Tuesday, 1 August 2017

Policing teenagers

As part of the File on 4 radio series the BBC recently broadcast the story of a youth in his early teens who came out as gay and as a consequence became the subject of online approaches by adult men. The agenda behind the programme was to condemn the response of the police and to question ‘whether they have been slow to get to grips with cases of child exploitation when they involve boys’. The BBC has for decades been promoting homosexuality as a perfectly normal and natural, almost commendable, form of sexual expression. More recently the corporation has become equally zealous in furthering the hysteria over paedophilia that has become the main money-spinner for children’s charities. This programme brought together the agenda for the promotion of homosexuality with the paranoia over paedophilia that warrants some consideration.

The programme centred around Yorkshire schoolboy Ben who at the age of 13 announced on Facebook that he was gay. This came as a shock to his parents who thought that he was a bit young to make such a decision publicly. However, they accepted the situation but warned him to be careful ‘as there are some nasty people out there’. Previous to his announcement Ben had many school friends but they all melted away when his homosexuality was revealed. We are constantly being told by the politically correct class that attitudes to homosexuality have changed out of all recognition in recent times. However, the response of Ben’s schoolmates suggests that many people still take a different view to the establishment line on this matter.

Because he had been shunned by his school fellows Ben felt isolated and started to search online for youths of about his own age who might be gay. At no time in the programme is Ben ever criticised for the many foolhardy and irresponsible actions he took. Instead he is presented as a helpless victim of events beyond his control. Quite soon Ben is sending out naked photos of himself to an older teenager, and is being contacted by adult men looking for sex. As a result Ben contacted Childline who in turn informed the police. Two police officers visited Ben and advised him not to send out naked photos again, the issue which Ben was mainly concerned about as the older teenager had started to blackmail him. The police took no action on the advances of the older men as Ben himself was less concerned about this. In the words of Ben ‘he did not think this much of an issue’.

So Ben continued to chat online with the older men and agreed to meet up with some of them. Ben’s behaviour started to change and his relationship with his parents began to deteriorate, and there was also a detrimental impact on his schoolwork. However, at this stage the parents were still unaware of the extent of Ben’s activities. They would soon find out as his school had discovered that he had been meeting up with men for sex during his lunch breaks. The police were called and his mobile phone and laptop were confiscated. Ben claimed that his mental state began to deteriorate and he started to self harm. He blamed the men whom he was meeting for ‘brainwashing’ him into this sexual activity, in so doing absolving himself of all responsibility for his potentially deleterious actions.

By now all the major safeguarding agencies had become involved but according to the programme ‘had failed to get a grip’. It was alleged that these agencies didn’t treat the sexual exploitation of boys with the same seriousness as that against girls. The parents started to blame themselves for what happened and warned the men contacting Ben to keep away from him. Ben however was still meeting them and even travelled to London to stay the weekend with one of his contacts. On this occasion the police were called who tracked Ben down, taking him to a police station where his parents had to make the long journey to London to collect him.

The police informed the parents of the large cost of the operation to find Ben involving several police forces. At the same time the police warned Ben that he was the ‘facilitator’ and that if it wasn’t for his age they would not be investigating the matter. They also threatened him with being placed in a ‘secure unit’ if he did not change his behaviour as he was wasting police time and money. In the programme the parents are outraged by this police response, failing to acknowledge that Ben’s reckless behaviour could be a contributory factor. Ben himself stated that the police ‘didn’t want to help him and just considered him to be a nuisance’. Ben, like his parents, takes no responsibility for his own behaviour, describing himself as ‘vulnerable’.

Although Ben’s parents now start to take more responsibility to prevent Ben seeking out men, Ben himself still manages to continue seeing them. Another meeting is arranged between the parents and the police, where Ben is again accused of being a facilitator and that they do not have the resources to monitor him until he reaches the age of 16. This response appalled the parents, who still viewed Ben as a blameless victim. According to a police memo the case officer recorded that ‘I get the impression that the family only see Ben as a victim, and are blinkered to the fact that he is partially responsible for instigating the offences himself.’ A ‘child protection expert’ recruited by the BBC blamed this outlook on police prejudice against ‘gay young men who want to experiment with sex and go out looking for it’. The BBC’s expert denounced this as a ‘dangerous’ viewpoint, without providing any evidence, analysis or arguments to back up this opinion. Despite the police’s concern about Ben’s behaviour and the impact on time and resources, in practice, the police continued to investigate the ‘grooming’ behaviour of men targeting Ben, covering a period of several years.

It should be realised that this radio programme was a one sided piece of propaganda in which the BBC controlled all the information provided to the listener. For example, we never get to hear how Ben presented himself on social media and whether he notified his contacts of his true age. There was plenty of criticism of the police for failing to investigate the men who were supposedly ‘grooming’ Ben, despite Ben himself not being much troubled by their attentions.

Grooming is a 21st century legal term coined as a result of the spreading paranoia over teenage sexual activity. In popular parlance it is called ‘chatting up’, a preliminary ritual in which young men flatter reluctant young ladies in the hope of eventually ‘scoring’ with them. However, homosexuals rarely do chatting up, since both parties being promiscuous they pretty soon quickly get down to business. The criminalisation of chatting up teenagers now means that it is an offence for an 18 year old youth to ask a 15 year old girl for a date, as the authorities now deem this to be ‘evidence’ of ‘grooming’ and thus a sexual offence.

