Monthly Archives: November 2012

Leveson Inquiry – Leveson makes me (and possibly others) a non-person

Robert Henderson

The Leveson Inquiry report was published on 29th November. The  executive summary   is at  http://www.official-documents.gov.uk/document/hc1213/hc07/0779/0779.asp

The full Report is at http://www.official-documents.gov.uk/document/hc1213/hc07/0780/0780.asp

I have only been able to have a quick glance at the 2000 odd page document but I have found something very strange. I have become a non-person in Leveson World. There is a long list of those making submissions to the Inquiry . I made very substantial submissions to Leveson – my initial submission can be found at https://livinginamadhouse.wordpress.com/2011/11/25/the-leveson-inquiry-the-blairs-the-mirror-the-police-and-me/ .

Leveson’s report contains a long list of the names of those who made submissions – see – http://www.official-documents.gov.uk/document/hc1213/hc07/0780/0780_iv.pdf  page 1839 volume IV.    My name is not in the list.

Not content with refusing to allow me to appear as a core participant or an ordinary witness,  Leveson has deliberately excluded any evidence  that I made  submissions.  It would be interesting to know if any other people who made submissions  have had their names omitted.

Such an omission  is most irregular. Where submissions are solicited by an official inquiry,  the submissions,  or at least a note of who has made submissions,  are routinely included in an appendix to the report.

Why is Leveson so determined not to have my submission to his Inquiry suppressed? Amongst other things   I provided him with

1. A  letter from Piers Morgan to the PCC when he was Daily Mirror editor admitting that he had received in formation from the police in circumstances which can only have been have been illegal.

2. Evidence that Morgan and his one-time Mirror chief crime reporter Jeff Edwards had committed perjury under oath before the Inquiry .

3. Evidence that the police conducted an “ investigation” in the Morgan letter   to the PCC without questioning Morgan or anyone else at the Mirror.

4. The abject failure of the PCC to address  my complaints of the most serious libels against me.

5. Huge evidence of press abuse of me.

Details of these issues and my  extended correspondence with the Inquiry can be found at:

The Leveson Inquiry report was published on 29th November. The  executive summary   is at  http://www.official-documents.gov.uk/document/hc1213/hc07/0779/0779.asp

The full Report is at http://www.official-documents.gov.uk/document/hc1213/hc07/0780/0780.asp

I have only been able to have a quick glance at the 2000 odd page document but I have found something very strange. I have become a non-person in Leveson World. There is a long list of those making submissions to the Inquiry . I made very substantial submissions to Leveson – my initial submission can be found at https://livinginamadhouse.wordpress.com/2011/11/25/the-leveson-inquiry-the-blairs-the-mirror-the-police-and-me/ .

Leveson’s report contains a long list of the names of those who made submissions – see – http://www.official-documents.gov.uk/document/hc1213/hc07/0780/0780_iv.pdf  page 1839 volume IV.    My name is not in the list.

Not content with refusing to allow me to appear as a core participant or an ordinary witness,  Leveson has deliberately excluded any evidence  that I made  submissions.  It would be interesting to know if any other people who made submissions  have had their names omitted.

Such an omissions  is most irregular. Where submissions are solicited by an official inquiry,  the submissions,  or at least a note of who has made submissions,  are routinely included in an appendix to the report.

Why is Leveson so determined not to have my submission to his Inquiry suppressed? Amongst other things   I provided him with

1. A  letter from Piers Morgan to the PCC when he was Daily Mirror editor admitting that he had received in formation from the police in circumstances which can only have been have been illegal.

2. Evidence that Morgan and his one-time Mirror chief crime reporter Jeff Edwards had committed perjury under oath before the Inquiry .

3. Evidence that the police conducted an “ investigation” in the Morgan letter   to the PCC without questioning Morgan or anyone else at the Mirror.

4. The abject failure of the PCC to address  my complaints of the most serious libels against me.

5. Huge evidence of press abuse of me.

Details of these issues and my  extended correspondence with the Inquiry can be found at:

Tag Archives: Leveson Inquiry

Piers Morgan, perjury, the police, the Leveson Inquiry and  Denis MacShane

Note: I attended an Orwell Prize meeting on 24 October at the Frontline Club in Paddington.   The erstwhile Labour Cabinet Minister Denis MacShane  was one of the speakers.  The subject was the misbehaviour of the police and their relations with the media. When questions from the audience were called for I  told the meeting about Piers […]

Leveson Inquiry – My Subject Access  request: the Inquiry withhold data

My Subject Access request to Leveson has resulted in virtually no material being released and an admission that they are withholding information on the grounds of legal privilege. I am challenging this with the Information Commissioner – details below. The course of my  request  can be found at https://livinginamadhouse.wordpress.com/2012/02/29/leveson-inquiry-data-protection-act-request-for-information/. In addition to my submission to the […]

Is there a deliberate attempt to sabotage the trial of Rebekah Brooks and co?

Robert Henderson At first glance it beggars belief  that Alison Levitt QC,  the principal legal advisor to the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) ,  took the decision to prosecute the one time chief executive of News International and erstwhile editor of the News of the World (NoW) Rebekah Brooks  and others associated with her  beggars […]

Leveson Inquiry – Lord  Leveson prepares the way for the cancellation of part 2

Robert Henderson Leveson hints at an early end to the Inquiry On 2  May the London paper the Evening Standard let a rather large cat out of the bag. It reported that Lord Leveson,  in a ruling made very quietly on 1 May,  had  hinted strongly that he wanted to cut short his eponymous Inquiry. […]

Leveson Inquiry –    Politicians and the Press

Miss Kim Brudenell Solicitor to the Inquiry Leveson Inquiry Royal Courts of Justice Strand, London WC1 2 May 2012 Cc All barristers employed by the Inquiry Dear  Ms Brudenell, Politicians and the Press I enclose three  examples of  collusion between politicians and the press.    All cases demonstrate the willingness of the British mainstream media to […]

Leveson Inquiry – Jeff Edwards and another prima facie case of perjury

Miss Kim Brudenell Solicitor to the Inquiry Leveson Inquiry Royal Courts of Justice Strand, London WC1 25 March 2012 Dear Miss Brudenell, The evidence given by Jeff Edwards before the Inquiry on 17 March 2012 provides another prima facie instance of perjury. Mr Edwards was the reporter who wrote the hideously libellous story about me […]

Leveson Inquiry –  Harriet Harman has her deniability removed

Note: I attended a conference entitled Taking on the Media Barons on Saturday 17 March. Its subject was media abuse including the issues under consideration by the Leveson Inquiry.  Harriet Harman was the first speaker.  In the course of her talk she spoke enthusiastically about the fearless way the Leveson Inquiry was going about its work. The […]

Leveson Inquiry – Data Protection Act request for information

RE: Urgent – For Kim BrudenellFriday, 24 February, 2012 12:57 From: “Leveson Inquiry Solicitors Team”Add sender to ContactsTo: “‘robert henderson’”, “Leveson Inquiry Solicitors Team”Dear Mr Henderson Thank you for your email the contents of which are noted. I appreciate that you have long standing concerns regarding Mr Morgan. The Inquiry’s position was made clear in our emails […]

Leveson Inquiry – the killer question Robert Jay QC is not asking

The leading counsel to the Leveson Inquiry  Robert  Jay  QC and his fellow barristers are being surprisingly inept in their questioning when it comes to the question of the police illicitly supplying information to the press.  It is noticeable that although some very damaging revelations have come out during the course of the Inquiry, to […]

The Leveson Inquiry and the suppression of evidence

NB This article is also  on the Libertarian Alliance website http://libertarianalliance.wordpress.com/2012/02/22/the-leveson-inquiry-and-the-suppression-of-evidence/  Robert Henderson The remit of the Leveson Inquiry into the British Press is clear: Module 1: The relationship between the press and the public and looks at phone-hacking and other potentially illegal behaviour. Module 2: The relationships between the press and police and the extent […]

Leveson Inquiry: sabotaging deniability

Robert Henderson To remove the defence of “I did not know”from those running the Inquiry, I have sent a fascimile copy of Morgan letter to the PCC to every barrister employed by the Inquiry via their chambers and to Leveson at the House of Lords —————————————– To:  Counsel to the Leveson Inquiry Robert Jay QC, […]

Leveson Inquiry –  Wanted- people who have had their evidence ignored

The Leveson Inquiry are refusing to use my evidence of press, PCC and police misdoing. They will not even take up the matter of Piers Morgan’s perjury before them despite the fact that I have given them a letter from Morgan to the PCC  in which he writes “ The   police  source of our article […]

The Leveson Inquiry – Robert Henderson’s evidence still being considered

Miss Kim Brudenell Solicitor to the Inquiry Leveson Inquiry Royal Courts of Justice Strand London WC1 14 February  2012 Dear Miss Brudenell, Confirming our telephone conversation of 14 February, you stated: 1. That my email to you of 27 January was received despite no acknowledgement being sent . 2.  That my various submissions to the […]

Leveson Inquiry: Robert Henderson’s application for core participant status

The Leveson Inquiry- Note on the Directions Hearing 25 1 2012 in Court 73 of the Royal Courts of Justice Robert Henderson I attended a directions hearing  for the decision on whether I would be designated  a Core Participant.  I shall not be Core Participant (unless I can somehow persuade Lord Leveson  otherwise), but I could […]

Leveson Inquiry – the response to Robert Henderson’s application to be a Core Participant

Leveson Inquiry Royal Courts of Justice Strand London WC1 22 12  2011 Dear Lord Leveson, Piers Morgan indubitably lied to the Inquiry (20 December) when he claimed that he had never illicitly received information from the police.   On 25 November I submitted a series of complaints backed by documentation to the Inquiry.  These were definitely […]

Referral of Piers Morgan’s perjury to the Leveson Inquiry

Leveson Inquiry Royal Courts of Justice Strand London WC1 22 12  2011 Dear Lord Leveson, Piers Morgan indubitably lied to the Inquiry (20 December) when he claimed that he had never illicitly received information from the police.   On 25 November I submitted a series of complaints backed by documentation to the Inquiry.  These were definitely […]

Piers Morgan lied to the Leveson Inquiry

Piers Morgan lied to the Leveson Inquiry  (20 12 2011) when he claimed he had never illicitly received  information from the police when Mirror editor.   I can say this categorically because he admitted doing so in a letter to the PCC in 1997 when he wrote “”The  police source of our article (whose identity we […]

The Leveson Inquiry: a shameless attempt to censor my evidence

RE: Submission to the Inquiry involving media abuse and the buying of police info Tuesday, 29 November, 2011 13:26 From: “Leveson Inquiry General Enquiries”View contact detailsTo: “robert henderson”Dear Mr Henderson, Thank you for your submission which has been received by the Inquiry Team.  You will appreciate that we have received a large amount of evidence […]

The Leveson Inquiry: the Blairs, the Mirror, the police and me

generalenquiries@levesoninquiry.org.uk 25 November 2011 Dear Lord Leveson, I submit examples of misbehaviour  by  the media and  the  PCC plus collusion between the police and the media .   In every case I was the person who was directly affected by the behaviour.   For each case I enclose supporting documents which strongly support my accusation. I wish […]

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The “wrong” sort of indoctrination (for the left)

Robert Henderson

An unnamed (because they did not want the children identified) Rotherham couple experienced in fostering  have had three of their charges peremptorily  removed by Rotherham social services (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/ukip/9700001/Foster-parents-stigmatised-and-slandered-for-being-members-of-Ukip.html). The reason? The couple are members of  the United Kingdom Independence Party  (UKIP) which opposes  further wholesale immigration including that from the EU and multiculturalism.  These policies were  deemed racist by Rotherham social services:

‘They [the fosterers] were told that the local safeguarding children team had received an anonymous tip-off that they were members of Ukip.

