Thank you so much for you messages of support.
After over seven days without food outside the Prime Ministers Oxfordshire home, and after medical complications on Sunday afternoon, my family decided that based on medical advice, it was necessary for me to take glucose which broke the strict terms of my fast which only allowed for water and lemon/lime juice.
This happened after a difficult morning when I experienced extreme fatigue, dizziness, chest pains, breathing difficulties and blurred vision during a visit to a morning service at a local church. My family took the decision to call an ambulance and I was attended to by a medic.
As you may already know I have several underlying medical conditions which significantly increased the risks involved in this type of protest including type 2 diabetes and hypertension.
The attending medic described me as having a ‘death wish’ with key tones on my breath, and possibly impaired kidney and liver function, heart palpitations along with the other symptoms described earlier.
The medic said that symptoms were such that vision would be severely impaired within 2 days and other organs were at serious risk because of the lack of glucose which needs to be managed in diabetics along with significantly elevated risk of heart attack or stroke.
The decision to suspend the strike was taken by my family who were empowered to make a judgement based on medical advice. I was of course bitterly disappointed not to be able to continue the protest not least because I believed I could continue.
In hindsight I think my belief that I could walk around normally despite crippling lethargy was misplaced and that the onset of cold weather, rain and damp contributed.
I am sure there will be some who will criticise the strike as being too dangerous or not going far enough. I should stress that the strike has only been suspended and that it will continue later this year. It also marks the beginning of a series of ‘Hunger4Justice’ events and we hope other fathers (with fewer medical issues) will follow my example. It is a low cost protest and I hope others may step up to the plate and continue these small, symbolic protests.
And we already know, nothing would have delighted the Conservative Party more than my demise given (as Roy Fox on our Facebook page states) ‘Mr Cameron’s Big Society did not reach the end of his own garden.’ I also have a duty of care to those people who support our efforts to continue this campaign and hold this government to account and to that end the fast will need to be resumed in the event the government does not listen to the voice of families and fathers.
I am also encouraged to see the results we obtained in just seven days (see below).
The strike has mobilized people in a tremendously symbolic and positive way. This was a small, one man protest under our ‘family tree’ outside the Prime Minister’s home, designed to underline the seriousness of our message. It was the antithesis of our infamous superhero protests of old. It was vital that this small gesture signified the beginning of a new style of protest from F4J which is less about headline grabbing, and more focused on tone, content and message delivery.
Finally, I would like to extend a heartfelt thanks to all the carers (Dr Nadim Safdar, Pete Nicholls, Mark Pryce, Richard Castle and Tom ‘Judgemental’) and supporters who attended camp justice and to all those who sent messages of support.
I am also grateful to all Mr Cameron’s neighbours especially Julian the pig farmer (who I beat at chess, though he says its the best of three), Diane and David (for my hot water and lime) and Mark the local vicar. Also worthy of praise are (surprisingly for me) Thames Valley police who despite us getting off to the wrong start, were magnificent especially Pauline Heijbron who deserves a promotion and significant pay increase, Chief Inspector Geoff Robinson and the armed team protecting David Cameron’s fridge, though I’ll never look at a potting shed in the same way ever again.
Finally, I’d also like to pay special thanks to my wife Nadine who was tremendously courageous in managing the strike, liaising with the Police and preparing for some potentially difficult and unpleasant consequences.
I am now at home, recuperating with a mug of tea and under going a few further medical checks, and itching to get back to the frontline. I hope my small effort provides a shimmering chink of light in the darkness, hope for fathers and families and marks the beginning of a new dawn for our campaign.
NB: See attached letter from the Prime Minister David Cameron. It is of course predictably inadequate and we shall be responding shortly.
10 KEY RESULTS
- First recognition of Fathers 4 Justice by a Prime Minister in a written letter from David Cameron to Matt O’Connor which despite the inadequacy of the response, underscores our credibility as a serious campaign group.
- £1.2 Million pounds worth of audited media coverage (i.e. equivalent advertising spend) despite a news agenda dominated by the hacking scandal.
- 261,000 web results for the search term “Matt O’Connor Hunger Strike”.
- F4J Campaign Director Nadine O’Connor to work with John Hemming MP and set up an independent Committee, chaired by John Hemming, that will bring the main campaign groups together to provide testimony on, and investigate, the failings of the Family Division. This committee will sit in September and be launched by a high profile critic of the Family Division.
- Following Nadine O’Connor’s meeting with MP’s last week, hosted by Caroline Nokes MP for Romsey & Southampton North, we have secured the support of several MP’s prepared to challenge the Governments decision to proceed with a Family Justice Review which they had previously claimed in pre-election promises was ‘not genuine or far reaching enough.’
- Fathers 4 Justice will also work with John Hemming to promote his Early Day Motion 1704 http://www.parliament.uk/edm/2010-11/1704 to have the current discredited Family Justice Review Panel disbanded.
- Further F4J will work with John Hemming to campaign against the contempt laws within the family courts which everyday expose parents to secret court hearings and secret imprisonment.
- F4J will continue to keep up the pressure and raise public awareness as we continue the Hunger4Justice campaign in a variety of protests along the current theme in different high profile locations.
- First ever ad ran in the Spectator Magazine 8/7/11
- We have brought the subject of family courts, fathers rights and contact problems back on the public and political agenda.