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 email@example.com
[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?
Many different stories involving alleged organised or institutionalised abuse of children have been prominent in the press during since February: about the Paedophile Information Exchange (PIE), and their links to the National Council of Civil Liberties, about abuse in a range of top private schools (especially Colet Court and St Paul’s), about the hideous range of abuse carried out by late Liberal MP Cyril Smith and then further in special schools in Rochdale, trials (with both convictions and acquittals) of celebrities as a result of Operation Yewtree, further information concerning the shocking abuse cases in children’s homes run by Islington Council, and new stories relating to abuse in Lambeth, with suggestions that a detective was taken off the case after a cabinet minister from the Blair era became a suspect (see also here, here, here and here, whilst the inquiry into historical institutional abuse in Northern Ireland (the largest inquiry of its type in the UK) opened at the beginning of the year. Other investigations continue, most notably Operations Fairbank, Fernbridge and Cayacos, resulting from the questions put to the House of Commons by Tom Watson MP in October 2012, and dealing in particular with suggestions of a VIP paedophile ring, involving senior politicians from various parties, and centered upon the terrible abuse scandal at the Elm Guest House in Barnes (see also the various links here), and the possibility that children may have even been trafficked to this place from a children’s home in Grafton Close in nearby Richmond to service VIP guests. Cyril Smith and the late Sir Anthony Blunt, former Master of the Queen’s Pictures and Soviet spy, have been named as visitors to Elm Guest House.
The courage of a few good politicians
The Labour MP for Rochdale, Simon Danczuk, co-author with Matthew Baker of the excellent Smile for the Camera: The Double Life of Cyril Smith (London: Biteback Publishing, 2014) has reiterated the claims that Smith was not working alone, and was part of a wider VIP ring; indeed Danczuk has gone so far as to argue that if charges had been brought against Smith, he would have named others and the resulting scandal could have toppled a government. Certainly the same possibility would have applied for the Blair government if a serving minister there had been charged with the abuse of children.
Danczuk has indicated that he is considering using Parliamentary Privilege to name one especially prominent former cabinet minister who was part of a ring with Smith and involved at Elm Guest House. This is almost certainly a figure from the Thatcher era whose identity is well-known on the internet, but has not been otherwise made public in the mainstream media in this context, though he was named when such allegations were dismissed thirty years ago. Various reports from Exaro News and The People newspaper (see links above) have indicated that a former cabinet minister was involved, with stories of videos and the possibility of some survivors being able to identify this figure . I hope that if Danczuk is secure in his conviction here that he will indeed name this figure, as unfortunately there is reason (on the basis of precedent) to have doubts as to the possibility of full investigations being able to proceed without external interference. This name, if made public, may cause shockwaves both in the UK and wider afield, and in such a context it would be very hard to resist the call for a proper public inquiry (and, perhaps more importantly, it would be harder for darker forces to try and prevent the police investigating this figure properly).
Danczuk and Watson are heroic politicians for our time, both risking huge amounts of approbrium and antipathy from colleagues and others (as Watson has detailed in his tribute to Danczuk). As a campaigner and independent researcher into abuse in musical education and also into PIE (about which numerous earlier blog posts give primary source information) I have had the pleasure to meet with Watson. No words can praise highly enough his complete dedication to these issues, as demostrated earlier with the allegations about the media and phone hacking. A few other MPs have shown courage and determination with these issues: Lucy Powell, Labour MP for Manchester Central, has continued to pursue the issue of abuse in music education and safeguarding (with Chetham’s and the Royal Northern College of Music both lying within her constituency), whilst Conservative MP Tim Loughton, former Children’s Minister, also speaking out about the scale of organised abuse as can be read in a speech he made to Parliament last September detailed here in Hansard.
But these politicians (and a few others) are relatively few and far between. Others have tried to fudge or ignore the issues, perhaps knowing of the fact that a full inquiry could uncover information deeply unsettling for all the three major British political parties (and maybe several others as well). As the late Conservative MP Geoffrey Dickens found, pursuing the issue of organised child abuse involving prominent individuals is a lonely cause. When Dickens claimed that children were being abused on a council estate in Islington, the Labour MP for Islington North (my own MP), Jeremy Corbyn, claimed that Dickens was ‘getting cheap publicity at the expense of innocent children’ (see here for more on this story). When Dickens tried in 1984 to introduce a bill proscribing organisations like PIE, Labour MP Clare Short claimed the reason for the bill was ‘publicity for the hon. Member for Littleborough and Saddleworth (Mr. Dickens)’ and spoke of ‘cheap publicity stunts’.
The left, paedophile organisations, and organised abuse
During this period, as has been amply chronicled recently, there were sections of the left, even the far left. Investigation of pro-paedophile literature (which I have done extensively, finding an alarming amount of this in mainstream publications, including scholarly literature, which I will document at a later date) shows no shortage of individuals (even including several prominent feminists) who sought to link the issue of paedophilia to supposedly progressive attitudes towards gender and sexuality. NCCL were affiliated to PIE for an extended period, and took out advertisements in PIE publications Understanding Paedophilia and Magpie, whilst their 1976 evidence to the Criminal Law Revision Committee (some of which reads almost exactly in the manner of a good deal of pro-paedophile literature) included the astonishing claim that ‘Childhood sexual experiences, willingly engaged in, with an adult result in no identifiable damage’. It is clear that for a period NCCL (and also various gay rights organisations) were influenced, possibly even infiltrated, by paedophile campaigners, a process Christian Wolmar has traced (drawing in part upon first-hand experience of encountering paedophile groups) over a range of leftist organisations in the 1970s (this is also documented in Lucy Robinson’s book Gay Men and the Left in Post-War Britain: How the Personal got Political (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2011)).
Current Labour Deputy Leader Harriet Harman MP was Legal Officer for the NCCL from 1978 to 1982; she joined the organisation two years after the Criminal Law Revision Committee submission, but no evidence has yet been provided of her – or her husband, Jack Dromey (who was on the committee of NCCL from 1970 to 1979, and has claimed to have opposed PIE but given no evidence for this) opposing the influence of PIE at the organisation.
How has Harman responded to the latest flurry of press attention? After the story was re-hashed in the Daily Mail in mid-February (having appeared sporadically for several years previously); it had become clearer how deeply PIE were involved with a wide range of abuse scandals, an involvement which has become even clearer in the subsequent months. In particular, the sinister figure of the late Peter Righton (files relating to whom provided the impetus for the police investigations which opened in 2012 – see also this 1994 documentary), who weaned his way to influential positions in the social work profession, was a high-up member of PIE, and has been linked to a network of abusers in public schools and to a range of cases of abuse in children’s homes; one victim has linked Righton to Cyril Smith (Smith may have met Righton when he was Liberal spokesperson on social services from 1976 to 1977). The journalist Eileen Fairweather, who broke the story of widespread abuse in Islington children’s homes for the Evening Standard, wrote of how one woman recalled being told openly by Righton at a social function in the 1970s how he enjoyed having sex with boys in children’s homes; Righton apparently assumed that as a lesbian she ‘wouldn’t break ranks’, and the woman went along with what she called ‘a typical gay man’s excuse – that he didn’t use force’ (she later gave a statement to the investigators) (cited in Christian Wolmar, Forgotten Children: The Secret Abuse Scandal in Children’s Homes (London: Vision Paperbacks, 2000)). Righton also wrote an endorsement which was used on the cover of Tom O’Carroll’s book Paedophilia: The Radical Case (ibid). Elsewhere, Fairweather has written of the deep links between Islington Council and PIE.
Harman’s first response was completely defensive: in a statement which was printed in the Mail on February 24th, she referred to the allegations as a ‘smear campaign’, and denied any connection with NCCL policy on lowering the age of consent to ten, or opposing the law on incest, as in the 1976 submission, pointing out that she did not work for NCCL until two years later, and denying that her involvement with NCCL implied any further support for PIE. However, as the paper pointed out, the 1976 submissions remained policy in 1978, when Harman joined, and she does not appear to have raised any objections then; furthermore, the affiliation continued throughout her time as Legal Officer. In a statement published together with Harman’s, Dromey argued that he was ‘at the forefront of repeated public condemnations of PIE and their despicable views’
As the media response grew louder, Harman appears to have realised that this would not be enough, and gave an interview with Laura Kuenssberg for Newsnight, again denying this amounted to anything more than a smear. She pointed out that PIE were one of a thousand organisations affiliated to NCCL, and that any organisation could affiliate. Ed Miliband (in what appears to have been his only statement on the whole controversy) backed Harman absolutely on the same day, reiterating her claim that the story amounted purely to a smear (Sam Coates, ‘Miliband backs Harman over ‘paedophile smears’, The Times, February 25th, 2014). It was later revealed that Harman and Dromey may not have been so confident about what journalists might find, and they trawled the NCCL archives in Hull themselves (their names can be found in the ledgers) on February 24th, five days after the story broke, and on the same day as the Newsnight interview. The Mail responded by pointing out that in the year when Harman joined the organisation, PIE was listed in the book The NCCL Guide to Your Rights as one of eighteen organisations which ‘may be helpful’ to readers, alongside the likes of the Family Planning Association and Rape Crisis Centre, and also that by 1982, the constitution of an affiliated institution had to be ‘approved by the Committee’ (PIE continued to be affiliated for a further year). The Telegraph also viewed other internal documents that cast serious doubts upon Harman’s claims that PIE had been ‘pushed to the margins’ back in 1976, before she went to NCCL, revealing that NCCL gay-rights spokesperson Nettie Pollard (probably the key link between NCCL and PIE, who has elsewhere herself been named as a member (#70) of PIE) had sat on a fourteen-strong NCCL gay rights committee with PIE chairman Tom O’Carroll (O’Carroll later thanked Pollard for her help in the foreword to his 1980 book Paedophilia: The Radical Case), and printed a letter from Harman forwarding a query from Pollard as to how to table amendments to the Protection of Children Bill in the Lords in 1978; this story was also pursued briefly in The Guardian. At this stage a spokesman for Harman had to concede that Pollard had promoted paedophilia and exploited the gay rights committee. Most damningly, the Mail printed a copy of the NCCL advert taken out in PIE journal Magpie in 1979 (which I had earlier revealed, though omitted at this stage to mention the earlier 1977 advert in Understanding Paedophilia).
Various of these articles drew attention in particular to how Harman herself urged changes to the 1978 Protection of Children Bill by saying that ‘images of children should only be considered pornographic if it could be proven the subject suffered’; this is perhaps the most crucial piece of information, and which comes dangerously close to PIE-style thinking, by positing that something only becomes pornographic if the child considers it as such (rather than in a statutory fashion). Though Harman protested that this was to stop parents being criminalised for taking beach or bathing pictures of their children (which would in itself be fair), these proposed amendments went further than that, as a lawyer would surely know.
As the furore continued, Patricia Hewitt made a reasonably decent and measured statement (after a period when she was uncontactable), claiming that NCCL was ‘naive and wrong to accept PIE’s claim to be a ‘campaigning and counselling organisation’ that ‘does not promote unlawful acts’, accepting responsibility and apologising, saying she ‘should have urged the executive committee to take stronger measures to protect NCCL’s integrity from the activities of PIE members and sympathisers’, though disclaiming any part in the ‘proposal to reduce the age of consent’, and saying nothing about the 1976 Criminal Law Revision Committee submission. Hewitt’s retirement from her position as a non-executive director of BT was also announced a few weeks later, though it is not clear whether this was related.
But there was no such humility from Harman, whose public school haughtiness deserves consideration just as does that of David Cameron or George Osborne; in an interview for The Times in early March, she adopted a contemptuous tone, continuing to refuse to apologise, talked about intending to be Deputy Prime Minister, and even talking about how she was ‘spending a lot of money on my hair, which is the same colour as when I was 33 [….] I’m not quite sufficiently politically correct to be able to stop it’, giving the impression that this mattered more than the ongoing stories about abuse (Sam Coates, ‘I want to be deputy PM, says Harman as she stands firm over paedophiles’, The Times, March 8th, 2014).