The wife recalled: “I was dumbfounded. Then my question to both of them was, ‘What has Ukip got to do with having the children removed?’

“Then one of them said, ‘Well, Ukip have got racist policies’. The implication was that we were racist. [The social worker] said Ukip does not like European people and wants them all out of the country to be returned to their own countries.’

The fact of UKIP membership was enough to damn the foster parents as unsuitable to raise three East European origin children because according to  Joyce Thacker, the council’s Director of Children and Young People’s Services, the UKIP couple could not meet the children’s  “cultural and ethnic needs”.  Despite the fact that the UKIP couple had been exemplary foster parents  for a number of years. After being removed from the UKIP foster parents the children were split even though they are siblings (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/9704964/Ukip-fostering-row-children-were-split-up-when-removed.html). The claim  of meeting the children’s “cultural and ethnic needs”  is made even more absurd by the fact that the UKIP couple were foster parents trusted to take in children in an emergency,  a fostering status which often resulted in the  foster periods being short.

Since the story about the Rotherham foster parents broke a UKIP candidate has come forward to say that she was not allowed to be a volunteer with the children’s charity Barnardos because of her UKIP connections:

A row over two UKIP members having their foster children removed took a new twist last night when another woman claimed she had been barred from looking after children because she was a party candidate.

Nigel Farage, UKIP leader, condemned ‘another appalling case of discrimination’ after former district nurse Anne Murgatroyd said she had been prevented from volunteering as a mentor for young adults by leading children’s charity Barnardo’s….

Responding to a Mail on Sunday reporter, she wrote: ‘I’d almost gone through their process and been accepted when I told them I’d be standing for UKIP in locals . . . They checked with managers, discussed it, couldn’t accept me due to issue of multi-culturalism.

‘Their rationale was that because UKIP opposes multi-culturalism it would not be appropriate for me to mentor young people coming out of the care system. My argument was that, yes, I do oppose forced marriage and female genital mutilation and family killings but that does not make me unsuitable to befriend young people.’ (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2238037/UKIP-leader-fury-member-banned-Barnardos-caring-children.html#ixzz2DDOYxVs1).

These two cases suggest that within the social work world, whether state funded or charitable, UKIP have been placed on some sort of black list. This is positively sinister because once agents of the state, whether directly employed or subcontracted labour in organisations such as charities, are allowed to make political judgements in their work anything potentially goes,  including the imposition of blanket bans on those belonging to parties deemed not to be within the ideological Pale of the public servant or organisation.

What Rotherham Social Services and Barnardos are both saying  in effect is that only those signing up to an uncritical political correctness can be considered for participation in childcare socialwork.  However, that is not entirely correct because,   as we shall see,   UKIP’s policies on immigration and multiculturalism are not radically different from those of  the Conservative  Party; neither are they  a million miles from those of Labour.  To the best of my knowledge there is no example of a member of the Conservative or Labour Parties  being denied participation because of their attitudes towards immigration and multiculturalism.  The implication of this is that UKIP is seen as a fringe party with limited power which  can be excluded with few consequences , while the power, influence and money at the disposal of the major  parties makes them too hot to challenge – it is also worth remembering that the funding for social services and much of the funding for major charities comes from the taxpayer so those in socialwork have a vested interest in keeping mum about the parties which do or potentially will allocate the taxpayers’ money.

The double standards are further seen in the complaint of the politically correct that UKIP members would indoctrinate the children with UKIP beliefs. But these people are more than happy to tolerate the indoctrination of children with their own views. There are no calls to  prevent the politically correct, purveyors of multiculturalism, Marxists and  Internationalists from adopting and fostering.  The politically correct deem these to be the “right” kind of indoctrination.

What UKIP, the Conservatives, Labour and the BNP say about immigration and multiculturalism

This is UKIP’s immigration policy including its position on multiculturalism:

• End mass, uncontrolled immigration. UKIP calls for an immediate five-year freeze on immigration for permanent settlement. We aspire to ensure that any future immigration does not exceed 50,000 people p.a.

• Regain control of UK borders. This can only be done by leaving the European Union. Entry for work will be on a time-limited work permit only. Entry for non-work related purposes (e.g. holiday or study) will be on a temporary visa. Overstaying will be a criminal offence

• Ensure all EU citizens who came to Britain after 1 January 2004 are treated in the same way as citizens from other countries (unless entitled to ‘Permanent Leave to Remain’). Non- UK citizens travelling to or from the UK will have their entry and exit recorded. To enforce this, the number of UK Borders Agency staff engaged in controlling immigration will be tripled to 30,000

• Ensure that after the five-year freeze, any future immigration for permanent settlement will be on a strictly controlled, points-based system similar to Australia, Canada and New Zealand

• Return people found to be living illegally in the UK to their country of origin. There can be no question of an amnesty for illegal immigrants. Such amnesties merely encourage further illegal immigration

• Require those living in the UK under ‘Permanent Leave to Remain’ to abide by a legally binding ‘Undertaking of Residence’ ensuring they respect our laws or face deportation. Such citizens will not be eligible for benefits. People applying for British citizenship will have to have completed a period of not less then five years as a resident on ‘Permanent Leave to Remain’. New citizens should pass a citizenship test and sign a ‘Declaration of British Citizenship’ promising to uphold Britain’s democratic and tolerant way of life

• Enforce the existing terms of the 1951 UN Convention on Refugees until Britain replaces it with an Asylum Act. To avoid disappearances, asylum seekers will be held in secure and

humane centres until applications are processed, with limited right to appeal. Those seeking asylum must do so in the first ‘designated safe country’ they enter. Existing asylum seekers who have had their application refused will be required to leave the country, along with any dependants. We oppose any amnesties for failed asylum seekers or illegal immigrants.

• Require all travellers to the UK to obtain a visa from a British Embassy or High Commission, except where visa waivers have been agreed with other countries. All non-work permit visa entrants to the UK will be required to take out adequate health insurance (except where reciprocal arrangements exist). Those without insurance will be refused entry. Certain visas, such as student visas, will require face-to-face interviews, and UKIP will crack down on bogus educational establishments

• Repeal the 1998 Human Rights Act and withdraw from the European Convention on Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms. In future British courts will not be allowed to appeal to any international treaty or convention that overrides or sets aside the provisions of any statue passed by the UK Parliament

• Reintroduce The ‘Primary Purpose Rule’  (abolished by the Labour Government),  whereby those marrying or seeking to marry a British citizen will have to convince the admitting officer that marriage, not residence, is their primary purpose in seeking to enter the UK

• End the active promotion of the doctrine of multiculturalism by local and national government and all publicly funded bodies

• Ensure British benefits are only available to UK citizens or those who have lived here for at least five years. Currently, British benefits can be claimed by EU citizens in their arrival year (http://www.ukip.org/content/ukip-policies/1499-immigration-ukip-policy).

Most of those policies are either formal Conservative policy or have considerable traction within the Parliamentary party.  In the case of multiculturalism David Cameron since becoming Prime Minister has repudiated it for its fracturing effect on society(http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-12371994 State multiculturalism has failed).  Here is the official  Conservative Party policy on immigration:

 IMMIGRATION

We are restoring order to our immigration system to bring annual net migration down to the tens of thousands – rather than the hundreds of thousands we saw under Labour – by the end of this Parliament. We have capped economic migration, reformed the student visa system, and we’re changing the family visa rules. We have made reforms at our borders, to ensure they are safe and secure.

The bigger picture

• Our annual limit on non-EU economic migration will not only help reduce immigration to sustainable levels but will protect those businesses and institutions that are vital to our economy. The new system was designed in consultation with business. Employers should look first to people who are out of work and who are already in this country.

• A properly controlled and regulated student visa system is a crucial component of our policy to reduce and control net migration. That is why we have radically reformed student visas to weed out abuse and tackle bogus colleges. And our reforms are starting to take effect: in the year to June 2012, there was a thirty per cent decrease in the number of student visas issued compared to the year to June 2011.

• We welcome those who wish to make a life in the UK with their family, work hard and make a contribution but a family life must not be established here at the taxpayer’s expense. To play a full part in British life, family migrants must be able to integrate – that means they must speak our language and pay their way. This is fair to applicants, but also fair to the public.

• The Government’s priority is the security of the UK border. The right checks need to be carried out to control immigration, protect against terrorism and tackle crime. We are maintaining thorough border checks. And despite those robust checks, the vast majority of passengers pass through immigration control quickly. http://www.conservatives.com/Policy/Where_we_stand/Immigration.aspx

The Labour Party do not have an up to date  immigration policy on their website  but their 2010 manifesto stated:

5.2 • Control immigration through our Australian-style points-based system, ensuring that as growth returns we see rising levels of employment and wages, not rising immigration, and requiring newcomers to earn citizenship and the entitlements it brings. http://www.labour.org.uk/uploads/TheLabourPartyManifesto-2010.pdf

The Labour leader Ed Miliband said this in April 2011 to explain why Labour lost the 2010 election:

“I think the problem is that we lost trust and we lost touch particularly in the south of England.

“I think living standards is a big part of it; immigration is a big part of it. I think maybe a combination of those two issues.” http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/labour/8462411/Ed-Miliband-immigration-lost-Labour-votes.html

Even if the three parties’ policies are not exactly the same there is much overlapping. Moreover the objections of Rotherham Social Services and Barnardos were  on the general grounds of finding  opposition to immigration and multiculturalism objectionable, so the exact detail of the objections is irrelevant.

UKIP may not be at the top of the politically correct pantheon of  secular devils, but the British National Party indubitably is. The BNP’s current policy on immigration is:

Deport all the two million plus who are here illegally;

 – Deport all those who commit crimes and whose original nationality was not British;

 – Review all recent grants of residence or citizenship to ensure they are still appropriate;

 – Offer generous grants to those of foreign descent resident here who wish to leave permanently;

 – Stop all new immigration except for exceptional cases;

 – Reject all asylum seekers who passed safe countries on their way to Britain. (http://www.bnp.org.uk/policies/immigration)

That goes  substantially further than UKIP, the Conservatives and Labour.  Nonetheless,  if  Conservative  and Labour party spokesmen were asked to comment on what should happen to illegal immigrants, foreigners who commit crimes or whether citizenship should be removed from those with dual nationality who commit serious crimes,  I doubt whether any would say illegal immigrants  should be allowed to stay, foreigners who commit serious crimes should not be deported or British citizenship should not be taken from foreigners who have gained it and gone on to plot  terrorist attacks on this country.

As for the rejection of  asylum seekers who have passed through safe countries,  Britain has a legal right to do this under the various treaties which cover asylum.  Nor could there be any objection in principle to the use of payments to voluntarily repatriate people because the government has been happy enough to pay failed asylum seekers to leave Britain in the recent  past (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/1572669/Row-over-payments-to-failed-asylum-seekers.html) and http://www.irr.org.uk/news/the-politics-of-voluntary-returns/.

It would be difficult to make a case for the BNP policy on immigration being so utterly different from that of the Conservative and Labour parties that the party  deserved to be  treated differently. As for the BNP’s rejection of multiculturalism, that is no different in principle from that of the Conservatives and UKIP.  Multiculturalism is something you either  support or oppose.  It is a general policy not one of specific detail being simply a belief that different ethnic/racial groups should be able to follow their own ancestral cultural norms.  Beyond that It does not stipulate what the relationship between the groups  should be.

The broader question

The broader  question raised by the Rotherham  case is why it is thought an unquestioned good that children brought up in this country should be raised in a way which will make them see themselves as separate from the native population.   If a child is to grow up, live and work as an adult in a country , which is probably what the children involved in the Rotherham case will do,  the  security and life chances of the child will be best secured by assimilating as completely as possible not by remaining separate from the native population.  To deliberately set a child apart from the native population by insisting that they are brought up by those deemed culturally compatible  (which is often social worker code for being of the same race) is to generate suspicion on the part of the native population of the  outsider and paranoia on the part of the outsider that he or she is always under  threat from the majority.  That is healthy for no one.  It is a recipe for racial and ethnic conflict./

Where does the extreme political correctness in public bodies come from?

