I have been informed through a reliable source (not an MP or anyone working for one) that the Labour Party, upon consultation through the Home Office, who are desperate to avoid a third unsuitable chair for the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse, have nominated three possible candidates. These are:
Shami Chakrabarti, barrister and Director of Liberty (formerly the National Council for Civil Liberties) since 2003.
Baroness (Helena) Kennedy QC, barrister specialising in human rights and civil liberties and Labour peer.
Michael Mansfield QC, well-known radical barrister, whose candidacy would certainly be supported by some survivors and their representatives.
These candidates, none of who appear suitable, do however demonstrate the problems with figures close to the Labour Party and associated left wing’s own ‘establishment’, and especially the field of civil liberties and NCCL, about whom there is considerable evidence of strong links to the Paedophile Information Exchange, who they arguably helped to legitimise. I have no doubt that Chakrabarti would do the job extremely well, but because of her position, it would be impossible to guarantee confidence that her work on NCCL would be seen to be fair and objective. I have yet to research properly the extent of Kennedy’s NCCL connections, but certainly there is every likelihood that she is close to many of the individuals who will come under scrutiny, such as Patricia Hewitt and Harriet Harman. Kennedy also chaired an episode of the late night discussion programme After Dark in 2003 in which former PIE chair Tom O’Carroll appeared. It was also recently reported in the Sunday Times that Kennedy had been offered the chair, but had turned it down. Mansfield was very close to NCCL and Harman, working together with her during the key period when the civil liberties organisation was connected to PIE.
All the political parties need to look for candidates for chair not in order to protect their own interests, seen thus as a ‘safe pair of hands’, but who has the requisite degree of independence to consider the major allegations of child abuse occurring at the hands of senior figures in each party, possibly protected by those parties. A political damage limitation exercise on the part of any party would make a mockery of the inquiry.
For my part, I would suggest consideration of lawyer Clive Stafford-Smith, who has done much work defending those on Death Row in the US, and inmates at Guantanamo Bay. Though his specialist area is not child sexual exploitation, Stafford-Smith is a principled individual whose work is mostly abroad, and so would seem to have had less regular contact with the multiple British establishments whose own sorry involvement needs proper scrutiny.
[This post has now been superseded by an updated version – please click onto that to see the most recent information on Morrison as well]
In Edwina Currie’s diary entry for July 24th, 1990, she wrote the following:
One appointment in the recent reshuffle has attracted a lot of gossip and could be very dangerous: Peter Morrison has become the PM’s PPS. Now he’s what they call ‘a noted pederast’, with a liking for young boys; he admitted as much to Norman Tebbit when he became deputy chairman of the party, but added, ‘However, I’m very discreet’ – and he must be! She either knows and is taking a chance, or doesn’t; either way it is a really dumb move. Teresa Gorman told me this evening (in a taxi coming back from a drinks party at the BBC) that she inherited Morrison’s (woman) agent, who claimed to have been offered money to keep quiet about his activities. It scares me, as all the press know, and as we get closer to the election someone is going to make trouble, very close to her indeed. (Edwina Currie, Diaries 1987-1992 (London: Little, Brown, 2002), p. 195)
The agent in question was Frances Mowatt. A 192 search reveals that there is now a Frances Mowatt, aged 65+, living in Billericay in Essex, Teresa Gorman’s old constituency.
The following are the recollections of Grahame Nicholls, who ran the Chester Trades Council (Morrison was the MP for Chester from 1974 to 1992), who wrote:
After the 1987 general election, around 1990, I attended a meeting of Chester Labour party where we were informed by the agent, Christine Russell, that Peter Morrison would not be standing in 1992. He had been caught in the toilets at Crewe station with a 15-year-old boy. A deal was struck between Labour, the local Tories, the local press and the police that if he stood down at the next election the matter would go no further. Chester finished up with Gyles Brandreth and Morrison walked away scot-free. I thought you might be interested. (cited in ‘Simon Hoggart’s week’, The Guardian, November 16th, 2012)
Sir Peter Morrison (1944-1995) was known, according to an obituary by Patrick Cosgrove, as a right winger who disliked immigration, supported the return of capital punishment, and wished to introduce vouchers for education. He was from a privileged political family; his father, born John Morrison, became Lord Margadale, the squire of Fonthill, led the campaign to ensure Alec Douglas-Home became Prime Minister in 1963, and predicted Thatcher’s ultimate accession to the leadership (Sue Reid, ‘Did Maggie know her closest aide was preying on under-age boys?’, Daily Mail, July 12th, 2014, updated July 16th). The young Peter attended Eton College, then Keble College, Oxford. Entering the House of Commons in 1974 at the age of 29, during the first Thatcher government he occupied a series of non-cabinet ministerial positions, then became Deputy Chairman of the Conservative Party in 1986, replacing Jeffrey Archer after his resignation, and working under Chairman Norman Tebbitt. His sister, Dame Mary Morrison, became a lady-in-waiting to the Queen (Gyles Brandreth, ”I was abused by my choir master’: In a brave and haunting account, TV star and ex MP Gyles Brandreth reveals the years of abuse he endured at prep school’, Daily Mail, September 12th, 2014).
Morrison was close to Thatcher from when he entered Parliament (see Thatcher, The Downing Street Years (London: Harper Collins, 1993), p. 837), working for her 1975 leadership campaign and, after she became Prime Minister, putting her and Denis up for holiday in the 73 000 acre estate owned by his father in Islay, where games of charades were played (Jonathan Aitken, Margaret Thatcher: Power and Personality (London: Bloomsbury, 2013), pp. 158-160, 279-281). After being appointed as Thatcher’s Parliamentary Private Secretary in 1990, he ran what is generally believed to have been a complacent and lacklustre leadership campaign for her when she was challenged by Michael Heseltine; as is well-known, she did not gain enough votes to prevent a second ballot, and then resigned soon afterwards. Morrison was known to some others as ‘a toff’s toff’, who ‘made it very clear from the outset that he did not intend spending time talking to the plebs’ on the backbenches (Stephen Norris, Changing Trains: An Autobiography (London: Hutchinson, 1996), p. 149).
Jonathan Aitken, a close friend of Morrison’s, would later write the following about him:
I knew Peter Morrison as well as anyone in the House. We had been school friends. He was the best man at my wedding in St Margaret’s, Westminster. We shared many private and political confidences. So I knew the immense pressures he was facing at the time when he was suddenly overwhelmed with the greatest new burden imaginable – running the Prime Minister’s election campaign.
Sixteen years in the House of Commons had treated Peter badly. His health had deteriorated. He had an alcohol problem that made him ill, overweight and prone to take long afternoon naps. In the autumn of 1990 he became embroiled in a police investigation into aspects of his personal life. The allegations against him were never substantiated, and the inquiry was subsequently dropped. But at the time of the leadership election, Peter was worried, distracted and unable to concentrate. (Aitken, Margaret Thatcher, pp. 625-626).
An important article by Nick Davies published in The Guardian in April 1998, also made the following claim:
Fleet Street routinely nurtures a crop of untold stories about powerful abusers who have evaded justice. One such is Peter Morrison, formerly the MP for Chester and the deputy chairman of the Conservative Party. Ten years ago, Chris House, the veteran crime reporter for the Sunday Mirror, twice received tip-offs from police officers who said that Morrison had been caught cottaging in public toilets with underaged boys and had been released with a caution. A less powerful man, the officers complained, would have been charged with gross indecency or an offence against children.
At the time, Chris House confronted Morrison, who used libel laws to block publication of the story. Now, Morrison is dead and cannot sue. Police last week confirmed that he had been picked up twice and never brought to trial. They added that there appeared to be no trace of either incident in any of the official records. (Nick Davies, ‘The sheer scale of child sexual abuse in Britain’, The Guardian, April 1998).
Recently, the former editor of the Sunday Mirror, Paul Connew, has revealed how he was told in 1994 by House of the stories concerning Morrison. Connew has revealed that it was a police officer who was the source, dismayed by the lack of action after Morrison had been arrested for sexually molesting under-age boys; the officer revealed how Morrison had attempted to ‘pull rank’ by demanding to see the most senior officer, and announcing proudly who he was. All the paperwork relating to the arrest simply ‘disappeared’. Connew sent a reporter to confront Morrison at his Chester home, but Morrison dismissed the story and made legal threats, which the paper was not able to counter without naming their police source, which was impossible. The story ultimately died, though Connew was able to establish that in the senior echelons of Scotland Yard, Morrison’s arrest and proclivities were no secret; he had been arrested on multiple occasions in both Chester and London, always hushed up (Paul Connew, ‘Commentary: how paedophile Peter Morrison escaped exposure’, Exaro News, September 26th, 2014).
In an article in the Daily Mail published in October 2012, former Conservative MP and leader of the Welsh Tories Rod Richards claimed that Morrison (and another Tory grandee who has not been named) was connected to the terrible abuse scandals in Bryn Estyn and Bryn Alyn children’s homes, in North Wales, having seen documents which identified both politicians as frequent, unexplained visitors. Richards also claimed that William Hague, who was Secretary of State for Wales from 1995 to 1997, and who set up the North Wales Child Abuse inquiry, would have seen the files on Morrison, but sources close to Hague denied that he had seen any such material. A former resident of the Bryn Estyn care home testified to Channel 4 News, testified to seeing Morrison arrive there on five occasions, and may have driven off with a boy in his car (‘Exclusive: Eyewitness ‘saw Thatcher aide take boys to abuse”, Channel 4 News, November 6th, 2012; see also Reid, ‘Did Maggie know her closest aide was preying on under-age boys?’).
Morrison’s successor as MP for Chester, Gyles Brandreth, wrote that he and his wife Michelle had been told on the doorstep repeatedly and emphatically that the MP was ‘a disgusting pervert’ (David Holmes, ‘Former Chester MP Peter Morrison implicated in child abuse inquiry’, Chester Chronicle, November 8th, 2012). More recently, in a build-up to the launch of a new version of Brandreth’s diaries, which suggested major new revelations but delivered little, Brandreth merely added that when canvassing in 1991 ‘we were told that Morrison was a monster who interfered with children’, and added:
At the time, I don’t think I believed it. People do say terrible things without justification. Beyond the fact that his drinking made Morrison appear unprepossessing — central casting’s idea of what a toff paedophile might look like — no one was offering anything to substantiate their slurs.
At the time, I never heard anything untoward about Morrison from the police or from the local journalists — and I gossiped a good deal with them. Four years after stepping down, Peter Morrison was dead of a heart attack.
What did Mrs Thatcher know of his alleged dark side? When I talked to her about him, I felt she had the measure of the man. She knew he was homosexual, and she knew he was a drinker. She was fond of him, clearly, but told me that he had ruined himself through ‘self-indulgence’ — much as Reginald Maudling had done a generation earlier. (Brandreth, ”I was abused by my choir master’)
Brandreth did however crucially mention that William Hague had told him in 1996 that Morrison’s name might feature in connection with the inquiry into child abuse in North Wales, specifically in connection to Bryn Estyn, thus corroborating Rod Richard’s account, though Brandreth also pointed out that the Waterhouse report made no mention of Morrison (Brandreth, ”I was abused by my choir master’).
The journalist Simon Heffer has also said that rumours about Morrison were circulating in Tory top ranks as early as 1988, whilst Tebbit has admitted hearing rumours ‘through unusual channels’, then confronting Morrison about them, which he denied (Reid, ‘Did Maggie know her closest aide was preying on under-age boys?’); Tebbit, who has suggested that a cover-up of high-level abuse by politicians is likely, now concedes that he had been ‘naive’ in believing Morrison, and rejected Currie’s account of Morrison having admitted his offences to him (James Lyons, ‘Norman Tebbit admits he heard rumours top Tory was paedophile a decade before truth revealed’, Daily Mirror, July 8th, 2014). The novelist Frederick Forsyth, on the other hand, described Morrison as someone ‘who should have been exposed many years ago’, as well as being a politically incompetent alcoholic; however, as far as his sexual offences were concerned, Forsyth claimed Thatcher ‘suspected nothing’ (Frederick Forsyth, ‘Debauched and dissolute fool’, The Express, July 18th, 2014)
Recently, Thatcher’s bodyguard Barry Strevens has come forward to claim that he told Thatcher directly about allegations of Morrison holding sex parties at his house with underage boys (one aged 15), when told about this by a senior Cheshire Police Officer. (see Lynn Davidson, ‘Exclusive: Thatcher’s Bodyguard on Abuse Claims’, The Sun on Sunday, July 27th, 2014 (article reproduced in comments below); and Matt Chorley, ‘Barry Strevens says he told Iron Lady about rumours about Peter Morrison’, Mail on Sunday, July 27th, 2014; see also Loulla-Mae Eleftheriou-Smith, ‘Thatcher ‘was warned of Tory child sex party claims’’, The Independent, July 27th, 2014). Strevens claimed to have had a meeting with the PM and her PPS Archie Hamilton (now Baron Hamilton of Epsom), which he had requested immediately. Strevens had claimed this was right after the Jeffrey Archer scandal; Archer resigned in October 1986, whilst Hamilton was Thatcher’s PPS from 1987 to 1988. Strevens recalls Thatcher simply thanking him and that was the last he heard of it. He said:
I wouldn’t say she (Lady Thatcher) was naive but I would say she would not have thought people around her would be like that.
I am sure he would have given her assurances about the rumours as otherwise she wouldn’t have given him the job.
The accounts by Nicholls and Strevens make clear that the allegations – concerning in one case a 15-year old boy – are more serious than said in a later rendition by Currie, which said merely that Morrison ‘had sex with 16-year-old boys when the age of consent was 21’ (cited in Andrew Sparrow, ‘Politics Live’, The Guardian, October 24th, 2012). A further allegation was made by Peter McKelvie, who led the investigation in 1992 into Peter Righton in an open letter to Peter Mandelson. A British Aerospace Trade Union Convenor had said one member had alleged that Morrison raped him, and he took this to the union’s National HQ, who put it to the Labour front bench. A Labour minister reported back to say that the Tory Front Bench had been approached. This was confirmed, according to McKelvie, by second and third sources, and also alleged that the conversations first took place at a 1993-94 Xmas Party hosted by the Welsh Parliamentary Labour Party. Mandelson has not yet replied.
In the 1997 election, Christine Russell herself displaced Brandreth and she served as Labour MP until 2010, when she was unseated by Conservative MP Stephen Mosely (see entry for ‘Christine Russell’ at politics.co.uk).
In 2013, following the publication of Hoggart’s article citing Nicholls, an online petition was put together calling for an inquiry, and submittted to then Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State Christopher Grayling. Russell denounced the ‘shoddy journalism’ of the Guardian piece, recalled rumours of Morrison’s preferences, but said there was no hint of illegal acts; she did not however rule out an agreement that Morrison should stand down (‘Campaigners ask for inquiry over ex-Chester MP’, Chester Chronicle, January 3rd, 2013).
Further questions now need to be asked of Lord Tebbit, Teresa Gorman, Edwina Currie, William Hague and other senior Tories, not to mention Christine Russell and others in Chester Labour Party, of what was known and apparently covered-up about Morrison. The identity of Morrison and Gorman’s agent (I could find no mention of a name in Gorman’s autobiography No, Prime Minister! (London: John Blake, 2001)) must be established [Edit: this has now been established as Frances Mowatt – see above] and she should be questioned if still around [Which she is, and living in Billericay, according to 192 directory – see above]. If money was involved, as Currie alleges was told to her by Gorman, then the seriousness of the allegations is grave. Just yesterday (October 5th), Currie arrogantly and haughtily declared on Twitter:
@MaraudingWinger @DrTeckKhong @MailOnline I’ve been nicer than many deserve! But I take the consequences, & I do not hide behind anonymity.
@jackaranian @Sunnyclaribel @woodmouse1 I heard only tiny bits of gossip. The guy is dead, go pursue living perps. You’ll do more good
@woodmouse1 @jackaranian @Sunnyclaribel The present has its own demands. We learn from the past, we don’t get obsessive about it. Get real.