Although physically now an adult, in the programme Ben is repeatedly described as either a ‘boy’ or a ‘child’, and the message is repeatedly conveyed that he is a helpless victim who requires the open ended involvement of the safeguarding authorities, regardless of the time, cost or effort involved. Coming out as gay was presented in the programme as being nothing more than a label, or a badge, supporting a favoured minority group, with the implicit message that Ben had demonstrated honesty and courage in publicly displaying his sexual orientation. What the programme failed to realise however was that coming out as gay meant in practice that Ben now believed that he had reached an age when he wished to engage in sexual relations with other males. So it should have really come as no surprise that as soon as he was provided with an opportunity to do so, he quickly put his sexual orientation into practice by willingly engaging in sex with the men who had contacted him. This is what being gay is all about and Ben through his recklessness, willingly and repeatedly assumed the role of a rent boy.

There is no doubt that Ben behaved foolishly in engaging in sexual relation with men he hardly knew, as he could easily have become infected with sexually transmitted diseases (STD), which because of their often rampant promiscuity, homosexual men are much more likely to suffer from than the general population. But the BBC showed no concern about the risk from STDs since it would stigmatise homosexuals, and thus be contrary to their agenda of always presenting gay people in a positive light. Instead they focussed on the ‘abuse’ that Ben was supposedly facing. However, the police in a rare display of realism, rightly recognised that Ben was a willing participant in the sexual activity with older men, and because of this they were castigated for the crime of telling the truth and not sticking to the approved script of combating the ‘abuse’.

The safeguarding authorities take the view that all instances of sexual activity involving teenagers below the age of consent constitutes ‘sexual abuse’, regardless of whether they were willing participants, or whether they were harmed in any way. Enormous publicity is given to middle aged adults claiming that they were ‘abused’ ‘over a period of years’ when they were in their teens. They can do this safely under cover of anonymity and it is impossible to challenge or investigate their accounts. We are never told why they continued to collude in the ‘abuse’ without taking the obvious and easily achievable steps to put a stop to it. In conformity with this agenda the wider media never investigate or challenge the collusion of these often compensation seeking ‘victims’.

During the programme Ben, against all the evidence, continued to insist that he was a blameless victim, a vulnerable teenager brainwashed by these demonised men. But we were never told what harm he experienced through his willing sexual encounters, just a repetition that he had been a victim of ‘abuse’ in conformity with children’s charities money minting agenda that sexual activity becomes a psychological pathology whenever engaged in by young teens. The degree to which state authorities now consider it appropriate to micromanage the personal lives of young teenagers is invasive, intrusive as well as pointless given the vast numbers of individuals involved practicing this state disapproved behaviour.

Monday, 12 June 2017

Election 2017 blues

The outcome of Teresa May’s snap election has come as a big disappointment to those on the right of British politics. Far from achieving the landslide predicted at the time she called the election, the Tories have been left without an overall majority. Her authority as Conservative leader has been seriously diminished. So what went wrong?

To look on the bright side the Conservatives achieved nearly 60 more seats than Labour, they won both the largest share, and total vote, of any party in recent elections, and they ended all talk of a second Scottish independence referendum for the foreseeable future. Although the Tories lack an overall majority, the parliamentary arithmetic is still in their favour as the seven Sinn Fein members will not be attending parliament. In addition, she can count on the support of the ten Democratic Unionists, so in practical terms she has the backing of about 328 members, whereas the combined strength of the opposition parties can never exceed 315, thus giving the Tories a working majority of around 13.

With the benefit of hindsight it becomes easier to see the folly of Teresa May and her party becoming beguiled by favourable opinion poll ratings, and underestimating how they could melt away in the heat of a campaign. What has now become apparent is that Teresa May’s political style is managerial, lacking the human engagement with the electorate to win them over when the going gets tough. She appeared robotic and uncomfortable in interviews, and by ducking the leadership debates she gave the impression of being both ‘frit’ and arrogant at the same time. In contrast Jeremy Corbyn proved adept at campaigning and winning over audiences, in contrast to his often plodding parliamentary performances.

The ostensible reason for calling the election was to strengthen Teresa May’s hand in the negotiations on leaving the EU. However, in practice the focus on this objective was quickly overtaken by other issues, in particular Labour’s stress on ending austerity, the under-funding of public services and the failure of the Tories to raise living standards for ordinary people. The two terrorist atrocities allowed Labour to point the finger at Tory cuts in police manpower. In their complacency, the Tories alienated older supporters with ill thought out proposals for the funding of social care and the withdrawal of the winter fuel payment for most pensioners. In contract Labour could entice young voters with the abolition of tuition fees. At the end of the day little positive reasons were provided in the manifesto for people to vote Tory. Their strategy can be summarised as trust Teresa May as she is clearly more competent than the unelectable extremist Jeremy Corbyn, whom they proceeded to demonise with the aid and support of their press backers. Unfortunately for the Tories insufficient members of the electorate were persuaded by these negative tactics.

So what of the future? The main task remains a satisfactory outcome in the negotiations to leave the European Union. The election outcome should have no impact on this as the only parliamentary vote will be on whether to accept the final agreement reached. The Tories will need to do more to end low pay, improve public services, reverse the fall in home ownership, and make a more determined effort to reduce uncontrolled immigration, in particular of Muslims through arranged marriages. Unfortunately, the Conservatives commitment to introduce more grammar schools now looks a lot more problematic, given the lukewarm approach of some Tory MPs.

With regard to the other parties, Jeremy Corbyn should be congratulated for increasing the Labour vote by nearly ten per cent when many pundits, including the majority of his MPs, had written him off at the start of the campaign. Although sincere and straight talking he remains a deeply unsavoury character with his past sympathy for IRA terrorist objectives, toleration of Islamist fanatics, and admiration for repugnant or dysfunctional Marxist regimes such as those of Castro and Chavez. He would be more than happy to flood Britain with immigrants from all parts of the globe, and his reflex public obsequiousness towards ethnic minority people and their often regressive practices, and sometimes degenerate culture, is nothing more than nauseating virtue signalling.

