Dan Hodges special pleading for the late Home Secretary simply won’t do
Leon Brittan is no more. His departure has been (predictably) celebrated by all those of the Westminster ilk, and doubtless in the coming days all those of us who harbour suspicions about this man will be told that we “should not speak ill of the dead”. Having libeled (in theory) the bloke some 44 times while he was alive, I’m afraid such pleas will fall on stoney ground with me.
Again, a little throat-clearing if I may. Those who follow The Slog regularly will know by now that I have grave doubts about the veracity of paedophile claims against everyone from Rolf Harris to yes, even Jimmy Savile. I don’t say either man – or those in between – are without guilt and shame: I just don’t think the vast majority of the accused were ever paedophiles…and at worst, certainly not on the scale suggested.
The differences between these cases and that of Lord Brittan are, however, myriad. In a Telegraph piece yesterday, Dan Hodges declared as follows:
These words put me in mind of the old (anti-racist) gag about a black gladiator being buried up to his neck in the amphitheatre, at which point three wild bulls are allowed into the ring. The first charges straight at the unfortunate negro, who has the presence of mind – as the bull pounces – to nut him in the balls. As the bull writhes in agony, the Emperor shouts “Fight fair you black bastard!”
Mr Hodges asks we Brittan doubters to show him the evidence; the reality is that endless government departments and police officers have been hiding it from public sight for years. We cannot “now” show the evidence Danny boy, because we don’t have any access to the stuff.
I’m acutely aware of the number of distinguished observers who disagree with me on this subject – including close friend Anna Raccoon – but I can only restate my view: the Brittan case is different.
Here are some strong reasons why I think this:
1. First and foremost, Brittan did not behave like an innocent man. Rumours of paedophiliac tendencies had swirled around his head for years – in exactly the same way as they did around Cyril Smith and Sir Peter Morrison. He behaved like they did: toughing it out – and hiding behind D-notices. He did not behave like Jim Davies or Cliff Richard or Paul Gamibicinni – with vigorous denials of obvious nonsense. Rather, he gave grudging, equivocal and blamestorming answers of less than perfect consistency under extreme duress.
2. I spent much of the late 1970s and early 1980s in the company of COI officials and senior Cabinet Ministers while advising the Governments of Mrs Thatcher about apolitical communications. During that time – and without collusion – I heard so many allegations of paedophilia against Leon Brittan it seemed to me inconceivable that all of them were invented: after all – what might the motive have been? Much later, two Met police officers I met under entirely unrelated circumstances told me that the Elm House paedophile brothel was a cover-up that went from Attorney General Havers downwards…and at the core of which was Leon Brittan.
3. There has never been a satisfactory explanation as to why Margaret Thatcher banished Brittan to Europe at a crucial stage in his career. But there is little doubt that she did.
4. We all remember that moment when Tom Watson asked the Prime Minister to look into “a paedophile ring close to Number Ten during the Thatcher years”. I urge you to look again at David Cameron’s body language as the question is put: it is a study in discomfiture. It is not easy to make Cameron look uncomfortable about anything. But what the PM knew was that Tom was referring to the mounting evidence of criminal sexuality at Elm House, and Brittan’s involvement in it. And that trail led straight back to Nick Clegg’s 2010 recommendation to Cameron of Brittan as a trade envoy…on which advice, the PM hired Brittan.
5. It is not as if the Elm House scandal is invented conspiracy drivel. The link between it and wannabe paedophile pimps on Richmond Council is a matter of fact, sentences handed down, and several ongoing investigations. Senior Tory Big Beast and London Mayor Boris Johnson is “personally overseeing” the latest investigation into Elm House. He’s been doing so for sixteen months, during which time not a peep of progress has emerged. And remember: this is the third reopening of the case in 35 years. The previous three enquiries went nowhere…for no particular reason: but retired Met officers continue to allege that the investigations were closed following direct political pressure from Westminster. Why would they do such a thing if this was all the invention of fevered paedofinder minds?
6. No expense has been spared by the Conservative Establishment over the years to rubbish the Tory MP Geoffrey Dickens, and his Elm House dossier handed to Leon Brittan while the latter was Home Secretary. That is their way with such things, but they have no answer to this simple question: if the dossier was a load of old cobblers, why did it disappear?
7. That the dossier existed is not in doubt. Having first of all in 2013 told a journalist he had “no recall” of such a document, Brittan changed his mind in 2014 (in the light of very obvious physical Whitehall evidence of its one-time reality) to say yes, he now did recall it – but he handed it to his civil servants for consideration and never heard any more about it. The way you do, when you’re Home Secretary. Why did Brittan equivocate, blame and then neglect?
I’m sorry Dan Hodges, but this does not add up to ‘Nobody had any evidence’. It adds up to the requirement for a rigorous enquiry: but Mayor Boris Johnson’s capacious – albeit well-exercised – buttocks remain squatting squarely upon any such enquiry.
If there is nothing to hide, then we should open up all the files and be allowed to have a look-see.
Hahahahahahahaha. Silly me, sorry: at this late hour, I am inclined to regain hope, however briefly.