Antony Grey and the Sexual Law Reform Society 2Posted: September 29, 2014 Filed under: Abuse, Labour Party, PIE, Westminster | Tags: albany trust, angela willans, antony grey, ben whitaker, Catherine Jay, christopehr bradbury-robinson, greek love, Helen Jay, j.z. eglinton, jo richardson, Judy Todd, keith hose, mary whitehouse, maurice yaffe, michael ingram, nambla, neville armstrong, paedophile action for liberation, paedophile information exchange, release, roger moody, theresa may, tony smythe, walter breen, william burroughs 6 Comments
A few articles were published by Dominic Kennedy in The Times in August of this year, relating to Antony Grey. I reproduce them here. One of them deals in particular with Grey’s role in the publication in the UK of J.Z. Eglinton’s book Greek Love (New York: Oliver Layton Press, 1964). Eglinton, whose real name was Walter Breen, was associated with NAMBLA, and was convicted for child molestation as early as 1954, then on various later occasions (involving boys aged 10 and above). This book is an absolutely key text in the paedophile canon.
The Times, July 23rd, 2014
Dominic Kennedy, ‘How paedophiles gained access to establishment by work with the young; Child sex campaigners boasted the education system could not cope without them’
Paedophiles became so entrenched in jobs working with children in the 1970s that one of their leaders suggested that if they staged a national strike many schools would close.
Campaigners openly admitted that men who were sexually attracted to children were being employed as teachers, clergymen, scoutmasters and youth workers.
The campaign to legalise sex at all ages gained access to the establishment via apparently progressive organisations such as mental health groups and gay and civil rights campaigns.
The evidence has emerged as the government prepares a national inquiry into historical child abuse.
The Times has discovered that childsex campaigners and doctors admitted that many paedophiles had found jobs working with children. Paedophile groups also wooed government-funded charities so that they could gain access to opinion formers. They also invented a “children’s rights” movement, campaigning on issues such as corporal punishment, as a cover for their real purpose of decriminalising sex between adults and children.
Roger Moody, writing for a magazine published by the campaign group Paedophile Awareness and Liberation (PAL), stated: “If all paedophiles in community schools or private schools were to strike, how many would be forced to close, or at least alter their regimes?”
In a factsheet prepared by the Paedophile Information Exchange (PIE), the organisation observed that teachers, clergymen, scoutmasters and youth workers were particularly prone to “child love”. It said: “Paedophiles are naturally drawn to work involving children, for which many of them have extraordinary talent and devotion (often they are also the ones the children value most). If this field were to be ‘purged’, there would be a damaging reduction of people left to do the work.”
Maurice Yaffe, a senior clinical psychologist, identified the same four professions in an article for a medical pamphlet, saying “it is fair to say that a high proportion will have sought out positions” in these fields.
The government-funded Albany Trust, a counselling service, was used by paedophile campaigners to gain access to influential people in society. “Recent talks with the Albany Trust have proved useful in a number of ways,” said an article in PAL’s newsletter, seen by The Times. “Firstly, the trust’s present policies are such that their co-operation has more to offer PAL than groups interested only in homosexuality. Secondly, the trust is in a position to provide useful contacts with other groups and organisations. [We will continue] to work with the Albany Trust in the coming months, and we are confident that this will not only be of great value to PAL and its members, but also as regards furthering the understanding and acceptance of paedophilia amongst non-paedophiles.”
This lobbying strategy bore fruit when Antony Grey, the director of the Albany Trust, privately urged Ben Whitaker, the former Labour MP for Hampstead, author and fellow executive member of the National Council for Civil Liberties, to discuss child sex at a forthcoming meeting with the chairman of WH Smith.
“I feel very strongly that Smiths should be called on to justify their attitude and not merely to use the word ‘paedophilia’ as a dirty brush with which to smear … anyone,” Mr Grey told Mr Whitaker. There is no reply in the archive. Albany Trust now says that it disassociates itself from organisations promoting child sex abuse.
PAL warned its subscribers “to use the utmost discretion in any communication with us” because police might seize their mail.
PIE was introduced to Albany Trust by the mental health charity Mind. The director of Mind at the time was also a senior figure in the NCCL, which accepted PIE and PAL as members. Mind has apologised.
PIE was helped by Release, the drug users’ charity. A submission from PIE to the Home Office, arguing for the decriminalisation of sex with children, gave Release’s offices as PIE’s holding address. Release said that it was “shocked and deeply upset that there was, or could have been, any connection between our work and the repugnant activities and despicable views promoted by PIE”.
An edition of PIE’s newsletter includes an art review by Christopher Bradbury-Robinson, a former head of English at a Home Counties preparatory school, describing “the eroticism of paedophilia … the yearning to touch the untouched”. Bradbury-Robinson became an author and friend of the novelist William Burroughs. Often mentioned in articles promoting paedophilia was Michael Ingram, a Catholic monk who portrayed himself as an expert in counselling and child sex, but was convicted in 2000 of sex offences against six boys during that era. He died after crashing his car into a wall.
The Labour MP Jo Richardson sent a supportive message to a PIE journal Childhood Rights saying that she supported its campaign against corporal punishment.
PIE infiltrated the Campaign for Homosexual Equality and PIE’s leader tabled a successful motion at its 1975 conference. He said that it was “absurd” for it to disassociate itself from paedophilia because there were “many gay paedophiles” inside and outside of the campaign group.
Who’s who from the era of misguided civil rights
(above) The national director of Mind, the mental health charity and a former general secretary of the National Council for Civil Liberties.
director of the Albany Trust, secretary of Homosexual Law Reform Society, a member of the executives of the NCCL, Defence of Literature and the Arts Society and British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy.
The first Labour MP for Hampstead (1966-1970). Executive director of Minority Rights Group. Head of George Orwell Memorial Trust. NCCL executive. Author. He was lobbied by Antony Grey to urge WH Smith, the newsagent, to stop using ‘ “paedophilia’ as a dirty brush with which to smear” anyone.
Christopher “CJ” Bradbury-Robinson
PIE magazine arts reviewer. Former prep school teacher. His friend William Burroughs referred to Bradbury-Robinson’s “sexual interest in small boys” in his introduction to a novel.
(below) Catholic monk who sent message of support to PIE’s magazine Childhood Rights. His purported research into child sexuality was taken seriously by experts in the 1970s but he was later exposed as a serial abuser of boys, jailed and died after crashing his car.
Feminist Labour MP. She thanked Childhood Rights for sending her a copy: “Of course I’ll support the campaign against corporal punishment,” she wrote.
GRAPHIC: Outraged women greet members of the Paedophile Information Exchange arriving for their first open meeting in London in 1977 with a barrage of eggs
NEVILLE MARRINER / REX FEATURES
Mary Whitehouse, the morality campaigner, delivers a 1.5 million signature petition against child sexual abuse to Downing St in 1978. Ben Whitaker, the Labour MP, campaigning in Hampstead with Catherine Jay, Judy Todd and Helen Jay, was an associate of Antony Grey
The Times, July 22nd, 2014
Dominic Kennedy, ‘Trust head helped edit book about sex with boys’
The head of a charity that received a government education grant secretly helped to edit a book about sex between boys and men, The Times can disclose.
Antony Grey, who was director of the Albany Trust, which provides counselling for homosexuals, protested his innocence when the morality campaigner Mary Whitehouse accused him of using taxpayers’ money to promote paedophilia. He omitted to disclose that he had already helped to produce the UK edition of Greek Love, a book by the American paedophile Walter Breen, who would eventually die in prison.
The book was on a recommended reading list issued by the Paedophile Information Exchange (PIE).
The Department for Education said yesterday that it would look into what payments were made to the trust, after The Times told it that the organisation reported receiving thousands of pounds a year in funding. It stated that in the late 1970s it was receiving money from the Home Office and what was then the Department of Education and Science.
Theresa May, the home secretary, published an independent investigation this month after it was realised that the Home Office had given grants to the trust. The review was unable to allay fears that some of the government funding may have been spent supporting the PIE campaign to legalise sex between children and adults.
A spokeswoman for the Department for Education said: “We will look in to the question of whether the department funded Albany Trust in the 1970s.”
The trust first came under the spotlight when Mrs Whitehouse claimed in a speech that it had been using grants to support paedophile groups. Mr Grey denied that any public money had been given to paedophiles.
He said in an article that he had attended a workshop by the charity Mind where a paedophile spoke “openly and bravely about his life situation”. He omitted to mention that the speaker was Keith Hose, the chairman of PIE.
PIE was affiliated to the influential National Council for Civil Liberties, whose executive included Mr Grey and Tony Smythe, the director of Mind.
Records seen by The Times show that the publisher Neville Armstrong wrote to Mr Grey in 1969 about Greek Love, a treatise about men having sex with boys written by Breen, a convicted paedophile, under the pseudonym J Z Eglinton. Breen died in 1993 while serving a ten-year sentence for child molesting. Mr Armstrong said he accepted Mr Grey’s editing suggestions. Mr Grey told the publisher: “Greek Love has caused me to rethink some of my own basic attitudes to human sexuality.”
The trust also proposed to publish a pamphlet about paedophiles which stated that they “represent no special threat to society”. It was abandoned after Angela Willans, a trustee who was the Woman’s Own agony aunt, saw a draft and branded it monstrous.
The Albany Trust said: “Albany Trust wishes to make it clear it entirely dissociates itself from any organisation promoting the sexual abuse of children. Albany’s counselling services continue to provide much-needed support for individuals from all backgrounds, across the spectrum of sexuality.”
It said that the trust adhered to a professional code of ethics.
Antony Grey and the Sexual Law Reform Society 1Posted: August 26, 2014 Filed under: Abuse, PIE | Tags: albany trust, antony grey, AT Work, bernard braine, mary whitehouse, mind, paedophile action for liberation, paedophile information exchange, rodney bennett-england, sexual law reform society, tom o'carroll 8 Comments
This is a first post giving more information about Antony Grey (1927-2010) and his relationship to the paedophile movement. Time does not permit a detailed exegesis of Grey’s life and work (this will have to wait for a later date), I am simply posting here a relevant section from his book Quest for Justice, and some articles about the Sexual Law Reform Society (SLRS) with which he was involved. In another source which I have, Grey makes clear his and some other members of the SLRS’s dislike for the whole concept of an age of consent; I will print this in a later post, whilst such a view is quite clear in the last articles published here. The SLRS was linked to the Albany Trust, who funded the Paedophile Information Exchange ; articles about this can be found here and here. Obituaries of Grey can be read here and here. The Antony Grey papers are indexed here and can be accessed at the LSE library; links here and here give pointers to where more information relating to PIE might be found. The speaker at the MIND conference referenced would have been Keith Hose, then chairman of the Paedophile Information Exchange (my thanks to Matt Lilleker for pointing out the omission of this information in an earlier draft).
My immense thanks to Daniel de Simone for locating the articles on the Sexual Law Reform Society.
Antony Grey, Quest for Justice: Towards Homosexual Emancipation (London: Sinclair-Stevenson, 1992)
In September 1975 I attended, together with the Albany Trust’s incoming Chairman, Harold Haywood, a seminar on sexual minorities and their problems which had been organised by MIND. One of the speakers was a young man in his early twenties who described in a very courageous and moving way his experiences, thoughts and feelings as a paedophile . Afterwards, Mr Haywood said to me that, of all sexual minorities paedophiles were the most misunderstood, execrated and doom-laden; and that the Albany Trust had a moral duty to see whether anything could be done to help those who carried this heavy burden to live more at peace with themselves within the law.
I agreed with him; and, although I was already worried at the increasing diversification of the Trust’s interests, and the growing workload bearing upon the few of us working full time for it, I arranged for a few private discussions to be held at the Trust’s office between psychiatrists, psychologists and social workers whom I knew to be concerned with paedophiles in their professional work, to explore with them the nature and availability of support needed. I also invited some paedophiles to join in these talks, including the young man who had spoken at the MIND conference and other members of the newly-formed (and ill-fated) Paedophile Information Exchange (PIE) and another group, PAL (Paedophile Action for Liberation). 
These meetings were in accord with the philosophy and policy of the Trust as an educating and helping agency. One of the possibilities discussed was the provision by the professionals of a support group for lonely, isolated and frightened paedophiles; another was the joint production by the group (including its professional members) of a ‘Questions and Answers’ booklet on paedophilia, to be published by the Albany Trust. A drafting committee  produced a text, but the Trustees could not agree on it, so the project was dropped. The Trustees decided that, apart from public educational work, any Albany Trust supportive help for paedophiles, including counselling, should be linked to the NACRO sex offenders’ project. I never thought, and did not intend, that paedophilia should become a major focus of the Trust’s work; but it seemed to me – and still does – a legitimate area of potential counselling support and social concern to explore.