The political correctness of public bodies is not accidental.   Legislation such as the Race Relations (Amendment) Act  2000 (http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2000/34/section/1)which lays a duty on public bodies to not only be non-discriminatory but to prove they are being so, have institutionalised political correctness with  arguably the rightness of multiculturalism as its core belief.   Such laws should be repealed because they entrench a political creed in law.

Another buttress of institutionalised political correctness is the   use of organisations such as Common Purpose (CP).  ( It is interesting that  Joyce Thacker,  Rotherham council’s Director of Children and Young People’s Service  is  reported to be a Common Purpose  graduate  – http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/jamesdelingpole/100191270/rotherham-hislop-common-purpose/).  CP represents itself as a leadership training organisation which is something of an oddity in itself.  It is very successful in persuading public bodies to send staff for this “leadership training”  for which COP is paid millions a year.  Courses  are offered for people aiming to become leaders to those who are already well up the ladder of their career path.

 Here are a few passages from the COP website which positively shout the message of political correctness:

Leadership resources

Common Purpose is interested in all aspects of leadership – when, what and how people choose to lead, and how they become better at it. We are also interested in all leaders, from all backgrounds; people at the beginning of their careers keen to develop their leadership potential to those looking to use their leadership skills in retirement.”  (http://www.commonpurpose.org.uk/resources).

“We value diversity and constantly strive to provide equality of opportunity as an employer and in the provision and delivery of all our activities. We positively encourage applications from all sections of the community and are working hard to ensure that our courses and services meet the requirements of people with disabilities.

Why do we do it?

What underpins all Common Purpose courses is a belief that society benefits from people of all ages, backgrounds and cultures working together to help guide and shape the future of their organisations and communities. This is best achieved when leaders are able to realise their full potential, through broadening their horizons and establishing firm roots in their communities.” (http://www.commonpurpose.org.uk/about/what-we-do)

No one opposed to political correctness, either wholly or in part, could take part in such a course honestly or willingly. ( For an extensive list of CP “graduates” and the positions held by them go to http://cpexposed.com/graduates).  The  aims of CP  and the courses  offered bear a strong resemblance  cadre training in the Marxist-Leninist mould.  It is probable that the ever growing political correctness in public service is to a significant degree engineered by the CP graduates who may act as a kind of freemasonary as well as promoting the idea as individuals.  There is consequently  a very strong case for banning any public servant from attending its courses.

What else can be done?

David Cameron may have spoken against multiculturalism and promised to legislate against the practice of social workers of placing children for  adoption  (and fostering) based on racial and cultural compatibility.  But he has not done this after several years in office.  Until this is done social workers  and their ilk in not-for-profit  bodies such as charities will continue to promote the politically correct and multicultural and nothing-else- will- be permitted message through their control of who is allowed to participate in their work.  There needs to be a specific legal bar to taking the political views of would be adopters, foster parents, volunteers and, indeed,  social workers themselves into account when deciding on adoption or fostering, recruiting volunteers  or employing people to engage in childcare social work.

That does not mean that  individuals should never be disbarred from such positions because of their views, but the views for which they are deemed unsuitable should be their own and not those  attributed to the person simply because  they show sympathy for  a political party, ideology or movement.   Nor should views be a disqualification unless they are directly relevant to the position sought, for example, someone espousing the view that the age of consent should be abolished who was seeking to become a foster parent might reasonably be considered unsuitable to look after children.    Opposition to immigration or multiculturalism should  not be grounds  for the thumbs down; nor should a belief in an open door immigration policy and multiculturalism result in rejection.  Finally, it should always be remembered that the behaviour of people is often at odds with their political and moral views.  Behaviour is a surer guide to the character of a person than what they say.

That those in the childcare department of Rotherham Council knew that what they were doing was dubious at best and illegal at worst is shown by their attempts to silence the couple involved; their failure  to confirm in writing the reasons for the children’s removal despite repeated requests from the couple and their refusal to publish the results of their internal inquiry into the matter. (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/9706739/Ukip-fostering-row-mafia-council-told-us-to-keep-quiet-say-parents.html).

The attitude of the local Rotherham politicians is illustrated by Josephine Burton, a cabinet member at Labour-run Rotherham metropolitan borough council. She told a member of the public  “It may be advisable to wait until you have a better understanding of fostering and the current legislation that surrounds it, before wading in to pass judgement.” (Ibid).  No apology by the council has been offered to the couple involved.

Too many people – the world’s worst enemy

Published in the Quarterly Review (www.quarterly-review.org)   in 2010

Too many people – the world’s worst enemy

ROBERT HENDERSON says Third World overpopulation and industrialization are the real threats to the global environment

This is an article about climate change with a difference. It does not deal with whether man-made global warming is occurring, for circumstances render that question redundant. Global greenhouse gas emissions will inexorably rise far above their current levels thanks to the industrialisation of the developing world and the still rapidly increasing population of the Earth.

This article is about is the futility of the industrialised world imposing limits on its greenhouse gas emissions when it is clear that the developing countries continue incontinently to increase their emissions. I shall also cast a jaundiced eye over at the reliability of greenhouse gas emission estimates from the developing world.

Our overcrowded planet A hulking elephant sits ignored in the green crusaders’ room. Amidst all the angst about man-made greenhouse gases, the greatest and most obvious cause of increases is ignored by mainstream politicians – the already great and rapidly rising population of the world and the rapid spread of industrialisation to major parts of what until recently was the Third World . The world population is projected to reach 7 billion in 2011. Extrapolations to 2050 go as high as 9.5 billion (1). At a generous estimate, a billion live in the developed world in 2010. If the 9.5 billion projection for 2050 comes true, the disproportion between what are now the developed countries and the developing countries now will have become even more skewed in favour of the developing world, because the populations of underdeveloped countries have startlingly younger populations than those of the developed world, viz:

“One of every six people on earth is an adolescent. In the developing world, more than 40 percent of the population is under age 20. The decisions these young people make will shape our world and the prospects of future generations.” (2)

The US Bureau of Census projections for the populations of individual countries for 2050 show only one country (the United States) from the currently developed world in the largest twenty countries by population in 2050, with the first European country (Germany) coming in at number 22 (3).

If the swelling world population was overwhelmingly due to increases in the still very white First World , you may be sure that we would be daily berated for our selfish breeding. We would be told that any increase in our population was at the expense of the Third World , that the production of every extra Western mouth to feed, house, clothe and supply with energy was absolutely unconscionable. Western governments would be signing up to programmes of ever more punitive reductions in their countries’ greenhouse emissions and some of the bolder would be advocating the rationing of children.

But the overwhelming majority of people living today do not live in the developed world and the projected future expansion of the world’s population is due almost entirely to increases in the developing world, the developed world having at best stabilised their native populations and at worst actually set themselves on the path of decline through a mixture of contraception and too readily available abortion (4). Such population increases in the developed world as occur have been primarily due for several decades to immigration from the Third World and any increases in the next half century in the present developed world will probably come from the same source.

The subject of a rising world population and its ever growing effect on greenhouse gas emissions goes largely unmentioned by politicians because it is beyond the Pale for the liberal internationalist elites who currently control the developed world to suggest that the developing world either restrain its breeding or its economic development and it is not in the interests of the developing world to raise it. This conspiracy of silence renders the debate about man-made global warming meaningless because the gross population imbalance between the developed and developing world obliterates any chance of reducing global greenhouse gas emissions.

Let us suppose for the sake of argument that global warming is occurring largely or wholly because of man-made emissions. Even in those circumstances it would be madness for Britain or any other developed country to load themselves with taxes and other burdens, because quite clearly the five sixths of the world’s population which does not live in the developed world is going to carry on industrialising without regard to what the developed world is doing. China is already the largest carbon dioxide emitter and has reached that point much more rapidly than anticipated:

“ China , one of the fastest growing economies of the world is all set to overtake U.S as the leading air polluter by as early as 2010; a whole decade faster than the previous estimates of 2020.” (5)

Of course, vast and rapidly growing as she is, China is simply part of a larger picture of the developing world’s greenhouse gas output. Take the second largest country on Earth , India . Just as China is happy to build old-fashioned coal-fired power stations with abandon (one a week, if media reports are to be believed), India is content to engage in a policy of small wood-powered stations, a policy which not only introduces CO2 into the atmosphere but results in deforestation which reduces the natural capture of CO2.

India is changing its greenhouse emissions contribution very rapidly:

“Greenhouse gas emissions, such as carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide, contribute to global warming and climate change. According to the US-based ‘think tank’ the World Resources Institute, India was responsible for over four per cent of total emissions in 2000 – making the country the sixth largest emitter in the world. Emissions are set to rise further still over the next 20 years as the Indian economy rapidly develops. Both the International Energy Agency and the government of the United States ’ Energy Information Administration predict over 90 per cent growth in carbon dioxide emissions alone by 2025….

“ India ’s coal consumption has increased from 110 million tonnes in 1980 to more than 350 million tonnes in 2000, representing an annual growth rate of almost 6 per cent. Natural gas consumption has grown similarly, at 5.6 per cent a year, to 75 million cubic metres in 2000.

“But petroleum consumption has grown fastest since the 1980s, at an annual rate of 14 per cent, to over 350 million tonnes in 2000….

“ India emitted 16 million tonnes of methane in 1990, and 24 million tonnes in 2000 — a little under 35 per cent of the country’s overall greenhouse gas emissions.” (6)

The hopelessness of the liberal internationalist’s belief that the West sets an example to the developing world is clear. Even if the developing world population was stabilised immediately and they restricted their emissions growth to half of the average of the developed world (roughly 13 tonnes per capita, although which countries are included in the developed world is debatable), something wildly improbable, that would increase global emissions by several times the current levels. If the developed world ceased to emit anything at all, the increase in the rest of the world’s emissions, through development and expanding population, would still push the emissions level way beyond today’s levels and what climate scientists who support the idea of man-made global warming consider to be safe. This can be seen from the current differences in per capita CO2 emissions between developed and developing countries:

United States               19.10 tonnes

United Kingdom            8.60 tonnes

China                             4.57 tonnes

India                              1.18 tonnes (7)

As will be seen shortly, there are problems with the way that CO2 statistics are collected and the treatment of greenhouse gases other than CO2. But regardless of their veracity, the statistics have great importance because they are used by supporters of man-made global warming to justify the differential treatment of emissions between the developed and developing world. If the advocates of global warming honestly believe the statistics which support their case then they can draw only one rational conclusion: if greenhouse gas emissions are to be kept to the levels they advocate, the developing world must stop industrializing.

