Tag Archives: Newsnight

Corbyn’s TV popularity terrifies Tories

Outspoken: Jeremy Corbyn addresses the audience in Nuneaton, during Labour's first televised leadership hustings.

Outspoken: Jeremy Corbyn addresses the audience in Nuneaton, during Labour’s first televised leadership hustings.

Read between the lines of the Telegraph‘s article and you can see that Conservatives are terrified of Jeremy Corbyn’s popularity.

Corbyn was an instant hit with voters during the Newsnight-hosted televised leadership hustings in Nuneaton, and his policies were more popular than anything suggested by his colleagues on the Labour leadership ballot paper.

So the Torygraph strapline suggests that this has stoked the “fears of centrist Labour MPs and aides”.

Reporter Ben Riley-Smith described his as “far left” and a “veteran socialist” in an attempt to pigeonhole him as something undesirable, and added that the audience’s reaction “appeared to confirm fears of senior party figures who warned Mr Corbyn’s inclusion would encourage Labour to move Left rather than returning to the centre ground after its heaviest defeat to the Tories in a generation”.

These are symptoms of Tory fears. And what exactly does Riley-Smith mean when he mentions “returning to the centre ground”?

This Blog has mentioned the Overton Window before. It’s a concept intended to describe what is politically possible at any particular time. Owen Jones, in his book The Establishment states: “This ‘window’ is relentlessly policed. So, when Ed Miliband proposes a temporary energy price freeze – a welcome, albeit pretty unremarkable policy – it is portrayed by media and right-wing politicians as crypto-Marxism, even though most voters support a far more radical option: renationalising the energy industry lock, stock and barrel.

“Policing the ‘window’ helps ensure that neo-liberal ideas generally favoured by the Establishment are deemed moderate and commonsense; anything that even slightly deviates is written off as beyond the pale.”

Ben Riley-Smith and the Torygraph are trying to police the Overton Window with this article. The Overton Window, in the UK, currently allows for the presentation of political views that only a few decades ago would have been considered right-wing or far-right. The centre ground would represent a significant move to the political left.

So when the Islington North MP declared he would “never consider myself part of New Labour”, he was in fact saying he wanted Labour to move back from the right-wing to the centre ground.

When he criticised Tony Blair for “the promotion of markets rather than the planned economy”, he was in fact saying he wanted Labour to move back from the right-wing to the centre ground.

When he dismissed the need for deficit reduction and called for a “more radical” economic policy than the SNP – which ran on a fake “anti-austerity” ticket at the election that would have cut more spending than Labour – he was in fact saying he wanted Labour to move back from the right-wing to the centre ground.

And even Mr Riley-Smith could not obscure the fact that Mr Corbyn received “the most positive responses from the Nuneaton crowd as he repeatedly called for policies to the Left of Ed Miliband’s election-losing manifesto”.

In essence, he proved that the public wants more left-wing policies, that the Overton Window is out of line with the British people and that Corbyn has his finger on the UK’s pulse.

The claim that “the positive reaction he got from the audience will increase fears among some shadow ministers and MPs that his presence in the race will distract the party from returning to polices that can win the 2020 general election” is merely indicative of Tory terror that someone has arisen who actually wants to promote good government.

In contradiction of the Torygraph, Corbyn has shown that his policies are exactly what Labour needs if it is to win any elections in the future.

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Tories run from welfare debate after Cameron’s Marr Show disaster

Tonight’s edition of the BBC’s Newsnight did not feature Conservative or Labour Parliamentary candidates in a debate on welfare – because the Conservative Party pulled out at the last minute, according to a tweet from Labour’s shadow Work and Pensions secretary, Rachel Reeves.

Fellow tweeter Anita Bellows immediately asked: “What have they got to hide?” including this image as an attachment:


The reference is obvious – David Clapson is the benefit claimant whose case was raised by Andrew Marr in his interview with David Cameron on Sunday.

Cameron’s responses indicate that he seems to think it was right for Mr Clapson to die as punishment for missing a single Job Centre appointment (for reasons that have not been disclosed). He refused to accept that the system should be reviewed.

The interview caused outrage among members of the public and now we can see the Conservatives’ reaction.

Like all bullies, they like to torture the weak. When public opinion rises up against them and they have a choice between “fight” and “flight”, they run like rabbits.

