Archive | November 2016

The Shame of Operation Midland

aaa-harveyFalse paedophile allegations are as damaging as child abuse.

I think I have made it patently clear in this forum that I not only have no time for Conservatives, but I utterly despise them and consider most of them filth. On an evolutionary scale I would not place them in the primordial soup ~ they are much further down than that. So it may come as some surprise to many of my readers that upon listening to former Conservative MP Harvey Proctor on LBC Radio on Tuesday, 8 November, I was moved to tears by him.

Harvey Proctor was Member of Parliament for Basildon from 1979 to 1983, and Billericay from 1983 to 1987. Very much to the right, Proctor was a member of the right-wing Monday Club for many years, including spending time as it’s secretary. He won his 1979 seat on a ticket of reducing the number of “coloured” (his words, not mine) immigrants, opposed the Anglo-Irish Agreement, and supported the return of capital punishment.

In June 1986 The People newspaper published allegations that Proctor had taken part in sexual relaitonships with men aged 17-20, when the age of consent for homosexuals sex was 21. The following year he was charged with Gross Indecency, and resigned his candidacy for his Billericay seat. He pleaded guilty and was fined £1,450. Wanting to put the whole matter behind him, he opened a prestigious shirtmakers shop in Richmond, London.

In November 2014 the Metropolitan Police launched Operation Midland into historic child sexual abuse allegations against politicians, celebrities, and VIPs, and included the allegation of a possible homicide or a child. Some of the allegations came from an anonymous complainant known only as “Nick”. On 4 March 2015, police raided the home of Harvey Proctor on the Belvoir Estate, based upon the allegations of “Nick”. Proctor denied any wrongdoing but resigned his post with the Duke and Duchess of Rutland on 25 March 2015 “with immediate effect”. He was interviewed by police in June 2015, and again in August 2015. On 25 August 2015 he gave a press conference in which he called the inquiry against him as a “homosexual witch hunt” and stated “I’m a homosexual. I’m not a murderer or a paedophile. I’m completely innocent of all these allegations.”

Meanwhile, Operation Midland was falling apart as claim after claim of “Nick” proved to be false or unproven. Among others investigated had been Army Lord Bramall and Lord Leon Brittan, who was gravely ill when his home was raided and he was questioned by police. Lord Brittan died in January 2015, without being told charges against him had been dropped. Harvey Proctor was the last person to be investigated by police, until 21 March 2016, when he was told that no further action would be taken, and Operation Midland was subsequently wound up.

On 8 November an independent review into the £2.3 million Operation Midland, which never resulted in one arrest, found several failings by the Metropolitan Police, and said the decision to abandon it should have been taken “much earlier”. Against many of their criticisms was the readiness of police to believe “Nick”, who had also implicated heads of UK security services.

The Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe, accepted “accountability for these failures” and stated “It is a matter of professional and personal dismay that the suspects in the investigation were pursued for so long when it could have been concluded much earlier. He apologised to Lord Bramall, the widow of Lord Brittan, and Harvey Proctor.

Speaking on LBC Radio, Harvey Proctor, now 69, told just what a toll Operation Midland had taken on his life. He told show host Iain Dale “It’s been devastating. Unrepairable. As you know I lost my job, my home, my family, unusual family although it might be, split asunder.

“I received death threats, and I am now destitute. I have no money. When other people say they have no money, they are down to their last hundred thousand. I have no money.”

Iain Dale then asked what the darkest time was, and for a good number of seconds the line went silent. Then Mr Proctor responded, sobbing audibly ~ and I openly cried along with him, and I cried, and cried as my heart went out to him.

No innocent person, whoever they are, deserves to be reduced to that.

As my regular readers will know, I am a survivor of childhood sexual abuse. And some may wonder then why I should care so much because of someone under investigation for paedophile offences. A chance to clear his name, surely? No, loves, it is precisely because I am an abuse survivor that I am sad ~ and angry ~ at the haphazard dealings of Operation Midland and the way that innocent men had their lives destroyed by an individual whom I can only describe as a fantasist, a police force too ready to believe him, and a police commissioner who should have had the sense to close down the operation much earlier.