@ian_pace @woodmouse1 @jackaranian @Sunnyclaribel And there are abusers in action right now, while you chase famous dead men.
@ian_pace @woodmouse1 @jackaranian @Sunnyclaribel I’d rather police time be spent now on today’s criminals – detect, stop and jail them
@jackaranian @Sunnyclaribel @woodmouse1 Flattered that you think I know so much. Sorry but that’s not so. If you do, go to police
@ian_pace @woodmouse1 @jackaranian @Sunnyclaribel They want current crimes to be dealt with by police, too. And they may need other help.
@ian_pace @woodmouse1 @jackaranian @Sunnyclaribel Of course. But right now, youngsters are being hurt and abused. That matters.
Considering Currie also rubber-stamped the appointment of Jimmy Savile at Broadmoor (Rowena Mason, ‘Edwina Currie voices regrets over Jimmy Savile after inquiry criticism’, The Guardian, Thursday June 26th, 2014) and clearly knew information about Morrison, including claims of bribery of a political agent, known to at least one other MP (Gorman) as well as herself, it should not be surprising that she would want claims of abuse involving dead figures to be sidelined.
This story relates to political corruption at the highest level, with a senior politician near the top of his party involved in the abuse of children, and clear evidence that various others knew about this, but did nothing, and strong suggestions that politicians and police officers conspired to keep this covered up, even using hush money, in such a way which ensured that Morrison was free to keep abusing others until his death. This story must not be allowed to die this time round.
Over on the Spotlight blog, a series of important articles have been posted on paedophilia in academia, focusing on the work of sociologist Ken Plummer at the University of Essex, Len Davis, formerly Lecturer in Social Work at Brunel University, and Donald J. West, Professor of Clinical Criminology at the University of Cambridge. There is much more to be written on the issue of the acceptance of and sometimes propaganda for paedophilia in academic contexts; I have earlier published on the pederastic scholarly writings of Clifford Hindley (formerly a senior civil servant at the Home Office alleged to have secured funding for the Paedophile Information Exchange), as well as the pro-paedophile views of leading feminist and Cambridge University Lecturer Germaine Greer. In several fields, including sociology, social work, classical studies, art history, music, literature and above all gender and sexuality studies, there is much to be read produced in a academic environment, and published by scholarly presses, which goes some way towards the legitimisation of paedophilia. In July, Andrew Gilligan published an article on this subject as continues to exist in some academic summer conferences (Andrew Gilligan, ‘Paedophilia is natural and normal for males’, Sunday Telegraph, July 6th, 2014), whilst Eileen Fairweather has written about how easily many in academia were taken in by the language and rhetoric of PIE, as they ‘adroitly hijacked the language of liberation’, presented themselves in opposition to ‘patriarchy’ and would brand critics homophobic (Eileen Fairweather, ‘We on the Left lacked the courage to be branded ‘homophobic’, so we just ignored it. I wish I hadn’t’, Telegraph, February 22nd, 2014). Back in 1998 Chris Brand, Lecturer in Psychology at the University of Edinburgh, was removed from his post after advocating that consensual paedophilia with an intelligent child was acceptable (see Alastair Dalton, ‘Brand loses job fight over views on child sex’ The Scotsman, March 25th, 1988, reproduced at the bottom of this), but such cases are rare.
I would never advocate censorship of this material or research of this type, but I believe it to be alarming how little critical attention this type of material appears to receive, perhaps still because it is taboo in certain circles to criticise anything which in particular attaches itself to the cause of gay rights (just as victims of female abusers, or researchers into the subject, find themselves under continual attack from some feminists who would prefer for such abuse to continue than for it to disturb their tidy ideologies – see my earlier post on child abuse and identity politics).
I have over a period of time been assembling information on what I would call a paedophile ‘canon’ of writings, many of them produced by academics, which use similar ideologies and rhetoric to attempt to normalise and legitimise paedophilia. Detail on this will have to wait until a later date; for now, I want to draw attention to some of the writings of Emeritus Professor of Sociology and University Director of Research at South Bank University Jeffrey Weeks, previously Executive Dean of Arts and Human Sciences and Dean of Humanities. Rarely has Weeks’ work been subject to critique of this type (one notable exception is Mary Macleod and Esther Saga, ‘A View from the Left: Child Sexual Abuse’, in Martin Loney, Robert Bocock, et al (eds), The State or the Market: Politics and Welfare in Contemporary Britain (London: Sage Books, 1991), pp. 103-110, though this is problematic in other respects).
Weeks was described in a hagiographic article from 2008 as ‘the most significant British intellectual working on sexuality to emerge from the radical sexual movements of the 1970s’ (Matthew Waites, ‘Jeffrey Weeks and the History of Sexuality’, History Workshop Journal, Vol. 69, No. 1 (2010), pp. 258-266), having been involved the early days of the Gay Liberation Front and their branch formed at the London School of Economics in 1970. He published first in Gay News, and was a founding member of the Gay Left collective; their ‘socialist journal’ included several pro-paedophile articles (all can be downloaded here – see in particular issues 7 and 8). Weeks’ first book, Socialism and the New Life: the Personal and Sexual Politics of Edward Carpenter and Havelock Ellis (London: Pluto Press, 1977) was co-authored with Sheila Rowbotham; Rowbotham wrote on Edward Carpenter, who was a key member of the ‘Uranian’ poets, who have been described as ‘the forerunners of PIE’; the volume completely ignored any of this.
In the preface to the paedophile volume The Betrayal of Youth: Radical Perspectives on Childhood Sexuality, Intergenerational Sex, and the Social Oppression of Children and Young People (London: CL Publications, 1986), editor Warren Middleton (aka John Parratt, former vice-chair of the Paedophile Information Exchange and editor of Understanding Paedophilia, who was later jailed for possession of indecent images), acknowledged Weeks gratefully alongside members of the PIE Executive Committee and others who had ‘read the typescripts, made useful suggestion, and, where necessary, grammatical corrections’.
Here I am reproducing passages from four of Weeks’ books, which should make his positions relatively clear. The first gives a highly sanitised view of the paedophile movements PAL and PIE, accepting completely at face value the idea that they were simply ‘a self-help focus for heterosexual as well as homosexual pedophiles, giving mutual support to one another, exchanging views and ideas and encouraging research’, whose ‘method was the classical liberal one of investigation and public debate’ (rather than a contact group for abusers and for sharing images of child abuse, as was well-known and documented by this stage), and more concerned about the tabloid reaction than about their victims. It is a lousy piece of scholarship as well, considering this is a revised edition from 1997 (the book was earlier published in 1977, 1980 and 1993); Weeks breaks one of the first principles of scholarship by shelving information which does not suit his a priori argument, thus saying nothing about the various members of PIE who had been convicted and imprisoned (or fled the country) for offences against children, including most of its leading members, claiming that the involvement of the Campaign for Homosexual Equality was due to its being ‘gratutiously dragged in’, ignoring the fact of their having made public statements of support at their 1974 conference (of which Weeks, at the centre of this movement, would have been well-aware). The second, on ‘intergenerational sex’ (an academic term used to make paedophilia sound more acceptable) is backed up by a range of references which is almost like a who’s who of paedophile advocates, many treated as if reliable scholarly sources rather than the child abuse propaganda they are. In common with many left-liberal writers on paedophilia, he does not endorse sex between adult men and young girls, but applies a very different set of standards when boys are concerned. The third passage is more subtle, appearing to distance Weeks from the view of J.Z. Eglinton and others, but again (drawing upon Brian Taylor’s contribution to the volume Perspectives on Paedophilia) ends up trying to make distinctions in such a way that some child abuse is made less serious. The fourth takes an angle familiar from Peter Righton and others; as abuse mostly takes place in the family, the risks from other types of paedophiles end up being little more than a moral panic.
Weeks’ minimisation of concern about sexual exploitation of boys, and concomitant greater sympathy with gay abusers than their victims, resonates with the view coming from the Labour Party at the moment, with the Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper determined to make child abuse purely an issue affecting girls. Furthermore, the Labour Deputy Leader Harriet Harman, as is now well-known, was involved at the centre of the National Council for Civil Liberties when they were closely linked to PIE (whose membership were overwhelmingly adult males looking to have sexual relations with boys). Under General Secretary Patricia Hewitt, NCCL submitted a document in 1976 to the Criminal Law Revision Committee, arguing amongst other things that ‘Childhood sexual experiences, willingly engaged in, with an adult result in no identifiable damage. The Criminal Law Revision Committee should be prepared to accept the evidence form follow-up research on child ‘victims’ which show that there is little subsequent effect after a child has been ‘molested’’, echoing PIE’s own submission on the subject. Harman was not involved with NCCL until two years later, but there is nothing to suggest policy changed during her time or she had any wish to change it, whilst during her tenure NCCL went on to advertise in PIE’s house journal Magpie, and had Nettie Pollard, PIE member No. 70, as their Gay and Lesbian Officer. This was the heyday of PIE, and the support of NCCL was a significant factor. Harman, quite incredibly, went on to make paedophile advocate Hewitt godmother to her sons. Cooper is of a different generation, but all her pronouncements suggest the same contemptuous attitude towards young boys, seeing them only as threats to girls and near-animals requiring of taming, rarely thinking about their needs nor treating them as the equally sensitive and vulnerable people they are; with this in mind, abuse of boys is an issue she almost never mentions. It is alarming to me that both Harman and Cooper have parented sons and yet appear to be entirely unwilling to accept that boys deserve equal love and respect, nor keen to confront the scale of organised institutional abuse of boys
Though considering the number of stories involving Labour figures alleged to have abused or colluded with the abuse of young boys (I think of the cases in Leicester, Lambeth, the relationship of senior Labour figures to PIE, not just Harman, her husband Dromey, and Hewitt, but also former leadership candidate Bryan Gould, who made clear his endorsement for the organisation (see also this BBC feature from earlier this year; the relationship of the late Jo Richardson to the organisation also warrants further investigation), not to mention the vast amount of organised abuse which was able to proceed unabated in Islington children’s homes when the council was led by Margaret Hodge, who incredibly was later appointed Children’s Minister, the allegations around former Speaker of the House of Commons George Thomas aka Lord Tonypandy, and some other members of the New Labour government who have been identified as linked to Operation Ore; and the support and protection afforded to Peter Righton by many on the liberal left), it is not surprising if the Labour frontbench want to make the sexual abuse of boys a secondary issue. This is unfortunately a common liberal-left view, and a reason to fear the consequences of some such people being in charge of children at all, whether as parents or in other roles. There are those who see young boys purely as a problem, little more than second-best girls, to be metaphorically beaten into shape, though always viewed as dangerous, substandard, and not to be trusted; this in itself is already a type of abuse, but such a view also makes it much easier to overlook the possibility their being sexually interfered with and anally raped (not to mention also being the victims of unprovoked violence) – the consequences are atrocious. Many young boys were sexually abused by members of the paedophile organisation that Harman, Hewitt, Dromey et al helped to legitimise (I am of a generation with many of the boys who appeared in sexualized pictures aged around 10 or under in the pages of Magpie; I was fortunate in avoiding some of their fate, others were not); it is right that they should never be allowed to forget this, and it thoroughly compromises their suitability for public office. The Labour Party and the liberal left in general, have a lot of work to do if they are not to be seen as primary advocates for and facilitators for boy rape. In no sense should this be seen as any type of attack on the fantastic work done by MPs such as Simon Danczuk, Tom Watson or John Mann, or many other non-politicians working in a similar manner; but the left needs rescuing from a middle-class liberal establishment who are so blinkered by ideology as to end up dehumanising and facilitating the sexual abuse of large numbers of people. Weeks, Plummer, West, Davies, Greer, Millett, Hindley, and others I will discuss on a later occasion such as Mary McIntosh, are all part of this tendency.
Jeffrey Weeks, Coming Out: Homosexual Politics in Britain from the Nineteenth Century to the Present, revised and updated edition (London & New York: Quartet Books, 1997)
‘Even more controversial and divisive was the question of pedophilia. Although the most emotive of issues, it was one which centrally and radically raised the issue of the meaning and implications of sexuality. But it also had the disadvantage for the gay movement that it threatened to confirm the persistent stereotype of the male homosexual as a ‘child molester’. As a result, the movement generally sought carefully to distance itself from the issue. Recognition of the centrality of childhood and the needs of children had been present in post-1968 radicalism, and had found its way into early GLF ideology. The GLF gave its usual generous support to the Schools Action Union, a militant organization of schoolchildren, backed the short-lived magazine Children’s Rights in 1972, campaigned against the prosecutions of Oz (for the schoolchildren’s issue) and the Little Red Schoolbook. But the latter, generally a harmless and useful manual for children, illustrated the difficulties of how to define sexual contact between adults and children in a non-emotive or moralistic way. In its section on this, the Little Red Schoolbook stressed, rightly, that rape or violence were rare in such contacts, but fell into the stereotyped reaction by talking of ‘child molesting’ and ‘dirty old men’: ‘they’re just men who have nobody to sleep with’; and ‘if you see or meet a man like this, don’t panic, go and tell your teacher or your parents about it’. 
But the issue of childhood sexuality and of pedophile relationships posed massive problems both of sexual theory and of social practice. If an encounter between child and adult was consensual and mutually pleasurable, in what way could or should it be deemed harmful? This led on to questions of what constituted harm, what was consent, at what age could a child consent, at what age should a child be regarded as free from parental control, by what criteria should an adult sexually attracted to children be judged responsible? These were real questions which had to be faced if any rational approach was to emerge, but too often they were swept aside in a tide of revulsion.
A number of organizations in and around the gay movement made some effort to confront these after 1972 on various levels. Parents Enquiry, established in South London in 1972 by Rose Robertson, attempted to cope with some of the problems of young homosexuals, particularly in their relationships with their parents. Her suburban middle-class respectability gave her a special cachet, and with a series of helpers she was able to help many young people to adjust to their situation by giving advice, holding informal gatherings, mediating with parents and the authorities.  More radical and controversial were two pedophile self-help organizations which appeared towards the end of 1974: PAL (originally standing for Pedophile Action for Liberation) and PIE (Pedophile Information Exchange). Their initial stimulus was the hostility they felt to be directed at their sexual predilections within the gay movement itself, but they both intended to act as a self-help focus for heterosexual as well as homosexual pedophiles, giving mutual support to one another, exchanging views and ideas and encouraging research. The sort of gut reaction such moves could provoke was illustrated by a Sunday People ‘exposé’ of PAL, significantly in the Spring Bank Holiday issue in 1975. It was headed ‘An Inquiry that will Shock every Mum and Dad’, and then, in its boldest type, ‘The Vilest Men in Britain’.  Despite the extreme hyperbole and efforts of the paper and of Members of Parliament, no criminal charges were brought, since no illegal deeds were proved. But it produced a scare reaction in parts of the gay movement, especially as CHE had been gratuitously dragged in by the newspaper.
Neither of the pedophile groups could say ‘do it’ as the gay liberation movement had done, because of the legal situation. Their most hopeful path lay in public education and in encouraging debate about the sexual issues involved. PIE led the way in this regard, engaging in polemics in various gay and non-gay journals, conducting questionnaires among its membership (about two hundred strong) and submitting evidence to the Criminal Law Revision Committee, which was investigating sexual offences.  PIE’s evidence, which advocated formal abolition of the age of consent while retaining non-criminal provisions to safeguard the interests of the child against violence, set the tone for its contribution. Although openly a grouping of men and women sexually attracted to children (and thus always under the threat of police investigation), the delicacy of its position dictated that its method was the classical liberal one of investigation and public debate. Significantly, the axes of the social taboo had shifted from homosexuality to conceptually disparate forms of sexual variation. For most homosexuals this was a massive relief, and little enthusiasm was demonstrated for new crusades on wider issues of sexuality. (pp. 225-227)
28. Sven Hansen and Jasper Jensen, The Little Red School-book, Stage 1, 1971, p. 103. See the ‘Appeal to Youth’ in Come Together, 8, published for the GLF Youth Rally, 28 August 1971.
