Tom Watson MP: ‘Give Inquiry Your Support.’

Having taken quite a bit of stick over the last week after asking everyone to give Fiona Woolf a chance as chair of the abuse inquiry, it’s nice to finally see others agreeing publicly.

It was never that I thought Fiona Woolf was an ideal candidate but that I recognised just what was at stake, which might have been the existence of the inquiry itself.

Frankly, there will be big battles ahead and wasting credibility and energy fighting over who chairs the inquiry isn’t going to help fight them. Everyone should be prepared to become very vocal if, as I suspect, the terms of reference are drawn too narrowly. This was the problem with Waterhouse and it simply can’t be allowed to happen this time.

I hope others now have the guts to come out and say it because the test of a person’s character isn’t playing to the crowd and the transient popularity that comes with appeasing it, it is saying the unpopular things that need saying.

Tom Watson

 

The Home Secretary appointed Fiona Woolf to chair the child abuse inquiry on Friday. Since then, a number of people have asked for my views on the matter, some of them quite high profile survivors.

I’d never heard of Fiona Woolf until I saw the announcement but I know her type – successful, rich and married to a big Tory.

A number of survivors are concerned she’s too close to the establishment and seems to have some kind of social or informal links to Leon Brittan, the former Home Secretary who was recently interviewed under caution by the police.

Believe me, I understand the concerns of survivors but I’m supporting the appointment all the same.

The way I look at the situation is this:

A year ago, there was no chance of an inquiry.

Theresa May has done the right thing despite considerable internal pressure not to act. She has also listened to concerns of many survivors and MPs by assembling a panel of people who do not share the background of Fiona Woolf.

I’m desperate to see the inquiry get moving because I’m now convinced that members of organised criminal networks have evaded justice – and that some very powerful people need to be exposed.

As soon as the inquiry starts to take a look at documents as well as testimonies of survivors and former police officers,I believe the weight of evidence will be so great that even more will have to be done.

This might take the form of a bigger police inquiry team, made up of investigators from around the country but managed nationally. Then we really might see some powerful people brought to justice.

To oppose Fiona Woolf will have the effect of further delaying the evidence gathering, leaving survivors in limbo for longer and perpetrators evading scrutiny.

From what I’ve seen so far, we risk losing more with a delay than we do with a chair who has not yet won the confidence of a number of survivors. It’s for her to build trust with them through her leadership of the inquiry team.

I know enough about the panel members and their expert advisers to be certain that they will not tolerate an establishment whitewash. If more revelations come out about Fiona Woolf then I’m sure they will make their opinions known to Theresa May.

They should be allowed to examine the institutional failings of the past in order to understand how vulnerable children were abused by powerful people who were not held to account.

So, I’m giving Theresa May the benefit of the doubt.

It’s time for this inquiry to get moving. The team leading it should be judged on the tenacity of their research and the strength of their investigations.

I hope you can give them your support in what will be a very distressing inquiry.

Tom Watson’s Blog

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16 Comments

Filed under Abuse

16 responses to “Tom Watson MP: ‘Give Inquiry Your Support.’

  1. Gojam, we all know that you can take the stick, if you couldn’t you wouldn’t be so tolerant of those handing it out.

  2. Differences of opinion anyway old chap rather than stick.

  3. Reblogged this on Thinking Out Loud and commented:
    Completely agree with this despite the best efforts of some I’ve seen nothing to prevent her chairing the inquiry the worst against her is that she was a governor of a school that’s under investigation perhaps that could be a problem but its not what most of the big guns are aiming at which suggests there’s nothing in it to cause a conflict of interest.

    The Terms of Reference are crucial and that’s what we should all now be waiting to scrutinize. No way should any inquiry begin until they are right.

  4. artmanjosephgrech

    Well done Tom with Peter McKelvie there would be no independent government funded investigation today.

    What Simon D says always merits a hearing but he needs to question the motives of the mainstream media with the role of the Guardian being a curious one from start to finish. Simon undermined what he had to say by accepting a freebe day at the horse racing which he should have donated to a survivor or two.

    It is not surprising that the usual suspects on Twitter joined in and I can understand individual frustrations at not being picked to be the survivor on the panel or the realization that having got what was wanted there was no role unless evidence of the cover up at national or local level was to hand relating to any of the institutions which the terms of reference will cover.