Former Head of the Obscene Publications Squad Michael Hames (author of The Dirty Squad (The Inside Story of the Obscene Publications Squad)) argued that ‘the NCCL legitimised the Paedophile Information Exchange’, and that Harman, Dromey and Hewitt ‘made a huge mistake. At the very least they should acknowledge, publicly, that they got it wrong’. But this would not be forthcoming from either Harman or Dromey. The current director of Liberty (the renamed NCCL), said that past paedophile infiltration of the organisation was a matter of ‘continuing disgust and horror’, statement endorsed by Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg.
A civil liberties organisation should defend the civil liberties of all people, including those whose views they might otherwise despise and reject. The American Civil Liberties Union has defended the right to free speech of the Klu Klux Klan; in my view, they are absolutely right to do so, for using fascistic techniques of censorship is no way to combat fascist ideology and organisations. Paedophiles have rights and civil liberties as well (and I have no interest in debating with those people who would deny that they do); were the NCCL simply to be defending these, or indeed fighting against the rather archaic law of ‘Conspiracy to Corrupt Public Morals’, then their actions should be applauded. Furthermore, it would be rash to censor even a debate on the precise age of consent, which varies slightly between different Western countries.
But NCCL’s support for PIE went further than this. I do not believe Harman, Dromey or Hewitt to have been active supporters of the abuse of children themselves; however, at a time when PIE was at its height, they were all intimately involved with an organisation which not only allowed PIE to affiliate (would Harman have been so happy with a group which advocated that a man can beat his wife if she is disobedient, or a fundamentalist Christian anti-gay organisation?), but also advertised in its own deeply unpleasant publications (see the ample amount of material I have published on this blog here, here and here) and appear to have been influenced by aspects of PIE thinking in their policy, as well as having PIE members on their own committees. No clear evidence has been provided for any of these three figures having opposed this, unlike with Peter Hain, say. PIE’s strategy was to infiltrate and influence mainstream gay rights and civil liberties organisations towards their own ends; Harman, Dromey and Hewitt stand as appearing culpable in allowing this to happen, and in the process adding a degree of respectability to that very paedophile movement which looks to have been involved in the worst cases of organised abuse.
As further investigations into the latter continue, it would be a miracle if the involvement of leading PIE members is not evoked on many future occasions, and many more questions asked about just how this organisation and the ideologies it espoused came to win a degree of acceptance especially on the liberal left (two very thoughtful articles on this question have recently been published by Eileen Fairweather and Christian Wolmar). However, all figures associated with the Labour leadership appear to have treated this as an issue primarily of the reputations of Harman and Dromey (Hewitt is less active in politics today and no longer in Parliament). Harman’s own self-centered attitudes and absolute refusal to concede that this might be about more than her, has precluded the leadership from really commenting at all on the many other stories which have been further illuminated, an intolerable state of affairs. I would personally have difficulty campaigning for Labour if this situation continues.
The need for a decisive lead from Labour and Ed Miliband
The potential situation for Labour is grave: senior figures such as Harman, Dromey or Margaret Hodge (in charge of Islington Council during the period when paedophiles manage to infiltrate their children’s homes, and who tried to dismiss newspaper reports claiming this – but amazingly went on to become Children’s Minister under Tony Blair) stand likely to be found to have been at least complacent if not complicit in a situation which enabled PIE, and as a result widespread abuse, to flourish. If coupled with revelations about a Blairite cabinet minister, this could cast an unremovable shadow over the whole Blair era. Danczuk has written of how ‘it seemed that a fair few on the Left, including some who have subsequently become key figures in the Labour Party were fooled into giving this hideous group [PIE] shelter’, part of the situation which enabled Cyril Smith to act with relative impunity – he does not name the figures in question, but there is little question that he is referring to Hewitt, Harman and Dromey. The dismissive statements of Corbyn and Short, at a time when Dickens was fighting practically a one-man campaign against PIE, look like a form of petty tribalism which in this context could be dangerous; more ominously, some other Labour names have been mooted in terms of visitors to the Elm Guest House. Eileen Fairweather has described the type of Stalinist thinking to be encountered on the left when there are abuse allegations involving gay men, whilst some researchers into abuse committed by women, such as Michelle Elliott or Jackie Turton, have encountered similar resistance to any investigation of the subject. It would seem as if for some on the left, child abuse only matters when it can be exploited to serve a particular type of gender/sexuality politics; when the perpetrators are women or gay men, some might prefer that the abuse go unchecked*.
All of this remains at the level of allegations, for sure, but it seems unlikely that an investigation would not do damage to the Labour Party. But this is equally true for the Liberal Democrats because of Cyril Smith, and very much so for the Conservative Party, with a serious of prominent figures also having been mooted as Elm Guest House visitors (one of them still in the House of Commons today), not to mention the as yet far-from-clarified situation involving the late Peter Morrison, about whom I have blogged at length, involving allegations (based upon accounts by Conservative politicians) of cover-up and even bribery, and that Morrison was linked to the North Wales abuse scandals.
I am a member of the Labour Party; I was unable to stay supporting them following the Iraq War, but rejoined after Tony Blair left the leadership and have had high hopes of Ed Miliband, who I voted for as leader. I look to the Labour Party to protect the interests of ordinary citizens against powerful forms of exploitation, and can hardly imagine an issue Labour should be opposing and attacking more strongly than the existence of networks of VIPs using their position to exploit and abuse children sexually, protected through friends in high places. Miliband showed great resolve over the issue of Murdoch and hacking; now he needs to do the same of the issue of organised and institutional abuse. His silence (and that of most other senior Labour politicians) to date on the issue, save to defend Harman as mentioned earlier, is no response befitting of a Prime-Minister- and government-in-waiting; as with other party leaders, the impression given is of one more concerned about protecting the reputation of a few of his colleagues than in investigating extremely serious allegations of abuse (just as has been seen in numerous other institutions facing abuse or cover-up allegations relating to some of their members).
This should not be a partisan issue, and attempts by all sides to exploit it for party political advantage are crass in the extreme. Ed Miliband has the opportunity to change this and call for an all-purpose public inquiry with which he and his party will fully co-operate, which would put real pressure on the other parties to do the same, as he should also demand. This would require a similar level of commitment from his senior colleagues; if some are not prepared to give this commitment, then Miliband must make clear that he is no longer in a position to lend them support.
[*As for example in the case of the American feminist Kate Millett, who when asked in an interview (originally published in Loving Boys (New York: Semiotext(e), 1980), pp. 80-83) ‘Do you think that a tender loving erotic relationship can exist between a boy and a man?’ she replied ‘Of course, or between a female child and an older woman’ and also said that ‘ part of a free society would be that you could choose whomever you fancied, and children should be able to freely choose as well’. Millett’s book Sexual Politics (Garden City, New York: Doubleday, 1969) remains a standard feminist text, but I believe on the basis of this interview anything she says about sexual politics should be considered suspect. ]
NCCL Documentary Evidence 2 – Sexual Offences – Evidence to the Criminal Law Revision Committee 1976Posted: April 7, 2014
Below is the text of all sections of Sexual Offences: Evidence to the Criminal Law Revision Committee. NCCL Report no. 13 (February 1976, revised edition March 1976) which are relevant to issues concerning PIE, to whom they had become affiliated by this time. Some of this has been quoted in various newspaper articles, but the complete text should make clear the extent to which NCCL’s recommendations were being influenced by PIE-style thinking (though some of it is perfectly reasonable). I will provide proper commentary, together with other NCCL-related information, at a later date.
Differences between the February and March 1976 versions of the report, both of which I have looked at, are tiny and cosmetic.
Introduction to the second edition
The publication of NCCL’s evidence on the law relating to sexual offences has caused considerable controversy. Unfortunately, the publicity given to the proposals to lower the ages of consent did not generally make clear the distinction which we made between an area of private morality, where the individual may make his or her own choice, and the area where the criminal law should intervene. Some commentators preferred to assert the innocence of ‘childhood’, ignoring the fact that a number of people below the age of 16 do choose to have sexual intercourse. Others defended the existing law on heterosexual activity on the ground that the law is a defence of the girl who wishes to say ‘no’. There is no evidence to suggest that the existing law does protect girls who wish to avoid intercourse: NCCL’s case is that such protection, if it does exist, should not be given at the expense of making criminal sexual activity between partners who consent.
Timely illustration of how objectionable the use of the criminal law is in this area was given this month when Justice Melford Stevenson criticised the police for charging an 18-year-old man with unlawful sexual intercourse with his 15-year-old girlfriend – whose consent, according to the judge, was not in doubt. The law is, of course, very rarely enforced, and it is not clear whether those who uphold its existence wish to see such prosecutions brought more frequently.
There has been considerable criticism of NCCL’s proposals on the ages of consent some based on a misunderstanding of our reasoning. But the proposals have also attracted support from those who share our conviction that the criminal law should not interfere with private, consenting sexual activity, and from a number of young people, and those working with them, who welcome the recognition that they are capable of making their own choice. This report has already stimulated public discussion about major issues of law and morality, and we welcome continuing debate on the proposals which we have made.
One of the most empty opinions frequently given about our society is that it is a ‘permissive society’. The term is rarely defined. It is true that certain barriers to sexual activity have been lowered, but the high threshold of guilt that affects many people often distorts relationships and behaviour and makes quite legitimate sexual freedoms beyond the reach of many people. The law still operates harshly to discourage certain sexual activities, even where no harm to others is identifiable. It would be equally true to say, as Anthony Grey of the Sexual Law Reform Society recently did, that ours is a repressive society. It is quite usual for advocates of any sexual freedom to be regarded as if they were calling for sexual licence. The test of any freedom – and there is no reason to exclude sexuality from this rule – is its effect on the legitimate freedoms of others.
Although in the past it was accepted that ecclesiastical laws and, subsequently, civil laws could properly enforce a moral code, in more recent times the feeling has been growing that Acts of Parliament should not, and cannot, control the moral side of our lives. It was put forcibly in a perspicacious sentence of the Wolfenden Report (1957) : ‘Unless a deliberate attempt is to be made by society, acting through the agency of the law, to equate the sphere of crime with that of sin, there must remain a realm of private morality and immorality which is, in brief and crude terms, not the law’s business.
The NCCL believes that the main function of the law on sexual behaviour should be protection; the only reason for making a sexual activity illegal is because it may result in other people being harmed. This rules out all laws concerned solely with morality. It also rules out paternalistic laws which attempt to stop an individual from harming himself; it is quite difficult in reality, to harm oneself by having too much sex.
There are, in NCCL’s opinion, two areas where a protective law may properly restrict sexual behaviour:
i) Where one or more parties to a sexual act have not consented;
ii) Where sexual behaviour results in demonstrable suffering or offence to other people.
Age of Consent
True consent has not been obtained unless all the participants have freely entered into the activity. The law must prevent individuals from forcing their attentions upon others by using violence, threats, fraud, blackmail or other improper pressures, such as taking unfair advantage of those under one’s authority or those who are handicapped in some way. Most people would agree that the law must intervene in such circumstances. The problem of consent becomes controversial when one has to decide at what age a child is responsible for his/her actions and is therefore capable of giving consent.
Many people hold strong opinions about the age of consent, but there is very little real evidence that can be used to support any one particular age. It is possible to use very similar arguments to support the age of 12, 13, 14, or 15. The choice of any particular age is quite arbitrary; this may seem inevitable to lawmakers, but one should not forget that this appears ridiculous to young people who are told sexual intercourse is illegal one day and legal the following day.
Some doctors support the present age of consent in the belief that the cervix is more liable to damage by sexual intercourse at 14 than at 16 but this is disputed by other medical experts and the evidence either way is far from convincing. The main arguments in favour of a high age of consent are psychological and emotional. It is said that adolescents may be physically capable of exercising their sexuality, but they are not mentally prepared for this experience. People who put forward this argument are really thinking about emotional commitments more than physical acts, but there is no law that can, or should, control romantic attachments.