Allegations of being a child sex abuser are among the most devastating anyone can have laid at their door. As we have seen in the case of Harvey Proctor, it destroys lives. Those accused can lose their marriages, family, friends, their jobs and livelihoods, their homes and their entire reputations, and can face endless verbal abuse, threats of and actual violence. And because the public believe “no smoke without fire”, that follows the suspect to the end of their days. Now, where the allegations are true, then as far as I am and concerned, much of that ~ short of actual violence ~ they deserve everything they get. And I mean that from the child sex attacker, right down to the paedophile who masturbates to images of naked children. Contrary to what some claim, it is not a victimless crime to view naked kids ~ someone, somewhere, is abusing those children, and because it is about supply and demand, every paedophile viewing those images are complicit in that abuse.

But where the suspect is innocent of all allegations against them, it becomes a very different matter altogether. To have your life destroyed because you are labelled a “pervert” by society is certainly an experience too many reading this will be all too familiar with. Many here will have had to change their identity, and maybe even to move home, perhaps many times over. They may have been cast out by their families, had partners shun them, denied access to their children, lost their jobs, been completely ostracised by society, almost certainly faced verbal abuse and threats, and in many cases, been subjected to actual violence. Many will have suffered mental trauma, perhaps even clinical depression, due to the treatment they have suffered. Innocent suspects of paedophilia suffer exactly the same. Indeed, in some cases it can be worse.

I recall in the late-1990s, some red-top newspapers stirred up a “paedophile panic” in the UK, from which we have never recovered. It led to lynch mobs chasing innocent people, mostly men, out of their homes and beating them up. The satirical magazine Private Eye one week ran a cartoon which showed a man running from a mob with the caption “I’m a PAEDIATRICIAN, you morons.” The following week it actually happened, when a woman paediatrician had her surgery burned out.

Feeling was particularly strong in Scotland, in the wake of the 1996 Dunblane massacre, when paedophile Thomas Hamilton gunned down 16 schoolchildren and their teacher. Just down the road in the Raploch district of Stirling, housewife Mags Heaney had set herself up as head of a vigilante mob which was attacking the homes of single men suspected of being paedophiles. When one such man complained to police, Mrs Heaney was taken to the man’s door, along with cameras from Scottish Television, and was forced to apologise to him. Mags Heaney’s family at the time were among the largest drug dealers in Scotland, who were selling everything from cannabis to herion to the very kids they claimed to be protecting. So arrogant they were that they even called themselves “Heaney Heroin Limited.”

Prosecutions and jail terms against many of the Heaney family, including “Big Mags”, followed, but they had done untold damage to the lives of many men, who had to move their homes, had lost their jobs in the process, and some of whom actually changed their identity to avoid future persecution.

I cannot reiterate just how dangerous false allegations of paedophilia are, and especially as a survivor of child sex abuse, how damaging it is to those of us who genuinely suffered. Why damaging? Because every time the police are busy investigating a false accusation, every time they have to deal with misguided vigilantes, every time they have to investigate themselves for failing to recognise false allegations, a child somewhere is being sexually abused, and the attacker is getting away with it.

Paedophilia, be it active or inactive, is much more prevalent than most give credence to. And what is more dangerous is the fact that by and large it is rarely a case of “stranger danger” or the myth (which it is) of the dirty old man in a shabby raincoat in the park; the overwhelming majority of child sex attackers are known to the child and their family, often family members or friends. And because none likes to think any bad of their family or friends, few are willing to admit that. Therefore, even in 2016, when there are many more cases of child sex attacks coming to light, and many more historical survivors coming forward, what we see remains very much the tip of the iceberg. The overwhelming majority of child abuse cases still go unreported, precisely because far from being strangers committing these crimes, it is those close to the victims.

And Harvey Proctor’s sexuality, and past convictions, are not lost on me either. There is certainly evidence that many thought Mr Proctor must be guilty because of his convictions for sex with boys aged 17 to 20, and that includes among the officers investigating him. Again, there are many reading this will know all too well that all too often the public think gay / bi / lesbian / anything other than straight must equal paedophile. All us “queers” are castigated by the cishet pubic majority as perverts, and to their uneducated hive mentality, if we indulge in one “perversion”, we must indulge in all of them. In fact, not only are the majority of paedophiles known to their victims, but they are mostly heterosexual men ~ even those men who prey upon little boys (this was true of my attacker). Whilst the incidence is much lower, heterosexual women make up the second highest proportion of paedophiles. But LGBT+ paedophiles are way down at the bottom of the scale, with the incidence of sex attacks on children among the community being extremely rare indeed.