I did not foresee what a minefield we were walking into. Years previously, Tony Dyson had said to me that paedophilia was an issue which would not be sensibly confronted by society in the foreseeable future: how right he was.
PIE and PAL were radical in style, fashioned in the mould of the Gay Liberation Front. As one of PIE’s leading lights, Tom O’Carroll (who was subsequently imprisoned for ‘conspiracy to corrupt public morals’) later said, the Albany Trust’s respectable, sober-suited persuasive lobbying tactics of ‘doing good by stealth’ did not appeal to PIE:
There was no way in which we in PIE were going to go through all that palaver. . . . We were just not prepared to wait for decades of centuries before declaring ourselves. It just wasn’t in our nature. Instead, we naïvely supposed we could be both open and play the lobbying, PR game to some extent; we thought we could manipulate the Establishment and find allies within it, simultaneously with being the ogres of the popular press and the Church-based reactionaries like the Festival of Light. 
PIE’s mistake, O’Carroll admitted, was to believe that having identified their visible enemies they would still find elsewhere ‘if not friends, then at least rational, liberally-minded people’. They did not expect The Guardian to react to the notion of paedophilia in the same way as The News of the World.
The Albany Trust’s mistake was to be willing to behave as rational, liberally-minded people towards PIE and PAL, and so to expose ourselves to violent attacks from the ‘moral majority’ upon the Trust’s hard-won credibility.
In the first (autumn 1976) issue of its broadsheet, AT Work the Trust mentioned the meetings we had convened ‘to discuss possible ways of providing supportive help for paedophiles who feel themselves to be in need of it’. In the context of the Trust’s counselling activities, fully detailed elsewhere in AT Work, the meaning of this phrase was perfectly clear. In the same issue I reviewed a new book on paedophilia, The Forbidden Love.  Although the authors (one of them, a Jungian psychiatrist, was a friend of mine) took no exception to what I wrote, it greatly incensed the Responsible Society, who described it as ‘aggressive’ – presumably because I had said that the Victorian assumption that childhood and sexuality were mutually exclusive could no longer be sustained without question: commonplace enough notion in the 1970s, I should have thought.
In the summer of 1976 I had spoken (in my capacity as Honorary Secretary of the Sexual Law Reform Society) about the age of consent at a National Council of Social Service Women’s Forum; and in October I addressed a meeting arranged by the National Council of Voluntary Youth Organisations on the same topic Present at the latter meeting was Mrs Riches of the Responsible Society, who voiced her strong disapproval of the SLRS’ proposals.  Over lunch I vainly tried to convince her that we were as anxious as she was to protect and guide young people during their formative years of growing up, but without making them or their consenting partners into criminals.
A few weeks later, on 24 November 1976, a violent storm burst around the Albany Trust. Mrs Mary Whitehouse, honorary General Secretary of The National Viewers’ and Listeners’ Association, got shockwaves of national publicity for her claim (in a speech to a ‘Christian Lunch and Dinner Clubs’ meeting at Central Hall, Westminster) that the Albany Trust – which she described as ‘the homosexual lobby front runner’ – was using its public funds to
‘support paedophile groups’ so that ‘we are all subsidising and supporting, at least indirectly, a cause which seeks to normalise sexual attraction and activity between adult males and little girls’.
And she began her reference to the Albany Trust’s public funding by pointedly remarking, ‘One constantly has to ask oneself – does the right hand of the Government know what the left hand is doing? And I MEAN the left hand!’
Her allegations were groundless. All that the Trust had actually done was to invite half a dozen paedophiles to contribute their points of view at some private meetings held under our auspices with medical and social work professionals. The ‘public funding’ which they had received from the Albany Trust amounted to a few cups of tea. However, PIE had bought from the SLRS a single copy of the Speijer Report, which they proceeded – without our knowledge or permission – to photocopy and sell for £1.
My immediate reaction to Mrs Whitehouse’s speech was that it must have been made on the basis of misinformation; and I believed that she should naturally wish to make a public correction when she realised that what she had said was false. The Trustees were legally advised that her words were defamatory, but did not wish to resort to a court action. A carefully drafted letter [See Appendix 3] was therefore sent to Mrs Whitehouse, listing the numerous errors of fact in her speech and requesting her to make a public withdrawal of what she had said. Despite several requests for an answer, the Trust never received one. And though we did not publish the contents of our letter until the summer of 1977, extracts from it had by then been printed in Mrs Whitehouse’s book, Whatever Happened to Sex.
In the House of Commons a number of parliamentary questions concerning the Albany Trust were tabled. Sir Bernard Braine MP alleged that the Trust was using public funds to ‘support’ PIE. His ‘reasons’ were that PIE had sold photocopies of the Albany Trust-annotated translation of the Speijer Report for £1 each; and that under my Directorship the Trust had ‘openly campaigned’ for reduction of the age of consent.
I wrote to Sir Bernard Braine telling him that what he had said under the cover of Parliamentary privilege was totally without foundation, and asking him to withdraw it. He sent me a forceful letter repeating his assertions and full of underlined questions such as ‘May I ask if you are the Mr Grey who spoke at these meetings?’ I replied pointing out the errors in his attach, and stated:
I do not approve of paedophile practices. I do not favour the social acceptance of paedophilia. I do not belong to or support PIE. I disagree with PIE’s aims, pronouncements and activities. I would not advocate or support any changes in the law other than those proposed in the enclosed Sexual Law Reform Society’s report. [I added] Just as I suppose you have done, I have participated in many hundreds of meetings during my working life where numerous bodies with whom I quite violently disagreed were represented – but nobody has ever before accused me of holding views which I in fact reprobate because I have sat round a table and engaged in dialogue.
I heard nothing more from Sir Bernard Braine.
In its autumn 1977 Broadsheet the Festival of Light castigated PIE, and referred to the Albany Trust as ‘a sympathetic and related body’ – a description which they later withdrew following a strong protest from the Trust’s new Chairman, Rodney Bennett-England (practically all of whose time was by now occupied in dealing with anxious enquires from ministers and Government funding bodies about the Trust’s allegedly nefarious activities).
Others, however, were unwilling to retract their twisted versions of the Trust’s views and conduct, so Bennett-England eventually wrote a letter to The Times in January 1978 complaining that for some time the Albany Trust had been the victim of ‘a particularly vicious campaign’ and was ‘completely powerless’ to defend itself against a barrage of MPs’ questions. He was promptly answered by the Responsible Society’s chairman, who reiterated that the Trust had given PIE ‘encouragement and assistance’, and that it was ‘clearly linked’ with the English translation of the Speijer Report (‘a document which seeks to justify adult sexual gratification with minors’). Bennett-England sent a reply which did not get published, pointing out that the Speijer Report’s proposal was to reduce the Dutch age of consent for homosexual behaviour to sixteen; not to legalise paedophile relationships.  Further private correspondence between the two chairmen failed to shake the Responsible Society’s conviction that the Albany Trust condoned child-molesting.
Mrs Whitehouse took up the cudgels again the correspondence columns of The Guardian, declaring that ‘for Rodney Bennett-England to deny an association between the Albany Trust and PIE is to move the debate into such a realm of unreality as to make rational argument impossible’, to which he retorted ‘it is she who makes rational argument impossible by refusing to accept the truth if it doesn’t suit her purpose.’
Echoes of the conflict continued to reverberate around the country for several months, surfacing in a variety of parish magazines and local newspapers and causing the Albany Trust an enormous amount of extra work and worry. One such article, called Gay is Sad – and Bad which appeared in a West Country parish magazine early in 1978, claimed that:
‘the Government has made available large sums of public money to organisations which exist to promote homosexuality and are sympathetic to paedophilia (sexual interference with children)’, and accused the Albany Trust of being ‘aggressively sympathetic to paedophilia,’ of ‘spreading the message that homosexual activity is normal and natural and the equivalent of sexual intercourse’, and of labelling adolescents as ‘teenage gay people’, ‘long before they have the opportunity to develop fully, thereby possibly inhibiting the maturing process to heterosexuality.’
This sensational piece was prominently featured in the local press. Fortunately the Bishop of Malmesbury, who (as he wrote to Bennett-England) had always had a considerable regard for the Albany Trust’s work, and was puzzled and concerned at the sudden spate of adverse publicity which it was attracting, sent a copy of the newspaper to the Trust. Bennett-England had a letter published setting the record straight, and received a handsome apology from the clergyman who wrote the parish item. In a letter also published in the local press, he said:
These allegations [against the Albany Trust] were not manufactured here at my desk. I took them word for word, from a source which one would naturally have supposed to be entirely reliable and trustworthy. Nevertheless, I now contrast the fact that Rodney Bennett-England has set out the Albany Trust’s position clearly and openly with the insistence of my own source that on no account must it be revealed. I must, therefore, prefer the former; and I do so readily and completely.
One can see his point. After all, God made no bones about telling Moses who had inscribed the Tablets of Stone on the mountain.
Looking back upon this sorry episode more than a decade later I am still distastefully perturbed by the way in which such fierce attacks were launched upon the Albany Trust upon such flimsy grounds, and were persisted in even when the Trust repeatedly exposed the falseness of the allegations against it. The chorus of misrepresentations inside and outside Parliament undoubtedly influenced the newly elected Thatcher government to cut off the Albany Trust’s public funding at the end of 1979. Repeated requests for face-to-face meetings at which our real views and actions could be explained to our accusers in a friendly manner were stonily ignored. An appeal by me to Lord Longford to see fair play met only with the plaintive reply that he liked both me and Mary Whitehouse very much, and that she was ‘a Good Christian Woman’.
The protection of children concerns everyone of good will in our society. Children most certainly do need protecting – not only from physical abuse and emotional cruelty, but also from simplistic beliefs which ignore the complexities of living and loving and which see human sexuality through a glass, darkly. The young are not benefited by assiduous efforts to discredit those of us who work for a society with a compassionately balanced and mature approach to sex, a facet of life so crucial to human happiness.
4. Paedophilia is a much misused word. Its accurate meaning is emotional and physical attraction towards, and feelings of lover for, pre-pubertal children. Emotional paedophilia does not always result in sexual activity between a paedophile and a child-object of his or her affections. However, popular usage of ‘paedophile’ as meaning a sexual molester or abuser of children has made realistic discussion of paedophilia extremely difficult.
5. Pilloried by the Sunday People as ‘the Vilest Men in Britain’.
6. Of which I was not a member.
7. Tom O’Carroll, Paedophilia: The Radical Case (Peter Owen Publisher, London, 1980, pp. 219-20.
8. W. Kraemer, R. Gordon, M. Williams, K. Lambert, The Forbidden Love. The Normal and Abnormal Love of Children (Sheldon Press, 1976).
9. See chapter XX, below.
10. See Appendix 3.
11. Wayland, 1977.
12. The Responsible Society’s dim view of the Speijer Report was not shared by the Criminal Law Revision Committee and its Policy Advisory Committee, who referred to the Report several times, in appreciative terms, in their review of the law on sexual offences (see chapter XX). Presumably they too used the SLRS translation.
The Times, January 22nd, 1970
Clifford Longley, ‘Reforming the law on sexual misconduct’
The Times, July 6th, 1972
Basil Gingell, ‘Dr Robinson puts case for age of consent to be 14’
The Guardian, July 6th, 1972
‘Sex and the law’
The Guardian, September 5th, 1974
Michael De-La-Noy, ‘Rights and Wrongs’
The Guardian, September 6th, 1974
Timothy Beaumont, ‘Sex and a single mind’
The Times, September 6th, 1974
‘Report calls for age of consent to be 14 and repeal of laws on pornography’
The Times, January 22nd, 1976
Ronald Butt, ‘Who really wants a change in the age of consent?’
The Times, January 26th, 1976
Tim Beaumont, ‘Age of Consent’
The Independent, January 24th, 1994
Antony Grey, ‘Old enough to choose; The age of consent does not help young people who need protection, not punishment’
I WELCOME the prospect that Parliament will soon equalise the age of consent for heterosexual and homosexual behaviour. The law bears especially harshly upon young men who engage in homosexual lovemaking, since those under 21 are still frequently prosecuted for such activities, even though under-age girls commit no offence by consenting to sex with a man. Successful prosecutions for consenting homosexual behaviour that breached the 21 age limit averaged 280 over the six years to 1991, and resulting prison sentences averaged 28 a year, so there is significant hardship – and, I would maintain, injustice.
