Tom Watson, Simon Danczuk and Rob Wilson all want to be the fake sheikh
GOODBYE Cyril Smith. It’s not over yet, of course. Suspected of having been a nonce in life, the former Labour councillor and Liberal MP for Rochdale, not doing too badly in death. Yet. Unlike Jimmy Savile, Smith is still known as Sir Cyril, the Manchester Evening News using the title to tell readers that the plaque “honouring Sir Cyril Smith” has been removed from Rochdale Town Hall.
Council leader Colin Lambert said he and chief executive Jim Taylor thought it for the best. Says Lambert:
“We make no judgement on the situation with Cyril Smith, but the strength of public feeling is such that we have been alerted to a potential threat to the town hall.”
No judgement? Just like putting up a plaque is no judgment. Oh, puh-lease.
Six news allegations have been made against Sir Cyril Smith, who died in 2010. None to the police. All to Rochdale’s Labour MP, Simon Danczuk. That’s a bit odd, isn’t it? But there seems to be contest in Parliament between the MPs to see which one is the true face of Salem.
Danczuk is pitted against Labour man Tom “as a dad” Watson (more on that here and here) and Tory Rob Wilson. The Tory member for Reading East wrote “as matter of urgency” to then BBC Director-General George Entwistle, asking him about Jimmy Savile, and to Ofcom about Phillip Schofield’s detective work (more here).
One alleged victim of Smith’s has broken ranks and spoken to the M.E.N. He says that when aged 12 or 13 at Kingsway High in Rochdale “Sir Cyril” felt him up:
“The nurse had come round to check us for nits… that sort of thing. Cyril was there….I was scared. I didn’t know what was going on. It makes me sick. I think it hasn’t come out because of who he was. It’s like Jimmy Savile – he was similar. In Rochdale, he was like that. He was Cyril Smith. He was almost godlike. He used to go around schools all the time. It was ‘guess who’s coming today, Cyril Smith is coming to see us all today so you’d better behave’. It was like he ran the place.”
Two of Smith’s alleged victims named in Parliment are Barry Fitton and Eddie Shorrock. Both claim to have been abused by Smith at Cambridge House boys’ hostel in Rochdale.
Smith was investigated. But the police no longer have the records, M’lud. Says Greater Manchesrer Police:
“We are aware of reports in the media that Greater Manchester Police may have investigated allegations of sexual abuse involving the late Sir Cyril Smith in the 1980s and 1990s. We are examining our records to see what involvement Greater Manchester Police may have had. However, we need to be clear that some of these allegations are up to 30-years-old and predate our computerised records, so it will take some time to establish what, if any, the force’s involvement was.”
Why not just ask who was in charge of the time? No records? Keep looking.
All these allegations are not helping social solidarity and trust. What happened to evidence and rule of law? The News of the World has gone, but Newsnight and MPs are running their own sub-tabloid operations. Watson, who has long bemoned Rupert Murdoch’s tabloid tactics, wrote an open letter to the aforesaid Wilson and David Cameron. Get this:
I’m not going to let this drop despite warnings from people who should know that my personal safety is imperilled if I dig any deeper. It’s spooked me so much that I’ve kept a detailed log of all the allegations should anything happen.
Blimey! Trust no-one.
PS – Tom Watson needs a disguise. What about the fake sheikh’s old get up?