Despite all this Labour still managed to produce some sensible policies. Gas, electricity and water are all natural monopolies, and their privatisation has provided only fake competition and negligible benefits. It cannot be right that young people are saddled with huge debts for a university education. Unfettered globalisation appears to have enriched those who caused the financial crash with obscene telephone number bonuses, yet impoverished still further those with the least skills at the bottom end of society.

As for the minor parties, UKIP is clearly finished having served its purpose. It may have a residual role as a pressure group for a clean British EU exit if Nigel Farage is prepared to resume the leadership. The Liberal Democrats plan to scupper Brexit with a second referendum thankfully gained no traction and the party remains an irrelevance. The Green Party continues on the fringe of British politics where it belongs. Although environmental protection is important the Greens’ infatuation with the ludicrous and discredited climate change hoax means they cannot be taken seriously about anything.

In conclusion, the Tories should make the best of the hand they have been dealt. There should be no backsliding on leaving the European Union, including withdrawal from the single market and customs union and ending the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice. Until the Brexit negotiations have been successfully completed, nothing would be gained by a change in the Conservative leadership, and an early general election might lead to still more support for the Labour party. So the Tories should stay united, get on with governing the country and demonstrate that they can deliver administrative and economic competence.

Monday, 5 June 2017

President Trump gives a lead

Politicians sometimes like to proclaim that it is necessary for them to provide a lead in order that an outcome that is ultimately beneficial to society is achieved. President Trump has shown in no uncertain terms his willingness to demonstrate such a lead when he pulled the United States out of the Paris climate change agreement. It is to be hoped that other countries follow suit, in particular President Putin of Russia who has always appeared lukewarm over the global warming agenda.

Needless to say Trump’s wise decision to confront reality on this matter has provoked predictable howls of outrage from European Union leaders, who have been the most vocal supporters of the failed theory that increases in CO2 emissions lead to a rise in global temperatures resulting in uncontrollable climate change. In fact the reality has been that for the past two centuries, since the end of the ‘little ice age’ which saw frost fairs held on the Thames, there has been remarkably little change in global temperature despite a considerable increase in CO2 emissions. Therefore it is reasonable to assume the next couple of centuries will similarly show little change in global temperatures.

Supporters of the climate change hoax point out that 95% of scientists believe that climate change is a ‘reality’. What they fail to point out is that in the 1970s 95% of scientists believed that CO2 emissions were not a problem that would lead to rising global temperatures. Indeed some of the more vocal climatologists, as shown here http://bit.ly/27RaoNr, were concerned instead that we were heading for a new ice age, on the grounds that global temperatures had been on a falling trend during the previous thirty years. It should also be remembered that the discovery that CO2 was a greenhouse gas took place in the late 19th century, but only became problematic for scientists a century later.

Promoters of climate change alarmism invariably cite more extreme weather phenomena, which always occur, albeit infrequently, as ‘evidence’ of climate change. For example a few years back Britain was subjected to a prolonged drought which the alarmist pundits blamed on global warming. But later when the problem was reversed and severe flooding occurred, these same pundits also blamed global warming as the cause. Climate change means that the climate of a country is gradually moving in one direction, in this instance either becoming drier, or wetter. It cannot be both and constitute a change in climate. So the alarmists are confusing extreme weather variables as supposed evidence of a trend towards a changing climate. It should never be forgotten that the motivation for the climate change hoax is political one, not a search for scientific truth.

Thursday, 1 June 2017

What is Islamophobia?

Over the years the politically correct class has coined a variety of deprecatory labels designed to both denigrate their opponents and promote their own virtue. Words such as a sexist, racist, homophobia and transphobia have entered the political lexicon. Self styled ‘progressives’ enjoy challenging the supposedly ‘bigoted’ beliefs of their opponents, but they rarely engage in open debate on the merits of their own views, preferring instead to silence opposition through the method of pejorative denunciation.

One such label is ‘Islamophobia’ which is designed to deflect any open discussion or investigation that might shine a light on the dark age superstition that is sometimes promoted as the ‘religion of peace’. What is never made clear is why the general public should not be phobic about this belief system, when it is clearly the driving force behind the overwhelming majority of terrorist atrocities and military conflict in the world today.

Defenders of Islam often try to equate jihadism with the comparatively miniscule examples of right wing violence. There is however one crucial difference between the two, right wing ideology is condemned regardless of whether or not it is accompanied by violence. In contrast the motivation behind jihadism, namely Islam, is rarely ever questioned but instead is accepted as a normal and rational belief system.

In reality there is no theological distinction between terrorist groups such as ISIS and Al-Qaeda, and the barbarous Islamic regimes of Iran and Saudi Arabia, with their oppression of women, suppression of religious minorities and routine use of executions for minor infractions of a repressive moral code, together with numerous other deeply regressive practices. The only difference is that the terrorists groups are more likely to openly support jihadism to achieve their objective of a global Islamic caliphate. Hypocritically, British governments have condemned the Islamic terrorist groups whilst at the same time providing billions of pounds worth of arms to the repulsive Saudi regime. Moreover, politicians have also ludicrously attempted to set themselves up as Islamic scholars by trying to define what are, and are not, real Islamic values.

The politically correct class have shown the same double standard, condemning political parties such as UKIP for supposedly fomenting ‘hate’ and ‘bigotry’, whilst rushing to condemn those who question the regressive practices of Islam as promoting Islamophobia. So the answer to the question as to what constitutes Islamophobia can be defined as ‘a well founded rational fear that Islam presents a mortal danger to western cultural and political values, and way of life’. So instead of being cowed by accusations of Islamophobia people should instead embrace it as a badge of honour.