29. See her speech to the CHE Morecambe Conference, quoted in Gay News, 21.
30. Sunday People, 25 May 1975. For the inevitable consequences of this type of unprincipled witchhunt, see South London Press, 30 May 1975: ‘Bricks hurled at “sex-ring” centre house’, describing an attack on one of the addresses named in the Sunday People article.
31. There is a brief note on PIE’s questionnaire in New Society, vol. 38, No. 736, 11 November 1976, p. 292 (‘Taboo Tabled’).
Jeffrey Weeks, Sexuality and its Discontents: Meanings, Myths & Modern Sexualities (London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1985).
Intergenerational sex and consent
If public sex constitutes one area of moral anxiety, another, greater, one, exists around intergenerational sex. Since at least the eighteenth century children’s sexuality has been conventionally defined as a taboo area, as childhood began to be more sharply demarcated as an age of innocence and purity to be guarded at all costs from adult corruption. Masturbation in particular became a major topic of moral anxiety, offering the curious spectacle of youthful sex being both denied and described, incited and suppressed. ‘Corruption of youth’ is an ancient charge, but it has developed a new resonance over the past couple of centuries. The real curiosity is that while the actuality is of largely adult male exploitation of young girls, often in and around the home, male homosexuals have frequently been seen as the chief corrupters, to the extent that in some rhetoric ‘homosexual’ and ‘child molesters’ are coequal terms. As late as the 1960s progressive texts on homosexuality were still preoccupied with demonstrating that homosexuals were not, by and large, interested in young people, and even in contemporary moral panics about assaults on children it still seems to be homosexual men who are investigated first. As Daniel Tsang has argued, ‘the age taboo is much more a proscription against gay behaviour than against heterosexual behaviour.’  Not surprisingly, given this typical association, homosexuality and intergenerational sex have been intimately linked in the current crisis over sexuality.
Alfred Kinsey was already noting the political pay-off in child-sex panics in the late 1940s. In Britain in the early 1960s Mrs Mary Whitehouse launched her campaigns to clean up TV, the prototype of later evangelical campaigns, on the grounds that children were at risk, and this achieved a strong resonance. Anita Bryant’s anti-gay campaign in Florida from 1976 was not accidentally called ‘Save Our Children, Inc.’. Since these pioneering efforts a series of moral panics have swept countries such as the USA, Canada, Britain and France, leading to police harassment of organisations, attacks on publications, arrests of prominent activists, show trials and imprisonments.  Each panic shows the typical profile, with the escalation through various stages of media and moral manipulation until the crisis is magically resolved by some symbolic action. The great ‘kiddie-porn’ panic in 1977 in the USA and Britain led to the enactment of legislation in some 35 American states and in Britain. The guardians of morality may have given up hope of changing adult behaviour, but they have made a sustained effort to protect our young, whether from promiscuous gays, lesbian parents or perverse pornographers. 
From the point of view of moral absolutism intergenerational sex poses no problem of interpretation. It is wrong because it breaches the innocence necessary for mature development. The English philosopher, Roger Scruton, suggested that we are disgusted by it ‘because we subscribe, in our hearts, to the value of innocence’. Prolonged innocence is the prerequisite to total surrender in adult love. Erotic love, he argues, arises from modesty, restraint and chastity. This means ‘we must not only foster those necessary virtues, but also silence those who teach the language which demeans them.’  So ‘intolerance’ is not only understandable but virtually necessary—there are no liberal concessions here.
Liberals and radicals on the other hand have found it more difficult to confront the subject. It does not easily fit into the rhetoric of rights—whose rights, and how are they to be expressed: the child’s, the adult’s? Nor can it be dealt with straightforwardly by the idea of consent. Kinsey argued that in a sense this was a non issue: there was no reason, except our exaggerated fear of sexuality, why a child should be disturbed at seeing the genitalia of others, or at being played with, and it was more likely to be adult reactions that upset the child than the sexual activity itself.  This has been echoed by the advocates of intergenerational sex themselves. David Thorstad of the North American Man-Boy Love Association (NAMBLA) argued that ‘if it feels good, and the boy wants it and enjoys it, then I fail to see why anyone besides the two persons involved should care.’ Tom O’Carroll, whose Paedophilia: The Radical Case is the most sustained advocacy of the subject, suggested that:
The usual mistake is to believe that sexual activity, especially for children, is so alarming and dangerous that participants need to have an absolute, total awareness of every conceivable ramification of taking part before they can be said to consent…there is no need whatever for a child to know ‘the consequences’ of engaging in harmless sex play, simply because it is exactly that: harmless. 
There are two powerful arguments against this. The first, put forward by many feminists, is that young people, especially young girls, do need protection from adult men in an exploitative and patriarchal society, whatever the utopian possibilities that might exist in a different society. The age of consent laws currently in operation may have degrees of absurdity about them (they vary from state to state, country to country, they differentially apply to girls and boys, and they are only selectively operated) but at least they provide a bottom line in the acceptance of appropriate behaviour. This suggests that the real debate should be about the appropriate minimum age for sex rather than doing away with the concept of consent altogether.  Secondly, there is the difficult and intricate problem of subjective meaning. The adult is fully aware of the sexual connotations of his actions because he (and it is usually he) lives in a world of heavily sexualised symbols and language. The young person does not. In a recent study of twenty-five boys engaged in homosexual paedophile relations the author, Theo Sandfort, found that ‘Potentially provocative acts which children make are not necessarily consciously intended to be sexual and are only interpreted by the older persons as having a sexual element.’  This indicates an inherent and inevitable structural imbalance in awareness of the situation. Against this, it might be argued that it is only the exalted cultural emphasis we place on sex that makes this an issue. That is undoubtedly true, but it does not remove the fact of that ascribed importance. We cannot unilaterally escape the grid of meaning that envelops us.
This is tactily accepted by paedophile activists themselves who have found it necessary to adopt one or other (and sometimes both) of two types of legitimation. The first, the ‘Greek love’, legitimation basically argues for the pedagogic value of adult-child relations, between males. It suggests—relying on a mythologised version of ancient Greek practices—that in the passage from childhood dependence to adult responsibilities the guidance, sexual and moral, of a caring man is invaluable. This position is obviously paternalistic and is also often antihomosexual; for it is not the gay nature of the relationship that is stressed, but the age divide and the usefulness of the experience for later heterosexual adjustment. The second legitimation relies on the facts of childhood sexuality. O’Carroll carefully assesses the evidence for the existence of childhood sex to argue for the oppressiveness of its denial.  But of course an ‘is’ does not necessarily make an ‘ought’, nor does the acceptance of childhood sex play inevitably mean the toleration of adult-child relations.
It is difficult to confront the issue rationally because of the series of myths that shroud the topic. But all the available evidence suggests that the stereotypes of intergenerational sex obscure a complex reality.  The adult is usually seen as ‘a dirty old man’, typically ‘a stranger’ to the assaulted child, as ‘sick’ or an ‘inhuman monster’. Little of this seems to be true, at least of those we might describe as the political paedophile. He is scarcely an ‘old man’ (the membership of the English Paedophile Information Exchange, PIE, varied in age from 20 to over 60, with most clustered between 35 and 40); he is more likely to be a professional person than the average member of the population (only 14 per cent of PIE members were blue collar workers); he is more often than not a friend or relation of the child; and to outward appearances is not a ‘special type of person’ but an apparently healthy and ordinary member of the community. His chief distinguishing characteristic is an intense, but often highly affectionate and even excessively sentimental, regard for young people. 
The sexual involvement itself is typically seen as being an assault on extremely young, usually pre-pubertal, people. The members of PIE, which generally is preoccupied with relations with pre-pubertal children, seem chiefly interested in boys between 12 and 14, though heterosexual paedophiles tended to be interested in girls between 8 and 10. This is less startling than the stereotype of babies barely out of the cradle being assaulted but poses nevertheless difficult questions about where protection and care ends and exploitation begins. Most members of NAMBLA, on the other hand, which has attracted obloquy in the USA as great as PIE has attracted in Britain, have a quite different profile. They appear to be chiefly interested in boys between 14 and 19. As Tom Reeves, a prominent spokesman for man/boy love, has put it:
My own sexuality is as little concerned with children, however, as it is with women. It is self-consciously homosexual, but it is directed at boys at that time in their lives when they cease to be children yet refuse to be men. 
Self-identified ‘boy-lovers’ like Reeves scarcely fit into any conceivable picture of a ‘child molester’. They carefully distinguish their own practices from sex between men and girls which ‘seems to be a reprehensible form of power tripping as it has been reported by women’; and stress the beneficial aspects for adult and young partners of the sexual relationship.
When the official age of consent in France is 15 for boys and girls in heterosexual and homosexual relations (compared to 16 for girls in Britain, and 21 for male homosexuals), and when in the 1890s Krafft-Ebing fixed on 14 for the dividing line between sexually mature and immature individuals,  the fear that NAMBLA is attempting a corruption of young people seems excessive.
The young people themselves are typically seen as innocent victims. Certainly, many children are cruelly assaulted by adults, but in relations involving self-identified paedophiles or ‘boy lovers’ there seems to be no evidence of either cruelty or violence. Sandfort found that in his sample the boys overwhelmingly experienced their sexual activities as positive. The most common evaluative terms used were ‘nice’, ‘happy’, ‘free’, ‘safe’, ‘satisfied’, and even ‘proud’ and ‘strong’; and only minimally were negative terms such as ‘angry’, ‘sad’, ‘lonely’ used. Even when these negative terms were used, it was largely because of the secrecy often necessary and the knowledge of hostile norms and reactions, not because of the sexual contact itself.  There is strong evidence that the trauma of public exposure and of parental and police involvement is often greater than the trauma of the sex itself. Moreover, many adult-child relations are initiated by the young person himself. A young member of NAMBLA was asked ‘You can be desperate for sex at 13?’ He replied, ‘Oh yes’.  Force seems to be very rare in such relations, and there is little evidence amongst self-declared paedophiles or ‘boy lovers’ of conscious exploitation of young people.
All this suggests that intergenerational sex is not a unitary category. Brian Taylor has distinguished eight possible categories which pinpoints the existence of ‘paedophilias’ rather than a single ‘paedophilia’. There are the conventional distinctions between ‘paedophiles’ (generally those interested in prepubertal sex partners), ‘pederasts’ (those interested in boys) and ‘ephobophiles’ (those interested in adolescents). But distinctions can also be made on gender of the older person or the younger person and along lines of homosexuality and heterosexuality. This variety suggests we need to be equally discrete in our responses.  There are three continuums of behaviour and attitude which interweave haphazardly. Firstly, there is a continuum of beliefs and attitudes, from the actual violent assaulter at one end to the political paedophile at the other. These can not readily be put in the same class for approval or disapproval. Most people brought before the courts for child abuse are heterosexual men who usually view their girl victims as substitutes for real women. Most activists who court publicity (and risk imprisonment themselves, as happened to Tom O’Carroll of PIE in 1981) have adopted a political identity, which sometimes does not coincide with their actual sexual desires (both NAMBLA and PIE had members interested in older teenagers) but is built around an exaggerated respect for children.  It is not obvious that all people involved in intergenerational sex should be treated in the same way by the law or public opinion if intentions or desires are very distinct.
A second continuum is of sexual practices. Some researchers have found coitus rare. It seems that the great majority of heterosexual paedophilia consists of ‘sex play’, such as looking, showing and fondling, and much homosexual involvement seems to be similar. Tom O’Carroll has suggested that these sexual distinctions should be codified, so that intercourse would be prohibited before a certain minimum age of twelve.  But bisecting these nuances, problematical in themselves, are two other crucial distinctions, between boy partners and girl, and between heterosexual and homosexual relations. There is a strong case for arguing that it is not the sex act in itself which needs to be evaluated, but its context. It is difficult to avoid the justice of the feminist argument that in our culture it is going to be very difficult for a relationship between a heterosexual man and a young girl to be anything but exploitative and threatening, whatever the sexual activity. It is the power asymmetry that has effect. There is still a power imbalance between an adult man and a young boy but it does not carry the socio-sexual implications that a heterosexual relation inevitably does. Should these different types of relation carry the same condemnation?
The third continuum covers the age of the young people involved. There is obviously a qualitative difference between a 3-year-old partner and a 14-year-old and it is difficult to see how any sexual order could ever ignore this (even the PIE proposals, which first sparked off the panic about paedophile cradle snatching in Britain, actually proposed a set of protections for very young children). ‘Sex before eight, or it’s too late’, the reputed slogan of the American René Guyon Society, founded in 1962 to promote intergenerational sex, is not likely to inspire widespread support, because it imposes sex as an imperative just as now our moral guardians would impose innocence. There is a strong case for finding non-legal means of protecting young children, as Tom O’Carroll has suggested, because it is clear that the law has a damaging and stigmatising impact.  But protection of the very young from unwanted attentions will always be necessary. The difficult question is when does protection become stifling paternalism and ‘adult oppression’. Puberty is one obvious landmark, but the difficulty of simply adopting this as a dividing point is that physiological change does not necessarily coincide with social or subjective changes. It is here that it is inescapably necessary to shift focus, to explore the meanings of the sex play for the young people involved.
Kate Millett has powerfully underlined the difficulties of intergenerational sex when adult/child relations are irreducibly exploitative, and pointed to the problems of a paedophile movement which is arguing for the rights of adults. What is our freedom fight about? she asks. ‘Is it about the liberation of children or just having sex with them?’  If a progressive sexual politics is fundamentally concerned with sexual self-determination then it becomes impossible to ignore the evolving self-awareness of the child. That means discouraging the unwelcome imposition of adult meanings and needs on the child, not simply because they are sexual but because they are external and adult. On the other hand, it does mean providing young people with full access to the means of sexual knowledge and protection as it becomes appropriate. There is no magic age for this ‘appropriateness’. Each young person will have their own rhythms, needs and time scale. But the starting point can only be the belief that sex in itself is not an evil or dirty experience. It is not sex that is dangerous but the social relations which shape it. In this context the idea of consent takes on a new meaning. There is a tension in consent theory between the political conservatism of most of its adherents, and the radical voluntarism implicit in it. 50 For the idea of consent ultimately challenges all authority in the name of free self-determination. Certain categories of people have always been deemed incapable of full consent or of refusing ‘consent’—women in marriage, certain children, especially girls, under a certain age, classes of women in rape cases. By extending the idea of consent beyond the narrow limits currently employed in minimum age or age of consent legislation, by making it a positive concept rather than simply a negatively protective or gender-dichotomised one, it may become possible to realize that radical potential again. That would transform the debate about intergenerational sex, shifting the focus away from sex in itself to the forms of power in which it is enmeshed, and the limits these inscribe for the free play of consent. (pp. 223-231)
29. See, for example, Daniel Tsang, ‘Struggling Against Racism’ in Tsang (ed.), The Age Taboo, pp. 161-2.
30. Ibid., p. 8. There are plentiful examples of the automatic association made between male homosexuality and child molesting. In the year I write this, 1983, there has been a rich crop of them in Britain, with the low point being reached in the Brighton rape case, August 1983, where a deplorable assault on a young boy led to a rapacious press attack on the local gay community and legal action against members of the Paedophile Information Exchange, who were in no way connected with the case. The moral panic had found its victims; calm was restored; but the three men who actually assaulted the child were never found.