It is also said that adolescents cannot have a very realistic idea of the possible consequences of their sexual activities and that giving expression to their desires could lead to a pregnancy with unfortunate consequences for the offspring, as well as for the adolescents, their parents and the community. Against this it can be argued that there are now fairly efficient ways of avoiding an unwanted pregnancy, if adolescents can be persuaded to make use of them. But many of these young people, who need contraceptives and advice about sexual matters, may be reluctant to ask for help when they know that they are breaking the law by engaging in sexual activities below the age of consent. Counsellors, doctors and others who wish to help adolescents are also put in an awkward position because in theory, at least, they are aiding and abetting an offence. Furthermore, the law making heterosexual sexual intercourse illegal under 16 is often broken and rarely enforced. (This argument, about prevention of pregnancy, does not of course apply to sexual activity between persons of the same sex.)
The law also takes no account of the fact that the age of puberty is much lower now than when it was decided to make 16 the age of consent. There is no real biological justification for any particular age. Less than a hundred years ago, the age of consent was 13. It was changed in 1885 following a scandal concerning child prostitution. Most girls have reached puberty by the age of 12 and most boys intend to have early sexual experience, whatever the law may be. Contemporary psychological research has shown that children have sexual feelings and desires from a very early age. As the age of puberty covers a wide range, any age of consent will be too high for some and too low for others. In any case, it is not sensible to choose one age when suddenly boys and girls are permitted to engage in heterosexual activities without fear of legal sanction. The ability of teenagers to make suitable judgements and control their impulses depends upon upbringing and education, not upon the law of the land.
The severity of the present laws affects relationships that cross the age of consent even when they are, in the ordinary sense, mutual. In the public mind, the legal term ‘assault’ that is applied in these cases probably suggests brief, violent encounters. In fact, the law, as well as prohibiting such undesirable sexual acts, may bring to a crushing end caring and mutual relationships of long standing, and some where the partners are close in age. Although in these cases, the ‘harm’ that the law is meant to discourage evades scientific discovery. The harm that flows from the law’s operation is all too evident.
Although it is both logical, and consistent with modern knowledge about child development, to suggest that the age of consent should be abolished, we fear that, given the present state of public attitudes on this topic, it will not be politically possible to abolish the age of consent. Accordingly, we propose a series of ages of consent, which would have the effect of reducing the harmful effects of the present laws.
i) A person aged 14 or over should be legally capable of giving consent.
ii) A person aged under 10 should be presumed legally incapable of giving consent.
iii) Where both partners are aged 10 or over, but under 14, a consenting sexual act should not be an offence.
iv) Where one partner is aged 10 or over, but under 14, the law should presume that consent was not present, unless it is demonstrated that it was genuinely given and the child understood the nature of the act.
v) As the age of consent is arbitrary, we propose an overlap of two years on either side of 14, so that, where the participants are aged 12 or over, but under 16, a consenting sexual act will not be an offence.
vi) The exception provided in S 6 of the Sexual Offences Act 1956 should be retained, with the amendment that a person be not guilty of unlawful sexual acts with a child under 14 if he is under the age of 21 (not 24, as at present), has not previously been charged with alike offence, and reasonably believes the other person to be aged 14 or over.
We are particularly concerned that the present review of the law should not introduce new restrictions where none exist at present. The ages of consent would therefore continue to apply only to girls participating in heterosexual acts, and to boys participating in homosexual acts.
In the second paragraph of this memorandum, the blunt words of the Wolfenden Committee were quoted to support the proposition that people’s private morality is not the business of the law. That statement was made in that part of the Wolfenden Report which was specifically concerned with homosexuality. There is no logical or sensible reason why homosexuality should be treated differently by the law from heterosexuality. But the law discriminates against homosexuals – and mainly male homosexuals – in the following ways:
i) Homosexual acts between consenting adults in private, which became lawful in England and Wales after the Sexual Offences Act 1967, are still illegal in Scotland and Northern Ireland.
ii) Homosexual acts are still illegal in the Armed Forces and aboard UK Merchant ships.
iii) The age of consent for female heterosexuals is 16, but for male homosexuals is 21.
iv) The penalty for indecent assault on a male is a maximum of ten years, but the maximum for indecent assault on a female is two years.
v) It is illegal for a man aged over 21, to have sexual relationships with a man under 21, even in the reasonable belief that the younger man was over 21 and when the two men were close in age.
vi) The definition of privacy is more restrictive for homosexual acts.
vii) It remains an offence for a third party to procure a homosexual act, even though such an act is now quite legal. (This especially includes the publication of contact advertisements).
viii) It is an offence for a man persistently to solicit another man for an immoral purpose, but not for a man persistently to solicit a woman.
ix) Local bye-laws are used against homosexuals in a way that they are never used against heterosexuals.
These anomalies cannot be justified. Most of them were compromises made to facilitate the passing of the 1967 Act. It might have seemed to be good tactics at the time, but there is no logical reason for discrimination between these two forms of sexual behaviour.
At the very least, the same laws on sexual behaviour should apply throughout the United Kingdom. There should be no special prohibitions applying to the Armed Forces or the Merchant Navy. The definition of privacy should mean that a sexual act should not take place where it might be observed by others who might object. The age of consent should be the same for homosexuals and heterosexuals. The law on soliciting should be implemented without reference to the sex of the people concerned. No enactment of bye-law should prohibit conduct between persons of the same sex if it does not also prohibit similar conduct between people of the opposite sex. Penalties for sexual offences should be set at the same level for equivalent offences, whether they apply to male homosexual, or heterosexual offences.
Homosexual and Heterosexual Offences
It is not necessary to discriminate between homosexual and heterosexual behaviour in any of the laws regulating prostitution, brothel keeping, pornography, advertising for sexual partners, or in the application of any of the vague all-purpose common laws like conspiracy to corrupt public morals or breach of the peace.
We propose that the offences of buggery (S 12 of the Sexual Offences Act 1956) and assault with intent to commit buggery (S 16) be abolished. As the law [end p. 10] stands, a man and woman who have anal intercourse are both liable to a maximum term of life imprisonment, but the Sexual Offence Act 1967 allows a man over 21 to be lawfully penetrated and to penetrate another man over 21.
Section 32 of the Sexual Offences Act 1956 re-enacts an older law which was originally intended to catch prostitutes’ touts or bullies, but has been used almost exclusively against male homosexuals. Indeed a recent judgment in the Divisional Court (Cooke v Edmondson, 1966) held that S 32 cannot be used against a man who solicits a woman. The law which prohibits homosexual conduct has been reformed, but this law on importuning is still the cause of much injustice.
Although the use of the word ‘persistently’ in the original wording of the Act suggests that the intention as to protect members of the public from interference or annoyance, the interpretation by the courts means that in practice the world of a plain-clothes policeman is usually accepted by the magistrate. In such a situation, it is not necessary to stress the possibility of exaggeration or perjury.
So fearful is the homosexual of the social repercussions that he can often be persuaded to plead guilty to lesser charges under a local bye-law on the promise from police of no publicity. A policeman is neither authorised to give such a promise, nor is he able to prevent publication of the proceedings in the press. It is not sufficient to argue that the penalties are comparatively light, for the ignominy that follows a conviction for importuning for homosexual purposes can still have a shattering effect on a man’s relationship with his family and friends, and on his circumstances at work.
As the law stands, it is not even necessary to show that someone has been annoyed or offended. The courts convict on police evidence alone, sometimes after doubtful means of entrapment have been used, such as an agent provocateur who incites a person to commit an offence. Someone who shows that s/he is available for sex by being in a certain place or by giving another person an enquiring look cannot be said to be acting in an offensive manner.
Soliciting only becomes annoying if it is directed towards the same person persistently and pressingly. The police should be required to produce the evidence of the person who has been persistently importuned. Consequently the law on soliciting should be amended to require that a person cannot be convicted of this offence unless it is proved that at least one member of the public (i.e. not a policeman) was offended by his or her conduct. It should also be a defence to show that the member of the public encouraged the soliciting.
As homosexual relations between consenting adults are no longer illegal, the existence of the offence of importuning or soliciting for an immoral purpose means that a person may be charged, convicted and punished for attempting acts which are not in themselves unlawful. All soliciting, from begging to high pressure salesmanship, can reach a stage when it becomes offensive, but it is doubtful if the public really requires extra protection when the soliciting is for sexual purposes.
For hundreds of years the crime of incest has given rise to such intense feelings of revulsion that public discussion on the subject has often been uninformed and irrational. The incest taboo is world wide and has a close connection with religious cults and magic. Recent researches (Maisch, 1973) cast some doubt on these historical and anthropological beliefs. The present day case against incest is firstly, that genetic damage may result in the offspring and secondly, that an incestuous union is disruptive to the cohesion of the family.
The first objection is strongly held, but recent studies on human reproduction do not give much support to this theory, and it is in direct contradiction to the practices of successful animal breeders. In any case, the advent of reliable contraceptives and safer abortion weakens this argument. As for the second objection, the evidence (Gebhard, 1965) suggests that families in which incest occurs between parent and child are often disturbed before it starts. To this extent, incest is not the cause but is one symptom of a disrupted family.
Although some of those charged with this crime are mentally or emotionally inadequate, this is not always the case, especially when the incestuous union is between brother and sister. In our view, no benefit accrues to anyone by making incest a crime when committed between mutually consenting persons over the age of consent. When force of threats are used, or when one of the partners is under the age of consent, the law on assault should come into operation.
We would therefore propose that the crime of incest be abolished. It may be argued, with some justification, that in cases of parent-child incest, undue pressure to consent could be placed on the child who is economically and emotionally dependent on the older party. This is just the sort of situation where bringing in the law could do immense harm to the child, the father and the rest of the family. A young person is far more likely to confide in a teacher, social worker or member of the family if this would not result in bringing down the full force of the law, with the possible outcome of the break up of the family with the father being sent to prison, the child having to appear in court and perhaps being put into care. There are many cases where the victim does not appear to suffer from any obvious psychological disturbance until after the case has come to court. It is often the publicity in the local press and the reaction of neighbours that is most damaging to the whole family.
The strong emotions that surround the subject of paedophilia make it particularly difficult for justice to be done in such cases. Feelings of revulsion are often shown by parents, police, witnesses, magistrates and judges, and even by the lawyer briefed to defend the accused. In such circumstances, a wish for retribution can easily take precedence over a concern for the child’s welfare. Where the child was a willing partner in the sexual activity the strength of prejudice surrounding the case and the visible psychological effect on the defendant (who may have been a friend of the child) will be highly disturbing. Where the act involved force or was otherwise without consent, the need is to assist the child overcome the trauma, which may only be reinforced by legal proceedings.
Although clearly in the case of a genuine assault on a child, action has to be taken to protect other children from the offender, there is a growing feeling that the present legal system causes unnecessary suffering for the child victim of a sexual assault. In their report for the Institute for the Study and Treatment of Delinquency, Gibbens and Prince make the point that isolated events are unlikely to have any profound effect on a child who would probably soon forget about their experience if it were not for the significance given to it by parental concern and legal proceedings. They point out that several children appear to be undisturbed at the time they are required to give evidence in court, but later have a breakdown and become increasingly unsettled. It is important to realise that in some cases the child will have felt coerced into giving evidence damaging to someone s/he was fond of, and will at the same time have had his/her feelings of sexual guilt raised to a high pitch.
The lay person is often unaware that an ‘indecent assault’ in law can be committed without violence or physical harm being done to the child. A man can be convicted of an indecent assault without there being any physical contact with the child’s genitals; thus, putting a hand on a child’s thighs can be an indecent assault. Virkkunen (1975) studied a group of 64 paedophiles and reported : ‘Aggressive behaviour was not as a rule a characteristic of these offenders: on the other hand they seemed to be in a pronounced manner gentle, fond of children and benevolent.’
Parents, police and lawyers find it hard to believe that the child may actively seek the sexual relationship. Bender and Blau (1937) report : ‘This study seems to indicate that these children undoubtedly do not deserve completely the cloak of innocence with which they have been endowed by moralists, social reformers and legislators . . . frequently we considered the possibility that the child might have been the actual seducer, rather than the one innocently seduced.’ Other researchers (Gibbens, Virkkunen) agree that the children often take the initiative; some of them have sexual experiences with several adults.