Here’s why:


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Is the Coalition progressive or are the spin doctors out again?

Spin doctor? Gove is more like a washing machine on 'slow rinse'.

Spin doctor? Gove is more like a washing machine on ‘slow rinse’.

“In these days it is hard to differentiate between reality and the work of spin doctors, and no more so evident in these days with 6 months to go before we go to the polls to elect a new government,” according to a blog new to Vox Political called Through a Carer’s Eyes.

“Especially evident is the fact that a spin doctor or Public Relations Specialist is in residence at 10 Downing Street as Prime Minister.

“A spin doctor is defined as: ‘a spokesperson employed to give a favorable interpretation of events to the media, esp. on behalf of a political party.’ It doesn’t say truthful interpretation.”

Absolutely correct, but it isn’t just Cameron putting a spin on events. Here’s – of all people – Michael Gove!

On the BBC’s Newsnight yesterday, Gove asked viewers to believe that the Conservative Party hadn’t spent the previous week saying it was pulling out all the stops to achieve victory against former Tory – now UKIP – MP Mark Reckless; instead he told us the prediction had been a 15 per cent lead for UKIP that he wanted us to think the Tories had prevented.

Bravo, Michael. You must believe you are single-handedly changing reality. And why not? In his mind, he single-handedly changed the facts about World War One a few months ago; many people believe he has ambitions to be the next Tory leader and single-handedly turn the clock back 90 years.

As we’ve mentioned the office of the prime minister, let’s see what Gove had to say about the incumbent, David Cameron: “People are all-too-well aware of the difference between a prime minister who has led this country through tough times and whose stature has been augmented during that period, and a leader of the Opposition who, during his tenure, has actually… you know… found the public moving away from him, just at the point when he should be rallying their support.”

Seriously? David Cameron? The most useless excuse for a national leader since Neville Chamberlain? The man whose standing amongst other national leaders, as evidenced by his performance at international summits, would have been improved if he had stayed at home? The man whose ‘reforms’ have corrupted Parliament to make it legal for money to be taken away from the poorest and given to rich businesspeople instead, so that they will donate some of that cash to the Conservative Party? The man who is such a weak leader he cannot even sack his worst-performing minister, Iain Duncan Smith?

If he had the stature of a gnome to start with, then now he has the stature of a dung beetle.

Here’s the icing on the cake. According to Gove: “I think that this government has been, er… one of the most, er… successfully progressive governments in our lifetime.”

He was referring to the legalisation of gay marriage (for example), but that doesn’t make the Coalition progressive. It means Tory leaders have realised that throwing a bone or two at the masses will make them think they are achieving real societal gain, while all it is really doing is hiding the massive destruction of our society’s structure that has been taking place alongside it.

In fact, this has been the most REgressive government Britons have had to suffer for the last century, at least.

How sad for Gove that the British people are far too perceptive to accept these absurd claims. This evening (Saturday, November 22) for example, his opponents will take to Twitter with infographics and comments explaining why they say #CameronMustGo.

Vox Political has several such tweets planned. If you want to see them, you’ll have to be on Twitter from 6pm – that’s 1800 GMT.

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Tories’ ‘Benefit Street’ event ‘encapsulates all that is wrong’ about the social security debate



No benefit: After Middlesbrough FC supporters heard the new series of Benefits Street was to be filmed on Teesside, they flew banners attacking the decision at the club’s next match. That’s how popular the series’ approach to benefit recipients has been with the public.

This is utterly perverse. The Conservative Party conference is to play host to a ‘debate’ (we won’t dignify it with any acceptance that it really is one until after it has happened) on social security that is more likely to be a piece of theatre intended to lay blame on the vulnerable.

According to Ekklesia, a debate titled ‘Benefits Street: What more needs to be done to help people into work?’ will feature Mark Hoban MP, the former Minister of State for Employment, Steve Hughes, Head of Economic and Social Policy at Policy Exchange, and Deirdre Kelly, described on the event’s promotional material as ‘Deirdre Kelly, (White Dee) Television Personality, Benefits Street.’

The ‘debate’ will be chaired by Allegra Stratton, political editor of Newsnight, so her card is now well and truly marked. Those of you who are still burdened by the belief that the BBC is a hive of socialism, take note.

