There are subjects so taboo that people in the media will not write about them, for fear of a terrible backlash. There are issues that are so controversial that respected commentators dare not bring them up, for fear of having it haunt them forever.
I sometimes wonder why some of these people got into journalism. Where are there guts? For many it’s nothing but a career, and any number of them are talentless no marks who think because they learned how to rewrite press releases and other such meaningless fluff that they belong in what was once an honoured profession.
They are wrong. They couldn’t be further from the truth.
Journalism used to be about courage, and conviction, and telling the truth. The principal duties were to educate and inform. Somewhere along the line, there was a third added and it was that third which dragged the profession down. Somebody figured out that profits would go up if the media also tried to entertain … and so serious news gave way to gossip and the tabloids were born. Fast forward a while, and you inevitably arrive at hacking phones for salacious info, and the whole of the profession is devalued as a result.
But of course, that’s not all. The media calls itself The Fourth Estate. Have you ever stopped to wonder just what that means?
Bear with me for just a moment whilst I go over this.
Traditionally, the First Estate was the Church, which, for the continent of Europe in the aftermath of the Treaty of Nicaea, meant Christianity as promoted by the Roman Emperor Constantine. His granting of power to bishops as regional governors gave rise to the supremacy of the Roman Catholic Church, which was, of course, later replaced by the Church of the Reformation, here in the UK, after which the First Estate came to refer to the Church of England.
The Second Estate, with its ties to the first, is, of course, the monarchy and the hereditary Lords.
The Third Estate was once called The Commoners, and its institutional power is now held in the Palace of Westminster and the governing body that bears its names … the House of Commons, the body of the people, elected from the people and by the people. (Or so goes the theory.)
The First Estate gets its power from God. Pure and simple. Its influence comes from its proximity to the greatest authority of them all … the Divine Authority. Some consider it an anachronism (I am not one of them) but its influence is still vast, and undisputed.
The Second Estate operates on the premise that it, too, has a mandate from God, that nobility is carried in the bloodlines, and I think that might be the daftest concept of all, and a ludicrous idea which has no place in the modern world … but nevertheless, its power is real and essentially fixed.
The Third Estate draws its power from us. It’s not always realised, or accepted, but its influence quite literally comes from a mandate granted it by the Will of the People. The fact that it has authority over the First and could, in theory, dismantle the Second makes the Third Estate the most powerful force in the land, without dispute … and all that power comes from “consent of the governed”; i.e. at its most basic level, that power resides in us.
The Fourth Estate is unique amongst them all, in that it operates without any apparent constraint, and although it too is theoretically subservient to the Third, it does not recognise this fact in any meaningful sense except at certain times, and in certain circumstances.
What makes the Fourth Estate unique is this; it is the source of its own power. It created itself and depends on neither consent, hereditary authority nor a religious “mandate from God.” The Fourth Estate is its own creation, and it sustains itself.
Every single one of us knows that the Third Estate, the one that is supposed to represent us, has cut itself off from that responsibility. Now, all four “pillars” of the state – and that’s what they are, the four centres of all authority in the land – have become entwined.
Look at Leveson, and the way the media introduced a “voluntary code”. The results of that shambolic exercise were no different from the numerous investigations Parliament has launched into itself over the years … it was more for appearances than anything else.
These institutions work together, one hand washing the other, and they protect one another from all manner of scrutiny and interference.
The British State has more secrets than any other, and occasionally those secrets have been shocking in a way that the average person can barely imagine. I’ve spent the better part of my life reading all the published, scholarly works on its inner workings that I can find, out of a desire to know more about the country I live in.
I can tell you that I am convinced that in our not too recent history representatives of the British State have been involved in the perpetration of acts so heinous none of us would have a strong enough stomach to withstand their full exposure.
There are areas where I would not, personally, want to know too many details because of the sheer awfulness of what lies on the swamp-bed, but I would want to know, as most of us would, about the fact of them; that they happened, who was responsible for them and whether those people are still within the reach of justice.
I have no doubt that the names of many of these people are known within the Palace of Westminster, and in the offices of newspapers in Fleet Street. I do not doubt for a second that many of these people are high profile individuals with whom many of their colleagues and many in the media have “good relationships”.
