Tag Archives: morals

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/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


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.

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 in the Mirror on 25 3 1997.  The Inquiry already has a photostat of this story and the front page flier in the Mirror advertising it, but I reproduce the story below for your immediate reference.

This is the story which eventually prompted Piers Morgan’s  letter to the PCC (https://livinginamadhouse.wordpress.com/2011/12/20/piers-morgan-lied-to-the-leveson-inquiry/), the letter in which he admits the Mirror received the information on which Edwards’ story was based from the police in circumstances which can only have been illegal because (1) Morgan writes “The police source of our article (whose identity we have a moral obligation to protect)” – there would be no need to protect a source if the transaction were legal – and (2) the nature of the material released to the Mirror and the circumstances in which it was released.  By the time the story was passed to the Mirror the CPS had already ruled that no crime had been committed – they made the ruling within a few hours of receiving the papers from the police. Hence, there  could by definition have been no legitimate reason for the police to release any information about me, whether that was to a single newspaper or the entire media.   The Inquiry has a copy of the letter but I attach it in facsimile for your immediate reference.

Morgan claims in the letter  to the PCC that he had never seen the my letters to the Blairs: viz” I have no way of directly knowing of the content of those letters because I have not had sight of them.”  Therefore,  Edwards was almost certainly  the recipient of the information which was illegally handed over by the police. The only possible alternative would have been for another  Mirror employee to have been given the information who then passed it to Edwards. However, this is wildly improbable because Edwards would have had to write,  without having seen any  evidence – we may conclude from the fact that Morgan never saw the letters  that Edwards did not have copies of them –  a story which if untrue was, by definition, dangerously libellous. Regardless of these considerations, Edwards would have been the most likely recipient of the information because of his long standing and exceptionally close relationship with the Metropolitan Police as revealed in his evidence to the Inquiry.

The illegal passing of  information to the Mirror means that the police officer and the Mirror recipient of the information committed  criminal offences under the Official Secrets and Data Protection Acts.  In addition, the police officer would have  been guilty of Misconduct in a Public Office. Even if by some miracle there was a third party between Edwards  and the police source, Edwards  would still  have committed  crimes under the Official Secrets  and Data Protection Acts by receiving the information because he would have known their source and consequently would have known the information was illegally received by him.

In his written and oral evidence to the Inquiry  Edwards  paints himself as whiter than white,  viz:

Q37 I have no experience of anyone wanting other than an understanding professional relationship, that often becomes genuine  friendship.” ( http://www.levesoninquiry.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/Witness-Statement-of-Jeff-Edwards.pdf)


 “Q75 I never asked police officers in any way to disclose things they were not allowed to do or tried to push them to give me information they were uncomfortable disclosing.” (ibid)

(Note that Edwards does not say he never received information which it was illegal for the police to give or even offer. This strikes me as a deliberate attempt to avoid the question of whether he received information illegally. Incredibly, Robert Jay did not follow up this point in his questioning.)


The paper [NoW] had recently appointed a new editor, Nicholas Lloyd, and I think my boss was coming under pressure to get results.

I explained to him the job was difficult and his response was something to the effect that “we have

plenty of money available, let your contacts in the police know that we will reward them for good


I do not remember what I said in return but I remember being worried about both my job and what

my boss was suggesting as I had never paid police officers before, and was worried about the legal

and ethical issues involved.

No more was said for about three or four weeks, but I did not offer bribes or rewards to any police

contacts and clearly my performance was still not good enough because the News Editor confronted

me again.

He was angry and again said words to the effect that I should be paying police officers to induce

them to pass on information.

I do remember that I became upset and said to him that I disapproved strongly of such methods and

said something on the lines that I thought we were about exposing hypocrisy and corruption and yet

here we were with him instructing me to bribe police officers.

I think this was probably the final nail in my coffin because I remember him becoming angry and

saying words to the effect that “If you will not do my bidding I will find someone who will.”

The following week I was telephoned at home by my boss who told me the editor had decided to

remove me from the role of Crime Correspondent. I was not being sacked from the paper, but I was

to return to the main news room as a general reporter.

