In Light of the MI5 Revelation, David Cameron Must Apologise to Abuse Victims

Will Black is a writer and journalist with a background in anthropology and mental health care.

His latest book, Psychopathic Cultures and Toxic Empires, examines the corrupting influence powerful psychopaths have on societies. Examples of psychopathic and toxic cultures addressed include those within paedophile rings, politics, finance, gangs, security services, religious organisations and the media. As well as identifying distinctive characteristics of psychopathic cultures, Black highlights inherent weaknesses of organisations built on deceit and corruption.

Will also writes for the Huffington Post


During a period last year when Gaza was being bombed relentlessly by Israel and children were routinely being killed, maimed and left homeless, I had an incredibly moving message from a contact in Gaza. They expressed concern for children in the UK who, they heard, had been abused by powerful people.
Tragically, it would seem that, in addition to roast beef, cricket, colonialism and binge drinking, Britain is known now as a place of child abuse. Whether groomed on the streets of Oxford, Rotherham or Peterborough, or taken from children’s homes and abused by rings in London, we know that there has been organised and large scale abuse of children for decades, often at the hands of powerful people.
Given that there has been an increase of allegations of ‘historical abuse’ in the internet age, when victims have a stronger voice, it seems likely that abuse rings have operated for much longer than since the early days of Savile and friends. Survivors from the more distant past seem less likely to have disclosed abuse, and were perhaps more likely to be disregarded and intimidated if they did. We also know from victim testimonies that some were fearful that reporting abuse would bring shame on their families.
There is ample evidence that the intelligence services and their police arm, Special Branch, were previously involved with settings and cases where powerful people were accused of abusing children. When a story was given to the media about Cyril Smith abusing young boys, a newspaper editor had Special Branch turn up and prevent the story from coming out. MI5 links to Kincora children’s home in Northern Ireland have been alleged for decades, yet the current UK child abuse inquiry won’t cover it. The allegation, which Ken Livingstone voiced decades ago in Parliament, is that MI5 officers took politicians to the home and then filmed them abusing children, in order to gain leverage over them.
An MI5 officer appears on a list of regular visitors to Elm Guest House in Richmond upon Thames, London, where it is alleged ‘VIPs’ abused children trafficked from care homes. We do not know at this stage what information was passed to the police by the MI5 man, but we do know that when the property was finally busted there were no charges relating to child abuse but only to running a disorderly house. Investigations into abuse at the guest house continue.
It would seem sick to most people that spies employed to help keep the country safe would knowingly allow rings of powerful sex abusers to attack children. Although I find the following reprehensible, it could be that security services have justified covering up ‘VIP’ abuse rings in the name of political stability or national security. If it was thought that the public knowing about, for example, groups of MPs abusing children, could bring down a government and lead to loss of trust in the system, then security services could find justification to cover up abuse.
However, recent revelations that MI5 urged a cover-up to halt an investigation into a member of Margaret Thatcher’s government abusing children throw this into question. A 1986 letter, found in a search of Whitehall documents following claims that abuse allegations involving MPs were covered up, emphasises a threat of political embarrassment rather than to national security. The letter was written by the then head of MI5 Anthony Duff.
When the initial Wanless Review of Whitehall documents pertaining to child abuse took place, David Cameron shocked campaigners and survivors by characterising those concerned with high-level cover-ups as ‘conspiracy theorists’. This seemed to me to be an outrageous thing to have said at the time and, the more we learn about the scale of abuse and impact on victims, the more outrageous it seems.
Members of Mr Cameron’s own party have acknowledged abuse taking place and cover-ups, including former whip Tim Fortescue who, in 1995, said: “Anyone with any sense, who was in trouble, would come to the whips and tell them the truth and say ‘now listen, I’m in a jam, can you help?’ It might be debt, it might be a scandal involving small boys, or any kind of scandal in which a member seemed likely to be mixed up in. They’d come and ask if we could help and if we could, we did. And we would do everything we can because we would store up brownie points… it does sound a pretty, pretty nasty reason, but it’s one of the reasons because if we could get a chap out of trouble then, he will do as we ask forever more.”
Those covering up abuse by powerful people in the 60s, 70s or 80s may have been confident that allegations could just disappear. Choosing already marginalised kids in care homes to abuse meant victims could be disregarded. ‘Who’s going to believe this kid from a home over a politician / celebrity or bishop?’ might have been a reassuring thought for abusers. That assumption has proved misguided – the public has believed them and so have courts.
Rather than remain marginalised and discredited figures, survivors of abuse have found a stronger voice, aided by the internet and supported by many diligent campaigners. It is time that David Cameron publicly recognises the bravery that victims of abuse have shown in coming forwards and attempting to find justice for themselves and others. He could begin this by apologising for calling those seeking justice ‘conspiracy theorists’.


