More pro-child sexual abuse propaganda from Germaine Greer

In an earlier post I drew attention to the justifications for sexual abuse of children provided by Germaine Greer, in particular in the case of Helen Goddard, convicted abuser who taught at City of London School for Girls. I have just come across a quote from considerably earlier, from a 33-year old Greer. Clearly this type of view has been consistent throughout her career; I believe all of her writings and work in other media should be more closely scrutinised in light of this.

One woman I know enjoyed sex with an uncle all through her childhood, and never realized that anything unusual was toward until she went away to school. What disturbed her then was not what her uncle had done but the attitude of her teachers and the school psychiatrist. They assumed that she must have been traumatized and disgusted and therefore in need of very special help. In order to capitulate to their expectations, she began to fake symptoms that she did not feel, until at length she began to feel truly guilty about not having been guilty. She ended up judging herself very harshly for this innate lechery.

Germaine Greer, ‘Seduction is a Four-Letter Word’, Playboy (January 1972), p. 82, cited in Richard Parson, Birthrights (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1974), p. 151.

It is not surprising that Tom O’Carroll, former chair of the Paedophile Information Exchange, should have been so enamoured of Greer (see his comments on her in ‘Is PIE Sexist?’, Magpie 12 (December 1978)) , and continued to enthusiastically report her support for Harriet Harman and NCCL this year; according to O’Carroll Greer argued on Any Questions? ‘that the age of consent issue was not just about paedophiles but about young people’s right to a sexual life, which was why she and others had supported changing the law’.

Michelle Elliott, researcher into sexual abuse committed by women, in the interview below (from about 9’25”) quotes Greer’s comment to her ‘Well, if it is a woman having sex with a young teenage boy, i.e. 13 or 14-year-old, and he gets an erection, then clearly it’s his responsibility’.

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Labour’s nominees for inquiry chair, and a left ‘establishment’

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.


Academia and Paedophilia 1: The Case of Jeffrey Weeks and Indifference to Boy-Rape

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’. [28]

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. [29] 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’. [30] 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. [31] 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.’ [30] 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. [31] 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. [32]

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.’ [33] 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. [34] 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. [35]

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. [36] 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.’ [37] 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. [38] 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. [39] 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. [40]

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. [41]

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, [42] 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. [43] 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’. [44] 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. [45] 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. [46] 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. [47] 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. [48] 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?’ [49] 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’. [6]

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. [7]

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.”


Antony Grey and the Sexual Law Reform Society 1

This is a first post giving more information about Antony Grey (1927-2010) and his relationship to the paedophile movement. Time does not permit a detailed exegesis of Grey’s life and work (this will have to wait for a later date), I am simply posting here a relevant section from his book Quest for Justice, and some articles about the Sexual Law Reform Society (SLRS) with which he was involved. In another source which I have, Grey makes clear his and some other members of the SLRS’s dislike for the whole concept of an age of consent; I will print this in a later post, whilst such a view is quite clear in the last articles published here. The SLRS was linked to the Albany Trust, who funded the Paedophile Information Exchange ; articles about this can be found here and here. Obituaries of Grey can be read here and here. The Antony Grey papers are indexed here and can be accessed at the LSE library; links here and here give pointers to where more information relating to PIE might be found. The speaker at the MIND conference referenced would have been Keith Hose, then chairman of the Paedophile Information Exchange (my thanks to Matt Lilleker for pointing out the omission of this information in an earlier draft).

My immense thanks to Daniel de Simone for locating the articles on the Sexual Law Reform Society.

Antony Grey, Quest for Justice: Towards Homosexual Emancipation (London: Sinclair-Stevenson, 1992)

In September 1975 I attended, together with the Albany Trust’s incoming Chairman, Harold Haywood, a seminar on sexual minorities and their problems which had been organised by MIND. One of the speakers was a young man in his early twenties who described in a very courageous and moving way his experiences, thoughts and feelings as a paedophile [4]. Afterwards, Mr Haywood said to me that, of all sexual minorities paedophiles were the most misunderstood, execrated and doom-laden; and that the Albany Trust had a moral duty to see whether anything could be done to help those who carried this heavy burden to live more at peace with themselves within the law.

I agreed with him; and, although I was already worried at the increasing diversification of the Trust’s interests, and the growing workload bearing upon the few of us working full time for it, I arranged for a few private discussions to be held at the Trust’s office between psychiatrists, psychologists and social workers whom I knew to be concerned with paedophiles in their professional work, to explore with them the nature and availability of support needed. I also invited some paedophiles to join in these talks, including the young man who had spoken at the MIND conference and other members of the newly-formed (and ill-fated) Paedophile Information Exchange (PIE) and another group, PAL (Paedophile Action for Liberation). [5]

These meetings were in accord with the philosophy and policy of the Trust as an educating and helping agency. One of the possibilities discussed was the provision by the professionals of a support group for lonely, isolated and frightened paedophiles; another was the joint production by the group (including its professional members) of a ‘Questions and Answers’ booklet on paedophilia, to be published by the Albany Trust. A drafting committee [6] produced a text, but the Trustees could not agree on it, so the project was dropped. The Trustees decided that, apart from public educational work, any Albany Trust supportive help for paedophiles, including counselling, should be linked to the NACRO sex offenders’ project. I never thought, and did not intend, that paedophilia should become a major focus of the Trust’s work; but it seemed to me – and still does – a legitimate area of potential counselling support and social concern to explore.

I did not foresee what a minefield we were walking into. Years previously, Tony Dyson had said to me that paedophilia was an issue which would not be sensibly confronted by society in the foreseeable future: how right he was.

PIE and PAL were radical in style, fashioned in the mould of the Gay Liberation Front. As one of PIE’s leading lights, Tom O’Carroll (who was subsequently imprisoned for ‘conspiracy to corrupt public morals’) later said, the Albany Trust’s respectable, sober-suited persuasive lobbying tactics of ‘doing good by stealth’ did not appeal to PIE:

There was no way in which we in PIE were going to go through all that palaver. . . . We were just not prepared to wait for decades of centuries before declaring ourselves. It just wasn’t in our nature. Instead, we naïvely supposed we could be both open and play the lobbying, PR game to some extent; we thought we could manipulate the Establishment and find allies within it, simultaneously with being the ogres of the popular press and the Church-based reactionaries like the Festival of Light. [7]

PIE’s mistake, O’Carroll admitted, was to believe that having identified their visible enemies they would still find elsewhere ‘if not friends, then at least rational, liberally-minded people’. They did not expect The Guardian to react to the notion of paedophilia in the same way as The News of the World.

The Albany Trust’s mistake was to be willing to behave as rational, liberally-minded people towards PIE and PAL, and so to expose ourselves to violent attacks from the ‘moral majority’ upon the Trust’s hard-won credibility.

In the first (autumn 1976) issue of its broadsheet, AT Work the Trust mentioned the meetings we had convened ‘to discuss possible ways of providing supportive help for paedophiles who feel themselves to be in need of it’. In the context of the Trust’s counselling activities, fully detailed elsewhere in AT Work, the meaning of this phrase was perfectly clear. In the same issue I reviewed a new book on paedophilia, The Forbidden Love. [8] Although the authors (one of them, a Jungian psychiatrist, was a friend of mine) took no exception to what I wrote, it greatly incensed the Responsible Society, who described it as ‘aggressive’ – presumably because I had said that the Victorian assumption that childhood and sexuality were mutually exclusive could no longer be sustained without question: commonplace enough notion in the 1970s, I should have thought.

