Tag Archives: free speech

Margaret Thatcher and the cult of personality

Robert Henderson

Two Cults

Margaret Thatcher was the subject of a cult of personality. This was not the result of calculated  propaganda, but simply the creation of her extraordinary personality. Because the cult of personality developed not in a totalitarian state but a country where public opposition was possible, there were two cults of personality attached to her in a relationship which mimicked the matter/antimatter duality. These were the Thatcherite religious believers fulfilling the role of matter and the Thatcher-hating Left  acting as the antimatter.

Both the matter and the antimatter Thatcher cults were  potent.  The religious believers  bowed down before the great god MARKET (and Thatcher was his prophet) and, when things  went wrong,  did what all religious believers do until they lose their faith, denied reality by simply pretending something had not happened or by giving a calamity some  absurd spin to ”prove” the god had not failed.

For the Thatcher-hating Left she was the personification of the Devil and consequently credited with all manner of evil,  but, as is the way with personifications of the Devil, never portrayed as anything but powerful, a being possessed of a political juju (doubtless ensconced in her handbag) which could wreak any degree of havoc  with all that the Left held dear is if she so chose.   Like all those who believe in evil spirits the Thatcher-hating Left ascribed every act of ill fortune to her.

The attitude of both bands of cult followers was essentially superstitious, attributing powers to the woman which she did not, and often could not,  have.  The religious Thatcherites imagined she could  speak the spells which would miraculously convert Britain from a  country making silly old fashioned things such as steel, ships and cars and mining coal to a country stuffed to the gunnels with entrepreneurs creating new non-unionised service industries; the Left saw her as a witch practising black magic to contaminate and transmogrify the world they knew.

Because the Thatcherite religious believers  and her leftist haters  could not and still cannot see past the woman’s   gigantic political personality,  they made and continue to make the same mistake, namely, seeing the two cult figures as the reality while ignoring  her actual policies and their outcomes.

The reality of Thatcher

The reality of Thatcher is that objectively she achieved little if any of her wishes. It is a bitter irony for the woman (and Thatcherites generally)  that her policies were of a nature which  undermined the  ends  she espoused.  Perhaps the prime example is Thatcher’s  avowed wish to see a strong and wealthy Britain  whilst creating through her  commitment to laissez faire economics the very circumstances that would weaken the country. Under her economic regimen and its lingering aftermath ever since Britain  has become ever less self-sufficient in strategically important economic activity such as the production of  food and energy  and vast swathes of British business were  either bought up by foreigners or ceased to operate from Britain because of offshoring and the absence of government action to protect our own economy.   She simply did not understand that you could not have laissez  faire in both the domestic and international economic sphere and have a strong nation state.   Had Thatcher  known any economic history she would have realised that, but even without such knowledge  common prudence should have told her that a country which is dependent on others for necessary goods and services is a weak country.  Moreover, one of her claimed tutelary heroes Adam Smith readily understood there are things which are either strategically important such as armaments or social goods which are  never going to be supplied universally by private enterprise such as roads.  Thatcher never gave any indication of realising that Smith was not the unrelenting free marketer of her imagination.

Thatcher’s  failures in making policy to  achieve her ends were legion. She  destroyed much of British heavy industry in the belief that those made unemployed would rapidly be re-employed in private sector jobs. The new jobs did not materialise and she was reduced to presiding over massive and long lasting unemployment  which she funded with North Sea oil and gas tax revenue and the receipts from privatisation, whilst fiddling the unemployment figures shamelessly. She sold off state owned  services  (which belonged to the community as a whole not to the government)  in the belief that service would  be improved . It was  not. Instead vital services such as the railways and the provision of energy and water became ever more expensive whilst providing poorer service and less employment. She introduced so-called private business methods into the NHS and higher education in the belief that they would become more efficient. The result was massive increases in  bureaucracy and an ever climbing  cost of  both the  NHS and higher education and a substitution of the pursuit of  money for the public service ethos because money was attached to individual patients and students. She introduced the Community Charge or “Poll Tax” in the belief that it would be fairer than the old domestic rates. The result was widespread unfairness because it took no account of an individual’s means  and  provoked the nearest thing to a national movement dedicated to the non-payment of taxes known in modern times.  She raged against  EU interference in British affairs but signed up Britain to the Single European Act (SEA)  in the belief that it would create a genuine single market within the EEC.  It  did not create such a market and merely presented the EEC with an open goal for ever more audacious sovereignty grabs.  A supposed opponent of further mass immigration, her signing of the SEA also opened the door to free movement within the EU, a situation worsened by her strategy of dramatically widening the EEC.  She signed Britain up to the  She embraced “Care in the Community” for the mentally ill or disabled on the grounds that it was more humane than keeping  such people in long-stay institutions. The result was thousands of people left to largely fend for themselves in the outside world who were quite incapable of doing so. She sold off great swathes of social housing (which belonged to the community as a whole not to government) to tenants in the belief that this would result in a “property owning democracy” whilst more or less ending the building of new  social housing.  The eventual result was the growing housing emergency we have today. She instigated the disastrous “light touch”  regulation of the financial services  industry by abolishing credit controls and  failing to meaningfully regulate the  industry meaningfully after “Big Bang”  in 1986  which  effectively de-regulated the London Stock Exchange to bring in a brave new world of free trading (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/financialcrisis/8850654/Was-the-Big-Bang-good-for-the-City-of-London-and-Britain.html)  with the dire results with which we are now living.

Even in the few areas where she was ultimately successful such as the Falkland’s War she was at best negligent in ignoring warnings from the Foreign Office of a growing threat to the Falklands  in the months leading up to the invasion and even after the expeditionary force had been dispatched  she agreed to a US organised plan which would have not offered the Islanders either self determination of or any meaningful security (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/margaret-thatcher/10008116/Margaret-Thatcher-how-she-took-on-the-men-and-won.html).

There were also acts of omission and collusion with policies with which she supposedly fundamentally  disagreed.  Most importantly, Thatcher failed utterly to carry her strong views against further mass immigration into her period in office. Not only that but, as already mentioned,  she made things much worse on that front by signing up to the Single European Act. She agreed to the institutionalisation of political correctness in public life, especially in the Civil Service, schools and universities. In addition, she allowed the “progressive” educational establishment to destroy a first rate  school examination system  by swopping the certificate of Secondary Education (CSE) and O(rdinary) Levels  for the dangerous absurdity of the General Certificate of Education (GCSE), an exam   supposedly for all 16 year olds but which was in reality two exams masquerading as one.  Despite the fact that Tory support rested heavily on the countryside  she allowed the de-regulation of rural bus services to occur  which reduced them so  severely that to live in countryside meant owning and driving a vehicle or at least having access to someone who did.  To make matter worse, this was done in tandem with a wilful neglect of the then nationalised railways.

The protests after her death were unsurprising

Just based on her economic disasters the uproar surrounding her death is unsurprising.  In the space of a few years she raised the unemployment  pay claimant count from 1.4 million when she took office in 1979 to 3.2 million by 1986 (http://www.economicshelp.org/macroeconomics/unemployment/measuring_unemployment.html) That bald figure is startling enough but the reality  is ten times worse. She  must have known her policies would result in mass unemployment,  at least in the short term, when she removed the financial support of taxpayers from nationalised industries or sold them off in the belief that private business would be able to do the job more efficiently with  much smaller workforces.   Further, as these industries were concentrated in areas where they were by far the dominant employer she should  have realised that structural unemployment would be created  in many parts of the country.  To imagine, as she did, that new jobs would rapidly sprout in the areas showed  a  shocking lack of understanding of economic history which has no example of such a thing happening on the scale required in 1980s Britain.

What is certain is the fact that she had no doubt about the destructive possibilities of laissez faire economics, viz:

“Adam Smith’s ‘invisible hand’ is not above sudden, disturbing, movements. Since its inception, capitalism has known slumps and recessions, bubble and froth; no one has yet dis-invented the business cycle, and probably no one will; and what Schumpeter famously called the ‘gales of creative destruction’ still roar mightily from time to time. To lament these things is ultimately to lament the bracing blast of freedom itself.” — Margaret Thatcher, Statecraft P. 462

A politician of conviction?

The idea that merely having convictions is praiseworthy is a rum one. Hitler, Stalin and Mao had convictions. But even  if the  quality of a person’s convictions is ignored, this is one of the most mystifying of myths attached to Thatcher.  The reality was she frequently changed her position on the most important issues she faced or adopted methods which went against her avowed policies when she had created a mess, most notably with the massive rise in unemployment resulting from her slash and burn approach to the British economy which greatly  increased the benefits bill for many years and left people unemployed for years, in many cases for decades.

