Qercus columnist soldiers on after blog stormPublished: 26th Mar 2008, 20:54:54 | Permalink | Printable
Outcry over website mistake won't deter John WardRISC OS user John Ward, who this week resigned his seat as a local councillor in Kent following a controversial blog post that called for the sterilisation of parents on benefits, has vowed to continue his RISC OS magazine column. John, who used ROS on a laptop with VirtualRiscPC for all his public Medway Council duties and advocated a 'paperless' approach to work, pens a regular series for Qercus, in which he describes how he uses RISC OS effectively as a councillor.
His latest piece for the magazine even covered the topic of blogging - but after stepping down yesterday amid soaring political pressure to resign, the column will be forced to take a new direction. His councillor blog will cease, however.
John, 58, said today: "I'm not giving up my Qercus column, and indeed I have spoken to its editor about this. We're now trying to come up with a new name for the column, and I shall have to think of either a new slant, or perhaps a reminiscence of what I had done in the past but hadn't included in the column.
"I'll think of something. There are still two or three of my articles 'in stock' at Qercus HQ, so there's some time for this."
The online row erupted after John, a devout Christian and now a former Conservative councillor, published the following on his website: "I think there is an increasingly strong case for compulsory sterilisation of all those who have a second, (or third, or whatever) child while living off state handouts."
The blog post has since been deleted. John, pictured here, later explained he had cut'n'pasted the text from another website to spark debate on his own blog, and after being distracted from his computer, he forgot to make it clear in his post that the comments were not his own personal views. He stressed yesterday he doesn't believe in the aforementioned concept of sterilisation.
This afternoon, John added: "I wish to thank all who have supported me, although, as I think it's now better known, my intent was to stimulate debate on finding a better way than the extreme one I found on the internet and copied into my draft."
Political critics lined up this week to blast John for the blog post, calling for him to stand down, while local trade union leader Brian Kelly added: "John makes a strong case for someone to politically sterilise him."
Qercus editor John Cartmell said this evening: "If John Ward is willing to continue writing about his use of RISC OS then we will be pleased to continue to publish his work. Qercus doesn't select contributions because they reflect the views of the editor nor do we confuse a quotation with a personal opinion."
John Ward's councillor blog
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