In the summer of 1976 I had spoken (in my capacity as Honorary Secretary of the Sexual Law Reform Society) about the age of consent at a National Council of Social Service Women’s Forum; and in October I addressed a meeting arranged by the National Council of Voluntary Youth Organisations on the same topic Present at the latter meeting was Mrs Riches of the Responsible Society, who voiced her strong disapproval of the SLRS’ proposals. [9] Over lunch I vainly tried to convince her that we were as anxious as she was to protect and guide young people during their formative years of growing up, but without making them or their consenting partners into criminals.

A few weeks later, on 24 November 1976, a violent storm burst around the Albany Trust. Mrs Mary Whitehouse, honorary General Secretary of The National Viewers’ and Listeners’ Association, got shockwaves of national publicity for her claim (in a speech to a ‘Christian Lunch and Dinner Clubs’ meeting at Central Hall, Westminster) that the Albany Trust – which she described as ‘the homosexual lobby front runner’ – was using its public funds to

‘support paedophile groups’ so that ‘we are all subsidising and supporting, at least indirectly, a cause which seeks to normalise sexual attraction and activity between adult males and little girls’.

And she began her reference to the Albany Trust’s public funding by pointedly remarking, ‘One constantly has to ask oneself – does the right hand of the Government know what the left hand is doing? And I MEAN the left hand!’

Her allegations were groundless. All that the Trust had actually done was to invite half a dozen paedophiles to contribute their points of view at some private meetings held under our auspices with medical and social work professionals. The ‘public funding’ which they had received from the Albany Trust amounted to a few cups of tea. However, PIE had bought from the SLRS a single copy of the Speijer Report, which they proceeded – without our knowledge or permission – to photocopy and sell for £1.

My immediate reaction to Mrs Whitehouse’s speech was that it must have been made on the basis of misinformation; and I believed that she should naturally wish to make a public correction when she realised that what she had said was false. The Trustees were legally advised that her words were defamatory, but did not wish to resort to a court action. A carefully drafted letter [See Appendix 3] was therefore sent to Mrs Whitehouse, listing the numerous errors of fact in her speech and requesting her to make a public withdrawal of what she had said. Despite several requests for an answer, the Trust never received one. And though we did not publish the contents of our letter until the summer of 1977, extracts from it had by then been printed in Mrs Whitehouse’s book, Whatever Happened to Sex.

In the House of Commons a number of parliamentary questions concerning the Albany Trust were tabled. Sir Bernard Braine MP alleged that the Trust was using public funds to ‘support’ PIE. His ‘reasons’ were that PIE had sold photocopies of the Albany Trust-annotated translation of the Speijer Report for £1 each; and that under my Directorship the Trust had ‘openly campaigned’ for reduction of the age of consent.

I wrote to Sir Bernard Braine telling him that what he had said under the cover of Parliamentary privilege was totally without foundation, and asking him to withdraw it. He sent me a forceful letter repeating his assertions and full of underlined questions such as ‘May I ask if you are the Mr Grey who spoke at these meetings?’ I replied pointing out the errors in his attach, and stated:

I do not approve of paedophile practices. I do not favour the social acceptance of paedophilia. I do not belong to or support PIE. I disagree with PIE’s aims, pronouncements and activities. I would not advocate or support any changes in the law other than those proposed in the enclosed Sexual Law Reform Society’s report. [I added] Just as I suppose you have done, I have participated in many hundreds of meetings during my working life where numerous bodies with whom I quite violently disagreed were represented – but nobody has ever before accused me of holding views which I in fact reprobate because I have sat round a table and engaged in dialogue.

I heard nothing more from Sir Bernard Braine.

In its autumn 1977 Broadsheet the Festival of Light castigated PIE, and referred to the Albany Trust as ‘a sympathetic and related body’ – a description which they later withdrew following a strong protest from the Trust’s new Chairman, Rodney Bennett-England (practically all of whose time was by now occupied in dealing with anxious enquires from ministers and Government funding bodies about the Trust’s allegedly nefarious activities).

Others, however, were unwilling to retract their twisted versions of the Trust’s views and conduct, so Bennett-England eventually wrote a letter to The Times in January 1978 complaining that for some time the Albany Trust had been the victim of ‘a particularly vicious campaign’ and was ‘completely powerless’ to defend itself against a barrage of MPs’ questions. He was promptly answered by the Responsible Society’s chairman, who reiterated that the Trust had given PIE ‘encouragement and assistance’, and that it was ‘clearly linked’ with the English translation of the Speijer Report (‘a document which seeks to justify adult sexual gratification with minors’). Bennett-England sent a reply which did not get published, pointing out that the Speijer Report’s proposal was to reduce the Dutch age of consent for homosexual behaviour to sixteen; not to legalise paedophile relationships. [12] Further private correspondence between the two chairmen failed to shake the Responsible Society’s conviction that the Albany Trust condoned child-molesting.

Mrs Whitehouse took up the cudgels again the correspondence columns of The Guardian, declaring that ‘for Rodney Bennett-England to deny an association between the Albany Trust and PIE is to move the debate into such a realm of unreality as to make rational argument impossible’, to which he retorted ‘it is she who makes rational argument impossible by refusing to accept the truth if it doesn’t suit her purpose.’

Echoes of the conflict continued to reverberate around the country for several months, surfacing in a variety of parish magazines and local newspapers and causing the Albany Trust an enormous amount of extra work and worry. One such article, called Gay is Sad – and Bad which appeared in a West Country parish magazine early in 1978, claimed that:

‘the Government has made available large sums of public money to organisations which exist to promote homosexuality and are sympathetic to paedophilia (sexual interference with children)’, and accused the Albany Trust of being ‘aggressively sympathetic to paedophilia,’ of ‘spreading the message that homosexual activity is normal and natural and the equivalent of sexual intercourse’, and of labelling adolescents as ‘teenage gay people’, ‘long before they have the opportunity to develop fully, thereby possibly inhibiting the maturing process to heterosexuality.’

This sensational piece was prominently featured in the local press. Fortunately the Bishop of Malmesbury, who (as he wrote to Bennett-England) had always had a considerable regard for the Albany Trust’s work, and was puzzled and concerned at the sudden spate of adverse publicity which it was attracting, sent a copy of the newspaper to the Trust. Bennett-England had a letter published setting the record straight, and received a handsome apology from the clergyman who wrote the parish item. In a letter also published in the local press, he said:

These allegations [against the Albany Trust] were not manufactured here at my desk. I took them word for word, from a source which one would naturally have supposed to be entirely reliable and trustworthy. Nevertheless, I now contrast the fact that Rodney Bennett-England has set out the Albany Trust’s position clearly and openly with the insistence of my own source that on no account must it be revealed. I must, therefore, prefer the former; and I do so readily and completely.

One can see his point. After all, God made no bones about telling Moses who had inscribed the Tablets of Stone on the mountain.

Looking back upon this sorry episode more than a decade later I am still distastefully perturbed by the way in which such fierce attacks were launched upon the Albany Trust upon such flimsy grounds, and were persisted in even when the Trust repeatedly exposed the falseness of the allegations against it. The chorus of misrepresentations inside and outside Parliament undoubtedly influenced the newly elected Thatcher government to cut off the Albany Trust’s public funding at the end of 1979. Repeated requests for face-to-face meetings at which our real views and actions could be explained to our accusers in a friendly manner were stonily ignored. An appeal by me to Lord Longford to see fair play met only with the plaintive reply that he liked both me and Mary Whitehouse very much, and that she was ‘a Good Christian Woman’.

The protection of children concerns everyone of good will in our society. Children most certainly do need protecting – not only from physical abuse and emotional cruelty, but also from simplistic beliefs which ignore the complexities of living and loving and which see human sexuality through a glass, darkly. The young are not benefited by assiduous efforts to discredit those of us who work for a society with a compassionately balanced and mature approach to sex, a facet of life so crucial to human happiness.

