Tag Archives: Tom Watson

If You Missed The Last Smear Story, Another One Will Be Along In A Moment

Whenever the government is having a tough time, you can guarantee that within days a story, often a non-story or a smear about Corbyn, Momentum or the Left, will appear in the media.  This is one of those non-stories rather than a smear. Such is the predictability of these anti-Corbyn smear stories that you can actually set your watch by them.

So it is with Tom Watson, the Stalinesque Deputy Leader of the Labour Party, who yesterday announced, somewhat predictably, that he had heard an audio recording of Jon Lansman of Momentum telling an audience that the group was forming a pact with Unite and that the union was planning to fund them. That’s how it was reported.  It was also suggested that there was a “left-wing plot to take over the Labour Party”, which is weird for a  party that’s generally perceived as a supposedly left-wing party. I mean, do we really need two right-wing parties?  The market’s kind of crowded. Unite, for its part, rejected the claim and issued a press statement to the effect. Whenever an ‘entryism’ or ‘Trotskyite’ infiltration story appears in the media, you’ll find Watson at its centre of its production.

Unsurprisingly, the line being sold to the public – again – is that Momentum is an entryist group. This is what Watson suggested on the Today programme. In fact, he sounded like a little kid telling tales to John Humphrys’ relationally adult figure. It was an unedifying listening experience. Remember that most of Corbyn’s supporters aren’t actually Momentum members.  No matter.  He even added a dramatic embellishment to the story by warning that Momentum “risked destroying Labour’s electability”. Really? Isn’t that what you’re doing already, Tom?

Predictably, The Daily Politics led with the story, and the show’s producers even invited Blairite poseur, Caroline Flint (I guess Watson, Jess Phillips or John Mann were unavailable), to share studio space with Eric Pickles and pass comment on the non-event. Pickles stayed strangely quiet. Rachel Godfrey of Momentum was permitted to defend the organization but Coburn’s interview style and the presence of Flint combined to create the mise en scene of a hastily arranged kangaroo court.

Flint, for her part, repeated the same spiel The Cat has heard a hundred times or more about “far-left infiltrators”. She tutted and scoffed at Godfrey’s responses to Coburn’s questions and her demeanour and use of language suggested that she was at least partly involved in this latest smear along with Jess Philips. That reminds me, Flint’s a member of Progress, the Blairite ‘think-tank’, which has been accused by its critics of being a ‘party within a party’. Progress is also bankrolled by millionaires like David Sainsbury, a former member of the SDP. Momentum, whatever you think of it as an organization, is actually funded by its members. Progress, on the other hand, looks like a millionaires’ club run by public relations types. Cash for peerages? Yes, please. Where do I sign?

Watson’s support for Gerard Coyne, a self-styled moderate (read right-winger) in the Unite leadership election was never once mentioned by Norman ‘Guru’  Smith, John ‘Walrus’ Pienaar or any of the other television and radio journalists (sic). Yet this is an important aspect to the whole story, since Len McCluskey, who is seeking re-election, is known to be a Corbyn supporter. Therefore, he is seen as an obstacle to the Blairites’ plans to recapture the party and return it to its hollowed-out state.

There are times when I find myself briefly entertaining the notion that certain members of the PLP, Watson included, are either in the pay of a Tory front group or the State.  How can so-called Labour MPs be so hell-bent on destroying the party they claim to be saving?  It doesn’t make sense. But entertaining such notions is often tantamount to conspiracy theorizing. Yet, in 1976, the Labour Party was actually infiltrated by a Tory.  His name was Julian Lewis and he was bankrolled by The Freedom Association.  Lewis’s objective was to support the deselected right-wing candidate, Reg Prentice, and to steer the Newham North East CLP rightward and thus influence the wider party.  If this kind of infiltration happened once, it can happen again. It makes you wonder. No?

As I finish writing this, BBC News is now adding that Watson is “appealing for unity”. Funny that. Tomorrow, the story will vanish like a puff of smoke.

You can read more on this non-story on the Skwawkbox blog.

Leave a comment

Filed under Blairites, Labour

Fake News?

I was somewhat amused to read that Tom Watson, Labour’s Deputy Leader, was going to “investigate” fake news sites. I was even more amused when I discovered that he’d appointed Michael Dugher, a man who has already penned articles for The S*n to lead the, er, inquiry.

