Monday, 23 November 2015


A sneaky amendment to the Immigration Bill 2015 passed its second reading in the House of Commons last week, and means desperate families whose appeal rights have been exhausted, and whose circumstances are not deemed “exceptional” enough to be supported by the Home Office, will no longer receive a children-in-need assessment. The Bill reaches its report stage and third reading on 1 December. Children In Need assessments take place under Section 17 of The Children Act 1989, and have been used by social workers to champion the cause of families seeking asylum, offering the chance to keep families together.

Jonathan Price, a researcher at the University of Oxford’s Centre on Migration, Policy and Society, said this change could reduce support and create an inconsistent system for vulnerable children. “By taking the support for many families with no recourse to public funds outside of the Children Act framework and replacing it with immigration legislation, it takes the focus away from safeguarding issues. The assessments of need are likely therefore to be more limited in scope. “A breadth of safeguarding issues at play with vulnerable children and families—exploitation, domestic violence, neglect—could go unnoticed under the new assessment framework.”

Families with no recourse to public funds as a result of their immigration status are restricted from accessing mainstream benefits including welfare and housing. Price added there were questions around what level and type of support would be provided to meet the needs of children since the raft of case law discussing what will be provided for this group, under section 17 of the Children Act 1989, would no longer apply.

The intention of The Immigration Bill is clearly to reduce the numbers of families receiving vital support thereby acting as a deterrent to asylum seekers. Assessments could be undertaken by non-social work staff in Local Authorities without the skills or compassionate values needed to determine what support is needed.

Provisions under immigration legislation, unlike under the Children Act 1989, define need by basic measures such as the amount of money in your bank account and could miss complex areas of need like exploitation and neglect. Campaigners have said that these new measures would not ensure vulnerable children were safeguarded.

 Councillor David Simmonds, chair of the Local Government Association’s children and young people board, said:  “There is a question of whether these changes are realistic. Are MPs genuinely intending to vote through Parliament a bill that says certain children,  because of their immigration status, will be uniquely disadvantaged? “It is highly unlikely Parliament really wants to do this. We are extremely clear we have an unambiguous duty of care under UK law and it is likely children would have to be supported anyway under other areas of legislation.”

The Children Act 1989 (Section 17)- lays a duty on local authorities to safeguard, promote the welfare and provide services for children in need. The definition of ‘in need’ has three elements:

  • The child is unlikely to achieve or maintain, or to have the opportunity of achieving or maintaining, a reasonable standard of health or development without the provision for the child of services by a local authority or;
  • The child’s health or development is likely to be significantly impaired, or further impaired, without provision for the child of such services or;
  • The child is disabled.

Children traumatised by war, terror, homelessness, the death of a parent and fleeing persecution with their families are clearly eligible for support under the Children Act 1989. This is why the Tory government wants to exclude them from its provisions. Asylum seeking children are clearly at risk of developing social, emotional and psychological problems as a result of their recent experiences. They probably require the most intensive levels of support of any group of children in Britain.

The UK was one of the last countries to sign up to the UN Convention on the of Rights of the Child 1989 and has a poor record of supporting families compared to other developed countries. A recent Unicef survey ranked Britain 16th out of 29 developed countries for the welfare of children, behind Portugal, Slovenia and the Czech Republic.  he report warned that spending cuts to youth and children’s services could lead to a reversal of the gains in recent years. Britain has the second-worst mortality rate for children in western Europe and the highest levels of mental illness in under-25s. Poor children are twice as likely to die as the more affluent. 

The UN Convention indicates on a human rights basis what rights children ought to enjoy and what the obligations of signatory states are. Three principles underpin the Convention:

  • All the rights under the convention must be available to all children without discrimination of any kind
  • The child’s best interests must be a primary consideration in all actions concerning them
  • The child’s views must be considered and taken into account in all matters affecting them

The Convention goes beyond the principles contained in the Children Act 1989 and is likely to be used by social workers determined to ensure children in asylum-seeking families are not neglected. First the Children Act established that courts have to regard the child’s welfare as the paramount consideration. But under Article 3 of the Convention the child’s welfare is a primary consideration across a wider range of settings where decisions about the child’s welfare are made. So decisions about school exclusion or asylum hearings could be appealed under this article. Three other main principles enshrined in the UN Convention reinforce the philosophy of safeguarding children and young people:

  • Children have unique needs which set them apart from adults
  • The best environment for a child is within a protective and nurturing family
  • Governments and adults in general should be committed to acting in the best interest of the child

These rights are categorised into general rights to life, expression, information and privacy. More specifically the child should have protective rights against being exploited or abused. Civil rights are highlighted including the right to nationality and personal identity, along with the right to stay with the family. Alongside these is the acknowledgment that children should be in an environment which encourages development and offers a foundation for welfare. Special circumstance rights include children in war zones or other challenging situations were needs for safety have to be considered. The Children Act 1989 confirmed many of these ideas into British law and the Children Act 2004 continues the defence of children’s rights including the right of protection from harm and to education, growth, health and well being.


Thursday, 5 February 2015



UK politicians have just announced plans to improve mental health services for children and young people. But it's a case of too little too late as well as a pre-election gimmick to garner good headlines. The problem of child and adolescent mental health has been known about for the past 20 years, yet it has been ignored or treated in a tokenistic way by all major political parties in or out of government. Suicide is now the second-most common cause of death in young men and women in Britain, yet stigma and shame continue to blight those trying to cope. Three young people commit suicide every day while tens of thousands self-harm or suffer serious depression and anxiety preventing them studying or in some cases even attending school. Working class children feature disproportionately in the numbers affected. School teachers and Parents are crying out for the resources to tackle the problem.