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’. Several researchers (Gagnon, 1965; Gibbens and Prince, 1963; Tolsma, 1957; Doshay, 1943) have shown that it is possible to exaggerate the damage done to the child. Bender and Grugett (1952) write: ‘Modern psychiatric follow-up studies of a sizeable series of individuals who as children had known these types of sexual experiences have not disclosed any directly adverse effect of the early incidents upon later social adjustments’. A large number of people (one researcher estimated it to be about one third of all children) have one or more pre-pubertal sexual experiences with an adult. So at least some of the readers of this report should ask themselves whether their early sexual activities with an adult have resulted in any unfortunate after-effects.
As many male paedophiles are attracted to boys, there is a fear that the boy who has sexual relations with an adult man will grow up to be a homosexual, but again there is no evidence for this. Rainer (1960) writes : ‘Homosexual seduction in itself was not found to determine homosexual behaviour, nor deter heterosexual behaviour’. Coon (1957) writes : ‘To assume categorically that these relationships are going to be traumatic for the boy is prejudgment of a type which certainly has no place in dynamic psychiatry’. The Speijer Report, recently produced by the Dutch Council of Health for the Ministers of Justice and of Social Affairs, concluded that homosexual experiences might benefit boys who later would live heterosexual lives, in the same way that young male homosexuals could only benefit form sexual experiments with both girls and women.
There is little doubt that a law court can be an alarming place for a child. During a trial on indictment the number of people present in court may be thirty or more, not including ordinary members of the public. A child is apt to be overwhelmed by the formality of the court. Although many of them will have seen court scenes on television, recognition of a familiar scene will be offset by the fear that their words may be twisted by a clever lawyer. The circumlocutions of lawyers can be confusing for a child, even when the lawyer is not directly challenging the child’s evidence. If the child has been a willing partner in the offence, s/he will know that retribution can be avoided by claiming to be an innocent victim – which is what parents and others will want and expect to hear. Furthermore, the child will be required to repeat the story to parents, police (sometimes more than once) and then in court, with the risk that the child’s memory may become faulty and that details may be elaborated.
It is important that courts dealing with paedophilia should arrange to have the child’s evidence given in court at second hand, unless this is unfair to the defendant. If the statement from the child is not disputed, it can be treated as evidence. Where the defence wants to cross-examine the child, a magistrate can see the child with one representative form either side, but following less formal procedures than in a courtroom.
This suggested change in the law is merely a palliative. The real need is a change in the attitude which assumes that all case of paedophilia result in lasting damage. The present legal penalties are too high and reinforce the misinformation and prejudice. The duty of the court should be to inquire into all the relevant circumstances with the intention, not of meting out severe punishment, but of determining the best solution in the interests of both child and paedophile.
[Texts referred to in the above]
Lauretta Bender and Abraham Blau, ‘The reaction of Children to Sexual Relations with Adults’, American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 7, 500-518, 1937.
Lauretta Bender and Alvin Eldridge Grugett, ‘A Follow-up report on Children who had Atypical Sexual Experience’, American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 22, 825-37, 1952.
Earl A. Coon, ‘Homosexuality in the News’, Arch. Crim. Psychodynam., 2. 843-65, 1957.
L.J. Doshay, The Boy Sex Offender and his Later Career. Grune and Stratton, 1943
John Gagnon, ‘Female Child Victims of Sex Offences’, Social Problems, 13, 176-92, 1965.
T.C.N. Gibbens and Joyce Prince, Child Victims of Sex offences, ISTD, 1963.
J.D. Rainer, A. Mesnikoff, L.C. Kolb and A. Carr, ‘Homosexuality and Heterosexuality in Identical Twins’, Psychosomatic Medicine, 22, 251-9, 1960.
F.J. Tolsma, De Betekenis van der Verleiding in Homofeile Ontwikkelingen, Amsterdam Psychiatrical Juridical Society, 1957.
Matti Virkkunen, ‘Victim-precipitated Paedophilia Offences’, British Journal of Criminology, 15, April 1975.
Various people looking into the Paedophile Information Exchange have mentioned the volume Warren Middleton (ed), The Betrayal of Youth: Radical Perspectives on Childhood Sexuality, Intergenerational Sex, and the Social Oppression of Children and Young People (London: CL Publications, 1986). This book contained a wide range of articles mostly from a pro-paedophilia point of view either by PIE members or sympathisers; the fact that Peter Tatchell contributed a chapter has been the subject of various controversy (to which I will return in a later post). The following constitute the contents of the volume (see here for a selection of pages including more details on contributors):
Part One: Five Controversial Areas
Clive Coliman, ‘Incest’
Richard Green, ‘Child Pornography and Erotica’
Warren Middleton, ‘Child Prostitution’
Liz Holton and Kathy Challis, ‘Gender Differences’
Eric Presland, ‘Power and Consent’
Part Two: Miscellaneous Chapters
Tuppy Owens and Tom O’Carroll, ‘Love and Let Love’
Michael Ingram, ‘Children and Sex: A Child Counsellor’s View’
Beatrice Faust, ‘The Pedophiles’
Peter Tatchell, ‘Questioning Ages of Majority and Ages of Consent’
Roger Moody, ‘Ends and Means: How to Make Pedophilia Acceptable…?’
John Lindsay, ‘Socialism, Class, and Children’s Rights’
Part Three: Protection or Oppression?
Warren Middleton, ‘Childhood Sexuality and Pedophilia: Some Questions Answered’
Part Four: How Youth See the Issues
Jeff Vernon, ‘The Oppression of the Young: An Inside Perspective’
Appendix 1: Steven A. Smith, ‘PIE, from 1980 Until its Demise in 1985’
Appendix 2: Timothy d’Arch Smith, ‘The Uranians’
The first of these two appendices is informative as an insider’s history of PIE. As with all writings by PIE members themselves, this should be read sceptically, aware of how much might have been omitted or distorted in the interests of the author or other members. My earlier post on PIE and the Home Office clarifies how Smith (also known as Steven Freeman) essentially ran the organisation from the Home Office itself. He fled the country for the Netherlands soon after writing this article, as detailed below, and was eventually jailed in 1991, and then more recently was given an indeterminate sentence in 2011 after being convicted of producing drawings of children being raped (‘Ex-paedophile group leader Freeman jailed over child rape drawings’, BBC News, July 15th, 2011). Nonetheless, there is clearly lots of important information to dissect in this chapter which I reproduce complete, without comment, below.
Steven A. Smith, ‘PIE: From 1980 until its Demise in 1985’, pp. 215-245
The name of PIE has cropped up several times in this collection. Since the group had, in its time, been so thoroughly misunderstood and misrepresented, it was deemed only fair to allow Steve Smith, its last chairperson, an opportunity to redress the balance. Accordingly, he now takes up the story from where Tom O’Carroll left off. –ed.
Questions of Priority
It seemed to me, when I succeeded O’Carroll as chairperson in 1979, that the most sensible order of business for PIE was firstly to regulate its internal affairs (MAGPIE  was appearing very erratically – partly my own fault – and members were receiving nothing else of value from the group); secondly to begin an energetic recruitment drive to replenish our depleted executive committee; thirdly to formulate collectively a coherent body of policies on key issues; and fourthly to tackle our campaigning objectives as a group, rather than as one or two individuals speaking on behalf of the group. More than simply addressing an occasional CHE branch, student gaysoc or academic conference, what I wanted to see was PIE producing a manifesto on video for the widest possible circulation (as GYM had done), or trying for ‘community access’ slots on TV and local radio, or producing posters and broadsheets aimed at the public rather than potential members, or even working in concert with the NUSS (the now-defunct National Union of School Students) to redress the steady flow of anti-paedophile propaganda which the police were imparting to schools all over the UK.
PIE had always felt a sense of kinship (not often reciprocated) with the gay movement, and a firm commitment towards autonomous youth liberation (children’s rights), but I wanted to see develop a far closer interaction – on practical as well as philosophical levels – between PIE and the various paedophile groups in Europe and the States. I felt we should lend considerable effort to the formation of an international alliance along similar lines to the International Gay Association (this was before we discovered how bureaucratic the IGA was in practice). Lastly, with the abandonment of PIE’s Contact Page under the menace of further prosecutions, the EC felt very keenly that members still needed something from PIE in the way of social support; something beyond the ad hoc counselling which many committee members undertook on a one-to-one basis. If British law prevented paedophiles from writing directly to one another through a simple small ad service, then some alternative had to be found which would abrogate the profound isolation which had driven them to the desperate resort of joining PIE in the first place. We began to look afresh at the establishment of local groups, which PIE had attempted in earlier years without much success.
In the event, PIE failed to draw onto its committee the kind of radicalised, hard-working people that were needed, and not one of the above objectives was realised. Year by year, PIE had sunk deeper into a state of collective torpor, grimly determined to survive, if only in catatonic immobility. So, we failed to attract into PIE useful paedophiles who were commited [sic] both to political action and to the development of a mutual support framework – this was due in part to PIE’s consummately negative image in all quarters (the radical leader was quite as easily duped by the press stories about us as anyone else, judging from the strange impressions of PIE that had reached our ears), but due also to obstruction and non co-operation wherever we sought wider publicity for the group’s address. Many gay and alternative journals must share the blame for PIE’s then continued parlous, debilitated condition. I’m convinced there are still many thousands of paedophiles in the UK alone who are ignorant of PIE having ever existed, and I know for certain there are many others who saw the various ‘exposés’ and shock reports about us, but were thwarted in their efforts to find us.
Perspectives on Pearl Harbour
A former treasurer, on resigning from the EC, put it to me (though not quite in these terms) that PIE’s reputation across the board had become so desperately negative that the groups’ mere existence could only harm the paedophile cause, whatever we tried to do about it. We were a pariah among alternative movements, evil incarnate to society at large, and by continuing to exist so doggedly in the face of all opprobrium, PIE was doing for British paedophiles what AIDS was doing for the gay community. A harsh judgement, I feel. If AIDS had not existed the Moral Majority would’ve had to invent it. If PIE had not existed, it would have been necessary for the NEWS OF THE WORLD to invent us. And in one sense it’s true to say that the gutter press did invent PIE – or at least, the image of PIE which had been in general coinage since 1977; that of a secretive international ‘cult’, probably with underworld connections, certainly with influence in ‘high quarters’; a porn-producing syndicate of callous men intent upon nothing but their own sexual gratification. But if PIE’s early strategy had been different, how different would its public image have been?
Several times the idea of folding PIE and replacing it with a new paedophile grouping was mooted on committee, but we’d never have successfully jettisoned PIE’s reputation by the simple expedient of a name-change, and even a substantially different alignment would not for long have escaped the vitriolic attention PIE had enjoyed. This rose by any other name would have smelled no sweeter. There was nothing endemic in PIE itself which another broad-based group could have avoided and thus somehow bridged the ‘credibility gap’. NAMBLA in the US, for example, has placed its emphasis exclusively on gay paederasty (men attracted to teenage boys and youths), thus neatly sidestepping the two most controversial planks of PIE’s platform – heterosexual and pre-teen paedophile relationships. Notwithstanding this, NAMBLA has been attacked, boycotted and obstructed every bit as much as PIE had been by the media, women’s groups, sections of the gay scene, and has come in for just the same intimidation and harassment from the authorities. So much for tactical compromise. PIE’s trajectory into the public eye in 1977 can be compared to the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour, after which Admiral Yamamoto observed: “I fear that all we have done is to waken a sleeping giant and fill him with a terrible resolve”. Doubtless, many paedophiles wish we’d let this particular giant sleep on, but neither they nor children can be liberated from his tyranny without at least waking him in the process.