Calculating emissions How is that the developed world, with only one billion of population at most living in countries which monitor and control their emissions ever more rigorously, is judged to be so much more at fault for emissions than the six billion who live in countries where most energy is generated either by the direct burning of fossil fuels or through power stations, mainly coal-fired, which pump pollution into the air with poor filtration and who are responsible for far more agricultural generated greenhouse gas emissions than the developed world? The answer lies in the availability of statistics and the convenience of scientists. The UN Environment Programme website gives the game away:

“Central to any study of climate change is the development of an emissions inventory that identifies and quantifies a country’s primary anthropogenic sources and sinks of greenhouse gas. Emissions are not usually monitored directly, but are generally estimated using models. Some emissions can be calculated with only limited accuracy. Emissions from energy and industrial processes are the most reliable (using energy consumption statistics and industrial point sources). Some agricultural emissions, such as methane and nitrous oxide carry major uncertainties because they are generated through biological processes that can be quite variable.” (8)

In other words, scientists rely on models primarily based on the sort of statistics which the developed world produces (and the developing world does not) while ignoring at worst and grossly under-estimating at best emissions which are not readily calculated or available. Take the cases of methane and nitrous oxide, the most plentiful greenhouse gases after water vapour and carbon dioxide:

“The primary sources for the additional methane added to the atmosphere (in order of importance) are rice cultivation; domestic grazing animals; termites; landfills; coal mining; and, oil and gas extraction…an accurate estimate of how much methane is being produced from rice paddies has been difficult to ascertain. More than 60% of all rice paddies are found in India and China where scientific data concerning emission rates are unavailable. Nevertheless, scientists believe that the contribution of rice paddies is large because this form of crop production has more than doubled since 1950. Grazing animals release methane to the environment as a result of herbaceous digestion. Some researchers believe the addition of methane from this source has more than quadrupled over the last century. Termites also release methane through similar processes. Land-use change in the tropics, due to deforestation, ranching, and farming, may be causing termite numbers to expand…Methane is also released from landfills, coal mines, and gas and oil drilling.” (9)

There is an important point on methane from domesticated animals, important because it is another string to the bow of those who wish to demonise the developed world as arch-polluters because the diet of the developed world is much more dependent on meat than that of the developing world. The implication is that fewer domesticated herbivores would equal less methane. This makes the unwarranted assumption that the land freed by having fewer domesticated grazing animals would not be turned over to methane-producing agriculture such as paddy fields or be left to Nature to populate it with large wild herbivores or to turn it into methane-producing marshland. As for nitrous oxide:

“Sources for the increase of nitrous oxide in the atmosphere include: land-use conversion; fossil fuel combustion; biomass burning; and soil fertilization. Most of the nitrous oxide added to the atmosphere each year comes from deforestation and the conversion of forest, savannah and grassland ecosystems into agricultural fields and rangeland…The use of nitrate and ammonium fertilizers to enhance plant growth is another source of nitrous oxide. How much is released from this process has been difficult to quantify. Estimates suggest that the contribution from this source represents from 50 % to 0.2 % of nitrous oxide added to the atmosphere annually.” (10)

As with methane, the major emitters of nitrous oxide seem to come from the developing not the developed world. It is also important to understand that the quantity of the various gases in the atmosphere is not a simple guide to their effectiveness as greenhouse gases. Methane and nitrous oxide are thought to be much more effective than carbon dioxide at warming the atmosphere. According to the campaigning group Envocare, the global warming potential (GWP) of methane is 21 times that of carbon dioxide, and nitrous oxide 310 times. (11)

Where responsibility really lies

The only sensible conclusion to draw from the foregoing is that nothing is going to prevent a massive increase in greenhouse gases as the developing world industrialises. This being so, the rational response of Western politicians would be to stop burdening their own countries with expensive green laws and concentrate instead on dealing with the effects of global warming, if they materialize, insofar as they affect their own countries. This should not be impossible because any changes will be gradual and our technological ability, already very substantial, will increase greatly over the next century.

If man-made global warming really is occurring, the two main arguments used to justify the call for swingeing cuts in the CO2 emissions of the developed world whilst developing countries have no such restrictions placed upon them make no sense.

The first argument is that the developing world has the right to industrialize in a polluting way because that is how the developed world industrialized. The second argument is that greenhouse gas levels should be calculated on a per capita basis rather than the total emissions from each country, that is, each person living should have the right to generate the same greenhouse gas emission. Both arguments are clearly absurd if man-made global warming is true, for what is important is the global total of greenhouse gas emissions not whether the developed world or whether there can be worldwide equity in greenhouse gas emissions.

Western politicians should start pointing out certain facts to the developing world. These are that greenhouse gas emissions from the developing world are on schedule to dwarf those of the developed world – that developing countries must take responsibility for their population growth, the pollution they create and its effects on their own people – and that the developed world should no longer be expected to pay for the ill-effects of industrialization created by the developing countries. Overpopulation, headlong industrialization, and the resultant greenhouse gases, deforestation, pressure on resources and mass migration are all the responsibility of the developing nations. If they cannot or will not reform their practices, it is they rather than we who should take the consequences.

ROBERT HENDERSON is a freelance writer in London who blogs at livinginamadhouse.wordpress.com

NOTES

1. See GeoHive – http://www.xist.org

2. See Oxford University ’s Department of International Development website at www.forcedmigration.org

3. GeoHive, ibid.

4. Britain does not have a fertility crisis but an abortion crisis, with 200,000 abortions being carried out a year. If those babies were born, Britain ’s birth rate would be above replacement level

5. themoneytimes.com, 11 July 2006

6. SciDev.Net, 31 August 2006

7. www.carbonplanet.com/country_emissions

8. www.maps.grida.no, National carbon emissions per capita, 2002

9. www.physicalgeography.net/fundamentals/7a.html

10. www.physicalgeography.net, ibid.

11. http://www.envocare.co.uk/aboutus.htm

Blair’s very, very long Journey

This review of Blair’s Autobiography was published by the Quarterly Review (www.quarterly-review.org )in 2011

ROBERT HENDERSON endures the self-justificatory and selective memoirs of one of the worst PMs of modern times

Blair takes 691 pages to say what could have been fitted comfortably into 200. It is little more than an exercise in the author’s vanity. The other problem with A Journey is Blair’s ineptitude as a writer which extends not merely to tortured syntax, purple prose, the presentation of banality as profundity, a mania for short sentences and an addiction to cliché, but to a relationship with correct punctuation which does not extend much beyond the use of the full stop.

When it comes to their autobiographical offerings, Barack Obama and Tony Blair have much in common. Both massage their past shamelessly. Both are superficial in their approach to politics. Both unwittingly tell you things about themselves that directly contradict the persona they are carefully attempting to construct.

Blair also copies Obama in one highly suspect trait: he provides acres of dialogue. This is distinctly odd because, apart from a mention of an “intermittently” kept diary in 1983-5 (p60), there is no indication that Blair has kept any contemporaneous record of his life.

This supposed conversation in the House of Commons lobby between Blair and Peter Mandelson shortly after the death of the Labour leader John Smith in 1994 will give the flavour. Blair is pressing Mandelson to support him rather than Gordon Brown for the vacant leadership:

“[Mandelson] ‘Now, let’s not run away with all this. Gordon is still the front-runner, still the person with the claim.’

As ever with Peter in a situation like this, you could never be quite sure what he was saying; but I was sure what I wanted to say.

‘Peter’, I said, ‘you know I love you, but this is mine. I am sure of it. And you must help me to do it.’

‘I wouldn’t be too sure about that,’ he said. For once, there was no playfulness; and for a moment we stood, looking at each other by the green leather-topped table at the north side of the Aye Lobby.

‘Peter,’ I said, putting a hand on each shoulder, ‘don’t cross me over this. This is mine. I know it and I will take it.’

‘You can’t be certain of that,’ he replied.

‘I understand.’ I spoke gently this time, the friendship fully back in my voice. ‘But just remember what I said.’

Someone entered the lobby. As if by telepathy, we moved apart and went in different directions.” (pp62/3)

Apart from the extreme improbability of anyone accurately remembering a conversation from 16 years before, there is the oddity of a relationship between two men in their forties rendered in a manner disconcertingly reminiscent of a Mills & Boon novel by a man now aged 57. Note also Blair’s willingness to threaten someone he claims as a close friend.

The man also has a curious lack of dignity. He does not seem to understand that it is unseemly for a former prime minister to write something like this:

“On that night of 12 May 1994, I needed that love that Cherie gave me, selfishly. I devoured it to give me strength. I was an animal following my instinct… “ (p65)

Blair frequently builds up his character as being one thing, then forgets the script and sabotages his intention. For example, he constantly attempts to represent himself as being in politics not from any vulgar ambition but because he wishes to serve the country. Suddenly this pops up:

“I was almost forty. I had been in Opposition for a decade. The thought of another five years of merely incremental steps towards change in the party that was so obviously needed, filled me with dismay. If the steps were too incremental, we might fail again and I would be fifty before even getting sight of government; and what was the point of politics if not to win power, govern and put into practice the policies you believe in?” (p51)

So, it was vulgar ambition after all.

Blair may not “do God” very much in A Journey, although he assures us before he ends that “I have always been more interested in religion than politics” (p690), but he certainly wants us to think that he was in some mysterious way called to be the saviour of his country. Here he is visiting the Commons for the first time before he was an MP:

“I walked into the cavernous Central Lobby where the public meet their MPs, and I stopped. I was thunderstruck. It just hit me. This was where I wanted to be. It was very odd. Odd because so unlike me, and odd because in later times I was never known as a ‘House Commons man’. But there and then, I had a complete presentiment: here I was going to be. This was my destiny. This was my political home. I was going to do whatever it took to enter it.” (p34)

Blair’s fraught relationship with Gordon Brown threads its way through the book with Blair’s character assessment of Brown – “ Political calculation, yes. Political feelings, no. Analytical intelligence, absolutely. Emotional intelligence, zero.” (p616) – bleakly summarising the state of relations between them at the end.

Blair several times addresses the question of why he did not sack Brown. He attempts to explain this by saying Brown was a brilliant chancellor, but capsizes this line on p494 with “By then [2003], even more so than in 2001, removing Gordon would have brought the entire building tumbling down around our ears. He had massive support in the party and had backing among powerful people in the media.”

So there you have it. He did not sack Brown for the crudest of political reasons, to keep himself in power.

Tellingly, having described Brown as a great chancellor and a brilliant intellect throughout the book, Blair is silent on Brown’s failure to foresee the financial disaster we are currently enjoying. Instead he employs one of his favourite scapegoats, the incompetent expert:

“The failure was one of understanding. We didn’t spot it. You can argue we should have, but we didn’t. Furthermore, and this is vital for where we go now on regulation, it wasn’t that we were powerless to prevent it even if we had seen it coming; it wasn’t a failure of regulation in the sense that we lacked the power to intervene. Had regulators said to the leaders that a huge crisis was about to break, we wouldn’t have said: There’s nothing we can do about it until we get more regulation through  We would have acted. But they didn’t say that.” (pp666/7)

Yet the greatest political hate object of Tony Blair is not Gordon Brown but the Labour Party. Tony Benn’s views amounted to a “virus” (p45) and old Labour was “more like a cult than a party” (p89) before Blair appeared on a white progressive horse to turn it into New Labour. How did he do this? By ignoring the party:

“In order to circumvent the party, what I had done was construct an alliance between myself and the public.”

Blair is also consistently snide about his immediate predecessors as leader, always decrying them not only for their politics but their personal failings, for example, John Smith was “a stupendous toper” (p37).  Unsurprisingly in the light of this attitude, Blair toyed with the idea of bringing Lib Dem MPs into his cabinet because

“I was closer in political outlook to some of them than to parts of the old left of my own party [and] …Re-uniting the two wings of progressive social democracy appealed to my sense of history.” (pp118/119)

There are a few genuinely startling things in the book. Take this anecdote about the Sinn Féin leaders:

“In October 2006, while I was at St Andrews for the Northern Ireland negotiation with Ian Paisley and Sinn Féin, General Sir Richard Dannatt, the new Chief of General Staff, gave an interview to the Daily Mail essentially saying that we had reached the end in Iraq, we were as much a risk to security as keeping it and we should transfer our attention to Afghanistan where, in effect, we had a better chance. As you can imagine, I wasn’t best pleased, my humour not improved by Martin McGuinness and Gerry Adams telling me the IRA would never have had one of their generals behaving like that.” (p470)

“One of their generals”? Sinn Féin has always claimed to be separate from the Provisional IRA. Improbable as this may seem to most people, this line was always supported by British governments from John Major onwards. Yet here we have Blair claiming that the two most influential public faces of Sinn Féin casually admitted that they directly controlled the Provos.

Those who still believe that the police enforce the law without political interference will have their illusions shattered by passages such as this on the fuel duty protests which briefly panicked Blair’s government in 2000:

“I looked at the police officer. ‘Tell me what you are going to do to stop the protests.’