I am at a loss though, because if I stood, night after night, in the same bar as someone I knew was a child abuser, perhaps worse, and if I had to spend my days sitting on benches with them, pretending to value them as colleagues, using terms such as The Honourable Gentleman to describe them, it would probably not be long before my anger at that boiled over.
It would not be long before, to use a quaint euphemism that does not come close to the Glasgow reality, I “caused a scene.”
For those who’ve hidden their knowledge behind silence and a stiff drink, contempt is a mild word for what I feel about you.
Some of those people came to light in the aftermath of the Jimmy Saville story, and I believe many of them belong in prison alongside those who committed the offences. Their excuses for why they did nothing are pathetic. Had even one of them been willing to risk their careers by putting it on the line for the bosses at the Corporation and elsewhere – “you either investigate, and get rid of him or I will walk and tell the world why” – then perhaps he would not have got away with it as long as he did.
But then again, maybe he would. Because the deeper into this thing we go the more it becomes apparent that what we’re investigating goes well beyond a DJ with a penchant for putting his hands up little girls skirts, and becomes something even darker.
Yesterday we had Tom Watson talking to the Guardian about a sex killing, committed by members of a British government. Today we’re seeing the name of Willie McRae added to the list of the possible victims to join that of Jill Dando’s, who’s name has already been mentioned in connection to these events, which brings them into the modern sphere, and individuals who, unlike Saville, are not in the grave.
Let’s pause for a moment to understand what we’re talking about here;
Watson’s interview is easily the most damning ever given to a national newspaper by a Member of Parliament. He is talking about having briefed a witness to a child being murdered by a fellow MP with a cabinet minister in attendance.
The seriousness of that claim cannot be overstated. The full magnitude of it is almost incomprehensible to the rational mind. The names of those involved have not been made known… but there is little doubt in Watson’s mind that the guy he’s spoken to is in his right mind. Watson is careful not to state, outright, that this guy is telling the absolute truth, but he knows he’s talking to someone rational.
There is no longer any doubt that people in Parliament and in the media have been sitting on potentially lethal information. There is no question in my mind that a number of current, and former, parliamentarians, people still alive and within reach of the police and the courts, have been involved in awful acts that would make the average stomach turn over.
Those people have to be brought to justice.
There should no hiding behind Official Secrets any longer. There should be no using the D-Notice system as a shield to hide behind. Parliamentary privilege is a weapon open to anyone in the Commons who wants to get up and tell the truth about their “colleagues” and newspaper editors are well aware that the government cannot, legally, prevent them publishing stories, as the D-Notice system has always been voluntary.
And if the proprietors and editors don’t want to play ball, any journalist who wants to can get the story out, either on online blogs or simply by jumping on a plane and crossing the Atlantic, where the Fourth Amendment protects the media from any interference at all.
There are no excuses for continuing silence now.
There’s little point to it anyway. The genie is out of the bottle. The very worst suspicions – that kids have been murdered by a paedophile ring including MP’s – is now very close to being established as fact, but it is now certainly part of the public record.
Furthermore, it is already a known fact that senior members of all three “major” political parties have been involved with, or covered for, child sex offenders. Murder, either to keep the secrets or during the commission of those acts, is horrifying but not surprising.
We suspected it for years. It’s out there now. It’s time to name names.
There’s no real way to keep all this under wraps anyhow. Too much information is already floating about, and one way or another it’ll all become known. For one thing, it’s already absolutely beyond dispute that the Blair government imposed a D-Notice in the aftermath of the Operation Ore investigations, to prevent the publication of names of paedophile suspects amongst their ranks, just as we know there were similar notices posted during other administrations.
Now, we know that many of those named in Ore were innocent; in fact, credit card theft and miss-use accounted for many thousands of the cases involved, and some have called it the “worst police investigation of the internet age”, and maybe it was, but not everyone named was someone who had been defrauded. Not everyone named had nothing to hide.
We can say, with a degree of certainty, especially in light of recent revelations, that there was no real imperative for the police – who, let’s not forget had to go to the government itself for the funds to do the investigation – to dig too deep into certain of the names they uncovered, nor look too closely at the wider affair.
