The Tory paedophile ring and other witch hunts
PAEDO-hunting is now entertainment for daytime telly. Phillip Schofield, host of ITV’S This Morning, attempted to ambush David Cameron by handing him a list of names of suspected paedophiles he’d found by looking online for a few minutes. No proof. No evidence. Just what Phil had read on the web. For good measure, Phil flashed the list he’d made up to those watching at home. Disgusting.
And odd. Not too long ago the liberal commentariat was bashing the News of The World. When the now dead paper’s Paul McMullan told the Leveson Inquiry “Privacy is for Paedos“, he was rounded on. Now the same people that professed to hate such tabloid tactics are using them.
This has been coming. Schofield is just the latest idiot to jump abord the paedo-hunting bandwagon.
Schofield joins Channel 4’s Cathy Newman, who asked ex Welsh Secretary Paul Murphy and Tory MP Karen Lumley that there was a “danger for the Conservative Party that these allegations may not concern isolated figures in the party?”
The inference is that the Tories were running a paedophile ring. Proof? None.
The Tory Party Paedo Ring is based on the claims of one Steven Messham, who told a surely gleeful Newsnight – a show desperate to deflect attention from its Jimmy Savile debacle – that he’d been abused by a top Tory at a care home in north Wales.
In 2005, he was cleared of benefits fraud (see photo left). A jury at Chester Crown Court found him not guilty of five false accounting charges. Mr Messham was arrested in 2001 on suspicion of making false claims to receive £33,000 in housing, income and council tax benefits between 1995 and 2000.
During the trial, Mr Messham insisted he was told he did not have to declare up to £40,000 savings – much of it compensation from abuse he suffered. In addition, life assurance he received when his wife died in 1992 was meant for a trust fund for his daughter, he said.
Why did North Wales Police go after Mr Messham? What was their relationship with Flintshire County Council? Mr Messham was living in Buckley, Flintshire, at the time.
Abuse at the Bryn Estyn children’s home in Wrexham (pictured) and others in North Wales was investigated in the Waterhouse Inquiry in 2000. Seven people were imprisoned. The Government is now reviewing that report (Chapter 52 asked: “Was there a paedophile ring?”).
Schofield joins Labour MP Tom Watson, the expenses expert who wrote an “open letter“ to David Cameron on his blog. In it, Watson speaks from “one father to another”. That might translate as “one heterosexual to another”. As a dad… is political shorthand for caring. But, as the criminal records tell us, dads often the most prolific child abusers.
One of the abusers in North Wales was Stephen Norris, a married man who pleaded guilty in November 1993 to three offences of buggery, an attempted buggery and three indecent assaults involving three former Bryn Estyn boys. He was jailed for seven years.
Your advisers will tell you to be wary of “opening the floodgates”. They are wrong. Their decorous caution is the friend of the paedophile. Narrowing the inquiry equals hiding the truth. That is the reality and it is not what you want.
As David Aaronovitch notes:
That’s what you become if you don’t join in the clamour, but ask first for the evidence — “the friend of the paedophile”.
And finally Schofield joins David Cameron, that ambushed Prime Minister who launched an inquiry into a paedophile ring that has already been inquired into. The same Cameron who accused Schofield of embarking on a paedophile witch-hunt.
Such are the facts.