‘Stop the protests?’ he said, his eyes narrowing slightly. ‘You mean you want us to prevent them taking place?’

‘Yes,’ I said, very calm. ‘And I want you the oil companies to instruct your drivers to cross the picket lines, and if they don’t, for reasons anything other than fear of violence to their person, I want you to sack them. And I would like the army to come in and if necessary drive your tankers, and if they meet with any violence from protesters, I want you the police to deal with them very firmly, and if not, to let the army take care of them. They’re very good at it.” (p295).

Then there is Blair’s appetite for gratuitous war-mongering which is surely greater than any other British PM. His utter recklessness is shown when he tries unsuccessfully to persuade Bill Clinton to commit 150,000 men to a land invasion of Kosovo  with half coming from Europe despite the fact that he admits he “had no clear reason to believe Europe would contribute any troops other than UK ones…” (p239).

Despite the mess left by the Kosovo adventure, Blair learns nothing:

“I’m afraid, however, that Kosovo had not diminished my appetite for such intervention where I thought it essential to resolve a problem that needed resolution, and where a strong moral case could be made.”(p246).

Though he does not realise it, Blair is carrying on the old imperial idea of bringing civilisation to the benighted natives, believing

“We thought the ultimate triumph of our way of life was inevitable.”(p665).

Blair is remarkably dishonest in his omissions. Take immigration:

“The truth is that immigration, unless properly controlled, can cause genuine tensions, put a strain on limited resources and provide a sense in the areas into which migrants come in large numbers that the community has lost control of its own future. In our case this concern was the numbers involved. It was not inspired by racism. And it was widespread. What’s more, there were certain categories of it from certain often highly troubled parts of the world, with their own internal issues, from those troubled parts of the towns and villages in Britain. Unsurprisingly, this caused real anxiety.” (p524)

A reader unfamiliar with Blair’s premiership might imagine from those words that he made strenuous efforts to control the influx. The reality is that he presided over the greatest surge in immigration into Britain ever seen. Yet Blair does not acknowledge this and fails to mention the single biggest encouragement to immigration during his time in No 10 – the failure to put restrictions on the movement of people from the new EU entrants such as Poland, which resulted in at least half a million migrants in a very short time. All Blair does is complain about asylum seekers.

The lasting impression left by the book is not of a career politician but of an adolescent living out his fantasies and satisfying his exhibitionist urges. When these inevitably lead to disaster,  like adolescents everywhere he refuses to take responsibility and drifts ever further into a fantasy world in which he is never wrong merely misunderstood. That such a child was the most powerful man in Britain for ten years is a truly frightening thought.

The BBC, Newsnight and Lord McAlpine: where were the libel lawyers?

Robert Henderson

The greatest ostensible oddity about the Newsnight programme involving ( at that stage  an  unnamed)  Lord  McAlpine  is the position of  the  BBC’s in-house libel lawyers.  The Corporation  has been remarkably coy about what legal advice they were given about the programme before it was broadcast. These questions urgently need to be answered by the BBC:

1. If the libel lawyers were not shown the programme in whole or part, who made the decision to withhold  the programme any part of the programme from them?

2. If the libel lawyers said  no to the broadcast as it was shown, who overrode their advice?

3. If the lawyers  did not say no, how did they  come to such a judgement?

To the best of my knowledge, not one BBC programme has asked or simply siad what the BBC libel lawyer (s) advised. That in itself looks suspicious.  For its own protection, the BBC needs to start publicly asking  and answering these questions.

Any libel lawyer will know that not naming someone cuts no ice where a broadcast or written communication provides  a reasonable chance of an individual  being identified from the details given in the broadcast or written communication.  Worse,  even identifying a small group to whom libellous  details might apply could provide solid grounds for a libel action. For example, suppose a  broadcaster or newspaper published a story alleging that two players in a football side had been bribed to throw a game without naming the two players.  Whether the story was true or not, the players who were not guilty of such behaviour could reasonably claim they had been defamed because the public might suspect any player in the side.

Had the programme simply said that a high-profile political figure was allegedly guilty they would probably  have been safe. By saying it was both a Tory politician and one prominent in the “Thatcher era” they made the identification much too easy.  (Whether that was a politically motivated decision is debatable, but it is difficult to imagine the BBC running a story which contained an equivalent accusation of, say, a high-profile Labour politician of the Blair era.” )

There is also a problem with the  idea that the furore  could have been avoided if  John Messham,   (the person,  who spoke on Newsnight of  being sexually assaulted by a high profile Tory politician),  had been shown a photo of McAlpine  by the Newsnight people before the programme was put together.  Mr  Messham has said since the programme was broadcast that,  having seen a photograph of McAlpine,  he was sure this was not the man who had assaulted him. (http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/lord-mcalpine-did-not-abuse-me-1427866). There is no reason to disbelieve this retraction because Lord McAlpine has mounted a most vigorous and convincing defence  against the accusations. Nonetheless  there are difficulties with the idea that such a positive identification could be made from a photograph.

The alleged assaults took place in the mid 1970s. I would defy anyone to be able to swear one way or another to the identity of a man from a photo 35-40 years on.  Moreover,  exactly what photo could Newsnight have shown him? A recent photo of McAlpine?  One taken from the 1970s? if the former,  identification could surely not be certain: if the latter, would 1970s photos of McAlpine be readily available,   and even if they were,  would they be good likenesses of the man?

This can of worms is far from being  fully opened.

How the rich and powerful get away with murder: a look behind the elite veil

Robert Henderson

The cataract of misbehaviour by those with power, wealth and influence flows ever more freely into the British media.  Presently  we have the  ever expanding Jimmy Savile paedophile revelations – especially with reference to the BBC – and the drug taking amongst cyclists headed by Lance Armstrong hogging the headlines.  Following the nationalisation of  Northern  Rock in 2007  there has been  the never ending story of  recklessness, greed, selfishness and outright criminality of  bankers and their close cousins in the finance industry.  For the past year the Leveson Inquiry has been  turning over the stones hiding the  immoral behaviour of those in the British press and the collusion between the press and the police, most notably in the supply of information  by the police to the press  (and doubtless  to broadcasters as well). The scandal of greed and in some cases outright criminality of British politicians, both elected and unelected, in filling their pockets  from the public purse for bogus expenses continues to this day with the revelation that some MPs are claiming expenses for London accommodation when they already have a property there and then renting out one of the  properties  to other MPs , a fact that they tried with the Speaker’s support to censor, while the one-time Labour minister Denis McShane  has been caught forging invoices from a non-existent organisation which he submitted to the taxpayer for payment.   To all that can be added a practice which effectively legalises corruption, namely, the allowing of politicians and public servants to take well paid sinecures or act as lobbyists for organisations which seek government contracts and other favours such as amending legislation to make it more favourable or dropping proposed legislation within two years of leaving office or public employment.

It might be thought that all of the serious scandals have been  brought to  public attention.   Not a bit of it.  Those with [power wealth and influence in Britain  routinely manage to escape the consequences of behaviour which if committed by the ordinary man or woman  would result in the loss of their job at best and criminal charges at worst.  Frequently not only are the consequences of immorality avoided by the powerful and influential, their behaviour is hidden from the public because they never make the mainstream media.  In addition,  they suppress stories which do not involve their own misbehaviour but  are embarrassing to them or  damaging to someone associated with them.

To take a few examples from this website of stories involving the powerful and influential which have never made it to the mainstream media.  There is the  attempted suicide of Tony Blair’s daughter in 2004,  the refusal of Lord Leveson to investigate  Piers Morgan’s admission in a letter to the PCC  of having received information from the police in circumstances which can only have been illegal and Gordon Brown’s illegal interference when prime minister with the bidding for a prime piece of  publicly owned  London land . These stories can be respectively  found at

https://livinginamadhouse.wordpress.com/2010/10/02/the-blair-daughters-attempted-suicide-and-the-publics-right-to-know/

https://livinginamadhouse.wordpress.com/2012/10/25/piers-morgan-perjury-the-police-the-leveson-inquiry-and-denis-macshane/

https://livinginamadhouse.wordpress.com/2012/09/09/the-new-leader-of-the-greens-knows-how-to-keep-mum/ )

But the most dramatic story on the blog which has been suppressed by the mainstream media is Tony and Cherie Blair’s unsuccessful attempt to have me prosecuted during the 1997 General Election Campaign and their subsequent use of state power to harass me.  The details can be found  at https://livinginamadhouse.wordpress.com/2010/10/26/when-tony-and-cherie-blair-tried-to-have-me-jailed/.

But it is not only the media who are complicit with the powerful.  Politicians, those supposedly responsible for upholding the law – the police and the Crown Prosecution Service and judges –  and the various bodies and individuals employed to enforce codes of practice all engage in behaviour designed to prevent the powerful and influential being brought to book. Time and again members of the British elite have well documented  cases of  criminal behaviour referred to  police and they do result in prosecution.  Time and again misbehaviour, whether criminal or simply immoral, is referred to bodies such as the Standards and Privileges Committee . The cases of Adam Werrity (who falsely represented himself as a special advisor to the then defence minister  Liam Fox (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-20159699) and the previously mentioned McShane (whose behaviour was deemed not to be criminal by the police despite his forging of invoices to gain thousands from the taxpayer) are good recent  examples of these types of behaviour and the refusal of the Metropolitan Police to investigate Peter Mandelson’s  false declaration on a mortgage application form a particularly blatant example from the past (https://livinginamadhouse.wordpress.com/2011/07/07/laws-are-for-little-people-the-mandelson-mortgage-fraud-cover-up/).

The public rarely gets to see behind the scenes to see the mechanics of how things are fudged and covered up.  I can lift the veil a little from direct experience. In 2000 I spent more than an hour with the then Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards Elizabeth Filkin.  The interview was recorded and a transcript is below.

I made a number of complaints to Filkin regarding the Blairs and  my MP Frank Dobson’s response to my request for  assistance after Blair had tried and failed to have me prosecuted.  (I also made a detailed submission to Filkin regarding Mandelson’s mortgage application).  Filkin was absolutely determined not to   get involved with the Blair and Dobson complaints and tried to prevent the meeting at the last minute as you will see from the telephone message above the transcript.  Nonetheless I did manage to work the subject of Blair into the interview  on the question of the Code of Conduct for MPs. In the end Filkin was reduced to saying in effect that she did not hold MPs to the standards of the Code of Conduct and the interview generally shows how impossible it is for someone without power, wealth or influence, in this case me, to get any action taken over elite misbehaviour.

Robert Henderson 5 11 2012

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Telephone message left on Robert Henderson’s answerphone 2/5/2000 by Mrs Elizabeth Filkin, The Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards in Public Life.

EF: Good morning Mr Henderson. It’s Elizabeth Filkin. You may like to return this call. I am happy to meet you tomorrow as I have agreed, but I am not happy to discuss any of the matters that are in your letter of the 24 of the fourth which I have received today. Those are all matters that you have written to me about, that I have considered and I am not willing to take further. If you have got other matters to talk about you are welcome to come tomorrow, but if these are the only ones that are outstanding, I am afraid there is no point in meeting. Perhaps you will let me know.

Interview between Robert Henderson and Miss Elizabeth Filkin, the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards in Public Life on 3rd may 2000. The interview began at 11.01 and ended at 11.55 am. Mrs Filkin was aware that the recording was being made and agreed to it being made.

RH: I will send you a copy of the tape afterwards, obviously. Now, as we didn’t speak yesterday Mrs Filkin, I am a little bit in the dark about exactly what the problem was with discussing the other matters. I haven’t come along to break my word and say I am going to try and raise those matters, but if you can just clarify exactly why you won’t discuss the matters which I have already raised with you.  I…go on, sorry…

EF: Let me say immediately, I am happy to discuss anything, but I am not happy to re-open and waste your time with a discussion of whether I’ll look into the complaints that I have  already looked at in great detail from you and decided that they aren’t things that I can look at. And please be clear about it, I am not in any way saying that I am not sympathetic and I am not in any way saying that it might be that some of the these other matters ought to be looked into by other bodies. What I have said are that they are not matters I can look into. What I didn’t want to do is, obviously, to waste your time, so that’s why I informed you and that’s my position.

