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”.