The most significant publicly  admitted changes of policy  were on immigration, the Europe and global warming.  Before the 1979 election she had spoken of the need to control immigration  because the country was in danger of being “swamped”:

‘If we went on as we are then by the end of the century there would be four million people of the new Commonwealth or Pakistan here. Now, that is an awful lot and I think it means that people are really rather afraid that this country might be rather swamped by people with a different culture.’

She went on to say, ‘The British character has done so much for democracy, for law and done so much throughout the world that if there is any fear that it might be swamped people are going to react and be rather hostile to those coming in.’

 ‘If you want good race relations, you have got to allay peoples’ fears on numbers. […] We do have to hold out the clear prospect of an end to immigration…’ (http://www.runnymedetrust.org/histories/race-equality/59/margaret-thatcher-claims-britons-fear-being-swamped.html)

Once in office she did nothing despite still feeling strongly about the subject in private  (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/margaret-thatcher/6906503/Margaret-Thatcher-complained-about-Asian-immigration-to-Britain.html).

On Europe she went through the following metamorphosis:

–          1975 she campaigned and voted for Britain to remain within the European Economic Community (EEC – the EU was only formed  by  the Maastricht Treaty in 1993).

–          By 1980 she was convinced that the EEC was not  acting in Britain interests.

–          By 1986 she had  signed the Single European Act giving the EEC immense powers to interfere  with Britain’s sovereignty.

–          In the late 1980s she adopted the policy of enlarging the EEC which meant that a vast new swathe of workers from poor countries would be allowed free movement within the  EEC.  The effects of this also allowed the federalists to press for things such as Qualified Majority Voting on the grounds that the EEC/EU had become too unwieldy to operate under the original  rules and to generally press forward with the creation of a United States of Europe.

–          In 1990  she took the UK into the Exchange Rate Mechanism (ERM)  despite being opposed to a single currency to which the ERM was a stepping stone with the pound effectively shadowing the Deutschmark.

The idea that Thatcher only realised what the EEC was after taking office in 1979 is simple nonsense. Thatcher’s speech to the  Conservative Group for Europe at the start of the Wilson referendum on the EEC clearly shows her viewing the EEC as far more than a  simple free trading area, viz:

That vision of Europe took a leap into reality on the 1st of January 1972 when, [ Edward Heath] Mr. Chairman, due to your endeavours, enthusiasm and dedication Britain joined the European Community.

 * The Community gives us peace and security in a free society, a peace and security denied to the past two generations.

 * The Community gives us access to secure sources of food supplies. This is vital to us, a country which has to import half of what we need.

* The Community does more trade and gives more aid than any group in the world.

* The Community gives us the opportunity to represent the Commonwealth in Europe. The Commonwealth want us to stay in and has said so. The Community wants us.

 Conservatives must give a clear lead and play a vigorous part in the campaign to keep Britain in Europe to honour the treaties which you, sir, signed in Britain’s name.

 We must do this, even though we dislike referenda. We must support the [ Harold Wilson] Prime Minister in this, even though we fight the Government on other issues.

 We must play our full part in ensuring that Conservative supporters say “Yes to Europe”. (http://www.margaretthatcher.org/document/102675).

In any case, the Treaty of Rome left no room to believe it was merely a free trade organisation.  No one could read that and be in any doubt  that the intention was to create a United State of Europe. Thatcher, the supposed obsessive  who was a stickler  mastering a subject,   should have read it before the referendum.

As for global warming, she started the ball rolling whilst in office and then reversed her position in her autobiography published in 2003. Here she is speaking to the  UN general assembly, in November 1989:

“What we are now doing to the world … is new in the experience of the Earth. It is mankind and his activities that are changing the environment of our planet in damaging and dangerous ways. The result is that change in future is likely to be more fundamental and more widespread than anything we have known hitherto. Change to the sea around us, change to the atmosphere above, leading in turn to change in the world’s climate, which could alter the way we live in the most fundamental way of all.

“The environmental challenge that confronts the whole world demands an equivalent response from the whole world. Every country will be affected and no one can opt out. Those countries who are industrialised must contribute more to help those who are not.” (http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/blog/2013/apr/09/margaret-thatcher-green-hero)

By  the time she had published her political work Statecraft in 2003 she was thinking along these lines:

“The doomsters’ favourite subject today is climate change. This has a number of attractions for them. First, the science is extremely obscure so they cannot easily be proved wrong. Second, we all have ideas about the weather: traditionally, the English on first acquaintance talk of little else.

“Third, since clearly no plan to alter climate could be considered on anything but a global scale, it provides a marvellous excuse for worldwide, supra-national socialism. All this suggests a degree of calculation. Yet perhaps that is to miss half the point. Rather, as it was said of Hamlet that there was method in his madness, so one feels that in the case of some of the gloomier alarmists there is a large amount of madness in their method.” (http://www.masterresource.org/2013/04/thatcher-alarmist-to-skeptic/).

There were other issues where her public position was at odds with her actions, for example, the troubles in Northern Ireland and the rule of law. Thatcher claimed that there would never be a surrender to  IRA terrorism.  Yet after she narrowly escaped death in the Brighton Grand Hotel bombing in 1984 (12 October)  the Anglo-Irish agreement was signed little over a year later in November 1985 giving the Republic of Ireland government  a say in what happened in Northern Ireland and committing the British Government to accepting the principle of a united Ireland if a majority were in favour. (http://news.bbc.co.uk/onthisday/hi/dates/stories/november/15/newsid_2539000/2539849.stm). There was no obvious reason for such a change of heart beyond the fear generated in Thatcher by the bombing of the Grand Hotel.

As for the rule of law, far from respecting it as she claimed, she laid the basis for the ever increasing authoritarianism of the British state by permitting the police to act unlawfully during the miners’ strike by stopping miners and their supporters from travelling across the country and turning a blind eye to any police excesses as they clashed with the miners and their supporters.

A politician of conviction? Only if you define  someone as such who runs from one position to another while vigorously embracing each  successive position regardless of its  contradiction of a previous  advocated policy or set of ideas.

Nor was she someone who would take responsibility for her actions. When she found her policies were a disaster she either claimed she had been badly advised or cheated (for example, the Single Market, global warming) or attempted to ignore the mess she had created  (for example, enduring mass employment and ) by misrepresenting it, or in the case of unemployment, using North Sea oil  tax revenues,  the privatisation receipts and blatant manipulation of the unemployment statistics to paper over the unemployment cracks.

Why did Thatcher get things so horribly wrong? 

Why did Thatcher get things so horribly wrong?  Her behaviour  strongly suggested that she was seriously lacking  psychological and sociological insight. This meant she constantly made horrendous mistakes such as trusting the EU over the single market and imagining in truly infantile fashion that millions of jobs shed from heavy industry and coal mining would be rapidly replaced by “modern” jobs in the service and light industry sectors.  Her record in choosing people to support or employ was also dismal.

Far from being a free thinker her cast of mind  made her the ready captive of an ideology:

“…as Leader of the Opposition MT once cut short a presentation by a leftish member of the Conservative Research Department by fetching out a copy of The Constitution of Liberty from her bag and slamming it down on the table, declaring “this is what we believe”. (http://www.margaretthatcher.org/archive/Hayek.asp).

It is dangerous to trust anyone who is  susceptible to ideological capture for the simple reason that all ideologies, whether sacred or profane, are inadequate descriptions of and guides to reality.    This means that ideologues constantly have to try to fit reality within the ideology rather than having  reality driving their choices.  Those which include economics are particularly dangerous because their reach is so vast.

Ideologies are the prime example of Richard Dawkins’ memes, mental viruses which capture the individual and direct their thought and behaviour.  Those who are captured by them by them give up their mental autonomy.  That speaks either of a character trait such as that of requiring a source of authority for choices or a  weakness of intellect which seeks ideological  algorithms  developed by others to answer political  questions because the person’s capacity to answer the questions by rational pragmatic examination based on their own knowledge and intelligence  is inadequate.

How good was  Thatcher’s mind? She  is frequently  represented by her adherents as ferociously intelligent.  This view  will not stand up to examination.  She read chemistry at Oxford but only achieved a second class honours degree (http://womenshistory.about.com/od/thatchermargaret/a/Margaret-Thatcher.htm).  Oxford at the time did not divide the second class degree into  upper and lower second classes  and had a fourth class honours division instead.  The old Oxford second  is generally taken to be the rough equivalent of an upper second.  That raises questions over her intellect.  Chemistry at degree level in the 1940s had not become heavily mathematized  as it now is.  Diligence would get a student a long way. This   quality Thatcher  reputedly  had in spades. If she did, the fact that she only took a second suggests that she was not very intellectually gifted. That is particularly the case when it is remembered that she went up to Oxford during wartime when competition for places was severely reduced because so many of the potential male students went into the forces rather than to university. A beta plus mind at best.

