Tag Archives: 10 Downing Street

Cameron aide charged over child abuse images – at long last

A Rock in a hard place: Patrick Rock, formerly a senior civil servant and policy advisor, who now faces allegations that he possessed indecent images of child abuse.

A Rock in a hard place: Patrick Rock, formerly a senior civil servant and policy advisor, who now faces allegations that he possessed indecent images of child abuse.

Patrick Rock, a former aide of David Cameron and protege of Margaret Thatcher, has been charged with three counts of making an indecent photograph of a child, and with possession of 59 indecent images of childrenmore than four months after he was arrested on suspicion of child pornography offences.

Crown Prosecution Service lawyers assessed the images as Level C, meaning they showed sexual activity between adults and children.

This is the man who, as deputy head of 10 Downing Street’s policy unit, had been working on policies that are allegedly intended to make it harder to find images of child abuse on the Internet.

He was arrested on February 13, only hours after resigning his position with the government. Coincidence?

Nothing was mentioned in the press at the time, but days later the Daily Mail started stirring up historical allegations against Labour’s Harriet Harman, Jack Dromey and Patricia Hewitt. Coincidence?

It seems suspicions were raised in the Labour Party, because shadow minister Jon Ashworth asked, in the public interest:

  • When were 10 Downing Street and David Cameron first made aware that Mr Rock may have been involved in an offence?
  • How much time passed until Mr Rock was questioned about the matter and the police alerted?
  • What contact have officials had with Mr Rock since his resignation?
  • What was Mr Rock’s level of security clearance?

And, most importantly:

  • Why were details of Mr Rock’s resignation not made public immediately?

Cabinet Secretary Sir Jeremy Heywood stonewalled: “Our … actions were driven by the overriding importance of not jeopardising either [the National Crime Agency’s] investigation or the possibility of a prosecution.”

He said: “We judged it was inappropriate to make an announcement while the NCA investigations were continuing.”

David Cameron has declined to comment on the latest development, saying it is a matter for the courts.

He’s changed his tune, hasn’t he?

When Andy Coulson was still facing charges in the phone hacking trial, Cameron couldn’t wait to get on television and make a statement, and never mind whether it was in contempt of court.

All in all, it seems we are facing yet another cover-up bid by this “most open government ever”.

Let us not forget that this happened in the same week that Iain Duncan Smith lost his legal appeal to keep problems with Universal Credit veiled in secrecy.

The DWP had insisted publication of the papers, warning of the dangers likely to be caused by Universal Credit, would have a “chilling effect” on the DWP’s working – a standard defence (see Andrew Lansley’s successful bid to prevent publication of the risk register, detailing problems with his calamitous Health and Social Care Act) that was thrown out by Judge Wikeley in a trice.

The DWP then argued that the order to publish was perverse – that the tribunal responsible had reached a decision which no reasonable tribunal would have reached. Judge Wikeley found that the challenge “does not get near clearing this high hurdle”.

Finally – and most desperately – the DWP tried to argue that the tribunal had not given due weight to the expertise of a DWP witness. Judge Wikeley had to point out that, by law, he cannot substitute his own view of the facts for that taken by the original tribunal.

The DWP was then sent away to consider whether to lodge another appeal.

That’s at least three attempts to hide facts from the public in a single week (it is arguable that Cameron spoke up about Coulson in order to cause a mistrial and prevent him from being convicted of two charges; he cannot say he was unaware of what he was doing, because he has already been rebuked by another judge, earlier this year, for commenting on the trial of Nigella Lawson’s former assistants. In addition, wasn’t it suspicious that Coulson’s defence team immediately leapt up to call for a mistrial ruling, based on the “maelstrom of commentary” Cameron stirred up?) from – as previously mentioned, this “most open government ever”.

There may be more that haven’t become public knowledge.

Does David Cameron really think the public will put their trust in him, with a record like that?

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Cameron: As influential on the world stage as a packet of wet wipes

camerondoh2

It can’t be much fun for David Cameron. There he is, sitting in 10 Downing Street, counting down the days until the end of his Parliamentary term while the police file in and out to arrest his advisors.

(Don’t forget they nabbed Andy Coulson before Patrick Rock, folks!)

Now he can’t even big himself up with a self-congratulatory picture tweet without some upstart, infinitely-more-respected actor fellow sending him up instead.

Determined to boost his profile by claiming to be buddies with Barack (Obama), Cameron tweeted the following:

"I've been speaking to @BarackObama about the situation in Ukraine. We are united in condemnation of Russia's actions."

“I’ve been speaking to @BarackObama about the situation in Ukraine. We are united in condemnation of Russia’s actions.”

This is the response he got, first from comedian Rob Delaney:

"Hi guys, I'm on the line now too. Get me up to speed."

“Hi guys, I’m on the line now too. Get me up to speed.”

… and then from acting legend Sir Patrick Stewart:

"I'm now patched in as well. Sorry for the delay."

“I’m now patched in as well. Sorry for the delay.”

What can we surmise from this? That listening to David Cameron is akin to squeezing a tube of toothpaste into your ear? That Britain’s comedy Prime Minister is as effective a statesman as a packet of Wet Ones? What a sad day for him if this appears to be the case!

