The Friday Night Song
Monthly Archives: February 2014
The Friday Night Song
Shaun Ley interviews Labour MP Tom Watson about the Paedophile Information Exchange and allegations of child abuse.
Interview can be listened to HERE
“I have been away for the last twelve days and have only now been able to study the allegations made by the Daily Mail and others.
Any suggestion that I supported or condoned the vile crimes of child abusers is completely untrue. When Jack Dromey, as NCCL chairman in 1976, vigorously opposed PIE at the NCCL AGM, he did so with the full support of the executive committee and myself as general secretary. As the NCCL archives demonstrate, I consistently distinguished between consenting relationships between homosexual men, on the one hand, and the abuse of children on the other.
NCCL in the 1970s, along with many others, was naive and wrong to accept PIE’s claim to be a ‘campaigning and counselling organisation’ that ‘does not promote unlawful acts’. As general secretary then, I take responsibility for the mistakes we made. I got it wrong on PIE and I apologise for having done so. I should have urged the executive committee to take stronger measures to protect NCCL’s integrity from the activities of PIE members and sympathisers and I deeply regret not having done so. In particular, Tom O’Carroll should never have been allowed to join the gay rights sub-committee.
The proposal to reduce the age of consent was not mine – it was the policy of the organisation and its executive committee at that time. I do not support reducing the age of consent or legalising incest.
I note some of the comments about Harriet Harman and her role. Harriet did not join the NCCL staff until 1978. She was one of two legal officers, neither of whom was a member of the executive committee.
NCCL in the 1970s played a leading role in anti-discrimination and equality campaigns. We helped to secure the Sex Discrimination Act, anonymity for rape victims and an end to discriminatory immigration rules against British women with a foreign husband. We also built support for equalising the age of consent for homosexual men – a change eventually made in 1998. I am proud of the contribution NCCL made to these and other important reforms during my time as general secretary.
Many people’s lives have been destroyed by sexual abuse in their childhood. Although the evil of child sexual abuse is now properly recognised, as a society we still have a long way to go in protecting children, tackling the sexualisation of girls and supporting the survivors of sexual abuse. I hope the lessons that are being learnt from the mistakes of the 1970s will contribute to those goals.”
For 10 years, the Paedophile Information Exchange openly advocated that adults should be allowed to have sex with children.
In this 1983 Newsnight interview, two members of the group explain their views.
Short interview can be found HERE
It is over a year ago that I wrote about the connection through the NCCL, between Harriet Harman, Jack Dromey, and Patricia Hewett and the Paedophile Information Exchange (PIE).
In The Life Of PIE I concluded;
In 1978, until 1983, PIE became affiliated to the National Council for Civil Liberties (NCCL), now known as Liberty. Under PIE’s influence the NCCL campaigned for incest to be decriminalised and argued that sexually explicit child pornography should be legal unless it could be proven that the subject had suffered harm.
During the period 1978-85, when PIE was finally outlawed, the organisation was dogged by bad press, and it’s members subject to a series of arrests.
However, the long term consequences of allowing PIE to operate legally for ten years can not be overestimated. To think that an established and organised semi-covert network of predatory paedophiles would simply disappear once PIE had been made an illegal organisation would be folly. Many members, including Steven Adrian Smith who was Chairperson of PIE from 1979 to 1985, fled to Holland, where they continued to abuse children, others remained in the UK unharassed by the authorities.
The PIE network, which had always operated in a semi-covert way, no longer needed a central and public communication hub. The contacts, of a disparate paedophile minority, which would have been unlikely to natually evolve a covert organisational structure due to the necessarily secretive nature of their sexual proclivities, had already been established.
It is, in part, the failure of that generation’s politicians which included Harriet Harman, Patricia Hewett, Edward Heath, Leon Brittan, and many more, which has bequeathed to us the current unacceptable situation.
My view has not changed.
This issue should not be a political football kicked from one political team to another with greater and greater spin because at the very heart of all of this are victims.
Is it incumbent on Harriet Harman to resign ? I don’t think so but she should take the time to explain how this happened because at worst it looks as if she turned a blind eye to child abuse.
Many commentators I’ve heard or read over the last week, regardless of their political affiliation, seem to consign this disgraceful episode to the past. I’ve not seen one person on TV or in the newspapers who has attempted to examine the consequences of the 10 years, 1974-1984, that PIE were able to legally operate.
PIE laid the foundation for underground paedophile networks after 1984. They were organised and ready when the internet emerged and were some of the first to take advantage of its potential.
PIE might not be legal, the networks it spawned may no longer exist but the consequences of PIE have reverberated through the decades and as it has done, it has left many child abuse victims in it’s wake.
It needs to be examined.
This is what happens if a scammer interrupts a needleteam member’s breakfast!
Asked how he, Charles Oxley, was sure that members of PIE actually abused children, he replies,
“Because I’ve heard them boast about their activities [at PIE committee meetings]. One of them boasted about an afternoon he spent with two boys on the river Thames.”
I wonder who he could be talking about ?
Extract of Charles Oxley interview begins 10 minutes in.