What people probably mistook for intelligence was her avid seeking and retention of data. But it is one thing to learn facts or arguments parrot fashion, quite another to mould them into a coherent intellectual whole.  Based on her frequent renunciation of previous positions, it is reasonable to assume that she simply did not have the intellectual wherewithal to put the data she took on board to any useful purpose. She certainly never  gave no indication that she ever saw the bigger picture.

There were also the question of her how fitted she was by experience to fill the role she played, that of the hard-core economic libertarian forever seeking ways of making people take responsibility for their lives both socially and in their work.  When I look at the present Tory front bench I have a similar feeling to that  which I experience when thinking of the Nazi leadership.  The Nazis had a rather noticeable lack of Aryan types amongst them: the present Tory front bench is remarkably short on people who have been entrepreneurs or indeed of people who have any great  experience of work outside the narrow confines of politics.

Margaret Thatcher was a forerunner  in this respect. She graduated from Oxford in 1947.  For the next four years she worked for various private companies as a research chemist. At the age of 26 she married a millionaire. He funded Thatcher’s career change from chemist to barrister. She took the bar exams in 1953 and practised (specialising in taxation) until 1961, the last two years of the period occurring after she was elected to the Commons in 1959.  After that it was all politics.

Thatcher’s experience of the real world of work is at best four years as a research chemist and eight years as a barrister.  However,  being married to a millionaire at the age of 26 rather dulls the idea of her living a normal working life.  The truth is she made her way not as a self-made woman but by the traditional route  for female advancement of marrying a rich man.

There was no need for Thatcherism

The really angering thing about Thatcher’s time in No 10 is that she could have done what she was elected to do, tame the unions, without engaging in the deliberate wholesale destruction and alienation of much of Britain’s heavy and extractive industry and the placing in private hands of the public utilities, especially those of gas, electricity and water.   This was because Thatcher had the great good fortune to arrive as Prime Minister just as North Sea oil and gas was coming on-stream in large quantities.  Those revenues alone would have provided any government with a very large safety net to finance temporary difficulties caused by serious confrontations with the larger trade unions.   She also enjoyed  the very large receipts from the big privatisations such as gas, electricity and BT.  No British government has ever had such a sustained revenue windfall as hers.

There was absolutely no economic need to destroy so much of British industry or place much of the state-owned  organisations  into private hands.  Continental countries such as Germany and Italy retained their shipbuilding; France,  Germany and Italy retained a native mass production car industry.  Germany still has a substantial coal mining industry. Privatisation proceeded at very different speeds throughout Europe.  That no other large industrialised  country followed Thatcherite policies  with anything like the speed or fervour of Britain  yet  survived and frequently out competed Britain economically  demonstrates that Thatcher’s policies were not a necessity but simply an ideological choice.

Her government could have spent the 1980s taming the unions sufficiently to prevent the excesses of the 1970s.  It is true that the very high level of unemployment  of the 1980s was an aid to this, but it was probably not the main rod which largely broke the Trade Unions’ back.  Home ownership had been rising steadily throughout the twentieth century and by the time Thatcher came to power in 1979 not far short of 60%. The highest it reached even after Right To Buy was only 69% – the idea that it was Thatcher who made it possible for the working man and woman to own their homes for the first time is another myth about her(http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/personalfinance/houseprices/10005586/Home-ownership-falls-for-first-time-in-a-century.html).  .

The fact that so many people were owner occupiers with mortgages  meant that they were much less willing than they had been to strike at the drop of a hat because they feared losing their home.  Even those who were not owner occupiers had much more to lose in terms of general comfort, security and prospects of greater opportunity for their children than had been the case before, say, 1939.  To take just one example, children from poor families had a greater opportunity than ever to enter  higher education. This growing reluctance to come  out whenever the union called for  strike  was why the National Union of Miners’ leader Arthur Scargill was not willing to hold a ballot of all  his members before calling a strike. He feared such a ballot would be lost.

The combination of this increasing  reluctance to strike amongst union members together with the legal restrictions on unions such as no secondary picketing and severe penalties for strikes called with a formal ballot would have been enough to end the anarchy which prevailed in the 1970s.

Apart from the social and economic upheaval of the Thatcher years, she can also be blamed for a continuation of the damage she caused both in the long term structural unemployment but also in the fact that she subverted  the Labour Party so that it adopted most of what was damaging from the Thatcher period, most particularly in the adoption of her devotion to laissez faire economics and in Labour’s all too ready acceptance of the EU  elite’s desire for comprehensive political and economic union.

The 1980s could have been so very different.  The revenue from North Sea Oil could have been put into a sovereign wealth fund which  by now would be worth hundreds of billions.  If  the Single European Act had not been signed the movement towards a  federal EU would have been halted in its tracks  (national vetoes applied to this area of decision making  at the time). If Thatcher had not argued for an ever wider EEC the poorer nations from the East would not have joined and the immigration threat they carry would not exist.  Indeed,   Britain could have left the EU entirely because the Tory Eurosceptics could have allied with Labour under Michael Foot or even Neal Kinnock. New social housing could have been built with the proceeds of Right to Buy thus obviating to a large degree the shortage of housing now.  If the nationalised industries had been sustained there would have been no serious structural unemployment.  Had proper attention been paid to the strategic importance of  essential economic areas such a food and energy self-sufficiency we should not be so dangerously reliant on foreigners for such things today.  Most importantly, if  that had been the general thrust of politics in the 1980s it is doubtful in the extreme that Blair and NuLabour would ever have arisen.

The tragedy of Margaret Thatcher is that she had a sense of patriotism and probably genuinely thought she was doing the best for her country at the time she implemented or advocated policies (her honesty when policies went wrong was  another matter).  The problem was that her judgement  and understanding was all too often hideously wrong or defective. She so often provided comforting rhetoric, especially on Europe and immigration,  but she never delivered the goods. The fact that she was such an overpowering political figure made things worse because it meant she could steamroller her cabinet on most issues at most times. It is difficult to think of another politician  in the past three centuries who wrought so much damage on Britain.

Piers Morgan’s illegal receipt of information from the police, his perjury and Operation Elveden part III

ELVEDENFriday, 22 March, 2013 10:51

From: “Paulette.Rooke@met.pnn.police.uk” <paulette.rooke@met.pnn.police.uk>Add sender to ContactsTo: anywhere156@yahoo.co.uk

Mr Henderson

I have been asked by my Inspector to ascertain if you have any new evidence with regard to your allegations against those mentioned in your correspondence.

Yours sincerely

Paulette Rooke

ADS PAULETTE ROOKE

JUBILEE HOUSE PUTNEY, 230-232 PUTNEY BRIDGE RD, London SW15 2PD

Internal  58526  External  020 8785 8526

————————————————————————————————————–

To

DC Paulette Rooke

Operation Eleveden

Metropolitan Police

New Scotland Yard

8/10 The Broadway

London  SW1H OBG

CC

John Whittingdale MP

George Eustice MP

John Whittingdale MP

George Eustice MP

Gerald Howarth MP

Keir Starmer (DPP)

mark.lewis@thlaw.co.uk

24 March  2013

Dear DC Rooke,

You ask in your email of 22 March whether I have any new information relating to the accusations I have made.  The short answer is no. However, having listened  again to the tape recording I made of my interview with Det Supt Jeff Curtis I shall be sending you a copy of that for the reasons given below in paragraph 4.

Happily  you do not need any further information to begin investigations into Piers  Morgan, Jeff Edwards and Det Supt Jeff Curtis. In fact, I think any disinterested third party would be rather surprised that the investigations  have not  already begun, bearing in mind that you have a letter sent to Morgan to the PCC in which he admitted that the Mirror had received information from a police officer in circumstances which can only have been illegal.

The reason the crimes  (apart from the accusations of perjury before Leveson) were not meaningfully investigated when I made my original complaints is beautifully  simple: corrupt practice by the police prompted either by the Blairs’ involvement in the story and/or a known or suspected corrupt relationship between Metropolitan Police officers and the Mirror (and other press and broadcasters).