31. Kinsey et al., Sexual Behavior in the Human Female, p. 117, note 16; Mary Whitehouse, Cleaning-up TV. From Protest to Participation, London, Blandford Press, 1967, and A Most Dangerous Woman?, Tring, Herts, Lion Publishing, 1982; Anita Bryant, The Anita Bryant Story. For general commentaries on events see the articles in Tsang, The Age Taboo; Altman, The Homosexualization of America, pp. 198ff; Mitzel, The Boston Sex Scandal, Boston, Glad Day Books, 1980; Tom O’Carroll, Paedophilia: The Radical Case, London, Peter Owen, 1980, ch. 12; Ken Plummer, ‘Images of Paedophilia’ in M. Cook and G.D. Wilson (eds), Love and Attraction: An International Conference, Oxford, Pergamon, 1979; Major events included the Revere ‘Sex Scandal’ in Boston, the raid on Body Politic following its publication of the article ‘Men Loving Boys Loving Men’ in Dec. 1977; the ‘kiddie porn’ panic of 1977; the trial of Tom O’Carroll and others in England for conspiracy to corrupt public morals in 1981.
32. Pat Califia, ‘The Age of Consent; An Issue and its Effects on the Gay Movement’, The Advocate, 30 October 1980, p. 17. See also Florence Rush, ‘Child Pornography’ in Lederer (ed.), Take Back the Night, pp. 71-81; Illinois Legislative Investigating Commission, Sexual Exploitation of Children, Chicago, The Commission, 1980 (see further references in Tsang, op. cit., pp. 169-70); and on similar events in Britain Whitehouse, A Most Dangerous Woman?, ch. 13, ‘Kiddie Porn’, pp. 146ff.
33. Roger Scruton, The Times (London), 13 September 1983.
34. Kinsey et al., Sexual Behavior in the Human Female, p. 121.
35. Interview by Guy Hocquenghem with David Thorstad in Semiotext(e) Special: Large Type Series: Loving Boys, Summer 1980, p. 34; Tom O’Carroll, Paedophilia, p. 153.
36. See, for example, ‘“Lesbians Rising” Editors Speak Out’ in Tsang, op. cit., pp. 125-32; Stevi Jackson, Childhood and Sexuality, Oxford, Basil Blackwell, 1982, ch. 9. See also, Elizabeth Wilson’s comments on the debate about proposals to lower the age of consent in England in What is to be Done about Violence against Women? p. 205.
37. Theo Sandfort, The Sexual Aspects of Paedophile Relations: The Experience of Twenty-Five Boys, Amsterdam, Pan/Spartacus, 1982, p. 81.
38. Kenneth Plummer, ‘The Paedophile’s Progress’ in Brian Taylor (ed.), Perspectives on Paedophilia. See J.Z. Eglinton, Greek Love, London, Neville Spearman, 1971 for a classic statement of the first legitimation, and O’Carroll, Paedophilia, especially chs 2 and 5 for the second.
39. For an overview of these stereotypes (and the facts which rebut them) to which I am very much indebted, see Plummer, ‘Images of Paedophilia’.
40. Glenn D. Wilson and David N. Cox, The Child-Lovers. A Study of Paedophiles in Society, London and Boston, Peter Owen, 1983; Peter Righton, ch. 2: ‘The Adult’ in Taylor, Perspectives in Paedophilia; Parker Rossman, Sexual Experiences between Men and Boys, London, Maurice Temple Smith, 1976.
41. Tom Reeves, ‘Loving Boys’ in Tsang, op. cit., p. 27; the age range given on p. 29. On PIE members’ interests see Cox and Wilson, op. cit., ch. II.
42. Krafft-Ebing, Psychopathia Sexualis, p. 552: ‘By violation of sexually immature individuals, the jurist understands all the possible immoral acts with persons under fourteen years of age that are not comprehended in the term “rape”.’
43. On paedophilia as abuse see Florence Rush, The Best Kept Secret: Sexual Abuse of Children, Englewood Cliffs, N.J., Prentice-Hall, 1980; Robert L. Geiser, Hidden Victims: The Sexual Abuse of Children, Boston, Beacon Press, 1979. For alternative opinions: Sandford, op. cit., pp. 49ff; cf. Morris Fraser, ch. 3, ‘The Child’ and Graham E. Powell and A.J. Chalkley, ch. 4, ‘The Effects of paedophile attention on the child’ in Taylor (ed.), Perspectives on Paedophilia.
44. See interview with the then 15-year-old Mark Moffat in Semiotext(e), loc. cit, p. 10; cf. Tom Reeves’s account of being cruised by two 14-year-olds in Tsang, op. cit., p. 30; and O’Carroll, ch. 4, ‘Paedophilia in Action’ in Paedophilia.
45. Taylor (ed.), Perspectives on Paedophilia, ‘Introduction’, p. xiii. In the rest of the discussion I shall, however use the term ‘paedophile’ to cover all categories as this is the phrase adopted most widely as a political description: ‘Boy lover’ is specific, but exclusive.
46. On offences see P.H. Gebhard, J.H. Gagnon, W.B. Pomeroy and C.V. Christenson, Sex Offenders, New York, Harper & Row, 1965; J. Gagnon, ‘Female child victims of sex offences’, Social Problems, no. 13, 1965, pp. 116-92. On identity questions see Plummer, ‘The paedophile’s progress’.
47. O’Carroll, Paedophilia, pp. 120, 118.
48. Ibid., ch. 6, ‘Towards more Sensible Laws’, which examines various proposals, from Israel to Holland, for minimising the harmful intervention of the law; compare Speijer Committee, The Speijer Report, advice to the Netherlands Council of Health concerning homosexual relations with minors, English Translation, London, Sexual Law Reform Society, n.d.
49. Interview with Kate Millett by Mark Blasius in Semiotext(e) Special, loc. cit, p. 38 (also printed in Tsang (ed.), op. cit.).
50. Carole Pateman, ‘Women and Consent’, Political Theory, vol. 8, no. 2, May 1980, pp. 149-68.
Jeffrey Weeks, Sexuality, third edition (London & New York: Routledge, 2010; first edition 1986)
4. The limits of consent: paedophilia
The power relations that sex can involve are most dramatically illustrated by the question of sex between the generations, or paedophilia. Few topics arouse such fear and anxiety in contemporary societies. The ‘paedophile’ has become a symbol of predatory evil, a synonym indeed not only for child abuser but also in many cases for child abductor and even murderer. The peculiar horror invoked by the abuse of innocence, by the imposition of adult desires on the vulnerable, powerless child, speaks for a culture that is profoundly anxious about the boundaries and differences between adults and children, and has become increasingly concerned with protecting the young as long as possible. Yet this has not always been the case.
In the late nineteenth century paedophilia was lauded by some for its pedagogic possibilities – the so-called Greek love justification: in the passage from childhood dependence to adult responsibility, guidance, sexual and moral, of a caring man can be invaluable, it was argued. It was further legitimated in the twentieth century by the supposed facts of childhood sexuality: sexology itself has revealed the wide extent of childhood sexual potentiality including the existence of infantile masturbation. If something is so natural, and omnipresent, should it be as rigidly controlled as childhood sexuality is today? And again, if it is natural, then surely it cannot be harmful even if it takes place with adults. As Tom O’Carroll, a militant supporter of inter-generational sex (who ended up in prison for his pains) wrote ‘. . . there is no need whatever for a child to know “the consequences” of engaging in harmless sex play, simply because it is exactly that: harmless’. 
For the vast majority of the population this is not harmless play, it is simply child sex abuse. It involves powerful adults using their experience and wiles to gain satisfaction from exploiting children. The growing sensitivity to abuse is the result of long campaigns, often led in Western countries by feminists, or by campaigners who experienced abuse themselves. This has become a global phenomenon, with international campaigns to end the traffic in children and the worst abuses of sex tourism. This without doubt marks an advance in society’s awareness of the reality of exploitation, and the power of adults over children. Yet there is something rather odd in the ways in which various late modern societies, from Australia to Europe to the USA, have focused on the figure of the anonymous paedophile rather than on the hard reality that most abuse of children is carried out by a close relative or family friend, or perhaps by a priest, as a wave of scandals from the UK and Ireland to Australia and the USA has recently underscored. 
Despite, or perhaps because of, the emotiveness of the issue, it is important to be as rational and dispassionate as possible in looking at what is involved. Age is an ambiguous marker. Is there an ideal age at which consent becomes free, rather than abusive, and a relationship becomes consensual, rather than coercive? Certainly the vast majority of us could agree that it should not be 3 or 8, but what about 12 or 14 or 15 which are the ages of consent in various European countries? Laws vary enormously, and sometimes affect boys and girls quite differently. Brian Taylor has pointed to the existence of eight possible subcategories of inter-generational sex, depending on the age of those involved, the distinction of gender, the nature of the sexual proclivity, and the interaction of all three (Taylor 1981). This suggests that there are paedophilias, not a single paedophilia, and the social response should be sensitive to these distinctions, even as it focuses rightly on protecting the young and vulnerable. (pp. 95-97)
6 O’Carroll (1980: 153). For the various legitimations offered, see the discussion in Plummer (1981).
7 There is an excellent debate on the implications of the early twenty-first century anxiety about paedophilia in Loseke et al. (2003). For feminist perspectives, see Reavey and Warner (2003).
Jeffrey Weeks, The World We Have Won: The Remaking of Erotic and Intimate Life (London & New York: Routledge, 2007)
‘Through stories – of desire and love, of hope and mundane reality, of excitement and disappointment – told to willing listeners in communities of meaning, people imagine and reimagine who and what they are, what they want to become (Plummer 1995 [Plummer, K. (1995) Telling Sexual Stories: Power, Change and Social Worlds, London: Routledge], 2003 [Plummer, K. (2003) Intimate Citizenship: Private Decisions and Public Dialogues, Seattle: University of Washington Press]). Of course, all this does not mean that anything goes. It is noticeable that as some barriers to speaking are removed or redefined new ones are erected. Paedophilia began to speak its name in the 1970s, but has been redefined as child abuse and trebly execrated in the 2000s.’ (p. 10)
‘The age of consent may be an ambiguous barrier for young people themselves but it is a fraught one for many adults, usually men. The age of consent itself is constructed in terms of protection of young girls, and it assumes male agency (Waites 2005a [Waites, M. (2005a) The Age of Consent: Young People, Sexuality and Citizenship, Basingstoke and New York: Palgrave Macmillan]). But the growing awareness of the extent of child sex abuse poses wider questions about the power relations between adults and children (see Reavey and Warner 2003 [Reavey, P. and Warner, S. (eds) (2003) New Feminist Stories of Child Sexual Abuse: Sexual Scripts and Dangerous Dialogues, London and New York, Routledge]; O’Connel Davidson 2005 [O’Connell Davidson, J. (2005) Children in the Global Sex Trade, Cambridge: Polity Press]). The government has responded to widespread anxieties about breach of trust on the part of adults by attempting to write into law notions of protection that should operate in certain types of adult child relationships, such as teaching (Bainham and Brooks-Gordon 2004 [‘Reforming the Law on Sexual offences’, in Brooks-Gordon, B., Gelsthorpe, L., Johnson, M. and Bainham, A. (eds) (2004) Sexuality Repositioned: Diversity and the Law, Oxford, and Portland, OR: Hart Publishing, pp. 291-296]; Epstein et al. 2004 [Epstein, D., Johnson, R. and Steinberg. D.L. (2004) ‘Thrice Told Tales: Modernising Sexualities in the Age of Consent’ in Steinberg, D.L. and Johnson, R. (eds) (2004) Blairism and the War of Persuasion: Labour’s Passive Revolution, London: Lawrence & Wishart, pp. 96-113). These have the habit of all attempts at redrawing boundaries of becoming fiery touchstone issues, as the Secretary of State for Education and Skills, Ruth Kelly, found out in early 2006. The discovery by the press that there were teachers in schools who had previously been accused of abusing children threatened to engulf her and end her career, though she could realistically have had very little knowledge of how her civil servants operated the register of offenders (Doward 2006a:8-9; [Doward, J. (2006a), ‘Sex Scandal that Engulfed Kelly’, Observer, 15 January, pp. 8-9] see also Aaronovitch 2006: 21) [Aaronovitch, D. (2006), ‘The Paedophile Panic: Why We Have Reached Half Way to Bonkers Island’, The Times, 12 January, 21] Behaviours which were once regarded as natural and even healthy (childhood nudity, for example) have become fraught with menace, as parents and carers have discovered when their holiday photographs of naked children playing on the beach have been processed, and police summoned.
Many of these anxieties had been brought to the surface following the murder of the 8-year-old Sarah Payne in summer 2000. The News of the World’s campaign, in response to this, of naming and shaming alleged paedophiles, in turn stimulated a local vigilante campaign led by mothers on the Paulsgrove housing estate in Hampshire (Bell 2003: 108-28 [Bell, V. (2003), ‘The Vigilantt(e) Parent and the Paedophile: The News of the World Campaign 2000 and the Contemporary Governmentality of Child Sex Abuse’’, in Reavey and Warner 2003, pp. 108-28]). This raised in turn a number of crucial issues: the role of the press in stirring up moral panic, the role of class in configuring the response to the working-class mothers’ action, the role of women in confronting an alleged lack of communication from the state, and the role of the state itself in responding to acute anxiety, ignorance and fear. But as important was the shift in the perception of sexual risk and the management of risk that was taking place. As Rose (1999: 206) [Rose, N. (1999), Governing the Soul: The Shaping of the Private Self (2nd edn), London and New York: Free Associations Books] points out, outrage at the neglect of abuse emerged most strongly from the very group in society that was once deemed most likely to abuse children – the working class itself. And in practice, of course, the vast majority of cases of abuse take place within families or are by someone known to the child. Yet the anger focused on the dangerous stranger, the paedophile, bearer of a particular psychopathology and history, completely detached from the family. A similar process has been at work in relation to so-called paedophile priests in the Roman Catholic Church. A scandal that the church had long hidden, it raised crucial questions about the religious calling, church discipline, priestly celibacy and simple trust. Yet in the church’s eyes it became less about abuse than about Catholic attitudes towards homosexuality, gay priests and the like. When in 2006 a new Pope sought to ban gays from taking up the priesthood, it was widely seen as a response to the paedophile scandal (Loseka 2003: 13 [‘”We hold these Truths to be Self-evident”: Problems in Pondering the Paedophile Priest problem’, Sexualities 6 (1), February, 6-14]). Anxiety has become individualized, thus expunging the most dangerous sites for the production of abuse, the home, the local community, and it appears the Catholic church, from the story. (pp. 153-154)
The Scotsman, March 25th, 1988
Alastair Dalton, ‘Brand loses job fight over views on child sex’
THE controversial academic Chris Brand, sacked by Edinburgh University for promoting his views on paedophilia, yesterday lost his appeal against his dismissal.
The independent QC asked by the university to hear the appeal agreed that the psychology lecturer’s behaviour had amounted to gross misconduct and ruled that his dismissal could not be said to have been improper or inappropriate.
Mr Brand, 54, last night described the university’s actions as “treacherous”, but refused to say whether he planned to take his case to an industrial tribunal or the courts.
He was dismissed for gross misconduct last August by the university principal, Professor Sir Stewart Sutherland, after he published on the Internet his view that consensual sex between adults and children was acceptable as long as the child was intelligent.
Mr Brand had previously caused a storm after his 1996 book, The g Factor, claimed there was genetic proof black people had lower IQs than white people. It prompted students to disrupt his lectures and the book was withdrawn by the publisher. The university found no grounds for disciplinary action against him then, although the principal described his views as “obnoxious”.
Gordon Coutts, QC, who conducted Mr Brand’s two-day appeal hearing last week, stated : “The appeal fails. I reject all the revised amended grounds of appeal. I find that the appeal does not raise any question of academic freedom.”
He added: “In pursuit of his objectives, he (Mr Brand) set out to promote controversy. In that he succeeded but cannot now complain if the effect of his behaviour has been to render his continued employment by the university impossible.
“The principal of the university did not dismiss him for views he held; he was dismissed because it was established that his behaviour made it impossible for him to work within a university department.”
Sir Stewart said yesterday he was “naturally content” that “an independent legal expert has endorsed in the clearest possible terms” the findings of the university’s disciplinary tribunal and his subsequent decision to sack Mr Brand.