This appears to be the case.

What followed can only be described as a deluge:

140306dogphone

"Ok, guys, thanks for holding. "

“Ok, guys, thanks for holding. “

"Hi David, where are you calling from?"

“Hi David, where are you calling from?”

Here’s one from ‘Bubba’ (@bobwiggin), highlighting the effectiveness of Cameron’s sanctions against foreign countries:

140306bubbaphone

This is from Vox Political reader Ian Davies:

140306iandaviesphone

What did Mr Obama think of all this?

"David who?"

“David who?”

Sadly, there’s one image we’d all like to see, but it has yet to surface. Here’s how it might appear:

"Hello - Cam? You're a bleedin' liability, cobber. I'm off back to XXXX, where they KNOW how to stitch up an election!"

“Hello – Cam? You’re a bleedin’ liability, cobber. I’m off back to XXXX, where they KNOW how to stitch up an election!”

We live in hope.

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Labour demands clarity over the Patrick Rock allegations

A Rock in a hard place: Patrick Rock, formerly a senior civil servant and policy advisor, who now faces allegations that he possessed indecent images of child abuse.

A Rock in a hard place: Patrick Rock, formerly a senior civil servant and policy advisor, who now faces allegations that he possessed indecent images of child abuse.

Credit where it’s due: Whatever you think of the Labour Party, its leaders deserve praise for asking the right questions about the Patrick Rock affair.

Mr Rock was arrested on February 13, suspected of possessing child abuse imagery – shortly after he resigned his position working on policies that we all thought were intended to make it harder to find such images on the Internet.

Details of his resignation and arrest were not released to the public, but the media sprang into action and in a matter of days, the Daily Mail ran a major story accusing three leading members of the Labour Party of sympathising with paedophile groups.

It was only after this story had run its course that the major news media made the public aware of Mr Rock’s arrest – and Vox Political was not the only blog that voiced suspicions about the sequence of events.

It seems somebody at Labour was paying attention. Shadow minister Jon Ashworth has asked, in the public interest:

  • When were 10 Downing Street and David Cameron first made aware that Mr Rock may have been involved in an offence?
  • How much time passed until Mr Rock was questioned about the matter and the police alerted?
  • What contact have officials had with Mr Rock since his resignation?
  • What was Mr Rock’s level of security clearance?

And, most importantly:

  • Why were details of Mr Rock’s resignation not made public immediately?

The last question should also refer to Mr Rock’s arrest – but it could be suggested that this is implicit as the details would include the reason for the resignation.

Mr Ashworth’s letter was sent to Cabinet Secretary Sir Jeremy Heywood. He is Britain’s top civil servant and not a Tory politician; as such he is duty-bound to provide answers that serve the interests of the nation, rather than the Conservative Party.

He’d better get it right, too – as this story unfolds and more information is revealed, we will be able to judge the validity of Mr Heywood’s response.

It would be unfortunate for his career if it became clear at a later time that he had tried to protect anybody. Closing ranks to look after your own people is a human response – but inappropriate at high levels of government.

When senior government advisors come under suspicion, it is right that everyone connected with them should be investigated as well.

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Child abuse imagery arrest raises questions about newspaper timing

Spot the difference: One of these has been harassed by a newspaper over alleged sympathy towards a child abuse group; the other has been arrested on suspicion of possessing images of such abuse. Can you tell which is which, or has the newspaper done a good job of muddling the issue?

Spot the difference: One of these has been harassed by a newspaper over alleged sympathy towards a child abuse group; the other has been arrested on suspicion of possessing images of such abuse. Can you tell which is which, or has the newspaper done a good job of muddling the issue?

Today’s (March 4) papers and Internet news sites will be full of the arrest of Patrick Rock, until recently an aide of David Cameron (and a former protege of Margaret Thatcher) on suspicion of possessing child abuse imagery.

The BBC News article is one of a deluge covering the story of the 62-year-old former deputy head of 10 Downing Street’s policy unit – who had been working on policies that are allegedly intended to make it harder to find images of child abuse on the Internet.

The arrest took place on February 13, a few hours after Mr Rock resigned his position with the government.

Nothing was mentioned in the press at the time – but isn’t it interesting that the Daily Mail started stirring up old allegations against Harriet Harman, Jack Dromey and Patricia Hewitt – about the Paedophile Information Exchange’s involvement with the National Council for Civil Liberties, while they were members – only days later?

While it is important to stress that Mr Rock has not been found guilty of any crime and must therefore be considered innocent until such time as this happens, it is appropriate to ask whether the Tory-supporting Mail used the old story about Labour’s deputy leader and her colleagues to divert attention away from the arrest – which is a far more serious issue.

Comedy genius Rowan Atkinson used to do a sketch in which he would ask a sidekick, “What is the secret of great comedy?”

As the sidekick started to respond, “I don’t know, what is the s-“, Atkinson would interrupt: “Timing.” The premature punchline used to get a big laugh.

In contrast, the Daily Mail‘s timing isn’t funny at all.

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