The corrupt nature of the way my complaints were handled is exemplified  by Jeff Curtis’ failure to interview anyone at the Mirror even though he had the letter from Piers Morgan to the PCC.   Curtis told me this in a phone call and you can verify that this is the truth by looking at the original case notes. The tape recording of my meeting with Jeff Curtis is important because in it he says he will  be going to the Mirror, says the case revolves around Morgan’s admission and says it is a straightforward case.  The recording was made with Curtis’  knowledge and agreement.  The fact that he knew he was being recorded is significant because it removed the possibility from his mind of saying something to me thinking he could deny it later. Clearly something  irregular  happened between him leaving me and starting the investigation. It is reasonable to suspect he was leant on by someone even more senior not to investigate the Mirror.  That the police never interviewed anyone at the Mirror also means that the Mirror accounts and the journalistic records kept by Edwards  and Morgan (and perhaps others) were never scrutinised for evidence of payments to the police.  All in all, this is   a very obvious perversion of the course of justice.

The events to which the these crimes relate are 15 years old,   but that is irrelevant to whether they should be investigated now, both because of the serious nature  of the crimes and the fact that those I allege against Morgan and Edwards  were not investigated meaningfully when they were first reported. Nor is there any problem with a lack of compelling  evidence  because of the time which has elapsed. In the case of Morgan and Edwards you have  Morgan’s letter to the PCC and the Mirror story, while  Curtis’ perversion of the course of justice speaks for itself. Moreover, although it is 15 years since the events, the age of fully computerised accounts had arrived  before 1997 and   it is probable that a copy of the Mirror accounts  for the period is still held in digital form. The same could  apply to journalistic records held by Morgan and Edwards or other Mirror employees or freelances.  I know from my use of the  Data Protection Act soon after the Mirror published the story that the paper was holding information about me  which they refused to release under the journalistic purposes provision of the DPA. They may well be still holding it.

As for the perjury accusations against Morgan and Edwards, these are very recent complaints about crimes recently committed which have never been previously investigated.   You have the information you need to investigate the perjury because I have supplied you with the Morgan letter to the PCC, the Mirror story about me and the transcripts of the relevant passages in the evidence given by Morgan and Edwards before Leveson.

Apart from the killer fact of Curtis’ failure  to interview anyone at the Mirror and a consequent failure to investigate the Mirror’s records, the circumstances of that failed investigation and of other complaints I made at the same time provide very  strong circumstantial evidence that my original complaints against Morgan and Edwards were not  treated  normally.  For example, why was a Det Supt from Scotland Yard  investigating crimes  which would normally be investigated by a Det Sergeant or just possibly a Det Inspector?  To that you can add the array of senior police officers  (the details of which I  sent to you in my email of 29th January) who became involved in my various complaints at one time or another,  despite the crimes being of a nature which would normally have been investigated by  policemen of lesser rank.   The only reasonable explanation for their involvement is the political circumstances surrounding my complaints.

There are two scenarios which fit the receipt of information by the Mirror from the police.  The first is straightforward: a police officer, possibly of senior rank because of the Blairs’ involvement, has sold the information to the Mirror for mere personal gain.

The second scenario is more complex. It involves  a senior police officer engaging in a conspiracy with Tony and Cherry Blair  assisted by Alastair Campbell to feed misinformation to the Mirror.   This is more than a little plausible because the Mirror story was a farrago of grotesque  lies such as the claim that I had bombarded the Blairs with letters  or that the letters were “full of graphic racist filth”. There was also  a completely fabricated  quote “if he gets elected he’ll let in all the blacks and Asians”.  Ask yourself why the Mirror would have printed such things if they had read my letters after   they were given them by a police officer simply out to make money with no political axe to grind. It would not make sense. If, on the other hand, this was all part of a conspiracy between the Blairs, a senior police officer and Alastair Campbell  it would make perfect sense,  because then it transmutes from a political story  into an exercise in political propaganda to nullify me by smearing.  The story would then be whatever they wanted it to be with the content of the letters an irrelevance.

It is noteworthy that Morgan in his  letter to the PCC admits that the Mirror did not have copies of my letters and that he had not seen them.  That could mean one of four things: the Mirror did not have copies, the Mirror had copies but did not wish to admit it because they knew the letters would not substantiate their printed story about me, Edwards had seen the letters but  realised they were innocuous and not the basis for a smear story  or  no one at the Mirror had ever seen my  letters but had written their story simply from false information given to them by the police informant. The last possibility fits in most neatly with the conspiracy theory.

Why would the Blairs wish to engage in such a conspiracy?  The most plausible answer lies in the fact that they did not go to the police when I wrote to them, but only later after I had sent copies of my letters to the Blairs and the non-replies I was receiving from their offices to every mainstream media outlet at the beginning of the 1997 General Election campaign.  That can only mean the Blairs  wanted to  silence me during the election campaign.   Why? Only they can tell you that for sure. What is certain is that the Blairs  must have been very seriously worried about the media taking up the story told in my letters and their non-replies to get involved with a criminal investigation during the most important weeks of Blair’s life, namely, the General Election campaign.  Having miserably failed in the attempt to have me prosecuted it would have made perfect sense from their point of view to try to neutralise me by getting a friendly media outlet to print a false and hideously libellous story about me to dissuade anyone in the media from taking up the story told in my letters to the Blairs and their non-replies to me.

Here is something for you and your superiors to think upon. If the Met refuses to  properly  investigate my complaints (including questioning Morgan and Edwards) it will look  like yet another cover-up to go along with the persistent failure  by the Met to investigate phone-hacking until political pressure forced them  to  re-investigate cases which had previously been deemed to provide insufficient evidence for a prosecution or even a sustained investigation. The re-investigation of these supposedly hopeless cases has  resulted in dozens of arrests and quite a few charges, a fact which tells its own tale.

I repeat my previous requests for an interview with you and a senior officer within  Operation Elveden, preferably Steve Kavanagh . Apart from anything else you should be taking a formal statement from me based on the very strong evidence I have provided.

Yours sincerely,

Robert Henderson

See also

https://livinginamadhouse.wordpress.com/2013/01/24/piers-morgans-illegal-receipt-of-information-from-the-police-his-perjury-and-operation-elveden/

https://livinginamadhouse.wordpress.com/2013/01/29/piers-morgans-illegal-receipt-of-information-from-the-police-his-perjury-and-operation-elveden-part-ii/

————————————————————————————————

Tape recording of my interview with Jeff Curtis has been sent to you

Tuesday, 26 March, 2013 7:05
From:
“robert henderson” <anywhere156@yahoo.co.uk>

View contact details

To:
“Paulette Rooke” <Paulette.Rooke@met.pnn.police.uk>
                                      To

DC Paulette Rooke

Operation Eleveden

Metropolitan Police

New Scotland Yard

8/10 The Broadway

London  SW1H OBG 

26 3 2013

Dear DC Rooke,

I have posted a copy of the tape recording of my interview on 8 April 1999 with Det Supt Jeff Curtis to you by recorded delivery. I have sent the tape to JUBILEE HOUSE PUTNEY, 230-232 PUTNEY BRIDGE RD, London SW15 2PD which is where you appear to be physically stationed.

Only one side of the tape has been used. You will need to listen to the entire tape, but Jeff Cutris’ comments about going to the Mirror, it being a straightforward case and so on are towards the end of the meeting with around 5/6ths of the tape played.

Yours sincerely,

Robert Henderson

Press regulation and the British constitution

Robert Henderson

The proposed regulation

The considerable constitutional implications of the proposed regulation of the  press by Royal Charter with  statutory restraints preventing the Charter’s  change and legislation creating different classes of plaintiff in civil cases seems to have passed our politicians by.

The proposal is for the normal ultimate control of a Royal Charter by politicians working through the  Privy Council to be circumscribed by a clause in a statute. In addition, further legislation to allow exemplary damages and costs. will be needed.  To demonstrate why this raises constitutional difficulties it is necessary to first understand what the proposed system will be and do. That requires a detailed examination of the draft Royal Charter.

The Royal Charter

There have been three draft Royal Charters: the original Tory Charter, the Labour/Libdem Charter and the third and latest which is the  draft  (published on 18th march) containing the agreed text by all three major party leaders. The  18th  March Charter  can be found at https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/142789/18_March_2013_Royal_Charter_on_self-regulation_of_the_press__for_publication_.pdf. A commentary on and full text of the previous draft Royal Charters produced by the Tories and  the combined efforts of the Labour and the LibDems can be found  at http://martinbelam.com/2013/royal-charter-diffs/.

The statutory underpinning

The statutory underpinning will be,  according to the BBC, a general instruction for all  new Royal Charters after a certain date in 2013, viz:

“Early on Monday a deal was struck, under which a clause in the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill would be tabled in the Lords.

This would state that a royal charter cannot be changed unless it meets requirements stated within that charter for amendments.