RH: Right. I presume that if I have got new evidence on these matters you wouldn’t say automatically you wouldn’t look at the evidence.

EF: No, of course not. If you have new evidence you should write to me and put that to me.

RH: Well, I will do that obviously.

EF: And, of course, as always I will happily look at it. But if, as numbers of your complaints did, they relate to peoples activities as ministers or prime ministers, they are not for me. I cannot look into those things. I have no mandate to look into those things.

RH: That is one of the matters I want to discuss with you this morning,  that is the question of the Code of Conduct of members, because I don’t want to waste your time anymore than you want to waste my time. Now, as I understand it, correct me if I’m wrong, but  the Code of Conduct for members comes within your remit, yes?

EF: That’s so.

RH: Right. Now you see this is where I have a big difficulty with you, and you know I have asked you the question over and over again, it’s on this particular one []and there are several parts of it, but on one particular one – it’s the “Members shall at all times conduct themselves in a manner which will tend to maintain and strengthen the public’s trust etc.” All right? Now, could you give me some sort of guidance on what you think that particular part of the Code of Conduct would actually cover, I mean if it doesn’t cover going to the police and making allegations which they must have known were bogus, I can’t see what purpose it serves.

EF: I can’t tell you what the House, the people who made those decisions, what they meant by their Code of Conduct, should mean. All I can do is say to you is that I have a job which is if I get a complaint from…about a member of parliament’s conduct I have to look at it against that Code of Conduct and I have to make a judgement as to whether – the first thing I have to do is make a judgement as to whether what the person has done is in any way in relation to their [duties] as a member of Parliament. And then of course I have to make a judgement I believe that they have acted in good faith or not.

RH: Can I just butt in there because it does seem to me that – to be honest with you I don’t envy you having to try to sort the bones out of it because a lot of this is simply unrealistic and if was actually put in to operation the whole of the House would come to a dead halt. But at the same time you will see from my own point of view that I must press it, even though I may realise, as an ex-civil servant, that it is not the easiest thing…

EF: I totally understand that if as you say anybody has made bogus allegations about you or about anybody else that is awful and it’s very distressing.

RH: But, it is particularly dangerous when it is the Prime Minister and his wife.

EF: Well, I don’t want to get into individuals..

RH: Well, I…

EF: I am not going to get into individuals.

RH: These are the complaints I have…

EF: I am not going to get into talking about individuals. What I am saying to you …I fully understand that it is very distressing, and it happens to a lot of people in public life and it’s very distressing, but it seems to me that.. there isn’t something that I need to look into.

RH: But surely it would breach that particular …

EF: Just let me finish. Because if a person, whoever they are, makes an allegation to the police, it seems to me that the police then have, as the properly constituted authority, whose job it is to look into it the complaint and dismiss it if there is nothing there, which they do every day and therefore it is no task for me to re-enter that and if a person has raised an allegation about you and the police have looked into it, and [dismissed it], as far as I am concerned that’s the end of the matter. I am not going to double track other authorities or other bodies who have powers and activities to carry out these investigations.  So I am not going to get into that.

RH: Well, you see there is the non-legal point about this. You have got the man who is the prime minister – and I can’t avoid raising his particular name  or position  simply because he went to the police and he did so in his position as leader of the opposition and also in his position of prospective prime minister and he did that in the first week of the election campaign and he tried to get me put in prison. Now, the fact that he is also a barrister and his wife is a QC, seems to me to suggest that they should have been in the position to know – well you’ve read my letters to them – they should have been in a position to know that in fact my letters could not possibly have constituted any criminal offence  whatsoever. All right?

EF: That’s a matter for the police and I leave it to them.

RH: It comes into conduct as well, because it is obviously sinister if you have got a senior politician attempting – because he only went to the police after I had circulated my letters to the media – it’s very sinister just as behaviour to try to go to the police to get me prosecuted on charges he must have known were bogus in an attempt obviously to both discredit me and silence me is sinister. Now, there is also the fact that – I don’t think you have ever seen the original stories [RH produces Mirror and Daily Record stories] – but in fact two weeks after, or slightly less than two weeks after these were published – that was on the front page and that was the actual story. Now, I really do not believe the Mirror would have published a story like that without Blair’s say-so and every single journalist I have spoken to has fingered Alistair Campbell for it, all right? Now,  you have read the text of that because you have read “The  criminal acts of Tony and Cherie Blair. This also appeared on the same day in the Daily Herald, all right, sorry the Daily Record up in Scotland which is the Mirror’s sister paper. Now that again isn’t criminal behaviour as such unless you want to call it criminal libel which I would, but it again would come within the ambit of this “member shall at all times conduct themselves in the manner.”

EF: Mr Henderson, I fully appreciate your point of view. Don’t think that I don’t understand, I fully understand and I understand your distress. I have no issue with you about that. What I have said to you that I am not going to investigate this and I say it to you again, I am not going to investigate this – you can go talking about it if you want to – but I am not going to investigate again, you can go on talking about it if you want to – but I am not going to re-open any investigation, which has already been looked at by the police. That is not my job.

RH: I am not actually making a complaint about the police here, I am making a complaint about his [Blair’s]  general behaviour of attempting, as a senior politician, of attempting to stifle debate by going to the police, because,  as I say,  he only went  to the police  six weeks after my last letter to him. So he didn’t go there because he was frightened of what the letters were, he went there because he wanted to discredit me and,  when he couldn’t get the police to do his dirty work, or the CPS , he got those out into the public fold [in the Daily Herald] and the Mirror, which as I will show you in a letter in a moment which you haven’t seen before, actually admits that they never saw the letters before they published that story.

EF: That’s an issue for the [Press] Complaints Commission.

RH: Well, again you can’t divorce the story from Blair, because as I say to suppose the Mirror would have published [on their own initiative] that story at that time when Blair was enduring the six most important weeks of his life is plainly absurd. But I don’t want to get too sidetracked into that. I still cannot see for the life of me how Blair’s behaviour in going to the police and then putting that out – I don’t think anybody you know who was a disinterested third party would have much doubt that he was involved in that. Then, on top of  that, having moved the security services to open up a file on me and keep me under surveillance – they’re still doing it because I have got the evidence from the post coming through the door. All right? Now we are talking about three years afterwards and they are still doing it, and I  suspect that they are tapping my phone as well.  I can’t actually prove that because the modern means of phone tapping are so subtle that you just haven’t got a clue whether they are[tapping]  or not. But if they are opening my post three years afterwards, I have got to assume they are doing that and I have got to assume that they are also reading all my e-mail traffic Now, again, that is only something which is being done on Blair’s say-so. Blair could stop that tomorrow just by issuing an instruction, but he is not doing it. And again that would come, I would argue most strongly, within this “Members shall at all times…” etc.

EF: Well, I understand your point of view.

RH: But what I have never had from your letters is a detailed explanation of why you do not think that covers not just Blair’s [behaviour] but also all the others [of whom I have complained] . Don’t think  for a moment that I am only interested in Blair, I am also interested in all the other ones including…

EF: I am afraid you are not going to get a general explanation, because it’s not mine to give you. That’s the House of Commons’ responsibility.

RH: Yes, but you have to interpret it, don’t you?

EF: My job is to look at individual complaints and decide whether there is anything in there which I should properly investigate and if it befalls to investigate it and which as you know I did in relation to and I shall do so again if I believe it comes within my remit and I shall do it as vigorously as I did that in that case. So there is no issue as far as I am concerned I am not of the view that a member of the public or a member of the cabinet, or the leader of the Opposition, or the prime minister or anything else going to the police and making an allegation which may be totally untrue and regrettable is in itself something which I should look into because I believe…

RH: How does that not bring the house into disrepute?

EF: I don’t think it does. That is a job for the police to get involved in, and if they find the complaints are bogus the person concerned if they wish can have a [summons issued] But it isn’t for me to look into and I have to say to you again I am not going to look into that. I have to say to you again that I am not going to look into it. It isn’t something for me.

RH: What about the newspaper stories?

EF: The newspaper stories are not for me, You have not produced any evidence that any member of Parliament has been putting out newspaper stories improperly.

RH: What about evidence which I think I have already given you but I will refer to it again, of Blair making inflammatory statements about me to the police? He describes me as…

EF: That’s for the police. That’s not for me to investigate.

RH: Well, again that’s his misbehaviour rather than the actual complaint.

EF: Well, I…

RH: Sorry, go on. I am just going to get something to show you.

EF: I can’t, I can’t say strongly enough that I understand the distress you feel about this matter.

RH: But it’s not just distress, I am still in danger because he can at any time have me arrested on a trumped up charge or whatever.

EF: I’m not in any way trying to belittle that, in any way, but I am saying firmly to you that it is not a matter for me and I am not going to investigate it and I am not going to comment further on it to you.

RH: Well, here’s some new evidence which you said you would look at if I wanted. Now that’s something I’ve got using the Data Protection Act. That’s a log from the CPS. Have a look at the line – I have put a asterisk against [it] ” – agreed a line to take with Mr Henderson”. This was when I was querying what the Blair’s were doing making complaints. Now as an ex-civil servant I know what “agreed a line” means and I am sure that you know what “agreed a line means”. It means we will concoct a story, quite often an outright lie, to tell to the general public or whoever is making the enquiry. And I’ve got lots more like that. []  I haven’t come along here to flood you with paper today because that would be unproductive, but again just one or two other documents, the Mirror – they admit they have had no…

EF: That’s a matter for them. It isn’t a matter for me. It’s a matter for the Mirror or the …..

RH: OK what about the [CPS]? Would you comment on the CPS?

EF: That’s entirely a matter for the police. If you think the police have acted improperly, i.e. that they have concocted as you think a statement with anybody improperly then take it up with the police complaints authority. It is not a matter for me.

RH: Shall I tell you what the complaints authority say. I did of course make a complaint, as you might well imagine, about all of this – well what I would describe it as a straightforward perversion of the course of justice – and what happened was the head of the complaints department, Commander Quinn, said he would not record the complaint. I then made  a complaint to the PCA. They say unless he records the complaint they can’t proceed with it. So we are in a ridiculous Catch 22 situation whereby all the police have to do to get rid of a complaint is not record it.

EF: That isn’t a matter for me.

RH: No, I am merely answering your question. What I am saying to you here, is that I have made a whole series of complaints at various times – about six on specific matters including the Blairs’ attempt to pervert the course of justice – and on every single occasion I have had the same response. They will go through the motions. They are frightened enough to send down a Det. Superintendent to take a statement from me in my flat, from Scotland Yard this was. Now, if you know anything about the police you will realise that to get a Det. Superintendent out on anything is very difficult and to get him to come out in person to take a statement is virtually unknown. So they are worried enough. So they go through the motions, but they will go never ever give me an explanation of why they will not proceed, even though,  in the case of the Mirror,  I have given them a copy of the particular letter which I showed you [] which actually says  that they got the information from a serving police officer in circumstances which obviously could only have been illegal , but they still will not go and investigate it. Now I am not saying that goes directly against Blair other than to show that for me to go and make complaints to the police is pointless.  I do make them because it is on the record then. But effectively what happens is that whenever a complaint is made involving Blair or someone peripheral to the Blairs they won’t investigate it honestly. Sometimes it’s as corruptly done as Quinn did it, other times they get to the stage where they are worried enough to actually send people out to take statements, go through the motions then do nothing. All that happens is that you get something back from the CPS that says we are not proceeding for lack of evidence, which of course they will never actually elaborate on. So what I am saying to you is essentially unless I can get Blair out into -the Blair story out into the open, I am in danger, because I have got no protection, the police won’t protect me.