Equalising the ages of consent must be the most immediate consideration. Ultimately, though, it would be desirable to rethink the whole legal concept of an age of consent to sexual activity and consider a completely new framework. This would give effective protection to those below the age of majority (18), without punishing them for behaviour to which – however unwisely – they have consented.
In 1974 the Sexual Law Reform Society’s Working Party, of which I was secretary, submitted a memorandum to the Criminal Law Revision Committee in which we endorsed the view of our then chairman, the late Bishop John Robinson, that the law’s proper function in relation to personal behaviour is ”not to prohibit but to protect, not to enforce morals but to safeguard persons, their privacies and freedoms”. We argued that it would be in the public interest to abolish ”sexual offences” as a separate category – because all sexual behaviour that merited punishment could be classified as an assault, a breach of protective provisions for children or others in a state of dependence, or an offensive nuisance to third parties.
The working party – which included church people, doctors, lawyers and politicians – concluded after extensive discussion that the traditional framework of an ”age of consent” was a hindrance, not a help, to the effective protection of young people. We reasoned that it is a legal fiction: either someone is a willing partner to a sexual act, whatever their age, or they are not. If they have consented to what they were doing and understood the consequences of their consent, this could be proved in court if necessary; and for the law to treat them as being incapable of giving such consent introduces an element of unreality into the proceedings which is confusing, harmful and in no one’s best interests.
We recognised, however, that as well as punishing those who interfere with or abuse young people sexually, the law may need to protect young people whose sexual behaviour is potentially damaging to themselves or to others. We recommended an ”age of protection” up to the legal age of majority (18), with appropriate civil and social, not criminal, sanctions. If the age of consent was not abolished, we urged that it should be fixed at 14 for both heterosexual and homosexual behaviour.
The CLRC responded by saying that it, too, saw the proper function of the law in sexual matters as protective rather than punitive, but opted to keep an age of consent on the grounds that it was necessary for legal certainty. It was also preoccupied by the ”psychological harm” it believes ”premature” sexual intercourse, heterosexual and homosexual, inflicts on youngsters.
I do not believe these arguments were convincing or conclusive; and I still think we must replace the whole concept of an age of consent with something more realistic, humane and useful for the 21st century.
Certainly there must first be a period of discussion to encourage public recognition of some obvious facts. First, ”ages of consent” do not provide effective protection to those who are sexually active below them; they frequently bring great misery and disruption into the lives of such young people. Second, older men and women who sexually pressurise, interfere with or abuse youngsters can be adequately deterred and punished through other, mostly existing, legal provisions.
Britain in the Nineties is still a very sex-negative society. The ceaseless media chatter (much of it prurient and intrusive) about peoples’ sex lives may seem to contradict this. But many who work in the health education and counselling fields agree that there is an enormous amount of sexual unease and unwarranted guilt around sexuality, much of it resulting from social pressures that demand conformity to outdated ”norms”.
No society can do away with all standards and controls, and a total sexual free-for-all would probably produce even more unhappiness (a prime argument of those who oppose any relaxation of laws concerning sex). But good personal and ethical standards and considerate behaviour towards others are not as closely bound up with legal controls as traditional moralists would argue. As the Wolfenden Committee said in its 1957 report, such views exaggerate the effect of the law on human behaviour; the law itself, it said, probably makes little difference to the amount of (homo) sexual behaviour that actually occurs.
Personal standards of morality and behaviour are the outcome of a socialising process that begins at birth; they are the product of a lifetime’s education in wise choice-making, rather than of legal finger-wagging. In a newspaper interview before she became prime minister, Margaret Thatcher wisely observed: ”Free choice is ultimately what life is about, what ethics is about . . . Do away with choice and you do away with human dignity.”
That, in a nutshell, is the case for replacing the ”age of consent” with protective provisions that pay more respect to the personal choices (including those which others think are mistaken) of adolescents in their growing-up years. By regarding and treating adolescents too much as if they were overgrown children, rather than as young adults, society makes a rod for its back which manifests itself in juvenile delinquency and teenage tearaways.
If we don’t take teenagers seriously, why should they take us seriously? In a recent survey of 146 sixth-formers carried out by JL Randall, Childhood and Sexuality, the young people gave a massive thumbs-down to the notion of confiding their sexual problems to ”helping” adults: only 1.4 per cent of the sample said they would approach a social worker, 2 per cent a teacher, 3.4 per cent a doctor and O.7 per cent a clergyman, although almost half felt able to talk to their parents.
There are lessons here for adults. An important one is that it is high time for us to start treating teenagers’ sexual needs and experiences less dismissively and more sympathetically, and to replace the outdated and punitive legal fiction of an ”age of consent” with a benign and carefully thought-out framework of effective protection.
We British pride ourselves on our devotion to individual freedom, yet in practice we still operate our social system on a basis of ”benevolent paternalism”. This is especially true where personal choices around sex, free expression, entertainment choices, drug use and other aspects of personal life are concerned. Is it not time to enter the 21st century as a personal, as well as a political and social, democracy, and ”trust the people”?
– The author was secretary of the Homosexual Law Reform Society in the Sixties, and of the Sexual Law Reform Society in the Seventies. His latest book, ‘Speaking of Sex’, is published by Cassell at pounds 10.99.
The Guardian, January 24th, 1998
Antony Grey, Letter: ‘… and sex in parts of Bolton. Reform is urgently called for’
IT IS 25 years since the late Bishop John Robinson stated, as chairman of the Sexual Law Reform Society, that the law’s function in this sphere “should not be to prohibit but to protect, not to enforce morals but to safeguard persons, their privacies and freedoms”.
The following year, the Society’s Working Party recommended a wide range of reforms to limit the law’s interference in sexual behaviour to situations where the parties have not consented, are not fully responsible, or have breached others’ privacy in an offensive manner.
Most of the specific reforms which we proposed a quarter-century ago have still not been implemented.
(Secretary, Sexual Law Reform Society, 1962-77), London NW2.
PIE – Documentary Evidence 8 – Mary Manning in Community Care and Auberon Waugh in The Spectator, 1977Posted: July 16, 2014 Filed under: Abuse, PIE | Tags: auberon waugh, brynmor john, christine jolliffe, daily mirror, edward brongersma, Geoffrey Dickens, guardian, love and attraction, lucy robinson, mary manning, mary whitehouse, maurice yaffe, michael ingram, observer, open university, sir john eden, tom o'carroll 5 Comments
1977 is an important year in the history of the Paedophile Information Exchange (PIE) and their profile. There was a campaign against the organisation by a woman called Christine Jolliffe in Bournemouth, who delivered a 3000 name petition to Downing Street calling for toughening of sentences upon sexual offenders against children, whilst a group of MPs led by Sir John Eden (MP for Bournemouth East and thus presumably Jolliffe’s MP) and awaited a report on PIE from the Minister of State at the Home Office (this would probably have been Brynmor John (1934-88), who served in the role from 1976-1979), well before Geoffrey Dickens’ later campaign against the organisation, whilst Mary Whitehouse was stepping up her campaign against the organisation (see Tom Crabtree, ‘Adults only’, The Guardian, May 19th, 1977). There were also harsh earlier reports on the movement in the Daily Mirror (see ‘Adults only’, Daily Mirror, August 24th, 1977; and Lucy Robinson, Gay Men and the Left in post-war Britain: How the personal got political (Manchester and New York: Manchester University Press, 2007), pp. 134-135), which were soon afterwards condemned by the Campaign for Homosexual Equality (CHE) (see ‘Paedophile talks backed by homosexuals’, The Times, August 30th, 1977).
First there was the Love and Attraction Conference from September 5th to 9th in Swansea, which became something of a media event when several members were ejected, forbidden to speak, or simply withdrew (see ‘Conference ban puts paedophile group further into cold’, The Guardian, August 27th, 1977; ‘Dutch MP backs child sex’, The Guardian, August 28th, 1977; Iain Murray, ‘Britain ‘intolerant’ on child sex’, The Observer, September 4th, 1977; ‘Priest’s child sex views repudiated’, The Guardian, September 9th, 1977)
Then there were the violent confrontations with members of the National Front and others at a PIE meeting on September 19th at Conway Hall, Holborn, London to deal with issues of the age of consent, after an earlier planned meeting at Shaftesbury Hotel, London, had had to be scrapped. (see ‘Hotel ban on paedophiles’, The Times, August 25th, 1977; ‘Paedophile conference plans ‘age of consent’ meeting’, The Guardian, September 1st, 1977; ‘Fury of the Mothers: Child-sex men are beaten up’, Daily Mirror, September 20th, 1977; ‘Three men fined after paedophile meeting’, The Times, September 21st, 1977).
Tom O’Carroll was suspended from his position as a press officer at the Open University soon afterwards (‘Open University Man suspended’, The Times, September 23rd, 1977), a decision attacked by CHE and the National Union of Journalists (see ‘Gays join PIE fight’, The Guardian, September 24th, 1977).
It was in this context that a series of other articles appeared relating to the movement, including Maurice Yaffé’s ‘Paedophilia: The Forbidden Subject’, New Statesman, September 16th, 1977, p. 362 (which I will post on here when I have a copy), Auberon Waugh’s rather facetitious ‘Suffer the little children’, The Spectator, September 30th, 1977, p. 6 (reproduced below), and a letter followed by an article, both relatively sympathetic, by Mary Manning (presumably the same who authored such books as Your Children’s Health (London: Elm Tree Books, 1973), The Drugs Menace (London : Columbus, 1985), and Help Yourself to Mental Health (London : Columbus, c. 1988)), in social work trade journal Community Care. I am printing these here to add to knowledge of PIE and how they were viewed in various journals and professions.
I would like to extend my profound thanks to Charlotte Russell for finding, copying and scanning the Manning articles.
Mary Manning, ‘PIE is not getting ‘fair hearing”, Community Care, September 26th, 1977
Mary Manning, ‘Should We Pity the Paedophiles?’, Community Care, October 19th, 1977
Auberon Waugh, ‘Suffer the little children’, The Spectator, September 30th, 1977, p. 6.
The most remarkable — some may find it encouraging — aspect of recent queerbashing outbreaks in Swansea University College and Red Lion Square, London, has been the tacit approval of the press, radio and television. The reason for this, of course, was the magical image of children who, like old age pensioners, have a special place in the feigned affections of our great national consensus.
In fact, of course, the English are famous throughout the entire civilised world for their hatred of children. My own guess is that we hate children even more than we hate the old. Until I have had time to start a Gerontophile Information Exchange I will be unable to test this hunch, but I am prepared to bet that public reaction will be much less extreme.
If I am right, the violence of the public reaction against Mr O’Carroll’s paedophiles should be seen as a cover-up — not, heaven knows, for any sexual attraction towards children on the part of the general public — but as a sign of the guilt they feel for disliking children so much. I have often observed how the English, who shut their parents away in retirement bungalows and old people’s homes as soon as the opportunity presents itself, yet feel constrained to make little mooing noises of appreciation whenever an old age pensioner is wheeled onstage during a children’s pantomime or other public entertainment. So it is with children. In order to understand the present phenomenon I am afraid we will need to analyse it by social class.
Members of the upper and upper middle classes (we, gentle readers, the Beautiful People) have always got rid of our children by sending them to boarding schools. We have usually known that a small but significant proportion of the teaching staff of these establishments is paedophile. Such stirrings of guilt as we might have felt at this inhuman treatment were subdued by the reflection that the education was better and we were making enormous financial sacrifices to send our children off in this way.
Those parents who were prepared to face up to the matter — I am amazed by the number of my contemporaries who assure me that homosexuality has now disappeared from the nation’s preparatory and public schools — accept that there must be some consolation in the miserable life of those who choose to look after children.
Which may explain the fairly tolerant attitude towards these unfortunate people which has grown up in our bourgeois society. It does not extend to child rapists or violators or pre-pubertal girls, but if the boys end up buggered that is accepted as a small price to pay for the opportunity to develop their whole characters etc which ‘ separation from parents must bring.
The lower middle classes have never been able to send their children away, of course. Their method of showing dislike for their children is to refuse to talk to them, to dress them in hideous clothes called anoraks and romper suits, to turn them out of the house or dump them in front of the television set as soon as they come in; and, if they give the slightest trouble, to stuff their mouths with sweets until their teeth blacken and fall out to lie like rabbits’ droppings all over the fitted carpet in the television lounge. If ever parents of the lower class feel the slightest guilt about this inhuman treatment of their children, they overcome it by giving them huge sums of pocket money to buy even more sweets until their bodies and legs disappear and they have to be taken to school in special aluminium wheelbarrows designed by Lord Snowdon and supplied by the Welfare.