It does not mention any specific charter, Leveson or the press – but the royal charter on press regulation would itself state that it cannot be amended without a two-thirds majority of Parliament. “(http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-21825823)

This statutory underpinning is intended to give absolute force to these provisions in the 18th March  Royal Charter:

“9.2. Before any proposal (made by any person) to add to, supplement, vary or omit (in whole or in part) a provision of this Charter (“proposed change”) can take effect a draft of the proposed change must have been laid before Parliament, and approved by a resolution of each House. For this purpose “approved” means that at least two-thirds of the members of the House in question who vote on the motion do so in support of it.

9.3. The Recognition Panel may only propose a change to the terms of this Charter if a resolution has been passed unanimously by all of the Members of the Board, who shall determine the matter at a meeting duly convened for that purpose.

10.1. This Charter, and the Recognition Panel created by it, shall not be dissolved unless information about the proposed dissolution has been presented to Parliament, and that proposal has been approved by a resolution of each House. For this purpose “approved” means that at least two-thirds of the members of the House in question who vote on the motion do so in support of it.”

The power to take or refuse complaints

The 18th March draft Charter gives  the proposed press regulator the power to take or refuse complaints as follows:

Schedule 3

“11. The Board should have the power to hear and decide on complaints about breach of the standards code by those who subscribe. The Board will need to have the discretion not to look into complaints if they feel that the complaint is without justification, is an attempt to argue a point of opinion rather than a standards code breach, or is simply an attempt to lobby. The Board should have the power (but not necessarily the duty) to hear complaints:

a) from anyone personally and directly affected by the alleged breach of the standards code, or

b) where there is an alleged breach of the code and there is public interest in the Board giving consideration to the complaint from a representative group affected by the alleged breach, or

c) from a third party seeking to ensure accuracy of published information.”

This gives both a very wide range of complainant and much subjective discretionary power to the Regulator.

The power to impose penalties

The penalties and procedures which the Regulator has to punish and enforce its judgements by the 18th March Charter are:

“15. In relation to complaints, where a negotiated outcome between a complainant and a subscriber (pursuant to criterion 10) has failed, the Board should have the power to direct appropriate remedial action for breach of standards and the publication of corrections and apologies. Although remedies are essentially about correcting the record for individuals, the power to direct a correction and an apology must apply equally in relation to:

a. individual standards breaches; and

b. groups of people as defined in criterion 11 where there is no single identifiable individual who has been affected; and

c. matters of fact where there is no single identifiable individual who has been affected.

16. In the event of no agreement between a complainant and a subscriber (pursuant to criterion 10), the power to direct the nature, extent and placement of corrections and apologies should lie with the Board.

17. The Board should not have the power to prevent publication of any material, by anyone, at any time although (in its discretion) it should be able to offer a service of advice to editors of subscribing publications relating to code compliance.

18. The Board, being an independent self-regulatory body, should have authority to examine issues on its own initiative and have sufficient powers to carry out investigations both into suspected serious or systemic breaches of the code and failures to comply with directions of the Board. The investigations process must be simple and credible and those who subscribe must be required to cooperate with any such investigation.

19. The Board should have the power to impose appropriate and proportionate sanctions (including but not limited to financial sanctions up to 1% of turnover attributable to the publication concerned with a maximum of £1,000,000) on any subscriber found to be responsible for serious or systemic breaches of the standards code or governance requirements of the body. The Board should have sufficient powers to require appropriate information from subscribers in order to ascertain the turnover that is attributable to a publication irrespective of any particular accounting arrangements of the publication or subscriber. The sanctions that should be available should include power to require publication of corrections, if the breaches relate to accuracy, or apologies if the breaches relate to other provisions of the code.

19A.The Board should establish a ring-fenced enforcement fund, into which receipts from financial sanctions could be paid, for the purpose of funding investigations.”

These powers are considerable and the fines  could cause genuine financial difficulty to lesser players in the press field because  fines are on turnover not profit.  The risk is severe because of the immensely broad definition of a publisher who is not a broadcaster:

Schedule 4 b) “relevant publisher” means a person (other than a broadcaster) who publishes in the United Kingdom:

i. a newspaper or magazine containing news-related material, or

ii. a website containing news-related material (whether or not related to a newspaper or magazine);

The recklessly broad  definition will almost certainly make the system next to unworkable if the Regulator is genuinely to take complaints from both third parties and  complaints about everything from a blog run by a private individual to the largest circulation daily. The experience of the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) is instructive with the ICO regularly taking one to two years to complete investigations.

The penalties for not being registered with the Regulator

The proposal is that any publisher (as defined by the Royal Charter) who does not sign up with the new regulator will leave themselves open to exemplary damages plus costs if sued  successfully in the courts and may be liable for costs even if they successfully defend a suit in certain circumstances.

These penalties are not part of the Royal Charter or the statutory underpinning already described. Consequently further  legislation will be required. This will be direct statutory control of the press no matter how much politicians try to fudge the matter.  How far such law would be subject to successful legal challenge is debatable because the Human Rights Act contains this:

“Article 10 Freedom of expression.

1Everyone has the right to freedom of expression. This right shall include freedom to hold opinions and to receive and impart information and ideas without interference by public authority and regardless of frontiers. This Article shall not prevent States from requiring the licensing of broadcasting, television or cinema enterprises.” (http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1998/42)

The constitutional issues 

If the Charter cannot be amended or dissolved  with less than a two-thirds majority of both houses of Parliament  because a statute has been passed forbidding it,  this  is an  attempt at a de facto superior law, a law moreover, which is binding on future governments. As the two thirds  majority would be extremely difficult to achieve, it would in effect sabotage the constitutional principle that no Parliament can bind its successors by passing laws which cannot be repealed. This is even the case with treaties emanating from the EU. All the major British parties have at one time or another maintained that Parliament is sovereign and the treaties and legislation resulting from   Britain’s membership of first the European Economic Community and its successor the European Union could be nullified by Parliament’s repeal of laws and repudiation of treaties.

Unless a formal framework for such a superior law is introduced into our Constitution, the present  attempt would fail because the restrictions on change or repeal supposedly created by the statutory underpinning could be overcome simply by repealing the entire law in which the statutory restrictions  are  enshrined. That would apply even if a separate Act was passed dealing solely with  restricting changes to the Charter or its abolition. This is so because there could be no such restriction under present circumstances on repealing an entire statute because all statutes are equal and subject to repeal by simple majorities in the two houses of Parliament. In passing it is worth noting that the legislation to make the early calling of general elections difficult  suffers from the same insecurity of application because it requires more than a simple majority.

The next problem is the clash between the general rules governing amendments to Royal Charters and the proposed restrictions imposed by statute:

…once incorporated by Royal Charter a body surrenders significant aspects of the control of its internal affairs to the Privy Council. Amendments to Charters can be made only with the agreement of The Queen in Council, and amendments to the body’s by-laws require the approval of the Council (though not normally of Her Majesty). This effectively means a significant degree of Government regulation of the affairs of the body, and the Privy Council will therefore wish to be satisfied that such regulation accords with public policy. (http://privycouncil.independent.gov.uk/royal-charters/chartered-bodies/).

And

(d) incorporation by Charter is a form of Government regulation as future amendments to the Charter and by-laws of the body require Privy Council (ie Government) approval. There therefore needs to be a convincing case that it would be in the public interest to regulate the body in this way; (http://privycouncil.independent.gov.uk/royal-charters/applying-for-a-royal-charter/)

The Privy Council practices come  into direct opposition with the draft Royal Charter  where it touches on amendments  to or dissolution of the  Charter.  It is important to understand that  if granted the Royal Charter will not be an artefact of Parliament.  Technically it will be a Royal artefact although in reality a government artefact.   It might be thought that Parliament being sovereign could override the Privy Council procedures, but it is not as simple as that. The Privy Council procedures are separate from Parliament.  If Parliament wants them to be subordinate to Parliament that would make Royal Charters in effect artefacts of Parliament in the same way that secondary legislation such as statutory instruments and orders  in council  are semi-detached   artefacts of Parliament.

The third and last difficulty is the fact that the proposed Charter would create a quasi-judicial authority (I think that that would make it  unique amongst Royal Charters).  That quasi-judicial function would leave it open to legal challenge, both at the level of the Recognition Panel (RP) which appoints the regulator and the regulator itself . Because there is statutory underpinning  of both the RP and the regulator and the RP is  in receipt of public funds at least in the early years, it might well be that either body could  be subject to judicial review because either could be deemed a public body and  a regulatory body established by statute  (http://www.judiciary.gov.uk/you-and-the-judiciary/judicial-review).

The other objection to the quasi-judicial status created by the proposed regulatory system is the fact that quasi-judicial powers (and very considerable ones) are being granted by a body other than  Parliament .

