Open Democracy

We like talking about our work and will happily engage with most journalists, but when we receive such a bizarre, loaded and accusatory question set as this from Open Democracy it, quite frankly, deserves to be ridiculed. Fabulous, parody (apparently this needs saying!) reply below from one of our secret witches directors.

Dear Adam,

Thank you for your hugely revealing question set about our shadowy operation. I am only amazed that you forgot to ask about the top speed of our broomsticks and whether they were diesel or electric (0-60 in 20 secs), or, indeed, whether we favour Eye of Newt over Fillet of Fenny Snake (personally, I find Adder’s fork and blind-worm’s sting are best for date night!). I’m afraid that I must be brief as we are off to dance widdershins round a churchyard by moonlight and those hexes won’t cast themselves!

You asked about our directors. As you no doubt suspected, they are all fembots created in a lab by Dr Evil himself as part of his plan to steal the Mojo of angry young men everywhere. Recent tests have shown that quoting Germaine Greer, correcting – at length – idiotic apprehensions about *that* passage in de Beauvoir, and trying to explain the systemic and structural nature of male violence are a much more effective method than shooting them with our boobs. However, I do appreciate that you wish to ascertain whether we pass your test and can be considered “real” feminists. Deferring to men who want to determine who is “worthy” of the name has always been the hallmark of a true feminist!

Obviously funding comes from a mixed group of drug barons, sweatshops, and, of course, Putin. Or it would, if the cartels and sweatshops were run by mothers in Argyll, retired teachers in Glasgow, and if Putin was a lady in the Western Isles called Mary. As to how we “came across” our major donors, I fell over one in the pub after an event one night and she said she’d put a tenner she found down the back of the sofa in the biscuit tin. Of course, there is the fellow who sends us blood-stained used notes and gold sovereigns in coffins full of Transylvanian earth, but we have laundered that into a succession of creepy mansions with haunted chapels and secret passages, so they aren’t that profitable.

I don’t know how much experience you have in finance – at a wild guess, I’d say that beyond collecting your allowance from Daddy, not much – but it is rather sweet that you think “tens of thousands” is a huge amount requiring “major donors” for a group who have been active for four years. Wait until you hear about Stonewall! Odd though, as we imagine that, for scions of the aristocracy who stage sit-ins at the rough end of town (Fortnum and Mason), our donations to date probably reflect a weekly shopping bill.

As to our US promoters, I believe Dick Dastardly shouted our name at some stage during the Wacky Races in between exhortations to “catch the pigeon” and, naturally, our evil lizard overlords do what they can. But yes, we did take the Scottish Government to court (and won) and raised, as you say, £200,000. As to how that appears in our accounts, the big number is mostly what we had received from the crowdfunder by end of our financial year, the smaller number is mostly legal fees. The £200k crowdfunder is not over and above these amounts. And this is why we had accounts prepared by a chartered accountant, to stop muppets like you jumping to wild accusations. Although that was clearly a waste of money since we underestimated the heights of muppetry to which some can rise. You may also have missed that this came from 5,278 individual donations: basic maths will tell you this averages out at £37.29. You can read the comments if you really care about the donors. Some of them may be Scots from overseas. Perhaps they have access to the internet in Australia and the US too? I believe computers are not uncommon there. They may even follow us on Twitter!

Partners around the world: Fair Play for Women, WPUK, Standing for Women, Safe Schools Alliance, Transgender Trend, etc. Oh, and the Klingons, the Empire, Spectre, Thomas the bad footman in Downton, and Davros and the Daleks. And the Moomins – Moomins are really evil.

Qn 6. We’d describe it as a figment of your overheated imagination. Would it be fair to say that you collaborate with the Krays, the soup dragon, and the men from UNCLE if we are in the realm of picking random names out of the aether? And how does your completely made-up (by me) association with the Borg sit with your commitment to democracy? I think a lady at one of our meetings said she used to help at Sunday School – is that the sort of thing you are looking for? Generally, though, witches fly through the roof of churches like Melusina the daemonic ancestress of the Plantagenets, so it’s probably not safe!

Naturally, several dubious religious groups have been clamouring for our support. To date, though, we have limited ourselves to the cult of R’hllor, the lord of light. Mainly because we are promised necklaces conferring everlasting youth and beauty as priestesses, and we get to resurrect hunky, if dead, members of the Night Watch.

Qn 7. I don’t know, how would you respond to the question “When did you stop beating your wife?”

Qn 8. It sounds dreadful. Could you detail it and the arrests and court appearances as we seem to have missed the reports?

Qn 9. See you in court? I do hope that you, and they, will put names to this. It will make it easier for our lawyers!

And now, I really must return to twirling my non-existent moustache and laughing maniacally! Do let us know if you ever wish to engage in good faith!

All joking aside, this was the response we sent:

Dear Adam, We respect Open Democracy and some of the previous work your publication has done, but we will not be party to an obvious attempt to smear our good names and we will certainly not reveal personal information about our directors when we have no faith this will not be conveyed to the sort of individuals who have fed you lies. We do not consider that it behoves any journalist to put baseless allegations to us framed as questions.