Thursday, 20 April 2017

UKIP and the Tories – what’s the difference?

The decision of the British people to leave the European Union would never have happened without the pressure put on the Conservative Party by UKIP. Despite having no more than two MPs, the threat they posed forced the pro-EU Conservative prime minister David Cameron to hold a referendum that he and most of his cabinet colleagues had wished to avoid. This outcome against the odds was a magnificent achievement by UKIP, and a personal triumph for their leader Nigel Farage. However, since the referendum UKIP have struggled to find a role now that they have achieved their primary objective. So, with a general election announced, it is worth considering if the party has a continuing role to play in British politics.

Both of the former UKIP MPs, Douglas Carswell and Mark Reckless, have left the party believing that it has now served its purpose. Their viewpoint is reinforced by the perception that the Conservatives under Theresa May will settle for a trading arrangement outside the EU customs union and single market. So is there now any meaningful difference between the two parties?

In addition to leaving the EU the strongest selling points for UKIP were a tougher line on immigration and a commitment to reintroduce grammar schools. However, UKIP’s policy on immigration is not as robust as it needs to be, since they are in favour of a points based system that gives priority to Commonwealth citizens. The problem with a points based system is that once an applicant achieves the requisite number of points they automatically become eligible for entry. Allowing unfettered Commonwealth immigration from societies with very different cultural values to our own would only compound the problems of integration that we have wrestled with for the past half century or more.

The reason Britain still needs skilled workers from overseas is because employers have failed to properly train UK workers. So to put pressure on employers to devote more resources to training they should face a ‘failure to train’ levy on any foreign worker they wish to employ. This should amount to £10,000 for any worker from Europe, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the USA, and £20,000 for the rest of the world, to be paid annually up to a maximum of five years, with no guarantee of citizenship. These amounts could be ratcheted up over time to put further pressure on recalcitrant employers. The NHS will be exempt, but the training of British born medical staff will have to become a top priority. So currently neither UKIP nor the Tories can be relied on to deliver an immigration policy that prioritises the interests of British citizens.

Since the election of Theresa May as leader the Tories have started to make some encouraging noises on the reintroduction of grammar schools. The justification for this move is that they provide an improved route to achieve social mobility for bright children from working class backgrounds. It allows such pupils to benefit from an academic education, removed from the distraction and influence of their anti-attainment peers that is regrettably commonplace in working class culture. Grammar schools face stiff opposition from the educational establishment, opposition parties and sadly also some elements within the Conservatives, so it is to be hoped that their supporters can hold their nerve and face down these ideologically driven egalitarian agitators.

What other policies do the parties have which can be commended? UKIP has promised to repeal the Climate Change Act foolishly introduced when the global warming scare was at its height. Both parties are committed to the scrapping the Human Rights Act and ensuring that the Supreme Court is indeed supreme and not subordinate to any outside jurisdiction. However the Tories are still trying to pander to political correctness by seeking to extend so called ‘hate crimes’ as well as attacking freedom of expression by the use of banning orders for undefined ‘extremist’ organisations. Many of the two parties other policies are managerial in nature and could be introduced by either without seriously undermining their wider ideological objectives.

Having two parties with separate manifestos does allow more ideas to be generated, which if they are sound, can be poached by the other party. Currently many working class Labour voters are unwilling to vote Conservative, but might be tempted to support UKIP. But under the current voting system UKIP are unlikely to win any seats in the coming election, whereas the Tories look to be heading for a 100 seat majority if the polls are to be believed. In the circumstances a vote for UKIP appears to be a wasted one, and it might allow Labour to retain seats which would otherwise have been lost, had the political right remained undivided.

Wednesday, 29 March 2017

Dame Janet Smith BBC report into Jimmy Savile part two – ethos and culture

Dame Janet Smith not only sat in judgement on Jimmy Savile in her BBC report but she also condemned a whole way of life from our past. One quote that keeps reappearing in her report is ‘things were different in those days’ when discussing the post permissive, but pre feminist period, from the late 1960s to about the early 1980s. This post will try to identify what was so different about this earlier period compared to more recent years, and whether the Dame is right in deploring the outlook of society then, which she investigated as part of the background to her report.

It was part of her remit to ‘consider whether the culture and practices within the BBC during the years of Jimmy Savile’s employment enabled inappropriate sexual conduct to continue unchecked’. The BBC as a broadcaster came to realise that change was in the air, observing that ‘sexual behaviour which once would have been regarded as completely out of order is regarded as possibly acceptable, possibly normative, and the BBC is both trying to reflect this as a broadcaster and also is wrestling with some of the consequences of it’.

Many BBC staff and other witnesses reported that ‘attitudes towards sexual behaviour were more tolerant in the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s than the attitudes we have today’. Dame Janet acknowledged that from the 1960s onwards ‘there was a rapid change in sexual and social mores, particularly among the younger generation’. Such changes were ascribed to the arrival of pop music and the loosening of censorship after the Lady Chatterley trial. Sex outside marriage became more widely acceptable, and there was a more general openness and frankness about sexual matters.

Dame Janet revealed that ‘at about this time, there was much discussion about whether there should be a reduction in the age at which a woman could consent to sexual intercourse.’ She continues ‘one argument advanced by those in favour of a reduction in the age of consent was that so many young people under the age of 16 were having sex; they were not only willing to do it but were not going to be stopped.’ She pointed out that the police could only prosecute those few cases where a complaint was made. Since the law was being widely disregarded, and had fallen out of step with social mores, it was argued by some that the age of consent should be reduced to 13. These were not arguments which convinced either legislators of the time, or Dame Janet, who proclaimed that ‘the law must be able to protect young people if they call for protection and should also seek to protect them from seduction by adults.’