Official statistics show the volume and complexity of child and adolescent mental health problems has increased rapidly during the past five years of austerity. Public health enquiries and other research has highlighted the need for a response to meet the overwhelming demand which has stretched existing provision beyond its capacity to cope adequately. Government policy directives encourage multi-disciplinary and more interprofessional working methods as part of the strategic response yet they do not provide any more finance to increase service provision. Demand has outstripped supply meaning that in nearly every part of the country waiting times for assessment are in excess of 8 weeks, while it can take 6 months for treatment to begin. That is a long time to leave a child and family suffering.

The traditional model of service delivery in community child and adolescent mental health care (CAMHS) in Britain began formally over fifty years ago, when the first child guidance clinic opened in East London in 1948 after earlier limited developments to help children with emotional and behavioural difficulties.  This was the result after pressure from Education and Health officials since the beginning of the twentieth century, who were concerned about the abilities and behavioural problems of children brought into the new state compulsory education system. It comprised of an interprofessional team composed of various professionals with Health, Education and Social Work backgrounds who all brought their separate training, theoretical understandings, and working practices under one clinical umbrella.

Their aims were to intervene with children and families referred for help in a variety of ways where there were concerns about a child’s mental health, behaviour, or emotional development Each team member had distinctive skills and worked with the child, parents, or whole family. In the next twenty five years child guidance clinics grew in number and became accessible to more and more children and families. However, their success in offering support to parents resulted in increasing demand, creation of long waiting lists, delays in treatment, and pressure to prioritise the most urgent and worrying cases. These would invariably include children with severe and longstanding mental health problems, aggressive disturbed behaviour, physical, sexual or emotional abuse, depression, acute anxiety, and suicidal behaviour.

 One of the difficulties highlighted in a seminal piece of research 20 years ago was the gap which had been steadily growing for decades between the primary care sector and the specialist child guidance service. A four-tier structure was designed to streamline the referral process for children who could be helped with minor emotional and behavioural problems at Tier 1 by GP’s, teachers, social workers and health visitors. This progressed through to Tier 4 where very disturbed young people who were at risk of harming themselves or others could be supported by highly specialist staff in forensic work or eating disorders for example. The idea was based around the simple idea that early intervention could prevent problems getting worse and thus harder to resolve. But constant changes to Primary Care, NHS re-organisation and the introduction of Private providers has destabilised the system, demoralised staff, and undermined good practice.

Child Guidance clinics were incorporated in changes brought in towards the end of the last Century and now known as CAMHS (Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services). They were health-led bodies often designed as out- patient clinics in office buildings. When children and young people were consulted they said they found these services lacked accessibility and were not designed around their needs. They were perceived as unhelpful, stigmatising and unfriendly. The milieu of young people's mental health does not stick to 9-5 office hours and it is often wrapped up with substance mis-use, drugs, alcohol and family breakdown. Poverty, Unemployment and Poor Housing are also implicated in developing mental health problems. What young people required were accessible services open at week-ends and evenings where they could drop-in, with staff who were qualified to work in a variety of therapeutic ways and who were trained in ways that enabled them to empathise and understand young people.

The last national report from the NHS, in 2008, demanded increased training for all staff working with young people, more specialist resources and extra investment in early intervention services to prevent problems arising in the first place. Seven years later the situation is worse. Staff vacancies are high, moral is rock bottom, budgets are slashed and demand for help and support is increasing. Early intervention services have been cut back in a classic example of a false economy. The United Kingdom has the unhappiest children in the European Union according to the World Health Organisation and the Children's Society charity research. If Economic austerity is set to continue after the General Election in May then the current announcements by major politicians will be seen to be just more empty rhetoric with young people set to pay a heavy price.


Steven Walker

CAMHS Expert and UNICEF Children's Champion

Monday, 5 January 2015


Universal Children’s Day is a calendar date to highlight the many campaigns to improve the situation for those directly affected and harmed by the continuing ravages of neoliberal capitalism and the impact of the global financial crisis of 2008. Children in Need here in Britain is another regular feature, ostensibly a fun night of charitable fundraising, it seems at times to resemble a celeb-fest, massaging individual egos and plugging their commercial interests. Amongst the Conservative right it is a disagreeable and unnecessary intrusion into the public discourse around children's needs.

However, whether it is to raise awareness about climate change or the plight of refugees — among them the most vulnerable children on the planet — fleeing the killing fields of (western-backed) wars in the Middle East and north Africa, these special days offer a chance to focus our attention.
Politicians often mouth platitudes about children being the future and the need to equip them to cope in a modern technological world, while trumpeting the need for high-quality education and healthcare. But actions speak louder than words. And the actions of the ruling class and their capitalist friends in Britain and elsewhere are responsible for record levels of poverty, mental illness, physical and sexual abuse and homelessness among children.

A recent shocking report provided some insight into a specific problem. The privatisation of young offenders institutions in Britain has led to an increase in incidents involving riots, self-harm and suicide. Most inmates come from deprived and disadvantaged backgrounds. 
It is another example of where a former public service has been contracted out to big companies such as G4S and Serco, earning millions of pounds in profits while leading to a poorer service and more problems. 

