Tag Archives: Dr Julian Lewis

Dirty Tricks and British Politics: something and nothing

Damian McBride: he likes a drink. Can’t you tell?

The Damian McBride story has landed into the laps of the Tories at just the right time. For the Labour party it’s the wrong time. But do the Tories really have anything to crow about? Not really.

The Tories use dirty tricks all the time and the press says nothing. Dr Julian Lewis infiltrated the Labour Party in 1976 and spent years taking CND to court in a bid to prove that it was being funded by the USSR. Lewis wrote the following in a letter to the editor of The Times in 1983:

You are quite correct, however, to challenge CND claims of non-partisanship. Last year’s political complexion of what you term to be “clearly a left-wing front” was mild compared to the new team of 26 officers and national council members just elected at Sheffield.

How strange that The Freedom Association (which bankrolled Lewis’s effort to infiltrate Labour), for instance, should describe itself as “non-partisan” yet have such close relations with the Conservative Party, UKIP the Libertarian Alliance, the Taxpayers’ Alliance and even the United Kingdom’s security services. The stench of hypocrisy is overpowering.

Back to McBride. He is certainly a nasty piece of work. But The Cat wonders if McBride wasn’t encouraged to release his book in time for the annual Labour Party  conference this week by certain people. Nudge, nudge. Wink, wink.

The right-wing press is cock-a-hoop. Here’s what the Telegraph said:

Mr McBride’s book has awakened the party’s painful memory of the rift between disciples of Mr Brown and those MPs and activists who were loyal to Mr Blair. Mr McBride was a fanatically loyal supporter of Mr Brown, a man whom he says in some ways he “loved”.

Mr McBride left the government in disgrace in 2009 when it emerged that he sent a Labour colleague emails containing unfounded smears about Tory MPs for a website called Red Rag.

He now claims that this colleague, Derek Draper, has suggested that Mr Miliband may also have sent compromising emails and would “have problems” if they ever came to light.

The article then adds:

He now claims that this colleague, Derek Draper, has suggested that Mr Miliband may also have sent compromising emails and would “have problems” if they ever came to light.

Mr Draper was not available for comment on Saturday night.

However, a Labour source who knew both men said: “You can criticise Ed Miliband for many things but running a Damian McBride-style smear operation isn’t one of them.”

Derek Draper: he’s the one who looks as though he sleeps in a hedgerow and who’s married to Daybreak’s Kate Garraway. He was also involved in “Lobbygate” and “Smeargate“.  The latter, Smeargate, was  an attempt to smear senior members of the Tory party and can be seen as Labour’s attempt use the same Tory tactics that their auld enemy has used against them on numerous occasions. It didn’t work, but it’s an indication of the rottenness of the British political system and how deeply embedded into the system the practice of skulduggery is rooted.

The Daily Mail’s approach is more in line with one of its ‘kiss and tell’ celebrity stories. This is a description of an  interview that Nick Robinson, the former president of the Young Conservatives and the BBC’s present political editor apparently had with Gordon Brown:

The trouble started when BBC political editor Nick Robinson asked Gordon an apparently innocent question.

Assuming we won a joint bid with Scotland to stage the World Cup, whom would he support — England or Scotland?

Gordon gave the ‘clever’ answer he’d prepared: ‘I’ll be supporting the hosts!’ Nick shot back: ‘Even if they play Scotland?’ Gordon smiled and said: ‘Scotland will do very well.’

This interview took place in India in 2007, and Gordon thought it had gone well. I knew otherwise. Sure enough, as we crawled through the Mumbai traffic back to our hotel, one of our press officers rang me to say the Scottish papers were very excited and we had a major problem.

‘OK, mate,’ I replied calmly, holding the phone as far away from Gordon as I could, ‘take it easy and keep me posted’, as if he was telling me the cricket score.

‘What’s the problem?’ Gordon said. ‘Nothing,’ I lied.

‘I heard someone say “problem” — what’s the problem?’ he said, getting slightly irate.

I sighed. ‘OK, now don’t go mad. We’ll just need to clarify that interview so it doesn’t sound like you’d support England over Scotland.’

Yawn. This has the feel of stale bread… the taste of cold tea that’s been left on someone’s desk overnight. If you really want to read the rest of the article, click on this link.

Sure the dirty tricks were conducted inside the Labour Party, but this kind of thing happens in all political parties. I mean, how do you think Nick Clegg became leader of the Liberal Democrats? Through honest, upfront means? Get real. Then there was the knifing of Thatcher by her colleagues. What do you mean you haven’t heard about  it?

The dirty tricks that we should be concerned about are ignored by the mainstream media. When Julian Lewis’s involvement in the Reg Prentice case emerged, the press nary batted an eyelid and focussed on Prentice’s defection from Labour to the Tories in 1977 instead.

As the Leveson Report has shown us, even the British press can’t be trusted to report on the things that really matter. Why? Because most of the press is in the pocket of Tory party.

2 Comments

Filed under Conservative Party, Journalism, Labour, Labour Party conference 2013, Media, Tory press

Dirty Tricks, Corruption and Burglaries: What Really Happened at Ed Miliband’s Office?

