by Dave Randle
I had gone to Lancaster in a Fiat Ulysse test car in search of the Pendle witches and the Forest of Bowland, all of which would provide feature material for various magazines.
Coming down to breakfast at our hotel, we found something we weren’t looking for: Cyril Smith. Of course, he was hard to miss; even more so in the flesh. He had been a figure of fun with the British public, ideal material for jokes about hang-gliding, but he had retired from public view for some time
There wasn’t much out in the open about clandestine parliamentary doings back then. Nowadays, I have been told first hand about Smith’s abuse of children’s home residents, and it was he who first turned up threatening violence to the reporter to whom Barbara Castle had provided evidence of widespread abuse. In the event it was the heavy mob from Special Branch who actually raided the newspaper offices a couple of days later.
But there was something sinister about the man. He was polite, but unsmiling. It was off season, and I don’t think he and his male companion were expecting anyone else at breakfast.
At the time I dismissed the sense of evil, having no real justification for it. More than twenty years on, I can connect that feeling with reports from numerous sources of children’s homes being used as a facility for high ups and dignitaries; children purportedly in ‘care’ being bussed to private parties as objects for sex and sadism.
This edition of Australia’s 60 Minutes serves up enough witness statements to give an idea of the scale and reality of high level abuse, but also gives a rather optimistic view of what’s being done about it https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cA9-FV_rHss
A mysteriously precise 114 documents that should have formed part of the inquiry have gone AWOL, yet there is clearly enough other material to go on. As Zac Goldsmith admits in the film, incompetence can’t explain the inertia in bringing people to justice. It’s not even really a cover up, because so much of it is known about already.
Rather, it would seem to be a desperate attempt to hold on until the perpetrators are too old or dottled to be called, while cooking up as many and as dramatic diversions as possible, not the least of which involves character assassinations of popular, well-liked entertainers. Vile individuals with no one to love them hate when other people rise to the top through their own talents and creativity.
There is clearly no will to get to the bottom of all this, which is hardly surprising because it’s hard to see how the whole edifice of the British establishment won’t be rocked to its foundations.
It should happen. It must happen. And, in the fullness of time, it will happen.
UKR Columnist Dave Randle is an author and journalist,
Blog: THE RANDLE REPORT