Tag Archives: Lord McAlpine

Child abuse – the real scandal is the cover-up

What are you supposed to think when a man who reportedly engaged in extra-marital toe-sucking antics, among other activities allegedly involving a Chelsea football kit, calls a child sexual abuse victim a “weirdo” on live TV?

What we’re seeing is utterly vile.

It’s the Establishment (such as it is) scrambling to salvage its reputation by smearing everyone around it.

We all know that the BBC’s Newsnight programme ran a report on Steve Messham’s allegations that he was abused as a child, by a person who was not named on television.

Speculation began on Twitter about the identity of that person (we all now know that he was wrongly identified as Lord McAlpine, the former Conservative Party Treasurer).

When David Cameron appeared on ITV’s This Morning show, presenter Philip Schofield handed him a list of names mentioned in the online speculation – members of the Conservative Party – and asked if the Prime Minister was going to discuss the matter with them.

The very next day, Mr Messham apologised to Lord McAlpine, saying that he had now been shown a photograph of that gentleman and he was not the man whose picture he had been shown by a police officer in the 1990s. It had been the police officer’s claim that that photograph was of Lord McAlpine that had led him to make his accusation.

To me, that seemed a conspicuous coincidence. The PM gets a list – and remember, this had been going on for some time up until then – and the very next day, any possibility of an allegation against the man who had – until then- been the most popular suspect is retracted. We can only hope that there was no foul play and this development is exactly what it seems to be.

It is strange that nobody at Newsnight had done that – showed Mr Messham a picture of Lord McAlpine. It should be admitted that the Newsnight report named nobody, but better safe than sorry (as the saying goes).

What’s stranger is that Mr Messham was shown a picture of his abuser and given the wrong name. I questioned this in an earlier article, and also asked why nobody in the mass news media had done likewise.

Well, now we know. An all-out attack on Mr Messham appeared in today’s Mail, stating that he was branded an unreliable witness, assaulted a lawyer at an inquiry, triggered a £400,000 libel payout after making a previous false sex abuse allegation, and was tried for fraud. “Even his lawyer says he may have invented stories”, the report trumpeted.

It was co-written by somebody calling him- (or her-) self ‘David Rose’. Now, here’s where it gets interesting. It seems David Rose was once a pseudonym for the journalist Johann Hari, who used the name to make “malicious edits of several of his critics’ Wikipedia pages” (according to Wikipedia itself) an allegation he later admitted in an Independent article.

“In a few instances, I edited the entries of people I had clashed with in ways that were juvenile or malicious: I called one of them anti-Semitic and homophobic, and the other a drunk,” he wrote.

Now, I’m not saying the ‘David Rose’ in the Mail is Johann Hari using his pseudonym, but I am saying it is interesting that the writer has chosen a name that is associated with fabricated smear pieces. It leads inquiring minds to question the authenticity of what we’re seeing.

Finally – the crowning travesty, if you will – we were presented with David Mellor (a man whose own questionable – in a different way – sexual history is well-documented) on today’s Sunday Politics, using the Mail smear piece to justify calling Mr Messham a “weirdo”.

He said: “They rely on a man who, you know, the Mail on Sunday reveals over two pages, that this man is a weirdo.”

Mr Mellor himself has a chequered history with the popular press. Besides the toe-sucking, Chelsea kit-wearing dodginess, he had called for curbs on press freedom in 1992, claiming that the popular press “is drinking in the last-chance saloon”. He must be delighted to be involved in this.

Job done. Messham discredited. Newsnight discredited. No need to investigate the possibility of paedophiles in the Conservative Party.

And what will be the long-term result? Paedophile victims will be even more afraid to come forward than they were before. Therefore abuses will continue. They may even become worse.

There are several online ‘memes’ that mock the Conservative Party by calling them “SelfServatives”. In what has happened over the last week, the Conservative Party has proved its critics correct. In covering its own collective rear – no matter what it took – it has ensured a victory for paedophiles across the UK and a crushing defeat for victims of this hideous sex crime.

All those involved in this little damage control exercise, from Mr Cameron, to ‘David Rose’, to David Mellor, and whoever else was enlisted to help out, should be ashamed of themselves – both for what they have done and the cack-handed way in which they have done it.

They have proved yet again that they are, in the words of Aneurin Bevan, “lower than vermin”.