EF: I understand your position.

RH: I cannot even get a lawyer.

EF: This isn’t something I can take up.

RH: Well I would say that it…Ok, I will not belabour the point.

EF: I can understand your point of view, but it isn’t a matter that I can, I am, going to investigate. I am not going to investigate it.

RH: All right, as I say I am not going to belabour the point because there are other genuine matters I want to raise today as well.

EF: Fine, let’s move on shall we.

RH: I do think I still haven’t got an explanation of why – I know I keep coming back to this but is really the heart of the matter – why the sort of behaviour I have been describing this morning and also the behaviour of Dobson my MP as well [is not within your remit]… I mean that again is surely something which comes within the Code of Conduct. Actually there is another point isn’t there which actually puts [RH refers to Code of Conduct] right, ” members have general duty to act in the interests of the nation as a whole and a special duty to their constituents”. How has Dobson done that when he won’t actually investigate my complaint when I take the Mirror story to him?

EF: It isn’t my job to look into how a member of Parliament deals with Individual constituents.

RH: Well it says differently there. It says a special duty to his constituents.

EF: Yes, but that is not part of what I am required to do.

RH: Sorry, how would you interpret that statement then “a special duty to their constituents.

EF: This is a general, if you like, entreaty that they make to their own Code of Conduct to there members about the sorts of behaviour they would expect of an MP and those things are in writing in those terms. But the individual – how a member of parliament a decision on an individual case to pursue matters a constituent or not is up to the MP and I am sure you can understand that. Members of Parliament have whole range of different constituents, with a whole range of different views and a whole range views and a whole range of different things and they have to make judgements all the time about what they do or not pursue.

RH: I can accept your explanation [in as much as ] I am quite sure that is how MPs would like the system to work.

EF: All I can tell you is that my remit does not run to investigating these things.

RH: So,  effectively, your remit doesn’t run to the code of conduct for Members of Parliament?

EF: That is not true. I use the Code of Conduct against which I judge whether or not Members of Parliament have acted Parliament wished them to do. I ideally use it as my guide as though I …

RH: It does say special duty.

EF: … Is how members of Parliament have dealt with individual requests from individual constituents. I have to say that sadly to many members of the public daily because of course many members of the public come to my office with concerns about how their member of parliament has proceeded and that isn’t something I may look into.

RH: Well, again…. OK you use it as guide. Now, it doesn’t say a general duty in that particular part of the Code of Conduct, it actually says they have a special duty to their constituents. I mean, how would you honestly interpret that? I am still not clear how if you are using it as a guide…

EF: I am not happy with this conversation.

RH: Well…

EF: I am trying my best to answer your questions. What you are then doing is saying you disagree me. I understand you that you disagree with me and I respect your disagreement, but I don’t then have to say anything different.

RH: Well, I’m asking for clarification.

EF: I’m sorry, I have got nothing further to say on that. I have done my best to give you an answer.

RH: OK. Fair enough. I mean a non-answer is often more useful than an answer as such.

EF: I resent your calling my description…

RH: Well, I have asked you…

EF: of what the standards and privileges committee made clear to me which is that I do not investigate complaints about how an MP treats an individual constituent as a non-answer.

RH: No, no, I wasn’t saying that was a non-answer.

EF: It is a non-answer it is not a non-answer. It is an answer.

RH: No, no, I wasn’t saying it was a non-answer to that. It was my next question of how you would interpret the phrase “special duty to their constituents”.

EF: I interpret that as I already as I have already explained that members of Parliament do of course have a special duty to their constituents above other people in the country and that’s generally accepted.

RH: Right, so again – I am not going to belabour it if you don’t want to answer – but if they have got a special duty to their constituents that must mean they must act reasonably towards those constituents. I think that would be inherently implied. Would you disagree with that?

EF: I am not going to continue with this.

RH: No OK, if you don’t want to answer…

EF: It’s a waste of time.

RH: OK. I did preface my statement with the fact that I wasn’t going [further] if you do not want to answer the questions – I won’t be going to press it. Now, I have got quite a lot of stuff being passed to me by MPs at the moment, but  as you only came back to me yesterday with the statement that you weren’t willing to discuss the letters, sorry the complaints, I had already put in, as you will appreciate,  I did not have time to amass a great deal of [new] stuff.  However,  I will go over one or two things with one of them is [already] public. Now,  you have probably heard the story of Jack Straw’s brother William?

EF: Yes…

RH: OK. He was arrested or went to a police station and made a confession concerning some illegal sexual acts with his son, all right?. Punch has actually published the basic details of it. Now this is the second time that – and the scandal here is that, or possible scandal, is that in fact he , that is the brother, has not been charged with anything, all right, even though he’s made a confession of serious sexual misconduct with his fourteen year old son. That’s all in the story, it’s not just me [saying it] . I originally came across it on the internet and then about a week or so afterwards Punch published it. Now I have written twice to Jack Straw and if you have a quick look through there…..

EF: That is not for me.

RH: Well hold on, let me finish what I am going to say. I have written twice to Jack Straw asking him to clarify that particular story because what the story is suggesting is that he, Jack Straw, has interfered with the normal police process.  I don’t think you can possibly say [that] didn’t fall within your remit.

EF: I have got no evidence. You have given me no evidence of that anyone has interfered with anything….

RH: I have…I have, because there’s no denying that Jack Straw’s brother has been to the police, right? This is part of the story. They have got quotes from the police, they have quotes…

EF: I cannot…

RH: Just one second. They have got quotes from the police, they have got quotes from the press office all right? And there is absolutely enough for you to start thinking about it, because…

EF: I’m not interested.

RH: Well…

EF: I cannot be interested. The Code specifically forbids me, I cannot be interested in what is a newspaper article. I have to have evidence, and, I’m sorry, I have to have evidence – that is required by the code before I can take an interest in investigating a complaint.

RH: What about Ken Livingstone? You did that purely on newspaper cuttings.

EF: I did not.

RH: The person who wrote to you supplied newspaper reports. That’s where he got his information from.

EF: I know, but people have to provide other evidence then.

RH: What other evidence could he have provided?

EF: I’m sorry I’m not willing to discuss [the] case.

RH: I am not talking about here – I’m not asking you to disclose anything confidential, what I’m saying to you is that the evidence was the newspaper, right? Plus obviously [details] in the published accounts.

EF: Sure.

RH: With this again I can understand it, Mrs Filkin, in a way,  and also why you are not acting on this, but I put it to you not just with Jack Straw, but with the Mandelson thing, with Robinson – I mean Robinson has been accused of the most fantastic fraud which you have already got details of in that EuroBusiness article. He has taken no legal action. Now,  there does come a point where one has to ask, you know, what exact evidence does one have to produce;  I mean, there you have got the fact that Straw is not denying his brother went to the police, right? He doesn’t deny it?

EF: There is nothing improper with people going to the police.

RH: No no, what I’m saying is that he does not deny that his brother has been to the police and has made a confession.

EF: Well, what’s wrong with that? If that’s the truth why shouldn’t he go?

RH: Because you then have the question of perverting the course justice. You’ve got to ask why hasn’t he been charged.

EF: Well, there are a hundred reasons why people are not charged I have no evidence of an improper reason.

RH: I will put it in writing to you and you can have a look at it at your leisure. These are all massively important accusations of misbehaviour. There is not one [which is trivial],  even the one about Gordon Brown. That is a serious piece of misconduct if it’s true. But some of the ones I have given you, particularly the one concerning Blair obviously, but again with somebody like Straw [it is important because of their positions]. It’s the Home Secretary; we are not talking about Joe Soap in the street , we are talking about the man who actually has  responsibility for law enforcement in this country. Now, it does seem to me reasonable that if the brother of that man is taken in, or goes to the police whichever it was, and makes a confession of a serious crime and no prosecution occurs or he is not even charged, then that in itself is a matter of public concern.  I mean not just of concern to me but of public concern.

EF: Yes, but is not anything I can deal with .

RH: Well, again,  I am not going to belabour the point on the code of conduct because you have already made clear what your position is on that. The only things I would ask you to reflect on after I’ve gone are these:  (1) what a general member of the public would think after they had read the Code of Conduct and then compared it with the action you are or are not taking, and (2), how it would be dealt with under judicial review. I know that this is a very difficult constitutional position because it’s only a motion of the House of Commons, which has set it up rather than a statute. Right? That’s correct isn’t it, the Code of Conduct is merely a motion of the House of Commons?

EF: The Code of Conduct and my office is not open to judicial review.

RH: Right, well, when you say that’s not open to judicial review I cannot necessarily see how that can be so as it’s not a statute. Because, all right, I can argue the constitution position…

EF: Do try and pursue a judicial review case if you want to. All I can do is give you the information which I have just given you.

RH: You see if it is only a motion of the House…

EF: I can’t get into this. I’m not a constitutional lawyer I’m not going to make any comment on it. I have just taken advice on that and I understand that is the situation. But you are welcome to challenge it.

RH: Right. Backing up the sort of thing which goes on in terms of not pursuing the law when it happens to be someone in the position of political authority, we have also got that – [copy of NoW story dated passed to Filkin] again that’s Blair’s father-in-law. He was nabbed for defrauding the Benefits Agency, defrauding the Child Support Agency and housing benefit. He wasn’t prosecuted. He had £10,000 in a Swiss bank account and he was also working at the time, right?  Now, as ex-Inland Revenue person I can tell you that meets all the criteria for the DSS to prosecute. OK?

EF: That is not a matter for me. If you think the DSS is acting improperly should prosecute there is a perfectly good way of getting that [ ] and you should do that.

RH: Well again it’s behaviour which is suggests that there is some political interference here.

EF: I’ve got no evidence to suggest that. What you say is that you have evidence that the DSS has acted improperly and if they have you should take it to the Ombudsman.

RH: Right. Now, we’ve got Mr Sheldon who is the chairman of your particular committee you report to, right?  Now, suppose I make a complaint about Mr Sheldon not disclosing some of his interests on the Register. How – what is going to be the position – I won’t go into any great detail today – what is actually going to be the position Mrs Filkin if…

EF: Everyone in the House of Commons is treated by me exactly equally and any member of any committee, any senior politician – and I would have thought by now that you would be aware of that from my published reports – they are all treated exactly the same with absolutely no fear no favour …

RH: I couldn’t agree with that in the case of the Mandelson report which I know intimately, but anyway go on.

EF: All I can say is you haven’t read it.

RH: I have not only read it, but I’ve written a substantial article which I sent you.

EF: Yes, you obviously haven’t read my report, properly, and… but what I assure you – I would have thought that the evidence was there but you disagree with it – but if I have any complaint about anyone whoever they are, whatever their position, of course if there is evidence to support it, then I will look into it.

RH: Right, but what about Mr Sheldon’s own position on the committee?  He can scarcely sit as chairman.

EF: That’s a matter for the committee and it’s a matter for the House. It is not a matter for me. My reports are written totally independently, totally independently. They are presented to the committee and the Committee would have to always make the decision about any complaint about any member of that Committee about what that person would do and would not do the committee would have to deal with it. And I have no doubt that they would deal with that absolutely properly.

RH: What would you consider to be absolutely properly.

EF: That is for them not for me. They would deal with it absolutely properly. Where anyone has the slightest influence in any matter, whether they be friendly or know anybody or whatever, they always declare it and they withdraw if necessary. So, there isn’t an issue about that. They are scrupulous about it. I and I have no doubt they would be scrupulous about any complaint about any member [inaudible three or four words lost].

RH: Well I heard you on the radio saying that you weren’t happy about the fact that Mandelson did not make an apology to the house.

EF:. That’s not what I said.

RH: Well, that was my interpretation.

EF: Well, it might have been.