The conflicting demands of our campaigning and befriending objectives from the start presented a fundamental dichotomy in PIE. What for years we viewed as one of PIE’s greatest strengths may in truth have been its greatest weakness, or at least its greatest liability; our acceptance into the group and onto its Executive Committee of paedophiles, whatever their attitudes, abilities or political persuasion (with the exception of the far Right, of course). By straining to be all things to all paedophiles I doubt that we fully satisfied any, and we certainly alienated a few. There is a very powerful argument which runs thus: that the accommodation of a passive, inert membership consumes so much of the energies of a small group’s activist core that the raison d’être of the group is lost in a sea of ‘club-shit’. In other words, committee devoted so much of its time and attention to the routine of organisation and providing reading material and other services for consumption by the Moloch that vital campaigning work was neglected. After six years hard labour on the PIE committee I can only say that this was absolutely true.
Probably the only way ahead for paedophilia in the UK will be the emergence of two distinct groupings – though working in concert – attending to these differing needs. I for one did not wish to see the majority of paedophiles abandoned while the few activists diverted their attentions elsewhere, as some would have had us do, but equally I recognised that our political momentum had been retarded by a plague of part-time paedophiles – those who wanted to know what was going on without getting involved any deeper; who wanted to see changes made but not to help bring them about. PIE’s committee did not comprise many true activists anyway – it never did – so it alone did not have the capacity to diverge, and the very few paedophile activists who could be identified outside the group showed no interest in helping the metamorphosis come about.
Perhaps PIE’s mistake was in tackling non-paedophile prejudice in the first place? Perhaps instead we should have operated under the most stringent security precautions as a kind of Masonic network through which paedophiles might have contacted one another in safety? I’ve heard this view from outsiders. I don’t think that locking oneself in the closet would have been a terribly progressive move; by its nature such a network would have benefited only a tiny minority of those ‘in the know’, and the outside world would have been vindicated in its suspicions about us if we had behaved so furtively and were so indifferent to public opinion and the political imperative of children’s liberation.
The most bizarre misconception about PIE was held by a guy who later joined the committee for a short while – Lee Edwards. He’d visualised PIE being as affluent and neatly-organised as the Mormon Church, with smoked glass offices in the City of London and a full-time secretariat. He was, let’s say, a shade disillusioned by the reality. PIE did actually have an office in Westminster only a smirk away from the desk of the Home Secretary, but more of that later. The group’s silence in recent years had done nothing to dispel the illusions of people – friend and foe – about us, but then Pie itself had been undergoing an identity crisis of sorts, uncertain about which direction it should be taking. But one thing is quite certain – if we were none of the things people expected us to be, we were certainly none of the things the press had claimed us to be in their haste to deceive the British public.
Loaves and Fishes
I found PIE in 1978 entirely by accident through a classified ad in TIME OUT magazine. Many others came to us through a regular listing in GAY NEWS. However, both sources of new blood had been closed off long before the trial.  Occasionally, we would discover a listing in some unexpected place, inevitably giving an old address, but in general PIE was unable to get a listing in any gay or alternative paper in the UK. After the trial we attempted to retrieve this situation by a general approach to dozens of such papers here or abroad, asking for either free listings or concessionary advertising rates. A special appeal was made to the membership for donations to fund this advertising drive. MANCUNIAN GAY was the only paper in the UK willing to help us. Abroad, our ad was accepted without qualm by THE BODY POLITIC (Toronto) and GAY COMMUNITY NEWS (Boston) – both excellent gay papers whose unequivocally supportive stance on paedophilia put the faint-hearted GAY NEWS to shame – also by REVOLT (Sweden), CSC NUSLETER (California) and several others. But where we needed members most of all, where members were potentially of most value to the group, here in the UK, the drive got us nowhere. TIME OUT kept our hopes up for several months with repeated promises of a listing, but finally backed out with the feeble excuse that, as PIE wasn’t strictly a gay group, it was inappropriate to include us in a gay listings column. The only option left to us – a rather desperate one – was to litter PIE’s address around the streets by means of a sticker campaign, and this is what we did.
The sticker featured the silhouette of a standing child embracing a seated adult encircled by our name and address. We decided on this low-key format, foregoing bold and provocative slogans, as the object was simply to attract new members, not to outrage every parent that saw them. Even so, we were politely requested by one (prospective) London MP to desist planting them in his constituency (they had been discovered rather close to schools, you know!). Well, the campaign brought us just a handful of new people – too few members had been planting the stickers on a regular basis for fear of being caught red-handed and beaten up; those that were planted were being far too eagerly torn down; and worst of all one committee member made the terrible gaffe of not renewing the postal address on the sticker, so that later mail was never redirected to us at all. Perhaps the act of planting stickers, like writing political graffiti, is little more than a satisfying gesture of defiance for the individual, but I think we made a mistake in not concentrating our efforts on a far smaller area – probably London itself – and perhaps, if there had been a next time, we should have gone for those bold, provocative slogans.
There were a number of projects in various stages of completion during this period – none of which had any significance to non-paedophiles. The PIE Press Service was revived, making available once more all PIE’s early material (UNDERSTANDING PAEDOPHILIA and CHILDHOOD RIGHTS, for example) together with items like Tom’s book PAEDOPHILA: THE RADICAL CASE,  which PIE subsidised to its members; the early US boylove magazine BETTER LIFE; and the celebrated BODY POLITIC article ‘Men Loving Boys Loving Men’  (which has been subjected to not one, but two trials of its own). We owe thanks to Julian Meldrum of the Hall Carpenter Archives for supplying us with much early PIE material. So many important documents were lost whenever Scotland Yard descended on the homes of committee members that arrangements were made with the Brongersma and Bernard Foundations in Holland to deposit copies with them for safe keeping.
A reading list of paedophile fiction was added to the press service, complied by Lewis Grey, David Joy and Leo Adamson, and later a non-fiction list condensed by Tom O’Carroll from the copious bibliography of his book. Work was also begun on a film guide and on a survival guide for paedophiles in the UK.
A growing number of our members were captives in US prisons. Coping with the special needs of these people prompted us to set up a prisoner support scheme which, under Peter Bremner and later Tony Zalewski, found correspondents for these prisoners and sought sponsors to cover the expenses of their membership, mailing them recommended books and items from the press service. It hardly needs saying that our attempts to operate the scheme with inmates of British prisons were scotched by this country’s Draconian censorship restrictions. Mail from US prisoners often carried an apologetic stamp on the envelope which read: “Prisoners’ mail uncensored. Not responsible for contents.” I look forward to the day when British prisons need to be so apologetic – I had a long and fractious correspondence with the governor of Wormwood Scrubs over the confiscation of several letters of mine and other items sent to Tom O’Carroll. As with all things in the US, prison regulations vary wildly from state to state, so while some members were receiving regular visits from the boys for whose ‘protection’ they had been imprisoned, others were not even permitted to receive MAGPIE. NAMBLA was far better placed than we were to defend the interests of these people, and is now doing so. PIE was powerless to help prisoners in the UK without some referral arrangement with the social services, and the Home Office lifting restrictions on visits and correspondence.
Given the monstrous treatment of many paedophiles in prison, and the squalid, dehumanising conditions that prevail throughout the prison system, it is a marvel to me that people can emerge from this ordeal without a deep and burning animosity towards the society that abused them so. Imprisonment is the grossest indecency.
If there was one venture that I expected to be an unqualified success and firmly supported by the membership, it was the re-establishment of social meetings through local group organisers. This was the sort of freedom which other oppressed groups – blacks, gay men and women, and many more – took entirely for granted. Any attempt by PIE to arrange social venues (this applied equally to workshops, AGM’s, marches and demonstrations of any kind) carried with it the implicit danger of press harassment, police observation, and physical attack from fanatics of every species. Accordingly, such precautions had to be taken to insulate these meetings from the hostile gaze that the people who had most need of them – frightened, solitary people with zero political awareness – were the last to be invited to them. Where possible, committee members attempted to meet new people in order to establish their bona fides, but there was always a substantial part of the membership who could not be directly vouched for, and we knew there was an agent of the NEWS OF THE WORLD among them.
Having an EC member in Birmingham, the first step was to organise meetings in this area for members in the midlands. Several meetings took place, but then the host was arrested and sent to remand prison on an unconnected charge, and interest petered out. With my help, an Australian member attempted to generate support for a PIE branch in his country (we had more members in Australia than in Scotland and Wales together), but the majority of those approached preferred to keep the breadth of the globe between them and the kind of flak which PIE attracted. This was not too surprising when one learnt that an earlier bid to establish an independent Australian paedophile group – SYBOL – crashed when a conservative gay group threatened to hand the organisers’ names and addresses to the police. Plans for a Canadian branch of PIE went awry also, but happily NAMBLA was able to establish a chapter there soon after.
Our greatest concentration of members had always been in London and the home counties. All but a handful of PIE’s workers through the years had lived there. From August ’82 we booked a private room one night a week in a series of West end pubs, inviting along all members who were known to us. The average attendance was very disappointing: always the same few faces. Presumably, everyone feared that a press plant would be present, as had in fact happened once before in 1979: A known freelance operating for the NOTW, had turned up half drunk at one pub meeting and begun asking those present to procure boys for him. “I know there are kids around who’ll go with you for money,” he said, “but where are they? Why don’t we do something instead of just sitting here?” No such investigative journalist graced any of the more recent meetings. TIME OUT reporter, John Gill, came along once or twice, but he was there at our invitation, preparing a feature on the anxieties and expectations of paedophiles living in London (a feature subsequently suppressed by the magazine’s editors). Other guests present at those meetings included many GYM members and one or two representatives from CHE – one of them a woman who was entirely supportive. Discussions with these people were on the whole constructive and stimulating, and made the meetings worthwhile for us on the EC, but the objective of a social forum for members outside the committee was never realised.
Babel Wasn’t Built in a Day
In August 1980 PIE circulated an open letter among every known paedophile group in Europe, Scandinavia and North America, and also to prominent individuals such as Dr. Edward Brongersma, Dr. Frits Bernard, Drs. Theo Sandfort, and Valida Davila of CSC (Childhood Sensuality Circle). The letter outlined an ambitious, some would say grandiose, proposal for a new transnational paedophile federation through which member groups would collaborate on material projects and share resources at the same time as working towards a common philosophical platform. As I wrote in MAGPIE 15, “Much more than a simple mutual aid society, such a federation would be the consolidation of a coherent international paedophile and children’s liberation movement out of the present chaos of tiny national groups working largely oblivious of one another”. This initiative was very much a personal commitment of my own – my committee colleagues were not all so inspired by this euro-vision. I had learned through PIE that there were groups in Denmark, Germany, Sweden, Switzerland, Portugal, Belgium, yet we knew virtually nothing about these people and their organisations, what they were doing in their own countries, or how their political analyses differed from that of PIE. Any contact we had established had been of a token kind, genuine in spirit but superficial in practice, so it was safe to assume that these groups were in the same state of ignorance about us. It seemed important to me that a full and penetrating dialogue be established at least with the strongest of them.
Inevitably, there were language obstacles. We mustered a few members to translate from French, German and Dutch for us, but although our files were brimming with magazines from these groups we could hardly ask people to translate whole magazines, and in any case one could not always rely on forming an accurate view of a group’s thinking merely by reading its general literature. (There had been no language barrier for Tom O’Carroll when he represented PIE at an Oslo conference ‘Amnesty for Love and affection’ hosted by the Norwegian group, NAFP, in 1979. There had even been discussions there on forming a new, broad-based international group called ‘Amnesty for Child Sexuality’, but nothing had come of this.)
The Open letter included a proposal for an early ‘summit’ conference of interested groups to discuss the general concept of an IGA-type alliance, and areas of practical collaboration between us. The most enthusiastic responses we received came from people and groups who had least to gain from the proposed alliance: “I am in complete agreement with your plans,” wrote Valida Davila; “Some people are ruined by oppression and persecution, and others are fired to fight back. I see your committee has chosen the latter road.” “We think the idea of an international association for paedophiles excellent,” wrote REVOLT of Sweden; “If there is anything we can do to support, never hesitate to ask.” Pasteur J. Doucé of the Centre du Christ Libérateur, Paris, wrote: “If I can be of any help in the formation of an international paedophile fellowship please let me know.” An anarchist commune for young people in Nuremberg, the Indianner, said that although they had deep reservations about the German group, DSAP, they still wished to “join a basic form” with us.
