FNF Needs to Put Fathers First, Not Government Money.

God bless Jim Parton. He came in for some flack but he was a decent straight down the line guy. We worked well together behind the scenes and we respected each other. Right from the outset when I thought FNF wasn’t my cup of tea, I told him that what I was going to start would take FNF from pariah to new best chums with HM Government in no time. If F4J hadn’t started, trust me, FNF would still be outcasts as they were for the first 30 years.

And how FNF changed. It makes the old FNF look like the Taliban compared to the neutered government run committee that has hijacked this once fine organisation. Let me tell you where I am coming from, and why I am using valuable time to send a message out to those still hanging in there.

A few years back Jon Davies the (then) new Chief Exec (recruited from Sure Start and government ‘compliant’) insisted I come to London to meet him for lunch. Being a mug, I agreed, foolishly thinking that we would continue the behind the scenes work both organisations had historically shared together.

Jon wasted no time in shattering the illusion, ‘Oh no,’ he murmured, ‘I just wanted to meet you, Matt O’Connor. We can’t possibly work together…’ Uh? ‘You what,’ I said, ‘You dragged me all the way up here to say that and then tell me to fuck off?’ It took all my willpower not to find myself in a scenario where the new CEO of FNF was picking his teeth up off the floor.

He talked about the money, his salary, his government links, the way he was going to sterilise Families Need Fathers of any testosterone. It was clear the organisation was going to be neutered in order to become the compliant, sycophantic brown nosing poodle of New Labour.

On occasion I still have the misfortune to run into some FNF lackey paid £30-£50K a year who wants to work their way up through the third sector. They always ask me ‘when are you going to say nice things about us?’ to which I respond, ‘when you grown your testicles back.’

Now, encouraged by HM Government to deal with those nasty F4J boys who are back threatening civil disobedience, FNF are not only using taxpayers money to subvert F4J but using money that should be going to help fathers.

In short FNF are paying seriously hard cash to pay for Google adwords advertising when you search the words ‘Fathers 4 Justice.’ Don’t believe me, we’ve got the screen grab. If you want a copy email me at matt@fathers-4-justice.org

We have politely asked them to cease this. They refused. They deny any wrong doing. They took eight days to even respond. Instead a gentleman I have never heard of (Craig Pickering?)  wrote me a curt letter which didn’t answer any of the points we raised. It was an exercise in obfuscation and contempt.

I wonder how many FNF members are happy that their money is going on advertising designed to lure people away from Fathers 4 Justice to the government sponsored, politically compliant alternative. I can understand from a marketing perspective (given that is my day job) that given FNF have a very low profile, they want to ride on our coat tails, but should they be spending both taxpayers money and membership fees on this sort of advertising?

I hope that some of the more enlightened members of FNF (and I know several) will try and get a straight answer out of the FNF politburo before things turn ugly because we will pursue this matter for one reason and one reason only.

Many people assume we share common aims and objectives. We don’t. Our approaches, views and values are diametrically opposite since they became government funded. For HM Government FNF are a nice compliant alternative and ‘respectable’ voice for fathers, as opposed to, well, us. As far as the Ministry of Justice think (and I know because it was said at a meeting I attended there on Monday) FNF are now part of the status quo in the same way the Family Law Review consists of the very people who are responsible for the grotesque travesty that is family law today – people who should be on fucking trial. Bit like getting the SS to investigate the concentration camps.

If FNF continue to exist for another 30 years, then another generation of fathers and children is condemned to share our fate. Thats the difference – if F4J is successful, we become redundant. Job done.

I genuinely hope that common sense will prevail and that members of FNF (of which I was one until my meeting with Jon Davies) will seize the soul of FNF back and transform it into the organisation it once was. An organisation of values, of principles, of honesty and truth, an organisation not afraid to join it’s brothers campaigning for family law reform. An organisation not afraid to upset its paymasters.

Get up, stand up for your rights. Get up and stand up for FNF.

Matt O’Connor

Father and Founder, Fathers 4 Justice

PS I should point out that F4J are setting up a national helpline and surgeries to help fathers and families and already offer considerable help via our Handbook and free document downloads – all on our Facebook page here: http://www.facebook.com/Fathers4Justice

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