Durham businessman sues Tribune magazine for defamation
The noted businessman and multi-millionaire Sir Peter Vardy has launched a lawsuit against the editors of Tribune magazine, over what he calls a defamatory article they printed about him in October 2009.
Vardy alleges that in the article – headlined ‘Creationist Claptrap that Beggars Belief’- he is painted to be a devout creationist who sponsors state schools for the main purpose of imposing Christian fundamentalist views on impressionable pupils.
He states an example from the article in the lawsuit, which reads as follows:
“By virtue of donating £2m to the £22m it costs the taxpayer to build an academy, the Vardy Foundation can impose its fundamentalist beliefs on children through the science curriculum.”
As part of the Vardy Foundation, Sir Peter sponsors four schools in the UK. These include Bede Academy in Northumberland, King’s Academy in Middlesbrough, Emmanuel College in Gateshead and Trinity Academy in South Yorkshire.
Vardy has battled accusations that he is a creationist for years, but the Tribune Magazine article seems to be the final straw for the philanthropist. He is pursuing the publication and its editor Chris McLaughlin, for £15,000 in a defamation lawsuit.
If McLaughlin and his legal team lose the case, they will most likely have to pay the injured Sir Vardy compensation using the magazine’s professional indemnity insurance (if a policy covering defamation is in place).
Posted by Stephen Heath on November 4, 2010 in News, Professional Indemnity Insurance | 1 Comment |
The problem was not such much that Sir Peter is a creationist (he is a devout believer in the creation of the world by supernatural forces) it’s the many of the people who worked for him – most notably, Nigel McQuoid most certainly do believe in these ludicrous ideas.
Quite where this leaves the Tribune, I don’t know, but there seems to be lots of circumstantial evidence that Vardy’s people did subscribe to these ideas and that they have been allegedly been discussed in class. Vardy’s case was probably a defining factor in the previous governments decision to come down hard on the teaching of “creationism” in state funded schools under the science curricula.
That, of course, does not prevent any school (or teacher) discussing such matters in religious education. The difficulty there is simple: where atheists, agnostics and the non-religous can separate the two, vulnerable children may not be able to.
As a parent, I was so disgusted at the papers published by Vardy’s people that I chose to withdraw my eldest child from the school before the ink was dry on the admission paper.
Here’s a quotation from a prospectus published around the time the Middlesbrough academy opened:
“We believe that human beings are created to God’s divine design and as such are valued and valuable in body, mind and spirit.”
I leave the reader to judge the message there in light of the above.