Undershaw: This has to stop now!

In my opinion the Undershaw saga has taken a very unpleasant, even spiteful, turn and it has to stop.

Firstly, a brief recap.
Childish and damaging

Undershaw, after many years standing empty, was bought by the DFN Foundation with a view to making it part of the Stepping Stones School.

There are some people who oppose this on principle; I don't count myself among them but I have heard disturbing rumours about the form the plans for the school will take. If true, a fair amount of valuable history will be lost. John Gibson, head of the UPT, has, as I understand it, no issue with the idea of a school but does have issues with the form the plans take that are currently on the table.

I have not seen these plans and, until I do, I will not be coming down on one side or the other but I have noticed that a fair number of people are not only coming out in support of these plans but are attacking (even smearing) those who are against.

A tweet I have seen today runs as follows:

Sherlock Holmes/Doyle fans complaining about Undershaw being turned into a school for disabled kids.
The only word for this is disgusting. Talk about tarring with the same brush. Painting opponents of the plans as, in some way, against schooling for the disabled is quite frankly pathetic and offensive. If you subscribe to this view you are deluded. There may be a tiny minority for whom this applies but it most certainly does not apply to all.

It's almost as if people are suggesting that there is a binary choice here. It's either history or schooling for the disabled. This is nonsense of the highest order. Both can be served by the right plans and it may be the case that the plans on the table do not serve both but a balance can always be found if all parties are willing. It's when you get entrenched, and often ignorant, positions that things go awry.

I intend to keep my mouth shut on the merits or otherwise of the plans until I've studied them. I suggest that others do the same.

Whether you've seen the plans or not, whether you are pro or not, do not paint your opponents in a poisonous light. Supporters of the current plans (whether they have seen them or not) are not destroyers of history. Opponents of the plans are not anti-schooling for the disabled. If you subscribe to either view you are part of the problem not part of the solution, I have no interest in your opinion and I advise others not to listen to you.

Written by Alistair Duncan
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1 comment:

  1. I'm not into the 'Undershaw' situation much, but I loved how you talked about the 'third alternative' in a very convincing way.

    It made me introspect a bit and realize how we generally focus on 'who is right' rather than focusing on a mutually beneficial solution.

    It is easy and I guess instinctive to fall into the mindset that says: "Are you on my side or the other side?" It is definitely more mature and useful to say, "how can we solve this problem so that both sets of people are happy?"

    In any conflict in the world - the first problem solving approach should be looking for this 'third alternative.' Thanks for the powerful reminder in the context of Undershaw.

    The world needs more people who can think like you've done here.