Monday, 30 June 2014

Paedophile UK Parliament

With a steady stream of revelations of paedophilia within Parliament and the media, STEVEN WALKER asks just how far the Establishment cover-up extends

Michael Gove’s little-reported request to local authorities to investigate the extent of Jimmy Savile’s paedophile attacks on vulnerable children — many of them disabled or dying in hospices — is too little too late. 

It also stands in stark contrast to his much-hyped attempt to privatise child protection services, now neatly withdrawn prior to the latest revelations of the extent of Savile’s paedophilia. 
Gove’s advisers seem to be knocking some sense into him about the reality and the risks of leaving vulnerable children to the mercy of the free market in education and social care.

The latest report shows 214 criminal offences, including 34 rapes, recorded against Savile’s name across the UK between 1955 and 2009. 

Police said the Top Of The Pops presenter had sexually abused a teenager at a hospice, one of 14 medical sites he used to prey on his victims. 
He also committed 14 offences at schools across the country, some of them when children had written to him for his popular BBC series Jim’ll Fix It.
A national investigation known as Operation Yewtree was launched after the abuse claims. Detectives have run the investigation in three strands — allegations involving Savile, those involving Savile and others, and those involving others acting without Savile. 
Further research by the NSPCC claims at least 500 victims were abused by Savile. 

The figures show the most common age group for Savile’s victims was 13 to 15, while the youngest victim was two years old.
In addition, fears that Savile abused children in more than 20 children’s homes and schools across England are being investigated. 
Allegations dating back to the 1960s, ’70s and ’80s have been handed to the Department for Education (DfE) following a review of documents by the Met. 
Among children’s homes and schools to be further investigated are Henshaw School for the Blind, one of four institutions in Savile’s birthplace of Leeds, and a Barnardo’s children’s home in the London Borough of Redbridge. Children’s homes and schools in focus are spread across England, including Bournemouth, Devon, Gloucestershire, Leeds, London and Manchester among others.

The new investigations will include considerable efforts to point the finger of blame at those who knew what was going on but stood by and did nothing. 
But it is not just the roll-call of celebrities who have appeared in public accused of abusing children that is appalling. MPs have also been mired in the paedophilia scandal and a year before the general election the last thing David Cameron needs is another scandal at the heart of Parliament. 
The example of former Liberal MP Cyril Smith, another predatory paedophile, is a salient example. 
Like Savile, he targeted the most vulnerable children, usually in children’s homes, and like Savile, his paedophilia was well-known among senior Liberals, other members of Parliament and top public figures in his home town of Rochdale. 

Recently the police admitted they had avoided three separate chances to prosecute Smith for the rape of minors, suggesting that civil servants and MI5 took control of the case and did nothing. This smacks of an Establishment cover-up. 
More recently, senior Downing Street aide Patrick Rock was charged with allegations of downloading computerised child abuse imagery. 
His brief was to advise Cameron on internet security for filtering online pornography. 
Conservatives Edwina Currie, Gyles Brandreth and Rod Richards have previously made damning statements of how well known in Westminster circles it was that MP Peter Morrison was a dangerous paedophile, and yet his career was unaffected as he rose to be deputy chairman of the Conservative Party. 

He was Thatcher’s parliamentary private secretary in 1990 and her campaign manager that same year despite this knowledge having been around for many years.
In 1991 Frank Beck, who ran care homes in Leicestershire, was found guilty of abusing more than 100 children in the 1970s and ’80s. 
During the trial, a 30-year-old man claimed he had been abused by Lord Janner, who was still a Labour MP at the time. However, Lord Janner was not prosecuted and he insisted there was “not a shred of truth” in the claims. 

One of Tony Blair’s former senior aides Phillip Lyon, who previously arranged his weekly Prime Minister’s question time, was arrested after police raided his Commons office. Lyon was found guilty of downloading child pornography and jailed for a year. 
Stephen Carnell, who was agent for Labour MP Chris Bryant during the 2010 general election campaign, was caught with more than 12,000 indecent images and 450 films. 
He was jailed for three years for collecting and distributing what the judge described as “appalling” images of child abuse. 
David Cameron has yet to make good on his promise to order a full-scale investigation into allegations of widespread paedophile activity within Parliament after a request by the Labour MP Tom Watson made in 2012. 

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 Righton, if it still exists, contains clear intelligence of a widespread paedophile ring linked to the corridors of power. 
The central allegation was that a large body of material seized in the police raid on Righton’s home prior to his conviction had not been fully investigated.