But however much one may sneer, snarl or hoot at these people one must also admit that they can’t send their children away and actually have to live with them. So one can see they might feel indignant at any suggestion that their children should also be buggered. It is like making boys at the local comprehensive school wear stiff white collars and bum-freezers, only rather worse.
However, having said all that and having put oneself in their shoes as much as possible, one. must also make it clear that that is the extent of our sympathy for them. Officers’ wives get pudding and pies, soldiers’ wives get skilly. To spend one’s time agonising about those less fortunate than oneself is a recipe for general misery, as well as being vaguely insulting to the deprived.
I have sometimes been accused — the accusation was made in these pages recently — of being insufficiently responsive to the special needs of our homosexual community, Perhaps I have sometimes found it in my heart to deny them that extra compassion, tolerance, understanding which the Church now demands and which alone enables them to thrive like so many queen bees on Royal Jelly. But there is surely all the difference in the world between railing against effeminate affectations in the world of letters, against a homosexual and leftwing stranglehold on public patronage of the arts and even against various flaunting and extravagant queens in public life — perhaps I made their children cry on the way back from school! — there is all the difference in the world, as I say, between that and actually trying trying to stop the buggers from doing it. Not content with that, the new proletarian response is to try and stop them from talking about it among themselves, and even to stop other people from discussing the problem. Last month, Mr Stewart W. Hastings, Swansea area officer for the National Union of Public Employees, wrote two letters which I here release in the public interest. The first is addressed to all members of the Swansea University College branch of NUPE: ‘Dear Member, ‘I am taking the unusual course of action of asking you to withdraw all services to a delegate at the forthcoming Love and Attraction Conference. . .
‘The delegate concerned is Mr Tom O’Carroll of the Paediophile Information Exchange. This rather interesting and somewhat confusing title covers the real intent of this society, simply what they want to legalise is sex between adults and children. Alan Williams, MP for Swansea West, describes Mr Tom O’Carroll as “a most unwellcome [sic]visiter [sic ]” .
‘As a Union we would hope that any members coming into contact with this delegate will not offer him any service. This means no portering, no cleaning, no feeding, in fact, no help in any way. We shall be writing to the Conference Organisers and asking them to withdraw the credentials before the confrontation takes place. I hope this action receives your general agreement?
The second letter was addressed to the conference organisers: ‘I am writing on behalf of the members of the NUPE employed in Swansea University. These members have already stated quite clearly that they will withdraw all services from the delegate representing the Paediophile [sic] Information Exchange at the forthcoming Conference.
‘They have also expressed some surprise that credentials were even granted to delegates on what seems to be with such ease of application [sic, sic, sic]. We cannot see what the Paediophile [sic] Information Exchange has to offer, and we hope, therefore, that these credentials are withdrawn well before the limited action planned by our members starts to take effect.’
The intention is unmistakably not so much to register disgust at what Mr O’Carroll had to say as to prevent him from saying it. As we now know, the university authorities were more concerned about their tea and biscuits than about the Conference’s subject matter and gave in. I wonder which academic subjects will next attract NUPE’s attention. One day, perhaps, the country will understand how the proletarian mind is quite simply unable to assimilate the idea of free speech as a concept.
I have four children, all very dear to me, and I would like to think I have their best interests at heart. I see a much greater threat to their future in this example of NUPE activism, NUPE English and NUPE power than I do in anything Mr O’Carroll might try to do to them.
Mary Whitehouse’s Favourite TV Programme – Jim’ll Fix ItPosted: July 7, 2014 Filed under: Abuse, BBC, PIE | Tags: charles oxley, Geoffrey Dickens, jimmy savile, mary whitehouse, national viewers and listeners association, paedophile information exchange 1 Comment
The conservative campaigner Mary Whitehouse (1910-2001) was well-known as a scourge of the permissive society, homophobe, anti-abortionist, high Christian moralist and would-be censor. In her capacity as founder and president of the National Viewers’ and Listeners’ Association (NVALA), she regularly attacked the BBC in particular, and considered practically all sexualised imagery to be corrosive and evil, as well as campaigning against blasphemy. Less well-known is her own support for the work of Geoffrey Dickens MP in his anti-paedophile campaigns, and also for her friend, fellow Christian moralist Charles Oxley, a headmaster who infiltrated the Paedophile Information Exchange in order to gain information to assist prosecutions and membership lists. I will blog further about Oxley’s works at a later time.
However, in the course of looking through several of Whitehouse’s books to find out how much she knew on this, I found one passage which is grimly ironic in light of what is now known. This, from Mary Whitehouse, Quite Contrary: An Autobiography (London: Sidgwick and Jackson, 1993), pp. 88-89. She discusses the various programmes or broadcasters who won NVALA’s annual award. Of all things to single out, she chooses Jim’ll Fix It, which won the award in 1977. Whitehouse speaks fondly about the ‘moving’ stories told by the production team, ‘like the one about the girl Jimmy said he was going to marry and they got engaged with a huge cuddly toy just a few days before she died’ (extraordinarily sinister in light not just of knowledge of Savile’s abuse of children, but also his fascination with dead bodies). She also says ‘I don’t know anything about Jimmy’s lifestyle and, in any case, it’s no business of mine’.
Clearly Whitehouse’s anti-paedophile campaigns had no effect upon her judgement here.
PIE – Documentary Evidence 7 – Steven Adrian Smith’s History of the MovementPosted: March 31, 2014 Filed under: Abuse, NCCL, PIE, Westminster | Tags: Alex Marunchak, alfred j. ayer, anita bryant, baroness wootton, Barry Gardner, campaign for homosexual equality, capital gay, central tv, charles oxley, charles sandell, childhood rights, daily star, david charlton, david joy, david thorstad, Deutsche Studie und Arbeitsgemeinschaft Pädo, edward brongersma, eric presland, Evidence to the Home Office Criminal Law Revision Committee, frits bernard, gay community news, gay life, gay pride, gay youth movement, Geoffrey Dickens, geoffrey prime, george edwards, gerald hannon, gred, Groupe de recherché pour une Enfance Différente, Home Office, International Gay Association, john gill, keith hose, lee edwards, leo adamson, lewis gray, lord bingham, magpie, mancunian gay, margaret thatcher, martin stevens, mary whitehouse, men loving boys loving men, michael brown, michael burbidge, Mike Williams, nafp, nambla, nccl, netherlands, news of the world, paedo-alert news, paedophile information exchange, pastor j. doucé, Paul Henderson, peter bremner, peter hayman, petit gredin, Richard Travell, rupert murdoch, sri lanka, steven adrian smith, steven freeman, sunday observer, sunday people, the body politic, theo sandfort, time out, tom o'carroll, tony zalewski, understanding paedophilia, valida davila 15 Comments
Various people looking into the Paedophile Information Exchange have mentioned the volume Warren Middleton (ed), The Betrayal of Youth: Radical Perspectives on Childhood Sexuality, Intergenerational Sex, and the Social Oppression of Children and Young People (London: CL Publications, 1986). This book contained a wide range of articles mostly from a pro-paedophilia point of view either by PIE members or sympathisers; the fact that Peter Tatchell contributed a chapter has been the subject of various controversy (to which I will return in a later post). The following constitute the contents of the volume (see here for a selection of pages including more details on contributors):
Part One: Five Controversial Areas
Clive Coliman, ‘Incest’
Richard Green, ‘Child Pornography and Erotica’
Warren Middleton, ‘Child Prostitution’
Liz Holton and Kathy Challis, ‘Gender Differences’
Eric Presland, ‘Power and Consent’
Part Two: Miscellaneous Chapters
Tuppy Owens and Tom O’Carroll, ‘Love and Let Love’
Michael Ingram, ‘Children and Sex: A Child Counsellor’s View’
Beatrice Faust, ‘The Pedophiles’
Peter Tatchell, ‘Questioning Ages of Majority and Ages of Consent’
Roger Moody, ‘Ends and Means: How to Make Pedophilia Acceptable…?’
John Lindsay, ‘Socialism, Class, and Children’s Rights’
Part Three: Protection or Oppression?
Warren Middleton, ‘Childhood Sexuality and Pedophilia: Some Questions Answered’
Part Four: How Youth See the Issues
Jeff Vernon, ‘The Oppression of the Young: An Inside Perspective’
Appendix 1: Steven A. Smith, ‘PIE, from 1980 Until its Demise in 1985’
Appendix 2: Timothy d’Arch Smith, ‘The Uranians’
The first of these two appendices is informative as an insider’s history of PIE. As with all writings by PIE members themselves, this should be read sceptically, aware of how much might have been omitted or distorted in the interests of the author or other members. My earlier post on PIE and the Home Office clarifies how Smith (also known as Steven Freeman) essentially ran the organisation from the Home Office itself. He fled the country for the Netherlands soon after writing this article, as detailed below, and was eventually jailed in 1991, and then more recently was given an indeterminate sentence in 2011 after being convicted of producing drawings of children being raped (‘Ex-paedophile group leader Freeman jailed over child rape drawings’, BBC News, July 15th, 2011). Nonetheless, there is clearly lots of important information to dissect in this chapter which I reproduce complete, without comment, below.
Steven A. Smith, ‘PIE: From 1980 until its Demise in 1985’, pp. 215-245
The name of PIE has cropped up several times in this collection. Since the group had, in its time, been so thoroughly misunderstood and misrepresented, it was deemed only fair to allow Steve Smith, its last chairperson, an opportunity to redress the balance. Accordingly, he now takes up the story from where Tom O’Carroll left off. –ed.
Questions of Priority
It seemed to me, when I succeeded O’Carroll as chairperson in 1979, that the most sensible order of business for PIE was firstly to regulate its internal affairs (MAGPIE  was appearing very erratically – partly my own fault – and members were receiving nothing else of value from the group); secondly to begin an energetic recruitment drive to replenish our depleted executive committee; thirdly to formulate collectively a coherent body of policies on key issues; and fourthly to tackle our campaigning objectives as a group, rather than as one or two individuals speaking on behalf of the group. More than simply addressing an occasional CHE branch, student gaysoc or academic conference, what I wanted to see was PIE producing a manifesto on video for the widest possible circulation (as GYM had done), or trying for ‘community access’ slots on TV and local radio, or producing posters and broadsheets aimed at the public rather than potential members, or even working in concert with the NUSS (the now-defunct National Union of School Students) to redress the steady flow of anti-paedophile propaganda which the police were imparting to schools all over the UK.
PIE had always felt a sense of kinship (not often reciprocated) with the gay movement, and a firm commitment towards autonomous youth liberation (children’s rights), but I wanted to see develop a far closer interaction – on practical as well as philosophical levels – between PIE and the various paedophile groups in Europe and the States. I felt we should lend considerable effort to the formation of an international alliance along similar lines to the International Gay Association (this was before we discovered how bureaucratic the IGA was in practice). Lastly, with the abandonment of PIE’s Contact Page under the menace of further prosecutions, the EC felt very keenly that members still needed something from PIE in the way of social support; something beyond the ad hoc counselling which many committee members undertook on a one-to-one basis. If British law prevented paedophiles from writing directly to one another through a simple small ad service, then some alternative had to be found which would abrogate the profound isolation which had driven them to the desperate resort of joining PIE in the first place. We began to look afresh at the establishment of local groups, which PIE had attempted in earlier years without much success.
In the event, PIE failed to draw onto its committee the kind of radicalised, hard-working people that were needed, and not one of the above objectives was realised. Year by year, PIE had sunk deeper into a state of collective torpor, grimly determined to survive, if only in catatonic immobility. So, we failed to attract into PIE useful paedophiles who were commited [sic] both to political action and to the development of a mutual support framework – this was due in part to PIE’s consummately negative image in all quarters (the radical leader was quite as easily duped by the press stories about us as anyone else, judging from the strange impressions of PIE that had reached our ears), but due also to obstruction and non co-operation wherever we sought wider publicity for the group’s address. Many gay and alternative journals must share the blame for PIE’s then continued parlous, debilitated condition. I’m convinced there are still many thousands of paedophiles in the UK alone who are ignorant of PIE having ever existed, and I know for certain there are many others who saw the various ‘exposés’ and shock reports about us, but were thwarted in their efforts to find us.