I learned that a colleague was being appointed to my job. I do not know if this reporter bribed or

rewarded police officers with money or any other inducements.” (http://www.levesoninquiry.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/Second-Witness-Statement-of-Jeff-Edwards.pdf)


“Apart from the period Circa 1981 to 1985 when I was a staff reporter at the News of the World, I have no knowledge and no evidence of payments made to police personnel by journalists.”

“I can state that throughout my time at the Daily Mirror I was not encouraged in any way to offer rewards or bribes to police and have never indulged in that practice, which I think is wrong.

“I can also state that I never heard of any instance of another journalist at the Daily Mirror being involved in any business where money or other rewards were offered or given to police officers. (ibid)

20      ….there have been times in my life where I have —

21       I mean, I — because I was a senior staff reporter at

22       the Mirror, I was expected to mentor to some extent some

23       other reporters on occasions, or reporters would

24       frequently come to me for advice.  You know, younger

25       members of staff.  And on occasions I had to draw to


1       their attention the dangers of going down perhaps

 2       certain roads of where they could be compromised or even

 3       be in danger of more serious consequences in

 4       a particular relationship




            17 I was probably with a police team on ten to a dozen

            18       different occasions near Heathrow, and I had made a

            19       point, incidentally, of saying to them, “I do not want

            20       to know the details of this job until it is completed”;

            21       in other words I was very conscious of the fact I did

            22       not want at any point to be — if anything went wrong,

            23       anybody to say, “You were the leak on this”, or “The

            24       problem was caused by you”.  All I said, in the most

            25       general terms, “I don’t need to know the who, the what,


             1       the why.  If things unfold in front of me, that will be

             2       fine, but I don’t want to know in advance exactly what’s

             3       going on.”



The putative perjury

How can this portrait of Edwards  as  a veritable saint amongst sinners  be squared with the fact that he was willing to accept information about me from the police when the CPS had ruled that I had committed no crime and in  circumstances where the receiving of the information can only have been illegal?

In particular, how can  Edwards write in his first witness statement “Q37 I have no experience of anyone wanting other than an understanding professional relationship, that often becomes genuine  friendship” when at least in the instance involving me his relationship with the police was illegal?

There is also no reason to take at face value Edwards claim that “Apart from the period Circa 1981 to 1985 when I was a staff reporter at the News of the World, I have no knowledge and no evidence of payments made to police personnel by journalists.”  The passing of information about me to the Mirror  could not possibly have been to settle a grudge by the police against me and it would be most unlikely that a police officer would be willing to risk his or her career by passing on such inflammatory  information without reward, the two reasons other than payment Edwards gave in his evidence.

There is also the circumstantial evidence of the failure of the Scotland Yard to interview  Edwards, Morgan or anyone else at the Mirror when they eventually were forced to go through the motions of investigating  Morgan’s admission of receiving information from the police (I have already supplied the Inquiry with the details of this).   That looks very like deliberate collusion between the Met and the Mirror to ensure the story never made it into the public fold.

In view of the Blairs’ involvement, the very senior police officers who dealt with my complaints – these included the head of the Met’s internal investigations unit – and the fact that the newspaper involved was the Mirror – at that time the house journal of New Labour –  and Edwards’  close relationships with the Met generally and  senior Met Officers in particular,  it is reasonable to suspect  that police officer who provided the Mirror with the information was of senior rank.

I ask you to (1) investigate the question of Edwards’ perjury; (2) recall Edwards for questioning about the police source who supplied him with the information about me; (3)  recall Piers Morgan for questioning about his involvement with the story; (4) call the police officers involved with supposedly investigating  Morgan’s admission  receiving information from the police to explain why they did not interview anyone at the Mirror  and (5) call me to give evidence on my dealings with the Mirror and the police.

Yours sincerely,

Robert Henderson



The Daily Mirror and Daily Herald stories with Robert Henderson’s commentary on them

The Mirror  article was accompanied by a large photograph of  me, printed  after I had specifically withheld my permission  for its use,  and was flagged on the front page with the charming  headline “COPS PROBE BLAIR PEST – EXCLUSIVE:  Fears over race hate mail.”

