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The text states: “Don’t be an accomplice. Denounce child abuse.” It doesn’t say “… unless you think it’s being done by a Conservative”.

The British public are not as stupid as some of our so-called ‘leaders’ would like to think.

Despite the best efforts of people like David Mellor, the editors and writers at the Mail on Sunday, and I’ll even include David Cameron (because I find it suspicious how quickly attempts were made to discredit the allegations after his This Morning interview), it seems most people have rejected their claims that child abuse victim Steve Messham is a lone crank.

We believe him. Somebody sexually abused him, and he had reason to believe it was a particular person with Conservative connections.

But the attempt to cover up his case may still succeed, because child abuse is now toxic to the BBC, and other reporters will hesitate to report it for fear they’ll get the same treatment as the Corporation.

Possible abusers from other walks of life and other political parties are still fair game, I notice, leading to the possibility that followers of the news will get an unbalanced view that the other parties are full of abusers and the Conservatives are not. That, I think, is dangerous, especially when it comes to elections.

There is no doubt that the BBC has been seriously harmed by the Newsnight child abuse story – even though it never named any suspects and Mr Messham’s claim that a person with Conservative connections was involved may yet prove accurate. But the most harmful aspect of this is that attention has been diverted away from an investigation into child abuse. And we all know it.

On Twitter, ‘Mrs VB’ pointed out that it was “utterly depressing to see the BBC headlines all about the bloody BBC rather than the widescale abuse of children in the care system.”

Columnist Owen Jones agreed: “Newsnight screwed up, but children who were raped have been forgotten. It is a disgrace.”

It IS a disgrace. But not one that has gone unnoticed. The ‘Comment’ column attached to the Mail on Sunday‘s smear job against Mr Messham showed clearly that the public are not going to put up with this nonsense.

‘Loraine’ wrote: “If I was asked to talk about tiny details of a long time ago, my memory would not be so accurate either. If there was only one victim claiming all kinds of things, then so be it. BUT there isn’t, IS THERE!!! A deeply horrible thing happened to this man when he was a vulnerable child; I’m not at all suprised if there may be residual issues. And your attempt to darken his character by claiming criminal allegations against him, [of] which by the way he was acquitted, as mentioned in this article, beggars belief.”

‘Belinda’ added: “No wonder abuse and rape victims dont come forward – they are all terrified this is what will happen to them; they will be called liars. You should be ashamed, Daily Mail; you are contributing to helping his abusers avoid justice.”

‘Null’ commented: “Stephen Messham has NOTHING to apologise for; it is truly shocking the way this poor man is being vilified and yet again unable to defend himself. He never mentioned Lord McAlpine. Newsnight never mentioned Lord McAlpine. This is a predictable cover up.”

And someone calling themselves ‘p2244a’ summed the situation up ver well: “Journalists need to stop playing with this person’s mind. Heartless cowards who will not listen to anyone who was abused because it is too ‘dirty’ to talk about.

“Mistaken identity of the photo caused the problem when the person, holding the photo for Mr Messham to see, wrongly named the man! Mr Messham thought the person who abused him was DEAD!”

This is exactly right, as the following transcript from the Waterhouse Tribunal (at which Mr Messham had previously given evidence on his abuse and abusers) reveals (courtesy of http://blog.albionalliance.org.uk/2012/11/how-the-daily-mail-set-up-messham-mi5-implicated/):

Gerard Elias QC: “Does the name McAlpine mean anything to you.”

Steven Messham: “Yes, sir.”

Elias: “In what context?”

Messham: “I was also abused by him sexually.”

Sir Ronald Waterhouse: “Is the person you referred to alive or dead?”

Messham: “I believe he is dead.”

This article also suggests that the ‘David Rose’ who co-wrote the Mail on Sunday smear piece is a former MI5 agent. The plot thickens…

It adds: “The Waterhouse report contains Steven Messham’s statement to the police. In it, Steven testified that his abuser ‘had several cars and a chauffeur.’

“The abusers would wait for Steven Messham at the bottom of a lane near Bryn Estyn children’s home when Steven had a late pass from the home. Messham was then abused in the car in a lay-by, and at the Crest Hotel in Wrexham.

“Local Welsh councillor Keith Gregory has testified that boys from Bryn Estyn would be taken to the homes of two McAlpine family members in the area – Gerwyn Hall and Marchwiel Hall, both a few miles from Wrexham town centre. Gerwyn Hall was occupied by Jimmie McAlpine, who died in 1991. Marchwiel Hall was the home of Jimmie’s sister.

“Jimmie McAlpine’s ID fits to the letter, with his chauffeurs, his massive car collection, the house where he lived, the hotel he frequented, and the golf club membership he shared at the time with the two leaders at Bryn Estyn, both of whom went to jail on multiple charges of buggery.”

So there you are. It is possible that Mr Messham was abused by a now-deceased member of the McAlpine family. I feel comfortable in suggesting this as it is impossible to libel the dead (note the current attack on Cyril Smith).

So why have we been told that he is a crank? That his allegations are the false ramblings of an unhinged mind? That (by implication) there are no paedophiles among the Conservatives and that the party does not need to be investigated?

Sonia Poulton, writing in the Express, tells us she has compiled a list of 132 “utterly shameless” Establishment child abusers, including MPs, lords and local councillors, and that “a similar list” exists for police officers.

“I don’t believe these lists are complete,” she writes. “This is not conjecture or media gossip but people, primarily men, who have been prosecuted for child sex offences throughout the UK.

“Many of these abusers still represent constituents and are ‘serving the public’. At the very least we should know who they are, where they are and if their public decisions are influenced by the greater good or their own twisted perversions.”

Meanwhile, attempts are being made to tranquillise us by making us think that child abuse investigations are still taking place and getting results – so we hear that a former primary school headmaster has been jailed for 15 years after he was convicted of raping and indecently assaulting an under-age girl. Malcolm Ford, 66, committed the offences more than 20 years ago, Manchester Minshull Street Crown Court heard.

Fair enough, but he was not a politician.

And there have been allegations against the late Liberal MP, Cyril Smith. Like Jimmy Savile (and the member of the McAlpine family that Mr Messham accused), he is dead, so it is safe to make the claim publicly.

Fair enough, but he was not a Conservative.

The situation with Mr Messham reminds me of one I underwent with the police a few years ago. I made an allegation and backed it up by quoting the relevant section of the relevant law. The response I got back quoted a completely different section of the same legislation in order to reject what I was saying. Despite my protestations, they stuck to their (erroneous) guns and I was eventually told I would need to seek a judicial review if I wanted to take it any further. I don’t have any money, so that was the end of that.

Here we have a man who made an allegation against another man (now dead) – but opportunists have twisted it to make it seem he was referring to a living man who is (as far as we know) innocent, in order to discredit the claim and the man who made it. And they refuse to countenance any argument other than their own.

The attack on the BBC was just a side-effect which they will, no doubt, believe was very lucky. Look at how badly people like Jeremy Hunt wanted to strengthen Sky – and Rupert Murdoch’s bid to own it – and weaken the Corporation in the past.

Far more serious is the attack on the credibility of anybody making claims that they suffered sex attacks as a child, especially if their claim implicates members of – you guessed it – the Conservative Party.