It strikes me that there’s some sensible questions that need to be asked, and answered by not only those running the investigations onto institutional child abuse, but also the mainstream media who have (with a few exceptions) utterly failed to hold power to account.
- How long has Leon Brittan’s name been flying around in regards child abuse cases? In this Nick Davies article from 1997 about the North Wales abuse case, there’s this mention of a colleague of Margaret Thatcher.
Numerous other men have been named at the tribunal, sometimes with conflicting evidence. In the case of Mr B, who shares the name of Mrs Thatcher’s ally, Carpenter appeared to offer some confirmation for Leon’s story. He said that in prison he had met another sex offender who claimed to have had a relationship with Mr B and who had possibly been Mr B’s chauffeur. This man had described going to parties in Wrexham where young men were available for VIPs, including Mr B and the powerful public official. Since Mr B has been identified only by surname, it is not clear whether the witnesses are referring to Mrs Thatcher’s colleague.
If this is indeed Leon Brittan as it’s suggested, then in 1997 he was named in court in regards a serious child abuse scandal but the QC in charge of that tribunal, Sir Ronald Waterhouse, threatened the press with legal action should they be printed.
Now, should anyone not in the higher reaches of power in the UK been involved, then names would be named. This surely is an example of a cover up, which raises the question why The Guardian (which published this piece initially) haven’t went through their own archive to piece together a bit of history on why it looks like a cover up.
- Elizabeth Butler-Sloss has already been involved in a cover up in regards a child abuse scandal as this report from the BBC in 2011 details. Why has it taken several days for the media to find this information out and why were so many in the media praising this woman when it’s clear she’s seriously compromised and not just for her family connections? She’s also doubted a link between viewing images of ‘child porn’ (an expression I hate as it assumes some sort of consent. Call it images of child abuse) and sexual abuse when in fact, they’re the same thing.
- Why a review and not a fully judge led independent inquiry? I understand the problems of doing this while there’s ongoing police investigations but a review is pointless as all that will happen is it’ll obfuscate things even further, especially if it’s run by someone with form for covering things up.
- Do Operation Fernbridge and all the other various investigations have the resources they need? From doing a wee bit of delving it seems some of these various investigations are being run by a couple of officers with a laptop and aren’t being given what they need.
- The allegations regarding Elm Guest House have been flying around for around 30 years and every now and then bubble up in the Sunday papers as a bit of scandal, but have been easily dismissed. We now know abusers like Cyril Smith used the place so if he did, then the other names flying around in relation to Elm Guest House should be under suspicion. Sadly though there’s various super-injunctions flying around to ensure certain names don’t get named, but those who are dead can’t use expensive lawyers but again the question has to be asked; why were people in the media protecting the likes of Cyril Smith?
- The role of the media should be part of any investigation. After all the allegation that the visitors to Elm Guest House included a Sinn Féin politician, a Labour MP, and several Conservative politicians should be enough to get a journalists nose twitching but with few exceptions, it hasn’t. So how neutered have the press been by governments over the years? How many chances have been missed because editors were silenced or were actually complicit in protecting those accused of child abuse/murder?
- There appears to be allegations going back as far as the 1950’s and they include politicians from all parties, figures in entertainment and royalty. Just how far back is any review/inquiry going to go because the impression I get is there’s been generational child abuse going back decades and I’m only some bloke Googling stories online.
- If ‘no stone is to be unturned’ then will that involve the police being able to investigate anyone, regardless of who they’re related to or what their past or current position has been?
- How much of a voice are the victims going to get? It’s important they’re listened to but since the Leon Brittan story erupted, they’ve not been given a voice, and in fact, they’ve been somewhat dismissed by the likes of Brendan O’Neill at Spiked as I mentioned here. If victims get a voice then that makes other victims come forward, which is what happened in the Jimmy Savile case, and what helped convict Rolf Harris and Max Clifford. Part of the problem in giving space to the voices of the victims is that much of the media is busy giving a voice to David Mellor, or Nigel Havers (his aunt is Butler-Sloss) , or worse, over-intellectualising things (or in the case of the Guardian last year, giving a voice to child abusers) in order to detach the allegations of abuse from having any actual human effect.
The victims are the ones being let down here. Some are old, some are dead, some are suffering from various issues such as mental problems or addictions issues, and those people abusing them are getting away with it while we dump kids into the gutter to be ignored because people in positions of power have gotten away with it.
These questions I’ve posed are only a few that should be answered. There are dozens, if not hundreds more that need to be answered but if we’re to stop institutional abuse and find justice for victims we need to listen more to them, and support those in the police and other organisations who are fighting to stop these cases.
This leads me into introducing these three programmes which formed the BBC 2 series, The Hunt for Britain’s Paedophiles which was broadcast in 2002 and haven’t been shown since, nor are they ever likely to be. They’re exceptionally disturbing even now after first watching them 12 years ago, and in fact, there’s much of the second episode I can’t watch. My then girlfriend wanted to watch these programmes as she’d been seriously abused as a child so these programmes remained carved into my brain, though I’d tried to forget them til recently.
The reason I’m posting them is because some in the media are trying to make what’s happening a political scandal, which is only a small part of this. It’s the abuse of children that’s the heart of this. That’s what the scandal is about, so watch these programmes and again, I will warn you they’re tough viewing, but they should be watched but be aware they should be watched by adults only, and to be honest, they’re traumatic enough to be viewed by adults