There are so many ways this can go badly wrong – especially from a moral standpoint. Let’s look at what Ekklesia’s Bernadette Meaden has to say about it:

“First, the title of the debate. It seems based on the now very tired assumption that the unemployment rate is not actually a function of the economy, beyond the control of individuals, but the fault of unemployed people. If this is not the assumption, why not call the debate, ‘How can we create more jobs?’ And why make the association with Benefits Street, a programme notorious for stigmatising people on benefits and unleashing a stream of hostility towards the people who took part?

“Secondly, the composition of the panel. Mark Hoban was Employment Minister in 2012 when a more punitive sanctions regime was introduced for unemployed people. At the time he promised a “rude awakening” for claimants, and wrote, “I make no apology for this. I am clear that for too long some people have taken benefits for granted as a way of life rather than as a safety net.”

“Another thing Mr. Hoban did not make any apologies for was the contribution of hardworking taxpayers to his own way of life. After introducing a sanctions regime which has been blamed for causing soaring demand for foodbanks and payday loans, Mr. Hoban was allowed to keep just under £133,000 profit he made when he sold his taxpayer-funded second home.

“By my calculations that amounts to thirty five years worth of Jobseekers Allowance, on top of his considerable salary. And yet, on this panel, Mr. Hoban will presumably be the guardian of the public purse which funds the ‘lifestyles’of benefit claimants. It is unlikely that he will be under scrutiny for the considerable benefits he has received from the taxpayer.

Steve Hughes of Policy Exchange has an economics degree and previously worked at the Bank of England, the British Chambers of Commerce, and in Parliament. Policy Exchange has made many proposals to cut the social security budget, including lowering the benefit cap outside London and the South East, capping child benefit at four children, and a ‘smarter’ sanctions regime. Policy Exchange has contributed to an approach which is tough on benefits claimants, not tough on the causes of benefit claims.

“The third member of the panel, Deirdre Kelly, became a ‘TV Personality’ when she featured in the documentary series ‘Benefits Street’. Ms Kelly, a single mother of two, was employed until five years ago. Post-natal depression and bereavement have contributed to her mental health problems, and it has been reported that she is under the care of a mental health team. She can be outspoken, and her agent (who presumably gets a percentage of any fees she earns) says, ‘In classic Dee style, she said she won’t think about what she wants to say until the actual debate. She shoots from the hip, Dee, and that’s what everyone likes about her. This will be a great way for her to get her ideas out – and hopefully she will get to go for a drink with David Cameron.’

“To me, this panel seems disturbingly unbalanced, and perhaps designed to attract publicity. To have the voice of a working class person who has actual experience of the benefits system heard in such a forum is welcome and long overdue. But to engage in a public debate with an experienced politician and an economics expert would be a daunting prospect for anybody. With two of the panel instrumental in social security cuts and stricter conditionality, is it left to the non-professional to defend the unemployed, sick and disabled, who suffer when such policies are implemented?

“For balance, would it not have been fairer to include another panel member, who could counter the well-honed views of the ex-Minister and the professional researcher? Or perhaps Ms Kelly agrees with the two other members of the panel, in which case it won’t be much of a debate.

“Of course, it is the job of the person chairing the debate to ensure that everybody gets a fair hearing. The person chosen to fill this role does not inspire confidence. In 2012, around the same time as Mr Hoban was introducing tougher sanctions, Ms Stratton conducted an interview with Shanene Thorpe, a young single mother from Tower Hamlets. She quite aggressively questioned Ms. Thorpe why she was living in her own flat, claiming Housing Benefit, when she could be living at home with her mother. After the interview, Ms. Stratton spoke directly to camera, saying, “The government is thinking of saying to young people: if you don’t have work, don’t leave home.”

“The clear implication was that Ms Thorpe was unemployed and living off benefits as a lifestyle choice. She was actually working full time, and had been in work or work-related training since she was sixteen, but this inconvenient truth was edited from the interview. After Ms Thorpe complained that she had been misrepresented and humiliated, Newsnight eventually issued a public apology. So, as a Chair for a ‘Benefits Street’ debate, Ms. Stratton does not inspire confidence.

“In conclusion, let’s imagine the tables were turned. Would an MP who had received the equivalent of 35 years of Jobseekers Allowance, thanks to a public subsidy and a rising property market, agree to a public debate on MPs expenses with, for example, two people on benefits, chaired by a member of the Occupy movement?