Perspectives on Pearl Harbour
A former treasurer, on resigning from the EC, put it to me (though not quite in these terms) that PIE’s reputation across the board had become so desperately negative that the groups’ mere existence could only harm the paedophile cause, whatever we tried to do about it. We were a pariah among alternative movements, evil incarnate to society at large, and by continuing to exist so doggedly in the face of all opprobrium, PIE was doing for British paedophiles what AIDS was doing for the gay community. A harsh judgement, I feel. If AIDS had not existed the Moral Majority would’ve had to invent it. If PIE had not existed, it would have been necessary for the NEWS OF THE WORLD to invent us. And in one sense it’s true to say that the gutter press did invent PIE – or at least, the image of PIE which had been in general coinage since 1977; that of a secretive international ‘cult’, probably with underworld connections, certainly with influence in ‘high quarters’; a porn-producing syndicate of callous men intent upon nothing but their own sexual gratification. But if PIE’s early strategy had been different, how different would its public image have been?
Several times the idea of folding PIE and replacing it with a new paedophile grouping was mooted on committee, but we’d never have successfully jettisoned PIE’s reputation by the simple expedient of a name-change, and even a substantially different alignment would not for long have escaped the vitriolic attention PIE had enjoyed. This rose by any other name would have smelled no sweeter. There was nothing endemic in PIE itself which another broad-based group could have avoided and thus somehow bridged the ‘credibility gap’. NAMBLA in the US, for example, has placed its emphasis exclusively on gay paederasty (men attracted to teenage boys and youths), thus neatly sidestepping the two most controversial planks of PIE’s platform – heterosexual and pre-teen paedophile relationships. Notwithstanding this, NAMBLA has been attacked, boycotted and obstructed every bit as much as PIE had been by the media, women’s groups, sections of the gay scene, and has come in for just the same intimidation and harassment from the authorities. So much for tactical compromise. PIE’s trajectory into the public eye in 1977 can be compared to the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour, after which Admiral Yamamoto observed: “I fear that all we have done is to waken a sleeping giant and fill him with a terrible resolve”. Doubtless, many paedophiles wish we’d let this particular giant sleep on, but neither they nor children can be liberated from his tyranny without at least waking him in the process.
The conflicting demands of our campaigning and befriending objectives from the start presented a fundamental dichotomy in PIE. What for years we viewed as one of PIE’s greatest strengths may in truth have been its greatest weakness, or at least its greatest liability; our acceptance into the group and onto its Executive Committee of paedophiles, whatever their attitudes, abilities or political persuasion (with the exception of the far Right, of course). By straining to be all things to all paedophiles I doubt that we fully satisfied any, and we certainly alienated a few. There is a very powerful argument which runs thus: that the accommodation of a passive, inert membership consumes so much of the energies of a small group’s activist core that the raison d’être of the group is lost in a sea of ‘club-shit’. In other words, committee devoted so much of its time and attention to the routine of organisation and providing reading material and other services for consumption by the Moloch that vital campaigning work was neglected. After six years hard labour on the PIE committee I can only say that this was absolutely true.
Probably the only way ahead for paedophilia in the UK will be the emergence of two distinct groupings – though working in concert – attending to these differing needs. I for one did not wish to see the majority of paedophiles abandoned while the few activists diverted their attentions elsewhere, as some would have had us do, but equally I recognised that our political momentum had been retarded by a plague of part-time paedophiles – those who wanted to know what was going on without getting involved any deeper; who wanted to see changes made but not to help bring them about. PIE’s committee did not comprise many true activists anyway – it never did – so it alone did not have the capacity to diverge, and the very few paedophile activists who could be identified outside the group showed no interest in helping the metamorphosis come about.
Perhaps PIE’s mistake was in tackling non-paedophile prejudice in the first place? Perhaps instead we should have operated under the most stringent security precautions as a kind of Masonic network through which paedophiles might have contacted one another in safety? I’ve heard this view from outsiders. I don’t think that locking oneself in the closet would have been a terribly progressive move; by its nature such a network would have benefited only a tiny minority of those ‘in the know’, and the outside world would have been vindicated in its suspicions about us if we had behaved so furtively and were so indifferent to public opinion and the political imperative of children’s liberation.
The most bizarre misconception about PIE was held by a guy who later joined the committee for a short while – Lee Edwards. He’d visualised PIE being as affluent and neatly-organised as the Mormon Church, with smoked glass offices in the City of London and a full-time secretariat. He was, let’s say, a shade disillusioned by the reality. PIE did actually have an office in Westminster only a smirk away from the desk of the Home Secretary, but more of that later. The group’s silence in recent years had done nothing to dispel the illusions of people – friend and foe – about us, but then Pie itself had been undergoing an identity crisis of sorts, uncertain about which direction it should be taking. But one thing is quite certain – if we were none of the things people expected us to be, we were certainly none of the things the press had claimed us to be in their haste to deceive the British public.
Loaves and Fishes
I found PIE in 1978 entirely by accident through a classified ad in TIME OUT magazine. Many others came to us through a regular listing in GAY NEWS. However, both sources of new blood had been closed off long before the trial.  Occasionally, we would discover a listing in some unexpected place, inevitably giving an old address, but in general PIE was unable to get a listing in any gay or alternative paper in the UK. After the trial we attempted to retrieve this situation by a general approach to dozens of such papers here or abroad, asking for either free listings or concessionary advertising rates. A special appeal was made to the membership for donations to fund this advertising drive. MANCUNIAN GAY was the only paper in the UK willing to help us. Abroad, our ad was accepted without qualm by THE BODY POLITIC (Toronto) and GAY COMMUNITY NEWS (Boston) – both excellent gay papers whose unequivocally supportive stance on paedophilia put the faint-hearted GAY NEWS to shame – also by REVOLT (Sweden), CSC NUSLETER (California) and several others. But where we needed members most of all, where members were potentially of most value to the group, here in the UK, the drive got us nowhere. TIME OUT kept our hopes up for several months with repeated promises of a listing, but finally backed out with the feeble excuse that, as PIE wasn’t strictly a gay group, it was inappropriate to include us in a gay listings column. The only option left to us – a rather desperate one – was to litter PIE’s address around the streets by means of a sticker campaign, and this is what we did.
The sticker featured the silhouette of a standing child embracing a seated adult encircled by our name and address. We decided on this low-key format, foregoing bold and provocative slogans, as the object was simply to attract new members, not to outrage every parent that saw them. Even so, we were politely requested by one (prospective) London MP to desist planting them in his constituency (they had been discovered rather close to schools, you know!). Well, the campaign brought us just a handful of new people – too few members had been planting the stickers on a regular basis for fear of being caught red-handed and beaten up; those that were planted were being far too eagerly torn down; and worst of all one committee member made the terrible gaffe of not renewing the postal address on the sticker, so that later mail was never redirected to us at all. Perhaps the act of planting stickers, like writing political graffiti, is little more than a satisfying gesture of defiance for the individual, but I think we made a mistake in not concentrating our efforts on a far smaller area – probably London itself – and perhaps, if there had been a next time, we should have gone for those bold, provocative slogans.
There were a number of projects in various stages of completion during this period – none of which had any significance to non-paedophiles. The PIE Press Service was revived, making available once more all PIE’s early material (UNDERSTANDING PAEDOPHILIA and CHILDHOOD RIGHTS, for example) together with items like Tom’s book PAEDOPHILA: THE RADICAL CASE,  which PIE subsidised to its members; the early US boylove magazine BETTER LIFE; and the celebrated BODY POLITIC article ‘Men Loving Boys Loving Men’  (which has been subjected to not one, but two trials of its own). We owe thanks to Julian Meldrum of the Hall Carpenter Archives for supplying us with much early PIE material. So many important documents were lost whenever Scotland Yard descended on the homes of committee members that arrangements were made with the Brongersma and Bernard Foundations in Holland to deposit copies with them for safe keeping.
A reading list of paedophile fiction was added to the press service, complied by Lewis Grey, David Joy and Leo Adamson, and later a non-fiction list condensed by Tom O’Carroll from the copious bibliography of his book. Work was also begun on a film guide and on a survival guide for paedophiles in the UK.
A growing number of our members were captives in US prisons. Coping with the special needs of these people prompted us to set up a prisoner support scheme which, under Peter Bremner and later Tony Zalewski, found correspondents for these prisoners and sought sponsors to cover the expenses of their membership, mailing them recommended books and items from the press service. It hardly needs saying that our attempts to operate the scheme with inmates of British prisons were scotched by this country’s Draconian censorship restrictions. Mail from US prisoners often carried an apologetic stamp on the envelope which read: “Prisoners’ mail uncensored. Not responsible for contents.” I look forward to the day when British prisons need to be so apologetic – I had a long and fractious correspondence with the governor of Wormwood Scrubs over the confiscation of several letters of mine and other items sent to Tom O’Carroll. As with all things in the US, prison regulations vary wildly from state to state, so while some members were receiving regular visits from the boys for whose ‘protection’ they had been imprisoned, others were not even permitted to receive MAGPIE. NAMBLA was far better placed than we were to defend the interests of these people, and is now doing so. PIE was powerless to help prisoners in the UK without some referral arrangement with the social services, and the Home Office lifting restrictions on visits and correspondence.
Given the monstrous treatment of many paedophiles in prison, and the squalid, dehumanising conditions that prevail throughout the prison system, it is a marvel to me that people can emerge from this ordeal without a deep and burning animosity towards the society that abused them so. Imprisonment is the grossest indecency.
If there was one venture that I expected to be an unqualified success and firmly supported by the membership, it was the re-establishment of social meetings through local group organisers. This was the sort of freedom which other oppressed groups – blacks, gay men and women, and many more – took entirely for granted. Any attempt by PIE to arrange social venues (this applied equally to workshops, AGM’s, marches and demonstrations of any kind) carried with it the implicit danger of press harassment, police observation, and physical attack from fanatics of every species. Accordingly, such precautions had to be taken to insulate these meetings from the hostile gaze that the people who had most need of them – frightened, solitary people with zero political awareness – were the last to be invited to them. Where possible, committee members attempted to meet new people in order to establish their bona fides, but there was always a substantial part of the membership who could not be directly vouched for, and we knew there was an agent of the NEWS OF THE WORLD among them.
Having an EC member in Birmingham, the first step was to organise meetings in this area for members in the midlands. Several meetings took place, but then the host was arrested and sent to remand prison on an unconnected charge, and interest petered out. With my help, an Australian member attempted to generate support for a PIE branch in his country (we had more members in Australia than in Scotland and Wales together), but the majority of those approached preferred to keep the breadth of the globe between them and the kind of flak which PIE attracted. This was not too surprising when one learnt that an earlier bid to establish an independent Australian paedophile group – SYBOL – crashed when a conservative gay group threatened to hand the organisers’ names and addresses to the police. Plans for a Canadian branch of PIE went awry also, but happily NAMBLA was able to establish a chapter there soon after.
Our greatest concentration of members had always been in London and the home counties. All but a handful of PIE’s workers through the years had lived there. From August ’82 we booked a private room one night a week in a series of West end pubs, inviting along all members who were known to us. The average attendance was very disappointing: always the same few faces. Presumably, everyone feared that a press plant would be present, as had in fact happened once before in 1979: A known freelance operating for the NOTW, had turned up half drunk at one pub meeting and begun asking those present to procure boys for him. “I know there are kids around who’ll go with you for money,” he said, “but where are they? Why don’t we do something instead of just sitting here?” No such investigative journalist graced any of the more recent meetings. TIME OUT reporter, John Gill, came along once or twice, but he was there at our invitation, preparing a feature on the anxieties and expectations of paedophiles living in London (a feature subsequently suppressed by the magazine’s editors). Other guests present at those meetings included many GYM members and one or two representatives from CHE – one of them a woman who was entirely supportive. Discussions with these people were on the whole constructive and stimulating, and made the meetings worthwhile for us on the EC, but the objective of a social forum for members outside the committee was never realised.
Babel Wasn’t Built in a Day
In August 1980 PIE circulated an open letter among every known paedophile group in Europe, Scandinavia and North America, and also to prominent individuals such as Dr. Edward Brongersma, Dr. Frits Bernard, Drs. Theo Sandfort, and Valida Davila of CSC (Childhood Sensuality Circle). The letter outlined an ambitious, some would say grandiose, proposal for a new transnational paedophile federation through which member groups would collaborate on material projects and share resources at the same time as working towards a common philosophical platform. As I wrote in MAGPIE 15, “Much more than a simple mutual aid society, such a federation would be the consolidation of a coherent international paedophile and children’s liberation movement out of the present chaos of tiny national groups working largely oblivious of one another”. This initiative was very much a personal commitment of my own – my committee colleagues were not all so inspired by this euro-vision. I had learned through PIE that there were groups in Denmark, Germany, Sweden, Switzerland, Portugal, Belgium, yet we knew virtually nothing about these people and their organisations, what they were doing in their own countries, or how their political analyses differed from that of PIE. Any contact we had established had been of a token kind, genuine in spirit but superficial in practice, so it was safe to assume that these groups were in the same state of ignorance about us. It seemed important to me that a full and penetrating dialogue be established at least with the strongest of them.