The number of young people who have committed suicide in young offenders institutions over the past 10 years averages three per year. Last year, there were more than 3,000 incidents of violence in youth custody establishments and another 1,500 instances of self-harming — far more than before privatisation. In 2013 Unicef ranked Britain 16th out of 29 developed countries for the welfare of children, up from 20th in 2007.  However the report warned that spending cuts to youth and children’s services could lead to a reversal of the gains in the last years of the Labour government.
Britain has the second-worst mortality rate for children in western Europe and the highest levels of mental illness in under-25s. Poor children are twice as likely to die as the more affluent. 
Chronic diseases such as asthma and diabetes are not properly addressed, while one in three young people is overweight.
Mental ill-health among children and adolescents is also in crisis, with austerity cuts damaging service provision and increasing waiting times for treatment, resulting in only a fraction of the need being met. Suicide levels among Britain’s 15-to-25-year-olds have started to rise in line with austerity cuts in public services. In May, a report declared that the number of teenagers who have self-harmed has tripled in the last decade in England. The Health Behaviour in School-Aged Children (HBSC) report revealed that 20 per cent of the 15-year-olds questioned had hurt themselves in the previous year. 

The study, produced along with the World Health Organisation, spoke to 6,000 children in England aged 11, 13 and 15 and is considered an authoritative source. The LGBT support charity Metro asked 7,000 16 to 24-year-olds across Britain about their experiences. The results of their research suggested rates of self-harm were higher in young LGBT people and that they were more likely to need help with depression and anxiety than heterosexual people of the same age. Images of children working in dangerous cotton mills and being sent up chimneys were used to prompt the consciences of capitalists in industrialising Britain in the 19th century. Philanthropists, trades unions and radical politicians legislated to eventually protect children from having to work under the age of 16 and in dangerous occupations.
Such conditions however now prevail in many countries in the world and, like so much else, it seems as if the failures of capitalism are taking the world backwards in time. POVERTY is rightly the focus of much logistical aid provided by relief charities, NGOs and governments, but what is often overlooked in the desperate context of war, drought, hunger, lack of housing and poor medical facilities is the psychological impact on young people in developing nations. Many have witnessed terrifying acts of violence, murder, rape, torture and genocide. 

Children and young people who are suffering from psychological distress in developing countries ravaged by war, poverty and hunger cannot make the best use of even the limited education available. These children require psychological help to heal damaged minds before they are capable of using any learning experience. The World Health Organisation has declared mental illness to be the biggest threat to children in the 21st century. Huge challenges exist in many Latin American, African and Asian countries to improve the life chances of children harmed by ethnic cleansing, war, genocide and increasing human rights abuses.

Last year Unicef criticised the Millennium Development Goals for “ignoring the needs of the poorest and marginalised adolescents.” The UN general assembly adopted the Convention on the Rights of the Child on  November 20 1989  — the 30th anniversary of its Declaration of the Rights of the Child. It came into force in 1990 after it was ratified by the required number of nations. 
Currently, 194 countries are party to it, including every member of the UN except Somalia, South Sudan and the US. Both Somalia and South Sudan have started their domestic process to become a party to the treaty but, to its shame, the US is yet to do so. The wealthiest nation on the planet puts profit before children, because fully signing up to the treaty would add costs to US business. 

The convention is the most ratified human rights treaty. It requires states to give primary consideration to the best interests of a child when making decisions which affect them, and includes children’s rights, such as rights to education, play and protection from economic and social exploitation. Nevertheless, despite the near universal ratification of the convention the abuse of children’s rights continues around the world. Children are forced to act as child soldiers in many ongoing armed conflicts, they are used as suicide bombers, subjected to female genital mutilation, trafficked and sold into sex slavery, employed as cheap child labour to enable westerners to wear designer T-shirts, and feature in child pornographic imagery to be circulated among paedophile groups on the internet. Yet there is precious little effort made to enable children’s voices to be heard. 
The United Nations general assembly has proven time and again to be of no use to children when it comes to real action to promote and enforce children’s rights. 

Three optional protocols have been adopted since 1989. They include measures to stop the use of children as soldiers, to prohibit the sale of children into prostitution or pornography, and to enable children to instigate legal complaints against their own or other states. But we are a long way from these protocols being implemented by all UN member states.
Steven Walker is a Unicef Children’s Champion.

Sunday, 30 November 2014



The recent reports from the UK that children may have been murdered by paedophiles — including British MPs known to have visited the notorious Elm Guest House in London — has followed a relentless pattern of allegations that the British Establishment has been sitting on one of the biggest scandals in modern times. 

On Wednesday 26 November, the first conviction under the Operation Pallial investigation into allegations of sexual abuse at the Bryn Alyn Community in Wrexham saw John Allen, the former head of the children’s homes, jailed for 26 offences committed over several decades against children placed in his care. 

Wrexham in North Wales is the area where local MP and paedophile Peter Morrison, a former top aide to UK Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, preyed on vulnerable children. It seems that the testimony of historic victims of child sexual abuse, the various campaigns to obtain evidence and other efforts to force the government to act, have begun to take effect. 

Week after week it seems that more news emerges to confirm the suspicion that the Establishment is working hard to disguise the actions of MI5, Special Branch, Scotland Yard and Parliament in covering up some of the most heinous crimes against vulnerable children.

The vast majority of the public now believe MPs and ministers covered up child sex abuse by other politicians, according to a recent Sunday Mirror opinion poll. 

