Hounding Steven Messham, smears in the Mail, threats against MPs, & police complicity
In what I admit is something of a risk, The Slog today tries to blow away some of the dry-ice being liberally sprayed about by the Establishment in relation to its long-standing record of depravity by the few, and complicit blind-eyes being cast by the many. If there is a genuine desire to root out the tiny but powerful minority of paedophiles in our élite, political, social care and teaching professions, then I would respectfully ask that the Carter-Ruck’s of this world stay their hands….and assimilate instead this one simple point: are they suggesting that five separate documented cover-ups in 27 years, and 0ver 2000 witness statements, are all the work of malign and/or deluded conspirators?
The United Kingdom stands at a crossroads today. A much overused map reference perhaps, but a genuine one in this case. Thanks to some bungling in the BBC, a cynical campaign being carried out by the Murdoch Press against that organisation, and knee-jerk idle distraction concerning the fate of George Entwistle and background of Steven Messham, we are rapidly being pulled behind a bush somewhere quiet – and molested. Lascivious glee at the fate of Newsnight – a format whose anchor Jeremy Paxman is one of the few people, along with Ian Hislop, prepared to go for the hypocrite’s jugular – is woefully misplaced at best, and malign at worst.
I would ask everyone covering and reading this story to consider these opening questions:
1. We still do not know for certain who injuncted the BBC ten days ago, but there remains a very strong and widely-held suspicion that he is a political big beast in David Cameron’s Cabinet. David Cameron asks us to go to the police, who have – in 4 out of the 5 coverups mentioned – either actively or passively conspired to derail enquiries….just as they did during the Hackgate enquiries. When is somebody going to tackle the Prime Minister and the Home Secretary about this?
2. Look into the history of Steven Messham, and you will discover a consistent catalogue of victimisation by the authorities. Why is nobody interviewing Mr Messham and allowing him to relate that history?
3. The Report from February 2000 into the North Wales cover-up and abuse (admirably covered by the Independent on Sunday this weekend) contains details and statistics to make even the most cynical hack’s blood run cold. When are more people going to read it, and more journalists drill down into it? (Have a look at it here)
4. In Britain’s local Courts, there are over 35 documented cases of rape and paedophiliac abuse in the local government system of the UK – predominantly involving Labour councillors – in the last eight years alone. When is Ed Miliband going to address that? When is the Shadow Home Secretary going to address that? When is Tom Watson even going to achnowledge that?
5. This morning, the Mail on Sunday has published an article by Sir Alfred McAlpine expressing disgust at the media in general and the BBC in particular. It is at best disingenuous. When is somebody in the media going to question the McAlpines on their convenient memory-loss in relation to cousin Alfred ‘Jimmie’ McAlpine?
For legal reasons, I cannot refer to a sixth example: but surprise surprise, if I could, somebody would have to act. However, in the temporary absence of that tale from the public domain, I’d like if I may to deal with Point 5 above first.
The Mail piece is remarkable for the vilification brought forth by Sir Alfred McAlpine. This extract is typical:
‘Now we know that all it took for my brother Lord (Alistair) McAlpine to be exonerated as a paedophile was for the victim Steven Messham to be shown a photograph of his alleged abuser. Both he and the BBC’s Newsnight programme have apologised for the terrible slur on a good man’s reputation. But the damage has already been done – to my brother’s name…..I only discovered last Tuesday from a senior Tory party member that Alistair was the person being traduced on the internet as the guilty party. I was completely taken aback. Of course, I had heard it was someone close to Mrs Thatcher but the idea of my younger brother being involved was so preposterous, I laughed it off.’
Exonerated, terrible slur, completely taken aback….so preposterous, I laughed it off. Really Sir Alfred? You don’t think then that the name McAlpine might hold a clue to the mistake? OK, no innuendo intended….let me be straight: if you do not now and have never had a cousin/second cousin called Jimmie McAlpine who ran the family’s Welsh business as Chairman, say so. If you do not now or have never had any reason to suspect the activities of the late James McAlpine, say so. Did your cousin have a ‘large house near Chester’ and ‘a fleet of expensive cars’ and frequent ‘a large hotel in Chester’ as referred to in several victim witness statements, and the Welsh report linked above?
If you can say an emphatic ‘no’ to each of those questions, then I will unreservedly apologise – and pay a sum of £2000 to the care home charity of my choice. Enough innuendo already: I’ll put my money where my mouth is. What about you?
Now to the history of Steven Messham, who to date in this saga has not been found to bear false witness about anything…he referred only to one of his abusers as ‘a man called McAlpine’.
In 2004, he was falsely accused of defrauding a charity. He was acquitted. In 2005, he was falsely accused of a £33,000 benefits fraud. He was acquitted. Now today, in another misleading MoS piece, he is castigated as follows: ‘Messham’s evidence about abuse at the Bryn Estyn care home in Wrexham has been unreliable from the start’. The truth is he was confused by the length of stay…he was a troubled man in a care home, remember? Being abused regularly (which the judge at a previous trial admitted was true) remember? But the Mail blithely calls him ‘A victim of his delusions’. What utter cock.
I wonder if David Rose and Bob Woffingden of the MoS have ever spent a decent amount of time talking to abuse victims? Of course victims are confused and of course they’re unbalanced: they’ve spent years being buggered stupid and then ignored by media morons and police accomplices.
Well, assuming that these two reporters don’t know much about their subject, I’ll give them a snippet from the Bryn Estyn enquiry to choke on:
‘In the course of our inquiry we ascertained that about 140 former residents of Bryn Estyn between 1974 and 1984 were known to have made allegations that physical and/or sexual abuse upon them had occurred whilst they had been resident there….The sessions would begin at about 8.30 pm and the boys attending, usually five or six or even more at a time, were required to dress in their pyjamas without any underwear. If they were wearing underpants under their pyjamas, they were ordered to remove them…..We are fully satisfied that all the senior members of the staff at Bryn Estyn and most of the junior staff were aware of the [abuse] procedure….Some of them spoke themselves of these boys in derogatory terms and many were aware that the boys were called “bum boys” or the like by their fellows…..One member of the staff, Paul Bicker Wilson told the Clwyd Social Services Officer [what was going on]….his response was to ask him whether he was making a formal complaint and to warn him that the repercussions could be quite serious.’
* ‘Police trawling’ (nice euphemism) of care homes has also in the past been dismissed as ‘a fantasy’. But when Claire Curtis-Thomas MP was initially considering whether to to take up the cause of one of her constituents, whose supporters claimed he was the innocent victim of a police trawling operation, she was told not to. A constituency adviser told her in the strongest possible terms that she should not touch this particular cause since to do so would be political and electoral suicide. Claire Curtis-Thomas, of course, declined to take this advice. She subsequently played a vital role in bringing about the Home Affairs Committee inquiry. The constituent whose cause she took up, Basil Williams-Rigby, later had his conviction quashed by the Court of Appeal.
* North Wellian Chief Superintendent Gordon Anglesea won a libel action against Private Eye over accusations of his alleged involvement in child abuse at the care home. However, an official tribunal into child abuse in North Wales expressed “considerable disquiet” about some of the evidence he gave when he appeared before it. And there have been allegations since that the judge in the Eye libel case harboured similar doubts.
To conclude, the following realities should not be allowed to disappear in the midst of this political exercise in obfuscation: the charge of a paedophile closely related to Number Ten remains. The injunction he served on the BBC remains. The Bryn Estyn scandal remains. The Jimmie McAlpine question remains.