Inevitably, there were language obstacles. We mustered a few members to translate from French, German and Dutch for us, but although our files were brimming with magazines from these groups we could hardly ask people to translate whole magazines, and in any case one could not always rely on forming an accurate view of a group’s thinking merely by reading its general literature. (There had been no language barrier for Tom O’Carroll when he represented PIE at an Oslo conference ‘Amnesty for Love and affection’ hosted by the Norwegian group, NAFP, in 1979. There had even been discussions there on forming a new, broad-based international group called ‘Amnesty for Child Sexuality’, but nothing had come of this.)
The Open letter included a proposal for an early ‘summit’ conference of interested groups to discuss the general concept of an IGA-type alliance, and areas of practical collaboration between us. The most enthusiastic responses we received came from people and groups who had least to gain from the proposed alliance: “I am in complete agreement with your plans,” wrote Valida Davila; “Some people are ruined by oppression and persecution, and others are fired to fight back. I see your committee has chosen the latter road.” “We think the idea of an international association for paedophiles excellent,” wrote REVOLT of Sweden; “If there is anything we can do to support, never hesitate to ask.” Pasteur J. Doucé of the Centre du Christ Libérateur, Paris, wrote: “If I can be of any help in the formation of an international paedophile fellowship please let me know.” An anarchist commune for young people in Nuremberg, the Indianner, said that although they had deep reservations about the German group, DSAP, they still wished to “join a basic form” with us.
The groups themselves were not prepared to take a lead. They wanted to see PIE set up the conference itself. What better demonstration of the poor grasp our friends had on the political realities for PIE? We were possibly the only group among them which was unable to hold a general meeting for its own members without grave risk of injury to those attending, and prosecution of the organisers. After the events of 1977 for PIE, did anyone seriously expect an international paedophile conference to be permitted in the UK? NAMBLA chose to “wait and see what leadership develops on these concepts”. The paedophile wing of the Dutch civil rights umbrella organisation, NVSH, felt that their priorities should be domestic, and that international co-ordination should be left to the auspices of the IGA itself. NAFP in Norway “sympathised” but wanted “more concrete ideas”. 
The first months of the following year saw the emergence in France of a new paedophile organisation – the Groupe de recherché pour une Enfance Différente – and four of us from PIE sped along to its inaugural congress in November. Also present on that occasion were David Thorstad representing NAMBLA, Frits Bernard representing DSAP, and a member of the Belgian Paedophile Studygroup [sic]. The atmosphere at that opening day was something I had not experienced before even at PIE’s 1978 AGM – an intensity, an electric urgency of expression that welled as much from the floor as from the platform. The strength of the GRED committee was plain to see, as one after another they all addressed the meeting with equal vigour and self-assurance, and everyone it that packed hall (including, to our delight, a handful of women paedophiles) was involved, not quietly receiving the transmitted wisdoms of the committee. With the promise of an imminent reduction in France’s homosexual ‘age of consent’ from eighteen to fifteen, the liberation of children was for these people far from a remote utopian objective.
I came away from that conference profoundly frustrated, both with the inadequacy of PIE and my own inadequate French. I went to listen, but came away having understood little that I’d heard. I went to contribute my views, but came away without having said a word. I went to take part, but was obliged merely to observe. It’s not entirely unreasonable, of course, that a French group meeting in France should conduct its meeting in French, but I had rather hoped that, at least in the workshop on international collaboration, some concession would be made to a humble Anglophone like myself. Unfortunately, GRED’s English was only a little better than my French. One might think such a lesson in futility would have made me reconsider the practicality of collaboration on the level suggested by the Open Letter but, on the contrary, I felt all the more keenly how much we had to gain from a close dialogue and mutual co-operation with people such as GRED. If we left them with a rather poor understanding of PIE and what we had to deal with over here, that was entirely our own fault, of course, but even among the extrovert committee of GRED, and in its journal, PETIT GREDIN, there was a hint of the same parochialism displayed by the NVSH paedophiles and others, confining their analysis of the problems and solutions within national boundaries. Perhaps PIE was unique in this respect – that more than half our membership lived abroad, scattered among twenty or so countries, and it was plain to us that the ignorance and intolerance of paedophilia knew no frontiers, as with the inhibitory myths of childhood. While the police and the agents of ‘moral’ conformity were concerting their efforts internationally against us, would we not even collaborate in our own defence, if for no better motive?
Another item under preparation for the PIE Press Service at that time was a comprehensive directory of paedophile/children’s liberation groups – the first such guide ever to be published in the English language, filling in a little detail to that cold, unwelcoming expanse of acronyms: SAP, DAP, DSAP, PAC, AKP and so on. Questionnaires were distributed hot on the heels of the Open Letter, and the information that came back immediately helped to dissipate our own ignorance a little. We discovered, inevitably, that some of the groups had already collapsed. In Germany, for example, the Deutsche Studie und Arbeitsgemeinschaft Pädofilie had disintegrated over an ideological clash between anarchists, conservative reformists, and revolutionary socialists – notably about the nature and extent of freedom it wished to seek for young people. Blackmail threats had come into play here too, as with SYBOL in Australia, but this time one paedophile against another, to the utter damnation of those that made them. NAFP in Norway also, sadly, dissolved. And for each group that vanished another would suddenly appear elsewhere on the map – Stiekum in Belgium, for instance.
At the GRED conference it was agreed that the groups represented there would all follow NAMBLA’s example in joining the IGA itself and through it lobbying the gay movement directly for firmer support. The extent of our links with the gay political scene was an essential aspect of PIE’s strategy (insofar as PIE had such a thing) which I want to consider separately but, in the absence of a constructive dialogue with gays (or anyone else) in our own country about the radical means to accomplish our short and long term objectives, other paedophile groups abroad remained the only people from whom alternative strategies could be learned, our own analysis refined, different perspectives examined. Practical alteration to the law and its institutions is an objective necessarily specific to one’s own country, but awakening a whole culture to the living realities of sexuality and of youth is the promulgation of an idea, a new system of living, and is not confined to the arbitrary frontiers of states.
Prodigal Son? _ Or A Cuckoo in the Nest?
1983 was the first time in PIE’s nine-year history that a handful of members carried a PIE banner at the London Gay Pride march. The banner read simply: ‘Adults Loving Children loving Adults’ – a bisexual extension of the famous BODY POLITIC caption. This bold initiative was largely due to the efforts of one EC member, Leo Adamson, who, in a very short time of involvement in PIE, had propelled the group a deal closer to the gay movement than it had been for a considerable while. As a member of GYM (Gay Youth movement), Leo was able to speak for PIE at their annual conference ‘Gym’ll Fix It’, and he also took an active role in the group’s lobby of Parliament. In July ’83 he represented PIE at the IGA conference in Vienna. One could say that PIE had waited a long time for individuals with Leo’s stamina and conviction to come along and fulfil this vital liaison role.
Eric Presland, writing in CAPITAL GAY,  rejoiced in the appearance of PIE’s banner at the Gay Pride march, and bade us a hearty ‘Welcome back!’ While there was no doubting the sincerity of Presland’s support for PIE, nor his personal commitment to the liberation of children, there was an assumption behind his remarks that PIE had somehow drifted away from the gay movement in recent years, had now seen the error of its ways and returned – like the prodigal son – to its spiritual home. But it was not PIE that moved away from the gay movement in the UK, it was the gay movement that moved hastily away from us once the muck began to fly; and not because it viewed PIE as too reformist, sexist or reactionary – these tags were slapped on us much later – not because our proposals were insufficiently radical; they were too radical by half for the majority of gays. If we had concentrated, as NAMBLA had done in the US, simply upon sexual relationships between men and teenage boys, gays might have been rather more sanguine about solidarity with us. We were not prepared to barter away the interests of so many paedophiles and of pre-teenage children to realise that support.
If anything, the political leaning of the EC had become further to the Left than ever before, though unfortunately there was no output from PIE to attest to this. Committee may have been radical in its sympathies, but was singularly reticent to express this thinking through MAGPIE or CONTACT.  Repeatedly it was put to them that committee should buckle down and talk through some coherent policy positions on key questions – I prepared a discussion paper on pornography to set this process going – but there was no enthusiasm at all for the hard graft of policymaking. Little wonder then that Pie was seen as complacent and insular when it could not produce a single political position or line of analysis to promote wider debate. Those people who troubled to look for evidence of PIE’s philosophy or political credentials were left to glean what they might from the tone and content of MAGPIE, or from documents published years ago by a very different EC – the ‘Questions & Answers’ booklet  and our ‘Evidence to the Home Office Criminal Law Revision Committee’.  I don’t think there was anyone active in PIE at this time who was happy with the proposals contained in the ‘Evidence’ paper; many would have liked to see them publicly rescinded. All in all, if gays regarded PIE with some suspicion as being an unknown political quantity we had no-one but ourselves to blame for that.
“I don’t think the time is yet read,” wrote an editor of REVOLT in answer to our Open Letter, “for a great association that would support both gays and paedophiles. There are still too many prejudices in the various camps, and paedophile liberation has some very specific aspects which certainly would be overlooked (or neglected) in a general gay association.” I entirely agree with that view. Whereas those paedophile groups that had sprung initially from the gay movement (PIE, NAMBLA, GRED) had tended to survive without the umbilical intact, those which tried to submerge back into the gay movement, becoming just one of several special interest groups within it, (NAFP for example) expired in the process. It is manifestly obvious that the struggles and obstacles faced by paedophiles in the UK today, and indeed the major arguments marshalled against us, bear a striking resemblance to those which gays themselves were confronted with a scant few decades ago. Many of the tasks that face us are the same – combatting the monolithic heterosexuality of ‘educational’ propaganda, for one – and there is great scope here for joint action, but our demands of society are far from being identical, and nor are they at the same stage of accomplishment.
To pluck a metaphor from the mouths of our critics, in any relationship between paedophiles and gays, it is gays who are demonstrably the stronger partner, far greater in size and power, their social status much higher. In contrast, paedophiles are weak, vulnerable, and – as a political force – lacking in experience, our status just about the lowest there is. Can true equality ever be realised in such a relationship? Will gays not simply abuse their power advantage to silence or control paedophiles? Does the gay movement really care about the needs and aspirations of its younger protégé?
Well, you may be sure that PIE did not endorse that kind of negativistic approach. The assumption that the strong will tend inevitably to exploit the weak is true of fascists, not of sexual groupings. I believe that the gay movement in the UK neglected PIE’s struggle to establish a discrete paedophile consciousness, as it has largely neglected the predicament of gay people younger than sixteen or seventeen. From its position of comparitive [sic] strength it had much to offer us by way of philosophical analysis as well as options for positive action. Instead, we found ourselves forced consistently onto the defensive, perpetually having to justify our very sexuality, to avouch our responsibility as caring people. We were nothing beyond a coffee-table controversy to most gays, and our demands for acceptance and support were given barely more credence here than that which society gives to demands for gay equality. I’m afraid the movement itself has much to answer for the continuing misery and frustration gay children in this country are compelled to endure.
It was a measure neither of PIE’s ineptitude, nor of the political vacuousness of British paedophiles, that so few radical activists materialised among us. It was rather too facile to apply to us the logic of gay and feminist activism, as though the realities were no different for a paedophile coming out in a militant way. Every risk that a gay or lesbian accepts in entering a career of sexual politics, on whatever level, is multiplied many times for a paedophile doing likewise. It is a simple equation of greater risks equalling fewer volunteers. Beyond this rather elementary observation, it is in the nature of paedophilia that the greater number of us will channel their whole energies into working with and for children (however misguidedly), whether this be as youth workers, teachers, nurses or, yes, as scoutleaders. Individuals who would have been of immense value to a group such as PIE either never contemplated joining because their attention was squarely focussed on working with the young, or shied away from deeper commitment for fear the publicity would disable them from continuing such work. True, many of these people themselves inadvertently abet the social conditioning of youth, but they are sincere in the belief that their work is beneficial and constructive. The essential point is that a paedophile’s natural first loyalty is to children – not to other paedophiles.