So, in the wake of the findings of the inquiry into Operation Midland, where do we go next? Harvey Proctor has called for the immediate resignation of Met Police Commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe. I fully back that. Sir Bernard has already opted for early retirement, due to other incompetent incidents under his tenure. I personally think that January 2017 is too late for him to go, he should go NOW. But then, I reckon if Sir Bernard had one shred of decency left in his entire frame, he would go into an empty room with a loaded gun, and take the last honourable step left open to him. And yes, dears, I do mean that.

A review of how suspected child sex attackers are identified is definitely needed, including education of police officers to recognise that sexual diversity does not equal paedophile. Do I think the Met are homophobic? Yes, and one need only look at the way some LGBT+ people have been treated by the police in London to recognise the truth of this. But then, they are not alone among police forces in that respect.

I would also urge that police across the UK receive retraining and education in the entire subject of paedophilia, it’s incidence and the huge number of historical cases which go unreported, with the survivors often staying silent until their abuser is dead (as was my experience).

Anonymity should not only be afforded to accusers, but also to the accused. Those affected by Operation Midland not only had their lives destroyed by the authorities, but also faced trial-by-media, and are to this day suffering from a cishet public who still believe “no smoke without fire”.

The investigation of accusers should always be taken seriously. But at the same time, such allegations themselves need to be thoroughly scrutinised. I would suggest interviews of accusers not by police psychologists but by independent psychologists who can be called in to do so.

“Nick” needs to be prosecuted for the enormous damage he has done to a great many people. And unless found himself to have serious psychological problems, once convicted, I do believe he should be named and shamed ~ for his activities have been every bit as damaging to innocents as child sex attackers.

Unfortunately, all this is locking the stable door after the horse has bolted, and it may have done irreparable damage to future investigations of suspected child abusers. The independent inquiry into Operation Midland made 25 recommendations, including;

  • The instruction to officers to “believe a ‘victim’s’ account” should cease.
  • Investigators should be informed that false complaints are made from time to time and should not be regarded as a remote possibility.

Whilst false complaints are indeed serious to the point of being devastating to the accused, these recommendations are nonetheless disturbing. There are so very many silent survivors of childhood sexual abuse simply because nobody believes them. I know this, because I was one. These recommendations may make that all the more difficult, and an unwillingness to believe accusers may cause a great many more children to suffer some of the worst trauma possible in silence.

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Fools and Bairns

gay-marriage-child-3Who is fit to parent?

A Christian couple have had their application to adopt two boys they were foster parents to turned down, and are now claiming that they are being persecuted for holding “anti-gay” views.

The couple fostering the children had been told that a couple had been found to adopt the boys. But two days later, when they heard that the couple in question were two gay men, they put forward their own adoption application, stating it would be the “best option for them and their emotional wellbeing.” The couple had made a previous application to adopt the boys, which was turned down on the grounds that their family home was too small, which they accepted at the time.

Describing themselves as “a normal couple”, they wrote to their local council, stating “We are Christians and we expressed the view that a child needs a mother and father. We love everyone (regardless of sexual orientation) and we love the children and believe that they would benefit from the foundation offered by a mother and a father,”.

They continued that they had “not expressed homophobic views, unless Christian beliefs are, by definition, homophobic.”

Their local council then responded to the couple, telling them “having heard that the prospective adopters were a same-sex couple you shared some opinions in relation to this proposed placement which are concerning and which would not enable the service to progress an inquiry to be assessed as prospective adopters, as these views could be detrimental to the long-term needs of the children.”

In steps Andrea Williams of the Christian Legal Centre and Chief Executive of the anti-LGBT group Christian Concern (no show without Punch). Williams, who has a past record of championing heterosexual ‘traditional’ marriage and condemning and fighting same-sex marriage and parenting, stated that she and the Christian Legal Centre were standing by the couple and affirmed “This couple’s viewpoint is lawful and mainstream.”

Interviewed by Maajid Nawaz on LBC Radio, Williams claimed that studies proved that children were best brought up by a mother and father (married of course), but when asked to provide a source for these studies, she failed to give a reference to any UK-based scientific research, instead making reference to a single, obscure, Christian-based source from the USA, and skirted round the question. When Maajid Nawaz further pressed her that her views would also logically preclude single parents, she equally side-stepped that question. Frankly, Maajid (a lovely, very handsome young man, who is a reformed Islamist extermist ~ I would dears, in a New York minute) had her tied in knots and getting extremely flustered. It was a treat to listen to.

