Friday, February 28, 2014
But they still won't say sorry: Labour's Harman and Dromey finally break their silence over links to paedophile group
Harman is one of the British Left's prime haters
Labour’s deputy leader Harriet Harman finally broke her silence yesterday over her links with a paedophile group.
Miss Harman, her MP husband Jack Dromey, and former Health Secretary Patricia Hewitt have been under mounting pressure to explain the connections to the Paedophile Information Exchange while holding key roles in the National Council for Civil Liberties.
The pressure group granted ‘affiliate’ status to PIE, a notorious group of predatory paedophiles.
The BBC was accused yesterday of keeping the growing paedophilia scandal from the airwaves in order to protect the Labour Party
The BBC was accused yesterday of keeping the growing paedophilia scandal from the airwaves in order to protect the Labour Party
Last night Miss Harman dismissed the revelations as a ‘politically-motivated smear campaign’ and offered no apology over the NCCL’s extraordinary relationship with the PIE.
That is despite the fact that Shami Chakrabarti, current director of Liberty – the new name for NCCL – has previously issued an apology for the links with PIE.
In a statement Miss Harman said: ‘They have accused me of being an apologist for child sex abuse, of supporting a vile paedophile organisation, of having a relaxed attitude to paedophilia and of watering down child pornography laws.
‘These are horrific allegations and I strongly deny all of them.’
The Mail discovered that during the 1970s and 80s, Miss Hewitt described PIE – granted formal ‘affiliate’ status from 1975 to the mid-Eighties – in glowing terms as ‘a campaigning/counselling group for adults attracted to children’.
NCCL archives showed how the pressure group lobbied Parliament for the age of sexual consent to be cut to ten if the child consented and ‘understood the nature of the act’. It also called for incest to be legalised in what one MP called a ‘Lolita’s charter’.
The NCCL – now the respected Liberty – filed a submission to Parliament claiming that ‘childhood sexual experiences, willingly engaged in, with an adult, result in no identifiable damage’.
Miss Harman, as NCCL legal officer, tried to water down child pornography laws. NCCL lawyers acted for PIE members who were questioned by police over their disgusting behaviour.
Miss Hewitt was general secretary of the NCCL from 1974-83, Miss Harman was a newly qualified solicitor when she became its legal officer in 1978 until 1982, when she entered Parliament. Mr Dromey sat on the NCCL executive committee for almost a decade from 1970 to 1979.
Police are investigating PIE as part of Operation Fernbridge, launched after the Jimmy Savile affair, with one source saying there is evidence that PIE members were abusing children ‘on an industrial scale’.
The Home Office is also carrying out a ‘thorough, independent investigation’ into shocking claims that the Labour government of the 1970s may have helped finance the notorious group.
Ever since December, when The Mail first investigated the NCCL’s links to the paedophile lobby, we have been sending detailed questions to Miss Harman, Miss Hewitt and Mr Dromey about their links to PIE and whether they now regret supporting such a group. Miss Hewitt has still to respond but Miss Harman – after initially dismissing the story as ‘untrue and ridiculous’ – and her husband finally issued a statement via the Labour Party yesterday.
Miss Harman denied allegations that she supported lowering the age of consent to ten or opposed the law on incest – despite the Mail investigation never having made such a claim. Instead this newspaper stated that the NCCL, which she joined in 1978, had controversially lobbied on these issues two years earlier.
She also said that an allegation that she sought in 1978 to water down a proposed ban on child pornography was untrue.
Responding to the NCCL’s decision to grant ‘affiliate’s status to the notorious paedophile group, Miss Harman said: ‘The Mail have tried to make me guilty by way of guilt by association.
‘When I was at NCCL there were around 6,000 members and nearly 1,000 affiliated organisations of which PIE was one.
‘I was aware that because NCCL opposed censorship and supported gay rights, paedophiles had sought to exploit that and use NCCL as a vehicle to make their arguments. But by the time I came to work for NCCL this vile organisation had already been vigorously challenged within the organisation.’
She added: ‘The reason I decided to go to work for NCCL was because I actively supported the work they had done and in particular the work of their women’s rights committee on the Equal Pay Act, on the introduction of the Sex Discrimination Act and for greater protection of victims of domestic violence and against race discrimination.’
Mr Dromey said: ‘During my time on the NCCL executive, I was at the forefront of repeated public condemnations of PIE and their despicable views. ‘The accusations of the Daily Mail are untrue and beneath contempt.’
Labour leader Ed Miliband defended his deputy. He said: ‘Harriet Harman is somebody of huge decency and integrity. I know she has a long and proud record of being on the right side of all of these issues.’
Last night the Mail said: ‘For ten weeks now the Mail has repeatedly asked three leading Labour figures to answer questions about the involvement of the NCCL, a body in which they played leading roles, with a vile paedophile group whose actions are currently being investigated by the police.
‘The belated statements today of Miss Harman and her husband – full of pedantry and obfuscation – failed to answer the Mail’s central points and deny allegations the Mail has not made.