Filed under Abuse, News, Politics

36 responses to “In Light of the MI5 Revelation, David Cameron Must Apologise to Abuse Victims

  1. Reddan

    Just when have the courts believed them, I think you’re jumping ahead. I haven’t noticed any trials. Please correct me if I’m wrong

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  3. dpack

    the list of known offenders that passed the security and vetting committee /honors committee scrutiny is rather long.the list of known offenders that were protected and promoted by factions of the powers that be is also rather long .i can only assume they were “useful” and that those in power had no regard for law or decency and looked after their chums.

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  5. Bishop Brightly

    I’m not sure an MI5 officer appeared on the elm list. Rowe was listed as that but evidently was not.

  6. nuggy

    lets get some perspective it happens in the usa and austriala as well and the uk is still nowhere near as bad for it as lardge parts of the 3rd world.

    not making excuses for the uk but trafficking not just a uk problem neither is the involvement of high profile people.

  7. Pingback: #Kincora, Child Abuse, and the Control of the Debate on Twitter | adeybob's Blog

  8. joekano76

    Reblogged this on Floating-voter.

  9. We need to keep commenting and talking about these issues before a history can be written for it – provided happily by them’s that have much to gain by keeping it down…the paper provided by the ignorance of the people, the ink made by blood – just blood.
    We, the UK, gave the world a blueprint for social welfare, and the plans for an insurance-less medical solution for all.
    Now, we got the chance to change the world again. We get this right, and we can make a new blue-print for getting the whole world child-centric.
    Call me an idealist, but maybe I am…in 1785, William Cowper was called the same for daring to suggest that slavery should be abolished – it wasn’t until 1843 that it actually happened. Let’s hope we don’t have to wait the best part of a century before we get to the bottom of all this.
    When it comes to humanity, despite the tears and pain and anguish and blood, when it comes to humanity, time is on our side…but I would say that; I am an optimist.

  10. I thought this a great article and thank you for eventually publishing it here on this blog. Interesting times and I think the public are ready and that fear of stability is unjustified. Just need to ask the right people.

  11. Psychopathy can be MRI scanned. Psychopaths have different brain activity. This simple solution for preventing and weeding out psychopaths in power is something I’ve called for but have no support from anyone else.

    • In my view the congruence between neurological structures and the evaluated behaviour of others is too nascent to be applied through some vetting procedure. Not all those with none-typical neurological structures loosely associated with ‘psychopathy’ as a behaviour are psychopaths.

    • The trouble is, Mr Frith, is that psychopaths tend to make ‘successful’ leaders and bosses.
      I’m afraid your Plan A would leave Westminster empty.

      • Andy Barnett

        And all the better for it.

        IMHO, noone that wants to rule the country should under any circumstances be allowed near parliament. Such a system only serves to promote the self-serving psychopaths like Blair, Brittan, Smith, etc.

        Rulers should be appointed at random – a bit like jury service – or chosen by accident of birth. In fact, you could have a whole family born into privilege (and hence be uncorruptable) that have the duty imposed on them to rule over the rest of us. I wonder if anyone’s thought of that before…