The  Mirror story contained  these  objectively  provable libels:  (1)  the  false accusation of  sending  ‘Race  hate’ letters  to Tony and Cherie Blair,  (2) the false  accusation that I sent  dozens of letters to the Blairs,  (3) the  false  accusation of assault,  (4) The false accusation  of  sending letters  containing  ‘graphic racist filth’,  (5)  the  false accusation of sending letters containing ‘racial insult’, (6)      the  false  accusation of sending letters  containing  ‘sewer  language’,  (7) the false accusation that I have  ‘tendencies associated  with  stalkers’,  (8) the  completely  fabricated quote  ‘If  he [Blair] gets elected,  he’ll let  in  all  the blacks and Asians’ and (9) the false statement that I refused to comment on the letters when approached by the Mirror.

 Daily Mirror 25 March 1997
                  Jeff Edwards Chief Crime Correspondent                                     
                  Police called in over string of hate letters

Police are probing a string of race hate  letters  to Tony and Cherie Blair.

The deluge of sinister messages sent to the  couple through the Labour Leader’s office at the House  of  Commons began last year.
Insiders   described   them  as   “personal   and   offensive”.
And  they  feared the letter  writer  could  even  become a stalker.
The  man behind the hate mail has been  described   as 51-year-old Robert Henderson.
He sparked a huge row two years ago when he wrote    an article criticising black players in the England   Cricket  Team  for  the  Magazine  Wisden’s   [sic]   Cricket Monthly


The  magazine was successfully sued for libel  by  England fast bowler Devon Malcolm.

At  first  staff at Labour’s HQ in  Walworth  Road,    South East London,  ignored the letters sent to the    Blairs.

But  they decided to call in the police when  the  TYPED messages became a rant against the couple and   started  arriving  at the rate of three or  four  a  week.
Insiders  say  the  letters  –  with Henderson’s   signature  and north London address – are  full  of   graphic racist filth implying Mr Blair would  relax  immigration laws once he gets to No 10.
A  Labour  insider said last night:  “The  writer    said  things  like  ‘why are you  married  to  that  idiot?  If  he gets elected he’ll let  in  all  the  blacks and Asians.’”
Detectives  visited the Blairs at Labour HQ  last  week.

They  were  shown dozens of  letters  which  were   taken away for forensic tests.

The letters – posted in London –  have also  been   studied by the Crown Prosecution Service.
Police said sending such material could result in  an assault charge.

  The  insider added:  “MPs often  get  threatening   mail which would go in the bin.

“But this is different. It has become a campaign, a  bombardment.   The  writer  displays  tendencies  associated with stalkers.
This writer is unusually persistent. The tone of   the letters has become increasingly nasty.  “He uses sewer language. The letters are racially insulting.

 When  the Mirror approached  ex-public  schoolboy  Henderson yesterday at his council flat, he refused to discuss the letters.

Last  night  a  Labour  spokesman  said:  “Public    figures getting offensive material in the post  are advised to refer them to police.
   “We now consider this man is not worth giving any   more publicity to.”
A Scotland Yard source said: “By sending letters  in a very unpleasant tone the writer has  committed   an assault.”

 Special Branch,  who organise protection for MPs,  have been informed of the situation.

The Daily  Herald’s report   published on the  same day as  the   Mirror story:
This story contained these objective provable libels:  (1) that  I sent “hate letters”  to Cherie Blair,  (2)  that  the letters were “sick”,  (3) that I bombarded Cherie Blair  with letters, 4) that I sent letters to Cherie Blair in  1996, (5)  that the letters contained “racist filth”,     (6)  that the police were shown 100 letters,  (7) that the letters were   “deeply offensive” and (8) that Cherie Blair declined to have  me   prosecuted  (That  decision  was  made  by   the   Crown       Prosecution Service who declared that “NO CRIME” had been committed).


             Sicko letters sent to Cherie

Tony Blair’s Wife Cherie has been bombarded  with    hate mail.

Police were called in after Mrs Blair feared  the   writer showed classic signs of being a stalker.
The  letters,  which are said to  contain  racist   filth  and  are described  as  “deeply  offensive”,    began last year.
  They  are  said to have been  written  by  Robert   Henderson,  who  two  years  ago  penned  a  racist   article criticising the selection of black  players   for the English cricket team.

Detectives were shown a bundle of 100 letters  at   a two hour meeting with the Blairs.

The  letters,  all posted in  London,  have  been   taken away for forensic examination.  But Mrs Blair  is thought to have declined to turn the matter into  a criminal case.