Last March, the news media carried a story about a burglary at  Ed Miliband’s office. When I heard about this, my immediate thought was “is this a possible British Watergate“? But entertaining such thoughts and then expressing them leaves one open to the charge that one is a conspiracy theorist. But such questions refuse to go away so easily.

Here’s what The Guardian said at the time.

Scotland Yard received reports shortly before 7pm on Friday of a forced entry to the premises in the Norman Shaw buildings, which were the force’s own headquarters until 1967.

It is understood that a member of Miliband’s staff found that a door had been forced but it is unclear whether anything was missing from the room.

A Labour spokesman said: “There is an ongoing police investigation. It would be inappropriate to comment.”

And it adds:

News reports speculated the burglary may have been the work of pranksters or political opponents.

The Sun tried to make cheap political capital out of the break-in by telling its readers:

LABOUR leader Ed Miliband’s Westminster office has been burgled — but there were no policies there to pinch.

The really odd thing about this burglary story is how quickly it went cold. No one appears to have been arrested and curiously, none of the papers tell us if anything was stolen from Miliband’s office.

Since Ramsay MacDonald’s  first Labour government in 1924, the party has been the focus of a right-wing dirty tricks campaign beginning with the notorious Zinoviev Letter. The really low point came when the Conservative Dr Julian Lewis posed as moderate Labour party member in the Reg Prentice deselection case of 1976 in an effort to undermine the party and steer it in a rightwards direction.

This speech by Alun Gwynne Jones (Lord Chalfont) in 1975 to the House of Lords is rather interesting because it foregrounds the later right-wing attacks on the Labour Party of which Jones was purportedly a member. Here’s an extract:

Mr. Bert Ramelson, who is the national industrial organiser for the Communist Party, said last year: The Communist Party can float an idea early in the year and it can become official Labour Party policy by the autumn. … We have more influence now on the Labour movement than at any time in the life of our Party.

Mr. Idris Cox, another leading member of the Communist Party, has said: Notably more Communists are being elected to key positions in the trade unions. Through the unions they can influence Labour Party Conference decisions.

Interestingly, Jones wrote an article titled The Strategic Defence Initiative for the Conservative Monday Club, which appeared in the 1985 Tory Conference edition of Right Ahead. 1985 was the year the miners strike ended and the Battle of the Beanfield took place. It was also the same year that Neil Kinnock delivered that speech.

You can read an interesting article on Pink Industry about Jones/Chalfont here.

Jones/Chalfont was later appointed  Chairman of the Radio Authority by the Major government.

These kinds of incidents prompt the inevitable question: do we really live in a democracy? How is it that one political party can undermine another through a campaign of dirty tricks and outright subversion? We expect this sort of thing to happen under authoritarian regimes but in Britain?

I was listening to a programme on Radio 4 about the Watergate scandal a few months ago, when a journalist (not sure of the name) claimed that a Watergate “couldn’t happen here”. When asked why, he pointed to the architecture of state secrecy and hinted at the role of the security services in preserving the status quo. Even the Leveson Inquiry has been subjected to attacks from the right-wing press, who have so much to lose. In effect, Britain doesn’t have a free press and its political system is fatally corrupted.

As for the burglary at Miliband’s office and given the role of the secret state in party politics, I doubt we will ever know what really happened.

Leave a comment

Filed under Conservative Party, Government & politics, Labour Party Conference 2012

Corrupt politics and Newsnight’s cowardice

I was looking forward to finding out the name of the “high profile British politician” that Newsnight claimed was involved in a long-running paedophile ring that was mentioned by Labour MP, Tom Watson, a couple of weeks ago. Yesterday afternoon, I heard that the peer (for it is a member of the House of Lords) had threatened libel action against Newsnight if they went ahead with the story.

Surely if Newsnight had the goods on this peer and others, then a libel suit is the least of their worries – especially if the persons concerned are guilty as they no doubt are. I suspect that the peer in question believes himself, like many of his fellow Tories, to be above the law.

This shows us the contempt that Britain’s political class, the Tories in particular, have for democracy. But, more importantly, there has been a long-running paedophile ring that has operated with impunity within the British political establishment for the last 50, perhaps more, years, with the judiciary, police and local authorities complicit in its cover-up.

In the 1990s, Scallywag conducted a wide-ranging investigation into paedophilia at the heart of British power. Some names were named and I am certain that as time goes on, these names will also come to the surface but, for now, I am not at liberty to name them save to say, Ted Heath was mentioned as well as a young party worker who is now a backbench MP.

I used to read Scallywag and let us  say that in the 1990s, Dolphin Square in Pimlico was the scene of romantic trysts by two prominent cabinet ministers, one of whom was nicknamed “Polly”. Let’s also say that former Big Brother contestant, Derek Laud (pictured) was among the names mentioned. Among his chums, Laud is known by the nickname “Golly”, which is short for “golliwog”. However I must stress that, in my sole copy of Scallywag at least, whatever happened at Dolphin Square had more to do with the sexual hypocrisy of these ministers and their enthusiasm for Section 28 of the Local Government Act (1988) than the ongoing scandal per se.  But Dolphin Square keeps getting mentioned. It won’t go away.