He said: “I would repeat that it is for aspects of his conduct, not his opinions, that Mr Brand has been dismissed. Mr Brand has again, in recent months, been reported in the press as alleging this process was an attack on academic freedom, though this was not argued by his counsel at the appeal hearing. It has not and never has been such an attack, as independently confirmed by the appeal decision.
“Neither I nor my colleagues at this university have sought in any way to censor Mr Brand’s researched conclusions, on ethnic background and intelligence, for example.
“But it was made clear to him, well before he publicised views on paedophilia, that he also had responsibilities to act with care, whether in a departmental, teaching or wider situation – advice which he apparently chose to ignore.”
Mr Brand condemned the university. He said: “Their behaviour has been shameful.
They have been treacherous to their own academic staff and a disgrace to academia.”
Mr Brand, a former prison service psychologist, had stated on his web site: “Academic studies and my own experience as a choirboy suggest that non-violent paedophilia with a consenting partner over 12 does no harm so long as the paedophiles and their partners are of above-average intelligence and educational level.”
He was suspended in November 1996 and a three-member disciplinary tribunal was appointed the following April to consider the charges against him.
The tribunal ruled that Mr Brand had compromised his position, and his teaching had fallen below the standards expected of him. It further ruled that the university’s reputation had not been damaged by Mr Brand’s publications on the Internet, but a disciplinary offence had been committed.
Mr Brand, a London-born father of three, had been at Edinburgh University since 1970.
Last night Nicola Owen, convener of the Anti-Nazi League Society at Edinburgh University, said: “It’s wonderful news.
It vindicates all the students who fought to get Mr Brand removed from the university.”
The following is the passage from Lucy Robinson, Gay Men and the Left in Post-War Britain: How the Personal got Political (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2011), pp. 129-139, dealing with the Paedophile Information Exchange (PIE). Whilst not without some errors (for example misdating the foundation of PIE as 1975 rather than 1974, and confusing the British National Party – not founded until 1982 – with the National Front), and also glossing over feminist and lesbian paedophilia or pro-paedophilia, this is an important and relatively comprehensive account. In the footnotes reproduced at the end, where possible I have given a link to the material in question when it is available online; in other cases I have uploaded it at the bottom of this post itself
I intend soon to complete a comprehensive bibliography of books, articles and newspaper pieces relating to PIE.
Testing times and uneasy alliances: Gay Left and the Paedophile Information Exchange
The [Gay Left] Collective’s theoretical approaches can be best assessed when tested against actual campaigns. Single-issue based campaigns continued to make unity difficult and this was particularly true of the campaigns that the Collective became involved in around PIE. By looking at the issues around PIE and the campaigns that defended it, it is possible to see how transferable Gay Left’s approaches were. This is not to say that there is an easy correlation between homosexual and paedophile experience or desire, instead it is a way of seeing how paedophile self-organisation developed with a full consciousness of the history of the gay liberation movement.
PIE coincided with the Collective’s need for a campaign through which to impact the world. The second issue of Gay Left included a letter from Roger Moody. He called for an analysis of paedophiles’ transgressive role in society, solidarity between different identity groups and a revolutionary model of sexual behaviour. . From its third issue PIE ran adverts in Gay Left. Issue 7 of the journal was entitled ‘Happy Families – paedophilia examined’. Members of the Collective saw PIE, and the campaigns around it, as a new battlefield from which to extend sexual liberation. Conservative anxiety had switched its focus from homosexuality to paedophilia, so it seemed as though the lines of defence should too. Bob Cant and Steven Gee specifically addressed these issues in Homosexuality, Power and Politics. Kenneth Plummer also became involved in the debate contributing to a number of collections on the subject.  In acknowledgment, the chairman of PIE, Tom O’Carroll, thanks Plummer in his introduction to Paedophilia – the Radical Case. Whilst not supporters or advocates of paedophilia, the Collective argued that discussion around paedophilia and PIE could be used to challenge the idea that sexuality was ‘pre-given determined and firm’ as well as to open up debates on child sexuality.  However this proved to be a gross over-estimation of both society’s position on paedophilia, and of paedophilia as a political issue. The following section of this chapter explains how a paedophile identity developed in the wake of the gay liberation movement and why Plummer and others in the Gay Left Collective were overly optimistic in their assessment.
Saying the unspeakable: PIE’s development in context
As with GLF et al., paedophile self-organisation developed in an international context. In both Europe and the United States paedophiles felt that they were on the receiving end of increased aggression and also felt that they had the potential to organise against it.  The first UK based group was Paedophile Action for Liberation (PAL) some of whom had been involved in the GLF. PAL published the newsletter Palaver. This group were singled out in the Sunday People campaign that labelled them ‘the vilest men in Britain’ on 25 May 1975. PAL were exposed as the enemy within. Although the article contained no allegation of actual sexual assault it made it clear that PAL members represented an evil that every parent must be warned about. The manner in which the article was researched, and the treatment of those it accused was so severe that both the National Council for Civil Liberties (NCCL) and Gay News acted as advocates and witnesses for the PAL members. The advocates were threatened themselves. PAL’s closure was inevitable and it eventually ‘tottered to death’ in 1977. 
PIE, PAL’s most successful counterpart, was formed by three members of the Scottish Minorities Group. Their postal address remained that of the Group’s Glasgow headquarters. Having learnt many lessons from its early roots, PIE took its remit beyond that of support for individuals; they were the first to attempt a collective identity for paedophiles.  PIE began in October 1975. By November 1975 it is recorded as having 100 members. By 1977 this had risen to 250. At its peak, membership reached 450.  However, by the end of 1979 PIE was effectively over. Like PAL before them, tabloid exposés, this time in the News of the World and the Daily Star, precipitated its demise. All that remained were court cases and newspaper coverage, leaving the Left and the liberation movements struggling for positions.  On the way a number of contradictions and unmaintainable legacies were exposed.
PIE first gained public attention after The International Conference of Love and Attraction, organised by Mark Cook, and convened by Kevin Howells and Tom O’Carroll. The title of the conference, and PIE’s publicity, concentrated on paedophilia as a way of describing emotions not actions – a distinction that made little difference to the reactions that confronted them. In reality, the conference proved just how far paedophilia stood from the brink of liberation. College authorities ejected O’Carroll from the building and he was beaten in the face. Protesters also beat Daily Telegraph reporter Gerard Kemp, and Richard McCance, General Secretary of the counselling group Friend, whose appeals to the police were ignored. Elsewhere unions organised against PIE holding meetings on their premises. 
In today’s contemporary climate any rational public discourse relating to paedophilia seems increasingly unmanageable.  For a brief period however, the campaign surrounding PIE offered a possibility of learning from the GLF’s mistakes and of pushing the liberational agenda into its third and most radical stage. In the process PIE’s contradictory position was exposed. On the one hand PIE made Wolfenden type appeals to professionalism, whilst at the same time it spoke to an audience who were increasingly informed by the counter-culture’s Do It Yourself values.
O’Carroll fostered GLF’s shared history in his account of PIE’s development. The Conference was justified as an act of ‘coming out’, the first stage of liberational development. GLF veterans acted as stewards for a PIE meeting in Red Lion Square meeting in 1977  and the International Gay Association made a public statement supporting PIE.  O’Carroll tightened the relationship between the two by concentrating on the organisational ties. By melding PAL into PIE, PIE inherited roots as a break away group from the South London GLF. He argued that PIE was one of the ‘radical blooms’ that sprouted from the ‘flourishing phenomenon’ of gay liberation. 62] This appealed to those who, following the attainment of certain concessions, were searching for a new radicalism with which to challenge wider social structures. The book produced from the conference, Adult Sexual Interest in Children, was designed to provide the factual basis for a ‘cooler and more reasoned’ approach to the issue.  Like the earlier GLF publications, it directed its iconoclasm at Freud and psychiatry as a whole and tried to undermine categorisation itself. It combined this with a Wolfenden style ‘rational’ argument suggesting that society’s solutions were more dangerous than the problem.  This double-pronged attempt to combine liberation and reform was not enough to alter paedophilia’s position. Twenty years later the News of the World still referred to this book as ‘vile’. 
Like the earlier homosexual law reform campaigns PIE’s immediate goals were to provide support and to collate and disseminate information.  In terms of support, PIE wanted to alleviate the isolation, guilt, secrecy and anguish associated with paedophilia as well as to dispel the myths surrounding it. As with reformist support organisations such as the Albany Trust, PIE used contact advertisements, magazine publication and letter writing to breakdown the strong sense of isolation felt by its members.  From the start PIE explained that alongside individual and collective support it wanted to educate the wider world. When PIE announced its launch in the C.H.E. Bulletin, it explained that its initial goal was the organisation of information to act as a resource.  It produced Perspectives on Paedophilia, which combined sympathetic research with an educational role, aimed at professionals who worked with paedophiles. PIE argued that, like homosexuals earlier, self-oppression and fear of the law meant that paedophiles felt they had no choice but to accept chemical castration or aversion therapy.  PIE also tried to counter the unequal distribution of sentences experienced by paedophiles. The realities of paedophile criminality meant that paedophiles received severe sentences for their first offence, suffered frequent attacks from other prisoners once in prison, and had to be placed on ‘Rule 43’.  Perspectives on Paedophilia reappraised psychiatric models and offered a variety of self-help alternatives to challenge the tradition façade of a choice between either treatment or punishment. 
In 1975, PIE made a submission to the Home Office Criminal Law Review Committee on the age of consent. In the submission, the connection between PIE’s case and the Wolfenden Report was made explicit. The submission directly quoted the Report to support PIE’s argument.  In reaction to the existing laws, which treated infants and adolescents the same, the main body of the submission outlined a convoluted set of age divisions as an alternative to the mechanistic age of consent. Briefly these were: Firstly, that there was no possibility of consent under the age of four years old. Then, between the ages of four and nine a parent or responsible adult should be qualified to indicate in court cases whether or not they believed the child to be able to communicate consent. The remaining years, ten to seventeen, should be treated with minimal intervention providing the child is of normal development. There should be no division between assessment of heterosexual or homosexual cases.  This caused considerable controversy. There had been a certain amount of debate surrounding the upper ages of consent, particularly within lesbian and gay communities. Some young people began to take the liberation movements at their word, and Kidz Lib started organising around young people’s own rights and sexual freedom. But, PIE found there was little support [end p. 131] for their plan to lower the age of consent so dramatically. Even within PIE there was little chance of publicly defending sexual contact with the younger age groups. Few in PIE would admit to interest in sexual activity with those under adolescence, which is reiterated in studies of paedophiles generally.  PIE had hoped to gain a level of legitimacy through the submission. However, Home Office acceptance of PIE’s submission did not extend to any sympathy for individual members. In 1979 the Home Office ensured that Steven Smith, a PIE member who was employed by a subcontractor working at the Home Office, was removed from his job. 
Impossible collaborations: PIE’s attempts at entryism
PIE developed its own form of entryism. In order to build alliances with other identity groups, it tried to make connections with various liberal, professional and liberational organisations. PIE contacted amongst others, GaySocs, Gay News, the National Association of Youth Officers, Peace News, groups of trainee social workers, Release, Probation Services, NCLCC, MIND as well as academic departments. The contradictory and arbitrary divisions in British law around age meant that campaigns around paedophilia fed into a variety of issues relating to young men and women. This was particularly fostered in the Gay Youth Movement, with whom PIE made public statements of solidarity. 
Compared with today’s possibilities, PIE was remarkably successful in building alliances. For example, its overtures to social workers’ professional organisations culminated in a four page ‘non-judgmental and neutral’ article in the trade paper Community Care. The article, ‘Should We Pity the Paedophile?’ by Mary Manning, was published in Autumn 1977. It was illustrated with stills from Death in Venice and alluded to paedophilia’s historically and culturally constructed meaning. When the Manning article described Tom O’Carroll as ‘a likeable and gentle young man who has an ongoing interest in social history’, Manning constructed a version of O’Carroll appealing to both the empathetic and the academic. 
Some organisations resisted any involvement with PIE. Bristol University’s Vice Chancellor refused PIE’s offer to provide a speaker for the Department of Social Planning. In the end the request was hypothetical, as the speaker had been sent to prison by the time the proposed date arrived. The National Association of Probation Officers took a similar approach.  Whereas other organisations were loosely supportive, but withdrew their support when they were confronted with either the reality of PIE’s beliefs or society’s reaction to them. Although the NCCL challenged the State’s right to intervene in post-pubescent sex, it did not directly support the PIE. A fierce internal debate ensued when PIE targeted the NCCL and applied for membership. Eventually the proposal was rejected at the organisation’s annual general meeting. Similarly, Christian Wolmar described his amazement when he joined the staff of Release in 1976 and found that they were providing a mailing address for PIE. Wolmar raised the issue at a collective meeting. A member of PIE was invited to come and justify its position. It appeared that any vague sense of commonality dissipated when faced with the perceived weakness and realities of PIE’s argument. Apparently, PIE’s ambassador talked about ‘the joy of sex with children’ and argued that there should be no age of consent. Following this meeting, Release stopped providing PIE with any resources. Wolmar was sure that if the relationship had continued for a few more months it would have coincided with the News of the World exposé and Release would have lost its Home Office funding. 
The real twist in the story of PIE’s attempted entryism into the rainbow coalition of liberal and liberational groups, was that PIE had been infiltrated itself, more than once. In 1977 André Thorne attended a few PIE meetings. He stole some completed membership forms, which he used to try and blackmail a highly placed PIE member. The proposed victim went to the police and Thorne was found guilty of blackmail.  Whilst the judge at the trial described the information in Thorne’s possession as ‘potential dynamite’, a widespread exposé did not follow. This time the only charges brought were against the infiltrator. The next series of events had far graver implications for PIE. Charles Oxley, a grandfather and headmaster, joined PIE under the pseudonym David Charlton. He had aroused some suspicions from fellow PIE members, but they had appreciated his willingness to help and he attended two executive committee meetings. He then took a number of stories to the News of the World.  Although none of Oxley’s accusations constituted actual criminal activity, based on his research the tabloid published the names and photographs of seven PIE members on 25 June 1978. This built on the earlier Daily Star campaign, which had named and photographed four members.  Following the articles, PIE could no loner find a sympathetic printer for its newssheet MAGPIE.  As the furore ensued, O’Carroll lost his job as a press officer for the Open University.  The police pre-empted the News of the World exposé by a day. The police had previously raided O’Carroll’s home, but it was this second search that resulted in arrest.  O’Carroll was arrested along with three other PIE members, John Parratt, David Trevor Wade and Michael Dagnall. 
When PIE members found themselves in court, their attempts at entryism blossomed into co-ordinated support. As with the Angry Brigade and the GLF, prosecutions built shared campaigns. The nature of the charge was central to the ways in which gay and left campaigners were able to organise support for PIE. Along with Oxley, the police had been unable to find any hard evidence of actual sexual abuse of children. They were charged with postal offences and the common law offence of conspiracy to corrupt public morals over contact advertisements in Magpie.  PIE’s defence at the trial rested on the argument that their function was to campaign for the recognition of the feelings of paedophiles and that this was not the same as sanctioning sex with children. To an extent, the prosecution concurred. The prosecution did not attempt to prove that PIE advocated breaking the law through sex with minors; instead they relied on statements and publications from PIE to demonstrate the conspiracy. Similarly both the defence and prosecution agreed on the ‘pathetic nature’ of the defendants.  The first trial resulted in one defendant being acquitted and the jury unable to agree on the others. Following a retrial, Tom O’Carroll was convicted and sentenced to two years. 
