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Friday, 24 November 2017



                       Beware the Gatekeepers, including people and organizations who say that they are seeking reform, but in reality protect the Establishment against good reforms.In my experience, I include most Scottish mental health charities, the Scottish Mental Health Commission, and



                   I also, quite surprisingly include large sections of Amnesty International.

                  Within any particular organization with otherwise outstanding credentials there may be one or two wily Gatekeepers, who sometimes infiltrate from less credible organizations or splinter groups,who try to control their colleagues in less positive ways. It is therefore essential to make all decisions as democratically as possible. In Edinburgh, I am particular scared by members of the so-called 'Magic Circle' of corrupt lawyers and politicians,  by some elements of the Freemasons, and by the upper hierarchies of our hymn-singing Churches.

           When reaching decisions within a group, it is usually possible to REACH A CONSENSUS if all members of the group have commonality of purposes. If the group is heterogeneous, for example if there are a couple of lurking closet gatekeepers in the group, then the decision making process can become quite distorted

           I would describe many people working on behalf of the United Nations as Gatekeepers, just as one example in their statistical assessment of poverty programs, which go beyond belief in achieving extremely little for poor and vulnerable people despite their nobly expressed aspirations: In the following talk, the speaker did not quote a single numerical Statistic as an outcome, even though the internationally acclaimed program started two years ago! I fell asleep during the strange self-congratulatory procrastinations, but was assured that I hadn't missed anything..

Tuesday 7 Nov 2017, Monitoring the World - the sustainable development goals and what they mean to statisticians.
Venue: ICMS
Address: 15 South College Street, Edinburgh, EH8 9AA
Date: Tue 7 Nov
Time: Tea & coffee 17:30; talk between 18:00-19:00 
Speaker: Phil Crook 
Affiliation: The secretary of the RSS International Development Section and a consultant development statistician

Abstract: In September 2015 the United Nations General Assembly adopted seventeen aspirational "Global Goals”, stretching from “No Poverty” and “Zero Hunger” through “Gender Equality” and “Decent work” to “Climate Action” and “Peace, Justice and Strong institutions”.
The goals are associated with 169 targets and 241 global indicators and the annual report on progress towards the targets will cover every country, developed as well as developing. Data disaggregation to ensure that no-one is left behind will be a key feature of reporting. Experience in the UK and globally shows that targets and indicators such as these can have profound effects.
The talk will cover the process and politics leading up to global goals, the experience with the Millennium Development Goals which preceded the SDGs, and then the SDGs themselves and the statistical challenges and opportunities they are throwing up.

Saturday, 18 November 2017


                                 TOM LEONARD AND FRIENDS CHRISTMAS NEWS 2017
                                    AND INVITATION TO 70th BIRTHDAY CELEBRATION

***As of 10th December 2017 I am convalescing at home with an injured leg following eight days in the Western General My friend Penny is also recovering from a bout of ill health. I was visited in hospital by Scott, Julie, James. Lindsay. and three friendly Quakers., and I am indebted to Dr.Michael McKenzie for his outstanding treatment and kindness. I would particularly like to thank Scott for handling the situation****


I will be celebrating my 70th birthday on 24th March 2018 in Vittoria Restaurant on Brunswick Street, Edinburgh, with my co-hosts Scott, Julie. Penny and James. Would any local or international friends, or surviving pockets of relatives, interested in receiving an invitation to my party and dinner (6pm-12pm) please e-mail me on and we will send you a formal invitation. Anyone wishing to visit Edinburgh for the weekend might wish to stay in the Courtyard Marriott Hotel at the top of Leith Walk

 During the year I have totally rebuilt my life following a great deal of my usual sorts of drama after a classic episode with my Toureg-Volkswagen, and I spend most of my time writing and on social media. I attend meetings of the Open Book reading group in the Botanic Cottage, the Edinburgh Writers Club, the South Edinburgh Quakers and the Edinburgh Section of the Royal Statistical Society. I still visit East Lothian and the Borders two or three times a month, with Penny who lives in Dirleton. My mental health campaign is about to enter its sixth year, See for example my Mental Health Discussions Edinburgh Facebook Page. My short story Joe's Mole, which I wrote in late 2011 has recently been widely read around social media:

During late July I attended the week long annual Quakers Meeting on the University of Warwick Campus, a nostalgic return to the campus after 38 years. I also visited the Queen's Castle Inn, near my former house in Kenilworth for a nostalgic dinner with a statistical colleague. The Quakers were wonderful people with important social messages who had extended their notion of all inclusivity into their political structures and individual families. People of disability and all orientations and genders were made particularly welcome, as should befit  EVERY family in Britain.


Early in July, Penny and I visited County Durham, and stayed in Hardwick Hall near Sedgefield. On the way back we visited Durham,  including the Cathedral

My long-term flatmate Scott is writing a scholarly 'Radical History of Edinburgh and the Lothians' (1880-1936)' and he is currently investigating the influences of the Boer War on the creation of the Welfare State. Scott is also completing lots of invaluable social advocacy work in Edinburgh, and visits other cities to talk about these issues,

During the year I completed my fourth novel since 2012 (three now self-published and another left unpublished)

The latest novel  'Reborn on Soutra'  is humorous, Pythonesque historical fiction set in Scotland, York, France and America during the fifteenth century. It may be accessed free of charge on my blog:

This novel is written in a unique highly humorous and slightly Chaucerian style, and life in the Middle Ages is parodied in a Pythonesque and at times surreal fashion with some serious social messages intended for the present. The Scottish knight Sir Richard de Liddell visits the medieval hospitals on Soutra Hill on a regular basis to deliver herbal remedies from his garden on Calton Hill in Edinburgh. He is forced to seek sanctuary on the Soutra during 1436. He returns to Edinburgh in1462, as Le Chevalier Duncan Le Cottier, after a quarter-century of intrigue in York, France, and Patowmeck (in North America), during England's 100 years war with France and the subsequent dynastic struggles between the Yorkists and Lancastrians in England. 

                 A sequel 'Children of Soutra' is in preparation, and a Soutra trilogy is planned.