      • True, andy…my point is, that some psycho’s are highly functional, and tend to get attracted to politics, once they’ve been spat out by the boarding-school system.
        I’m not sure, either, that scanning the brains of people is much better than phrenology at this point in the interpretation of the technology – another procedure that depends on an analysis from a psychiatric ‘professional’.
        I think we need psycho’s…as not all of them are ‘full-blown’, and they tend to be the most capable at leading – and neither am I sure that the psychological analysis of such people is much more than a blanket term.
        Other factors, like intestinal worms, can alter the brain patterns, and could skew any attempt at testing via brain scans.
        Andy, tbh, all this chat of ‘psycho’s’ makes me uncomfortable – my own background and ‘history’ practically demand that I be a psychotic and/or sociopathic individual. I have had my moments, like when me or my mine have been physically attacked, but I’m calm and placid the rest of the time – neither do I need drugs to be calm. I need to remind myself an awful lot, that people are real and have feelings though…and it tends to make me hyper-aware of other people’s emotions.
        But I am certain I would ‘fail’ a psycho test run in a scanner.
        For the record, I agree that the role of leadership should be randomised…with the addendum that they have to spend a year first, living on the lowest wage of the lowest earner in the land. Perhaps it’d be a good idea to give them the bulk of their ‘proper’ wage, as leaders, when their policies have reached fruition and are showing results….this could be done years after their tenure has finished.

      • pandapops

        “The trouble is, Mr Frith, is that psychopaths tend to make ‘successful’ leaders and bosses.”

        Could it possibly be that after so many years of your euphemistic “leaders and bosses” of this world being ACTUAL leaders and bosses, they’ve shaped the system in such a fashion as to enable other cruel selfish types to be the most successful?

      • You’re right.
        We half-jokingly refer to ‘old-boy networks’ and such, as a way to explain how the world of ‘it’s WHO you know’, works.
        These networks are power-grids, and most of them were created over a thousand years ago – since built-on by Henry 8, etc, with introduction of universities, ‘free’ schools, Knightly Orders, and such..
        It’s all there to keep the powerful in power, starting with early psycho-training in boarding schools…if not to keep in power, then designed to indoctrinate.
        Our monarch, upon crowning, is held in front of us as someone chosen by a sky-god to ‘rule’ over us; the ‘post-magna carta’ erosion of power of our monarchy is something taught in schools to make us believe that we’re no longer serfs, and that we have the right to question authority and the right to the reasonable expectation to be able to ‘rise above our station’.
        It’s bunkum. I don’t meet Lords, or bankers, or dentists in real life…99.9% of them will never have kids able to climb to that stratosphere. None of them or their progeny will ever be king or queen.
        Far from being a progressive and inclusive society, we see the rabid Tory destroying everything we have been ‘granted’. The same-same Blairite Labour will do exactly the same, one way or another, it’s clear.
        Why? How did we manage to get this power..the unions, NHS, the benefits system, nationalised services, etc? Myself, I think the ‘rise to power’ of the common man came on the back of war, pestilence and riot. The first two thinned the numbers, increasing the ‘market price’ for a commoner, but the third, riot, seemed to have been the only bloody thing the authorities responded to. People would and will die before, during and after riots, but reforms would almost always follow.
        Yup, we can put away the idea that lobbying MP’s and such, is the quickest way to get things done around here…and get real… and realise that the fastest way to reform is through civil disobedience. This is why, I think, we have seen such severe legislation to restrict our ability to even congregate to express our displeasure at how we are represented, or treated.
        Though what I have written seems that I am inciting a riot (see how it works?), I am also deep into the logic, that rioting is the fastest and easiest way to get killed by a government…so for two heavy reasons, I can’t suggest having a good old fashioned riot to give the worst parts of government a kick in the nuts.
        A long answer, Pandapops, and all to tell you I agree.
        The system is set-up off the back of a system to hold the common man down – if it serves it ancient purpose to do same for another thousand years, then more fool us for not dismantling the worst parts of it by now – with the blindness of distraction and the idiocy of the cap-doffing hunt-master, stopping us identifying these edifices of our society as the things most likely to keep it rotten.
        Our society uses methods of manipulation to create bosses and the workforce needed to keep it all going. These methods create psychotic individuals, and apathy for the masses.
        In a perfect world, bosses would not have to be psycho’s to be the ‘best achievers’, and workers wouldn’t have the most servile among them singled out as ‘the best’…but it is something subscribed-to by most of the people – no matter if the are Eton-bred, or Daily Mail fed.
        Take out the psycho’s now, without changing most of everything else, and the whole thing will come down like a jenga game on a rocky pub-table…and like as not, we’d see the common man rioting to help the psycho’s stay in power.
        For now, the raising of the awareness of everyday people is probably the best way forward…like Will Black is doing – informing people what a psycho is, where to usually find them, and when they are most likely to be dangerous…avoiding stigmatisation, if possible.