Some commentators expressed the view ‘that people were not as aware of the significance of the age of consent as we are today, and that there was a much more relaxed approach to this question’. Dame Janet is correct when she acknowledges that during this period there was very little discussion about the ‘sexual abuse’ of young people, indeed the phrase had hardly been coined at that time. She concludes that the question that needs to be addressed is ‘whether, in the general population, the more relaxed attitudes towards heterosexual sex outside marriage included a more relaxed attitude towards underage sex and, in particular, a more relaxed attitude towards sex between an older man and a teenage girl.’

Witnesses revealed that attitudes towards the age of consent during this period had become very blurred, and that an increasing number of people regarded sex between a younger teenage girl and an older teenage boyfriend as acceptable, and that the important thing was to help her to avoid pregnancy. However, there appears to have been less social acceptance of sexual relations between a young teenage girl and a man in his thirties or older. Despite this there was little real sense of public outrage when such celebrity relationships were revealed in the press, perhaps due to the perception that such conduct was acceptable for celebrities. More generally the prevailing outlook, in the words of one witness, was that ‘the culture of the time was such that there was not a moral police attitude.’

Dame Janet does not buy into this permissive outlook. She condemned the viewpoint that such conduct, in the words of one witness, was ‘an unavoidable aspect of modern life and that there was nothing which could be done about it; the girls were willing and it was up to them.’ She believed that this attitude ‘was fostered or at any rate allowed to remain unchallenged because there were so few women in senior positions.’ She criticized the dominance of male management which she claimed created or permitted a ‘macho’ culture which allowed a casual attitude towards sex and what was acceptable behaviour, and also in attitudes towards women in the workplace.

Dame Janet discovered that sexual harassment was commonplace in many parts of the BBC, creating an atmosphere where women found it difficult to report complaints. There were very few female managers and generally the attitude of male managers appeared unconcerned about the issue. One female witness described the situation as ‘there were lots of wandering hands, comments about your body, chaps just felt it was perfectly fine to put their hand on your bottom, and other places.’ In response one former male manager accepted that there were ‘touchy-feely people who would always go and put their arm around a girl’ but said that challenging such behaviour did not feature high on his list of priorities. However, he thought that the young women were ‘strong enough to stand up for themselves and could give as good as they got, and probably would have done’. On the subject of sexual activity between an older male and a young girl in her mid-teens, she concluded that ‘beginning in the 1960s and continuing over the next two decades, there was a relaxation in our attitude towards such behaviour.’ Within the BBC the Dame thought that ‘there was a general perception that many girls of 14 or 15 were ready and willing to have sex with their pop idols. They hung around waiting for them, behaving in an excited way’. Staff took the view that if they wanted to have sex with celebrities it was a matter for them and no one else’s business, even though the activity was unlawful.

She contrasted this viewpoint with the current outlook whereby ‘we are much more conscious of the damage which can be done to a young person who enters into an unequal relationship with an older, powerful, charismatic man for whom the relationship is casual and unimportant. We are now far more disapproving of such relationships. To that extent I do accept that things were different in those days’. Dame Janet claims that ‘our knowledge and understanding of the need for child protection has changed radically. Until the late 1980s, the sexual abuse of children was barely acknowledged to exist; it is now widely discussed. Our understanding of the circumstances in which this can occur and the devastating effects it can have on victims has grown and continues to increase almost daily.’

Dame Janet’s conclusions on child protection were that during the period between the 1960s and the 1990s, this was a subject that was very low on the BBC’s radar, that no clear policies or procedures existed and such matters were generally not discussed. Managers were unaware of ‘the dangers of bringing together disc jockeys and young girls in circumstances in which assignations of a sexual nature might be made.’ She emphasised some factors which were general in society during this period which contributed to this outlook. These were a failure to see sexual abuse of the young as a significant major problem, and to recognise the need to protect young people around the age of consent from exploitation by older men, underpinned by the prevailing outlook that, once a girl had reached the age of 16, anything went. Dame Janet added that there was a failure to recognise the seriousness of the harm which could be done to young people who might (albeit lawfully and willingly) be drawn into casual sexual contact with older men who were abusing the power given to them by their age or position.

Dame Janet summarises this situation in the phrase ‘moral danger’, defined as the risk to which young teenage girls might be exposed as the result of finding themselves in the company of older men and ‘liable to be involved in sexual conduct which might be unlawful on account of their youth or might be inappropriate and emotionally damaging to them on account of their lack of maturity.’

Dame Janet appears to combine the Victorian social purity of Josephine Butler, the anti permissiveness of Mary Whitehouse, and the strident feminist agenda of Harriet Harman. Her conclusions encapsulate the convergence between the feminist agitation over ‘rape culture’ and children’s charities fear mongering over ‘child sexual abuse’. The former has expanded to include any disapproved physical or verbal interaction between men and women, and the definition of the latter has been widened to include any social activity by men with females still in their teens. Dame Janet implicitly promotes the view that it is a legitimate role of the law, and those in positions of authority, to police in minute detail the interpersonal relations between those of the opposite sex in general and teenagers in particular.

As Dame Janet has recorded teenagers in the 1960s and 1970s were keen to escape the repressive and hard line sexual straightjacket which pre-permissive society had imposed on their parents and grandparents. Neither teenagers themselves, nor the BBC management responsible for organising Top of the Pops, would have welcomed the kind of intrusive surveillance which Dame Janet appears to be advocating under the pretext of child protection. Young people of that period would have been aghast in disbelief that the clock would again be turned back to an oppressive chaperoning regime that undermines young persons self reliance and personal autonomy, under the disguise of protecting the vulnerable. We really have to trust teenagers on the management of their personal relationships, and if they make mistakes as they surely will, then they will undoubtedly learn from the experience, and not allow it to blight the rest of their life which is what is happening under the therapy culture of today promoted by the likes of Dame Janet.

