traditional Britain Group and my supposedly “far-right” views
I remain a Vice-President of the Traditional Britain Group. I look forward to continuing to serve the TBG and am proud of what it has achieved. My speeches to the TBG, available on this website in both video and transcript, with the videos also on YouTube, show my style as hardly being that of the populist rabble-rouser: I am not, as Mr Vedmore has maliciously asserted, a “hate-filled demagogue”. I do believe there is a need to focus on the problems in our society and their negative effects, and I am happy to widen the debate about them.
It is certainly not the case that I “care only for the English”. I have spent the entirety of my student years and subsequent career in international environments, have studied and worked at foreign universities and with people from all over the world, and have devoted considerable effort to educational projects in Africa. Some indication of my international involvement might be gained from the fact that I have been recognized for my work by four governors of states of the USA and President Barack Obama, who awarded me the President’s Lifetime Achievement Award for Volunteer Service. I hold several honours of a chiefly nature from Africa, and have also received several of similar rank from South-East Asia, including from an Islamic sultanate.
I have never spoken publicly on the issue of climate change. I believe strongly that all have an imperative to care for the natural environment, and find a number of themes in “green” politics with which I agree.
The charge that I am “obviously homophobic” is absurd and baseless. My friends and family members include people who are homosexual. I have worked as a musician, a teacher and a clergyman alongside colleagues who are gay and lesbian without difficulty. As a former officer of the Libertarian Alliance, I argued in a number of papers and blog posts against state interference in matters of sexual choice and expression that are properly the business of the individual. What I have certainly steadfastly opposed is the political use of minority gender and sexual identities as part of the ideology of leftist identity politics and postmodernism. But I also believe that those who disapprove of homosexuality or of aspects of its practice, whether for religious or other reasons, should be free to say so openly. In religious matters, there is a distinction between the doctrinal and the pastoral. I do not interpret the Christian doctrinal position on homosexuality as being other than disapproving, but equally I believe that our pastoral approach to those who are homosexual should be inclusive and supportive.
The alleged “fake” company
I established Marquess Educational Consultants, Ltd., in 2005 to undertake educational work, including both consultancy and the provision of distance education. I was the sole director of the company. The existence of this company can easily be confirmed with Companies House using their WebCheck service which includes records for dissolved companies. Mr Vedmore’s statement that Marquess Educational Consultants, Ltd. “was never a registered company in the UK” is completely false. I should add that since I was a director of Marquess Educational Consultants, Ltd., from its foundation in 2005, my personal information was on record at Companies House from that date onward. I would hardly have been seeking to keep my name off records in which it had already appeared for several years.
Certificate of incorporation for Marquess Educational Consultants, Ltd., issued by Companies House
Companies House WebCheck public listing for Marquess Educational Consultants, Ltd.
Initial register of Marquess Educational Consultants, Ltd., showing me as the sole director
My alleged “crimes”
I wish to refute in the strongest terms the comments made by Mr Vedmore that I have ever been a party to an allegation of fraud. Mr Vedmore’s accusation that I have made “a false representation with the intention of making a personal gain, causing a loss to someone else or exposing someone else to the risk of a loss” is an outrageous falsehood manufactured by him seemingly for the sole reason of sensationalism and to attack my integrity. I have never been arrested or questioned in respect of allegations of fraud by any authority either in the United Kingdom or overseas. Regarding my educational work, I have on several occasions had contact with the Department for Education and Skills and its predecessors, and have always been scrupulous to ensure that my institutions are maintained in compliance with relevant laws in the United Kingdom. Regarding the Traditional Britain Group, Mr Vedmore’s comments were clearly aimed at my colleagues in the hope that his lie that I have “risked exposing” the TBG to loss would be followed by my dismissal as they took fright, which of course has not happened.
My office as a bishop and my title of professor are both recognized by H.M. Passport Office and appear as official observations in my passport. I am not “pretending” to be anything that I am not. As to whether I am a “paragon of virtue” that is for others to judge: as a Christian I am certainly not seeking to portray myself in such a way. If my life contains moments of both achievement and recognition, I see no reason to cut myself down to size – even if others seem to want to do so.
I have never been convicted of any criminal offence whatsoever, and in my former career as a teacher was required to hold a full clearance from the predecessor agency of the Disclosure and Barring Service. There are therefore no “safeguarding issues at stake” as is vexatiously alleged.
The major failure of Mr Vedmore’s article seems to me to lie in its lack of humanity. Mr Vedmore has never met me, does not know me, and knows nothing about me other than what little he has managed to glean from the internet. He has not even managed to get the facts straight as shown above. Rather than subject my ideas to robust criticism and debate, which I would welcome, his choice instead is the crude path of libel and personal attack. Even in the heat of political debate, the act of dehumanizing one’s opponent is the mark of the extremist. Unlike Mr Vedmore, I do not demonize others, and indeed I know from personal experience that friendships can form even across the widest of ideological divisions.
I note that Mr Vedmore, in a particularly nasty and mean-spirited previous article, has taken it upon himself to accuse Theresa May’s dead father, on the most absurdly tendentious of grounds, of being a paedophile. He has also previously come to the attention of the blogger Richard Bartholomew, who has written “There’s no point arguing with this sort of author (and those promoting the garbage on Twitter): they don’t give a damn about what’s true or not…All they care about is…weaponizing a concocted claim for some reason or another, usually to do with politics.” I also note the late Sir Roger Scruton’s comment that “We in Britain are entering a dangerous social condition in which the direct expression of opinions that conflict – or merely seem to conflict – with a narrow set of orthodoxies is instantly punished by a band of self-appointed vigilantes.”
I am grateful to the person who has brought this article to my attention. If anyone has any further information regarding the dissemination of libellous accusations against me, I would appreciate it if they would send them to me (I will preserve their anonymity if they request it.) This will enable me to take the appropriate action against those doing so by the appropriate legal means.