Moral Simpletons Target Innocent Man

Note by Robert Henderson: Below is  the article I wrote in response to a Daily Mirror story about the Blairs and me which was published at the beginning of the 1997 General Election campaign (https://livinginamadhouse.wordpress.com/2011/04/17/the-failure-to-charge-piers-morgan-with-illicitly-receiving-information-from-the-police/).

The Mirror published the story after the Blairs had tried and dismally failed to get the police to investigate me for alleged offences under the Malicious Communications Act. The Mirror refused to publish the article or make any retractions from their story despite the fact that they had no evidence to support their wondrously libellous claims about me. The full story of the Blairs attempts to intimidate and harass me can be found at https://livinginamadhouse.wordpress.com/2010/10/26/when-tony-and-cherie-blair-tried-to-have-me-jailed/


Moral Simpletons Target Innocent Man

Robert Henderson

The Mirror story on 25 March ‘Pest targets Blairs’ contained one correct fact, I have been in correspondence with the Blairs.

The article states that I have been incessantly bombarding the Blairs with letters. False. Beginning in March 1996, I have written Blair nine letters and his wife four. My last letter to his wife was dated 25th February: to Blair 27th January. This year I have written one letter to Blair.

I wrote to his wife as a last resort after Blair had persistently refused to deal with my serious complaints against two members of his party, my MP, Frank Dobson and Diane Abbott. The complaints concerned Dobson and Abbott’s behaviour towards me. I have only written as often as I have because of Blair’s persistent refusal to act honourably.

My letters to him all dealt with legitimate political subjects, namely the obligations of an MP to his constituents, Diane Abbott’s hypocrisy towards me (she got on her “antiracist” high horse after the publication of ‘Is it in the blood?’), the publicly demonstrated anti-white racist behaviour of some Labour MPs, the misbehaviour of the media towards me, my inability to gain redress from both the Press Complaints Commission and the Broadcasting Complaints Commission and, lastly, the committal of perjury by a barrister and a well known firm of solicitors.

My letters to his wife were primarily a conduit to Blair – this I made clear in my first letter Mrs Blair. Nowhere in my letters have I made threats. Never have I attempted to force my physical presence on either of the Blairs. Let me put the fears of this extraordinarily nervous couple to rest. You are not nor ever have been in any physical danger from me. (Terrified of beggars, terrified of me. This is a man to be prime minister?)

The Mirror quotes the Walworth Road insider as saying that my letters are full of “graphic racist filth” and “sewer language”. This is utterly untrue. There is a simple way to resolve the matter. I challenge the Mirror to first publish the letters upon which the article was based and then my correspondence with the Blairs in its entirety. Let the public judge.

The Mirror’s misrepresentation extended to completely fabricated quotes such as “If he gets in elected he’ll let in all the blacks and Asians”. It will come as a surprise to your readers to learn that I did not address the subject of Labour immigration policy in any of my letters. Frankly, I do not believe that a Blair government will make any substantial difference because Britain has not operated a meaningful immigration policy since we joined the EU. However, it would be nice to know one Labour policy before the election. So what is Labour policy on immigration Mr Blair?

I have expressed my personal opinion of the Blairs in my letters, but that is legitimate because they are public figures. The referral of the correspondence to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) is shameful and sinister: the opening of a Special Branch file on me ludicrous.

My judgement of Blair is that he is not intellectually or temperamentally equipped to be prime minister because he possesses a subordinate personality – by which I mean he is not one of Nature’s number ones – and is at once extremely nervous and intellectually vacuous. Like all weak men in positions of authority, he acts in an authoritarian manner to hide his deficiencies. I am also not ready for the embarrassment of a prime minister with the voice and manner of an overly earnest fifth former. (“I vow, pipe, pipe…I vow, pipe, pipe…I vow, pipe,pipe, pipe”).

People may disagree with my interpretation of Blair’s character, but it cannot be legitimately argued in a democracy that public judgement of the personality of a potential prime minister is illegitimate. Blair’s referral of the letters to the CPS is reminiscent of his authoritarian treatment of dissident Labour MPs and party activists. The man is simply unable to handle contrary opinion or criticism. (Still dreaming of a 1000 year Blaireich young Tony?) In a stable political environment such as ours, only weak men need to suppress dissent.