The ComRes survey found that an overwhelming 77 per cent of those quizzed think politicians “probably” stopped details of scandals involving their colleagues from emerging. Only 5 per cent disagreed.

Of those polled, 73 per cent felt it was right that allegations of child sex abuse from the 1960s and 1970s should be probed by police. But only 30 per cent said they had faith the inquiries announced by the government will uncover the truth. 

There are now so many separate police operations launched in various parts of Britain that there is a danger that testimony, forensic evidence and audit trails of paperwork may be lost. 

The vast numbers of allegations are a sign that adults abused as children have now been empowered to come forward. But it also provides an opportunity for the cover-ups to continue because police cannot cope with the volume of work and mistakes can happen either by default or deliberately.

The father of a murdered boy has claimed that his son may have died at the hands of a Westminster paedophile ring and said Scotland Yard helped cover up the crime. Vishambar Mehrotra, a retired magistrate whose eight-year-old son Vishal was killed in 1981, said he was contacted by a male prostitute at the time who said the boy may have been abducted and murdered by “highly placed” paedophiles linked to the Elm Guest House in south-west London. 


Paedophile Liberal MP Cyril Smith is known to have visited the guest house where vulnerable children had been taken from children’s homes in nearby Richmond. Two years ago a former Special Branch police officer, Tony Robinson, said a historic dossier “packed” with information about Cyril Smith’s sex crimes was actually in the hands of MI5 — despite officially having been “lost” decades earlier in the Home Office while led by Leon Brittan. 

Another boy may also have been murdered by the same paedophile ring in 1979. 

Detective Chief Inspector Diane Tudway of the Metropolitan Police told Kevin Allen last Friday that his brother Martin, who disappeared aged 15 in King’s Cross, may have been a victim of the same group of paedophiles including politicians and other high-powered figures, the Independent has reported. 

The case was closed in the early 1980s, reopened in 2009 and then closed again. The Sunday People and the Exaro online investigations website also reported that a man called Nick had told them he saw a Conservative MP strangle a 12-year-old boy to death.

Scotland Yard’s Operation Midland, launched last month and the latest in a number of police investigations into high-level child abuse, has said it is looking into possible homicide connected to its other inquiries.

The British security services are facing more questions over the cover-up of a Westminster paedophile ring as it emerged that files relating to official requests for media blackouts in the early 1980s were destroyed. 

Two newspaper executives recently told the Observer that their publications were issued with D-notices — warnings not to publish intelligence that might damage national security — when they sought to report on allegations of a powerful group of men engaging in child sex abuse in 1984. 

One executive said he had been accosted in his office by 15 uniformed and two non-uniformed police over a dossier on Westminster paedophiles passed to him by the former Labour Cabinet minister Barbara Castle.

The other executive said that his newspaper had received a D-notice when a reporter sought to write about a police investigation into Elm Guest House. Now it has emerged that these claims are impossible to verify or discount because the D-notice archives for that period “are not complete.” 

Two years ago it was revealed that at the inquest into the death of Carole Kasir, who ran the Elm Guest House and died in 1990, evidence was submitted at the coroner’s court that MPs including members of the right-wing Monday Club, judges, a bishop, a local authority children’s services director and a prominent businessman all used the Elm Guest House to rape children who had been procured from Grafton Close children’s home in Richmond. 

A former Scotland Yard commander has admitted he knew of an alleged paedophile ring at Westminster. John O’Connor, once head of the Flying Squad, confirmed there were rumours of a sex scandal and he had been on standby for a major investigation. 

His allegations suggest that Thatcher covered up child abuse allegations against a senior minister in the 1980s. O’Connor said: “I remember when this was first flying about. I think it was in the early 1980s but then it just seemed to die a natural death.”

The Sunday People reported in July that Thatcher had told an up and coming minister: “You have to clean up your sexual act.” 

This followed allegations that the politician had abused young boys. However the same leading Tory was seen by police trying to procure young boys at Victoria railway station four years later.

In another recent development, the focus of attention has switched to Dolphin Square in Pimlico, a complex of flats used almost exclusively by MPs due to its proximity to Westminster. 

One of the VIPs who sexually abused boys at Dolphin Square has been identified as Sir Peter Hayman,  a diplomat and former MI6 deputy director who was also a member of the Paedophile Information Exchange.

The disclosure of his identity has been provided to Scotland Yard for its new investigation into historical allegations that MPs and other prominent people carried out child sex abuse at Dolphin Square. 

Sir Michael Havers was the attorney general under the Thatcher government when many of the allegations were made. In the early 1980s, Havers was accused by campaigning MP Geoffrey Dickens of a cover-up when he refused to prosecute Hayman.

So there are a number of separate pieces of testimony being provided to the police and senior Scotland Yard commanders going back 30 years, as well as statements by former senior detectives, that information was obtained but not acted upon. 

Newspapers were silenced by secrecy laws usually reserved for times of war to prevent espionage. Now these cover-ups by the security services are being reported in the national media. 

Files have gone missing or been seized by MI5 and so it seems as if the full force of the state is engaged in preventing the truth coming out into the open. 

Unless these investigations are allowed access to evidence and the allegations against senior politicians are brought to court, justice for childhood victims of paedophile abuse by MPs will be denied.