    Twitter and facebook etc will continue to be healthy outlets for individual anger and frustration as well as releasing the facts and truth which the mainstream media decides not cover. We live in dangerous times and the attempt by some to undermine the inquiry as it goes to work is judged by me to be irresponsible.

  5. Andy Barnett

    It may just be my imagination working overtime, but I can’t help the suspicion that there is so much more to all this CSA malarky than we are so far aware. The involvement of international criminal gangs, for example, infiltrating government institutions, secret services, the police; headed up not by paedophiles but by those making huge financial gain from trading in women, children and porn, maintaining the security of their business through the blackmail of key public officials.

    If I’m right, then eradicating this will require so much more than simply prosecuting a few paedophiles, however prominent they may be. It will need an overhaul in the culture of our institutions that will allow people to start talking freely about what they know and what pressure they have suffered to stay silent. In particular it may require certain prominent paedophiles to open up and say exactly what they know – creating something akin to a Truth & Reconciliation process.

    The uncomfortable truth may be, therefore, that we need certain prominent paedophiles (hopefully ex-paedophiles) to be able to trust this CSA Inquiry, at least enough that they will tell it (in confidence) exactly how they allowed this country to get in the mess we find today. Only then might this inquiry gain the insight it needs to work out how it can stop the industrial-scale exploitation of human beings, the like of which we have merely glimpsed in Rotherham, Oxford and Rochdale.

  6. And YOU have the audacity to tell US It’s not a game??? .. GOJAM! You sick, fucking, deranged, individual… if your Brit Intel… your time is coming!

    If YOU want to put an end to institutionalised paedophilia … REALLLY put an end to it???

    Gojam… your the worst thing on the The Needle

  7. tazzdevil

    THE PERSON WHO SHOULD RUN THIS INVESTIGATION WITH FIONA WOLF IS ESTER RANTZEN,AS THIS LADY HAS HELPED SET UP CHILDLINE AND KNOWS HOW TO DEAL WITH SENSITIVE ISSUES .THIS WOULD BE SUITABLE AS I CANT IMAGINE SOMEONE QUESTIONING MS RANZENS CV.

    IF AGREE THEN SUPPORT TO MAKE HAPPEN…AND THE WATERHOUSE TRIBUNAL ONLY ONE PERSON BENEFITED OUT OF THAT AND THAT WAS SIR RONALD WATERHOUSE HIMSELF;;;;;; WITH THE RELEASE OF THE FICTION NOT FACT OF THE INVESTIGATION IN THE BOOK CALLED WATERHOUSE AND ALL MONIES SHOULD OF GONE TO FUND CHILDREN NOT HIM..

    Reply

  8. charmschool

    Shirlz me thinks you’ve overdone it this time in the aggressive flirting stakes

  9. dpack

    tis probably best to take to the field with any chair the state choose as soon as possible rather than wait for one we feel may be impartial which as the state is appointing a chair for their inquiry will not be forthcoming .
    it isnt as though we cant point to errors and omissions once terms are proposed and/or procedures ongoing.
    there are many ways we can define the terms and scope of what evidence /analysis is available to the public.

    to be fair to f w she is an unknown factor , we might be able to make her do a decent job regardless of her brief,we wont know til later .

    b s was an obvious bundle of bs , perhaps to make this one seem more acceptable ,but it is the terms that will define whether or not this inquiry is intended to be about truth or about damage limitation and it is down to the likes of us to make sure it is about truth .

    .

  10. dpack

    http://www.google.co.uk/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=2&sqi=2&ved=0CCwQFjAB&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwebarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk%2F20101103103930%2Fhttp%3A%2Freport.bloody-sunday-inquiry.org%2F&ei=-oEUVO_4GKip7AbijIGgBA&usg=AFQjCNHP_tf5FvxJWl-iB9TnKMxLDyJxlg&sig2=VN1kX2R7KWPOMh4stObbxQ&bvm=bv.75097201,d.d2s&cad=rja

    i popped that one up as an example of an establishment chair providing a few big chunks of truth albeit in a way that needs a lot of reading and informed analysis to be useful .
    in some ways that one protected those guilty of conspiracy to murder and hid the big picture but it has exposed some of parts of the truth which are available for use .

    if we work from the principle of turning every stone and pointing at what scuttles out we can confound those who would suppress truth by picking a safe selection of stones to prod gently without ever even turning them over.

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