Tuesday, 21 March 2017

Dame Janet Smith BBC report into Jimmy Savile Part 1 - Accusations

The investigation carried out by Dame Janet Smith into the activities of Jimmy Savile at the BBC was set up in October 2012 in the wake of the ‘revelations’ made in the ITV programme Exposure: The Other Side of Jimmy Savile. At that time the reasonable assumption was made that the evidence presented in this programme was truthful and genuine. In fact, as the intrepid bloggers, Anna Raccoon, Moor Larkin & Rabbitaway have revealed, it was a compendium of falsehoods, fabrications and misleading exaggerations as outlined in this earlier blogpost here. http://bit.ly/2dybGYs This post attempts a belated analysis of the conclusions reached in the Dame’s report published in March 2016, and includes findings revealed by the above investigative bloggers.

The Smith report is extensive running to well over 700 pages. Its primary conclusion was that although many BBC staff claimed to have heard rumours about Jimmy Savile the senior management of the BBC were never presented with any evidence of wrongdoing. The reason for reaching this conclusion in the report is that there was no record of any junior or middle management staff ever communicating their concerns about Savile to senior management. However, as will be explained in some detail below, the real reason why senior management heard nothing is because there was nothing to hear that was worth communicating. The allegations against Savile appear to fall into three categories, hearsay and rumour, the relatively harmless and trivial, and the fantastical.

The Dame doesn’t take too long before she tells us where she is coming from when she declares ‘in early October 2012, the country was deeply shocked about revelations that Savile, the well-known and well-loved television personality and charity fundraiser had in fact been a prolific sex offender.’ She repeats this again later ‘in the weeks following the disclosures about Savile’s sexual misconduct in October 2012’. This viewpoint can only have been reached by swallowing wholesale the deceptions in the Exposure programme.

Whilst this casual acceptance would be understandable at the start of the investigation, it becomes untenable by the time the report was published, given the amount of contradictory evidence that had been unearthed and placed in the public domain by the investigative bloggers. So her default position throughout the investigation is based on the falsehood that Savile must have been a sexual predator because that is what the Exposure programme supposedly uncovered beyond reasonable doubt. The Dame need not be censured too much about this, she only fell into the same trap that just about everybody else did, namely accepting the Exposure deceits without question or investigation. So all her deliberations must be viewed critically through the prism of her overt confirmation bias that Savile was a ‘prolific sex offender’, a viewpoint which must seriously have influenced the objectivity of her conclusions. In short, she has assumed his guilt and then set about building a case to justify it.

Dame Janet declared that ‘I have applied the civil standard of proof. That is to say that I have accepted evidence if I think that, on the balance of probabilities, it is true and accurate.’ In fact it soon becomes apparent that she has deviated quite considerably from this already fairly low standard of proof. What she has instead done is invariably accept that the accusers’ claims are true, unless there is fairly clear proof that they are lying. She has approached her investigation with the ingrained belief that Savile was a sexual predator and that his ‘victims’ should be believed. As we have seen in other well publicised cases this seems to be standard practice among prosecuting authorities these days.

We first need to examine the allegations relating to the Exposure programme that involve the BBC. To her credit Dame Janet firmly dismisses the testimony of Wilfred De’ath who repeated to her the tale he told in the TV programme. The Dame however got hold of a bundle of BBC documents which cast doubt on De’ath’s claims. She re-interviewed him and concluded that his account ‘contained so many inaccuracies’ that no reliance can be placed upon it.

The testimonies of Val and Angie formed a crucial part of the Exposure programme’s agenda of demonising Savile, and Dame Janet has related their claims in some depth. They are described as two of a group of teenage girls who formed what she terms the ‘London Team’. The accounts of Val and Angie are substantially the same as that given on the Exposure programme, although much additional detail has been provided. Their close relationship with Savile lasted for a period of at least five years before it ended, although they remained in contact with Savile for some time afterwards.

What the Dame failed to grasp is that Val and Angie are the same pair as the two women who wrote to Louis Theroux, revealed in a later part of the report. In their letter to Theroux they corrected the impression he gave in his TV programme that Savile did not have regular girlfriends. They also confirmed that neither of them experienced any abuse from Savile, making it clear that their relationships with him had been consensual, and that they had stayed on friendly terms with him for some time afterwards. So the only conclusion that can be reached is that, in fundamentally changing their stories to one of abusive behaviour, both Val and Angie have provided false testimony to the Exposure programme and to Dame Janet’s investigation.

In the Exposure programme Fiona, a former Duncroft approved school pupil, claimed that Savile assaulted her in a dressing room at BBC Television Centre after the recording of the Clunk-Click TV programme. In Dame Janet’s report the witness C30, a former Duncroft pupil, makes similar claims against Savile that were made by Fiona in Exposure, so it appears likely that they are both the same individual. Intriguingly the Dame concluded that ‘there are a number of elements of her evidence (C30) which are open to question and I do not feel able to make a decision about her claim of abuse, beyond saying that it might have happened and it might not’. Evidence has come to light that Fiona arrived at Duncroft only after the Clunk-Click series ended, and thus her testimony on Exposure (and to the Dame if she is C30) must be false.

In the Exposure programme another Duncroft pupil Charlotte claimed that Savile assaulted her in his caravan during the recording of a radio show, which could only have been Savile’s Travels. However, there is no evidence in the BBC records of such a programme being made from Duncroft, nor is there evidence in the Duncroft records that Charlotte was placed in isolation after she complained to teachers about this supposed incident. As there is no reference in the Smith report to this allegation it must be concluded that it was another attempt by the Exposure producers to defame the memory of Savile. To summarise, five of the six most damaging claims against Savile in the Exposure programme involved him working at or for the BBC. As can be seen from the above analysis, all of them are false.