Steven Walker is a Unicef Children’s Champion

Wednesday, 19 November 2014


Fiona Woolf was recently appointed by Home Secretary Theresa May as head of the promised overarching inquiry into child sexual abuse after the first appointee, retired judge Elizabeth Butler-Sloss, resigned. Woolf has now gone as well, after links to former Home Secretary Leon Brittan embarrassed her. Butler-Sloss quit following revelations that her brother Michael Havers, who was attorney-general under Margaret Thatcher, limited the scope of an inquiry into child sexual abuse at the Kincora Children’s Home in Northern Ireland in the 1970s.

Cabinet minutes from 1983 reveal that Havers ensured that MPs and other prominent public figures were protected by restricting the terms of reference of the inquiry. Anglican judge and one-time failed Tory parliamentary candidate Butler-Sloss, also recently admitted covering up the crimes of Anglican priests while presiding over an inquiry into their paedophile activities. Leon Brittan, is accused by many people of involvement in a cover-up when he was home secretary. He recently admitted that as home secretary he received the now “lost”  dossier on Paedophile MPs compiled by campaigning MP Geoffrey Dickens.

In the early 1980s, Havers was accused by Dickens of a cover-up when he refused to prosecute Sir Peter Hayman, a diplomat, former MI6 deputy director and member of the Paedophile Information Exchange (PIE), a lobbying organisation for child abusers. A victim has now named Hayman as the man who sexually abused him in a block of flats used by British MP's. Another PIE member has confirmed that he kept PIE files, records and membership details in the Home Office itself.

What these inquiry appointments confirm again and again is that when it comes to the government appointing one of its own to an important public inquiry, one whose outcome is likely to impact on the legitimacy of the political Establishment, only a safe pair of hands will do. We have seen this over the decades, from the first tribunal under lord chief justice Widgery that covered up the truth around the Bloody Sunday killings in Derry in 1972 all the way through to the Hutton inquiry into the death of David Kelly in 2003 and the Butler Review into the infamous Iraq war “dodgy dossier” in 2004.

Woolf, like these previous appointees, has impeccable Establishment credentials. She is currently Lord Mayor of the City of London, the heart of British capitalism, which since deregulation in the 1980s, has operated as a giant casino that helped caused a trillion-dollar crash in 2008. Woolf was previously president of the Law Society and is a global ambassador for Britain’s financial services sector.

The City is immersed in financial scandal yet receives the lightest of regulation and no democratic scrutiny. Whether mis-selling of dubious financial products, fiddling Libor interest rates, dodging corporation tax, fixing false foreign exchange rates or money laundering the proceeds of drug cartels, the City is a cesspool of rapacious greed and mind-boggling levels of income.

Yet even the banking crash of 2008 and the wild behaviour of finance traders leading to the collapse of major financial institutions, later bailed out by ordinary workers’ taxes, has failed to prompt meaningful change in an inherently corrupt culture. Woolf took a City of London lobbying team out to Bahrain earlier this year which prompted Amnesty International to report that children are being routinely detained, ill-treated and tortured in the Gulf state.

Scores of children arrested on suspicion of participating in anti-government protests — including some as young as 13 — were blindfolded, beaten and tortured in detention over the past two years following mass unrest in 2011. Others were threatened with rape in order to extract forced confessions. “By rounding up suspected under-age offenders and locking them up, Bahrain’s authorities are displaying an appalling disregard for its international human rights obligations,” said Said Boumedouha, deputy director of Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa programme.

Amnesty posed the following questions: “Did Fiona Woolf’s team make any effort to research the notorious human rights environment in Bahrain before they went out there, and once they were there did they show any interest in finding out more about what was going on?  “Did Fiona Woolf pay any attention to the abuse of human rights and in particular children’s rights in a country which presumably she already knew well from her three years spent there as representative of the lawyers CMS Cameron McKenna?”

Last November, the all-party UK Commons foreign affairs committee urged the Foreign Office to classify Bahrain as a “country of concern” if its human rights record did not improve.
Britain sold Bahrain military equipment worth £18 million in 2013, according to the Campaign Against the Arms Trade (CAAT). Britain also hopes to sell Bahrain Typhoon jet fighters worth £1 billion. So money counts but children don't.

Patrick Rock, a senior Downing Street aide to David Cameron, was arrested earlier this year on allegations of downloading computerised child abuse imagery. His brief was to advise Cameron on internet security for filtering online pornography. This is just the latest in a series of revelations that began with the exposure of the crimes of late paedophile Liberal MP Cyril Smith, which together prove that paedophiles have had unfettered access to the corridors of power for the past 30 years, while police investigations have been stopped and official inquiries stymied as files go missing, are shredded or seized by the Secret Intelligence Services.

Leader of the House of Commons William Hague has declined MPs’ calls for a debate into Woolf’s appointment. The independent inquiry has been broadened to shift the focus away from Parliamentary Paedophiles, and the Establishment are closing ranks, covering their tracks and making sure the truth will not get out. But the latest revelations involving the alleged murder of a child by a British MP has sent shock waves throughout the UK Political Establishment, and prompted the Police to speed up their investigations into the activities of named Paedophile MP's.

Steven Walker is the author of The Social Worker’s Guide to Child and Adolescent Mental Health

Gyles Brandreth’s new book reveals how the main Westminster party whips conceal many dark secrets about MPs and goes a small way to lifting the lid on an Establishment cover-up of paedophile MPs. In Breaking The Code: Westminster Diaries, Brandreth writes about his time as a Tory whip and confirms previous evidence of a deliberate cover-up of criminal acts against vulnerable working-class youngsters.