(pp. 208-215)

4. Paedophilia is a much misused word. Its accurate meaning is emotional and physical attraction towards, and feelings of lover for, pre-pubertal children. Emotional paedophilia does not always result in sexual activity between a paedophile and a child-object of his or her affections. However, popular usage of ‘paedophile’ as meaning a sexual molester or abuser of children has made realistic discussion of paedophilia extremely difficult.
5. Pilloried by the Sunday People as ‘the Vilest Men in Britain’.
6. Of which I was not a member.
7. Tom O’Carroll, Paedophilia: The Radical Case (Peter Owen Publisher, London, 1980, pp. 219-20.
8. W. Kraemer, R. Gordon, M. Williams, K. Lambert, The Forbidden Love. The Normal and Abnormal Love of Children (Sheldon Press, 1976).
9. See chapter XX, below.
10. See Appendix 3.
11. Wayland, 1977.
12. The Responsible Society’s dim view of the Speijer Report was not shared by the Criminal Law Revision Committee and its Policy Advisory Committee, who referred to the Report several times, in appreciative terms, in their review of the law on sexual offences (see chapter XX). Presumably they too used the SLRS translation.


The Times
, January 22nd, 1970
Clifford Longley, ‘Reforming the law on sexual misconduct’

Times 021270 - Reforming the law on sexual misconduct


The Times
, July 6th, 1972
Basil Gingell, ‘Dr Robinson puts case for age of consent to be 14’

Times 060772


The Guardian
, July 6th, 1972
‘Sex and the law’

Guardian 060772


The Guardian
, September 5th, 1974
Michael De-La-Noy, ‘Rights and Wrongs’

Guardian 050974


The Guardian
, September 6th, 1974
Timothy Beaumont, ‘Sex and a single mind’

Guardian 060974


The Times
, September 6th, 1974
‘Report calls for age of consent to be 14 and repeal of laws on pornography’

Times 060974


The Times
, January 22nd, 1976
Ronald Butt, ‘Who really wants a change in the age of consent?’

Times 220176 - Who really wants a change in the age of consent


The Times
, January 26th, 1976
Tim Beaumont, ‘Age of Consent’

Times 260176 - Age of consent


The Independent
, January 24th, 1994
Antony Grey, ‘Old enough to choose; The age of consent does not help young people who need protection, not punishment’

I WELCOME the prospect that Parliament will soon equalise the age of consent for heterosexual and homosexual behaviour. The law bears especially harshly upon young men who engage in homosexual lovemaking, since those under 21 are still frequently prosecuted for such activities, even though under-age girls commit no offence by consenting to sex with a man. Successful prosecutions for consenting homosexual behaviour that breached the 21 age limit averaged 280 over the six years to 1991, and resulting prison sentences averaged 28 a year, so there is significant hardship – and, I would maintain, injustice.

Equalising the ages of consent must be the most immediate consideration. Ultimately, though, it would be desirable to rethink the whole legal concept of an age of consent to sexual activity and consider a completely new framework. This would give effective protection to those below the age of majority (18), without punishing them for behaviour to which – however unwisely – they have consented.

In 1974 the Sexual Law Reform Society’s Working Party, of which I was secretary, submitted a memorandum to the Criminal Law Revision Committee in which we endorsed the view of our then chairman, the late Bishop John Robinson, that the law’s proper function in relation to personal behaviour is ”not to prohibit but to protect, not to enforce morals but to safeguard persons, their privacies and freedoms”. We argued that it would be in the public interest to abolish ”sexual offences” as a separate category – because all sexual behaviour that merited punishment could be classified as an assault, a breach of protective provisions for children or others in a state of dependence, or an offensive nuisance to third parties.

The working party – which included church people, doctors, lawyers and politicians – concluded after extensive discussion that the traditional framework of an ”age of consent” was a hindrance, not a help, to the effective protection of young people. We reasoned that it is a legal fiction: either someone is a willing partner to a sexual act, whatever their age, or they are not. If they have consented to what they were doing and understood the consequences of their consent, this could be proved in court if necessary; and for the law to treat them as being incapable of giving such consent introduces an element of unreality into the proceedings which is confusing, harmful and in no one’s best interests.

We recognised, however, that as well as punishing those who interfere with or abuse young people sexually, the law may need to protect young people whose sexual behaviour is potentially damaging to themselves or to others. We recommended an ”age of protection” up to the legal age of majority (18), with appropriate civil and social, not criminal, sanctions. If the age of consent was not abolished, we urged that it should be fixed at 14 for both heterosexual and homosexual behaviour.

The CLRC responded by saying that it, too, saw the proper function of the law in sexual matters as protective rather than punitive, but opted to keep an age of consent on the grounds that it was necessary for legal certainty. It was also preoccupied by the ”psychological harm” it believes ”premature” sexual intercourse, heterosexual and homosexual, inflicts on youngsters.

I do not believe these arguments were convincing or conclusive; and I still think we must replace the whole concept of an age of consent with something more realistic, humane and useful for the 21st century.

Certainly there must first be a period of discussion to encourage public recognition of some obvious facts. First, ”ages of consent” do not provide effective protection to those who are sexually active below them; they frequently bring great misery and disruption into the lives of such young people. Second, older men and women who sexually pressurise, interfere with or abuse youngsters can be adequately deterred and punished through other, mostly existing, legal provisions.

Britain in the Nineties is still a very sex-negative society. The ceaseless media chatter (much of it prurient and intrusive) about peoples’ sex lives may seem to contradict this. But many who work in the health education and counselling fields agree that there is an enormous amount of sexual unease and unwarranted guilt around sexuality, much of it resulting from social pressures that demand conformity to outdated ”norms”.

No society can do away with all standards and controls, and a total sexual free-for-all would probably produce even more unhappiness (a prime argument of those who oppose any relaxation of laws concerning sex). But good personal and ethical standards and considerate behaviour towards others are not as closely bound up with legal controls as traditional moralists would argue. As the Wolfenden Committee said in its 1957 report, such views exaggerate the effect of the law on human behaviour; the law itself, it said, probably makes little difference to the amount of (homo) sexual behaviour that actually occurs.

Personal standards of morality and behaviour are the outcome of a socialising process that begins at birth; they are the product of a lifetime’s education in wise choice-making, rather than of legal finger-wagging. In a newspaper interview before she became prime minister, Margaret Thatcher wisely observed: ”Free choice is ultimately what life is about, what ethics is about . . . Do away with choice and you do away with human dignity.”

That, in a nutshell, is the case for replacing the ”age of consent” with protective provisions that pay more respect to the personal choices (including those which others think are mistaken) of adolescents in their growing-up years. By regarding and treating adolescents too much as if they were overgrown children, rather than as young adults, society makes a rod for its back which manifests itself in juvenile delinquency and teenage tearaways.

If we don’t take teenagers seriously, why should they take us seriously? In a recent survey of 146 sixth-formers carried out by JL Randall, Childhood and Sexuality, the young people gave a massive thumbs-down to the notion of confiding their sexual problems to ”helping” adults: only 1.4 per cent of the sample said they would approach a social worker, 2 per cent a teacher, 3.4 per cent a doctor and O.7 per cent a clergyman, although almost half felt able to talk to their parents.

There are lessons here for adults. An important one is that it is high time for us to start treating teenagers’ sexual needs and experiences less dismissively and more sympathetically, and to replace the outdated and punitive legal fiction of an ”age of consent” with a benign and carefully thought-out framework of effective protection.
We British pride ourselves on our devotion to individual freedom, yet in practice we still operate our social system on a basis of ”benevolent paternalism”. This is especially true where personal choices around sex, free expression, entertainment choices, drug use and other aspects of personal life are concerned. Is it not time to enter the 21st century as a personal, as well as a political and social, democracy, and ”trust the people”?