The questions of who knew what, and when, will continue until all the facts come out. But there are some people whose guilt is without question at all, and I find the media conspiracy of silence in this regard to be the most puzzling of all.
One name stands out above all others; not an active participant, but someone who certainly had a degree of knowledge about who was involved, and who not only kept that information quiet but actually continued to maintain social, business and political relationships with those who were responsible for some of these reported crimes.
That person is Margaret Hilda Thatcher, and it will be these revelations that, in the fullness of time, come to absolutely obliterate her reputation and the way she will be considered by future historians and generations.
For she was, for many years, and right up until the day she died, the paedophiles friend.
At least four of her long-time associates are now linked to paedophilia, and rumours persist about a half dozen others, at least one of whom is a prominent MP today.
Aside from Saville, with whom she maintained a decades long friendship, even inviting him to spend Christmases and New Years with her and her husband Dennis, there is her close companion Peter Morrison, her Parliamentary Private Secretary and eventually a former chairman of the Conservative Party who’s “secret” was so widely known that Edwina Currie felt no compunction about mentioning that – and Thatcher’s knowledge thereof – in her autobiography.
Her senior advisor, Keith Joseph, one of the principle advocates of Thatcherism, and a notorious right winger with whom she was a long-time confidante, was named as being involved in child sex abuse, and hers was not the first but the third Tory government in which he was a minister.
Sir Rhodes Boyson, another of her chums, who served as a minister in three government departments whilst she was Prime Minister, was named in the same files as Joseph. Before becoming an MP he had been a school headmaster, where he was a firm believer in corporal punishment, in particular the cane, and who during his time as Undersecretary for the Department of Education and Social Security his colleagues had nicknamed “the Minister for Flogging.”
Despite being a prominent public opponent of homosexuality (he supported Section 28 and believed AIDS was a punishment from God) he was named in the now infamous dossiers and by a former Tory activist called Anthony Gilberthorpe, who said Boyson and others would hire him to procure under-age boys for parties.
The intelligence services knew all this, of course, and much else besides. They were certainly involved in the cover-up of the Kincora Boys Home, and they and Special Branch knew about Cyril Smith and others. With their knowledge an established fact it is more than reasonable to infer that she was also very well informed. It is almost inconceivable that they would not have told Thatcher about these people.
Had they wanted to press the issue, they could have told her to keep her distance, the better to protect her. The national security implications of a Prime Minister being closely involved with child abusers are mind-bending.
Yet she kept quiet, and these things continuted to happen, more or less in full view of others, but then they were operating alongside a media with a vested interest in not digging too deep and the intelligence servcies had their own problematic links to the scandal, including the proclivities of the former Deputy Director of M16, Sir Peter Hayman, who despite a career in the clandestine services still managed to leave a dossier of easily traceable child porn on a London bus.
So yes, Thatcher certainly knew (read Currie’s biography for a start, which makes it quite clear) and had she done nothing and left these people on the fringes that would have been serious enough, and damning of her reputation for all time.
But these were not simply colleagues but friends, close friends, those with whom she had personal relationships lasting decades.
The newspapers, with their continued interest in preserving their own power continue promoting her “legacy” – the legacy on which all current British political discourse is based – and seem to have a peculiar aversion to calling her what she was; one of the foremost individuals involved in covering up the scale of this scandal and those implicated in it.
Aside from the virtual certainty that the intelligence services knew and told her, her own whips were certainly aware of what was going on. Tim Fortescue, a whip in the Heath government, is quite upfront about he and his colleagues knowing details like that. They would have been duty bound to warn her off.
Anthony Gilberthorpe says he personally sent her a 40 page dossier with the names of abusers as well as specific details, including those which took place at the notorious Dolphin Square apartment complex, at Pimlico, London, where literally dozens of senior MP’s – including prominent government ministers in Cameron’s current administration – and civil servants had residences during the timeframe being looked into.
Geoffrey Dickens handed a dossier to her then Home Secretary, Leon Brittain, who claimed to have “lost it”, and Lord Tebbit has admitted that a cover-up of sex abuses by senior ministers of that time definitely took place.