Asked about allegations of a paedophile ring operating in Parliament, Norman Tebbit even admitted this summer that “there was probably an Establishment cover-up.” Brandreth, Edwina Currie and others named Peter Morrison as a dangerous paedophile while serving as a Tory MP.
Morrison worked as a government whip himself and was a close adviser to Margaret Thatcher in the 1980s.

Police have gone on record to say that he was found sexually abusing young boys in public toilets and seen driving away from the notorious Bryn Easten children’s home with a young boy in his car near his parliamentary constituency in north Wales.

The police took no action against him and a previous inquiry led by Judge Waterhouse into organised paedophile abuse in north Wales prevented investigators from following up high-profile suspects.
In Michael Cockerell’s 1995 BBC documentary Westminster’s Secret Service, Tim Fortescue, Edward Heath’s chief whip from 1970 to 1973, stated there was a tried and tested method for cover-ups called the “Dirt Book” system.

Talking about the role of the chief whip, Fortescue said: “Anyone with any sense who was in trouble would come to the whips and tell them the truth … a scandal involving small boys … we would do everything we can because we would store up brownie points … and if, I mean, that sounds a pretty, pretty nasty reason, but it’s one of the reasons because if we could get a chap out of trouble then he will do as we ask forever more.”

Put together with the fiasco of the Home Secretary’s second attempt at appointing as head of the promised overarching child sexual abuse inquiry, it becomes clear how the rich and powerful operate within a secret world where the laws of the land don’t really apply.

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

UK Parliamentary Paedophile Ring


The Establishment are getting jittery as more evidence of organised cover-ups of Paedophile MP's emerge on a regular basis. The Anglican Baroness Butler-Sloss, appointed by the Home Secretary to lead the over-arching inquiry into child protection which broadened the scope of the inquiry away from Parliament, resigned after admitting she covered up the sexual abuse of small boys by two Anglican priests in a previous inquiry. It has since also emerged that her brother the former Attorney-General Michael Havers, limited the scope into Paedophile abuse at the Kincora Children's Home in Northern Ireland in the 1970's. Cabinet Minutes from 1983 reveal that Michael Havers as Attorney General ensured that MP's and other prominent public figures were protected by restricting the terms of reference of the inquiry.

Chief constables are now conducting at least 21 separate criminal investigations. Simon Bailey, the Chief constable of Norfolk, who is running a national task force targetting VIP Paedophiles, said 30 senior officers involved in investigating MPs, Peers, and other “prominent” figures were now co-ordinating their work. The new police inquiries cover the whole country. There are 13 forces currently investigating 21 cases. These are allegations against elected officials, celebrities, people of public prominence and people directly connected to them.

There is growing evidence that The Establishment may be getting rattled at the amount of information pouring into the public domain about the role of senior Political, Religious and Judicial figures in protecting Paedophiles linked to Parliament. Government whips are the latest to admit knowing about child sexual abuse by MP's but doing nothing about it while shredding incriminating papers. Norman Tebbit has also admitted a cover-up probably has taken place.

A year ago just after announcing that the Metropolitan Police were about to arrest a former Tory Cabinet Minister, Commander Peter Spindler who had been leading the police criminal investigation into organised Paedophiles sexually abusing young children from a Council children's home in Richmond on Thames, was taken off the investigation and moved sideways to another job. The suggestion is that powerful figures had complained about Spindler's work in pursuing three major Paedophile investigations and he had to be stopped.

Fresh claims have been made that taxpayers' money was used to fund a unit within the Home Office while Leon Brittan was a Minister of State. Cash was channelled direct to the Paedophile Information Exchange. A whistleblower, former civil servant Tim Hulbert, claimed last week that the payments were made at the request of the Metropolitan Police's Special Branch. He raised concerns about the grant to the Paedophile Information Exchange (PIE) with his manager Clifford Hindley in 1979. This is the same time that allegations began to surface about Cyril Smith's Paedophilia in Rochdale.

The London Borough of Richmond on Thames was the Local Authority responsible for the Grafton Close children's home where it is alleged children were procured and taken to the notorious nearby Elm Guest House where MP's and others attended organised parties to attack vulnerable children who were plied with alcohol and drugs and then orally raped and buggered. Terry Earland, former head of Richmond Children's Services reported allegations to his boss Louis Minster, Director of Social Services, made by worried  social workers about what children were telling them. Jenny (now Lady) Tonge was the new Liberal leader on Richmond Council and in 1983 was briefed, along with other senior Councillors about the reports of Paedophile MP's visiting Grafton Close. Louis Minster was sacked by the incoming Liberal administration which took control of the Council in 1984. Tonge was a councillor from 1981 to 1990 and served as a chair of the Social Services Committee. Did she know Liberal MP Cyril Smith was a regular visitor to Grafton Close? Did she report this to the Liberal Party headquarters and MP's? She was Liberal Democrat MP for Richmond Park from 1997 to 2005 when she was made a life peer as Baroness Tonge of Kew.

Peter McKelvie, the former child protection manager in Hereford and Worcestershire who worked on the conviction of Paedophile Peter Righton, said there was a “powerful elite” of Paedophiles who carried out “the worst form” of abuse. Righton was referred to by Labour MP Tom Watson in 2012, when Hansard recorded that the police file relating to Peter Righton, who was convicted in 1992 of importing child pornography from Holland, needed to be re-examined. Watson suggests that the evidence file used to convict Peter Righton, if it still exists, contains clear intelligence of a widespread Paedophile ring connected directly to Parliament. The central allegation is that a large body of material seized in the police raid on Righton's home prior to his conviction, had not been fully investigated.