As for his wife, all I have done in one of my letters is point to the distance between her lifestyle and traditional Labour values and express my disgust at the hypocrisy of the decision to send her son to a school outside the borough. (Why should your children not be educated in the type of school the murdered white schoolboy Richard Everitt had to endure, Mrs Blair?) His wife is a public figure both by her association with Blair and her active political past. Ergo, criticism of her is licit.

I would add that more vicious and vulgarly expressed criticism of the Blairs appears regularly in the National Press. For example, on  4/2/97 the Daily Telegraph printed a story recently under the heading “Blair like a scared child says US interviewer”  and a Barbara Amiel article of  24/2/97 ‘I prefer my Cherie sour’  depicted his wife as a curious mixture of the churlish and the submissive. As for vulgarity, how about computer simulations of a bald Blair?

That an ill-written sensationalist comic as the Mirror is become – I remember when it was a bona fide newspaper – should accuse anyone of sewer language is a joke in extremely bad taste. As for “graphic racist filth”, what about the Mirror story on 26 March headed “She should be hanged” showing a photograph of the black murderess, Sharon Carr? That type of presentation is grossly inflammatory as any black will tell you.

By referring the matter to the CPS, Blair is saying in effect that there will be two standards, one for the media, one for private citizens. This is incompatible with both the principle of equality before the law and democracy.

The article mentions assault through correspondence. The Mirror article was infinitely more damaging than my correspondence with the Blairs. If anyone is to be charged with this novel idea of assault it is the editor of the Mirror. Speaking of which I come to a more conventional form of assault.

The Mirror photographer, who gave his name as Simpson, began firing off shots before either he or the accompanying reporter, Graham Brough, had introduced themselves. That broke the PCC code of Conduct. I then told him that I suffered from an illness which included exceptional sensitivity to light. He continued snapping. That is an assault.

I also told the reporter and photographer that I did not give my permission for the use of the photographs. The Mirror has used one. That breached the PCC code of conduct.

Perhaps the most contemptible part of the article was the claim that I had the mentality of a stalker. I suggest that the Mirror looks at the beam in its own journalistic eye. It is papers such as the Mirror which harass people for no better reason than to provide copy that possess the mentality of a stalker.

The decision to print this article is better described as deranged than reckless. The matter is made worse because the writer of the article, Jeff Edwards, claimed during a telephone conversation with me (which I have on tape) that he had seen my correspondence with the Blairs before writing the article. Moreover, I recently sent copies of my more recent correspondence with Blair to both the Mirror editor and political editor. The awful truth is that these grotesque libels were committed deliberately not through recklessness. I can only suppose that recent Mail accusations of murder in the Stephen Lawrence case have removed the last vestiges of restraint from Fleet Street.

Because of the deliberate fabrication and the seriousness of the libels, I have asked the DPP to instigate proceedings for criminal libel against the Mirror editor, Edwards and the anonymous Walworth Road informant if he or she can be identified. Readers should note that Walworth Road have refused to allow me to speak to anyone with real authority within the Labour party.

The Mirror’s behaviour since the article has been as cowardly as that of Labour. Neither the editor nor deputy editor has been willing to speak to me. Obviously the Mirror has no confidence in their story.

I have written to Blair asking him to(1) identify the Walworth Road informant before sacking them and expelling them from the Labour party and (2) issue a statement making clear that your article was a tissue of inexcusably vicious lies.

As for refusing to comment when the Mirror reporter called at my flat, this is untrue. I told him I was happy to comment in writing but was unwilling to give an interview. I refused the interview because my experience since the publication of ‘Is it in the blood?’ has left me in no doubt that no person working in the media can be trusted to behave honestly. It is not that mediafolk operate a different code of morals when dealing with the private citizen, they do not operate any code of morals at all.

I cannot but feel that my offences are ones unknown to English law, namely the heinous crimes of not taking Tiny Tone immensely seriously and failing to grant him fawning respect.

Let me summarise your article in words which your readers will be able to understand with the aid of a dictionary. It was a cargo of ancient male gonads.

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 have a moral obligation to protect) gave us the detail of the letters that we then published”.  Had the information been given to the Mirror legitimately there would have been no reason not to divulge the informant’s name because the only way information can legitimately be given to the media by the police is if it is done on an attributable basis.  As Morgan’s evidence was taken under oath he has committed the crime of perjury.

