Tag Archives: Philip Schofield

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.

Why is David Cameron tarring gay people with the same brush as paedophiles?

Controversial: Philip Schofield prepares to hand his list of alleged Tory paedophiles to David Cameron on today’s This Morning, watched by co-presenter Holly Willoughby. Concerns over whether he should have done it are totally outweighed by the Prime Minister’s inappropriate reference to “gay people”.

It’s what they say when they’re caught off-guard that really defines a politician.

Today, comedy Prime Minister David Cameron was caught off-guard by Philip Schofield (of all people) – and the result was not funny at all. In a This Morning interview, Schofe handed over a piece of paper with three names on it, of Conservatives accused of being involved in child abuse.

The presenter said there were many allegations online about people who might have carried out abuse, and he had been able to find the names on the list after searching for about three minutes. He said they were people Mr Cameron knew, and asked if the PM would be talking to them.

Cameron’s response: “There is a danger that this could turn into a sort of witch-hunt, particularly against people who are gay.”

Gay? What, gay in general? Everyone else is talking about paedophiles, David; why did you just broaden it into a debate about homosexuality?

We don’t want to know about your prejudices, David. Paedophiles do not have to be, by definition, gay.

If a responsible adult wants to engage in a same-sex relationship with another consenting adult, that is none of my business, nor yours, nor the State’s.

It is a world away from what is under discussion. Paedophilia is the action of an irresponsible adult, engaging in an inappropriate physical relationship with a minor – of either sex – who is therefore legally unable to give consent to it. That is our business, and I suggest you concentrate on it, starting with the allegations against the members of your party.

Mr Cameron went on with a personal warning to Schofe: “I’m worred about the sort of thing you are doing right now – giving me a list of names that you’ve taken off the internet.”

On one level, that was never going to work. Public sympathy will always be on the side of Philip Schofield when a politician tries to intimidate him (as I think Mr Cameron was trying to do). And there is an argument that it is in the public interest for Schofe to put evidence before the Prime Minister that accusations are being made in a public forum and that he needs to do something about it.

Having said that, I should add a few words of caution, because the PM was absolutely right to warn against a witch-hunt.

Back in 17th century America, witchcraft was the taboo; in 1950s America, it was Communism. Now, here, it’s paedophilia. The link between them is that an accusation automatically led to the belief that the named person was guilty of the crime, whether they had committed it or not.

I know a man who is in prison at the moment after being convicted of abusing a child. I was at the trial and heard all the evidence and I am convinced that he did not do it. It’s my opinion that the accusation was enough to sway the jury. The gentleman concerned won an appeal against an intial conviction, at which the presiding judge overturned the verdict after asking for the factual evidence on which the defendant had been convicted and being told there was none. He sent it back for retrial and the jury convicted him again – as I say – because in my opinion he was accused of the modern version of witchcraft. Or Communism.

No organisation exists to represent the interests of a person who has been wrongly convicted of paedophilia. Once a person has been tarred with that brush, it sticks to them for life.

The whole issue of paedophilia is therefore surrounded by abuse. Abuse of children. Abuse of the system by people who accuse the innocent (for purposes of their own). Abuse of the system by police officers who refuse to investigate legitimate allegations (as we’ve heard in the Jimmy Savile affair). Abuse of the system by politicians who want to cover up the involvement of their colleagues in a scandal (as it has been alleged).

But, Mr Cameron, you can’t judge that a person is a paedophile according to whether or not they are gay.