Judges, Peers, Priests and MPs are among 20 prominent public figures who abused children for decades McKelvie has said, alleging that there is evidence linking the former politicians to an alleged Paedophile network. Lord Warner, the former Labour health minister, is on record as saying that the allegations were credible. Mr McKelvie triggered a police investigation in 2012 when he revealed there were seven boxes of potential evidence of a powerful paedophile network, including letters between Righton and other paedophiles being stored by West Mercia Police. Operation Cayacos among numerous other ongoing historical child abuse investigations, including Operations Fairbank, Fernbridge, and Yewtree, is investigating allegations of a Paedophile ring in Parliament linked to Righton, a founding member of the Paedophile Information Exchange.

A Labour Peer is now under police investigation although due to apparent dementia he is considered unfit to be prosecuted for Paedophile offences. Cyril Smith, the former Paedophile MP was a member of a Freemasons Lodge in Rochdale and there is an on-going investigation by The Morning Star into whether Freemasons within the Establishment actively covered up criminal actions in order to protect their 'brothers'. The Morning Star has yet to receive a response to a request to a Masonic Lodge in Rochdale (Liberty Lodge 5573) confirming whether Cyril Smith was a member of Liberty Lodge 5573, and who were the senior officers, and other Freemasons of the Lodge between 1970 and 1990.

 The New Welcome Lodge, No. 5139, is a British Masonic Lodge based in the Palace of Westminster open to all MP's and Peers. Hundreds of MP's currently appear in the Masonic Year Book, along with the names of Judges, Senior Police Commanders and top Whitehall Civil Servants. The role of Freemasonry in protecting Paedophile MP's has yet to be fully established, but suspicions grow.

Clive Driscoll, a former Scotland Yard detective has claimed that he was moved from his post when he revealed plans to investigate politicians over child sexual abuse claims. Speaking about his inquiries in 1998 into activity alleged to have taken place in Lambeth children's homes in the 1980s, retired detective chief inspector Clive Driscoll said that his work was "all too uncomfortable to a lot of people".

Another cover-up has been discovered in a report that Special Branch officers seized a Paedophile dossier naming Establishment figures drawn up by Labour peer Barbara Castle in the 1980s. Officers citing ‘national security’ confiscated the file which listed 16 MPs along with senior policemen, headteachers and clergy. The dossier was collated by the late Baroness Castle of Blackburn who handed it to Don Hale, the editor of her local newspaper, the Bury Messenger. As well as key members of both the Commons and Lords, the dossier named 30 prominent businessmen, public school teachers, scoutmasters and police officers who had links to PIE.

Further evidence of selective amnesia comes from  John Pierce the Chief Executive of Rochdale Council who closed Knowl View residential school in 1994 but recently denied knowing about reports of Paedophile abuse of young residents at the special school founded by predatory MP Cyril Smith. Recently he went on record to claim he knew nothing about three separate reports by health staff in 1988, 1991, and 1992 that Paedophiles were abusing children as young as eight years of age. Yet Pierce was sent a copy of the 1991 report and he admitted to The Independent newspaper in 1995 that he had indeed read the reports.

The BBC disclosed details of another cover-up last week when it revealed that a high-ranking friend of Cyril Smith tried to warn off police investigating claims that he had been sexually abusing boys. A senior detective investigating the claims against Smith said a magistrate made "veiled threats" to officers. The detective's 1970 report to the Chief Constable of Lancashire said there was "prima facie" evidence of the MP's guilt. The Director of Public Prosecution later advised against prosecuting.

The 14-page report by the detective superintendent, which has been redacted, said that Smith would have been "at the mercy of a competent counsel", but also reported that the MP's magistrate "buddy" had warned of "unfortunate repercussions for the police force and the town of Rochdale" should he be prosecuted. The officer, whose name has been redacted from the report, was investigating allegations of sex abuse by eight young boys, six of whom who had been at the privately-run Cambridge House care home in Rochdale. The home closed in 1965, prior to Smith's election as a MP for Rochdale. Police and Rochdale Council are already investigating allegations that the Liberal MP sexually abused boys at Knowl View residential school for vulnerable boys which closed in 1992.


Steven Walker

Co-Author: Safeguarding Children and Young People- a Guide to Integrated Practice. (Russell House Publishers).

Saturday, 12 July 2014




Theresa May's predictable grandstanding announcement last week announcing an inquiry into the growing clamour for something to be done about allegations of a paedophile ring operating within Parliament was a classic Establishment dodge. It was a case study in media management as will her appearance before the Home Affairs select committee today (Monday 14 July). Perhaps there is some irony in that 14 July is Bastille Day, celebrated in Republican France as the beginning of the end of absolute Monarchy and preceding the publication of the Declaration of the Rights of Man and the Citizen which enshrined the concept of free individuals protected equally by Law. Not exactly what we see being carried out in terms of the legal investigations into the vile abuse of small children by MP's.

By widening the scope of the inevitable inquiry to include the BBC the NHS, the Churches and other unnamed 'Public Bodies' the Home Secretary has sown the seeds of a strategy designed deliberately to produce a huge amount of dust and smoke in which the truth will be hidden. Crucially she has succeeded in removing the spotlight from Parliament and close scrutiny of MP's.