Here is the full text of the letter with my comments interpolated in the square brackets marked RH:


By fax (0171-353 8355) & by post

16 October 1997

Your ref: 970738

Christopher Hayes Esq

Press Complaints Commission

I Salisbury Square



Dear Mr Hayes

Mr Robert Henderson

I refer to Mr Henderson’s complaint as outlined in his letter of 23 September.

As you are aware, we have been in contact with Mr Henderson for some time due to his propensity to bombard individuals and this office with correspondence. [RH Translation: Mr Henderson sent more than one letter because the Mirror refused to reply].

There are certain irrefutable facts that escape emphasis in Mr Henderson’s correspondence.

Far from ignoring any of his correspondence we have written to him on the 20 May, 22 July and 6 August. [RH The letter of 20 May merely said he was not going to enter into correspondence. The other two letters were from his legal department in response to Subject Access Requests I made under the Data Protection Act]. We have consistently made it clear that we have no intention of entering into any further correspondence with him.

Be that as it may I will address his concerns:-

In essence, the basic “sting” of the article, of which he complains, was that he had been sending numerous insulting letters, some with racist undertones, to Mr and Mrs Blair which had been passed to the Crown Prosecution Service for consideration.

Mr Henderson himself admits that he sent Mr and Mrs Blair at least thirteen letters. I have no way of directly knowing of the content of those letters because I have not had sight of them. However, clearly they sufficiently concerned Mr Blair’s office to be passed to the Crown

Prosecution Service [RH The CPS said as soon as they saw the letters that they were entirely legal] and I think the Commission is perfectly entitled to draw an adverse inference on the contents of those letters as a result of that referral.

I cannot accept Mr Henderson’s explanation for writing to Cherie Blair. To do so was clearly designed to intimidate. [RH I wrote to her to ask for her help in  her capacity as a human rights lawyer and as Blair’s wife]

In Mr Henderson’s draft article “Moral Simpletons Target Innocent Man” the bile that he shows on the second page of that article clearly illustrates his capacity to insult in his letters to Mr and Mrs Blair [RH an absurd deduction. What I wrote to the Mirror says nothing about what I wrote to the Blairs] (to the extent that they be referred to the Crown Prosecution Service). I would also refer the Commission to Mr Henderson’s gratuitous reference to a “Blaireich”.

He also admits to expressing his disgust (we can only guess in what terms) of the decision of Mr and Mrs Blair not to send their son to a school whereby a white schoolboy was, apparently, murdered by five other boys (and that that murder was racially motivated). [RH This was the Richard Everitt murder].

The police source of our article (whose identity we have a moral obligation to protect) [RH thus the police informant behaved illegally by supplying the information] gave us the detail of the letters that we then published. Nothing that Mr Henderson writes has convinced me that the article was anything other than accurate.

Perhaps one can get a flavour of his correspondence with Mr and Mrs Blair by examining the final sentence of his draft article in which he states “It was a cargo of ancient male gonads”.

The Commission may be aware (I am attempting to get hold of the article) that the article of Mr Henderson’s that appeared in Wisden’s Cricket Monthly in 1995 gave rise to an extraordinary amount of controversy and resulted in Wisden paying substantial libel damages to the Cricketer, Devon Malcolm, whom the Commission will be aware is a coloured fast bowler for England. As I understand the matter, and Mr Henderson will correct me if I am wrong, the article implied that coloured players will not try as hard when playing for England as white players. [RH The article put it forward as a possibility, no more].

I have discussed the legal position with the newspaper’s solicitor, Martin Cruddace [Cruddace is a proven liar. He made a declaration to my Subject Access Request under the Data Protection Act to the effect that the Mirror held no qualifying documents. Eventually after I had done some detective work, he had to admit that the Mirror had a small matter of 118 pages of documents relating to me], and he has assured me that the law has recently developed whereby words (be they written or spoken) can constitute assault if the pattern of those words is such as to make the recipient of them either anxious or ill. It has developed as a reaction to the former impotence of the law on stalking. [RH: No person in the UK has been convicted of such a crime. The definition of GBH has been extended to non-physical abuse such as abusive phone calls but it requires a psychiatric illness to be proved to be caused by the alleged abusive behaviour. Mere emotions such as fear do not qualify. The failure of the police to consider such a course and the CPS’ immediate definition of the case as “NO CRIME” shows that my letters were entirely lawful] .The law has therefore developed since the publication of the dictionary reference on which Mr Henderson relies.