Andrea Williams claimed that the couple had not put tried to make an ideological stance on this case. I utterly refute that, but even if they had not, it is pretty obvious that Williams certainly is doing so. But then she has a past track record of jumping in with her twisted bigotry, which pays little or no regard to children she may be harming in the process.

By their own words and actions, as far as I can see from the scarce information available, the couple have condemned themselves. Their very use of the term “normal couple” should be enough to set off alarm bells in anyone’s head, because that strongly infers that same-sex couples are not normal. They only acted to adopt the boys two days after being told adoptive parents had been found, and only then when they were told that the propective parents were two gay men. And they made this application despite previously being told, and accepted, that their family home was too small to adopt the children. Terms like “ we expressed the view that a child needs a mother and father” and “they would benefit from the foundation offered by a mother and a father” certainly suggest that a same-sex couple could not offer the same support and foundation of that of a heterosexual couple.

They can claim “We love everyone (regardless of sexual orientation)” and they had “ not expressed homophobic views” all they want, but that sounds too much to me like the person who says “I’m not a racist, but…”

And no, Christian views are not by definition homophobic. Far from it, if Jesus ever existed, then he never, not once, made any reference to anyone’s sexuality. But what I will say is that there are many ‘Christians’ ~ including this couple, and the odious Andrea Williams ~ who concentrate too much on the Old Testament while paying too little attention to the man whom they claim is their saviour. The same man who allegedly told his people not to judge, accepted all, and turned away none.

As for her part, I am not afraid to call Andrea Williams out as a bare-faced liar right here and now. According to Premier.org.uk, Williams stated “They (the Christian couple) said immediately we want to look after them”. This is not so. Again, the couple did not act until two days later, and again, only when that the children may be placed with a same-sex couple.  So hardly “immediately”.  This is not the first time I have caught a ‘Christian’ blaspeming their own faith by breaking the Ninth Commandment, and “lying for Jesus”. In fact, the more conservative the Christian, the more common it becomes, to the point I have come to expect it.

In the LBC interview, Maajid Nawaz was of the view that just because people hold illiberal opinions, that should not preclude them from fostering or adopting children, and went further to say that as children are naturally prone to rebel, it does not follow that any child will share the views of the parents. I would agree, to an extent. However, we are not talking merely about political or ideological views here, but religious indoctrination and brainwashing. I have seen too much of it to ever be convinced that a strict religious upbringing does not have an effect upon the views of children; I happen to know of a anti-Catholic sectarian street preacher from Kirkcaldy, Fife, whose own two sons are as equally brainwashed and bigoted as he is.

And Maajid Nawaz himself is an interesting case in point. He had an upbringing in a traditionally conservative Muslim home. His own rebellion took the form of throwing himself into Islamist extremism, for which he spent five years in an Egyptian prison. Having worked with Amnesty International, he turned his back on that and turned right around, now holding very liberal views. Yet he remains a devout follower of Islam; a religion which holds some very disturbing, illiberal views on LGBT+ people.

Even from a political / ideological viewpoint, children will often follow in the footsteps of their parents. My grandad was a communist. My dad was a socialist (although became a bigoted old bastard in his latter years). To this day I describe myself as “slightly to the left of Leon Trotsky”. I am a diehard socialist, proud to be one, and I learned much of that from my father. By equal measure, one could hardly ever see Carol Thatcher carrying the banner, left breast bared, leading the revolution, could one?

So certainly, having views which are illiberal or controversial should not be a barrier to fostering or adopting ~ within limits. How many of the thugs running about with the EDL/SDL or Britain First came from parents who hold equally bigoted views? Quite a few I would venture.

As we say in Scotland, “Fools and bairns spik at the cross whit they hear by the ingleside.”, and if a local authority feel that anyone is unfit to parent a child because they fear that child may be indoctrinated with hate speech, which may manifest itself in a dangerous form later in life, then I for one would have to agree with them. In effect, authorities who make such bans are only saving the children from future heartache of perhaps ending up in court, or even in prison.