– The author was secretary of the Homosexual Law Reform Society in the Sixties, and of the Sexual Law Reform Society in the Seventies. His latest book, ‘Speaking of Sex’, is published by Cassell at pounds 10.99.


The Guardian
, January 24th, 1998
Antony Grey, Letter: ‘… and sex in parts of Bolton. Reform is urgently called for’

IT IS 25 years since the late Bishop John Robinson stated, as chairman of the Sexual Law Reform Society, that the law’s function in this sphere “should not be to prohibit but to protect, not to enforce morals but to safeguard persons, their privacies and freedoms”.

The following year, the Society’s Working Party recommended a wide range of reforms to limit the law’s interference in sexual behaviour to situations where the parties have not consented, are not fully responsible, or have breached others’ privacy in an offensive manner.

Most of the specific reforms which we proposed a quarter-century ago have still not been implemented.

Antony Grey.
(Secretary, Sexual Law Reform Society, 1962-77), London NW2.


Peter Righton – His Activities up until the early 1980s

[Updated: I am immensely grateful to Peter McKelvie, Liz Davies, Martin Walkerdine and @Snowfaked (on Twitter) for providing extra information which has helped to fill in gaps in my earlier account]

I do intend at some point to publish a comprehensive account of all that can be ascertained about the life and activities of the sinister figure of Peter Righton, perhaps the most important of all figures in terms of the abuse scandals soon to be investigated by the national inquiry, and believed to have been a serial abuser himself with a great many victims. Both demands of time and also legal constraints do not permit this at present, but for now I wanted to publish some information and sources on Righton’s activities up until the early 1980s. 

Righton was born in June 1926 as Paul Pelham Righton, in Kensington . He grew up in Kent , and attended Ardingly College, West Sussex from 1940 to 1944, where he was a ‘favourite’ for history master and A dormitory housemaster, Denis Henry d’Abedhil Williams. From 1944 to 1948, Righton served in the Royal Artillery, based initially for his six week’s primary training at barracks in Lincoln from April 1944 (Righton, ‘Working with the ‘misfits”, Social Work Today, May 6th, 1985); no further details are known at present other than that his rank upon demobilisation was Lieutenant. By 1948, aged 22, Righton was living in 19 Garway Road, in the Paddington area of London (my thanks to Martin Walkerdine for this information). That year, Righton went to Magdalen College, Oxford, where he read Philosophy, Politics and Economics, graduating in 1951 (with a second class degree), and receiving his MA in 1955 .

Following graduation, Righton undertook training in the probation service from 1951 to 1952, and served as a Probation Officer in Gray’s, Essex from 1952 to 1955, where he also ran a project to develop reading skills for children with learning difficulties. In January 1956 he began teaching at Gaveston Hall, near Horsham in West Sussex, but was only in this position until July of that year. In Righton’s diaries, he lists boys he abused whilst at Gaveston Hall. The circumstances of his departure are unclear; after leaving he retreated for six months to the Society of Saint Francis, a closed order (all information courtesy of Peter McKelvie).

Righton re-emerged in January 1957 to teach at Cuddesdon College near Oxford. Soon afterwards (in the same year), however he moved to teach English at Redhill, a school for disturbed boys in Maidstone, Kent. Righton had taken a range of vulnerable pupils under his wing, and Mark Thewliss claims he was abused by Righton there from the age of 12. Righton’s diaries list boys he abused at both Cuddesdon and Redhill (source Peter McKelvie; see the Inside Story documentary below for more accounts of Righton’s activities at Redhill). He left Redhill discreetly on April 8th, 1963, resigning his position (source Peter McKelvie) (not 1964 as mistakenly mentioned before). In July 1963, a police investigation began into complaints against Righton of abuse; around time he wrote several potential suicide notes admitting having done harm to boys. However, Righton was able to get the investigation dropped after having lunch with a police inspector (Source McKelvie).

After leaving Redhill Righton worked for two years (1963-65) as a tutor and organiser for the Workers’ Educational Association in Wiltshire; his address was given as North Flat, Marden Grange, Marden, Devizes, Wiltshire.

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From 1965 onwards, Righton established his influence within the world of social work and child care. He became a tutor in charge of a two-year course for child care officers at Keele University from 1965-68 (see Inside Story below); how and when exactly he had become qualified in this field, are who were his referees, are questions the answer to which remains unclear.
then as. From 1968 to 1971 he was a Senior Lecturer at the National Institute of Social Work, a government-funded educational and research centre. On October 11th 1968, as Paul Pelham Righton, he gave a talk at Shotton Hall, Peterlee, entitled ‘A New Deal for Children: Thoughts on the White Paper ‘Children in Trouble” (Paul Pelham Righton, A new deal for children Reflections on the White Paper ‘Children in trouble’ a paper given at Shotton Hall on 11th October 1968 (Shrewsbury: Shotton Hall Publications, 1968); he also published an article entitled ‘The Need for Training’, F.G. Lennhoff and J.C. Lampen (eds), Learning to Live: A Sketchbook of Residential Work with Children (Shrewsbury: Shotton Hall, 1968), pp. 13-16, which is reproduced on the Online Journal of the International Child and Youth Care Network, Issue 95 (December 2006). In 1969, Righton published an article entitled ‘Social work and scientific concepts’ in Social Work, Vol. 26, p. 3. . He also at some point in the late 1960s started working at North London Polytechnic (now London Metropolitan University), based at Ladbroke House, Highbury Grove, leaving the institution in 1970 (source Liz Davies).

The report by Tom Bateman for the BBC Radio 4 Today earlier this week made clear that as early as 1970, Righton was already credited as giving ‘considerable assistance’ to a Home Office report (Advisory Council on Child Care: Research and Development Committee; Community Homes Project, Second Report (London: Home Office Children’s Department, April 1970). The relevant chapter is printed below.

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Between 1971 and 1974, Righton was a development officer at National Children’s Bureau and head of two-person Children’s Centre (‘The National Children’s Bureau’, Evening Standard, May 12th, 1993)

In October 1971, here listed as a ‘lecturer in residential care’ for the National Institute for Social Work, and ‘director-designate of the centre to be established by the National Children’s Bureau later this year’, Righton addressed a social services conference organized by the County Councils Association and the Association of Municipal Corporations, arguing for integration of social workers with residential home staff, and against too-frequent placing of those with social, physical and mental handicaps in residential homes. He also thought children ‘could be greatly helped in a residential unit’.

Times 291071 - Homes for handicapped become scapegoat for guilt of society (Righton)

In 1972, Righton published ‘Parental and other roles in residential care’, in The Parental Role: Conference Papers (London: National Children’s Bureau, 1972), pp. 13-17 (Peter Righton – Parental and Other Roles in Residential Care). Here he wrote about the  shift during last 25 years away from ‘total substitute care’ towards ‘planned alternative provision’, with child placed in open community with frequent access to their own parents. Righton argued that many still believed that substitute parenting is central role of residential worker, and that the family is good model for a residential unit. He questioned this – saying that it is impossible to provide ‘a relationship of the desirable uniqueness, continuity and intensity in a residential setting’, mentioning that the majority of children in care still have their own parents and maintain some sort of relationship with them. Righton argued that it would cause conflict by having ‘two competing sets of adults’ trying to outdo each other. He preferred to see residential care as ‘alternative caring ‘sui generis’ rather than as substitute family care’. It has been suggested to me by some experts in child care that the substitute parent model helped children feel safe from abuse and mistreatment in care; Righton’s concern to move away from this model may well have been another strategy to facilitate the ability of himself and others to sexually exploit children in residential care.