Unlike gays and feminists, who seek the company of people like themselves for social and sexual reasons, and then develop a political consciousness within that society, drawing strength from their community for ‘coming out’ and embarking on political work, paedophiles do not tend to gravitate so readily into one another’s company, (those that would have no means of doing so, of course) and the breeding medium for radicalisation is so much less fertile for this often-overlooked reason. In the company of a thirteen year old boy one can learn a good deal about the realities of powerlessness and dependence and the frustration of being thirteen in this society – all the more so from a girl – but this is a long way from assimilating a commitment to political struggle. The younger the children a paedophile seeks for company, the more this argument applies.
Thanks in large part to PIE, some paedophiles did befriend one another, but all too often in such meetings the differences of perspective were more apparent than the congruences. There was a commonality of interest without a commonality of awareness. Therefore among paedophiles this consciousness has to be cultivated in an altogether more deliberate and artificial way. Those paedophiles who regard themselves (sometimes mistakenly) as the most revolutionary are generally those that move largely in gay circles. Undoubtedly, coming out as a paedophile via the gay movement increases one’s exposure to radical though – though anyone acquainted with CHE might laugh at this – but it may also leave one with a smug and false sense of security.
While my own sexual tastes extend to eighteen or nineteen year old guys, I confess I never had much inclination to join a gay group or frequent any gay clubs. I think my perspective might have been rather less parochial if I had, but this is to illustrate that there are many paedophiles like myself who wish to work in close harmony with gay society, not to join it. To those who say, “So why didn’t PIE make more effort towards a rapprochement with radical gay groups?” I reply, “Why didn’t the stronger, more numerous, and better-equipped gay groups approach PIE with advice, criticism, active support, even when we were reeling in the wake of an Old Bailey trial?” Why should we have had to make all the running? Let me cite one or two instances of the positive vibrations PIE was receiving from the mighty ‘λ’.
At the 2nd annual conference of the IGA (Barcelona, 1980), the only group to abstain from a general motion calling on member organisations to support paedophile groups more vigorously was Britain’s CHE, who insisted on their exception being noted for the record. At GYM’s 1982 lobby of Parliament (which only twelve of some four hundred MPs felt obliged to attend), it was a vice-president of CHE, Martin Stevens, MP (Conservative, needless to say), who favoured the retention of the homosexual age of consent at twenty-one (for males), whilst others present were quite willing to negotiate an initial reduction to eighteen. Stevens’ rationale – if we may dignify it by that term – was that if homosexual behaviour was legally sanctioned among teenagers, “teenagers might in later years regret their youthful flings”. Similarly, at the IGA’s 1983 Vienna conference, it was Michael Brown of Britain’s Conservative Group for Homosexual Equality who supplied the most stentorian opposition to every paedophile motion put before the conference. In this case, where one of the motions called upon PIE to urge all other paedophile groups to affiliate as we had done, Brown was joined by Denmark’s F48, Norway’s DNF48, and Lavender Left of New York, who had apparently determined by explicit resolution to vote against all paedophile-supportive motions. The excellent ‘Gay Youth Charter’ composed by GYM in 1982 was rejected by CHE’s own conference until a reference to paedophilia had been expunged from it. A comparison between GYM’s ‘Gay Youth Charter’ and CHE’s ‘Charter for Gay Rights’, published in the same year, is extraordinary – the one is detailed, uncompromising, bold and lucid; the other bland, timid and cursory.
CHE’s dilemma was summarised by their own Law Reform Committee thus: “CHE has hitherto directed its campaign towards achieving equality under the law relating to heterosexual and homosexual behaviour. The reasons for this, while in large part tactical, are nonetheless important. The argument for equality is much easier to explain to a prejudiced audience and can be forcefully advocated on grounds of simple justice.” It goes on to ask, “Would adopting a position in favour of the abolition of all ages of consent laws risk appearing, in the eyes of the general public, to be so extreme as to make (CHE’s) aims on other issues more difficult to achieve; or has it reached the position where no further significant advance can be made without working – in collaboration with other organisations – for reform of these and the other laws relating to sexual behaviour generally?” 
It was the same dilemma which confronted broader civil rights groups like the NCCL (National Council for Civil Liberties) when the rights at issue were those of PIE. Any association with our particular cause threatened to undermine their own political credibility cross the board. PIE was the hottest potato of all, and triggered off all kinds of atavistic terrors in more respectable reformist groups. We were therefore sacrificed on the altar of short-term tactical compromise.
Not to confine this criticism to gay and civil rights groups however the producer of London Weekend Television’s ‘Gay Life’ programme (screened once a week in the late night horror slot) promised me there would be a programme on paedophilia in the second series to which PIE might be allowed to contribute. Alas, there was not. Among the helplines which consistently declined to give PIE’s address to paedophile callers were Icebreakers, London Gay Switchboard, Brighton Gay Switchboard, and Friend. One of these told me their solicitors had advised them that by passing out our address it might be construed that they were acting as agents for the organisations.
The fact that PIE was not exclusively homosexual represented part of the reason for this moratorium. GAY NEWS and TIME OUT both quickly zeroed in on this objection, though as with the ubiquitous power argument, it often serve as a radical justification from the mouth for a decidedly unradical prejudice in the mind. I think it stood to the credit of the PIE EC (whose most active members had always been boylovers) that we did not cave in under such pressure. No heterosexual paedophiles ever stepped forward to defend their own ground, and this made it rather difficult for us to answer the challenges of the gays and feminists with total conviction. Between gays and our heterosexual members the strand of mutual acceptance was very thin indeed (between them and feminists it did not exist at all).
David Thorstad, while still spokesperson of NAMBLA, expressed his own position all too clearly: When Anita Bryant would say that gay men are child molesters, they would say ‘Oh no, we don’t do that; gay people are not molesters, it’s the heterosexual who are the molesters’. I’ve used that argument myself; I believe it’s true.”
Many heterosexual paedophiles are just as ready to swallow society’s stereotype model of gays, their masculinity squirming uncomfortably at the prospect of too close an association with the world of such caricatures. This kind of stupidity is an obstacle we can all do without.
No-one will be astonished to hear that the facet of gay politics in the UK for which PIE felt the closest affinity was gay youth, and that GYM came top of our list of groups to form an alliance with. The first meeting between members of our two committees only reinforced this feeling. As we sat about a table in a London pub, no more than a dozen of us, it was not a bunch of middle class, middle-aged liberal paedophiles confronted with a bunch of radical gay teenagers suspicious of our motives. In fact the majority of both committees were in their mid-twenties. The youngest PIE representative was twenty-one, the oldest GYM representative, twenty-six. Some suspicion was evident on GYM’s part, or rather a wry scepticism about PIE’s political soundness, but it was expressed with candour, not hostility. For our own part, the only major criticism of GYM was its arbitrary self-imposed age limit of twenty-six (a strange paradox in a group whose existence is a reaction against arbitrary age boundaries), in that this tasted a little of ageism in reverse – the idea being that, without an upper age limit, GYM would be taken over by older gays (older than the then committee guiding lights), or that gays would flock to it like moths to a flame in search of teenage boyfriends.
Strategically, so much more can be accomplished under the banner of gay youth than would ever be possible for an overtly paedophile organisation, but that apart, GYM has a freshness and directness which PIE lost long ago. Whereas we talked years back of producing a general information video, GYM have gone and made one. While PIE made ginger overtures to carefully-chosen MPs, GYM staged a general lobby of Parliament. While PIE agonised over whether or not we dared to call another AGM, GYM revels in mass meets.
It is time that gay society in this country woke up to the crucial role it has to play in the foundation of a stable, vigorous and independent paedophile movement which is committed to radical change. What emerges may not be PIE, nor will it be a clone of the gay movement itself, for paedophiles are more than simply gay and straight adults who like their partners particularly young. Ours is a whole different sexuality, our needs and priorities are very different. We are brothers with the gay world, not twins.
PIE in the Face of Fleet Street
Journalism is one of those unsavoury professions – advertising is another – in which an individual’s potential for success is inversely proportional to that person’s scruples. Note that I do not say there are no journalists of conscience or integrity in Fleet Street, only that such people had never been to the fore when the focus of attention was on PIE, or paedophile matters, or rights (in their totality) of people under sixteen, and that such exotic blooms must seem strange indeed in that arid, thorny habitat. Doubtless there remains one detective at Scotland Yard who really believes the police are the servants of the community, and not its warders; or doubtless Thatcher has one Cabinet Minister who genuinely believes in equality of opportunity. These are all, however, statistical freaks. If we find journalism itself to be venal and corrupt – as I believe it is – then this is a profound cause for alarm. As one American commentator observed succinctly, (but glibly), “The news media have become Orwell’s Big Brother of ‘1984’ – all pervasive, all influencing. The freedom of the press is eating away the freedom of the individual”.
Television long ago supplanted religion as the opiate of the working class, and most of the criticisms I make here of the press apply with equal force to the broader media, notably television. There is a disturbing trend towards tabloid-style presentation in TV news programmes, with the same crass, superficial coverage, the same rampant sexism and imperious moral tone, and the same calculated imbalance. Recent reports, for example, of a mother seeking legal compulsion on doctors to inform parents before prescribing contraceptives to girls under sixteen were invariably followed or preceded by progress reports from police investigating the sexual murder of a five year old girl. Such judicious editorial juxtapositions are common. (A contemporary report in a local Harrow paper on similar demands from the ‘Harrow Child and Family Protection group’ appeared on the same front page as an overtly sexist pin-up – of a fifteen year old girl.)
As to the quality of the coverage – in a Central TV news report on the swelling number of teenage runaways in the midlands (‘minors’ voting with their feet?), it was emphasised throughout that the principal fear was not of physical, but ‘moral’ peril; that girls would be “drawn into drink, drugs and prostitution”, and that boys would “fall into the hands of homosexuals”. (TV journalists, like their Fleet Street counterparts, do not care to use the word ‘paedophile’, you may notice.) As always, the people who had most to say on the matter, the people most directly affected, whose anxieties and exasperations had driven them to take off in the first place, were the only people not consulted. It might have been a report on lost dogs or stolen cars. So much for the objectivity and impartiality of British television news.
Every year since PIE had come into being, during the slow news time of parliamentary recess, the minions of the soft-porn tabloids had scurried out with their indignation and their power-winder cameras to rake together another shock story about the group. We were a silly-season staple for the NEWS OF THE WORLD, the SUNDAY PEOPLE and the DAILY STAR. The danger with papers of this vulgar, facile kind is that they are widely dismissed as being of no consequence to significant trends in popular opinion. The NOTW is generally regarded as a joke, but without the implicit malevolence and cruelty behind the joke being fully appreciated, or the extent to which the paper’s four million readers are being duped by the fantasies of its squalid-minded editor and staff. There is no room here to catalogue all the misshapen, libellous reports that have appeared concerning PIE over the last few years. An analysis of the coverage of the Old Bailey trial alone would require a full chapter, and in any case, such a virulent poison permeates this sea of press cuttings that the mere task of reading them all through is grossly offensive and unhealthy for one’s state of mind. Confronted with such wholesale, indiscriminate hatred a sense of proportion is difficult to maintain. There had been several major stories on PIE since Tom O’Carroll was convicted, each of which had repercussions far beyond the immediate distress inflicted on the committee members named, and illustrate well the harm which the gutter press can cause.
The first of these stories (NOTW, March 22nd., 1981) was occasioned by PIE having to open a new post Office box, the sponsor of our previous box, David Grove, having died. The Post Office leaked the home address of our new sponsor, Peter Bremner, to the NOTW so fast that the reporters were at his door before the box had even been used, and before the Executive Committee itself, let alone our members, knew where the P.O. Box was located.
Inside, the paper ran a feature on PIE, and the child pornography industry, being careful to blur any distinction between the two. The reporters were Charles Sandell and George Edwards. ‘The Dreadful Web of Child Corruption’ began as follows: “The evil men of Britain’s child sex organisation, the Paedophile Information Exchange, are just the tip of an iceberg. Behind them lies a web of pornography and degradation that spreads its tentacles worldwide – and even involves the Mafia.” After another couple of paragraphs which could leave no doubt in the reader’s mind that PIE was in fact a front for the manufacture and distribution of pornographic material, Sandell and Edwards went on: “The magazines… they produce do not stop at sexual abuse. Some show the systematic slow torture and even murder of children and young people.” Now if that was not a cut and dried case of libel, what is? Who could blame the public for its outrage against PIE when such nightmarish tales could be published about us with complete indemnity?