I cannot accept that the taking of the photographs of Mr Henderson, given the clear public interest concerning the subject matter of The Mirror article, could possibly constitute harassment under the Code.[RH it was an unequivocal offence because the photographer took the photograph within my property].

I am most concerned not to waste any further time in dealing with Mr Henderson’s complaint but, naturally, if the Commission wishes me to address any further matters then I will endeavour to do so.

However, I hope that the above is sufficient to convince the Commission that the basic “sting” of the article is accurate and that Mr Henderson’s complaint ought to be dismissed.

Yours sincerely

Piers Morgan

I obtained the letter from the PCC after I made a complaint against the Mirror following their publication of extraordinarily libellous story about me.   The details of that episode  can be found at https://livinginamadhouse.wordpress.com/2011/04/17/the-failure-to-charge-piers-morgan-with-illicitly-receiving-information-from-the-police/

The Leveson Inquiry  has had a copy of the letter for a month together with my submission relating to it and other matters. The text of my submission to the Leveson Inquiry is at https://livinginamadhouse.wordpress.com/2011/11/25/the-leveson-inquiry-the-blairs-the-mirror-the-police-and-me/ . The fact that Leveson refused to confront Morgan with the letter and the failure to call me as a witness despite the startling evidence I had  provided to them  is clear evidence that the Inquiry will not be pressing the mainstream media hard. At worst it will be no more than a Government PR exercise.

The recording of Morgan’s evidence can be found at http://www.levesoninquiry.org.uk/hearing/2011-12-20pm/  Enter the recording at 74 minutes.

The questioning of Morgan about receiving information illicitly from the police is between 138 minutes and 142 minutes.

A transcript of Morgan’s evidence is at


Morgan’s response to questions about receiving information illicitly from the police begins at line 20 of page 86. It starts

.            20   Q.  Okay.  Can I ask you, please, about paying police

21       officers.  Is that something which happened at the

22       Daily Mirror whilst you were editor?

23   A.  I have no reason to believe so, no.

24   Q.  Are you saying by that that it was not brought to your

25       attention?

Page     87

1   A.  I’ve never been made aware of any evidence for that at

Morgan’s manner ranged from relatively relaxed  (although he was tense throughout in my judgement) when the questions were undemanding to variously  withdrawn  or bombastic when they became demanding. He was withdrawn while the questions shown above were being asked.

The other matters which seriously troubled him were his share dealings with Viglen  (Morgan bought £67,000 worth of shares shortly before the Mirror share tipsters tipped the company) – enter recording  at 133 minutes;  listening to a phone mail recording of  Heather Mill and Paul McCartney when their marriage hit the rocks – Morgan refused to give any details of how the recording was obtained – enter recording at 112 minutes  and  the evidence of  Stephen Knott  (a Welsh lorry driver)  who brought the story of how mobile  phones could be hacked to the Mirror in 1998. According to Knott, the story was at first enthusiastically  received by the Mirror in the shape of Oonagh Blackman (special projects editor) before being then dropped without warning –  enter the recording at 164 minutes. Morgan denied any knowledge of the story and was reduced rapidly to trying to dismiss Knott as “barking”.

Knott has given evidence before the Inquiry see http://www.levesoninquiry.org.uk/hearing/2011-12-06am/ for the recording and http://www.levesoninquiry.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2011/12/Transcript-of-Morning-Hearing-6-December-20111.txt .

Apart from Morgan’s lie to the Levenson Inquiry, there is a tremendous story of political misbehaviour which surrounds it


The PCC’s refusal in 2003 to investigate Rebekah Wade for paying police bribes

16-March 2003

Prof Robert Pinker

Acting  Chairman

Press Complaints Commission

1 Salisbury Square

London EC4Y 8AE

cc  Rt Hon Gerald Kaufman MP,   Frank Doran MP,  John Thurso MP ,  Rosemary McKenna MP,  Alan Keen MP,  Derek Wyatt MP,  Debra Shipley MP,  Chris Bryant MP, