A Matter of Trust

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Following the 26th June 2014 Commons Statement on Jimmy Savile by Jeremy Hunt, the Health Secretary, these two extracts are from Andy Burnham’s (Shadow Health Secretary) reply;

‘Reading the reports, it is not at all clear to me that a proper process has yet been put in place to hold people who failed in their public duties to account.

Can he assure us that, if evidence is revealed in any of these reports that any person still working in the NHS or Department of Health knowingly facilitated these crimes will now face the full weight of the law and that those who were negligent in respect of their duties will be held to account?’

It’s not clear why he’s drawn the line at ‘still working for the NHS or Department of Health’. Surely anyone involved who was negligent in their public duties should be held to account, irrespective of where they work today?
Burnham continues;

‘The Broadmoor Report raises serious questions about the conduct of the civil servants and ministers in the Department of Health in how Savile came to be appointed to lead the task force.
A meeting between Edwina Currie and Jimmy Savile in September 1988 records what he would like to do at the hospital if the Minister would “press the button” and records that she promised to give him her full support.

In evidence to the inquiry, Mrs Currie describes the main objective of Savile’s appointment as follows: “The principal question was can Government break this hold that the Prison Officers Association has on the hospital.”

She went on to say: “This task force was dreamed up and seemed like a very good idea and step forward Jimmy Savile who knew the place backwards and was more than happy to volunteer his time to do this. And we were happy to do it.”

It paints a picture of chaos in the department and a complete absence of due process for appointments of this kind.

These are extraordinary revelations…’

Response to Commons statement on Jimmy Savile – Andy Burnham

They are indeed.
On the surface, it would certainly seem that the appointment of Savile was more about political problem solving, rather than any particular regard for the patients at Broadmoor.

Interesting also that this article from the Sunday Express emerges today, alleging that Special Branch funded PIE (Paedophile Information Exchange) between 1977 and 1980 to an amount equivalent to £400,000 in today’s money.

A retired official, who worked for Clifford Hindley in the Home Office Voluntary Services Unit, claimed;

‘[Hindley] said PIE was being funded at the request of Special Branch which found it politically useful to identify people who were paedophiles.’

“Hindley didn’t give me an explicit explanation of what Special Branch would do with information it gleaned from funding PIE, but I formed the belief that it was part of an undercover operation or activity. I was aware a lot of people in the civil service or political arena had an interest in obtaining information like that which could be used as a sort of blackmail.”

Perhaps the motive really was to identify people who were paedophiles with the intent to bring them to justice, and that maybe this contributed to the demise of PIE in 1985. However, its hard to be certain that this is the whole truth, when other reports suggest that Special Branch and MI5 were intent on burying evidence against MP Cyril Smith.

The Channel 4 Dispatches program, ‘How Cyril Smith got away with it’, broadcast on 12 Sept 2013, contains this;

‘Speaking for the first time, former CID officer Jack Tasker tells the programme that Special Branch officers arrived at his office, told him to halt his investigations and demanded that the file be handed over to them,.“They made it quite clear that anything that was kept by us would bring repercussions if we didn’t hand it over; that as far as we are concerned, the inquiry is finished … you will take no more inquiries into Cyril Smith.”

The file ended up being locked away in a safe at Special Branch offices in Lancashire. Former Special Branch Officer Tony Robinson tells Channel 4 Dispatches that he was surprised that a criminal file on Smith was being held by his department in the 1970s. He later received a call from MI5 asking for the file to be sent to them in London. At the time, Smith’s political star was rising as the Labour and Liberal parties were negotiating a political pact to keep the government in power.

Another former officer, Paul Foulston, tells Channel 4 Dispatches that he was warned off interviewing a victim of Smith and told to halt his investigation by two senior Special Branch officers. “It was quite apparent to us that they were in effect protecting Cyril Smith and not investigating him,” he says’.
Channel 4 Dispatches – Press Info

Maybe its now time that the task of looking in all the grubby corners and cupboards of our establishment is undertaken by a competent and fully empowered authority, with the mandate to publicly expose wrongdoings.

Until then, there will be doubts.

 

2 Comments

Filed under Abuse, News, Politics

2 responses to “A Matter of Trust

  1. Bruce Goldfinch

    But who would authorise the ’empowered authority’? As things stand, their will always be doubts. Or am I being over cynical?

    • Sabre

      You are a wide eyed optimist, let me have a go at cynical.
      I don’t know if SB facilitated the funding of PIE, however, it should surprise no one if they did.

      Until fairly recently the existence of the Security Service wasn’t officially acknowledged. One could be visited by a SB officer who could choose to identify himself by warrant number only if he wished, the SB officer could be accompanied by a “colleague” Security Service officer.

      SB were a front for the Security Service, Security Service officers had no power of arrest due to the fact that they “didn’t exist”

      Now the cynical bit, SB/SS/F4/SO15 loads of initials and acronyms some so obscure that they aren’t generally known, collectively the Security Services.
      At its simplest the role of the Security Services is to protect our constitutional democracy, vague enough to mean whatever it is required to mean at any given moment.

      We can debate at length what the National Interest and The Public Interest actually means, however, it is those that actually have interests to protect and the power to protect them that provide the definitions.

      Really cynical bit, We will assume that the Security Services are trying to protect National and Public interests that would be agreed by a great majority of the population ( rather than the Banksters, Corporates and Foreign lobbies that I and others bore you all with)

      The Security Services may well take the view that a small minority of children will be abandoned by their families, become orphaned, suffer behavioural problems etc etc leading them to the tender guardianship of the State.
      Those best suited to the Security Services are likely to take the view that in the undoubtedly imperfect world in which we live it is inevitable that some children will suffer physical, sexual and psychological abuse at the hands of perverts and sociopaths.

      The Security Services need aid, influence and sometimes outright control in scenarios as diverse as single issue campaign groups, political parties, trade unions, the media, think tanks, terrorist and paramilitary formations, corporations,academia, charities, religious institutions, local government and of course Parliament. New Governments are co opted by their
      Permanent Secretaries and the Cabinet Office.

      How do we influence and control, some are of course only too willing to aid the Security Services through a sense of duty or aligned interests.
      Money, assurances of future advantage, quid pro quo understandings go a long way too.

      A very good way of controlling an individual is of course blackmail, exclusive knowledge of a subjects sins and transgressions is an ace in the hole, the subject has to understand that they aren’t being judged, the security officer takes no personal view of the crime or perversion being exploited other than it will be released for ALL to judge should the subject fail to comply.

      The moral climate for want of a better phrase has cooled to the point that unless one is caught in flagrante delicto with a farmyard beast a corpse or a child one has sufficient room to shake off control in extremis often accompanied by a tearful mea culpa for offences as trivial as theft corruption adultery etc.
      Stealing from the public, cheating on ones partner, badger hunting on Clapham Common in the middle of the night all embarrassing but essentially inconsequential these days.

      Cynical? Undoubtedly. Incorrect? Hopefully.