Someone else who spreads his tentacles worldwide is Rupert Murdoch, the Jehovah of yellow journalism, and the essence of this NOTW story quickly resurfaced as far away as Australia and in Sri Lanka where, in the SUNDAY OBSERVER (April 5th), PIE was described as “the sick porn merchants of the West”. Sri Lanka, like the Philippines, had long been celebrated among paedophiles and gays for its tolerance to homosexuality in general, and sudden government moves late in 1981 to curb sexual contact between local youth and Western tourists have been attributed in part to the scare campaign triggered by the NOTW. Perhaps this is overestimating the impact of that tawdry little paper, but the snowball effect of press hysteria was a very real phenomenon, as later stories demonstrated.
It was an open secret among anyone linked to the Executive Committee that for four years I was employed by a firm of electrical contractors, Complete Maintenance Ltd, to monitor a control panel of alarm systems at the Home Office, Westminster. The job entailed practically no work on my part, beyond attending the panel, and in fact I had a furnished office completely to myself seven days a week on a rotating shift basis. Much of PIE’s less sensitive file material was stored in locked cabinets there, where no police raid would ever have found them. Each year my security clearance was renewed by Scotland Yard without my connection with PIE being discovered. I’d known from the start that such a marvellous snook could never be cocked forever and sure enough the News of the World got hold of this information eventually. The paper contacted the Home Office immediately of course and gleefully drew this oversight to their attention. My security clearance was cancelled on the spot, my employers notified and I found myself not sacked but ‘rendered without employment’ – on the same day that reporter Alex Marunchak greeted me on my doorstep. ‘Child Sex boss in Whitehall Shock’ ran the headline.
And what do you suppose? – “Home Office security chiefs knew all about Steven Adrian Smith’s links with PIE”, claimed the report; “A Home Office spokesman said, ‘We’re aware of Smith’s background, and since the NEWS OF THE WORLD contacted us he has been told he’s no longer acceptable to us. He no longer works here. It would be true to say that he would still be here if you hadn’t been in touch.’” This silly bit of official face-saving apart, Marunchak went on to concoct a brief interview with myself. Instead of slamming the door in his face, which I seem to recall having done, I appear to have told him (with a swirl of my opera cloak), “Yes, I’m the chairman of PIE. So you’ve found out!” and so on. There was possible libel here too, for he alleged that at an EC meeting I had “bragged of (my) relationships with boys and urged members to organise a ‘dirty weekend’ with children at a south coast hotel.” This is imputing to me a specific criminality, but nonetheless – we were advised by a solicitor – whether I won a libel suit or not, and I stood every chance of doing so, that the sympathies of the jury would be wholly against me, and any damages derisory.
Some of us had fondly hoped that my inevitable discovery would at least throw such egg on the face of the government as to oust the Home Secretary (then, Mr. Whitelaw), but in the event, this story was curiously not picked up by any other paper (obviously, the ‘ruling class’ had to be protected), and our own attention was diverted by a plague of visits from DAILY STAR reporters the very next week. (Incidentally, the extent of security chiefs’ knowledge of my activities did not prompt them to investigate the content of my filing cabinets and a carload of PIE files was safely spirited from the building before it could occur to them to intervene.)
Once upon a time a reporter in the alternative press wrote (with just a hint of sarcasm) that it was about as difficult to ‘infiltrate’ PIE as to infiltrate Piccadilly Circus. He was absolutely right. One of the hazards of keeping our door wide open (as any counselling group must) is that all manner of creepy-crawlies are apt to find their way in along with more welcome visitors, and such a one was Charles Oxley, principal of two public schools, Christian fundamentalist, and wizened protégé of Mary Whitehouse.  Under the name of David Charlton he joined PIE with offers of practical help in EC work. He was good enough to type out for us Tom O’Carroll’s copious non-fiction booklist, and to photocopy at his own expense many other items for the PIE Press Service. As with anybody else who expressed a willingness to work, he was first met by an EC member to assess his character and reliability, then invited along to a couple of committee meetings. His sensational findings formed the basis of a four-page spread in the DAILY STAR (‘Child Sex Spy Tells All’ – August 21st, 1982) and many subsequent radio, press and police interviews. On the strength of just two meetings with the EC, Oxley had become the Establishment’s trusted authority on PIE. Who was taken in the more by his fantasies, PIE or the Establishment, is open to question. STAR reporters Paul Henderson and Barry Gardner played Woodward and Berstein [sic] to Oxley’s ‘Deep throat’.
Four committee members were named – David Joy, Peter Bremner, Lee Edwards and myself, and photos appeared of three of us (my mother was later to comment that the STAR photo was one of the best of me she’d seen!) It was no coincidence that the three committee members who were to be raided by the Obscene Publications Squad, almost exactly a year later, were David Joy, Peter Bremner and Lee Edwards. Not content with publishing our addresses, the DAILY STAR carried photos of our homes too, for greater ease of identification by neighbourhood vigilantes, mums’ armies, and neo-fascist groups.
The text itself was rather lame, even amusing in comparison to the previous year’s NOTW extravaganza, and only of interest for the crude, obvious manner in which colour was added. To convey the impression of PIE as a shifty, back-street organisation, our homes were variously described as “dingy”, “seedy”, and “an old mansion that comes straight from a horror movie”. Meetings were arranged, it said, “through a complicated exchange of letters and coded telephone calls” using “secret codes and passwords”. This was total fantasy and a familiar lie printed about the group – arrangements were far more mundane and prosaic than that, I’m afraid. Oxley knew that no pornography had been handed round at the meetings, but he was determined to create that impression at least: “Various paedophile books and magazine were mentioned and passed around” he hinted darkly. As I remember, Oxley took away one of these magazines himself for closer inspection, and never returned it – it was the latest issue of PAN (Paedo-Alert-News).
The news-gathering tactics of the DAILY STAR rate a mention here. We learned later that they had used menaces toward several children in Lee’s home street who would not answer their questions (Lee was staying with a family at the time, and the two daughters were tailed by the press for several days). When this proved fruitless, they set up a couple of young boys to accost Lee in the High Street and make conversation just long enough for him to be photographed form a parked car across the road. (Even when he called on me, Henderson had attempted to force his way into my house.) It was a standard routine for reporters on this kind of story to make a point of visiting all one’s neighbours and filling their heads with who-knows-what horrific yarns. There was a knife attack on Lee shortly after the story appeared, but as Lee is an ex-boxer he managed to send his assailant away with a bloody nose, never to return. Another standard hurdle with these reports was the local press follow-up, a boringly predictable after-shock when your local paper contrives to regurgitate the story for those of your neighbours who missed it the first time around. In this particular instance the STAR itself ran a follow-up story a few days later (‘Ban the PIE Men’) in which glory-hunting Tory back-bencher, Geoffrey Dickens, vowed he would table a Private Member’s Bill at the next session of Parliament which would proscribe PIE explicitly, and outlaw any other pro-paedophile organisations.  Dickens was the same stalwart who named diplomat Sir Peter Hayman, under House of Commons privilege, as the PIE member whose identity had been concealed throughout the trial (some six months after Hayman had been publicly identified in PRIVATE EYE magazine). Dickens did not win the Private member’s ballot, as chance would have it, and nothing more was heard of that pledge, but it seemed to us a serious threat at the time. Even a bungling oaf of Dickens’ calibre could hardly have failed with such an intimidatingly populist Bill, had he won the ballot.
By the winter of ’82, the papers were full of the Geoffrey Prime affair. Prime was exposed as a Russian supermole who worked at the government’s intelligence HQ at Cheltenham. Imprisoned for sex offences against young girls, as well as spying, it was alleged, unsubstantiated of course, that he either had links with Pie or was actually a member under an assumed name. As with the much earlier Sir Peter Hayman affair (he was the former British high Commissioner to Canada), and the later revelation that I myself and an EC colleague, Barry Cutler, were both employed on security at the Home Office, this latest scandal must have caused considerable embarrassment to the government. By now, PIE’s name must have been truly hated in the corridors of power. 
In June, 1983, the NOTW ran yet another of its regular silly stories, this time claiming that top TV stars and MPs were members of the Exchange. No names were mentioned, of course – except those of EC members. As a result of this and follow-up stories in such scandal sheets as the STAR and the SUN, committee members Mike Williams and Richard Travell lost their voluntary work as a scoutmaster and Sunday School teacher respectively. Travell was later denounced by his father, a church minister, and forced to move out of his home.
It would be possible to go on and on about the shock/horror stories concerning PIE, but this would serve little purpose since the point has been made. Suffice it to say that press harassment of the group was real, and it seemed that reporters were prepared to use any means, fair or foul, to ensure the organisation was destroyed. The time is coming when something will need to be done about the press in this country – and the sooner the better.
If paedophiles have little faith in the press, they have certainly got even less for the criminal justice system in this country, for being a paedophile is an invitation for every sort of injustice there is. While baby batterers walk away with derisory sentences after being slapped on the wrist and told not to do it again, people whose only ‘crime’ is that they love children can expect to have the book thrown at them and endure years of attacks in squalid prisons from real criminals. One can inflict horrendous physical suffering on a child, but if one is unfortunate enough to be a paedophile who has consensual sex – oh well, that’s classed as worse than murder.
Similarly with ‘corporal punishment’ which is, in truth, nothing more than a euphemism for legal assault. This practice is widely supported in these isles, and it is no coincidence that the organisations and people who were most opposed to PIE were the very ones who endorsed it most. The message is clear: abuse is okay as long as it is socially approved.
Back in its earlier days, PIE itself initiated a campaign against this practice and received letters of support from such well-known people as Baroness Wootton, and Sir Alfred Ayer, the philosopher. But PIE, being a tiny organisation, could only do so much.
For PIE, the time has now run out; but the ideas behind it will continue to survive.
Editor’s note: Soon after the above article was written, its author along with two other PIE EC members were arrested on incitement charges in connection with issue No. 6 of the group’s internal bulletin, CONTACT. Before the trial, Steve Smith fled to Holland where he still resides. The two other defendants were subsequently found not guilty of the incitement charges, but guilty of a lesser charge. After renewed threats to proscribe PIE, the group finally succumbed to political pressure, and the organisation disbanded in early summer, 1985. Because of this, all articles in this book referring to PIE, including the above, have had the tense changed from present to past.
NOTES AND REFERENCES
1. A journal of PIE
2. Lee Edwards was later alleged (though unproven) to have given or sold confidential information about PIE and its members to the NEWS OF THE WORLD, which published the details, much of them erroneous, in a front page splash.
3. I refer, of course, to the notorious Conspiracy to Corrupt Public Morals trials of early 1981.
4. Tom O’Carroll (Peter Owen, London, 1980).
5. ‘Men Loving Boys Loving Men’, by Gerald Hannon (BODY POLITIC, March/April, 1979).
6. It was Kenneth Clarke in CIVILISATION who said that ‘nearly all the upward steps in the history of civilisation have been internationalist steps.”
7. CAPITAL GAY (July 15th, 1983).
8. CONTACT! Which was edited by myself, was the internal bulletin of PIE.
9. PAEDOPHILIA: SOME QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS (PIE, 1979).
10. EVIDENCE ON THE LAW RELATING TO, AND PENALTIES FOR, CERTAIN SEXUAL OFFENCES INVOLVING CHILDREN – FOR THE HOME OFFICE CRIMINAL LAW REVISION COMMITTEE, ed. by Keith R. Hose and Michael Burbidge (PIE, 1975).
11. THE LAW RELATING TO CONSENSUAL SEXUAL ACTS: A DISCUSSION PAPER (prepared by The CHE Law Reform Committee’, 1980).
12. Oxley was, at the time of writing, chairman of the right wing National Campaign for Law and Order, which incidentally supports hanging and corporal punishment, and deputy chairman of Mary Whitehouse’s Viewers’ and Listeners’ Association.
13. Even revelations that he was consorting with two other women, despite the fact that he was married, didn’t stop Dickens attacking PIE. Hypocrisy has no bounds, it seems. I often wonder what the dickens the man would do if it weren’t for paedophiles???
14. Well before the Hayman affair, another Establishment figure, Lord Bingham, had also been revealed as a PIE member.
[ADDENDUM: The ‘Lord Bingham’ in question here was Richard Maurice Clive Bigham, Viscount Mersey (1934-2006), who admitted PIE membership and contact with a 10-year old girl, who would remove her clothes when offered money and sweets by him; the girl’s mother went on trial in Manchester Crown Court in 1978 on charges of inciting one of her daughters to commit gross indecency with Bigham. See ‘Peer’s son in sex case ‘revolted”, Glasgow Herald, July 20th, 1978]