Why did police mislead victim over identity of his abuser?

This is NOT the man who abused Steve Messham when the victim was a child. But if he wasn’t, why did a police officer tell Mr Messham he was?

It’s well-documented by now that abuse victim Steve Messham has apologised to former Conservative Party Treasurer Lord McAlpine after he realised that his claim about the identity of the man who abused him when he was a child were inaccurate.

It seems he was shown a photograph of his alleged abuser by police, back in the 1990s, and was told it was Lord McAlpine. This was not the case, as he discovered on Friday when he was shown another photo and realised his mistake.

This has led to a backlash against the BBC’s Newsnight programme, which covered Mr Messham’s allegations. Newsnight did not mention Lord McAlpine’s name; that came out via other means, but still the programme has come under attack.

Everybody seems to be going to great lengths to avoid some obvious questions:

Who was the man in the photograph shown to Mr Messham in the 1990s?

Who was the police officer who showed it to him?

And why did they lie to Mr Messham about the identity of the person in the photograph?

I also find it very disturbing that this vindication of the Conservative lord comes so soon after the incident on This Morning, when presenter Philip Schofield handed a list of alleged Conservative Party paedophiles to David Cameron. It looks like a hasty attempt by the Party at a whitewash: “Oh no, we don’t have paedophiles in our organisation. Look – the allegation against Lord McAlpine was wrong.” And the implication: “No, we’re not going to look any further into this.”

Disturbing.

What does the man from Del Monte say about this?

He’d probably say that handling stolen goods is a crime for which the penalty is 14 years’ imprisonment.

The Conservative Party here in the UK is continuing the tradition of financial double-standards for which it is becoming – justly – infamous, by refusing to hand back an alleged £440,000 of stolen money that was donated by convicted tycoon Asil Nadir in the 1990s.

The 71-year-old businessman was formerly head of Polly Peck International, a company that at one time owned the Del Monte fruit juice company whose most famous campaign featured the line “The man from Del Monte, he say ‘yes’!” (that’s the connection with our headline).

Polly Peck expanded rapidly in the 1980s to become an FTSE 100 company, but collapsed even more rapidly in 1990, leaving £1.3 billion worth of debts.

Asil Nadir fled the country in 1993, to escape 70 criminal charges of false accounting and the theft of £29 million from Polly Peck. He returned to fight his case in court during 2010 but was found guilty and sentenced to 10 years’ imprisonment on August 23.

The connection with the Conservative Party is that, between 1985 and 1990, Asil Nadir donated hundreds of thousands of pounds to Tory funds. The Conservatives have refused to hand it back, insisting that it was received in good faith from a legitimate business.

The problem with that, for the Tories, is we now know enough to believe that it wasn’t.

The Labour Party has called for the money to be returned, and that call has been supported by Lord McAlpine, who was Conservative Party treasurer when the donations were made. He described the money as “tainted”.

A BBC report quoted him as follows: “The money was not Asil Nadir’s to give, although we thought it was at the time.

“Therefore the Tory party has a duty to return it. It will speak volumes about the character of the modern Tory party if they don’t do the right thing.”

Former Tory chairman Norman Fowler made it clear in 2010 that “we will return the money if it was stolen”.

But now the Conservative Party is trying to weasel out of handing back the cash, saying it never received personal donations from Nadir, and has no evidence that the money received via his business interests was stolen.

I don’t think that matters.

The man who was treasurer at the time, and therefore took delivery of the cash, clearly does believe the donation was unlawful.

The Theft Act 1968, section 22, states that a person is guilty of handling stolen goods if, believing them to be stolen, he dishonestly undertakes or assists in their retention, removal or disposal, by or for the benefit of another person, or if he arranges to do so. Penalty: 14 years’ imprisonment on indictment.

Reference to stolen goods includes goods which have been stolen by theft, blackmail or deception. It includes goods, whether in their original state or not, and other goods which represent the stolen goods in the hands of the handler.

Considering the evidence, I reckon we only need to see one of the 17,000+ people, who was formerly employed by Polly Peck or one of its subsidiaries, come forward and make a complaint to the police that the Conservative Party has received stolen goods in the form of this money, and the leaders of the ruling party in the British government will be facing the prospect of 14 years in jail.

Would anybody like to come forward and lay charges?