F4J Relaunch

Pootling around on the internet in the light of this weeks horse painting shennanigans I came across Matt O’Connor’s new blog Father4Justice, the new F4J website (be warned, it looks nice but plays annoying music which won’t turn off) and facebook group for the recently relaunched Fathers 4 Justice. Matt O’Connor’s first substantive blog post explaining the decision to re-enter the fray and to relaunch F4J is (as ever with Matt O’Connor) punchy, hard hitting and well crafted – it roused my rabble – and I’m “the enemy”.

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But seriously, although I don’t buy into many of the conspiracy theories about the anti-male agenda of the system, there is a place for campaigns for reform of the family justice system – dads, mums and kids do very often get a raw deal. And although I recognise that for many I’m part of the problem, I like to think I do my bit for justice, even though I do it from within the system.

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As for public campaigns, I’m sure that Matt O’Connor is a fantastic spokesperson and l0bbyist for F4J, and the new web / social media presence is certainly well designed and slick – and importantly very grown up. But how does F4J (the ‘official campaign’ as it has been forced to call itself) deal with the splitters and splinter groups that persistently damage its reputation and undermine the progress it is striving to make? Its the same old problem faced from Northern Ireland to Monty Python and I don’t think there is an easy answer. It damages credibility and its a chronic problem – and judging from correspondence being circulated by New F4J* its a problem that is likely to become acute in coming months.

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* I’m puzzled by this email from New F4J [edited to refer correctly to NEW F4J- oops], which starts off by ‘not condoning’ the vandalism, but by the end rather appears to have turned about face: ‘so be it’ and even to threaten more of the same ‘expect the unexpected’. That doesn’t read to me as a completely wholehearted condemnation of criminal acts in the name of father’s rights.

Coming Soon to a Court Near You…

I should avoid the obvious opportunity to make a sexist remark about the inherent improbability of some men doing anything remotely useful with a hoover but it’s just slipped out.

Apparently Batman and his specially modified hoover will be visiting the family courts soon to help clean them up. Excellent. I can’t tell you how much I am looking forward to that forthcoming entertainment. I hope he brings his marigolds. It’s messy out there.

I’m particularly intrigued to know how this little piece of performance art will unfold on the ground. Will Batman actually operate his hoover in the waiting area to dramatic effect (I fear this may interfere with his ability to deliver any punchy script)? Will we have to pause mid conference to raise our feet as he gets those hard to reach crumbs under the chairs? Will he have to pause to change bags or unclog his hose? Will he wield his hoover menacingly at the judiciary? And will it set off the metal detector? And will he be visiting the court at Abergavenny to finish cleaning up the F4J graffitti scrawled across the front entrance?

According to Batman’s facebook page he hopes to clean up family law “…who knows, I might suck up a few corrupt judges and the “gravy train, money hungry solicitors””. Batman dear, that sounds rather threatening. You’d better not point that thing at me, I am very lumpy and will most likely damage your nozzle.