Beyond the trials initiated by Oxley against O’Carroll et al., a series of further charges were brought against PIE members, which resulted in guilty verdicts relating to conspiracy, obscenity and postal offences. As with the earlier accusations these prosecutions were not directly related to actual sexual offences against children.  However, public concerns following an attack on a six-year-old boy in Brighton  and two girls in Plymouth fed into the perception of PIE as dangerous.  Calls to ban PIE increased and the Department of Public Prosecutions opened a new dossier that included a ‘long list’ of its members’ names.  Leon Brittan, the new Home Secretary, made his presence known when he pre-empted one series of convictions by condemning the ‘views’ of PIE’s members. He argued that the public ‘rightly expect[ed] criminal law in this field to be effective’.  PIE’s argument that it was organising around the category of paedophile rather than in favour of child-abuse, was once more proved an irrelevant distinction. According to Parliament and the lower-courts, there was no paedophile identity that could be extracted from actual offences against children. Faced with this onslaught, PIE came under increasing attack. Members were evicted from their homes, groups lost the use of postal addresses and Midland Bank closed PIE’s bank account.  O’Carroll blamed a lack of rational debate and thought that public perceptions of paedophilia were a sign of an undeveloped society.  However the reasons that PIE failed went beyond timing.
A campaign too far: defensive projects for paedophilia
The type of charges brought against the PIE members and the type of people who pushed for the prosecutions, meant that sections of the Left and of the gay movement felt that they should support PIE. PIE had been attacked from two related directions, the conspiracy laws and Right. Oz, International Times and Gay Circle had all been prosecuted for the same charge. The Angry Brigade trial had showed how in particular political climates the law read loose links between groups and communications between individuals as conspiracy. Sheila Rowbotham recognised this when she explained that ‘[h]istorically the use of the notoriously vague offence of “conspiracy” has always been a sure sign that the British state was in one of its spasms of insecure authoritarianism’. 
The PIE prosecutions played out the relationship between the State, mainstream morality and the far-Right. Mary Whitehouse and the National Festival of Light, who had perennially attacked the counter-cultural and gay movements, spearheaded the campaign against PIE.  In August 1977 the Daily Mirror launched a ‘hysterical campaign’ against PIE.  This led to dramatic events at a public PIE meeting at Red Lion Square on 19 August.  The meeting was besieged by the British National Party and the British Movement who attacked; chanting ‘Kill them, Kill them’.  This ‘fascist violence’ was reported in the press the next day as the ‘fury of the mothers’.  In this context it was difficult for ‘”movement” people not to be drawn into sympathy with PIE on the old basis of “your enemy’s enemy is my friend”’.  After all, organisation against the far-Right had apparently been successful in attracting the young to leftist orientated events like Rock Against Racism carnivals.
Gay and Left supporters stand up . . .
In 1974 C.H.E. made statements of solidarity with PIE at its annual conference and included adverts for the group in its Bulletin, although C.H.E. frequently related paedophilia to heterosexuality rather than homosexuality.  IN 1975, the People implicated C.H.E. in its exposé of PAL. The broadsheet press picked up on the link, leading to concerns within C.H.E.’s rank and file over whether the issue of paedophilia had been brought onto the agenda as a ‘cause célèbre’.  In fact the issue had been publicly discussed at a number of C.H.E. conferences and it had been decided that C.H.E. would hold no active position on paedophilia, PAL or PIE. Although the tactic had not worked for the defendants in court, C.H.E. was able to negotiate a level of removed support of PIE by separating paedophile identity from paedophile activity. In 1983, the C.H.E. annual conference passed a resolution vehemently condemning ‘all violent attacks on children’ whilst upholding PIE’s right to ‘freedom of speech and organisation’. In so doing C.H.E. was attempting to reject the conflation of child-abuse and paedophilia. 
The Albany Trust’s support of PIE had more significant implications. As part of the first phase of PIE’s development, it had produced a booklet published by the Albany Trust.  Despite Grey’s eloquent discussion of the complexities of paedophile defence, in 1993 he still felt the need to explain the relationship between the Albany Trust and the PIE. He described a series of ‘private discussions about the counselling needs of paedophiles’. However this alone was enough to give impetus to a smear campaign by ‘moral monopolists’. Like C.H.E., both the Trust and Grey personally, were accused of ‘supporting child abuse’. The old adversary, the National Festival of Light described the Albany Trust as a ‘related body’ to PIE.  Although Grey made the distinction between the groups clear, the Trust paid a heavy price for its supposed connections with PIE and received the sanction that Wolmar had feared would be brought against Release. The Trust lost its public funding.  Even in Grey’s later account of the events he has to explicitly distance himself from personal ‘sexual interest in children’ in order to discuss the matter at all.  The fait accompli was such that any discussion of society’s treatment of paedophiles was assumed to have a personal motivation.
Alongside gay organisations, a broad based leftist alliance stepped in to protest against the ‘show trial’ that attacked the ‘freedom to communicate and organise’.  The Campaign Against Public Morals (CAPM) formed around the trial in an attempt to coalesce wide reaching support and published Paedophilia and Public Morals.  It argued that there should be no crime without a victim, CAPM asked, ‘Have YOU ever held radical views? Have YOU ever campaigned for social change? Because if you have it could be YOUR turn next’.  A number of groups answered in the affirmative: IMG, the SWP, Gay Rights at Work, Gay Noise, Revolutionary [end p. 135] Youth, German Study and Working Group on Paedophilia, Gay Rights at Work, Gay Workers in Print, the Campaign against Sexist Stereotypes and the Gay Noise Collective.  Like Gay Left, these groups’ support of paedophilia followed the Pastor Neimöller theory. Neimöller’s poem begins ‘First they came for the communists and I did not speak out – because I was not a communist’, and then lists other groups affected by the Nazi purges, trade unionists etc and then Jews, until ‘then they came for me – and by then there was no one left to speak out for me’. In other words if the State was not stopped from persecuting paedophiles it would not be long before there were different identity or political groups in the dock.  Groups related to the trial as both an immediacy in itself and also as part of a bigger challenge to the law. So the order of priorities was firstly to stop the show trial and have the charges dropped and secondly to defend the right of paedophiles to organise. The magazine Outrage! Noted that the defendants had been arrested, not for any physical abuse, but for ‘what they think’.  Gay Noise related PIE’s experiences to issues faced by lesbian mothers, to employment rights, the right to self-organisation, manipulation of psychiatric services and the use of the police.  Gay Noise also explicitly linked PIE with the context of the wider gay Left. Gay Noise saw paedophilia as important in the battle to restructure the women’s and gay liberation movement, because it could offer a socialist view of child sexuality.  The campaign could then be extended into a rejection of state harassment of the young and the abolition of the conspiracy laws. 
. . . and fade away
Beyond shared experiences of the conspiracy laws and resistance to the Right there was little common ground between PIE and the groups around the CAPM. There was not enough whole-hearted support for such a contentious issue. Paedophilia was not a class issue and the simple correlation between sexuality and political radicalism was a misnomer. In fact, in one article that contained interviews with a number of paedophiles, each one was a conservative.  Some sections of the Left directly attacked PIE on moral grounds. Along with the Right, the unions employed at various meeting halls and conference centres were often the most vociferous campaigners against PIE. Even those who were supportive during the trial later recanted. IMG questioned whether support for PIE was appropriate, and withdrew.  They refused to recognise the value of PIE’s autonomy. PIE’s right to self-organise was under attack again, although this time not in order to maintain the status quo, but to justify a left-wing focus on party organisation and class.
Some of the groups that PIE tried to attach themselves to were diametrically opposed to PIE’s agenda. There had been efforts to make links between the position of women, particularly lesbians, and that of paedophiles, but much of the women’s liberation movement did not see its role as extending grown men’s sexual liberty. The CAPM had prophesied that there would be a ‘concentrated effort to split the Women’s Movement and the Gay Movement on the question on which they have been historically the weakest; paedophila and child [end p. 136] sexuality’.  But women such as Spare Rib’s Susan Hemmings and Bea Campbell saw any attempt to link feminism and paedophilia as opportunistic .Hemmings argued that the connection was ‘irresponsible’, whereas Campbell dismissed it as an attempt to blackmail feminists into something they did not believe in.  Post-WLM feminist found paedophilia an abhorrent expression of patriarchal society. Paedophilia was ‘inherently sexist’. Adult men, not women, typified these unequal and objectifying relationships. If heterosexual men’s sexuality pathologically objectified women, then paedophilia objectified children in the same way. Following the PIE trial, feminist discourse on child-abuse took precedence over the gay Left’s call for paedophile liberation. In the divorce case following the short lived romance between the women’s and gay liberation movements, the feminists gained sole custody of the children.
Keeping identities separate: the danger of homosexual and paedophile association
It was largely feminists who were given roles as children’s advocates, but the idea that the same models would work for paedophilia and homosexuality was also beign questioned. Gilbert Herdt, Professor of Human Development and Psychology at Chicago University and leading anthropologist, asked the key question: ‘[c]an you call paedophiles a minority group who form their own subculture?’ Is there a Paedophile community from which to organise social reform let alone liberation?’  The variety of personal and political approaches taken by gay men suggest that there may be contention over whether a gay community exists, but let’s assume that a concept of gay community does exist, however wrought with tensions and lacking in coherence, however artificial and conscious the act of maintaining itself may be. Plummer explained that paedophiles had a less grounded sub-cultural tradition upon which to develop a collective identity. Furthermore the gay line of development from surreptitious underground, to law reform campaigners, to public declaration of liberationist intent could not be followed when the sexual activity was still illegal and initiated such outrage in the public. 
Many gay reactions to PIE reiterated concerns over any assumed allegiance between homosexuality and paedophilia. The relationship between PIE and Gay News was a measurement of this. Having acted as advocates for PIE in the face of the bigotry of tabloid journalism, the association had legal implications for Gay News. Yet, despite the publication’s earlier advocacy, in reality support for PAL and PIE had consisted of printing PIE’s address and the ‘occasional sympathetic article’.  Gay News had favourably reviewed Paedophilia: The Radical Case, but when PIE approached the magazine with a request to be included in the help lines list, they were refused.  W H Smith had refused to stock the magazine. Under pressure from the news-sellers and in reaction to the growing atmosphere, Gay News eventually refused to take any adverts. This exclusion from the major gay voice piece was the death-knell for PIE. 
It was not just Gay News that backed out of a relationship with PIE. There was a point of retreat, whereby paedophilia was dropped consciously ‘as a hot potato, too dangerous to everybody else’.  Gay Left’s Stephen Gee argued that homosexuals had not been, ‘sufficiently supportive [of PIE] nor have we challenged the dominant ideology childhood and child sexuality which informs this attack’.  PIE representative told Gay News that:
[p]olitically, PIE feel that the division between itself and the gay movement, which is acknowledge[d] as real, is in part the product of a realistic fear by the gay movement that its own gains could be jeopardised by too close a relationship with the paedophile movement. . . . We regret the alienation we feel from the gay movement and the feminist movement in this country. 
Homosexuality was regarded as a privilege that could be retreated back into in order to avoid taking on any stigma of association with paedophilia. A review in Gay Times in August 1997 charted this reassessment of the period:
Gay attitudes to paedophilia have undergone a transformation. In the early days of gay liberation, ‘intergenerational’ sex seemed to occupy a legitimate place on the homosexual continuum. Homosexuals were vilified and persecuted, and so were paedophiles. Denying child sexuality seemed part of the ideology of repression. But genuine anxiety about child sex abuse has hardened attitudes. Gay law reform is a serious business nowadays. We have spent decades trying to shrug off the charge that we just want to molest children. We can do without real perverts hitching a ride on the bandwagon, thank you. 
Yet, PIE’s entryism seems to have been perversely successful. The unshakeable assumptions pinking homosexuality with paedophilia were used to discredit the Left and liberational movements. Liberal attitudes to inter-generational sex became metaphors for concerns over sexual liberation generally, equal opportunities, union protectionism, anti-professionalism, of the ‘politically correct’ ‘gone mad’. This was particularly true of the debates and recriminations following the children’s homes’ child-abuse scandals of the 1980s where protecting gay rights was seen as a cover for the employment of paedophiles in children’s homes.  Whereas PIE were not directly implicated in the children’s home abuse scandals, they were the polemic expression of the ‘general tenor of the period’.  By 1999 Community Care published articles condemning its earlier liberal approaches to paedophilia which it associated with union monopolies stifling complaints about child sex abuse. 
PIE was seen as evidence of the worst excesses of the post-1968 liberation movements, especially because of the way in which it blurred distinction between adult and child.
[T]he argument that a distinction could be drawn between abuse and consensual sex with children struck a chord [because[ it was fashionable to see children as autonomous beings who should have the right to liberate themselves sexually. 
In PIE’s submission to the government, it presented itself as a champion of children’s rights. However this had less credibility than its expression of adult sexual liberation. The pleasure principle overrode the reality of adulthood and adult responsibility. According to David Shaffer, consultant in child psychiatry at Maudsley Hospital, ‘PIE ignor[ed] a child’s other interests apart from pleasure’. In the mind of Shaffer, hedonism should have come ‘pretty low on the list’ in the lessons the liberational adults should have been teaching their children.  Just as celebrations of Laing had little to do with real mental illness, PIE’s posturing had little relationship with the reality of childhood.
Christian Wolmar argued that ‘the failure of supporters of greater sexual freedom to distinguish between openness and exploitation meant that for a time paedophilia almost became respectable’.  However at the heart of the gay left/paedophile interaction there was an equally strong dynamic working against paedophilia. Any connection between paedophilia, the counter-culture and the Left was bound to increase rather than decrease reactions against paedophile self-organisation. So rather than representing a greying of attitudes towards sexuality debates surrounding paedophilia clearly demarcated the line beyond which behaviour was unacceptable. When Ken Livingstone and his Greater London Council sought to harness the energy of lesbian and gay politics, they confronted a similar dynamic. Attaching a left-wing campaign to personal politics was not going to bring down the State, but it might help to bring down the Left.
50. Roger Moody, ‘Paedophile Politics’, Gay Left 2 (Spring 1976) p. 23.
51. Kenneth Plummer, ‘The Paedophile’s Progress: A View from Below’, in Perspectives on Paedophilia, ed. B. Taylor (Batsford, 1981). Kenneth Plummer, ‘Pedophilia: Constructing a Sociological Baseline’, in Adult Sexual Interest in Children, eds. Mark Cook and Kevin Howells (Academic Press, 1981).
52. Gay Left Collective, ‘Happy Families: Paedophilia Explained’, Gay Left 7 (Winter 1978-79).
53. Edward Brongersma, ‘An Historical Background’, The NAMBLA Bulletin 4, 2 (1983), p. 1.
54. A. Mayer and H. Warschauer, ‘The Vilest Men in Britain’, Sunday People (25 May 1975). Michael Mason, J. Grace, and C. Hill, ‘The Vilest Men in Britain’, Gay News 72 (1975). Plummer, ‘The Paedophiles’ Progress: A View from Below’, p. 128. Bob Taylor, Perspectives on Paedophilia (Batsford, 1981), p. xix.
55. Plummer, ‘The Paedophile’s Progress: A View from Below’, p. 118.
56. PIE, ‘Evidence on the Law Relating to and Penalties for Certain Sexual Offences for the Home Office Criminal Law Revision Committee’. Wolmar, Forgotten Children: The Sexual Abuse Scandal in Children’s Homes (Vision, 2000), pp. 138, 143. Plummer, ‘The Paedophiles’ Progress: A View from Below’, p. 128.
57. Anthony Bevins, ‘Labour’s Hard Left to Form New Group’, The Times (24 August 1983).[see below]
58. ‘Hotel Ban on Paedophiles’, The Times (25 August 1977). [see below]
59. E.g. Anna Gekoski, ‘Their Evil Is Incurable Says Crime Expert’, News of the World (23 July 2000). [see below]
60. O’Carroll, Paedophilia: The Radical Case (Peter Owen, 1980) p. 230.
61. Gay Noise Collective, ‘Campaign Moves into Full Swing’, Gay Noise 4 (25 September 1980).
62. O’Carroll, Paedophilia: The Radical Case pp. 208, 209, 247.
63. Plummer, ‘The Paedophiles’ Progress: A View from Below’, p. 126. ‘Hotel Ban on Paedophiles’ [See below]. Cook and Howells, Adult Sexual Interest in Children, p. viii.