So there is a pattern here. Paedophiles with parliamentary connections, or MPs themselves, have been regularly discovered, often decades after their activity and in some cases after they have died. 
There is a growing body of evidence, including testimony from victims abused in childhood, which has never been properly investigated. 
There is compelling evidence of an Establishment cover-up in order to protect powerful individuals, the reputation of Parliament, and possibly revelations of the role of the secret intelligence services. 
This all suggests that the ruling class is sitting on a scandal that has the potential to create a political earthquake if the truth ever gets out.

Monday, 23 June 2014




The latest report into poverty in the UK is one of the most authoritative and comprehensive pieces of detailed research in recent years. It demonstrates how recent UK government's economic policies have failed to do anything about tackling poverty. The report forms part of a steady series conducted by a variety of disparate organisations and groups who work to provide evidence of the hardships endured by millions of UK citizens. Put together they form a powerful indictment of government policies and the underlying Capitalist economic model that is based on the concept of creating unemployment and enriching a minority of individuals.

The latest study was conducted by the Poverty and Social Exclusion (PSE) in the UK project which forms part of the impressive portfolio of work undertaken in the name of Peter Townshend, the distinguished academic and social policy expert, now deceased. Peter Townsend’s 1968/69 study of Poverty in the United Kingdom Survey represented a paradigm shift in poverty research which changed the way that poverty is understood and measured around the world.

The PSE project is the largest research project of its kind ever carried out in the UK.  The results provide the most detailed and comprehensive picture of poverty and exclusion in Britain and Northern Ireland in the 21st Century. According to the study, 33% of households endure below-par living standards – defined as going without three or more "basic necessities of life", such as being able to adequately feed and clothe themselves and their children, and to heat and insure their homes. In the early 1980s, the comparable figure was 14%.

The research shows that almost 18 million Britons live in inadequate housing conditions and that 12 million are too poor to take part in all the basic social activities – such as entertaining friends or attending all the family occasions they would wish to. It suggests that one in three people cannot afford to heat their homes properly, while 4 million adults and children are not able to eat healthily.

The evidence suggests that the gap between rich and poor is widening, there are more children living in poverty, and disabled people are more likely to live in poverty or be unemployed than non-disabled people.  Children from working class families are less likely to receive a further or higher education and black families are more likely to live in poor housing.

Recent attention to the under-performance of working class schoolchildren emphasises the pernicious impact of poverty. Gimmicks such as re-introducing free milk in Primary schools and suggestions by Ofsted's chief inspector that parents should be fined for not properly supporting their children's education are a distraction from the real problem. Poor, hungry children cannot learn especially when they live in households where parents are stressed, demoralised and feeling hopeless.

The result is that mental health problems affect three times as many children in social class V (manual and unskilled) compared with those in social class I (professional) according to the authoritative Social Trends government data. Further official evidence on social inequalities from the Office for National Statistics states that one in ten children in the United Kingdom suffers from a poverty related mental health problem. According to other research from UNICEF the UK is fourth from the bottom of a list of relative poverty among the nineteen richest nations and has children who are among the unhappiest in Europe. Troubled schoolchildren cannot learn in school.

The Labour government target was to reduce child poverty by a quarter by 2004, to halve it by 2010 and to abolish it by 2021. That aim has been consistently revised and recently abandoned as unattainable on the basis of current government economic policies. Meanwhile the gap between rich and poor has widened to such alarming levels that social scientists argue that these are the conditions in which social order begins to break down, creating a dysfunctional society where levels of crime, violence and mental health problems increase.

The Save the Children charity recently took existing Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) projections of a third more children in relative poverty by 2020 and factored in planned welfare cuts, a calculation which it says could add 325,000 children to the IFS figure. The current measure for calculating relative child poverty (defined as children living in households with incomes below 50 per cent of the national median) does not reveal anything about the depth of poverty. Welfare spending cuts will exacerbate child poverty levels. Child poverty is also caused by low pay, and two-thirds of poor children now live in working households.

In addition last week fresh evidence emerged in a report showing 3.5 million children are expected to be in absolute poverty in Britain in 2020 – almost five times as many as the target. The Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission said the absolute child poverty goal was "simply unattainable" and that this was on course to be the first decade since records began in 1961 not to see a fall in absolute child poverty. This is important given the cumulative psychological effects of persistent social exclusion which leads to despair, suicide, violence and a lack of motivation. So the latest spin from government about poverty being unrelated to poor school performance is more akin to Orwellian newspeak in which truth is inverted, the reality ignored and the powerful punish those who are the victims of injustice. The recent attempts by Ministers to muzzle the Trussel Trust which reported in May that nearly 1 million people used its Food Banks, and government attacks on Oxfam's austerity campaign are further evidence that this government wants to airbrush the poor from the news. They will not succeed.