  12. Reblogged this on adeybob's Blog and commented:
    Reblogged – at last

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  14. Jack

    I have long believed that this is what is behind this ultra-intrusive and all-pervasive state spying on us all. They need to know how fast the reports of their dirty deeds are spreading – and to whom and how many. There might even come a day when the whole rotten lot of them are forced to flee en masse to some sympathetic state abroad for their miserable lives. We cannot therefore be surprised they’re keeping such close tabs on everything, clearly.

  15. Jack

    As Andy said above, we must be mad allowing people who actively seek power anywhere near it! I’d rather like to see our political representatives nominated by the local community due to their life-long good deeds, and such people actively encouraged to step forward for public service. This has to be a better approach than the insanity of the current system.

  16. dpack

    the bbc text news had a report that investigations into the alleged stop,find csa images,arrest,phone call,release of cyril smith in the 1980’s on the motorway near nottingham has been closed having failed to find evidence.
    the tone of the report was that lack of evidence was not proof it didn’t happen.

    if “friends”in high places make a criminal charge “go away”it is to be expected they would do their best to remove the paper trail etc etc .

  17. I thoroughly enjoyed that post and all the comments. Ta.
    Why is it that people refer to ‘historic abuse’ as occurring in the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s?
    I have asked this before, but: What happened to the 90’s?
    I thought Dolphin Square was happening at that time?
    Am I being too pedantic, or have I got my facts wrong?

    • Will Black

      Thanks Chris (and others who have commented here),

      The term historic or historical abuse makes me wince, that’s why I put it inverted commas. I comment on it here where I said: “Media emphasises that the inquiry is into ‘historical child abuse’ but this rather ignores the reality of abuse and the nature of paedophile rings and cover-ups. The crime remains a crime everyday. Survivors remain abused everyday and abusers remain abusers everyday.”

      My view is as long as members of a ring or those who aided a cover up are alive it’s not a historical crime but an ongoing criminal conspiracy.

      But you make a good point, at what point does abuse become ‘historical’ – I have a horrible feeling it’s when ‘important’ people are involved.

  18. Gary carp

    Sorry but…
    Israel was attacked by terrorists in Gaza in an unprecedented wave of terror bombings. No nation state would stand by and allow its citizenry to be terrorised. The USA felt vindicated in going to war in Iraq and Afghanistan…hardly neighbouring states.
    None the less, the Israeli army tried its best to avoid civilian casualties. It warned civilians to leave…only for Hamas to threaten people who so did.
    It was Hamas who turned civilian institutions into military ones.
    Your challenge: do you stand with terrorists or democracies? do you support rights of children, women or gays or believe that all should be subjugated to the pursuit of the global caliphate?

    • Sabre

      Gary, check out “A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm” A report written in 1996 by Richard Perle et al for the prospective Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The destabilisation of Iraq and Syria was advocated. The report was written by U.S. Beltway policy advisers and exotic think tanks that one could be forgiven for believing had Israeli interests at heart rather than US interests. Many of the authors do in fact qualify for Israeli citizenship if the don’t already hold it. 9/11 happened, rather conveniently for the Zionist lobby, the rest is history. If you are already aware of the aforementioned policy briefing document your previous comments are at best disingenuous , if you are unaware of the report and the machinations of AIPAC you are by definition arguing from a position of ignorance.

  19. Will Black

    Haha criticise the murder of innocent Gazan children by one of the most callous, racist, brutal and pathological states in the world and we support ‘Isis’.

    You will need to up your game and get some facts if you want people to bother debating with you Gary carp.

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  21. IWTT

    It has taken me a while to find, but the documentary that the Tim Fortescue clip is taken from is called:

    ‘Life in Whips Office’ (1995) – Michael Cockerall

    The excerpt (Tim Fortescue) occurs at 25:24 – 26:35, but the whole documentary is an interesting watch.

  22. Will Black

    Much appreciated for digging out the full documentary.

    Parties claim to not use ‘dirt books’ now but it’s patronising to the public to suggest that things like that need to be written down. I’m sure most people, if a colleague admitted to them to raping children and asked for help to cover it up, would remember that without taking notes.

  23. Kittiwake

    A really good well sourced piece. Thank you.