I don’t have a vote because although I’m a member of an affiliated organisation (which has sent me a mailshot about the election) I didn’t register for a vote because I am a member of the Scottish Green Party. So I’m just waiting for 12th September, like everyone else who doesn’t qualify for a vote, which is 99.0472% of the population of the UK.
Tag Archives: child abuse
In 1962, when Cambridge House in Rochdale was opened to give young men a clean safe place to stay, Cyril Smith was 34, already an important man in the local community, and he seems to have regarded it as his private pleasure centre. The hostel ran from 1962 to 1965, Cyril Smith had keys and could come and go at any time, and was responsible for bringing in several boys to live there who’d been in difficult home situations, often then to work for the local authority, so that Smith would have control both over their jobs and over their home. Continue reading
In June 2012, Cardinal Brady – who in 1975 had let a child abuser loose to prey on further victims – publicly if not very personally apologised:
Cardinal Sean Brady has said it is “a matter of deep shame” that the Catholic Church did not always respond properly to victims of child abuse.
The Catholic primate of all Ireland was delivering a homily at the 50th International Eucharistic Congress in Dublin.
He said he wanted to ask for the forgiveness of abuse victims.
He said the church had “first betrayed their trust and then failed to respond adequately to their pain”.
Over the past week, there was a big row in the press about three children who had been fostered for eight weeks by a couple who were members of UKIP (and who were heterosexual, as UKIP does not hold with gay foster parents).
The story the press were telling was that the evil social workers of Rotherham had taken these children away from righteous foster parents just because of the fosterers party membership. This was a good story and got lots of people talking seriously about UKIP and grumbling about social workers.
By the way, between social workers and a newspaper, I’m more likely to trust the social workers. Social workers are between a rock and a hard place when it comes to child protection. If they take children away from their parents, the media get on their case, attacking the social workers for breaking up families and acting with unbridled power.
If they leave children with their parents and the children are seriously hurt or killed, the media get on their case, attacking the social workers for failing to protect the children.
Much of the mainstream press is awash with very public horror at the thought that the government might legislate regulation on the national press if that’s what Lord Leveson recommends.
Last week, Lord McAlpine’s lawyers met with the Metropolitan Police to begin what Scotland Yard calls a “scoping exercise” to discover if the police can treat the tweeting and retweeting of the allegations that McAlpine abused children as a criminal offence. I saw no mainstream press expressing horror that this might lead to legal curbs on a free press. Scotland Yard said:
“We have not received an allegation of crime at this time, however, we can confirm we will be meeting with interested parties to start the process of scoping whether any offence has taken place. It is far too early to say whether any criminal investigation will follow.”
Lawyers for McAlpine said they had identified up to 10,000 allegedly defamatory tweets about the former Tory party treasurer.
They announced plans to sue Twitter users and broadcasters, including the BBC and ITV, for libel following the inaccurate Newsnight report into child sex abuse on 2 November.
You might ask – as Tom Pride does – why a man who opts to live in Italy rather than pay his taxes in the UK, is getting this kind of special treatment from the Metropolitan Police. Let him call upon the Italian police to investigate Twitter, since he chooses to live there.
Tomorrow, Lord Leveson will publish his recommendations from the Leveson enquiry.
According to the Daily Mirror, Alastair McAlpine is presently engaged in the largest libel case in British history.
He intends to sue about 10,000 people, unless they come forward and offer him an apology and a settlement. Maybe more.
Their crime is either to have tweeted or to have retweeted an allegation that Lord McAlpine was one of the men who raped Steven Messham. Lord McAlpine was not the “McAlpine” apparently identified by the police to Steven Messham: it seems that was probably Alastair McAlpine’s cousin Jimmie McAlpine, who died in 1991.
Keith Gregory said he thought a different member of the McAlpine family who lived locally may have been mistaken for Lord McAlpine.
A man who children at the care home believed to be a McAlpine would arrive there in an expensive car, he said.
For those that need the warning, references to child abuse under the cut.
Boris Johnson sweeps all the concern about child abuse out of the way. The real tragedy, says the Mayor of London, is that for about a week, Alastair McAlpine was being mistakenly named on Twitter as the man who’d raped boys from the Welsh care home, when it wasn’t him, it was probably his cousin, Jimmie McAlpine, who died in 1991. (Oh, and David Mellor thinks a child abuse survivor is a weirdo and the Daily Mail thinks it appropriate to do one of their hatchet jobs on Steven Messham.)
Boris Johnson: Smearing an innocent man’s name is the real tragedy here:
To call someone a paedophile is to consign them to the lowest circle of hell – and while they are still alive. It follows that you should not call someone a paedophile unless you are pretty sure of your facts. It is utterly incredible that the BBC’s flagship news programme decided to level this poisonous allegation against Lord McAlpine when it had not the slightest evidence to support its case. It was sickening yesterday morning, at 7am, to hear the BBC radio newscaster claim – as if it were some kind of mitigation – that Newsnight did not “name” McAlpine. Is it really claiming that it protected his identity?
How many times will we need to say it?
Alistair McAlpine’s hurt feelings at being mistaken for his cousin, or however it happened that the police told Steven Messham that the man who’d abused him was Lord McAlpine so many years ago, are not a tragedy.
Charlie Beckett writes: George Entwistle is gone but how to rebuild confidence in the BBC? and disturbingly proposes:
The NHS and schools have seen structural revolutions – why not the BBC? It is time for this tired old fortress to be opened up.
Is this crisis going to be the Tory excuse to destroy the BBC as they destroyed the NHS in England?
Steven Messham apologised: Newsnight apologised: George Entwhistle resigned. But who actually set the story going?
According to the Guardian, it was Iain Overton:
As the wine flowed at the Oxford Union, the stage was set for what would soon become a broadcasting disaster. The motion before the undergraduates had been “British politics is in the pocket of the media”, and, in the exhilarated post-debate atmosphere, one dinner-jacketed journalistic insider who had come from London to speak could no longer contain his piece of political gossip.
Iain Overton, head of the small non-profit Bureau of Investigative Journalism, said the next evening’s Newsnight was going to expose a top Tory as an abuser of teenage boys at a north Wales care home. According to one of those present, Michael Crick, former Newsnight journalist and now the Channel 4 News political editor, asked: “Do you mean McAlpine?” “Well, you said it,” Overton replied.
Briefly – for what now seems a very short time – everyone was saying “We must believe the victims.”
Newsnight’s decision not to run an investigative programme about Jimmy Saville, because all they had was his victims’ testimony, was widely criticised.
On Newsnight tonight, instead, was the more usual refrain: Steve Messham was a “fantasist”, and shouldn’t be listened to. Lord McAlpine’s lawyer talked of bringing legal charges against Newsnight and Alistair McAlpine himself issued a comprehensive denial. Newsnight formally apologised, though it’s hard to see what for: they did not name Lord Alistair McAlpine as Messham’s abuser: nor did they hint his identity in any way.
[But see The BBC, Lord McAlpine and Libel Law for how Lord McAlpine might be able to sue the BBC anyway.]
More to the point, Steve Messham says:
at the time police showed him a picture of his abuser but incorrectly told him the man was Lord McAlpine.
Mr Messham told the BBC that he was “mortified” when he recently saw a real picture of Lord McAlpine and realised his mistake.
Newsnight did not name Alistair McAlpine as Steve Messham’s abuser. Steve Messham did not name Lord McAlpine to the media. The only senior Tory named was Sir Peter Morrison, who died in 1995.