This blog carries an article written by Scallywag’s editor, Simon Regan. I found this passage particularly interesting,

We took them separately to Pimlico and asked them to point out the building where this had taken place. They were both positive in their identification. It turned out to be the private flat of a well known, and since highly discredited lobbyist who later went into obscurity in some disgrace because of his involvement with Mohammed al-Fayed and the ‘cash for questions’ scandal. At the time we ran a story entitled ‘Boys for Questions’ and named several prominent members of the then Thatcher government. These allegations went to the very top of the Tory party, yet there was a curious and almost ominous lack of writs.

The lobbyist was a notorious ‘queen’ who specialised in gay parties with a ‘political mix’ in the Pimlico area – most convenient to the Commons – and which included selected flats in Dolphin Square. The two young men were able to give us very graphic descriptions of just what went on, including acts of buggery, and alleged that they were only two of many from children’s homes other than North Wales.

There was, to my certain knowledge, at least one resignation from the Conservative office in Smith Square once we had published our evidence and named names.

Even more interesting is this,

Subsequently, over a rent dispute which is still a matter of litigation, Dr. Julian Lewis, now Conservative MP for New Forest (East) but then deputy head of research at Conservative Central Office in Smith Square, managed to purchase the contents of our offices, which included all our files. It had been alleged that we owed rent, which we disputed, but under a court order the landlords were able to change the locks and seize our assets which included all our files, including those we had made on paedophiles. It was apparently quite legal, but it was most certainly a dirty trick.

All of a sudden very private information, some of it even privileged between ourselves and our lawyer during the John Major libel action, was being published in selected, pro-Conservative sections of the media.

Dr Julian Lewis (pictured), as I mentioned in a previous blog, sought selection as a candidate in the Newham East constituency in aftermath of the infamous Reg Prentice deselection case in 1977. He was secretly funded and supported by The Freedom Association, a right-wing pressure group that supports a range of reactionary causes at home and abroad.  Lewis, a particularly nasty piece of work, voted against lowering the age of consent for gay men. He is also a serial litigant of some standing having used the courts in an attempt to destroy Labour’s left-wing.

But it’s Lewis’s work as fixer and dirty tricks specialist that has come to The Cat’s attention. Below is an excerpt from The Times (10/2/92). This was a time when Conservative Party Central Office was looking for ways to damage Lib Dem leader, Paddy Ashdown, who had proposed forming a coalition with Labour in 1992 should the General Election result in a hung parliament. This rankled with the Tories.

The man behind the operation is Dr Julian Lewis, Mr Lansley’s deputy. His brief is to find anything politically damaging, such as connections with CND or former Soviet-front organisations, but excluding gossip about candidates’ personal lives, Central Office said.

Dr Lewis, appointed by Kenneth Baker, was founder of the Coalition for Peace through Security, bane of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, and was consistently accused by Bruce Kent, former CND leader, of running a dirty tricks campaign against anti-nuclear campaigners.

After the uproar at Central Office over the Ashdown dossier an unwritten decree has been made that all future media requests for background information on political rivals, and the Lewis dossiers, should be referred all the way up to the chairman’s office.

This is an excerpt from an article that was also published in The Guardian in 1992.

Lewis’s association with some of the most virulent cold-war warriors of the eighties has placed him as a central figure in that network of Anglo-American pressure groups and think tanks – formerly seen as the lunatic fringe of the right and with strong intelligence connections – which informed much of the Reagan-Thatcher political agenda. Linking the network were a handful of right wing politicians, academics and businessmen. A lot of the finance came covertly from America. Many of the footsoldiers came from the Federation of Conservative Students, whose libertarian rantings forced an embarrassed Tory Party to disband it in 1986.

When the Tories find themselves in an uncomfortable situation, they turn to Lewis and his box of dirty tricks. The Cat wonders what else he’s helped to cover up over the years. Who else has been threatened with smears and false allegations to shield those who have done wrong?

We are often told that we live in a democracy where, if we don’t like the way the government is running things, we can vote them out. What I’ve seen so far has gone further to convince me that Britain’s political processes are deeply corrupt and anti-democratic. The Conservative Party can’t fight a clean fight at the ballot box and has to resort to dirty tricks to destroy its enemies. The Tories believe themselves to be the natural party of government; divinely sanctioned to rule. They despise opposition and work tirelessly to silence or marginalize it.

Britain’s political system and its ‘democracy’ is resting precariously on the precipice. One sudden gust of wind and it will all come crashing down. The Savile Scandal is the beginning of the end for Britain’s corrupt political system.

UPDATE

9/11/12 @ 1239

Alistair McAlpine has strenuously denied allegations that he had any connection with Bryn Estyn or any other children’s home in North Wales.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-20267832

References

Norton-Taylor, R. & Pallister, D. (1992) “A NASTY LITTLE OPERATION;
Richard Norton-Taylor and David Pallister on the doctor who digs the dirt for the Conservatives” in The Guardian, 20 February, 1992

Pierce, A. (1992) “Ashdown dossier makes Tory sparks fly” in The Times, 10 February, 1992

5 Comments

Filed under Conservative Party, Government & politics