This same year, Righton also had a letter published in The Listener (June 29th, 1972), in which he expressed his fierce objection to Lord Hailsham’s views on homosexuality (my profound thanks to Daniel de Simone for locating this); Righton would use claims of homophobia more widely to silence critics of his relatively overt exploitation of young boys.

Righton on Lord Hailsham, The Listener 1972

Also in 1972, Righton took part in a published debate with Antony Grey (of the Sexual Law Reform Society and Albany Trust, who would later fund PIE – see articles here and here), and Kevin O’Dowd over the role of therapy. At another time during this year, Righton shared a platform (New Society, Vol. 21 (1972), p. 60) with Keith Joseph, then Secretary of State for Social Services, and who has himself been named as an abuser according to at least one source (Matthew Drake, ‘Margaret Thatcher’s Cabinet bigwigs named in Leon Brittan paedo files’, Sunday Mirror, July 24th, 2014)

In January 1973, together with Ronald Bennett, QC, Righton was called to conduct an independent inquiry into allegations of violence by staff against boys in Larchgrove Assessment Centre on the outskirts of Glasgow; the report found that 13 out of 30 allegations were proved and was highly critical of the corporation for allowing conditions inducive to violence to occur; later reports found that John Porteus, a houseparent, had sexually abused boys at Larchgrove in the late 1960s, and others testified to sexual abuse during this time. Righton and Bennett’s report did not deal with sexual abuse, and it was possible for a convicted abuser, Robert William Henderson, to gain a position towards the end of 1973, where he formed ‘an indecent association with a 13-year-old boy’. Glasgow City Council are currently looking for any documentation connected with the case, whilst the council and Scottish government have called upon anyone who suffered abuse there to contact the police; it has been revealed that there are claims that staff of both genders were involved in the abuse of boys at the home (see ‘Notorious paedophile headed Scottish care home inquiry’, Sunday Herald, August 24th, 2014).

Also in 1973, Righton gave the Barnardo’s Annual Lecture (Edward Pilkington, ‘Shadow of the Attic’, The Guardian, June 1st, 1994); the title was ‘A Continuum of Care’, which was published the following year (Peter Righton, A Continuum of Care: The Link between Field and Residential Work (London: Barnardo’s, 1974)). This year, he also published Counselling Homosexuals: A Study (London: Bedford Square Press, 1973).

On March 8th, 1973, Righton gave a talk on ‘Co-operation in child care’, for the British Association of Social Workers Conference at St. Williams’ College, York (Residential Social Work, Vol. 13 (1973), p. 63). In September 1973, he argued that children’s homes were like ‘ghettos’ which ‘stigmatize’, because they are deprived of being part of a normal family. As a remedy of this, Righton believed such homes ‘should be made as open as possible to people in the immediate neighbourhood, and to the families and friends of the children living there’; and ‘Staff and children should be encouraged to go out to meet people and residential schools should take both children needing special substitute care and those needing boarding education’, all of which (not, of course, said by Righton) would ease the access of paedophile predators to them.

 

Times 180973 - Children's homes 'ghettos that stigmatize'

From 1974 to 1982, Righton was Director of Education for the National Council of Social Work (‘In Residence’, Social Work Today, February 4th, 1985)

In 1974, Righton visited Algeria in April, and published ‘Child Care in Algeria’, International Social Work, Vol. 17, No. 4 (October 1974), pp. 51-53. (Peter Righton – Child Care in Algeria). He also gave the David Willis Lecture for the Planned Environment Therapy Trust, at New Barns School, Toddington, Gloucestershire (where he would later become a governor, and which was closed down following a police raid in 1992), published as ‘Planned environment therapy: a reappraisal’, in Association of Workers with Maladjusted Children Journal (1975) (see James S. Atherton, Review of Perspectives on Training for Residential WorkBritish Journal of Social Work, Vol. 8, No. 2 (1988), pp. 227-229). From 1974 to 1982, his address was listed as 48 Barbican Road, Greenford (near Ealing, West London) (source Ealing Local History through Martin Walkerdine). This also became in 1975 the address of the organisation London Friend, which had been founded in 1971 (one of the co-founders was Mike Launder, a social worker activist; another was the well-known writer Jack Babuscio (1937-90), though it is not clear whether Babuscio did not resign before Righton’s involvement) as the counselling wing of the Campaign for Homosexual Equality (Rosemary Auchmuty, ‘London’, in George E. Haggerty, John Beynon and Douglas Eisner (eds), Encyclopedia of Lesbian and Gay Histories and Cultures: An Encyclopedia, Vol. 1 (New York: Garland Publishing, 2000) , p. 477), but split from CHE that year 1975 (London Friend, ‘LGB&T milestones – a timeline’)

In October of that year, the Paedophile Information Exchange was founded in Edinburgh by Ian Campbell Dunn and Michael Hanson (Marcello Mega, ‘Paedophile list set up by gay rights leader’, Sunday Times, July 6th, 1997); the group would soon afterwards relocate from Edinburgh to London, and Keith Hose would take over as chair. Righton was part of the group (member number 51, and a member of the Executive Committee, by mid-1976 at the latest (‘It’s the Magnificent Six’, Understanding Paedophilia, Vol. 1, No. 2 (June-July 1976), p. 7), serving as ‘Organiser of prison-hospital visits/general correspondence/PIE befriending’; in May 1977, he stepped down from the committee (at the same time as Hose stepped down), by which time his position was listed as ‘Community Liaison Officer’ (‘Stop Press – Stop Press’, Understanding Paedophilia, Vol. 1, No. 4 (1977), p. 12).

In October 1975, Righton became chair of a working group for the mental health association MIND, with the assistance of the King’s Fund Centre; this led to the publication of Assessment of Children and Their Families: A Report Produced by a MIND Working Party Under the Chairmanship of P. Righton (London; MIND, 1975). MIND also organised for Keith Hose to speak at an event called Mind Out in 1975 (Annette Rawstrone, ‘Paul Farmer of Mind apologises after report that pro-paedophile leader spoke at 1975 event’, Third Sector, July 23rd, 2014). In 1977, London Friend’s sister organisation Cardiff Friend, and the MIND Office in Wales, organised a day seminar entitled ‘New approaches to homosexuality’; speakers were Righton, Michael Launder, and Rachel Beck, co-founder of the then recently established service Lesbian Line (‘Seminar on homosexuality’, Social Work Today, Vol. 9, No. 11 (November 1st, 1977)).

From 1976 to 1985, and especially from 1976 to 1979, Righton published regular articles in Social Work Today, which are all collected here. Of particular note is his article ‘Sex and the residential social worker’, Social Work Today, February 15th, 1977, thus written during Righton’s period on the PIE Executive Committee. Citing a 1975 article by then Lecturer in Social Work at Brunel University Leonard F. Davis seeking to legitimise sexualised touching of children in care (Leonard F. Davis – Touch, Sexuality and Power in Residential SettingsBritish Journal of Social Work, Vol. 5, No. 4 (1975), pp. 397-411 – Davis himself acknowledged Righton’s advice in the preparation of the paper; he is listed as having ‘recently completed the Course in Educational Studies at the National Institute for Social Work’, so may have been one of Righton’s students), Righton argued ‘‘Provided there is no question of exploitation, sexual relationships freely entered into by residents – including adolescents – should not be a matter for automatic inquiry’. Amazingly, several responses to this were essentially sympathetic to Righton’s position (see letters from March 15th and 22nd, 1977; another by an A. Whitaker, published on April 12th, 1977, was sharply critical, but the editor added a note at the end disputing whether this letter accurately represented Righton’s views). 