To tie up the Duncroft saga, the Smith report does serve a useful purpose as it reveals how Savile came to visit Duncroft School in the first place. Witness A22 was a former resident at Duncroft who introduced Savile to the school after she met him at a social event. In the words of the report ‘her evidence is that he always behaved impeccably and her account contradicts much of what the other Duncroft witnesses say about Savile. A22 was clearly very close to Savile and thought very highly of him. She had a relationship with him after she left Duncroft. I have no reason to doubt her evidence that, while she was at Duncroft, Savile behaved impeccably in her presence’. Full details about A22’s relationship with Savile can be found on the Anna Raccoon website.

Having dealt with the Exposure stories it is time to examine some of the more fantastical claims made in the Smith report. Kevin Cook, as a nine year old, was one of a party of scouts who attended Jim’ll Fix It in January 1977 who shared a badge given to the whole troupe. Cook claimed that Savile took him aside and asked whether he would like a badge of his own, to which he answered yes. He then claims that Savile told him that he would have to ‘earn’ his badge and took him to a dressing room where he carried out sexual acts on Cook. This activity was interrupted by another man entering the dressing room.

However, Cook has come up with two separate stories about this second unidentified man. In the first the man immediately leaves, in the second he also starts to participate in the abuse against Cook, that also involves some violence. The Dame declared that this ‘change in Mr Cook’s account made it difficult for me to make up my mind whether his account was true’. She re-interviews him and accepts his explanation that ‘he had found talking about the second stage of the abuse even more embarrassing than the first’. She then concludes that she is ‘quite satisfied that his account was true and that both men had abused him’

However Moor Larkin has uncovered this revealing comment on an ITV discussion board ‘my husband was also one of the scouts that attended that day with this chap, he was chaperoned everywhere with an adult and had no problems at all.’ In a later part of the report Dame Janet commends the strict chaperoning regime on Jim’ll Fix It. This required that a child was always accompanied by a parent, chaperone or member of staff. Dame Janet stated ‘I am satisfied that that rule was strictly followed’. Moreover, according to BBC staff, Savile’s dressing room was usually so full of people that he would never be alone with a child, and his door was almost always open. It is difficult to believe that this young scout would not have been missed by the rest of the group and the leader, that he would have remained silent on the matter to his scout friends afterwards, especially after he got his individual badge, and that he would not have raised the matter at some point with his parents, but instead kept quiet about it for over 35 years.

One of the more bizarre incidents of alleged abuse by Savile took place whilst he was dressed in a Womble suit. C9 was a ten year old boy when he was taken by his grandfather to Top of the Pops. C46 was a twelve year old girl with her aunt at the same recording in late 1973. None of them had a ticket, they were waiting in the queue hoping to get in. Savile suddenly appeared at the entrance and agreed to take in the two children leaving the adults outside. Savile appeared throughout the show in a Womble suit. After the show was over they were both brought together to Savile’s dressing room. Savile took off his Womble outfit and proceeded to carry out a sex act on the boy, which was painful and caused some bleeding. He then carried out another sex act with the girl. Savile told them not to tell anyone as it was their secret, and he then left the room. They were then escorted to the exit by a member of staff where they rejoined the two waiting adults. Neither the boy nor the girl ever told anybody about this incident.

Dame Janet acknowledged that there were some inconsistencies and improbabilities in their accounts. These relate to the nature of the attacks and the state of undress, that children this young would unlikely to be allowed in the audience, one of the bands had pre-recorded their performance and were not at this show and inaccurate descriptions of how the acts were presented. Both C9 and C46 were represented by the same firm of solicitors. Despite all this the Dame is convinced that both are telling the truth. Some further facts have come to light. Mike Batt created The Wombles and the suits were the responsibility of his mother. According to Mike Batt because of their expensive cost, she never let them out of her sight. Moreover, the Womble outfits cannot be opened from the front, so Savile may have needed some assistance in the removal.

Another questionable account comes from C42, a 15 year old girl living in Manchester. She attended a recording of Top of the Pops in June 1970, travelling to London by train with a friend. They were both met at the studio by the programme’s photographer Harry Goodwin. At the end of the recordings Mr Goodwin introduced them to Jimmy Savile, who invited C42 to his dressing room for some signed photographs, leaving her friend with Mr Goodwin. Savile then carried out various sexual acts with her in the dressing room, before she managed to escape and rejoin her friend in the cafeteria. Mr Goodwin invited them out for a meal but C42 said she was unhappy and wanted to return to Euston station to catch a train for home. She never mentioned the incident to anyone until the Savile scandal broke in 2012.

During this period Top of the Pops was recorded at BBC TV Centre on Wednesdays between 7.30-10 pm for transmission the following day. So it would not have been possible for C42 to escape from her ordeal in Savile’s dressing room earlier than about 10.30 pm but maybe as late as 11 pm. Thus it was far too late for her to contemplate both having a meal and returning to Euston station to travel home to Manchester as the last train would have long since left by then. It is also difficult to believe that two 15 year old would be allowed to travel from Manchester to London during term time, and be able to make an unfamiliar and complicated journey across London.