So who is fit to be a parent? The Christian couple and Andrea Williams openly state that it is only heterosexual same-sex married couples. That got me to thinking; but what if it was two straight men or two straight women who merely shared a house, and brought up a child, would Andrea Williams complain about that? Did she ever have a complaint about the movie “Three Men and a Baby”, it’s sequel “Three Men and a Little Lady”, or the US sitcom “My Two Dads” (apart from how bloody awful all of the above were ~ Charlie Sheen, what were you thinking?)? If she ever did object to these things, I’ve certainly never heard her saying so. Ah, but then, the characters in them were all heterosexual.

And that got me to thinking further; traditionally just who did bring up children? Did all children historically have the upbringing of a mother and father? Guess what? For the most part, no, they did not.

Among the working class of the UK, it was largely mothers who brought up the children. And when I say mothers, I emphasise the plural. It was certainly a truth, even in my lifetime, that mothers rallied together and helped each other out. As kids we were all in and out of each other’s houses, and every mum treated the children of others as their own, and looked after them as needed. Most fathers were the breadwinners, often working long hours, whom the children rarely got to see and had little contact with; another reason why mothers turned to each other, because they had no-one else to turn to.

And even among the middle and moneyed classes, it was not a matter of children ‘benefiting’ form the upbringing of a mother and father. Middle class fathers were in professions which often involved them working long hours, while those further up capitalist ladder would often be away to meetings or even out of the country. As to the children themselves, many were brought up in their formative years by nannies or au pairs, before being shipped off to boarding schools, where they spent most of the year being supervised by all male or all female staff, depending on whether they were at a boys or girls school. I don’t hear many religites shouting blue bloody murder about girls being brought up in all-female convent schools, do you?

So, having seen that side of it, I wondered if there was ever an instance when men brought the kids up. Yes, there was one, and it was right here in bonny Scotland. From the late 19th to the early 20th century, the city of Dundee became famous for it’s three main industries; “Jam, Jute, and Journalism”. Of these three industries, it was only the latter which was an all-male preserve. The jam works and the jute mills which covered Dundee employed women almost exclusively. Because it was women who were the breadwinners ~ and who controlled the purse strings ~ it was the fathers who stayed at home and looked after the children. Dundee women of the time condescendenly referred to their husbands as the “tea bilers” (boilers). Aye, you don’t like it when the boot’s on the other foot, do you fellas? Like working class women, these men had to rely upon each other in their community to help with and look after their children. No-one could ever say that any Dundonian ever suffered from being brought up by an entire community of “dads”.

And that is of course before I get to women (or men) who were widowed by the rampant disease of the past, industrial accidents which were all too common, or indeed war, and who ended up single parents (funny how single mums often get castigated, but if their partners died in war they are ‘heroe’s, isn’t it?) as a result. Again, this was overwhelmingly women, and again it was other women, other mothers, they turned to for help, who were only too happy to offer that help, to welcome the children of others into their homes, and look after them like they were their own. Indeed, even of those servicemen who survived, they were often away for years, while mums were left to bring up the kids by themselves, and with the help of other mothers in the same boat as them.

Despite many more women working today, and some men becoming “househusbands” (hate that term – a homemaker is a homemaker, regardless of gender, and it’s one of the hardest jobs in the world), this community spirit between women survives in many places to this day. Nature teaches us that the majority of species have a nurturing instinct in the female of the species. Why then should it be any different for Homo Sapiens Sapiens? It is still true that women will rally around each other where needed, and above all, they will instinctively protect children, even those of others, and even if that means putting themselves in a place of danger in the process. Women are indeed strong, and they are never stronger (or more vindictive) where the welfare of a child ~ any child ~ is involved.

Yet men can and often do demonstrate similar instincts. The example of Dundee proves this, as do the dad’s who want to (and sometimes do) lay out the referee at a sports match who cards their kid, or the dad of the kid who has just fouled their kid. I’m not for one moment condoning such behaviour, but it does display an instinct to defend and protect. It would also be a sorry excuse for a man who could ever turn away from a child in need or danger. Indeed, do not the traditionally male roles in the armed forces, the police, and the fire service underline this need to nurture and protect?

Therefore, the claim that a child needs the input from both male and female parents is clearly a false one, for the simple reason that it has rarely happened. And Andrea Williams and those of her ilk need not worry about children same-sex parenting, because for generations of countless millions of children, that has always been the norm.  Probably even for you reading this.  Probably even for Andrea Williams.