The groups themselves were not prepared to take a lead. They wanted to see PIE set up the conference itself. What better demonstration of the poor grasp our friends had on the political realities for PIE? We were possibly the only group among them which was unable to hold a general meeting for its own members without grave risk of injury to those attending, and prosecution of the organisers. After the events of 1977 for PIE, did anyone seriously expect an international paedophile conference to be permitted in the UK? NAMBLA chose to “wait and see what leadership develops on these concepts”. The paedophile wing of the Dutch civil rights umbrella organisation, NVSH, felt that their priorities should be domestic, and that international co-ordination should be left to the auspices of the IGA itself. NAFP in Norway “sympathised” but wanted “more concrete ideas”. 
The first months of the following year saw the emergence in France of a new paedophile organisation – the Groupe de recherché pour une Enfance Différente – and four of us from PIE sped along to its inaugural congress in November. Also present on that occasion were David Thorstad representing NAMBLA, Frits Bernard representing DSAP, and a member of the Belgian Paedophile Studygroup [sic]. The atmosphere at that opening day was something I had not experienced before even at PIE’s 1978 AGM – an intensity, an electric urgency of expression that welled as much from the floor as from the platform. The strength of the GRED committee was plain to see, as one after another they all addressed the meeting with equal vigour and self-assurance, and everyone it that packed hall (including, to our delight, a handful of women paedophiles) was involved, not quietly receiving the transmitted wisdoms of the committee. With the promise of an imminent reduction in France’s homosexual ‘age of consent’ from eighteen to fifteen, the liberation of children was for these people far from a remote utopian objective.
I came away from that conference profoundly frustrated, both with the inadequacy of PIE and my own inadequate French. I went to listen, but came away having understood little that I’d heard. I went to contribute my views, but came away without having said a word. I went to take part, but was obliged merely to observe. It’s not entirely unreasonable, of course, that a French group meeting in France should conduct its meeting in French, but I had rather hoped that, at least in the workshop on international collaboration, some concession would be made to a humble Anglophone like myself. Unfortunately, GRED’s English was only a little better than my French. One might think such a lesson in futility would have made me reconsider the practicality of collaboration on the level suggested by the Open Letter but, on the contrary, I felt all the more keenly how much we had to gain from a close dialogue and mutual co-operation with people such as GRED. If we left them with a rather poor understanding of PIE and what we had to deal with over here, that was entirely our own fault, of course, but even among the extrovert committee of GRED, and in its journal, PETIT GREDIN, there was a hint of the same parochialism displayed by the NVSH paedophiles and others, confining their analysis of the problems and solutions within national boundaries. Perhaps PIE was unique in this respect – that more than half our membership lived abroad, scattered among twenty or so countries, and it was plain to us that the ignorance and intolerance of paedophilia knew no frontiers, as with the inhibitory myths of childhood. While the police and the agents of ‘moral’ conformity were concerting their efforts internationally against us, would we not even collaborate in our own defence, if for no better motive?
Another item under preparation for the PIE Press Service at that time was a comprehensive directory of paedophile/children’s liberation groups – the first such guide ever to be published in the English language, filling in a little detail to that cold, unwelcoming expanse of acronyms: SAP, DAP, DSAP, PAC, AKP and so on. Questionnaires were distributed hot on the heels of the Open Letter, and the information that came back immediately helped to dissipate our own ignorance a little. We discovered, inevitably, that some of the groups had already collapsed. In Germany, for example, the Deutsche Studie und Arbeitsgemeinschaft Pädofilie had disintegrated over an ideological clash between anarchists, conservative reformists, and revolutionary socialists – notably about the nature and extent of freedom it wished to seek for young people. Blackmail threats had come into play here too, as with SYBOL in Australia, but this time one paedophile against another, to the utter damnation of those that made them. NAFP in Norway also, sadly, dissolved. And for each group that vanished another would suddenly appear elsewhere on the map – Stiekum in Belgium, for instance.
At the GRED conference it was agreed that the groups represented there would all follow NAMBLA’s example in joining the IGA itself and through it lobbying the gay movement directly for firmer support. The extent of our links with the gay political scene was an essential aspect of PIE’s strategy (insofar as PIE had such a thing) which I want to consider separately but, in the absence of a constructive dialogue with gays (or anyone else) in our own country about the radical means to accomplish our short and long term objectives, other paedophile groups abroad remained the only people from whom alternative strategies could be learned, our own analysis refined, different perspectives examined. Practical alteration to the law and its institutions is an objective necessarily specific to one’s own country, but awakening a whole culture to the living realities of sexuality and of youth is the promulgation of an idea, a new system of living, and is not confined to the arbitrary frontiers of states.
Prodigal Son? _ Or A Cuckoo in the Nest?
1983 was the first time in PIE’s nine-year history that a handful of members carried a PIE banner at the London Gay Pride march. The banner read simply: ‘Adults Loving Children loving Adults’ – a bisexual extension of the famous BODY POLITIC caption. This bold initiative was largely due to the efforts of one EC member, Leo Adamson, who, in a very short time of involvement in PIE, had propelled the group a deal closer to the gay movement than it had been for a considerable while. As a member of GYM (Gay Youth movement), Leo was able to speak for PIE at their annual conference ‘Gym’ll Fix It’, and he also took an active role in the group’s lobby of Parliament. In July ’83 he represented PIE at the IGA conference in Vienna. One could say that PIE had waited a long time for individuals with Leo’s stamina and conviction to come along and fulfil this vital liaison role.
Eric Presland, writing in CAPITAL GAY,  rejoiced in the appearance of PIE’s banner at the Gay Pride march, and bade us a hearty ‘Welcome back!’ While there was no doubting the sincerity of Presland’s support for PIE, nor his personal commitment to the liberation of children, there was an assumption behind his remarks that PIE had somehow drifted away from the gay movement in recent years, had now seen the error of its ways and returned – like the prodigal son – to its spiritual home. But it was not PIE that moved away from the gay movement in the UK, it was the gay movement that moved hastily away from us once the muck began to fly; and not because it viewed PIE as too reformist, sexist or reactionary – these tags were slapped on us much later – not because our proposals were insufficiently radical; they were too radical by half for the majority of gays. If we had concentrated, as NAMBLA had done in the US, simply upon sexual relationships between men and teenage boys, gays might have been rather more sanguine about solidarity with us. We were not prepared to barter away the interests of so many paedophiles and of pre-teenage children to realise that support.
If anything, the political leaning of the EC had become further to the Left than ever before, though unfortunately there was no output from PIE to attest to this. Committee may have been radical in its sympathies, but was singularly reticent to express this thinking through MAGPIE or CONTACT.  Repeatedly it was put to them that committee should buckle down and talk through some coherent policy positions on key questions – I prepared a discussion paper on pornography to set this process going – but there was no enthusiasm at all for the hard graft of policymaking. Little wonder then that Pie was seen as complacent and insular when it could not produce a single political position or line of analysis to promote wider debate. Those people who troubled to look for evidence of PIE’s philosophy or political credentials were left to glean what they might from the tone and content of MAGPIE, or from documents published years ago by a very different EC – the ‘Questions & Answers’ booklet  and our ‘Evidence to the Home Office Criminal Law Revision Committee’.  I don’t think there was anyone active in PIE at this time who was happy with the proposals contained in the ‘Evidence’ paper; many would have liked to see them publicly rescinded. All in all, if gays regarded PIE with some suspicion as being an unknown political quantity we had no-one but ourselves to blame for that.
“I don’t think the time is yet read,” wrote an editor of REVOLT in answer to our Open Letter, “for a great association that would support both gays and paedophiles. There are still too many prejudices in the various camps, and paedophile liberation has some very specific aspects which certainly would be overlooked (or neglected) in a general gay association.” I entirely agree with that view. Whereas those paedophile groups that had sprung initially from the gay movement (PIE, NAMBLA, GRED) had tended to survive without the umbilical intact, those which tried to submerge back into the gay movement, becoming just one of several special interest groups within it, (NAFP for example) expired in the process. It is manifestly obvious that the struggles and obstacles faced by paedophiles in the UK today, and indeed the major arguments marshalled against us, bear a striking resemblance to those which gays themselves were confronted with a scant few decades ago. Many of the tasks that face us are the same – combatting the monolithic heterosexuality of ‘educational’ propaganda, for one – and there is great scope here for joint action, but our demands of society are far from being identical, and nor are they at the same stage of accomplishment.
To pluck a metaphor from the mouths of our critics, in any relationship between paedophiles and gays, it is gays who are demonstrably the stronger partner, far greater in size and power, their social status much higher. In contrast, paedophiles are weak, vulnerable, and – as a political force – lacking in experience, our status just about the lowest there is. Can true equality ever be realised in such a relationship? Will gays not simply abuse their power advantage to silence or control paedophiles? Does the gay movement really care about the needs and aspirations of its younger protégé?
Well, you may be sure that PIE did not endorse that kind of negativistic approach. The assumption that the strong will tend inevitably to exploit the weak is true of fascists, not of sexual groupings. I believe that the gay movement in the UK neglected PIE’s struggle to establish a discrete paedophile consciousness, as it has largely neglected the predicament of gay people younger than sixteen or seventeen. From its position of comparitive [sic] strength it had much to offer us by way of philosophical analysis as well as options for positive action. Instead, we found ourselves forced consistently onto the defensive, perpetually having to justify our very sexuality, to avouch our responsibility as caring people. We were nothing beyond a coffee-table controversy to most gays, and our demands for acceptance and support were given barely more credence here than that which society gives to demands for gay equality. I’m afraid the movement itself has much to answer for the continuing misery and frustration gay children in this country are compelled to endure.
It was a measure neither of PIE’s ineptitude, nor of the political vacuousness of British paedophiles, that so few radical activists materialised among us. It was rather too facile to apply to us the logic of gay and feminist activism, as though the realities were no different for a paedophile coming out in a militant way. Every risk that a gay or lesbian accepts in entering a career of sexual politics, on whatever level, is multiplied many times for a paedophile doing likewise. It is a simple equation of greater risks equalling fewer volunteers. Beyond this rather elementary observation, it is in the nature of paedophilia that the greater number of us will channel their whole energies into working with and for children (however misguidedly), whether this be as youth workers, teachers, nurses or, yes, as scoutleaders. Individuals who would have been of immense value to a group such as PIE either never contemplated joining because their attention was squarely focussed on working with the young, or shied away from deeper commitment for fear the publicity would disable them from continuing such work. True, many of these people themselves inadvertently abet the social conditioning of youth, but they are sincere in the belief that their work is beneficial and constructive. The essential point is that a paedophile’s natural first loyalty is to children – not to other paedophiles.
Unlike gays and feminists, who seek the company of people like themselves for social and sexual reasons, and then develop a political consciousness within that society, drawing strength from their community for ‘coming out’ and embarking on political work, paedophiles do not tend to gravitate so readily into one another’s company, (those that would have no means of doing so, of course) and the breeding medium for radicalisation is so much less fertile for this often-overlooked reason. In the company of a thirteen year old boy one can learn a good deal about the realities of powerlessness and dependence and the frustration of being thirteen in this society – all the more so from a girl – but this is a long way from assimilating a commitment to political struggle. The younger the children a paedophile seeks for company, the more this argument applies.
Thanks in large part to PIE, some paedophiles did befriend one another, but all too often in such meetings the differences of perspective were more apparent than the congruences. There was a commonality of interest without a commonality of awareness. Therefore among paedophiles this consciousness has to be cultivated in an altogether more deliberate and artificial way. Those paedophiles who regard themselves (sometimes mistakenly) as the most revolutionary are generally those that move largely in gay circles. Undoubtedly, coming out as a paedophile via the gay movement increases one’s exposure to radical though – though anyone acquainted with CHE might laugh at this – but it may also leave one with a smug and false sense of security.