Thatcher was at the head of that cover-up, and there is no hiding place from that fact whether the media writes it or not.
This is a scandal without precedent, and the tentacles of it go everywhere, even into the First and Second Estates, and those who inhabit them.
Take the story of Paul Kidd, a former Royal butler, who actually took some of his child victims to “tea with the Queen Mother.” Amongst the offences for which he was charged, and pled guilty, include “six counts of indecent assault, five counts of sexual activity with a child and one count of causing or inciting a child to engage in sexual activity.”
Or take a look at the story of the American financier, Jeffrey Epstein, who has settled no fewer than 17 abuse cases out of court, who has at least one conviction for soliciting sex with an underage prostitute, and who allegedly introduced his own victims to a host of senior officials in the British and American governments and who one extraordinary dossier claims actually introduced one to Prince Andrew (who US prosecutors “hope” will agree to be a witness in one case.)
There is the story of how a member of the Blair government tried to intercede in favour of a man named Michael Carroll, a convicted paedophile, who was nevertheless running a children’s home at the time, when he tried to adopt two boys from a Lambeth foster home, a request which the local authorities denied with prejudice.
Dr John Bird, who is a director at the National Association of People Abused In Childhood says that ten names – all of whom have been passed to the police, and all of whom have served, or still serve, in high public office – come up “again and again” in calls to their offices, from people claiming to have been the victims of child abuse.
The adopted daughter of a now deceased Tory MP, Ralph Bonner Pink, claims he sexually abused her and then placed her in Broadmoor, where she was then abused by Jimmy Saville. The son of another former Tory MP, Anthony Atkinson, says he believes his father, David, was a paedophile named in Geoffrey Dickens dossiers, and police are investigating claims that the deceased former House of Commons speaker, George Thomas, abused a nine year old boy.
And on and on and on it goes, and all this is to say nothing of Kincora, the Elm Guest House, what happened in North Wales, the Shirley Oaks care home allegations or the truth about what the government are concealing regarding Dunblane.
How far does it go? Who really knows?
Will we ever find out everything?
Things certainly didn’t become any easier when, in 2009, Jack Straw, in one of the final legislative acts of Labour in government, moved to limit the press’s access to information on child abuse claims, as well as making it illegal for alleged victims to speak out in the media.
Earlier this year, Theresa May was forced, by public pressure and by some of her fellow parliamentarians, to order a full investigation into these and other sex abuse allegations, many of them going back to the time of Thatcher and her assorted cronies, with others still operating today.
650 persons were elected to serve in the Westminster parliament in 2010. Of that number, only 146 MP’s believed the issue was serious enough to sign a cross-party motion calling for a full public inquiry into the allegations.
Not one member of the front bench teams of Labour, the Lib Dems or the Conservative Party signed the motion.
Also absent were the signatures of a single SNP MP, partly because the investigation would have to be limited to England, as allegations about events north of the border are the province of our own parliament in Holyrood. Yet Kenny MacAskill has consistently refused to engage with Scottish victims and their calls for a major investigation here, and this has to be a major priority for Nicola Sturgeon or her administration risks being tainted with the stain of the reeking scandal at Westminster.
The judge Theresa May appointed, Lady Butler Sloss, eventually had to step down from the inquiry after her brother was named as one of the senior individuals who recieved, and then ignored, evidence of abuse. Furthermore, some of the allegations about that time named him as being present at some of the “sex parties”. At first the government fought to keep her on the case, but they gave up when stories started to emerge about her involvement in previous abuse cases where people had screamed “cover up.”
In the meantime, one hand continues to wash the other. The media asks certain questions, but will not dig too far or too deep, or stray too far into controversy it doesn’t want.
All four Estates continue to press down on the lid, hoping that even now the pressure doesn’t blow it off.
Their hopes are in vain. History will learn the truth, and the truth will damn many, alive and dead, one time and for all time.
Thatcher, the paedophiles friend, will be one.
But no, not the only one.
Justice will not be denied forever. Justice for the victims. Justice for the silenced. Justice for those like Willie McRae who had the guts to try, and to those who keep on trying today.
Until it comes, we all have to keep on hammering on the window. It’ll break. They all do.
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