Like many other Twitter users, I asked Watson if his investigation was going to look at the production of fake news stories in The S*n, The Daily Mail and the Daily Express. I have yet to receive a reply.

So what is ‘fake news’? Doesn’t the British press publish fake news stories on a daily basis? Apparently the first focus of this ‘investigation’ is The Canary, a site whose business model is essentially based on clickbait-style headlines. Many of The Canary’s articles tend to be drawn from other stories that are arranged to produce a particular narrative (a lot of bloggers do it). It’s mostly comment.

It is also claimed that The Canary carries links to conspiracy theories but after a quick look around the site, I have failed to find any. However, it would be fair to say that The Canary is rather pro-Corbyn. Perhaps this is what Watson hates the most about the site. But being pro-Corbyn doesn’t mean The Canary is guilty of producing ‘fake news’ stories. Yet, this question of informational fakeness begs the question regarding the conspiracy sites run by Alex Jones. These include Prison Planet and Infowars. What about them? Aren’t they guilty of producing ‘fake news’? Watson and Dugher may find it harder to pursue Jones because he lives in the United States. The Canary is based in Britain.

So what about the fake news produced by official news outlets? The BBC has also produced fake news stories. Take the Battle of Orgreave, the BBC stitched together footage to give viewers the impression that the militarised police were being charged by a violent mob of miners. The reverse was true.

British newspapers routinely make up news stories and some are more guilty of this than others. This infamous front page appeared in The Sunday Sport in 1988.

 

The Daily Express is best known for its front page health scare stories and its slavish devotion to the Cult of Diana. It also supports UKIP and frequently prints hate stories about “loony lefties” and “luvvies”. This June, it published its Top 10 of ‘barmy’ EU decisions. They were either fake or sensible decisions.

One of the most persistent myths served up as a truth is the ‘straight banana’ story produced by Boris Johnson, a man who regards the £200, 000 for each article he writes as “chicken feed”.

Two years ago, The Daily Express published a fake news story that claimed that “half of all British Muslims supported ISIS”. The story was later pulled from its website. In 2011, its sister paper, The Sunday Express claimed that the EU wanted to “merge the UK and France”.  This prompted Roy Greenslade to write in his Guardian column that “nothing could be done” about these stories. Why not? Aren’t these papers equally as guilty of misinforming the public as the supposedly fake news sites?

Like the Daily Express, The Daily Mail is a tireless publisher of hate stories and has spent the best part of its history stirring up hatred of minorities. Last year, it printed a story that claimed Ralph Miliband “hated” Britain. There was no evidence to support this claim and even in the face of criticism from many quarters, it was unrepentant and even went so far as to repeat its spurious claims.

It would also appear that some people are unable to tell the difference between satire and fake news.  The Daily Mash, Newsthump, The Onion, Waterford Whispers and other sites produce satirical stories that resemble news stories. There is a point to this:  to satirize the so-called ‘free press’ one needs to adopt its motifs and ridicule them. Will Watson and Dugher pursue them too?

Media Studies is often derided by its critics as an “easy subject” that permits students to “ponce about with video cameras”. The real reason its detractors in the press and the political world hate the subject so much is because it provides students with the tools to analyse and critique the media. The last thing these two groups of powerful people wants is a media savvy public that calls out bullshit when they see it.

5 Comments

Filed under Free Press Myth, Journalism, Media, propaganda, Society & culture

The CSA Inquiry, The BBC And The Strange Case of Patrick Rock

In the last couple of weeks, the BBC and the Tory press have worked tirelessly to scupper the VIP child abuse story. In a recent edition of Panorama, the BBC poured cold water on the claims that the now deceased Leon Brittan was involved in child abuse or had raped a woman in 1967. Yesterday, Tory MP Nicholas Soames demanded that Tom Watson “apologise” for “traducing” Brittan’s good name. Watson rose to his feet in response and refused to issue an apology. Good for him. First, you can’t traduce or smear a dead person and second, Watson doesn’t need to apologise for anything.

The front page of today’s Daily Mail has this banner headline with the words “Labour’s child abuse witch hunt” in the opening paragraph. No agenda there. Right?

However, what is clear from these efforts is that the inquiry must be getting uncomfortably close to the Tories, so close that they’re now pulling out all the stops and getting their media chums to produce propaganda to counter any further accusations and smear the victims. The timing is also interesting for the fact that Harvey Proctor, a former Tory MP who’s so right-wing that he’d make a fascist blush with envy, recently appeared at a news conference to deny any allegations that he sexually abused children or witnessed any murders.