64. Kevin Howells, ‘Adult Sexual Interest in Children: Considerations Relevant to theories of Aetiology’, Adult Sexual Interest in Children, eds. Mark Cook and Kevin Howells (Academic Press, 1981). Kenneth Plummer, ‘Paedophilia: Constructing a Sociological Baseline’, Adult Sexual Interest in Children. D.J. West, ‘Implications for Social Control’, Adult Sexual Interest in Children. [See here for more on West]
65. Mazher Mahmood, ‘Caught in the Act’, News of the World (5 August 2001). [See below]
66. Plummer, ‘The Paedophile’s Progress: A View from Below’, p. 116. C.H.E., Bulletin (Harverster, 1974).
67. Plummer, ‘The Paedophile’s Progress: A View from Below’, pp. 119, 116, 117.
68. C.H.E., Bulletin, 11 & 12 (Harvester, 1974).
69. C.A.P.M., Paedophilia and Public Morals (no date HCA). PIE, ‘Evidence on the Law’.
70. Richard Card, ‘Paedophilia and the Law’, in Perspectives on Paedophilia, ed. B. Taylor (Batsford, 1981) p. 21.
71. Taylor, Perspectives on Paedophilia, p. vii.
72. PIE, ‘Evidence on the Law’. Plummer, ‘The Paedophile’s Progress: A View form Below’, p. 122.
73. PIE, ‘Evidence on the Law’.
74. Wolmar, Forgotten Children, p. 143. Christian Wolmar, ‘Home Truths’, Independent on Sunday (8 October 2000).
75. ‘PIE is in the Wars Again’, Gay News, August (1979).
76. North-Western Homosexual Law Reform Committee, Bulletin January (Harvester). O’Carroll, Paedophilia: The Radical Case, p. 232. Grey, Speaking of Sex: the Limits of Language (Cassell, 1993) p. 91. C.A.P.M., Paedophilia and Public Morals, p. 21. Peter Tatchell, ‘Letter to the Editor’, The Guardian Weekend (17 February 2001). Wolmar, Forgotten Children, p. 140. ‘PIE is in the Wars Again’.
77. Mary Manning, ‘Should We Pity the Paedophiles?’, Community Care, Autumn (1977). Wolmar, Forgotten Children, p. 144.
78. Wolmar, Forgotten Children, p. 140.
79. Wolmar, Forgotten Children, pp. 139-40.
80. ‘PIE Blackmail Case’, Gay News (1977).
81. David Nicholson-Lord, ‘Government “Apathy” on PIE Criticised’, The Times (31 August 1983). ‘PIE is in the Wars Again’.
82. O’Carroll, Paedophilia: The Radical Case, p. 233.
83. ‘PIE is in the Wars Again’.
84. Plummer, ‘The Paedophile’s Progress: A View from Below’, p. 128.
85. Mahmood, ‘Caught in the Act’ [see below], ‘Open University Man Suspended’, The Times (23 September 1977) [see below].
86. O’Carroll, Paedophilia: The Radical Case, p. 9.
87. Brian Deer, ‘Paranoid About PIE’, Gay News 185 (1980). Dr. T. Stuttaford, ‘Everett Picture Gives Credence to Dangerous Myth’, The Times (7 April 1995) [see below].
88. C.A.P.M., Paedophilia and Public Morals, p. iii. Wolmar, Forgotten Children, p. 142. Outcome, Outcome 7 (1978).
89. Gay Noise Collective, ‘The Paedophile Information Exchange Trial’, Gay Noise 12 (12 December 1981).
90. ‘File on Child Sex Group for DPP’ [see below]. Wolmar, Forgotten Children, pp. 142-3.
91. Gay Noise Collective, ‘The Paedophile Information Exchange Trial’. Gay Youth, ‘Editorial’, Gay Youth 11 (Summer 1984). Bevias, ‘Labour’s Hard Left to Form New Group’. David Nicholson-Lord, ‘Child Sex Group Men Arrested’, The Times (9 September 1983) [see below].
92. Peter Evans, ‘Minister Condemns Paedophile Views’, The Times (2 September 1983). ‘Telephone Caller Says He Knows One of the Men Who Assaulted Boy’, The Times (25 August 1983). Nicholson-Lord, ‘Police Hunting Men Who Assaulted Boy Lack Vital Computer Software’, The Times (25 August 1983) [see below].
93. Nicholson-Lord ‘Government “Apathy” on PIE Criticised’. Nicholson-Lord, ‘Police Hunting Men Who Assaulted Boy Lack Vital Computer Software’ [see below]. ‘Hysterical Attacks on Paedophiles’. C.H.E., Annual Conference Report, September (1983).
94. ‘File on Child Sex Group for DPP’ [see below]. ‘MP Seeks to Ban Child Sex Group’ (23 August 1983). Nicholson-Lord, ‘Government “Apathy” on PIE Criticised’.
95. Evans, ‘Minister Condemns Paedophile Views’.
96. ‘Hysterical Attacks on Paedophiles’.
97. O’Carroll, Paedophilia: The Radical Case, p. 220.
98. Sheila Rowbotham, Promise of a Dream (Allen Lane, 2000) p. 70.
99. ‘Leaders of Paedophile Group Are Sent to Jail’, The Times (5 November 1984). ‘PIE Member Faces Child Pornography Charge’, The Times (17 November 1984) [see below].
100. Derek Cohen and Richard Dyer, ‘The Politics of Gay Culture’, in Homosexuality: Power and Politics, pp. 172-86.
101. ‘Three Men Fined after Paedophile Meeting’, The Times (21 September 1977) [see below].
102. O’Carroll, Paedophilia: The Radical Case, p. 230.
103. Cohen and Richard, ‘The Politics of Gay Culture’, p. 198. The far-Right continued this entryist relationship with the public campaigns pertaining to paedophilia. For example the National Democrat’s ‘Help Our Children’ campaign. (The Flag: The National Democrats, Help Our Children [website] (www.natdems.org.uk/the_flag.htm, August 2001 [cited 21 August 2001]).
104. Wolmar, Forgotten Children, p. 142.
105. O’Carroll, Paedophilia: The Radical Case, p. 210. C.H.E., Bulletin, p. 129. Plummer, ‘The Paedophile’s Progress: A View from Below’. C.H.E., Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Homosexuality (C.H.E., 1975).
106. C.H.E., ‘CHE’s Reply to the Guardian’. C.H.E., ‘Minutes of the Meeting of the Executive Committee Held on 12th, 13th & 14th September 1975’ (Harvester, 1975). C.H.E., ‘Minutes of the Meeting of the Executive Committee Held on 14th June 1975’ (Harvester, 1975). Glenys Parry, Letter from Glenys Parry to Local Group Chairpeople, C.H.E. (Harvester, 17/09/1975).
107. C.H.E. Committee, Annual Conference Report, Annual Conference Report (Harvester, September 1983).
108. O’Carroll, Paedophilia: The Radical Case, p. 234.
109. NFOL, ‘Paederasty and the Homosexual Movement’, Broadsheet (1977) p. 20. Grey, Speaking of Sex, p. 90.
110. Grey, Speaking of Sex, p. 95.
111. Grey, Speaking of Sex, p. 91.
112. Wolmar, Forgotten Children, p. 142. C.A.P.M., Paedophilia and Public Morals, p. iii.
113. C.A.P.M, Paedophilia and Public Morals, p. iii.
114. C.A.P.M, Paedophilia and Public Morals, p. iii.
115. Graham Mckerrow, ‘Judge Orders PIE Retrial’, Gay News (1981).
116. Gay Noise Collective, ‘The Paedophile Information Exchange Trial’.
117. ‘Hysterical Attacks on Paedophiles’, Outrage 3 (1983).
118. Gay Noise Collective, ‘Demonstrations against State Repression’, Gay Noise 13 (12 February 1981).
119. Gay Noise Collective, ‘Campaign Moves into Full Swing’.
120. Gay Noise Collective, ‘Editorial: The IMG and Paedophilia: the Wrong Initiative at the Wrong Time’, Gay Noise 12 (12 February 1981). Deer, ‘Paranoid about PIE’.
121. ‘Hotel Ban on Paedophiles’. Maurice Yaffe, ‘Paedophilia: The Forbidden Subject’, New Statesman (16 September 1977) p. 362. Dea Birkett, ‘Monsters with Human Faces’, The Guardian (27 September 1997).
122. Gay Noise Collective ‘Editorial: The IMG and Paedophilia: the Wrong Initiative at the Wrong Time’, Gay Noise 12 (1981) p. 2.
123. C.A.P.M, Paedophilia and Public Morals, p. 6.
124. Deer, ‘Paranoid about PIE’.
125. J. Geraci, Dares to Speak (GMP, 1997) p. 30.
126. Plummer, ‘The Paedophile’s Progress: A View form Below’, p. 130.
127. Mason, Grace, and Hill, ‘The Vilest Men in Britain’. Cohen and Richard, ‘The Politics of Gay Culture’, p. 198. Julie Bindel, ‘Rather Than Campaign on the Age of Consent. . .’, The Guardian Weekend (3 March 2001).
128. Wolmar, Forgotten Children, p. 140.
129. Plummer, ‘The Paedophile’s Progress: A View form Below’, pp. 128-9.
130. Lucy Robinson, Interview with Peter Burton, unpublished (1 June 1999).
131. Gee, ‘Gay Activism’, p. 199.
132. ‘PIE is in the Wars Again’.
133. Gay Times (August 1997).
134. Wolmar, Forgotten Children. Wolmar, ‘Home Truths’. Margaret Hodge, ‘Not Quite, White’, New Statesman (16 June 1995). Wendy Parkin and Lorraine Green, ‘Cultures of Abuse within Residential Care’, Early Child Development and Care 1333 (1997) p. 75. S. Payne and E. Fairweather, ‘Minister Acts over Our Child Abuse Revelations’, Evening Standard (7 January 1992) [see below]. Polly Neate ‘Too Tolerant a Past?’, Community Care (15-21 July 1999).
135. There is a proven relationship between one member of the PIE and the children’s home scandals. Peter Righton was senior lecturer at the National Institute for Social Work, senior tutor at Open University, and sat on many committees including the Central Council for Education in Training and Social Work (Peter Righton, ‘Positive and Negative Aspects in Residential Care’, Social Work Today 8, 37 (1977)). He was charged with possession of books, videos and photos of young men (Peter Burden and Peter Rose, ‘Porn Squad Quiz Child Care Expert’, Daily Mail (28 May 1992) [see below]. He was later found to be PIE member number 51. Righton had used his professional position to assist a banned teacher, Charles Napier, who he had met through the PIE. Through Righton’s influence Napier was able to return to Britain and have the ban lifted (BBC, Children at Risk: Inside Story, 1 June 1994). Edward Pilkington, ‘Shadow of the Attic’, The Guardian (1 June 1994).
136. Polly Neate, ‘Too Tolerant a Past?’, p. 14
137. Pilkington, ‘Shadow of the Attic’.
138. Tim Gospill and Duncan Campbell, ‘Untouchable Subject’, Time Out (9 September 1977).
139. Wolmar, Forgotten Children, p. 153.
‘Hotel ban on paedophiles’, The Times, August 25th, 1977
‘Three Men Fined after Paedophile Meeting’, The Times, September 21st, 1977
‘Open University man suspended’, The Times, September 23rd, 1977
Anthony Bevins, ‘Labour’s hard left to form new group’, The Times, August 24th, 1983
‘File on child sex group for DPP’, The Times, August 24th, 1983
David Nicholson-Lord, ‘Police hunting men who assaulted boy lack vital computer software’, The Times, August 25th, 1983
David Nicholson-Lord, ‘Child sex group men arrested’, The Times, September 9th, 1983
‘PIE member faces child pornography charge’, The Times, November 17th, 1984
Dr. T. Stuttaford, ‘Everett Picture Gives Credence to Dangerous Myth’, The Times, April 7th, 1995
Daily Mail (London)
May 28th, 1992, Thursday
PORN SQUAD QUIZ CHILD CARE EXPERT
By Peter Burden,Peter Rose
A LEADING consultant on children’s homes has been arrested after police raided his house and seized videos featuring young males.
The action came after Customs at Dover intercepted a magazine and a book sent from the Continent to 66-year-old Peter Righton.
A major police inquiry has been launched to establish the identities and ages of those involved in the videos, where they were taken and by whom.
Books and magazines were also seized. It is an offence to possess an obscene picture showing under-16s.
Mr Righton, who has worked for several publicly-funded bodies, was on police bail last night waiting to hear whether or not he will be prosecuted.
He denied making any of the videos himself and said: ‘I am sure there will be a satisfactory outcome.’
He added: ‘It is no secret that I am gay. It’s not an offence, although one is made to feel it is.’
Mr Righton is widely regarded as the leading authority on council residential care of children.
The Department of Health’s social services inspectorate has been told of the raid at his home in Evesham, Hereford and Worcester, and a report is expected to go to Health Secretary Virginia Bottomley.
She is a patron of the National Children’s Bureau, a highly-respected charity for which Mr Righton has worked as a senior consultant.
The bureau, which monitors children’s welfare, receives £1million for administration from the Health Department and a series of grants for Government work such as providing training packages and videos for social services managers and social workers.
Mr Righton’s credentials include having been senior lecturer at the National Institute for Social Work in Tavistock Square, Bloomsbury, which was established by Ministers in 1961.
It has an annual income of £2million, mostly from the Health Department.
He is also a senior tutor with the Open University, where his work includes advising social work managers from all over the country on the the rights of children in care.
Mr Righton has served on many committees including the Central Council for Education in Training and Social Work. He began his career working in approved schools and residential homes.
As part of his various jobs he has regularly visited children’s homes.
Chris Andrews, of the British Association of Social Workers, said: ‘He is a highly respected figure within the residential field, particularly working with highly disturbed children. He is very much concerned with therapeutic work in child care.’
Mr Righton stressed last night: ‘I have not been charged with any offence. I cannot see what offence they can charge me with.’
At the former farm cottage he shares with Mr Richard Alston, headmaster of a school for disturbed children, he insisted that none of the seized items featured under-age boys.
The raid by police and Customs officers took place on May 12. Mr Righton was released on bail after lengthy questioning and has been ordered to report back next month.
A full police report is expected to be sent to the Crown Prosecution Service soon.
Mr Righton was involved in controversy in 1977, when he called for a more liberal attitude to sex in children’s homes.
He said in the magazine Social Work: ‘Provided there is no question of exploitation, sexual relationships freely entered into by residents – including adolescents – should not be a matter for automatic inquiry.’
But last night he said he had been misrepresented in a part of the article appearing to condone sex between staff and adolescents in care. He was in fact against that.
Mr Righton, dressed in a T-shirt and slacks, added: ‘In the course of my work I did visit children’s homes but not many times.’
Of his relationship with Mr Alston, he said: ‘Yes, I do live here with Mr Alston, but what is wrong with that? We are consenting adults.’
Evening Standard (London)
October 7th, 1992, Wednesday
Minister acts over our child abuse revelations
By Stewart Payne, Eileen Fairweather
HEALTH SECRETARY Virginia Bottomley today ordered Islington Council to provide a swift response to the ‘serious and worrying allegations’ of abuse revealed in an Evening Standard investigation into its children’s homes.
Yesterday the Standard printed the disturbing stories of children in care who have been exposed to paedophiles, pimps and prostitution.
Today, beginning on Page 15, we examine the cases of two former Islington residential workers alleged to have abused boys in their care and how fears of a child sex ring were dismissed by management.
Following yesterday’s publication, Mrs Bottomley issued a statement saying she had instructed Islington Council to explain its actions ‘as soon as possible’.
‘To take advantage of the most vulnerable children in our society in the ways alleged in the Evening Standard article is despicable,’ she said.
‘I know that Islington Council will be looking very closely at their services for children and the people who provide them. I have asked the Social Services Inspectorate to give me a full report on Islington’s response.’
She added that she had recently urged new measures to strengthen independent inspection of children’s homes ‘in order to protect children from abuse and exploitation.