While my own sexual tastes extend to eighteen or nineteen year old guys, I confess I never had much inclination to join a gay group or frequent any gay clubs. I think my perspective might have been rather less parochial if I had, but this is to illustrate that there are many paedophiles like myself who wish to work in close harmony with gay society, not to join it. To those who say, “So why didn’t PIE make more effort towards a rapprochement with radical gay groups?” I reply, “Why didn’t the stronger, more numerous, and better-equipped gay groups approach PIE with advice, criticism, active support, even when we were reeling in the wake of an Old Bailey trial?” Why should we have had to make all the running? Let me cite one or two instances of the positive vibrations PIE was receiving from the mighty ‘λ’.
At the 2nd annual conference of the IGA (Barcelona, 1980), the only group to abstain from a general motion calling on member organisations to support paedophile groups more vigorously was Britain’s CHE, who insisted on their exception being noted for the record. At GYM’s 1982 lobby of Parliament (which only twelve of some four hundred MPs felt obliged to attend), it was a vice-president of CHE, Martin Stevens, MP (Conservative, needless to say), who favoured the retention of the homosexual age of consent at twenty-one (for males), whilst others present were quite willing to negotiate an initial reduction to eighteen. Stevens’ rationale – if we may dignify it by that term – was that if homosexual behaviour was legally sanctioned among teenagers, “teenagers might in later years regret their youthful flings”. Similarly, at the IGA’s 1983 Vienna conference, it was Michael Brown of Britain’s Conservative Group for Homosexual Equality who supplied the most stentorian opposition to every paedophile motion put before the conference. In this case, where one of the motions called upon PIE to urge all other paedophile groups to affiliate as we had done, Brown was joined by Denmark’s F48, Norway’s DNF48, and Lavender Left of New York, who had apparently determined by explicit resolution to vote against all paedophile-supportive motions. The excellent ‘Gay Youth Charter’ composed by GYM in 1982 was rejected by CHE’s own conference until a reference to paedophilia had been expunged from it. A comparison between GYM’s ‘Gay Youth Charter’ and CHE’s ‘Charter for Gay Rights’, published in the same year, is extraordinary – the one is detailed, uncompromising, bold and lucid; the other bland, timid and cursory.
CHE’s dilemma was summarised by their own Law Reform Committee thus: “CHE has hitherto directed its campaign towards achieving equality under the law relating to heterosexual and homosexual behaviour. The reasons for this, while in large part tactical, are nonetheless important. The argument for equality is much easier to explain to a prejudiced audience and can be forcefully advocated on grounds of simple justice.” It goes on to ask, “Would adopting a position in favour of the abolition of all ages of consent laws risk appearing, in the eyes of the general public, to be so extreme as to make (CHE’s) aims on other issues more difficult to achieve; or has it reached the position where no further significant advance can be made without working – in collaboration with other organisations – for reform of these and the other laws relating to sexual behaviour generally?” 
It was the same dilemma which confronted broader civil rights groups like the NCCL (National Council for Civil Liberties) when the rights at issue were those of PIE. Any association with our particular cause threatened to undermine their own political credibility cross the board. PIE was the hottest potato of all, and triggered off all kinds of atavistic terrors in more respectable reformist groups. We were therefore sacrificed on the altar of short-term tactical compromise.
Not to confine this criticism to gay and civil rights groups however the producer of London Weekend Television’s ‘Gay Life’ programme (screened once a week in the late night horror slot) promised me there would be a programme on paedophilia in the second series to which PIE might be allowed to contribute. Alas, there was not. Among the helplines which consistently declined to give PIE’s address to paedophile callers were Icebreakers, London Gay Switchboard, Brighton Gay Switchboard, and Friend. One of these told me their solicitors had advised them that by passing out our address it might be construed that they were acting as agents for the organisations.
The fact that PIE was not exclusively homosexual represented part of the reason for this moratorium. GAY NEWS and TIME OUT both quickly zeroed in on this objection, though as with the ubiquitous power argument, it often serve as a radical justification from the mouth for a decidedly unradical prejudice in the mind. I think it stood to the credit of the PIE EC (whose most active members had always been boylovers) that we did not cave in under such pressure. No heterosexual paedophiles ever stepped forward to defend their own ground, and this made it rather difficult for us to answer the challenges of the gays and feminists with total conviction. Between gays and our heterosexual members the strand of mutual acceptance was very thin indeed (between them and feminists it did not exist at all).
David Thorstad, while still spokesperson of NAMBLA, expressed his own position all too clearly: When Anita Bryant would say that gay men are child molesters, they would say ‘Oh no, we don’t do that; gay people are not molesters, it’s the heterosexual who are the molesters’. I’ve used that argument myself; I believe it’s true.”
Many heterosexual paedophiles are just as ready to swallow society’s stereotype model of gays, their masculinity squirming uncomfortably at the prospect of too close an association with the world of such caricatures. This kind of stupidity is an obstacle we can all do without.
No-one will be astonished to hear that the facet of gay politics in the UK for which PIE felt the closest affinity was gay youth, and that GYM came top of our list of groups to form an alliance with. The first meeting between members of our two committees only reinforced this feeling. As we sat about a table in a London pub, no more than a dozen of us, it was not a bunch of middle class, middle-aged liberal paedophiles confronted with a bunch of radical gay teenagers suspicious of our motives. In fact the majority of both committees were in their mid-twenties. The youngest PIE representative was twenty-one, the oldest GYM representative, twenty-six. Some suspicion was evident on GYM’s part, or rather a wry scepticism about PIE’s political soundness, but it was expressed with candour, not hostility. For our own part, the only major criticism of GYM was its arbitrary self-imposed age limit of twenty-six (a strange paradox in a group whose existence is a reaction against arbitrary age boundaries), in that this tasted a little of ageism in reverse – the idea being that, without an upper age limit, GYM would be taken over by older gays (older than the then committee guiding lights), or that gays would flock to it like moths to a flame in search of teenage boyfriends.
Strategically, so much more can be accomplished under the banner of gay youth than would ever be possible for an overtly paedophile organisation, but that apart, GYM has a freshness and directness which PIE lost long ago. Whereas we talked years back of producing a general information video, GYM have gone and made one. While PIE made ginger overtures to carefully-chosen MPs, GYM staged a general lobby of Parliament. While PIE agonised over whether or not we dared to call another AGM, GYM revels in mass meets.
It is time that gay society in this country woke up to the crucial role it has to play in the foundation of a stable, vigorous and independent paedophile movement which is committed to radical change. What emerges may not be PIE, nor will it be a clone of the gay movement itself, for paedophiles are more than simply gay and straight adults who like their partners particularly young. Ours is a whole different sexuality, our needs and priorities are very different. We are brothers with the gay world, not twins.
PIE in the Face of Fleet Street
Journalism is one of those unsavoury professions – advertising is another – in which an individual’s potential for success is inversely proportional to that person’s scruples. Note that I do not say there are no journalists of conscience or integrity in Fleet Street, only that such people had never been to the fore when the focus of attention was on PIE, or paedophile matters, or rights (in their totality) of people under sixteen, and that such exotic blooms must seem strange indeed in that arid, thorny habitat. Doubtless there remains one detective at Scotland Yard who really believes the police are the servants of the community, and not its warders; or doubtless Thatcher has one Cabinet Minister who genuinely believes in equality of opportunity. These are all, however, statistical freaks. If we find journalism itself to be venal and corrupt – as I believe it is – then this is a profound cause for alarm. As one American commentator observed succinctly, (but glibly), “The news media have become Orwell’s Big Brother of ‘1984’ – all pervasive, all influencing. The freedom of the press is eating away the freedom of the individual”.
Television long ago supplanted religion as the opiate of the working class, and most of the criticisms I make here of the press apply with equal force to the broader media, notably television. There is a disturbing trend towards tabloid-style presentation in TV news programmes, with the same crass, superficial coverage, the same rampant sexism and imperious moral tone, and the same calculated imbalance. Recent reports, for example, of a mother seeking legal compulsion on doctors to inform parents before prescribing contraceptives to girls under sixteen were invariably followed or preceded by progress reports from police investigating the sexual murder of a five year old girl. Such judicious editorial juxtapositions are common. (A contemporary report in a local Harrow paper on similar demands from the ‘Harrow Child and Family Protection group’ appeared on the same front page as an overtly sexist pin-up – of a fifteen year old girl.)
As to the quality of the coverage – in a Central TV news report on the swelling number of teenage runaways in the midlands (‘minors’ voting with their feet?), it was emphasised throughout that the principal fear was not of physical, but ‘moral’ peril; that girls would be “drawn into drink, drugs and prostitution”, and that boys would “fall into the hands of homosexuals”. (TV journalists, like their Fleet Street counterparts, do not care to use the word ‘paedophile’, you may notice.) As always, the people who had most to say on the matter, the people most directly affected, whose anxieties and exasperations had driven them to take off in the first place, were the only people not consulted. It might have been a report on lost dogs or stolen cars. So much for the objectivity and impartiality of British television news.
Every year since PIE had come into being, during the slow news time of parliamentary recess, the minions of the soft-porn tabloids had scurried out with their indignation and their power-winder cameras to rake together another shock story about the group. We were a silly-season staple for the NEWS OF THE WORLD, the SUNDAY PEOPLE and the DAILY STAR. The danger with papers of this vulgar, facile kind is that they are widely dismissed as being of no consequence to significant trends in popular opinion. The NOTW is generally regarded as a joke, but without the implicit malevolence and cruelty behind the joke being fully appreciated, or the extent to which the paper’s four million readers are being duped by the fantasies of its squalid-minded editor and staff. There is no room here to catalogue all the misshapen, libellous reports that have appeared concerning PIE over the last few years. An analysis of the coverage of the Old Bailey trial alone would require a full chapter, and in any case, such a virulent poison permeates this sea of press cuttings that the mere task of reading them all through is grossly offensive and unhealthy for one’s state of mind. Confronted with such wholesale, indiscriminate hatred a sense of proportion is difficult to maintain. There had been several major stories on PIE since Tom O’Carroll was convicted, each of which had repercussions far beyond the immediate distress inflicted on the committee members named, and illustrate well the harm which the gutter press can cause.
The first of these stories (NOTW, March 22nd., 1981) was occasioned by PIE having to open a new post Office box, the sponsor of our previous box, David Grove, having died. The Post Office leaked the home address of our new sponsor, Peter Bremner, to the NOTW so fast that the reporters were at his door before the box had even been used, and before the Executive Committee itself, let alone our members, knew where the P.O. Box was located.
Inside, the paper ran a feature on PIE, and the child pornography industry, being careful to blur any distinction between the two. The reporters were Charles Sandell and George Edwards. ‘The Dreadful Web of Child Corruption’ began as follows: “The evil men of Britain’s child sex organisation, the Paedophile Information Exchange, are just the tip of an iceberg. Behind them lies a web of pornography and degradation that spreads its tentacles worldwide – and even involves the Mafia.” After another couple of paragraphs which could leave no doubt in the reader’s mind that PIE was in fact a front for the manufacture and distribution of pornographic material, Sandell and Edwards went on: “The magazines… they produce do not stop at sexual abuse. Some show the systematic slow torture and even murder of children and young people.” Now if that was not a cut and dried case of libel, what is? Who could blame the public for its outrage against PIE when such nightmarish tales could be published about us with complete indemnity?
Someone else who spreads his tentacles worldwide is Rupert Murdoch, the Jehovah of yellow journalism, and the essence of this NOTW story quickly resurfaced as far away as Australia and in Sri Lanka where, in the SUNDAY OBSERVER (April 5th), PIE was described as “the sick porn merchants of the West”. Sri Lanka, like the Philippines, had long been celebrated among paedophiles and gays for its tolerance to homosexuality in general, and sudden government moves late in 1981 to curb sexual contact between local youth and Western tourists have been attributed in part to the scare campaign triggered by the NOTW. Perhaps this is overestimating the impact of that tawdry little paper, but the snowball effect of press hysteria was a very real phenomenon, as later stories demonstrated.