“It is impossible to imagine such an event taking place, or even imagine anyone proposing such an event; and that speaks volumes about the way the whole welfare debate has been framed for the last four years.”

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BBC’s Tricky Nick Robinson’s Misreporting of Alex Salmond on Scottish Independence – Beastrabban\’s weblog

Let’s keep up the pressure on the BBC’s Tory Reporter – sorry, that’s Political Editor – Nick Robinson and his misreporting of Alex Salmond. Here’s Beastrabban on the subject:

The debates over Scottish independence, leading up to the referendum last Thursday, threw the BBC’s pro-government bias into sharp relief. The Corporation’s reporter, Nick Robinson, selectively edited and then completely falsified his report on a question he asked Scotland’s then-First Minister about the possible damage independence might have to the nation’s finances.

As you might expect, Scottish Nationalists are massively unimpressed with this blatant falsification by the BBC, and there are several videos about it on Youtube. Here are some I found that make the case particularly well.

This video, The BBC Is Killing Democracy, gives footage of what really happened when Robinson asked his question. It then gives Robinson’s own highly selective report, pointing out how it has been altered and edited to present the answer Robinson wanted, rather than the one he got. It then moves on to Robinson’s final report, where he lies and states that Salmond didn’t answer the question. It then concludes with a brief resume of Robinson’s and Salmond’s careers, pointing out that Robinson was first head of the Young Conservatives in Macclesfield, and then national head of the organisation.

There were protests against the BBC’s biased reporting of the independence campaign outside the BBC’s headquarters in Scotland on the 1st and 29th June 2014. This video below, Protest Against BBC Scotland Referendum Bias shows pro-independence Scots discussing the Beeb’s bias, and their disillusionment with the Corporation.


One of the women speaking is actually an English person living in Scotland. She states that she is voting for independence for Scotland because she is worried about the Westminster establishment’s destruction of the NHS and tuition fees. She states her daughter will not be able to afford to go to uni, and the only people that will, will be the elite.

Robinson’s deliberate falsification of Salmond’s answer is important far beyond the immediate debate about Scots independence. Regardless of one’s personal opinion of that particular issue, it should concern everyone worried about the Beeb’s pro-establishment bias. It’s clear and undeniable evidence that the Corporation has blatantly lied in order to serve the interests of the Tory Westminster elite. It also shows how Tricky Nick Robinson really is little more than a Corporation apparatchik spouting propaganda, and that the BBC is now well and truly the establishment’s equivalent of Pravda and TASS, the state news agency in the Soviet Union or the various state-controlled newspapers and broadcasters in Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy.

There’s more video in the Beast’s article.

Notice that the Beast singles out the Tory Westminster elite. The Tories were pulling out all the stops to make sure they could salvage something from the referendum, if only by fouling the reputation of the BBC, which they hate.

In this context, it is also easy to believe they tried to foul Labour’s good name north of the border by putting Labour representatives up as the faces of the ‘No’ campaign and then stabbing them in the back. For example, fears voiced by the ‘No’ campaign on pensions were torpedoed by the Coalition government – an organisation which was not only supposed to be part of the ‘No’ camp but should also have been, reasonably, expected to provide correct information to that group’s other representatives on any particular subject.

What a stitch-up.

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Autumn reshuffles – will Britain get the political players it needs?

Rearranging the pack: Both the government and its opposition are having a reshuffle today - but will we get aces, or just another set of jokers?

Rearranging the pack: Both the government and its opposition are having a reshuffle today – but will we get aces, or just another set of jokers?

Today’s the day – doomsday for some, and a new dawn for others. Both the Coalition and Labour are reshuffling their top teams.

We already know some of the names that have stepped down. On the government side, Michael Moore has been sacked as Scottish Secretary, to make way for fellow Liberal Democrat Alistair Carmichael. Apparently Mr Carmichael, referring to the upcoming referendum on Scotland seceding from the Union, has said he is “up for it”.

At least nobody tried to put a Tory in, to represent a country where that party has no MPs at all. It may seem beyond the realm of possibility but with the Government of Idiots (and I refer to the term in its classical sense) it would not be surprising.