‘More pertinently they have failed to utter a word of contrition or sorrow about the NCCL’s closeness to the notorious Paedophile Information Exchange, an organisation that validated the activities of a monster like Jimmy Savile. Nor do they utter a word of apology to the victims of PIE.
‘In stark contrast, Shami Chakrabarti, the director of Liberty, which took over the NCCL’s mantle, has condemned the historic links with PIE as a “source of continuing disgust and horror”.
‘As for smears, it is a newspaper’s job to ask awkward and controversial questions – questions that in this instance are still awaiting a satisfactory answer.’
Labour's paedophile problem is more about press regulation
If the Roman Catholic Church had forged links - even as far back as the 1970s - with something called the Paedophile Information Exchange, the political outrage and media onslaught would have been monumental. Certainly, there have been many thousands of appalling cases and a chronic culture of cover-up, but no one can pretend that this was countenanced by canon lawyers or advocated by the Magisterium. Similarly, if the BBC were found to have proven historic (= Savile-era) connections with a group which favoured easing restrictions on child pornography; advocated a more relaxed attitude to paedophilia; proposed the legalisation of incest; and wanted to lower the age of consent to 10, there would be urgent demands for a public inquiry, with immediate suspensions and assurances in Parliament that heads will roll.
But when three current Labour politicians - former officers of National Council for Civil Liberties - are confronted with documented links to something that really was called the Paedophile Information Exchange, and when it is set down in black and white that this group really did agitate for all of the aforementioned 'progressive' policies, you have to wonder why Ed Miliband has not at least instigated an internal inquiry and done a few background checks on Harriet Harman, Jack Dromey and (former MP) Patricia Hewitt. Instead, he declared that he doesn't "set any store by these allegations", and that Harriet Harman in particular is a person of "huge decency and integrity".
The evidence (if it be) has been set out in the Daily Mail, even alleging that "the Labour government of the time may have helped finance the organisation". Unsurprisingly, Ms Harman has dismissed this as a politically motivated campaign - a smear, indeed, of the most despicable Dacre sort, to which depths of journalism neither she nor Labour would ever stoop.
The thing is, Pope Benedict XVI spent much of his pontificate issuing profuse expressions of remorse and repentance on behalf of his church for the heinous acts of paedophile priests and the post-conciliar hierarchical conspiracy of cover-up. And the BBC is still apologising over its 1970s "groupie" culture of misogynistic permissiveness and predatory paedophilia. Both institutions are horrified and appalled - 40 years on - that they did nothing to protect so many vulnerable victims over such a long period. But at least the perpetrators are now being held to account - one of them even post mortem.
But last night Harriet Harman refused eight times to accept that her connection with the Paedophile Information Exchange was a mistake. This is not just any Labour politician: it is the party's Deputy Leader. She didn't just deflect the question once: she side-stepped it eight times. She has 'clarified' her position this morning in a hastily-penned statement of 'regret', but that doesn't quite explain her cagey obfuscation last night on Newsnight.
It is curious how Mr & Mrs Jack Dromey are more concerned with rubbishing Dacre and berating the Mail than they are with repudiating a group which sought to take advantage of children. If it is moral and just to arrest aging entertainers and prosecute abusive priests in their 70s and 80s, how can it not be right to investigate the alleged links between Labour, the NCCL and PIE? Is the Mail's political smear agenda really more repugnant than historic matters of child abuse, rape and torture?
Or is Harriet Harman's real objective here to situate herself and her husband as latter-day Dowlers - the latest victims of vile press abuse - and thereby reinforce the need for a Leveson framework of press control to protect the poor and vulnerable (and the rich and powerful)?
Maybe the young are not so bad
America's most popular cable news host is upset. "Marijuana use, video games and texting (are) creating major social problems," says Bill O'Reilly. "This is an epidemic that will lead to a weaker nation!"
Give me a break.
Crotchety old geezers always complain about "the kids." The Boston Globe frets about "Idle Trophy Kids." The New York Post asks if millennials are "The Worst Generation?" Older folks (my age) complain that young people spend so much time texting each other that they can't communicate. And because they spend hours playing violent video games, violence is up.
It's true that kids today play incredibly violent games like "Halo" and "Grand Theft Auto," but as the games' popularity increased (over the past 20 years), youth violence dropped 55 percent. In Japan, kids spend more time playing violent games, and there's even less violence. And in America, despite media hype, there are fewer school shootings now, not more.
Kids "can't communicate" because they text all the time? Recently, kids invented Facebook, YouTube, Firefox, Groupon, Instagram, Tumblr, Pinterest and so on. They communicate something .
Inevitably, we older people misunderstand new ways young people do things -- we are frightened by the risks and oblivious to the benefits.
If O'Reilly had been on TV in the '50s, he would have ranted about comic books causing juvenile delinquency. The Senate actually held hearings in which the public was instructed that Superman "embodied sadistic fantasies ... injurious to children ... "
Today O'Reilly opines, "The cyberspace addiction rate among American children is off the charts ... they don't learn coping skills! ... In China, young people are encouraged to compete, be disciplined, live in the real world. Not here."
Even if that were true, what have Chinese young people invented lately? Any companies? What music and art did they compose?