The likely outcome

The proposals are a cynical ploy to prepare the ground for serious interference  with the traditional press and the broader internet media because of the breadth of the definition of a publisher.   These are proposals which are incompatible with any society that calls itself free or has pretensions to be a democracy because by definition anything may be debated in a democracy.

The intended consequences of the proposals are clearly to manipulate the press and internet media both in instances of actual publication and through the deterrent effect of the possible consequences which publication of a story will bring. Moreover, anyone who believes that this will be the end of political interference with the press and internet publishers is credulous to the point of imbecility.  Once state regulation of any degree becomes the status quo  it will provide the psychological launching pad for further control. This will be difficult to argue against because the pass on press freedom will already have been sold.

The fact of such an agreement amongst the leadership of all our major parties is profoundly depressing because it means not one of them collectively understands the value of  free expression as a cleansing lotion for immoral behaviour, especially that by the powerful and influential.  To that is added the contemptible portrayal of the proposed scheme  by the major parties as anything but what it is, namely, grubby authoritarianism.

None of that is to  say that those abused by the press do not require protection.  A statutory right of reply (RoR) would do what was required without any chance of political interference. This is because it is a self-organising process which would involve only the newspaper and the complainant or, where an RoR was refused, the courts to enforce it.  The involvement of the courts would not require the courts to make a judgement on what the publication had written or what the subject of their story wanted to say in reply. All the court would be doing is forcing the publication to provide the RoR. The detailed arguments for an RoR  can be found at https://livinginamadhouse.wordpress.com/2013/02/25/curing-media-abuse-a-statutory-right-to-reply-is-needed/.

Is all lost? Happily there is some hope.  That exists not because there is likely to be any turnabout out of principle by our politicians. Rather, it exists because they have, as so very often,  not thought through the consequences of a policy.    Apart from the constitutional difficulties,  the practical difficulties are huge.  The great breadth of the definition of what is a publisher will potentially make the work of  the Regulator impossible simply because they will be overwhelmed with work.

In addition, there will be endless opportunity for the wealthier subscribers to the Regulator to pursue legal challenges to the rulings of the Regulator, not least because as I have described the legal position of the Regulator and the RP is a dog’s dinner.

Finally, there is the question of whether the  big press publishers will all sign up, even though that will protect them from exemplary damages and costs even if they have won a case in the courts.  There are signs that some at least  might well refuse.  If many refused that would kill the proposals stone dead. But even if they all signed up they could sabotage the intentions of the Royal Charter  by engaging in a barrage of legal actions against the Regulator.

The Financial Times goes after The Daily Mirror

Dear Robert

I hope you don’t mind me emailing you directly.
I am writing about phone hacking on behalf of the FT and investigating wider incidences of press abuse at other newspapers such as Trinity Mirror.
I would be keen to meet with you as I understand from one of my contacts that you may have evidence of wider press abuse.
Do let me know if you would be happy to meet. I am happy to discuss matters on background only.
All best
Rob

— Rob Budden Chief Media Correspondent Financial Times +44 (0) 207 775 6839 +44 (0) 7785 952 688 www.ft.com
Follow me on Twitter: @RobertoBud

————————————————————————————————————-

Rob Budden

Chief Media Correspondent

Financial Times 

1 Southwark Bridge,

 London SE1 9HL

Tel: 0207 775 6839

Email: rob.budden@ft.com

9 March 2013

Dear Rob,

As promised at our  meeting of 8th March, I send you additional information relating to Piers Morgan, the Blairs, the police, the Leveson Inquiry and myself. The details of the new material and the material I supplied to you when we met are listed below.

If you want to expose Trinity Mirror I have provided you with all the evidence you need to demonstrate their abuse of members of the public,  the committing of criminal acts through the receipt of information from the police illegally by the Mirror, probable perjury before Leveson by Morgan and Jeff Edwards and the wilful suppression of evidence by the police of police supplying information illegally to the Mirror. In addition, you have the wider story of the Blairs attempting to prosecute me for crimes they must have known were bogus and their subsequently use of the security services and Special Branch to harass me.

Please keep these facts firmly in front of you:

1. There was so little substance to the Blairs’ complaints against me that the police never contacted me about them, while the CPS rejected the complaint within hours of receiving it with a firm “No Crime”.

2. The Blairs did not go to the police when I sent them the letters, but only after I had circulated copies of my letters to them and the replies I received at the beginning of the 1997 General Election Campaign.

3. The Blairs failed to take any civil law action against me even though that has only the balance of probability evidential test.

4. At no time did I threaten directly or by implication either of the Blairs, nor did I ever attempt to physically approach them.

5. Despite being deemed innocent of any crime and despite never having threatened either of the Blairs, Special Branch and MI5 were set upon me.

6. I made various complaints to the police relating to the Mirror and the Blairs. None were meaningfully investigated.  The most blatant example was the failure of Det Supt Jeff Curtis of Scotland Yard to claim that he had investigated my complaint relating to the Piers Morgan admission of receiving information from the police without interviewing anyone at the Mirror or looking at their accounts for evidence of payments to the police.

7. The harassment I suffered after the Blairs failed to have me investigated in March 1997 lasted for the entire Blair premiership and ended once he was out of office.

If you want me to write an article for the FT on any aspect of the business I shall be happy to do so.

Yours sincerely,

Robert Henderson

—————————————————————————————————

Schedule of documents supplied to Rob  Budden

At our meeting on 8th March I supplied you with the following in paper form:

1. A copy of Is it in the blood? as it was printed.

2. Copies of the Mirror and Daily Herald stories relating to the Blairs and me dated  25 3 1997.

3. A copy of Piers Morgan’s letter to the PCC dated 16 October 1997  in which he admits to receiving information from the police in circumstances which can only have been illegal.

4. Copies of the correspondence between the PCC and Mike Jempson of Presswise on my behalf relating to my complaints against the Mirror  and Daily Herald  following the stories of 25 3 1997.

5. A copy of Sir Richard Body’s EDM of  detailing the harassment I was subject to after the Blairs’ attempt to have me prosecuted during the 1997 General Election  campaign failed.

Copies of documents supplied 9 3 2013 via email in digital form (Wordfile)

1. The version of  the Wisden Cricket Monthly article  Is it in the blood? as I sent it to David Frith with supporting documents – see wordfile IsitinthebloodFT.docx

2. My initial submission to the Leveson Inquiry including original attachments (sent by separate email).

3. Details of Piers Morgan’s   perjury before Leveson  –  see wordfile  piersmorganperjury.docx

4.  Details of Jeff Edwards  perjury before Leveson  – see wordfile  jeffedwardsperjury.docx

5.  File relating to Robert Jay’s inept questioning  – see wordfile  LevesonRobertJay.docx

6.  My complaints  to Operation Elveden  regarding Morgan and Edwards’  receipt of information  about me illicitly supplied by the police to the Mirror and Morgan and Edwards – see wordfile  OperationElvedensubmissionFT.docx

Piers Morgan’s illegal receipt of information from the police, his perjury and Operation Elveden

Robert Henderson

On Monday 21 January I went to New Scotland Yard (NSY) with the intention of providing evidence to Operation Elveden  of Piers Morgan  and Jeff Edwards’ receipt of information illegally from the police and their perjury before the  Leveson Inquiry when they lied under oath.

I was unable to gain entry. Those on the entrance were insistent  that I would have to make an  appointment.  (I cannot help  but wonder what would have happened if I had turned up without an appointment to give, for example, evidence about a murder or terrorist plot: would it have been  “Sorry sir, we can’t see you without an appointment”?)  I  rang from outside the NSY   to try and arrange an immediate  appointment only to be told by the Met’s central switchboard that  no one was available to make the appointment. I left my details and a civilian worker phoned me later in the day and made an appointment for the local police  to visit me at 11.00 am on 22 January.  He gave me the case  reference CAD 3124/2/Jan.

Two uniformed PCs turned up from Holborn police station (I gave them the  details, but as they admitted themselves, the case was more than a little out of their normal range of work.   (That was precisely why I had gone directly to the NSY rather than ringing to make an appointment. I knew if I tried to make an appointment I would in all probability be  directed  to my local police station.  Some people may think it is a very curious thing that Operation Elveden does not have a direct phone line or public email address for those wishing to give information to use ).  In the circumstances I could do no more than run through the details  and pass on to the two PCs  the following documents:

1.Piers Morgan’s Letter to the PCC date 16 October 1997  in which he admits receiving information from the police in circumstances which can only have been illegal.  (https://livinginamadhouse.wordpress.com/2011/12/20/piers-morgan-lied-to-the-leveson-inquiry/)

2. A copy of the Daily Mirror  story about me dated 25 March 1997 which produced the complaint to the PCC  which caused  Morgan to write the letter in which he admitted receiving information from the police in circumstances which can only have been illegal.  (https://livinginamadhouse.wordpress.com/2011/04/17/the-failure-to-charge-piers-morgan-with-illicitly-receiving-information-from-the-police/)

3. Copies of the then director of Presswise Mike Jempson’s correspondence on my behalf with the PCC relating to the Mirror story dated 23 December 1997, 9 January 1998, 20 January 1998, 18 February 1998, 2 March 1998.