‘I intend to make sure that we have in place reliable systems that will pick up early warning signs.’
Islington Council confirmed that Mrs Bottomley had asked it to produce a report commenting on the Standard articles. ‘Its author will be independent of the social services department,’ said a spokesman.
The council also issued a statement from Labour councillor Sandy Marks, who chairs the social services committee. This ignores the central concerns raised by yesterday’s articles but takes issue on several points of detail. It says:
* ‘The circumstances of these young people are known to us and have been the subject of casework or detailed investigation.’
We reply: We do not dispute this. But, as the children’s stories showed, it was clearly ineffective. Some of our sources were involved in this casework and appealed to us because they felt it had not been resolved properly.
* ‘All our homes are inspected monthly and reports provided to management and councillors.’
We reply: We do not challenge the regularity of inspections, merely their efficiency.
* ‘The Standard has been asked for three months to furnish us with any new evidence. They have singularly failed to do so.’
We reply: We completed our inquiries and gave the council two weeks to prepare their reply. We do not claim to have found ‘new evidence’. What we have done is to expose how Islington failed to act properly on the evidence already given by parents, children and worried staff.
* ‘Neville Mighty, a key informant of the Standard, was the subject of allegations of gross sexual misconduct by young people in his care, was investigated and subsequently dismissed.’
We reply: Mighty was charged with sexual harassment but was found guilty only of using inappropriate language of a sexual nature. The matter is now under appeal. Twelve members of staff gave evidence on his behalf, including nine women. He is only one of our many sources.
* ‘The case of Roy Caterer was the subject of a Hertfordshire police investigation. No evidence or information was passed to the council.’
We reply: This is clearly wrong. Caterer was only imprisoned for sexually abusing children in care when a determined Islington social worker found some of his victims and went to local police. They liaised with Hertfordshire police.
That social worker wrote a report for her superiors and no action was taken on it.
Councillor Marks also claimed children interviewed by the Standard were paid.
And Mrs Margaret Hodge, leader of Islington Council, alleged in a radio interview with LBC Newstalk Radio that our reporters sat outside childrens home enticing children with £50 bribes for stories.
We reply: These allegations are absolutely untrue. Only one girl, no longer in care and unemployed, was paid £90 with her parents’ approval. This was for the time she spent helping reporters trace children who suffered in Islington’s care during the 12-week inquiry.
It is most unfortunate that Islington Council should seek to deflect the substance and seriousness of the situation revealed by the Standard’s inquiry by making inaccurate statements. We believe the council should concentrate its energies on reforming its inadequate social services procedures.
News of the World
July 23, 2000
Their evil is incurable says crime expert; Interview; Ray Wyre; NOW campaign; For Sarah Campaign against paedophiles
By Anna Gekoski
THE monster who murdered Sarah Payne will kill again unless he is caught, warns a senior sex crime psychologist.
Ray Wyre, an expert on cases of child abduction, explained that many paedophiles are incurable. “Research shows that once a paedophile starts to offend they have urges that don’t go away.
“Such behaviour will have its seeds in childhood where the person will most probably have been sexually abused himself. This will start a cycle of fantasy which spills over into reality in small ways at first.
“The offender may begin with indecent exposure before moving on to indecent assault, then attempted rape and then rape. In a small number this then leads to murder.”
Mr Wyre has worked with child sex killer Robert Black, convicted in 1994 of the murders of five-year-old Caroline Hogg, Sarah Harper, ten, and 11-year-old Susan Maxwell.
“Black had abducted and sexually assaulted a little girl when he was just a teenager,” he said. “The attack was so severe that she nearly died. Yet he was simply admonished for that offence. The authorities said at the time he’d grow out of it and it would be wrong to label him.
“I firmly believe that if he had been put away then, Sarah, Caroline and Susan would be alive today.” Mr Wyre believes that even where paedophiles are jailed for less than life the authorities should have the power to keep them in for the rest of their days if the prisoner is still considered dangerous at his release date..
“There are paedophiles I’ve worked with in prison who say they’ll offend again, some who even say they’ll kill,” he said. “Yet they’ve been given a fixed sentence and the law has no provision to deal with future danger.”
Another problem, he says, is that under current law the psychological treatment of paedophiles in prison is voluntary. “Many of the worst offenders, those who need treatment the most, choose not to undergo the treatment programmes,” he added. “We need a new system whereby treatment is mandatory.”
Meanwhile the hunt goes on for Sarah Payne’s killer. Mr Wyre added: “Men who abduct, sexually abuse and kill are men with a history. Tragically they are also men with a future. At some time he will do it again.”
News of the World
August 5, 2001
CAUGHT IN THE ACT
By Mazher Mahmood Investigations Editor, in Barjac, France
We find leering child sex perverts befriending kids at nudist camp
A NAKED grey-haired man brushes past children playing around a swimming pool at a nudist camp.
Grinning broadly, he stops to chat to the bare youngsters-many of them British-as they frolic in the sunshine.
Their unsuspecting parents smile politely at the scene. They have no idea that their children’s new playmate is one of the most infamous perverts on earth.
For the man is Thomas O’Carroll-founder of the evil Paedophile Information Exchange which campaigned for the legalisation of sex with children.
News of the World undercover reporters tracked 55-year-old O’Carroll-who has avoided being photographed for 20 years-to the family naturist resort in the south of France. And we discovered he was not the only paedophile lurking at the poolside.
Nearby, former teacher Simon St Clair Terry-once jailed for indecently assaulting a 12-year-old girl pupil-sat rubbing oil into the back of a naked 14-year-old he first befriended at the camp six years ago.
Both fiends spent the day mingling among families and wandering around the tents at the La Sabliere camp set in acres of woodlands in Barjac.
“I’m really enjoying myself here. It’s a fantastic place,” leering O’Carroll told a reporter posing as a tourist. “It’s full of children because of the school holidays.
“This place was highly recommended and it’s living up to all expectations! I’m going to Blackpool next week, although I don’t think that will be this good!”
O’Carroll-who served two years in jail for corrupting public morals–ate lunch by an underwater window in the side of the swimming pool.
Designed so that parents could keep an eye on their children, it was the perfect place for him to ogle naked tots as they swam past. “It’s more like an aquarium than a swimming pool,” he drooled.
Twisted O’Carroll bragged to our reporters that he was an academic.
But the former Open University press officer failed to mention that he was sacked after forming his infamous ring of child molesters.
The Paedophile Information Exchange boasted more than 300 members before police smashed it in the Eighties with a string of arrests following a News of the World investigation. Monster O’Carroll also made no mention of the vile book he wrote on the “myths of childhood innocence” in which he said: “Consenting children and adults have a right to private intimacy together just as lesbians and gay men do.”
Now O’Carroll-who owns a house in Leamington, Warwicks-is part of a sick new gang of 200 paedophiles called GWAIN-Gentlemen Without An Interesting Name-which is being watched by Scotland Yard detectives.
The highly organised group hold clandestine meetings at homes and members are in touch via e-mails. One of the group’s officials was arrested last year on suspicion of raping a 10-year old boy.
As O’Carroll wandered off to chat to an eight-year-old he had befriended, disgraced teacher Terry returned to the caravan he is sharing with a Belgian single mum.
She met the molester when he first came to the camp in 1995. Then her daughters were eight and 11.
He has been joining her for holidays there ever since, and also visits her at her home in Antwerp.
It is not known whether she is aware of his disturbing past-that he spent six months in jail in 1991 for assaulting a pupil. And that he kept a stomach-churning diary of his obsession with the youngster.
“I’m here for a month. I’m really lucky with my work. I get a lot of holidays,” 42-year-old Terry told our reporters.
“I’ve been coming here for years-it’s a great place.”
Terry-who works as an account manager for Waterstones’ bookshop in Canterbury, Kent-has a history of targeting young girls.
He has had involvement with the Girl Guides and once set up a club for 11 to 12-year-olds called the Pig Tin Club.
After sitting naked with two youngsters outside his tent at La Sabliere, Terry then joined in a ball game with a group of naked girls and boys.
Today both paedophiles can expect to be thrown out of their perverts’ paradise. Our dossier is available to the authorities in Britain and France.
DO you know a scandal that should be exposed? Call Maz on 0207 782 4402 or e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org
[Since first publishing this article online a number of further MPs have indicated their support for a national inquiry in line with the express wishes of the original seven. For details of this, and how to write to your MP to ask them to support, please see this post]
The pioneering news organisation Exaro have published two important articles today by David Hencke relating to a cross-party group of seven MPs who have written jointly to Home Secretary Theresa May called for a proper inquiry into child abuse, citing the Hillsborough inquiry as a model (see Hencke, ‘Police keep failing ‘to follow evidence’ in abuse cases, say MPs: Call for wide inquiry into ‘schools, churches, children’s homes, politicians and celebrities’, 3/6/14, and ‘MPs call on Theresa May to set inquiry into child sex abuse: Tim Loughton and Zac Goldsmith in cross-party group that highlights failures by police’, 3/6/14; see also Jason Beattie, ‘MPs demand inquiry into historic claims of child sex abuse by Cabinet Ministers’, Daily Mirror, 4/6/14).
The seven MPs in question (who Hencke has elsewhere called the ‘Magnificent Seven’) are:
Zac Goldsmith, MP for Richmond Park, whose constituency contains Elm Guest House, Grafton Close Children’s Home, and Colet Court and St Paul’s Schools (Twitter @ZacGoldsmith ).
Tim Loughton, MP for East Worthing and Shoreham and former Children’s Commissioner, who spoke powerfully in the House of Commons in September 2013 about many ongoing revelations of abuse (Website here; Twitter @timloughton ).
John Hemming, MP for Birmingham Yardley, who made representations on behalf of financial journalist Leah McGrath Goodman on the grounds of her being banned from the UK following investigation into child abuse at Haut de la Garenne, Jersey, but has also been critical of UK family courts when dealing with allegations of abuse against parents. (Website here; Twitter @johnhemmingmp )
Tessa Munt, MP for Wells, who as a member of the Education Select Committee has taken a special interest in child safeguarding, and whose constituency contains Wells Cathedral School, one of the five specialist music schools, all of which have been connected to abuse (Website here; Twitter @tessamunt )
Tom Watson, MP for West Bromwich East, who has been indefatigable in his commitment to this issue ever since raising in Westminster in October 2012 the issues of a high-level paedophile ring (see Watson’s blog and articles here and many other places online; Twitter @tom_watson ).
Simon Danczuk, MP for Rochdale, co-author with Matthew Baker of Smile for the Camera: The Double Life of Cyril Smith (London: Biteback, 2014), who has written of how Smith was connected to Peter Righton and also a wider paedophile ring including prominent politicians (see this article by Watson in praise of Danczuk) (Website here, Twitter @simondanczuk )
These seven MPs are concerned about how important files, surveillance videos and other material have gone missing, lack of charges brought as a result of Operation Fernbridge, and in general an apparent reluctance on the part of the police and others to pursue cases of serious abuse. Watson has written to the Director of Public Prosecutions naming a former cabinet minister alleged to have raped a woman going by the name of ‘Jane’ (see also the detailed five-part account linked to at the bottom of this article and the video interview with ‘Jane’); this is the same senior cabinet minister who has been linked to the VIP paedophile ring related to Elm Guest House (as confirmed by Mark Watts on Twitter on 18/5/14). The Metropolitan Police have chosen not to pursue Jane’s allegations further, nor even interview the alleged perpetrator, raising serious questions about whether proper procedure has been followed; Exaro have also claimed that there was a shocking concerted police smear campaign aimed at discrediting ‘Jane’. Furthermore, there are serious questions about the whereabouts of a series of documents submitted to the Home Office by the late Geoffrey Dickens MP (see here, here and here), one of the few MPs who continued to pursue this issue in the 1980s. Loughton has spoken of his alarm at consistent ‘reluctance, or more worryingly, the seeming complicity of police and other agencies to investigate the allegations seriously, and pursue the perpetrators rigorously’, and how ‘Documents go missing and investigations are curtailed with a chilling frequency, and that now threatens a serious undermining of the public’s confidence in our current child-protection system despite all the progress that has undoubtedly been made in recent years’.
The range of areas of public life in which there have been major allegations of abuse is frighteningly large: these include children’s homes in Islington (see also here and this article by whistleblower Liz Davies), Hackney, Tower Hamlets, Lambeth, Lewisham, Southwark, Haute de la Garenne in Jersey, Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Essex, Suffolk, Staffordshire (the ‘Pindown’ scandal) Birmingham, Leicestershire, North Wales, South Wales, Cheshire, Leeds, Sunderland, Northumberland, Lothian, Renfrewshire, Isle of Lewis, the Kincora Boy’s Home in Belfast, Stockgrove Park School, Buckinghamshire, Stanbridge Earls School near Romsey, Hampshire, New Barns School, Gloucestershire, Castle Hill School, Shropshire, St George’s School, Suffolk, Knowl View School in Rochdale, in Cleveland, many of the leading public schools (see also the range of articles here), the Catholic Church, not least in Scottish abbeys, the Church of England, the entertainment industry (not least involving Jimmy Savile), grooming gangs in the North West and Oxford, music education, a ring around Piccadilly Circus, major networks trading images of child abuse, and more. Some of these cases have been investigated, with some prosecutions, but there is good reason to believe some of these investigations have been half-hearted, whilst other cases have simply been ignored. There are many individuals linked to multiple networks (not least the sinister figure of Peter Righton), continuing talk of the VIP paedophile ring connected to Elm Guest House and elsewhere, major information concerning late MPs Cyril Smith and Peter Morrison and serious allegations about others who are living (not least the severe claim that a Blair era cabinet minister was being investigated for abusing children in a home in Lambeth, leading to a detective being taken off the case, and even that a council official looking to expose a ring involving the minister was murdered). The activities of members of the Paedophile Information Exchange (PIE), about whom I have blogged in detail, remain shady, and there are many suggestions that this organisation might be linked to a great number of cases of abuse. Furthermore, it is now clear that PIE had deep links to the Home Office, receiving large amounts of money from the organisation, with at least three members working on its premises (with a phone line there), its magazine printed there, and some civil servants receiving images of child abuse delivered to the building!
It is heartening to see such a diverse cross-party group of MPs coming together on this issue. Yet it is more than a little disappointing that there are not more, and that the most senior politicians in all the major parties do not appear to be taking seriously what can only be called an epidemic (if even less than half of the allegations were true). I would urge everyone reading this to write to their own MP and implore them to support the seven courageous figures above (any of whom I would gladly vote for). I have earlier blogged on the need for Ed Miliband, the leader of the party to which I belong (Labour), to put all of his weight behind calls for a proper inquiry, but also how there is near-silence from the upper echelons of Labour, perhaps related to the fact that senior Labour politicians are under investigation and also that the current Deputy Leader, Harriet Harman, has been linked to PIE during her time as Legal Officer at the NCCL, during which period NCCL took out an advert in PIE’s journal Magpie and also their policy on images of children reflects aspects of PIE thinking. But this should not be stopping Miliband, nor should worries about the former Thatcher era cabinet minister, and Peter Morrison and others, be stopping David Cameron (and in light of revelations about Cyril Smith, Nick Clegg should be firmly behind this).
Leading experts, researchers and campaigners on child abuse Peter McKelvie and Liz Davies met recently with Home Office minister Norman Baker. They were granted a mere ten minutes of time, despite having built up huge bodies of evidence about child abuse, but it was made clear that there was no intention to undertake either a national police investigation (absolutely necessary because so many complex cases are interlinked) nor a public inquiry. I would urge people to read the account above. Nonetheless, I have been informed that both individuals spoke very highly of Zac Goldsmith’s commitment to the issues in particular.
The media have reported much about the relatively small number of cases coming to court as a result of Operation Yewtree. But these are just a tiny fraction of the wider allegations of serious and sustained abuse (and non-sexual abuse should not be treated any less seriously). All credit to these seven MPs, but as for the others – if our MPs do not care about protecting children in the most vulnerable situations, what do they care about?