Leisha Brookes was about nine years old in 1976 when she was first taken to BBC TV Centre by her stepfather’s friend Douglas Sillitoe, who worked for the BBC as a scene painter. He took her to the television centre about once a fortnight over a two year period, and she had access to many parts of the building, where she often saw or met celebrities. She claims that she was abused by about 30 of Sillitoe’s work colleagues at the BBC. One of these men was Savile, who she recognised from Jim’ll Fix It. She claimed he ‘promised to show her his big chair although he never did’. Leisha claims that when she was 19 she made a long statement to Merseyside police about the sexual abuse she had suffered including that from Savile. However, she claims that the police did not take any action on the ground that there was not enough evidence. Dame Janet concludes that she may have been abused by Silitoe’s colleagues as part of a paedophile ring, but accepts her claim that she was definitely abused by Savile.

Because the alleged offences took place in London, Merseyside police would have sent her witness statement to the Metropolitan police. However, enquiries of the Metropolitan police have proved fruitless as no trace of the complaint or any statement was found. As an adult Leisha Brookes has been repeatedly prosecuted for the non payment of her TV licence. Previous to 2012 her justification for non payment was for ‘personal reasons’. However in 2013 she refused to pay as a protest against her abuse ‘by Jimmy Savile and 35 other men at the BBC's headquarters’ that ‘wrecked her life, leading to mental health problems and suicide attempts’ It is difficult to believe that a paedophile ring of about 30 men would have operated at the TV centre without it coming to light. It is also unlikely that a major celebrity such Jimmy Savile would have been part of a ring comprising ordinary workmen. It must be concluded that her allegations appear to be extremely fanciful.

C38 was a 15 year old youth from Newcastle-upon-Tyne when he travelled by car with his elder brother and a friend to Top Of The Pops in the winter of 1964/65. His elder brother and friend were let in by the doorman but C38 was refused entry because he was too young. Because he wanted to keep in the warmth he decided to stay in the foyer until his companions returned after the end of the recording. During his wait C38 went into the gent’s toilet where he was soon joined by Savile and a companion. Without speaking to him Savile then proceeded to carry out various sex acts which C38 found painful. In shock he ran out of the building and down the road where he waited outside until the recording was over. He did not speak to his brother about this incident.

Images of the tickets to Top of the Pops from the 1964/65 period are still in the public domain, and clearly state that the minimum age for entry was 14. So C38 should have had no problems gaining entrance to the recording on grounds of age. The minimum age for entry was raised to 16 at a later date. Moreover, a car journey between Newcastle and Manchester in winter over the Pennines would have been a rather hazardous adventure for three youths in the largely pre-motorway era, particularly the night time return journey. In must be concluded that this is another very questionable account.

C39 was a 16 year old girl from Liverpool who attended Top of the Pops with a group of friends in 1964. After the recording she became separated from her friends, and in looking for them came across Savile. She told him that she was lost and that she and her companions were good friends with The Hollies pop group. Savile suggested that the group would probably be at a local nightspot and offered to take her there in his car. However, at the door C39 was refused entry because of her age. Savile went in alone but on his return claimed that he could not find The Hollies or her friends. After trying several more night clubs, without success in tracking down her friends, C39 agreed to spend the night at Savile’s flat, as by then it was too late to catch the train home to Liverpool. She described his flat as being part of a large Victorian property. During the night Savile entered her room and proceeded to rape her. She left in the morning and told her friend what had happened. Her friend informed her that The Hollies had in fact been at the first night club with their companions, but warned C39 that if they mentioned what had happened they would get no more tickets to Top of the Pops, so she told nobody else.

There are some problems with this account. The Dickinson Road studios, where Top of the Pops was recorded, are located in a converted church and due to the small size it would be very difficult for C39 to become completely detached from her companions, particularly as they would also be looking for her after they became separated. It is difficult to believe that she would have been refused entry to the night club when accompanied by a national celebrity such as Savile, particularly as her friends of a similar age had already been let in. In a time before ID requirements she would almost certainly have been waved through, even if there were some doubts about her age. One further point casting doubt on her claims is that, according to Moor Larkin, from 1963 Savile’s flat in Salford was part of a modern block, not a large Victorian house. Given all this, C39 is another case in which the wool appears to have been pulled over Dame Janet’s eyes.

Quite a few of the assaults recorded in the report would come under the heading of unsolicited touching. Whilst this behaviour can clearly be annoying to some women, the frequency which it seems to have occurred before the rise of feminism suggests that it was not as unacceptable to all women as it is considered now. Unlike the drab and scruffy attire worn by many women today, at that time most of them dressed in a feminine way that appealed to men, and many were flattered and reassured when they received physical evidence that they were attractive. However, this is not behaviour which can be condoned as it is clearly invasive and disrespectful to women.

One thing in common about all these alleged assaults is that the person now making the accusation either told nobody about it at the time, or if they did, they never took it further by using the BBC’s complaints procedure or informing the police. The usual reasons given for this are that either they thought they would not be believed or that they did not want to make a fuss or cause trouble. However, the law on sexual assaults is there for anyone who wants its protection and always has been. Common sense dictates that if an assault is not reported it will not be investigated. Contrary to what is often claimed today, the police have always treated sexual assault cases seriously, but to discover the truth they require evidence and full information as close as possible to the time when the assault took place. If genuine victims of assault say nothing about it at the time they have only themselves to blame if perpetrators get away with it, and so it is no use whingeing about the unfairness of it all decades later.

It must be concluded that Dame Janet’s report is almost worthless in discovering the truth about Jimmy Savile’s sexual escapades. She has made only the most cursory investigation into the allegations, treating the interviews as almost a therapy session, rather than seriously probing the claimants to tease out inconsistencies and improbabilities in their accounts. Her starting point has been that Savile was already a proven ‘prolific sexual predator’, and she has bent over backwards to accept the claims presented to her, no matter how fanciful or fantastical they might appear, or contrary to common sense. Part 2 of this blogpost will take a look at the culture and ethos of the BBC and wider society during the pre-feminist period which seems to have provoked Dame Janet’s ire.