Now, before anyone reading this gets any ideas in their head that I’ve libelled Proctor, think on. I’ve done no such thing. Proctor was, however, a member of the notorious Monday Club. He apparently moved to purge the group of National Front members. So what?

Here’s the edition of Panorama in question.  The programme’s rationale is evident from the start: “It ain’t true”.

As Tom Pride observed yesterday, if Panorama’s team are so damned good at investigations, why did they fail to say anything about Jimmy Savile, who was working in the same building?

Let’s now turn to the case of Patrick Rock or to give him his full name, Patrick Robert John Rock de Besombes. Rock is the scion of an old Norman aristocratic family, a thwarted parliamentary candidate and was, until 18 months ago, a Downing Street aide. I say “was” because he was caught in possession of indecent images of children and appeared in court on those charges in July, 2014 and was bailed.  In December, 2014, Rock appeared at Southwark Crown Court and pleaded not guilty to the charges. Then it all went quiet.

I found this letter from someone called “P. Curran” to the Cabinet Office on the What Do They Know website that makes a Freedom of Information request. P. Curran writes:

Dear Cabinet Office,

I am seeking information on Patrick Rock, a former senior aide to
David Cameron, who appeared in court over child abuse images.

According to this Guardian report of Friday 19 December 2014 12.40
GMT, he was ‘ bailed to return to Southwark crown court for a
pre-trial hearing on 27 February 2015’:
http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2014/…

Since then there has been no news whatsoever. What has happened to
Mr. Rock please? Has he had his pre-trial hearing yet? And if so
where and when?

Yours faithfully,

Thankyou.

P. Curran

The letter was written on 2 June, 2015. If the pre-trial hearing took place, then there is no record of it. This begs the question: “why”?

A follow up letter appears on the same website, dated 17 June, 2015.

Dear Cabinet Office / FOI Team Mailbox,

Please pass this on to the person who conducts Freedom of
Information reviews.

I am writing to request an internal review of Cabinet Office’s
handling of my FOI request ‘Trial of Patrick Rock’.

Many thanks for this reply, but if you read my original question,
this is not what I asked.

I asked: “What has happened to Mr. Rock please? Has he had his
pre-trial hearing yet? And if so where and when?

I did NOT ask whether the information was held on your paper or
electronic records.

I would also draw your attention to the following:

Guardian: Possible Cabinet Office cover up re: Cyril Smith child
abuse allegations:
http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2015…

Same story from the Mail:
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-….
Indeed, from the article: “Downing Street cynically tried to
prevent the release of damaging files exposing the scale of the
cover-up over paedophile MP Cyril Smith.
The Cabinet Office repeatedly blocked The Mail on Sunday’s attempts
to see the bombshell documents – and caved in only after being
threatened with High Court action.”

Same story from Sky:
https://www.newstalk.com/Thatcher-knew-o….
From the story:
“He [Simon Danczuk] added: “(The Cabinet Office) have resisted
publishing these documents for over 12 months – that’s not
acceptable. They refused to tell the public who
nominated Cyril Smith for a knighthood. A journalist managed to get
that out of them after going to the Information Commissioner. It
was indeed David Steel.
And we now know they are resisting publishing at least four other
files relating to historic child sexual abuse. We have to ask the
question is the Cabinet Office fit for purpose?”

Private Eye story on Cabinet Office cover-up:
https://twitter.com/privateeyenews/statu…

https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/w…

So, given Mr Patrick Robert John Rock was deputy head of David
Cameron’s policy unit at the time of his arrest and has known him
since the late 1990s (http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-28054433 /
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics…),
I would be extremely grateful if you cold please tell me about the
trial / pre-trial hearings of Patrick Rock, supposedly held at
Southwark Crown Court , case number T20140498 (not whether the
information is stored on your paper or electronic records) .

A full history of my FOI request and all correspondence is
available on the Internet at this address:
https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/t…

Yours faithfully,

P. Curran

The exchange between P. Curran and the FOI team continues for the next few weeks until, finally, there’s a reply from the Information Commissioner’s Office.

REVIEW OF REQUEST UNDER THE FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT 2000
Cabinet Office Internal Review Reference: IR 321173
(Original Case Reference: Fol 321173)
Thank you for your email of 17 June 2015. You asked for an internal review of our response to
your request for information of 8 June 2015. In your request you asked for information about the
trial of Patrick Rock.
It may be helpful if I start by explaining that the Freedom of Information Act provides a right of
access, subject to exemptions, to information held in a recorded format by a public authority.
Public authorities are specifically scheduled under the Act and the Cabinet Office (including No1 O
Downing Street) is one of those scheduled authorities. Each government department and agency
is separately listed under the Act.
As such, the Cabinet Office can only respond in terms of information we hold in a recorded format.
I have reviewed your request and have concluded that the Cabinet Office does not hold any
recorded information, which would answer your question. I recognise your interest in this case but
I regret that we do not hold the information to be able to answer your question.
The substance of your request is a matter for the criminal justice system, which is outside the remit
of the Cabinet Office. The only advice and assistance I am able to offer is to suggest that you write
to the Crown Prosecution Service or Her Majesty’s Court Service. I should also explain that even if
they hold any information in a recorded format in scope of your request, one or more exemptions
under the Act might apply.
If you are unhappy with the handling of your request for information you, have the right to apply
directly to the Information Commissioner for a decision. The Information Commissioner can be
contacted at:
Information Commissioner’s Office
Wycliffe House
Water Lane
Wilmslow
Cheshire
SK9 5AF

It turns out that that Rock is due to appear in court in the next three days. However, there is nothing in papers about it, nor have the television news providers mentioned it.

Don’t you find that a little odd? I know I do.

4 Comments

Filed under Child Sexual Abuse Inquiry

The plot thickens as the backlash begins

The backlash began in earnest yesterday against Tom Watson and the entire investigation into the cover up of a high level paedophile ring operating in Britain after revelations that the wrong man had been identified as a pederast. It was bound to happen. The same thing happened with Leveson and as Watson pointed out, it was the same people from the same media outlets wagging their fingers and whispering “conspiracy theories” who have returned.

I won’t list any of those involved the backlash here, because you know who they are and you can go to Telegraph blogs and The Spectator and see them for yourself. The comments that accompany these blogs are also pretty vile: some abuse Watson, while others talk about “smears against the Conservative party”, which is rather ironic given the fact the party has regularly engaged in smear campaigns against its opponents since the 1920s, the most infamous of which was the Zinoviev Letter in 1924.

Last night, the BBC’s Newsnight was forced into making an apology for not naming the high-ranking Tory peer but for,  seemingly, sparking off a Twit-storm.  Watching the programme, I was immediately struck by how weird it all seemed.  The atmosphere was sombre, almost gloomy. Host, Eddie Mair, also said that Newsnight would be suspending its investigative reporting with immediate effect. In an eerily Kafkaesque moment, Mair then told us that “no one from the BBC was available for comment”. Bizarre.

Sure, Newsnight’s recent reportage has been woefully deferential to the government. It dropped the ball after Savile died and then tried to make up lost ground after ITV’s Exposure did the job that they failed to do. But this is the effect of over-management at the Beeb, who have made cuts to staff numbers – including journalists. Hence the partnership with The Bureau of Investigative Journalism.

But these are all diversions; distractions from the real issue: namely the widespread and systematic abuse of children by powerful people and the cover-ups by the authorities that have allowed this disgusting situation to continue. The lives of those abused have been utterly destroyed. Many have taken their lives or submerged themselves in drink and drugs. Yet, when one brings up the subject, they are in danger of being dismissed as “conspiracy theorists”.

Let me clear about something: I don’t indulge in conspiracy theories. I don’t have time for tales of lizards-disguised-as-humans or crap about the Illuminati and the eye above the pyramid on US dollar bills. You will find no links to David Icke or Jeff Rense on The Cat’s blog. But there is something about this case and the subsequent (not to mention hasty) circling of the wagons by the mainstream media’s usual suspects. In their own way, they are as guilty as those who seek to cover up these horrific stories of abuse because they focus on the messenger, which, by extension, transforms the victims into unreliable witnesses.

Leah McGrath Goodman, the American journalist who investigated the Haut de la Garenne child abuse scandal, found herself being denied entry to Britain in 2011. Why? It seems she asked too many questions. On her blog she says,

The islanders, who are quiet people, were quietly devastated. The notion that, for decades, their children’ homes might have been used as a sexual cafeteria for the rich and privileged – as hundreds of the victims contended – was distasteful in the extreme. During the probe government officials repeatedly stated that they fully intended to run a thorough investigation. Yet, within months, Harper and his boss, the island’s head constable, Graham Power, had been smeared by the local newspaper, The Jersey Evening Post, as unfit for their jobs and driven from the island. Their main advocate, Senator Stuart Syvret – then-health minister and one of the island’s most popular politicians – also found himself under siege, eventually sacked and jailed twice. The cases made against each man were as flimsy as the headlines were flashy.

It seemed that anyone who attempted to stand up for Jersey’s underprivileged or conduct a proper investigation into their treatment soon found themselves in the fight of their lives.

Evidence found at Haut de la Garenne – including bones that were “fresh and fleshed” before being burned and dozens of children’s teeth with the roots still on them in the furnace area – was turned over to a new police chief who downplayed its significance but also admitted to throwing some of it out. As an investigative journalist, I found it hard to understand how this could possibly inspire confidence. It seemed the situation needed to be looked at by someone without an axe to grind or an ass to save.

This is where my own troubles began…A couple years into my research, my trips to the UK were becoming frequent enough to justify my renting a flat for overnight stays and an office for my paperwork. Jersey has strict rules about outsiders renting property, so I arranged to meet with Jersey’s Customs and Immigration officials in July 2011 to make sure my accommodations passed muster. I was told they did. The first officer I met with, Jim Griffiths, told me not to worry and that as long as I did not intend to live in Jersey or take a job there – and my trips did not exceed the six-month time limit for visitors – I could proceed with my work. When he asked what I was researching, I was completely honest. He quickly excused himself and then returned with his superior. The two men proceeded to shout at me. I was told that I needed to get a long-term entry visa to conduct my work on the island. I asked if they had changed their minds due to the nature of my research. The two men would not answer the question and immediately escorted me out.

She then talks of a Kafkaesque (that’s the second time I’ve used that word) situation at Heathrow Airport where she was detained but not given any reason for her detention.

I asked the guards what was happening and I was handed a piece of paper that said, “You have been detained under paragraph 16 of Schedule 2 to the 1971 Act or arrested under paragraph 17 of Schedule 2 of that Act.” What did this mean? Was I being arrested? No one would say. I was fingerprinted and photographed. I asked the personnel watching me if I could call my solicitor or my consulate. “That’s what people always say,” one of the staffers said. I asked: What are my rights? A second staffer answered: “This is the border. You have no rights.”

More importantly,

Until two weeks ago, the investigation into my case was active and since my detainment (I eventually learned it was not an arrest) I have written several times to get a copy of my CCTV footage – to which all also are entitled – as proof that I was denied my rights at the border. For months, my requests went ignored, but another appeal made on my behalf by MP Hemming finally received a response from Immigration Minister Damian Green.

He said my CCTV footage had been destroyed.

Several days ago, another letter arrived at the MP’s office from a high-ranking official. It said my CCTV footage had not been destroyed. Who knows which is true?

My emphasis. Again, we find that crucial evidence has been destroyed. We can only speculate as to the reason for this.

While the establishment media was tying itself in knots over Lord McAlpine, the same paper that had informed the world that the wrong man had been fingered, reported that another 36 people had come forward with stories of sexual and physical abuse as well as torture.

He said: “These people are approaching me because they don’t yet want to go to the police or the authorities.” Most simply wanted to be listened to, he said. “They want to have their voices heard, they want people to understand what happened to them.” He said what happened in the 1970s and 1980s in north Wales was a consequence of children and young people not being listened to.

The children’s commissioner said the victims’ memories were “as clear as if it happened yesterday”. “We say it’s historical [abuse] but actually it’s alive. This is not an archaeological dig, we’re talking to people for whom this is terribly alive. People are incredibly emotional – we’ve had tears, anger, relief.

Today, the BBC is beating itself up, wondering what to do next.  This morning, the BBC Director General, George Entwistle, was interviewed on BBC4’s Today programme. Let’s put it this way, he didn’t do a great job. You can listen to the interview here.

The Tories have wanted to kill the BBC for decades and, it seems, they have a great opportunity to finish it off for good. The BBC has come in for a great deal of criticism over the years and much of it has been warranted but I would hate to see a media landscape populated by Murdoch clones.

We must keep our focus here.

I’ll leave you with this Sky News report. Warning: it’s harrowing stuff.

Leave a comment

Filed under BBC, censorship, Journalism, Media, propaganda

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