Deputy Chief Whip John Randall and Cabinet Office Minister Chloe Smith (who was humiliated on the BBC’s Newsnight last year when, as Exchequer Secretary, she struggled to answer questions about the government’s decision to defer a rise in fuel duty. It seems she had been promoted because David Cameron mistakenly believed she was a trained accountant. This does not bode well for today’s decisions) have both stepped down.

The BBC reported that Ms Smith’s resignation letter stated she had been “only 27” when she became an MP and now wanted to “develop other ways of giving public service” – indicating possible disillusionment with the Coalition government and the way it conducts itself.

Transport Minister Simon Burns has also stepped down – but this is to run for the position of Deputy Speaker, which was left vacant by Nigel Evans after he stepped down to fight criminal charges for sexual assault.

All the pundits are saying the government reshuffle will concentrate on mid-level ministers, with every Cabinet-level Tory secure in their position. What a shame.

Meanwhile, over at Labour, the situation is not so clear. Ed Miliband’s decisions have been unrestricted, and speculation has ranged from whether he will increase Shadow Cabinet representative for women, bring back members of Labour’s old guard (unlikely – he would face criticism along predictable lines from the Tories and besides, this seems to be about bringing in new, more attractive faces), promote people who are loyal to him or (my preference) have a Shadow Cabinet Of All Talents – including critics who happen to be very good at their jobs.

Abraham Lincoln had a Cabinet Of All Talents, if I recall correctly. Some consider this to be part of what made him great.

One person who won’t be a part of Labour’s team is former Minister (and then Shadow Minister) for the Disabled, Anne McGuire. who quit last week after five years in the job.

The Stirling MP was praised by disability campaigners such as Sue Marsh who, in an email, described her as “the one true ally we had on Labour’s front bench”.

And blogger Sue Jones wrote: “Anne will always be remembered by our community for her very articulate attacks on the media’s [mis]representation of disabled people and on the Government’s welfare reforms, in parliamentary debate. I remember her account of private debate, too, on the same topic with Iain Duncan Smith, and such was her ferocity and anger at the profound unfairness of the media’s sustained persecution of sick and disabled people, fanned by Iain Duncan Smith, as we know, that she pinned him against a wall on one occasion.”

But the former Shadow Minister, who is herself disabled, ran into controversy when she agreed to host a fringe meeting at this year’s Labour Party Conference, organised by the right-wing thinktank Reform, and sponsored by the Association of British Insurers.

Entitled ‘New thinking on the welfare state’, the event seems to have been a front for insurance companies to try to influence Labour’s thinking on social security in the future. Similar events were arranged by Reform and staged at both the Liberal Democrat and Conservative conferences.

Discussions at the private, round-table policy seminar seem to have centred on ways in which insurance companies could become more involved with social security – what products they could sell to working-class people who fear the loss of income that follows loss of employment.

This is exactly the scenario that the American Unum corporation wanted to create when it was invited into the then-Department of Social Security by Peter Lilley – a weakened state system that either cannot or will not support people in genuine need, particularly the sick and disabled, forcing them to buy insurance policies in the hope that these will top-up their income.

Anne McGuire denied this was the intent of the exercise but it is significant that neoliberal New Labour did nothing to prevent the advance of this agenda during its years in power, including the period she spent as Minister for the Disabled.

People who have suffered under the current benefit regime are demanding – ever more stridently – that Labour should mount a strong attack on the practices of the Department for Work and Pensions, as run by Iain Duncan Smith and his cronies, Mark Hoban and Esther McVey.

Part of this demand is that private organisations such as Unum and Atos, which administers work capability assessments, should be kicked out, and a new, fairer system of determining disability benefits based on a claimant’s medical condition and needs, rather than the greed of private enterprise, should be brought in.

There has been no hope of this with plastic Tory Liam Byrne as Shadow Work and Pensions spokesman, but rumour has it he could be shunted out and replaced by Rachel Reeves. Is this a good move?

The omens are not wonderful. She is yet another alumnus of the Politics, Philosophy and Economics course at Oxford (another notable example of that course’s graduates is David Cameron). Her background is in business. She once interviewed for a job with tax avoiders Goldman Sachs (but turned down the job offer) and has been named by The Guardian as one of several MPs who use unpaid interns.

Nobody’s fooled – but for Tories, the child abuse cover-up may still succeed

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.

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.”