O'Reilly worries about "America going to pot ... If you use any intoxicating agent, your goal is to leave reality. You're not satisfied with your current state of mind, you want to get high, buzzed, blasted, whatever."
I say, so what?
Some people like the sensation of getting "buzzed." Some are not satisfied with their current state of mind. Good. That's what gets people to learn new things.
Altering our minds is a most basic right. We alter our minds -- often for the better -- every time we read a book, fall in love or watch a TV show, including O'Reilly's.
But old people worry that young people are exposed to sexual imagery. It's true the Web brings pornography to children's computers, and that culture is often coarse. When Miley twerks, I cringe.
But again, where's the harm? As reporter Michael Moynihan will point out on my TV show this week, "Over the past 20 or so years, sex has been in everyone's face, yet teen pregnancy dropped by 50 percent."
I wish outraged oldsters remembered how we once laughed at those who were frightened by Elvis Presley.
In 1956, The New York Times said Elvis had "no discernable singing ability." The New York Daily News called his act "animalism that should be confined to dives and bordellos." Even Frank Sinatra said his kind of music is "deplorable, a rancid, smelling aphrodisiac (that) fosters destructive relations in young people."
Somehow, America survived Elvis.
"Moral panics are one of our favorite things," says Moynihan. "If there's nothing to be panicked about, what do you write about?" Being outraged is part of the media circus.
The danger is that the outrage undermines perspective. It creates a false impression of how risky the present is, and it fuels unnecessary, freedom-killing regulations.
Old people always talk about the good old days. But the good old days were not so good. When I was young, more kids were intolerant, racist, sexist and homophobic. They had little knowledge of life beyond their neighborhoods. Today, thanks to the Web and other innovations, life is better, not worse.
Gay activists have met their match with Muslim barbers
So a lesbian walks into a Muslim barbershop, and asks for a “businessmen’s haircut”.
It sounds like the beginning of a joke, but it really happened, and now a government agency called the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario will hear her complaint.
Faith McGregor is the lesbian who doesn’t like the girly cuts that they do at a salon. She wants the boy’s hairdo.
Omar Mahrouk is the owner of the Terminal Barber Shop in Toronto. He follows Shariah law, so he thinks women have cooties. As Mahrouk and the other barbers there say, they don’t believe in touching women other than their own wives.
But that’s what multiculturalism and unlimited immigration from illiberal countries means. A central pillar of many immigrant cultures is the second-class citizenship of women and gays.
So if we now believe in multiculturalism, and that our Canadian culture of tolerance isn’t any better than the Shariah culture of sex crimes and gender apartheid, who are we to complain when Omar Mahrouk takes us up on our promise that he can continue to practise his culture — lesbian haircuts be damned?
He’s not the one who passed the Multiculturalism Act, and invited in hundreds of thousands of immigrants with medieval attitudes towards women and gays and Jews, etc. We did.
Mahrouk’s view is illiberal. But in Canada we believe in property rights and freedom of association — and in this case, freedom of religion, too.
But McGregor ran to the Human Rights Tribunal and demanded that Mahrouk give her a haircut.
In the past, human rights commissions have been a great ally to gay activists. Because, traditionally, gay activists have complained against Christians. And white Christians are the one ethnic identity group that human rights commissions don’t value, and that multiculturalism doesn’t include.
In recent years, Canadian human rights commissions have weighed a complaint about a women’s-only health club that refused a pre-operative transsexual male who wanted to change in the locker rooms.
They’ve ordered bed and breakfasts owned by Christian families to take in gay couples. They’ve censored pastors and priests who have criticized gay marriage. Gays win, because it’s a test of who is most outraged and offended.
But in the case of the Muslim barbers, the gay activists have met their match. If the test is who can be the most offended or most politically correct, a lesbian’s just not going to cut it.
Oh, McGregor is politically correct. But just not politically correct enough. It’s like poker.
A white, Christian male has the lowest hand — it’s like he’s got just one high card, maybe an ace. So almost everyone trumps him.
A white woman is just a bit higher — like a pair of twos. Enough to beat a white man, but not much more.
A gay man is like having two pairs in poker.
A gay woman — a lesbian like McGregor — is like having three of a kind.
A black lesbian is a full house — pretty tough to beat.
Unless she’s also in a wheelchair, which means she’s pretty much a straight flush.
The only person who could trump that would be a royal flush. If the late Sammy Davis Jr. — who was black, Jewish and half-blind — were to convert to Islam and discover he was 1/64th Aboriginal.
So which is a better hand: A lesbian who wants a haircut or a Muslim who doesn’t want to give it to her?
I’m betting on Mahrouk. And I predict that Muslim activists — not quiet barbers like Mahrouk, but professional Muslim busybodies — will start using human rights commissions more and more to push their way into places where they have no legal right, but where the human rights commissions are more than happy to engineer things for them, if they complain loud enough.
If I were a gay activist, I’d probably want to declare victory and shut down these human rights commissions right now.
In five years time, it won’t be gay activists forcing themselves into Christian B&Bs. It’ll be Muslim activists vetoing the gay pride parade.
Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.
American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.
For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and DISSECTING LEFTISM. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here.