4. My evidence to the Leveson Inquiry of  Morgan ’s perjury dated 23 December 2011 (https://livinginamadhouse.wordpress.com/2011/12/22/referral-of-piers-morgans-perjury-to-the-leveson-inquiry/).

5. My evidence to  the Leveson Inquiry of Edwards’ perjury dated 25 March 2012 (https://livinginamadhouse.wordpress.com/2012/03/26/leveson-inquiry-jeff-edwards-and-another-prima-facie-case-of-perjury/).

6. My original submission to the Leveson Inquiry dated 25 November  2011 (https://livinginamadhouse.wordpress.com/2011/11/25/the-leveson-inquiry-the-blairs-the-mirror-the-police-and-me/)

7. Sir Richard Body’s Early Day Motion 10th November 1999 which dealt with the general context of the events surrounding the Mirror story  with the role of the Blairs at its heart. (https://livinginamadhouse.wordpress.com/2010/10/26/when-tony-and-cherie-blair-tried-to-have-me-jailed/)

8. A copy of my Wisden Cricket Article Is it in the Blood? (from the July 1995 edition). It was my gross mistreatment by the mainstream British media after the publication of the article that led me ultimately to write to the Blairs asking for their assistance after all other available avenues of redress had failed me (http://englandcalling.wordpress.com/2011/02/15/is-it-in-the-blood-and-the-hypocrisy-of-the-media/).

9. A letter addressed to the new head of Operation Elveden Deputy Assistant Commissioner  Steve Kavanagh dated 21 January 2013.  A copy of this is below.

On the 23 January 2013 I received an email advising me that the information I had given had been forwarded to Operation Elveden and a message was left on my answerphone   asking me to contact Operation Elveden on Friday 25 January.

That the two PCs found the matter somewhat daunting is  unsurprising as  it has a very heavy political loading  because of the involvement  Tony and Cherie Blair who had attempted to have me prosecuted during the first week of the 1997 General Election campaign under the Malicious Communications Act. So weak was this complaint that,  despite the Blairs’ celebrity and Labour’s  almost certain  win in the election which would make Blair Prime Minister, the Crown Prosecution Service rejected the complaint with a  firm NO CRIME on the same day it was submitted to them by the police for guidance.

I have restricted my complaints to Operation Elveden strictly to that which is within their remit.  However, these examples of criminality and misbehaviour by those with power or influence are only a small part of the overall story of the Blair Scandal.   My experience from 1997 to 2007 when Blair retired was of being in  a Kafkaesque world in which,  despite being subjected to harassment which ranged from death threats and an internet campaign which attempted incite violence against me to regular interference with my post, the police did not solve any of the crimes which I referred to them. This was scarcely surprising as they ignored the evidence I provided, no matter how strong it was.  The most blatant example of this behaviour was the failure of Det Supt Jeff Curtis of Scotland Yard  to question Piers Morgan and Jeff Edwards of the Mirror about receiving information illegally from the police even though they had the  letter from Morgan admitting he had received information from the police.  The Crown Prosecution Service and the Police Complaints Authority  backed up the failure of the police to investigate meaningfully or sufficiently by refusing any complaints of police inactivity which I referred to them.

The complicity of the elite went  far beyond crime. The mainstream media engaged in a conspiracy of silence after the publication of the Mirror story, neither allowing me a public voice nor even following up the Mirror story ;  The PCC repeatedly failed me; my MP Frank Dobson refused to help in any way, as did  institutions such as  Liberty  and the Index on Censorship. If I went to lawyers they would blanche as soon as they found the Blairs were involved and refused to act for me.

If I manage to get Operation Elveden to prosecute Blair and Edwards, it may be possible to bring the larger story to the mainstream media.    Let us hope so because one thing I can vouch for from long personal experience is that where people  with power and influence are involved the laws which govern us fall rapidly into abeyance.

———————————————————————————————————————————-

To

Deputy Assistant Commissioner  Steve Kavanagh

Operation Eleveden

Metropolitan Police

New Scotland Yard

8/10 The Broadway

London  SW1H OBG

(Tel: 0207 230 1212)

21 January 2013

CC Gerald Howarth MP

mark.lewis@thlaw.co.uk

Dear Mr Kavanagh,

I submit conclusive evidence that (1) the editor of a national newspaper  received information from the  police illicitly and (2) when questioned under oath at the Leveson Inquiry committed perjury by denying that he had ever received information illicitly from the police .

Piers Morgan

The editor in question is Piers Morgan when he edited the Daily Mirror.  The evidence of his receipt of information is beautifully simple: he admitted this in a letter to the PCC dated  16 October 1997 in which  he wrote “The police source of our article (whose identity we have a moral obligation to protect”.  If the information had been given legitimately there would be no reason for protecting the source.   Nor, because no charges were laid or investigation made, could there have been a legitimate reason  for releasing  the  information. A copy  of the letter is enclosed.

The  letter was sent to me after I complained to the PCC about a dramatically libellous article Morgan published about me on 25 March 1997  (copy enclosed).  The illicit information related to complaints made about me by Tony and Cherie Blair to Belgravia Police  in March 1997. I had written to them seeking their help and,  when they refused, I circulated copies of my letters and  the replies I received to the mainstream media at the beginning of the 1997 election campaign. The Blairs did not go to the police when I sent the letters, only after I circulated them to the media.  The  complaints  had so little substance  that they were dismissed by the CPS with the ruling “NO CRIME” within a few hours of them  being submitted to them for guidance by Belgravia Police.

The odds must be heavily on the  Mirror having paid for the information because it is difficult to see what other motive  a police officer would have for  releasing such information.  However, by accepting information illicitly from the police, whether or not money was paid, offences relating to Misconduct in a Public Office and  the Official  Secrets Act were committed, both by the police officer and Mirror employees including Morgan.  If money was paid by the Mirror to the police officer,  further offences arise under  the laws relating to corruption.

The evidence of Morgan’s  perjury before the Leveson Inquiry is contained in the copy of my submission to the Inquiry informing them of the perjury dated 22 December 2011 which I enclose.

I ask you to investigate both Morgan’s receipt of illicit information from the police and his perjury before Leveson.

Jeff Edwards

In addition to Morgan’s perjury, the Mirror reporter who wrote the story about me, their then  Chief Crime Reporter Jeff Edwards, also committed perjury before the Leveson Inquiry by denying ever receiving information illicitly from the police.   The details are included in the copy of my submission to the Inquiry informing them of the perjury dated  25 March 2012 which  I enclose .

As Edwards was the reporter who wrote the story to which Morgan referred in his letter to the PCC, he must have been the person to whom the police officer referred to in Morgan’s letter gave the illicit information. .

I ask you to investigate Edwards for his receipt of illicit information from the police and his perjury before Leveson.

The original police failure to meaningfully  investigate my complaint

In 1997 I made a complaint about the illicit supply of information about me by the police to the Mirror. The case was handled by Detective Superintendent Jeff Curtis of Scotland Yard .  No meaningful investigation was undertaken because, as Det Supt Curtis eventually admitted to me during a phone call, the  “investigation” was ended without anyone at the Mirror being  interviewed; not Morgan, Edwards or anyone else.   I enclose my final letter to  Det Supt Curtis dated 2 December 1999, Det Supt A Bamber’s reply to that letter 13 December 1999 and the PCA’s letter dated November 1999  refusing  to investigate further. This again is self-evidently absurd because of the  failure to question Morgan and Edwards.

I ask you to investigate Ian Curtis for perverting the course of justice by failing to investigate conclusive and incontrovertible evidence of  a serious crime.

Yours sincerely,

Robert Henderson

Opt out of opting in or out

Robert Henderson

The government has refused to make an automatic filter for pornography a legal requirement for ISPs with those wishing to access it having to opt out of the filters. They have not done this out of any concern for freedom of expression but  because the government has

“…now decided that this type of “opt-in” system “can create a false sense of security” because it does not screen out all harmful content.

There were also fears it could have “over-blocked” useful websites giving children access to “helpful information on sexual health or sexual identity”. (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/9746421/David-Cameron-rejects-automatic-block-on-porn-to-protect-children.html). 