In the mid-1970s, fellow social worker Ann Goldie was present at a dinner party with Righton, who confided to her that he had engaged in sexual relations with eight or nine boys in residential care homes. Knowing that Goldie was a lesbian, Righton (rightly) trusted a group loyalty when giving this information. Daphne Statham had first encountered Righton in 1966 and frequently thereafter, and admitted that she had had suspicions (especially when Righton mentioned about a ‘motorbike club’), but didn’t enquire further, something she later came to bitterly regret (Pilkington, ‘Shadow of the Attic‘). A similar story was related by Stewart Payne and Eileen Fairweather, of Righton’s being able to be quite blatant about his activities in the knowledge that some other fellow lesbians or gays, or feminists, would not break ranks (Payne and Fairweather, ‘Silence that cloaked child sex conspiracy’, Evening Standard, May 27th, 1994).

As well as the Social Work Today pieces, Righton would in 1976 co-edit a volume with Sonia Morgan, Child Care; Concerns and Conflicts (London: Hodder Education, 1976), and publish an article ‘Sexual minorities and social work’, Health and Social Services Journal, February 28th, 1976, pp. 392-393. At some point prior to 1977, Righton also sat on the Central Council for Education in Training and Social Work (Peter Righton, ‘Positive and Negative Aspects in Residential Care’, Social Work Today Vol. 8, No. 37 (June 28th, 1977), cited in Lucy Robinson, Gay Men and the Left in Post-War Britain: How the Personal got Political (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2011)); he also spoke at a conference in Doncaster in June 1977 jointly organised by Doncaster metropolitan borough and Yorkshire region of the Residential Care Association, called ‘Residential care – resource or last resort?’, where anotehr speaker was Janie Thomas (‘Residental care – resource or last resort?’, Social Work Today, Vol. 8, No. 37 (June 28th, 1977), p. 8). On October 16th, 1978, Righton gave a talk to the Camden and Islington branch of the British Association of Social Workers on ‘Links, conflict and relationships between residential and fieldwork’, in the Royal Free Hospital in London (Social Work Today, October 10th, 1978); on 20th March, 1979, he spoke to the Croydon and East Surrey branch of BASW on whether ‘The farmer and the cowboy can be friends?’ at Rees House, Croydon (Social Work Today, March 20th, 1979)

In 1979, he would further co-edit a volume with Margaret Richards entitled Social Work Education in Conflict (London: National Institute for Social Work, 1979), in which he published articles ‘Knowledge About Teaching and Learning in Social Work Education’, pp. 1-18 (Peter Righton – Knowledge about Teaching and Learning in Social Work Education), and ‘Four Approaches to Curriculum Design’, pp. 62-80 (Peter Righton – Four Approaches to Curriculum Design), and edited a further book on Studies in Environment Therapy (London: Planned Environment Therapy Trust, 1979). 

In 1977, Righton also participated in the London Medical Group’s annual conference, on this occasion the subject being ‘Human Sexuality’, speaking alongside agony aunt Claire Rayner amongst others (M. Papouchado, ‘Annual Conference of the LMG: Human Sexuality’, Journal of Medical Ethics, Vol. 3 (1977), pp. 153-154).

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In 1979, Righton sat on a steering committee to establish a course for training staff to work with disturbed young people, together with John Rea Price, director of Islington Social Services, 1972-92, subsequently the Director of the National Children’s Bureau. Other’s on the committee included G Godfrey Isaacs, chairman of Peper Harow, Mary Joynsons, director of child care for Barnardos, Janet Mattinson, Tavistock Centre, and Nick Stacey (see Social Work Today, April 3rd, 1979 (see links above), and the advert below, from The Guardian, March 28th, 1979).

Guardian 280379

 

The ‘Barclay Report’ of 1980, Social Workers : Their Role & Tasks : the report of a working party set up in October 1980 at the request of the Secretary of State for Social Services by the National Institute for Social Work ; under the chairmanship of Peter M. Barclay (London : National Institute by Bedford Square Press, 1981/1982 [printing]), included the following text: ‘We pay tribute to the work of our Secretary, Mr Bob King, of Mr Peter Righton, formerly Director of Education at the National Institute, who has shouldered a considerable drafting burden and of Miss Carol Whitwill, their personal secretary and helper’.

 

Peter Righton Social Work 2 Peter Righton Social Work

 

And then in 1981, Righton published his most blatant article to date, ‘The adult’, in Brian Taylor (ed), Perspectives on Paedophilia (London: Batsford, 1981), pp. 24-40. Drawing upon an unholy canon of paedophile writers, Righton made the case for sex with children being unharmful, in his characteristically elegant manner. No-one who read this could have been in any doubt about Righton’s inclinations (or the nature of the volume in general). 

One might have thought that one so flagrantly brandishing their sexual interest in children, speaking about it shamelessly to various others, publishing two articles making this clear, and also having been publicly identified as on the Executive Committee of the Paedophile Information Exchange, would have had difficulty being accepted as an expert on child care and child sexuality. But not at all; in 1984, he was one of the major speakers at a conference on Child Sexual Abuse (alongside fellow PIE member and academic Ken Plummer). Righton’s career continued to flourish through the 1980s, and in 1991 he was invited to give evidence to the Pindown inquiry into sexual and physical abuse in Staffordshire (‘Britain’s top kiddies home expert is evil child-sex perv’, The Sun, September 17th, 1992). He helped with translation and editing of some writings on music produced by Donald Mitchell, a major figure involved with the estate of Benjamin Britten and the Britten-Pears Foundation (having been Britten’s publisher); later he would be a co-translator of the volume Truus de Leur and Henriette Straub (ed) Keep these Letters, Please! A Written portrait of the Concertgebouw Orchestra 1904-1921, translated Ian Borthwick, Nicholas Pretzel and Peter Righton (Amsterdam: Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, c. 1998).

At the time of his arrest  for importation of child abuse images in 1992, Righton was also a senior tutor with the Open University (previously the employer of PIE chair Tom O’Carroll, and who had published Righton’s volume Working with Children and Young People in 1990), working on a project to do with residential children (Peter Burden and Peter Rose, .’Porn Squad quiz Child Care Expert’, Daily Mail, May 28th, 1992); James Golden, ‘Hoard of filth in childcare expert’s home’, Daily Mail, September 17th, 1992). Chris Andrews, of BASW, described Righton at the time of his arrest as follows: He [Righton] 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’ (cited in Burden and Rose, ‘Porn Squad quiz Child Care Expert’).

The Department of Health and then-Health-Secretary Virginia Bottomley were told in 1993 about an influential network involving Righton. but appear to have done nothing. Nor does there appear to have been much action following the disturbing Inside Story documentary on Righton broadcast the following year, with various testimonies of Righton’s victims . After Righton was convicted, receiving a £900 fine, in September 1992, he was able to relocate on the estate of Lord Henniker in 1993, and continue to have contact with children in care, many of who (not least from Islington) were regularly brought to the estate (Stewart Payne and Eileen Fairweather, ‘Country house hideaway of disgraced care chief’, Evening Standard, May 6th, 1993).

From 1996 to 2002, he had an address of 1 Wheatfields, Rickinghall, Diss IP22 1EN, but also in 1998, he appears to have lived at an 8 Badsey Road, together with another person called Wendy C. Hall-Barnes (source Martin Walkerdine). He would move to Hamworthy, Poole, Dorset, in 2003, where he would die on October 12th, 2007.

Politicians, social workers, civil servants and many others have huge questions to answer about how a figure like Righton could manage to operate with apparent impunity for such a long period of time when his real nature was far from hidden, preying upon the most disturbed and vulnerable boys, and manipulating child care policy towards his own exploitative ends. Righton has been linked to major scandals in Islington, Calderdale, Suffolk, Rochdale (also said by one survivor to have been friendly with Cyril Smith – Keir Mudie, ‘New victim links notorious paedophile Peter Righton to VIP child abuse network’, Sunday People, April 6th, 2013), North Wales (where MP Peter Morrison, Margaret Thatcher’s PPS, has alleged to have abused boys), Haute de la Garenne (Jersey), a series of public schools, networks in Sweden, Malta, Denmark and Holland, and more, and may be one of the worst offenders ever known in the UK, certainly one of the most influential in facilitating others. The existence of diaries kept by Righton on his ‘conquests’, as seen by Peter McKelvie at the time of his earlier investigation, was the impetus for Tom Watson’s October 2012 intervention in Parliament, which more than anything else set in motion the process which has led to the inquiry which has now been announced.

Police collected a whole seven boxes of evidence during the raid on Righton’s home. It is imperative that the full extent of his activities (and also those of the equally sinister and highly-connected Morris Fraser), and the many lessons to be learned, are central to the inquiry.

 


A few good politicians – Becky Milligan at the office of Simon Danczuk, with Matt Baker, and the personal impact of abuse campaigning

The link above details a visit made by BBC Radio 4 reporter Becky Milligan to the office of Labour MP Simon Danczuk, together with his parliamentary aide Matt Baker. Here she encounters much correspondence concerning allegations of abuse by politicians, several about that at Elm Guest House. A solicitor got in touch, to mention a visit in the early 1980s to Barnes Police Station, representing a young boy who had been at EGH; had been interviewed, police got aggressive and pushy, she stepped in to say this was unpleasant for her client. The police took the solicitor to one side and showed her a statement from another boy, saying he had been raped at the house by politicians and judges, which left the solicitor utterly shocked. Danczuk and Baker are hoping to encourage the solicitor to go to the police about this now. Baker is sure there are police officers themselves in possession of dynamite information on this (one reason why an amnesty is needed to ensure they can come forward with details). If true, the alleged activities at Elm Guest House, and the cover-up entailed, beggar belief – I would recommend those not yet aware of this to read this account by an alleged survivor of the house, this terrible article from the Daily Star in 1982 alleging that ten-year old boys were made to act as sex slaves for 13 hours per day for adult men and women, and this series of articles reproduced on the Spotlight blog.

Baker speaks of an occasion recounted by a former police officer, in which a floor of a hotel was raided where a range of paedophiles were found, all with boys in their beds. Amongst those pulled in by the police was a very prominent individual; the officers were told not to say anything about this – if they did they would lose their pension and would never be promoted. Baker said that this former police officer was cynical about possibility of an amnesty, saying no Home Secretary would allow that. It is incumbent upon Theresa May to make provisions for this as soon as possible, and for Yvette Cooper, shadow Home Secretary, to make a pledge to make such an arrangement if Labour are returned to power next year.

Clearly since Danczuk’s Select Com appearance, his office has been inundated by phone calls with terrible stories of abuse, many involving very prominent figures. Milligan sits in on an interview with a former pupil of Knowl View Residential School, subject of a major investigation into sustained abuse and its cover-up. Upsetting interview in which the man intimates how he is seen as someone no-one wants to go near, because he was abused. And conveys the terror of the place, and how every detail stays with him on a daily basis, saying that ‘Knowl View School will stick in my mind like it’s happening now in this room’.

Danczuk and Baker talk about how personally upsetting all of this is, and their coping strategies. Whilst nothing like on the scale of that they have known, I have some experience of how this feels, from a time at the beginning of 2013 when in the space of a couple of weeks I received hundreds of e-mails, phone calls and messages on social media from survivors of widespread abuse in music schools and conservatoires, often with horrific detail, combined with information about callous or malicious cover-up and bullying on the part of others in a position to do something about it, but not prepared to do so, preferring to protect the reputation of their places. The effect of all of this is depressing and disspiriting beyond belief. It can fill you with a mixture of feelings of hopelessness, paranoia, massive anger, and a sense that most else in the world seems pretty trivial in comparison – also it can be very hard for your partner if they see you so preoccupied by all of this. Naturally I can only speak with any certainty about my own experience, though communicating with others has suggested this is far from atypical. Happily I see an excellent therapist on a weekly basis, who has helped a lot with dealing with everything that this involvement brings. Doing so has changed my life and I am quite sure it has changed that of Danczuk and Baker – and those other politicians and campaigners who are exposed to this sort of material on a daily basis.

Some of the blasé members of the Labour Party have been very aloof and stand-offish towards Danczuk (and Tom Watson, and I would guess others who have been very active campaigners such as John Mann), not least because he serialised his book on Cyril Smith in the Daily Mail (the North London Labourite paper of choice, The Guardian, probably wouldn’t have touched it, and has a somewhat murky history of its own in terms of giving a platform to paedophile Tom O’Carroll, and also presenting lesbian child abuse in a positive light, in an article I will post after this), and his investigations might implicate some senior Labour politicians as well. This is unfortunately a typical attitude of those who would put the reputations of their parties (or leading figures in their parties) before the interests of children, and exactly how cover-ups work. Danczuk and Watson and Mann (and equally Tories such as Zac Goldsmith and Tim Loughton, Liberal Democrats John Hemming and Tessa Munt, who has bravely spoken out about her own experiences of sexual abuse, Green politician Caroline Lucas, and various others, not least the over 140 MPs who signed the call for a full national inquiry well before the Home Secretary agreed to one) have on the contrary worked relentlessly on bringing these issues to public attention, for sure at no small personal cost to themselves, and my admiration for them could not be greater. All of them are a model for politicians of the future, in order to restore some confidence in the possibility of meaningful political action at Westminster.


PIE – Documentary Evidence 8 – Mary Manning in Community Care and Auberon Waugh in The Spectator, 1977

1977 is an important year in the history of the Paedophile Information Exchange (PIE) and their profile. There was a campaign against the organisation by a woman called Christine Jolliffe in Bournemouth, who delivered a 3000 name petition to Downing Street calling for toughening of sentences upon sexual offenders against children, whilst a group of MPs led by Sir John Eden (MP for Bournemouth East and thus presumably Jolliffe’s MP) and awaited a report on PIE from the Minister of State at the Home Office (this would probably have been Brynmor John (1934-88), who served in the role from 1976-1979), well before Geoffrey Dickens’ later campaign against the organisation, whilst Mary Whitehouse was stepping up her campaign against the organisation (see Tom Crabtree, ‘Adults only’, The Guardian, May 19th, 1977). There were also harsh earlier reports on the movement in the Daily Mirror (see ‘Adults only’, Daily Mirror, August 24th, 1977; and Lucy Robinson, Gay Men and the Left in post-war Britain: How the personal got political (Manchester and New York: Manchester University Press, 2007), pp. 134-135), which were soon afterwards condemned by the Campaign for Homosexual Equality (CHE) (see ‘Paedophile talks backed by homosexuals’, The Times, August 30th, 1977).

First there was the Love and Attraction Conference from September 5th to 9th in Swansea, which became something of a media event when several members were ejected, forbidden to speak, or simply withdrew (see ‘Conference ban puts paedophile group further into cold’, The Guardian, August 27th, 1977; ‘Dutch MP backs child sex’, The Guardian, August 28th, 1977; Iain Murray, ‘Britain ‘intolerant’ on child sex’, The Observer, September 4th, 1977; ‘Priest’s child sex views repudiated’, The Guardian, September 9th, 1977)

Then there were the violent confrontations with members of the National Front and others at a PIE meeting on September 19th at Conway Hall, Holborn, London to deal with issues of the age of consent, after an earlier planned meeting at Shaftesbury Hotel, London, had had to be scrapped. (see ‘Hotel ban on paedophiles’, The Times, August 25th, 1977; ‘Paedophile conference plans ‘age of consent’ meeting’, The Guardian, September 1st, 1977; ‘Fury of the Mothers: Child-sex men are beaten up’, Daily Mirror, September 20th, 1977; ‘Three men fined after paedophile meeting’, The Times, September 21st, 1977).