It was an open secret among anyone linked to the Executive Committee that for four years I was employed by a firm of electrical contractors, Complete Maintenance Ltd, to monitor a control panel of alarm systems at the Home Office, Westminster. The job entailed practically no work on my part, beyond attending the panel, and in fact I had a furnished office completely to myself seven days a week on a rotating shift basis. Much of PIE’s less sensitive file material was stored in locked cabinets there, where no police raid would ever have found them. Each year my security clearance was renewed by Scotland Yard without my connection with PIE being discovered. I’d known from the start that such a marvellous snook could never be cocked forever and sure enough the News of the World got hold of this information eventually. The paper contacted the Home Office immediately of course and gleefully drew this oversight to their attention. My security clearance was cancelled on the spot, my employers notified and I found myself not sacked but ‘rendered without employment’ – on the same day that reporter Alex Marunchak greeted me on my doorstep. ‘Child Sex boss in Whitehall Shock’ ran the headline.
And what do you suppose? – “Home Office security chiefs knew all about Steven Adrian Smith’s links with PIE”, claimed the report; “A Home Office spokesman said, ‘We’re aware of Smith’s background, and since the NEWS OF THE WORLD contacted us he has been told he’s no longer acceptable to us. He no longer works here. It would be true to say that he would still be here if you hadn’t been in touch.’” This silly bit of official face-saving apart, Marunchak went on to concoct a brief interview with myself. Instead of slamming the door in his face, which I seem to recall having done, I appear to have told him (with a swirl of my opera cloak), “Yes, I’m the chairman of PIE. So you’ve found out!” and so on. There was possible libel here too, for he alleged that at an EC meeting I had “bragged of (my) relationships with boys and urged members to organise a ‘dirty weekend’ with children at a south coast hotel.” This is imputing to me a specific criminality, but nonetheless – we were advised by a solicitor – whether I won a libel suit or not, and I stood every chance of doing so, that the sympathies of the jury would be wholly against me, and any damages derisory.
Some of us had fondly hoped that my inevitable discovery would at least throw such egg on the face of the government as to oust the Home Secretary (then, Mr. Whitelaw), but in the event, this story was curiously not picked up by any other paper (obviously, the ‘ruling class’ had to be protected), and our own attention was diverted by a plague of visits from DAILY STAR reporters the very next week. (Incidentally, the extent of security chiefs’ knowledge of my activities did not prompt them to investigate the content of my filing cabinets and a carload of PIE files was safely spirited from the building before it could occur to them to intervene.)
Once upon a time a reporter in the alternative press wrote (with just a hint of sarcasm) that it was about as difficult to ‘infiltrate’ PIE as to infiltrate Piccadilly Circus. He was absolutely right. One of the hazards of keeping our door wide open (as any counselling group must) is that all manner of creepy-crawlies are apt to find their way in along with more welcome visitors, and such a one was Charles Oxley, principal of two public schools, Christian fundamentalist, and wizened protégé of Mary Whitehouse.  Under the name of David Charlton he joined PIE with offers of practical help in EC work. He was good enough to type out for us Tom O’Carroll’s copious non-fiction booklist, and to photocopy at his own expense many other items for the PIE Press Service. As with anybody else who expressed a willingness to work, he was first met by an EC member to assess his character and reliability, then invited along to a couple of committee meetings. His sensational findings formed the basis of a four-page spread in the DAILY STAR (‘Child Sex Spy Tells All’ – August 21st, 1982) and many subsequent radio, press and police interviews. On the strength of just two meetings with the EC, Oxley had become the Establishment’s trusted authority on PIE. Who was taken in the more by his fantasies, PIE or the Establishment, is open to question. STAR reporters Paul Henderson and Barry Gardner played Woodward and Berstein [sic] to Oxley’s ‘Deep throat’.
Four committee members were named – David Joy, Peter Bremner, Lee Edwards and myself, and photos appeared of three of us (my mother was later to comment that the STAR photo was one of the best of me she’d seen!) It was no coincidence that the three committee members who were to be raided by the Obscene Publications Squad, almost exactly a year later, were David Joy, Peter Bremner and Lee Edwards. Not content with publishing our addresses, the DAILY STAR carried photos of our homes too, for greater ease of identification by neighbourhood vigilantes, mums’ armies, and neo-fascist groups.
The text itself was rather lame, even amusing in comparison to the previous year’s NOTW extravaganza, and only of interest for the crude, obvious manner in which colour was added. To convey the impression of PIE as a shifty, back-street organisation, our homes were variously described as “dingy”, “seedy”, and “an old mansion that comes straight from a horror movie”. Meetings were arranged, it said, “through a complicated exchange of letters and coded telephone calls” using “secret codes and passwords”. This was total fantasy and a familiar lie printed about the group – arrangements were far more mundane and prosaic than that, I’m afraid. Oxley knew that no pornography had been handed round at the meetings, but he was determined to create that impression at least: “Various paedophile books and magazine were mentioned and passed around” he hinted darkly. As I remember, Oxley took away one of these magazines himself for closer inspection, and never returned it – it was the latest issue of PAN (Paedo-Alert-News).
The news-gathering tactics of the DAILY STAR rate a mention here. We learned later that they had used menaces toward several children in Lee’s home street who would not answer their questions (Lee was staying with a family at the time, and the two daughters were tailed by the press for several days). When this proved fruitless, they set up a couple of young boys to accost Lee in the High Street and make conversation just long enough for him to be photographed form a parked car across the road. (Even when he called on me, Henderson had attempted to force his way into my house.) It was a standard routine for reporters on this kind of story to make a point of visiting all one’s neighbours and filling their heads with who-knows-what horrific yarns. There was a knife attack on Lee shortly after the story appeared, but as Lee is an ex-boxer he managed to send his assailant away with a bloody nose, never to return. Another standard hurdle with these reports was the local press follow-up, a boringly predictable after-shock when your local paper contrives to regurgitate the story for those of your neighbours who missed it the first time around. In this particular instance the STAR itself ran a follow-up story a few days later (‘Ban the PIE Men’) in which glory-hunting Tory back-bencher, Geoffrey Dickens, vowed he would table a Private Member’s Bill at the next session of Parliament which would proscribe PIE explicitly, and outlaw any other pro-paedophile organisations.  Dickens was the same stalwart who named diplomat Sir Peter Hayman, under House of Commons privilege, as the PIE member whose identity had been concealed throughout the trial (some six months after Hayman had been publicly identified in PRIVATE EYE magazine). Dickens did not win the Private member’s ballot, as chance would have it, and nothing more was heard of that pledge, but it seemed to us a serious threat at the time. Even a bungling oaf of Dickens’ calibre could hardly have failed with such an intimidatingly populist Bill, had he won the ballot.
By the winter of ’82, the papers were full of the Geoffrey Prime affair. Prime was exposed as a Russian supermole who worked at the government’s intelligence HQ at Cheltenham. Imprisoned for sex offences against young girls, as well as spying, it was alleged, unsubstantiated of course, that he either had links with Pie or was actually a member under an assumed name. As with the much earlier Sir Peter Hayman affair (he was the former British high Commissioner to Canada), and the later revelation that I myself and an EC colleague, Barry Cutler, were both employed on security at the Home Office, this latest scandal must have caused considerable embarrassment to the government. By now, PIE’s name must have been truly hated in the corridors of power. 
In June, 1983, the NOTW ran yet another of its regular silly stories, this time claiming that top TV stars and MPs were members of the Exchange. No names were mentioned, of course – except those of EC members. As a result of this and follow-up stories in such scandal sheets as the STAR and the SUN, committee members Mike Williams and Richard Travell lost their voluntary work as a scoutmaster and Sunday School teacher respectively. Travell was later denounced by his father, a church minister, and forced to move out of his home.
It would be possible to go on and on about the shock/horror stories concerning PIE, but this would serve little purpose since the point has been made. Suffice it to say that press harassment of the group was real, and it seemed that reporters were prepared to use any means, fair or foul, to ensure the organisation was destroyed. The time is coming when something will need to be done about the press in this country – and the sooner the better.
If paedophiles have little faith in the press, they have certainly got even less for the criminal justice system in this country, for being a paedophile is an invitation for every sort of injustice there is. While baby batterers walk away with derisory sentences after being slapped on the wrist and told not to do it again, people whose only ‘crime’ is that they love children can expect to have the book thrown at them and endure years of attacks in squalid prisons from real criminals. One can inflict horrendous physical suffering on a child, but if one is unfortunate enough to be a paedophile who has consensual sex – oh well, that’s classed as worse than murder.
Similarly with ‘corporal punishment’ which is, in truth, nothing more than a euphemism for legal assault. This practice is widely supported in these isles, and it is no coincidence that the organisations and people who were most opposed to PIE were the very ones who endorsed it most. The message is clear: abuse is okay as long as it is socially approved.
Back in its earlier days, PIE itself initiated a campaign against this practice and received letters of support from such well-known people as Baroness Wootton, and Sir Alfred Ayer, the philosopher. But PIE, being a tiny organisation, could only do so much.
For PIE, the time has now run out; but the ideas behind it will continue to survive.
Editor’s note: Soon after the above article was written, its author along with two other PIE EC members were arrested on incitement charges in connection with issue No. 6 of the group’s internal bulletin, CONTACT. Before the trial, Steve Smith fled to Holland where he still resides. The two other defendants were subsequently found not guilty of the incitement charges, but guilty of a lesser charge. After renewed threats to proscribe PIE, the group finally succumbed to political pressure, and the organisation disbanded in early summer, 1985. Because of this, all articles in this book referring to PIE, including the above, have had the tense changed from present to past.
NOTES AND REFERENCES
1. A journal of PIE
2. Lee Edwards was later alleged (though unproven) to have given or sold confidential information about PIE and its members to the NEWS OF THE WORLD, which published the details, much of them erroneous, in a front page splash.
3. I refer, of course, to the notorious Conspiracy to Corrupt Public Morals trials of early 1981.
4. Tom O’Carroll (Peter Owen, London, 1980).
5. ‘Men Loving Boys Loving Men’, by Gerald Hannon (BODY POLITIC, March/April, 1979).
6. It was Kenneth Clarke in CIVILISATION who said that ‘nearly all the upward steps in the history of civilisation have been internationalist steps.”
7. CAPITAL GAY (July 15th, 1983).
8. CONTACT! Which was edited by myself, was the internal bulletin of PIE.
9. PAEDOPHILIA: SOME QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS (PIE, 1979).
10. EVIDENCE ON THE LAW RELATING TO, AND PENALTIES FOR, CERTAIN SEXUAL OFFENCES INVOLVING CHILDREN – FOR THE HOME OFFICE CRIMINAL LAW REVISION COMMITTEE, ed. by Keith R. Hose and Michael Burbidge (PIE, 1975).
11. THE LAW RELATING TO CONSENSUAL SEXUAL ACTS: A DISCUSSION PAPER (prepared by The CHE Law Reform Committee’, 1980).
12. Oxley was, at the time of writing, chairman of the right wing National Campaign for Law and Order, which incidentally supports hanging and corporal punishment, and deputy chairman of Mary Whitehouse’s Viewers’ and Listeners’ Association.
13. Even revelations that he was consorting with two other women, despite the fact that he was married, didn’t stop Dickens attacking PIE. Hypocrisy has no bounds, it seems. I often wonder what the dickens the man would do if it weren’t for paedophiles???
14. Well before the Hayman affair, another Establishment figure, Lord Bingham, had also been revealed as a PIE member.
[ADDENDUM: The ‘Lord Bingham’ in question here was Richard Maurice Clive Bigham, Viscount Mersey (1934-2006), who admitted PIE membership and contact with a 10-year old girl, who would remove her clothes when offered money and sweets by him; the girl’s mother went on trial in Manchester Crown Court in 1978 on charges of inciting one of her daughters to commit gross indecency with Bigham. See ‘Peer’s son in sex case ‘revolted”, Glasgow Herald, July 20th, 1978]