Steven Walker


Monday, 9 June 2014



A National Conference on Social Care in May heard pious words from experts and government ministers about the safety of children and what a great job the Government is doing. Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, vulnerable children are going to be at greater risk of abuse than ever before thanks to Education Secretary Michael Gove's obsession with dismantling the British state education system and now attempting to privatise child protection services in Local Authorities. This is the unintended consequence of a combination of recent policies driven by Gove's obsessive free market philosophy.

Years of under-funding Education Services has created a hotch-potch of academy, faith, and free schools separated from Local Authority supervision and allowing rich parents the choice to select a decent education for their children. Not only has this created inequalities within communities but teachers are being lured into new schools paying higher salaries leaving state schools to struggle with staff shortages and harming the chances of working class pupils. But this is made worse by new plans to privatise child protection services. The combined plans- separating more schools from Local Authority supervision, and privatising child protection will leave a gaping hole in the welfare safety net designed to protect vulnerable and disadvantaged children.

The child protection system works when there are common structures, procedures and lines of communication between all those in Health, Education, Police and Social Care who are responsible for children's safety. Fragmentation of these organisations and the undermining of National and Local policies creates confusion, gaps and obscurity- the last thing needed in an already complex and murky area of work.

However even in the privileged private schools, children are far from safe. Ofsted's latest annual report says: " it has..........major concerns" about the safety of thousands of pupils in private schools that have failed to abide by rules designed to protect children in their care from abuse. Inspections of independent schools in the past year revealed that a high proportion of fee-charging schools are failing on safeguarding procedures and many are providing inadequate levels of education. State schools outperformed private schools on several educational measures, according to inspectors. "It is a major concern that about a third of non-association independent schools do not fully meet the requirements for safeguarding pupils,". Failure to comply with safeguarding procedures means the schools are not properly vetting staff who are in contact with children or training staff to identify signs of abuse and support vulnerable children properly.

This is graphically illustrated by the stream of child sexual abuse cases being brought to court such as the case involving paedophile attacks at the exclusive Chetham school of music in Manchester. Inspectors from Manchester City Council's Social Services Department were called to Chetham's school of music to carry out urgent reviews of child protection procedures at the £31,000-a-year private institution following a number of serious allegations of sex abuse against teachers past and present.

Council inspectors concluded that the Local Authority "is not confident about the overall effectiveness of the leadership and governance of safeguarding arrangements in the school". They warned: "Arrangements are present to promote a culture and climate of effective safeguarding at Chetham's school of music but the arrangements are not routinely and reliably implemented, robustly applied, monitored or evaluated by the senior leadership team, governors and Feoffees [trustees of the charity which runs the school]." The school had taken disciplinary action or issued a suspension against four staff because of concerns about their suitability to work with children between 1999 and 2013, but these incidents were not always properly referred to the Local Authority as required within good time. This adds to the suspicion that there was a cover-up and suspected paedophiles were let loose to work in other schools.

Worse still, in recent years National guidance for multi-agency investigation of child abuse has been watered down. Each local safeguarding children board now have to invent their own system of recording and tracking vulnerable children which is leading to chaotic work across authority boundaries. The previous National document: Working Together formed the basis of legal proceedings, family law, disciplinary hearings, professional training programmes and professional practice. All agencies had a copy and it was universally applicable. Everyone knew where they stood.

The guidance was geared towards helping and supporting struggling parents- often survivors of abuse themselves or marginalised by a Capitalist system that blames the unemployed and poor instead of seeing them as the natural consequence of neo-liberal economics. Now the guidance focuses on persecution and punishment forcing social workers to police the poor, rather than helping families change. Gove's current plans, if they come to fruition, will ensure that more tragedies, heartbreak, and the neglect of disadvantaged children from the poorest and most deprived neighbourhoods will continue. A generation of children will pay a terrible price for Gove's obsession if he is allowed to get away with it.


Steven Walker, former Principal Lecturer in Social Work, and co-author of: Safeguarding Children and Young People- a Guide to Integrated Practice (Russell House Publishers.)