Tom O’Carroll was suspended from his position as a press officer at the Open University soon afterwards (‘Open University Man suspended’, The Times, September 23rd, 1977), a decision attacked by CHE and the National Union of Journalists (see ‘Gays join PIE fight’, The Guardian, September 24th, 1977).

It was in this context that a series of other articles appeared relating to the movement, including Maurice Yaffé’s ‘Paedophilia: The Forbidden Subject’, New Statesman, September 16th, 1977, p. 362 (which I will post on here when I have a copy), Auberon Waugh’s rather facetitious ‘Suffer the little children’, The Spectator, September 30th, 1977, p. 6 (reproduced below), and a letter followed by an article, both relatively sympathetic, by Mary Manning (presumably the same who authored such books as Your Children’s Health (London: Elm Tree Books, 1973), The Drugs Menace (London : Columbus, 1985), and Help Yourself to Mental Health (London : Columbus, c. 1988)), in social work trade journal Community Care. I am printing these here to add to knowledge of PIE and how they were viewed in various journals and professions.

I would like to extend my profound thanks to Charlotte Russell for finding, copying and scanning the Manning articles.


Mary Manning, ‘PIE is not getting ‘fair hearing”, Community Care, September 26th, 1977

Mary Manning open letter


Mary Manning, ‘Should We Pity the Paedophiles?’, Community Care, October 19th, 1977

Mary Manning article 1

Mary Manning article 2

Mary Manning article 3

Mary Manning article 4


Auberon Waugh, ‘Suffer the little children’, The Spectator, September 30th, 1977, p. 6
.

The most remarkable — some may find it encouraging — aspect of recent queerbashing outbreaks in Swansea University College and Red Lion Square, London, has been the tacit approval of the press, radio and television. The reason for this, of course, was the magical image of children who, like old age pensioners, have a special place in the feigned affections of our great national consensus.

In fact, of course, the English are famous throughout the entire civilised world for their hatred of children. My own guess is that we hate children even more than we hate the old. Until I have had time to start a Gerontophile Information Exchange I will be unable to test this hunch, but I am prepared to bet that public reaction will be much less extreme.

If I am right, the violence of the public reaction against Mr O’Carroll’s paedophiles should be seen as a cover-up — not, heaven knows, for any sexual attraction towards children on the part of the general public — but as a sign of the guilt they feel for disliking children so much. I have often observed how the English, who shut their parents away in retirement bungalows and old people’s homes as soon as the opportunity presents itself, yet feel constrained to make little mooing noises of appreciation whenever an old age pensioner is wheeled onstage during a children’s pantomime or other public entertainment. So it is with children. In order to understand the present phenomenon I am afraid we will need to analyse it by social class.

Members of the upper and upper middle classes (we, gentle readers, the Beautiful People) have always got rid of our children by sending them to boarding schools. We have usually known that a small but significant proportion of the teaching staff of these establishments is paedophile. Such stirrings of guilt as we might have felt at this inhuman treatment were subdued by the reflection that the education was better and we were making enormous financial sacrifices to send our children off in this way.

Those parents who were prepared to face up to the matter — I am amazed by the number of my contemporaries who assure me that homosexuality has now disappeared from the nation’s preparatory and public schools — accept that there must be some consolation in the miserable life of those who choose to look after children.

Which may explain the fairly tolerant attitude towards these unfortunate people which has grown up in our bourgeois society. It does not extend to child rapists or violators or pre-pubertal girls, but if the boys end up buggered that is accepted as a small price to pay for the opportunity to develop their whole characters etc which ‘ separation from parents must bring.

The lower middle classes have never been able to send their children away, of course. Their method of showing dislike for their children is to refuse to talk to them, to dress them in hideous clothes called anoraks and romper suits, to turn them out of the house or dump them in front of the television set as soon as they come in; and, if they give the slightest trouble, to stuff their mouths with sweets until their teeth blacken and fall out to lie like rabbits’ droppings all over the fitted carpet in the television lounge. If ever parents of the lower class feel the slightest guilt about this inhuman treatment of their children, they overcome it by giving them huge sums of pocket money to buy even more sweets until their bodies and legs disappear and they have to be taken to school in special aluminium wheelbarrows designed by Lord Snowdon and supplied by the Welfare.

But however much one may sneer, snarl or hoot at these people one must also admit that they can’t send their children away and actually have to live with them. So one can see they might feel indignant at any suggestion that their children should also be buggered. It is like making boys at the local comprehensive school wear stiff white collars and bum-freezers, only rather worse.

However, having said all that and having put oneself in their shoes as much as possible, one. must also make it clear that that is the extent of our sympathy for them. Officers’ wives get pudding and pies, soldiers’ wives get skilly. To spend one’s time agonising about those less fortunate than oneself is a recipe for general misery, as well as being vaguely insulting to the deprived.

I have sometimes been accused — the accusation was made in these pages recently — of being insufficiently responsive to the special needs of our homosexual community, Perhaps I have sometimes found it in my heart to deny them that extra compassion, tolerance, understanding which the Church now demands and which alone enables them to thrive like so many queen bees on Royal Jelly. But there is surely all the difference in the world between railing against effeminate affectations in the world of letters, against a homosexual and leftwing stranglehold on public patronage of the arts and even against various flaunting and extravagant queens in public life — perhaps I made their children cry on the way back from school! — there is all the difference in the world, as I say, between that and actually trying trying to stop the buggers from doing it. Not content with that, the new proletarian response is to try and stop them from talking about it among themselves, and even to stop other people from discussing the problem. Last month, Mr Stewart W. Hastings, Swansea area officer for the National Union of Public Employees, wrote two letters which I here release in the public interest. The first is addressed to all members of the Swansea University College branch of NUPE: ‘Dear Member, ‘I am taking the unusual course of action of asking you to withdraw all services to a delegate at the forthcoming Love and Attraction Conference. . .

‘The delegate concerned is Mr Tom O’Carroll of the Paediophile Information Exchange. This rather interesting and somewhat confusing title covers the real intent of this society, simply what they want to legalise is sex between adults and children. Alan Williams, MP for Swansea West, describes Mr Tom O’Carroll as “a most unwellcome [sic]visiter [sic ]” .

‘As a Union we would hope that any members coming into contact with this delegate will not offer him any service. This means no portering, no cleaning, no feeding, in fact, no help in any way. We shall be writing to the Conference Organisers and asking them to withdraw the credentials before the confrontation takes place. I hope this action receives your general agreement?

The second letter was addressed to the conference organisers: ‘I am writing on behalf of the members of the NUPE employed in Swansea University. These members have already stated quite clearly that they will withdraw all services from the delegate representing the Paediophile [sic] Information Exchange at the forthcoming Conference.

‘They have also expressed some surprise that credentials were even granted to delegates on what seems to be with such ease of application [sic, sic, sic]. We cannot see what the Paediophile [sic] Information Exchange has to offer, and we hope, therefore, that these credentials are withdrawn well before the limited action planned by our members starts to take effect.’

The intention is unmistakably not so much to register disgust at what Mr O’Carroll had to say as to prevent him from saying it. As we now know, the university authorities were more concerned about their tea and biscuits than about the Conference’s subject matter and gave in. I wonder which academic subjects will next attract NUPE’s attention. One day, perhaps, the country will understand how the proletarian mind is quite simply unable to assimilate the idea of free speech as a concept.

I have four children, all very dear to me, and I would like to think I have their best interests at heart. I see a much greater threat to their future in this example of NUPE activism, NUPE English and NUPE power than I do in anything Mr O’Carroll might try to do to them.