But,  as with so many political issues these days, having said no to  legislation the government attempts to achieve the same ends  with a mixture of non-statutory demands backed by threats of legislation if the ISPs do not do what the government wants , viz:

 “However, the Government’s consultation response yesterday said it would instead rely on the voluntary co-operation of internet companies to strengthen controls on pornography.

It will now urge the companies to “actively encourage parents, whether they are new or existing customers, to switch on parental controls”. All users should be asked whether they have got children and parents would be guided through a process of installing anti-pornography filters.

Ministers will also ask the big internet service providers to make sure the person setting up controls is over 18.

Companies could face legislation in future if the Government feels they are not making enough of an effort to shield children from adult material. (Ibid)

If implemented, those non-statutory requests to ISPs could result in a database containing the opt in details of users which would have much the same effect and dangers as one arising from a statutory  requirement on ISPs.  There is also  a good  chance that whatever the ISPs do it will become a legal requirement in the foreseeable future because the children’s lobby is a powerful one.

What are the dangers of having computer users opt in for pornography?  The same general reasons why opting in or out of anything  desired by the government is dangerous. Once someone has to opt in or out of something they become part of an identifiable group against whom both state and private agencies may act .  Take one of the most frequently advocated opting in or out issues,   that of organ donation. It might seem harmless at first glance,  but you can bet your life that the information will eventually  be used to disadvantage those who opted out, for example, by refusing them medical treatment which was available to those who opted in (this could include non-transplant treatment) or  through the  releasing of  the information to insurers who might decide to charge more to someone on the register because those not on it  were deemed  to have a stronger sense of self-preservation.

In the case of pornography there are also two specific dangers.  First, there is no objective test for what is or is not pornography. Anything might be classified as such on a state whim. Think back to when cameras had film to be developed and recall all the cases of parents being accused of child abuse because they had taken photos of their young children in the bath, on the beach and so on.   Second, those who opted in would be identifiable. That could easily lead to such information becoming part of a CRB  check  which could disqualify  the person involved  from a large and  growing number of jobs or  render a person liable to police investigation if it is deemed that looking at pornography is indicative of a propensity towards committing sexual crimes.  Parents who opted in could find themselves scrutinised by the social services. Those wishing to adopt or foster  would almost certainly be deemed unsuitable if they opted in. The information  could also be used to blackmail people or ruin their careers.

All of those things and more could happen even if a computer user never looked at pornography but   had simply opted in because the filters were excluding sites which no rational person could consider pornographic.   Anyone with experience of  computers where filters are in operation will know how random they can be in what they both exclude and allow through.  It is also worth remembering that the evidence that an opt in had been activated would probably be permanently held by ISPs or on some other database.  Someone might have opted in when they were twenty but not opted in since they were 25 and still find it counting against them when they were 50.

Beyond pornography,  the  it could also be the thin end of the wedge for other  subjects on the Web to be made subject to opting in or out.  The most likely candidate today would be any website deemed to be  carrying “hate crime” material (anything non-pc would qualify) or even simply deemed  right-wing  by the oh so  politically correct British establishment  might require opting in.  But anything political could qualify.  Let the web be filtered for one thing of which the state disapproves and nothing is beyond such surveillance.

Permitting state ordered filtering of material on the web would be another stage in the ever tightening constriction exercised by the British state through the increasingly frequent criminal prosecution of those deemed to be resisting the totalitarian ideology that is political correctness (think of the cases which are almost daily reported in the mainstream media of someone arrested for alleged  racial or  homophobic  “hate speech/writing”).  Such control of the Web  needs to be resisted now before it becomes the norm.

Gay Marriage, political correctness and Newspeak

Robert Henderson

The commonly made objections to Gay Marriage are  (a) marriage is traditionally between a man and a woman, a fact underpinned for  many opponents by religious beliefs that only a man and a woman can be  married,  (b)  claims that  expansion of the definition of marriage to include same sex relationships will  undermine the family  and  (c) such a novel status creates a legal anomaly whereby homosexual relationships  become in some areas privileged over  close non-sexual relationships between people of the same sex, for example, two elderly spinster sisters  living together.

The problem with these objections is that although they have a considerable moral traction to the supporters of marriage as being between a man and woman ,  they are not intellectually conclusive.  Supporters of gay marriage can point to the  differences in what counts as marriage in different times and places – everything from pristine monogamy to polygamy and polyandry.  Religious justifications for opposition will cut no ice with those of no religion or  those of a different religion or strand of a religion. In addition  civil partnerships  already create much the  same legal as situation as gay marriage would do.  Unless the opponents of gay marriage also oppose civil partnerships,  and many do not,  they do not have much of a case if they wish to base their argument on the damage to the institution of  marriage deriving from the formal  legal equality gay marriage would bring. (http://www.adviceguide.org.uk/england/relationships_e/relationships_living_together_marriage_and_civil_partnership_e/civil_partnerships_and_living_together___legal_differences.htm).

But opponents of gay marriage need not despair. There is an objection which is far more powerful and  fireproofed against finessing and abuse.   It can appeal to people of  widely differing views because it is not attached to any of the direct arguments for and against gay marriage. It is also beautifully simple: in a free society language should evolve naturally through common usage.  If governments are allowed to change the meaning of words by redefining them in law  we are  in the realm of 1984 and Newspeak .

The purpose of Newspeak was beautifully simple. It was to make whatever thoughts were deemed undesirable by the party impossible to formulate. This was done most radically by removing words from the vocabulary.  For example, negative words such as bad and  poor were not available in Newspeak. To say something was bad or poor the Newspeak user had to say ungood which could be heightened to plusungood or doubleplusungood.  It was still possible to signify that something was bad or poor in Newspeak, but it could only be done using words which were much less emotionally potent because they were both new and had echoes of the positive word good.  (Orwell wrote an appendix to 1984 which developed the idea of Newspeak considerably to show how dangerous control of language can be.).

Newspeak also altered the meaning of words by simply  redefining them. Most famously the Party Slogans in 1984 are:

War is peace

Freedom is slavery

Ignorance is strength

That is what the proponents of gay marriage are doing. In England  marriage  has always  meant one man and one woman.     To alter the word to mean any sexual combination is to deny  its usage in England from time immemorial. Moreover, whatever the variations on marriage or sexual cohabitation that have existed and may exist today in other parts of the world, one thing is certain: marriage has everywhere been a heterosexual relationship. A more radical change in the meaning of a word  it is difficult to imagine.

If  gay marriage does pass into law it will  become unreservedly  illegal for any corporation or individual offering a product or service to treat a homosexual marriage differently from  that between two heterosexuals.   It is also probable in the increasingly authoritarian imposition of political correctness generally that a refusal to recognise relationships between two people of the same sex as a marriage  will be treated as a hate crime.

A re-definition of marriage also  leads to other related words –  adultery, divorce, consummation (of marriage)  – being  of necessity redefined  so that behaviours and events which now only concern heterosexual relationships also concern relationships between those of the same gender.  In addition, it will mean the removal of the terms mother and father from  many laws and legal documents.

Granting the right of marriage to homosexuals is  taking away something from  heterosexuals  not simply giving something to homosexuals. That something is  the institution of marriage being their  sole possession, of being something special to them.  Nors would there be true equality between homosexual and heterosexual marriages because  there can be no possibility of children in the case of the former. It is true that some marriages between men and women are childless,  but the possibility is there  and in the overwhelming majority of cases  also the intent to have children.  In addition, gay marriage would raise other awkward questions such as the question of  the prohibition against  siblings  marrying. As there would be no question of children the banning of  sibling marriage – either two brothers or two sisters  marrying – would have little force on rational grounds .

The drive for gay marriage is part of the general  plan of the politically correct to force their ideas onto society as a whole.   This  requires people to  deny reality and accept that which is abnormal as  normal.  Objectively homosexuality is abnormal because most do not practice it.  Objectively, men and women fundamentally differ because their biology and biological functions  are  different .   Objectively discrimination generally is not an evil but a necessary part of existence,  for all animals including homo sapiens because to make a choice is to discriminate. Objectively  discrimination on the grounds of race and ethnicity exists universally  and to suggest that this is the result of  social conditioning arising in every society across the world stretches credulity  far beyond breaking point.

A fundamental tool in enforcing  such ideas is the redefining of words by the exercise of power.  The push for gay marriage is simply a symptom of   something much more sinister: an  attempt to change not only the outward appearance of society radically but to persuade people to  believe that the wholesale calling of black white involved in political correctness is reality itself or failing that to come to believe that  denying the maxims of the creed is dangerous.  It is the stuff of Year Zero, a mentality that can lead to any abomination. .

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 […]

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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