She even admitted that the over-arching inquiry by the Establishment Peer, Baroness Butler-Sloss, a former failed Tory parliamentary candidate and retired Family Division Judge, would not be completed before the next general election. So the public have been cheated from having details of Parliamentary Paedophiles revealed before deciding how to vote next year. Butler-Sloss is the sister of the late Sir Michael Havers, who sat in the Thatcher Cabinet alongside Lord Brittan, who has admitted as Home Secretary he received the now “lost” Dickens dossier into allegations of a paedophile ring involving MPs. Sir Michael Havers was the Attorney General under the Thatcher government when many of the allegations were made.

In the early 1980s, Sir Michael was accused by the campaigning MP Geoffrey Dickens of a cover-up when he refused to prosecute Sir Peter Hayman, a diplomat, former MI6 deputy director, and member of the Paedophile Information Exchange, (PIE) a lobbying organisation for child abusers. We now know that another PIE member has confirmed that he kept PIE files, records and membership details in the Home Office itself. Home Office advisers argued in 1979 that the age of consent be lowered from 16 to 14 and called for a reduction in the length of prison sentences for paedophiles.

The members' hotline for the Paedophile Information Exchange (PIE) rang  inside the Home Office where Steven Smith, a convicted paedophile and chairman of PIE who worked in security in Whitehall, would tell callers where to go for the next meeting to discuss issues including decriminalising sex with children as young as four.

Baroness Butler-Sloss was forced to issue an apology in 2012 after making crucial errors in a previous inquiry into two paedophile priests. The peer was put in charge of a “flawed” investigation into how the Church of England handled the cases of two ministers in Sussex who had sexually abused boys. Eight months after her report was published Butler-Sloss (a devout Anglican) had to issue a six-page addendum in which she apologised for “inaccuracies” which, she admitted, arose from her failure to corroborate information which was given to her by senior Anglican figures as part of the inquiry.

The separate inquiry into the hundreds of missing Home Office files has now been fast tracked and due to report in a few weeks time before the Parliamentary summer recess by Mark Sedwill a career civil servant who was involved in the notorious Iraq War 'dodgy dossier' used to illegally invade Iraq in 2003.  The evidence of former police officers suggests Home Office files based on the original Dickens dossier were snatched by MI5.  This report has already been discounted in advance and heavily spun by the governments' media managers to downplay expectations. The files have gone and there are no records of why, how or who was involved in their disappearance or destruction. The Establishment have started another inevitable media narrative about the need to avoid 'witch-hunts' amid the tabloid newspapers climate of hysteria and wild allegations.

There are also concerns about the appointment of NSPCC Chief Executive Peter Wanless to assist with the over-arching inquiry. The NSPCC is well-connected within Parliament and patrons include: The Queen, Knights of the Realm, various House of Lords members, the Duke of Westminster and The Bishop of London. The notorious case of the murder of Victoria Climbie in Haringey, North London in 2000 was widely reported as a failure by the council social services and in particular two social workers. Later it was revealed that a doctor had failed to spot a broken spine, but hidden among the hysteria at the time was the role of the NSPCC.

Victoria had been referred to an NSPCC-run family centre in north London seven months before her death, by which time she was being regularly beaten, tortured, trussed up in a bin bag and left in freezing baths. No one from the centre went to see her, and when forced to present evidence to the subsequent inquiry the NSPCC revealed it had lost crucial documents and altered case files raising questions about an attempted cover-up to avoid bad publicity. The NSPCC is a very wealthy charity but in recent years it has closed down direct services to support children at risk. Less than half of its annual multi-million pound budget is spent on direct child protection work, the rest is spent on publicity, campaigning and fundraising.

During the late 1980s and early 1990s, a moral panic emerged over alleged ritual satanic abuse. The NSPCC provided a publication known as 'Satanic'  Indicators' to social services around the country that was been blamed for some social workers panicking and making false accusations. The most prominent of these cases was in Rochdale in 1990 when up to 20 children were taken from their homes and parents after social services believed them to be involved in satanic or occult ritual abuse. The allegations were later found out to be false. The case was the subject of a BBC documentary which featured recordings of the interviews made by NSPCC social workers, revealing that flawed techniques and leading questions were used to gain evidence of abuse from the children. The documentary claimed that the social services were wrongly convinced, by organisations such as the NSPCC, that abuse was occurring and so rife that they made allegations before any evidence was considered

Frank Furedi Professor of Sociology at the University of Kent branded NSPCC a "lobby group devoted to publicising its peculiar brand of anti-parent propaganda and promoting itself." Tory MP Gerald Howarth is on record as describing it as "completely incompetent".

So there we have it. A knee-jerk response from the Home Secretary with a brief to play this scandal long, spend lots of money and appoint plausible individuals to conduct so-called independent investigations. But scratch below the glossy spin and we reveal an inquiry staffed by Establishment people with less than unblemished records in their professionalism and accuracy. But they can be depended upon to deliver the goods and stick to their brief which is to convey the appearance of competence while further muddying the waters, inadvertently protecting child abusers, and potentially wrecking several on-going police investigations closing in on bringing alleged Paedophiles to face justice in criminal trials for the most heinous offences against vulnerable children.

The award-winning journalist Philip Knightly coined the phrase - Truth: The First Casualty of War, in his book of the same name about the way The Establishment managed information about the First World War debacle. He said: "More deliberate lies were told than in any other period of history, and the whole apparatus of the state went into action to suppress the truth". At the moment we are witnessing another example of The Establishment in action doing what it has been doing for centuries, making sure that it protects its own and prevent the people from knowing the truth.

Steven Walker