RH: Well, you were obviously cautious being a public servant, but, nonetheless…

EF: That’s not what I said.

RH: How would you interpret it?

EF: I would not interpret it at all, I certainly didn’t say that.

RH: Suppose for example an hypothesis;  suppose the Standards and Privileges committee allowed Mr Sheldon to sit as chairman whilst considering your report on him. Would you consider that to be a resigning matter?

EF: I have no comment to make on hypothetical situations.

RH: All right. Now, I will just ask you one or two questions about…

EF: But do let me be clear, if you have evidence of any member of Parliament not registering interests which they should have registered, would you kindly let me have it. I would be pleased to have it and I will investigate if that is the case.

RH: Now one thing – you appreciate that I haven’t got the details of exactly how you operate.

EF: I will gladly tell you.

RH: But suppose… this is purely technical what I am asking you now. There is nothing contentious at all. But, suppose for example someone set up a couple of companies, all right, and those companies shall we say have dealings with other companies of which the first person isn’t a director – he is a director of the first two companies but not the other companies. But shall we say his wife was a director of the other two companies. Would that count as a beneficial interest?

EF: It depends on whether she has a shareholding. If she has got a shareholding that’s more than 1% of that company, yes, but not otherwise. The rules are very interesting as you will have seen from [] There are some things which members are required to show a spouse – that’s the word that’s used – but most of the items they are required in fact to disclose either spouses or partners interests.

RH: I appreciate again that it is difficult thing to administer because it’s a question of how long is a piece of string – up to a point. OK. But  there wouldn’t be any question if a person was an actual director of a company and hadn’t registered it, that would be I presume be just a straight open and shut case?

EF: Well, if a person is remunerated director then they are required to register it.

RH: Right, but if they are not a remunerated director then they are not? I can see the possibilities of lots abuse there but still. Someone else gets paid, it’s as simple as that.

EF: That’s what the rules are about, about financial probity.

RH: What I’m saying to you is that… I think you used to have some dealings with the Revenue, you were head of their…

EF: I was their adjudicator.

RH: That means that …the easy way to get round that is if the MP is unremunerated then someone else gets the payment.

EF: Well, if there is evidence, of course if there’s evidence of jiggery pokery to get round the rules on a technicality, then that’s, I, of course I would look into it.

RH: Well, I mean, if for example say a relative was being paid and the MP wasn’t being paid and both of them are directors, would you consider that prima facie evidence of possible misdoing?

EF: Not necessarily, no. You would have to find out whether the person who was getting paid was doing the work which they might well might.

RH: Right. Then I presume you would be willing to put the usual Revenue test of whether in fact whether the remuneration was in fact commensurate with the work they were doing.

EF: Well, if there was a Revenue issue. I would put it to the Revenue to look into.

RH: I wasn’t meaning that there was tax avoidance or anything like that. What I am saying to you is that what the Revenue commonly does is…

EF: Don’t worry I do know about that.

RH OK. What I am saying to you…

EF: What I would do. I am not willing to talk about a hypothetical case for fear of being misinterpreted. But I don’t wish to…

RH: Well……

EF: No, be very careful. What I would do if you provide me with any evidence that the rules may have been broken – it must be what I [inaudible word] – then I will look into it and if the evidence appears to show that people are getting round the rules in some technical way of course that would be against the spirit of Code and I would look into that. But I don’t then make an assumption that any individual is necessarily doing anything wrong. I would only come to that conclusion on the facts.

RH: You see what I would worry about here is, I mean purely from your own point of view rather than mine, is that if an MP isn’t remunerated but someone close to them is  remunerated, it would seem to me that that’s a prima facie conflict of interest there, because  he may well argue that he is pure as the driven snow and all this sort of thing, but if somebody as close as his wife,  just to take one example,  is getting substantial remuneration from the same source, or maybe even not as a director, he doesn’t even have to be a director, I mean, it’s one of the oldest scams in the world to put your director’s wife…

EF: it is also perfectly possible that it can be a perfectly legitimate business arrangement if you have two people who happen to be married to one another and working for the same business, one of whom decides that they want to be remunerated for a job, someone else who may well be in a job may not wish to take pay for it. That is a perfectly proper arrangement. What one would have to look at in any individual case whether or not it was proper.

RH: I would agree in normal circumstances that you could have a perfectly proper arrangement, and I’m not suggesting that there is any financial irregularity or tax avoidance, this is not what I am suggesting. What I’m saying is that in the context of the MP being an MP is there not a conflict of interest there? I mean…

EF: Well there may be, if you produce evidence that there is I’ll have a look at it.

RH: No, sorry, I’m obviously not making myself clear.

EF: You are making yourself totally clear. I am absolutely clear about what you are saying.

RH: What I’m saying to you is that regardless of any other evidence isn’t the mere fact that an MP has his wife…

EF: No.

RH: Then effectively it’s a dead letter..

EF: No, it’s not a dead letter, of course it’s not. If there is a situation in which two people married to one another or partners are working for the same business, one is receiving remuneration and one is not, if there is any evidence that there is [inaudible] bring it to me I will look at it. If there isn’t any evidence then I won’t be able to look into it.

RH: Yes, well again without belabouring the code of conduct, I would have thought, actually, that where you have got that close link …if someone is actually working for that company it would be relevant].   I’m talking about the wife or whoever is the non-MP, is working for that company and being remunerated by that company. I would have thought, that you know, that was a conflict of interest or a possible conflict of interest which needed to be declared.  All right, you may say that it is not within the…

EF: There are many conflicts of interest which you can have that the rules that parliament has laid down do not require to be registered. There are – you will know from your Civil Service experience – as a civil servant one has to declare many possibilities of conflict of interests which aren’t required of MPs. What’s required of MPs is what’s in that Code of Conduct. Those rules are very much about who pays the MP. Not about other monies that a person may have coming into their family or that other members of that family may have. That’s not what they are about. Now, you may think that the rules are no good and therefore you should be putting that point.

“RH: Well, actually, I think they are admirable rules, but it is just unrealistic to expect politicians to be actually bound by them. It’s like Chesterton’s old saw…

EF: No, well, if you think MPs ought to declare what their partners or spouses [have], then you ought to be putting a case to he Standards and Privileges Committee or to Lord Neil. They are the people to make that to.

RH: Yes, well, I shall doubtless do that in time when I get round to it. It does seem to me that is so broadly drawn as I said when we started off, I can see the problem from your point of view you of trying to enforce it, but it would seem to me…

EF: it’s not my job to enforce it.

RH: OK, be guided by it or whichever way you want to put it. The thing is, if that comes within your remit or guidance or whatever you want to call it, nonetheless it is so broadly drawn, I mean, it would cover well, well I mean, an unending multitude of sins.

EF: Absolutely, and indeed this is why the House agreed it in those terms so that the Committee if it ever decided could look into a wide range of things. What I am saying to you is what I interpret to be the wishes of the House in terms of what I should look into myself. I can only tell you that as best I can.

RH: Yes, I mean if it’s not confidential, I mean, have you had apart from the stuff you sent me, have you had any other written sort of guidelines or anything like that?

EF: Written guidelines?

RH: Well, I’m sorry, I don’t know what goes on behind the scenes. I mean have you had … maybe you sought some guidance from the committee, or something like that and they have given you guidance on how to interpret the Code of Conduct for example?

EF: Well, there are the odd occasions that you will know well. One of the complaints I had early [on] was about Mr Mandelson. When I read the Code of Conduct- and I had other complaints about him as you know from other people – when I read the Code of Conduct I was of the view that loans, concessionary loans between members, were not exempted from the Register. Many Members of Parliament, including Mr Mandelson believed they were and that was his reason for not having registered that loan. I said I can find no exemption in the rules. But I said to the committee you need to tell whether my interpretation is correct because I have been told by a lot of people and Mr Mandelson himself that I am wrong, that the House meant to exclude the registration of concessionary loans between members. The Committee said – and I read it carefully – members of the Committee said, Mr Mandelson’s quite right. We all think we don’t have to put that in. So I said, well please read the rules very carefully and they read the rules very carefully register and they said, Commissioner you’re right, they are not acceptable and so that is why they then followed my view on this on the matter. So there are a lots of situations in which I make an interpretation of what the rules say and then I say to the committee but you need to tell me if I’ve got that right or wrong. We have had a recent case as you well know in the press in which my reading indicated that..what Mr Livingstone’s situation is now in relation to speeches he was now making did require him to deposit [details in the register], that his circumstances had changed from when he was he just doing [inaudible] speeches and that he did now need to do so. That was a judgement and so I said to the committee that’s my reading of the rules and that’s my reading of Mr Livingstone’s situation. You have to tell me whether you think my interpretation is correct. And they looked at it and they were surprised about it, but they said you were quite correct. And, so there are lots of occasions on which I have to do the best I can and make an interpretation and the committee may not always agree with it. But that’s my job. I don’t it the other way round, I don’t say would before I look into this complaint I would you like to tell me what your view is. I don’t do it that way.

RH: I’m only asking these questions because I want to try to formulate any future complaints I may put in [to you] in a way which will be most accommodating to how you are working. Now,   have you as a matter of interest….you have been in office for just over a year is it?

EF: That’s right.

RH: Have you actually been sort of conducting your self on the same lines as your predecessor or have you made any great changes?

EF: In what way?

RH: Sorry, I am just asking generally,. I hadn’t nothing particularly in mind. I mean, have you changed your tack would you say from your predecessors in terms of how you decide to…

EF: I leave that to other people to decide. Lots of people say that it is the same, but it is entirely up to the people who observe it [to decide].

RH: Right, well, now I would just like to ask you one or two other things …not taking up the complaints again…..Now, you’ve read my letters to Blair? I judge Mrs Filkin that you’re probably the sort of person if someone sends you something, assuming its not horrendously long, you probably read it. Would I be right?

EF: You should judge that I read things however horrendously long.

RH: Yes, right, I rather took it that this would be the case.

EF: I don’t think I can do this job properly unless I attending to what the public decides to send me..

RH: But there are limits just in terms of time.

EF: I’m very bogged down at the moment. I have a large number of complaints, but I’m not treating them any differently. I am treating them just as assiduously.

RH: But having read the Blair letters – just your own personal opinion, I’m not even asking you necessarily in your capacity as…

EF: I’m sorry, I am not going to comment.

RH: Well, all I was going to ask you was well did you find any gross racist abuse?

EF: I’m not going to comment. It is not for me. We are going to have to draw to a close.

RH: I know, I fully appreciate that, I fully appreciate that. To be honest with you I have really covered most of the ground I wanted to.

EF: Well, I am glad to meet you and I hope that you will provide me with evidence about any of the complaints that you are concerned about and if you do I shall look into them.

RH: Could I just ask you before I go. There is one complaint you are still waiting for investigation by I think its The Board of Trade which is Robinson, that’s right isn’t it? Is there any movement on that at all?

EF: I have heard nothing further.

RH: These things can drag on for yonks so its not that surprising. Well look Mrs Filkin I appreciate you seeing me and we will see if we can progress it in the future.

EF: I’m sorry you have had such – obviously an unsatisfactory…..

RH:  To be honest I do this for two reasons, one is protect myself quite frankly, because I think you will appreciate that anybody who has been the subject of the attentions of the Prime Minister in the way I have been the subject of the attention of the Prime Minister, might have some slight cause for concern shall we say, all right? But the second thing is  it’s just the fact that this is corrupt politics as well. I don’t just mean Blair, I am talking about Robinson and co. I am talking about Mandelson also. So don’t think I am progressing complaints which are non-Blair related simply because I’m trying to get at Blair, because that isn’t my purpose at all.

EF: No. I understand that. Some of the matters you have raised with me are not in relation to this [The Blair Scandal]

RH: Well exactly.

EF: Don’t forget your recorders.

RH: The most valuable thing in the bag. Right, ok, we are ending the meeting now at 11.55.

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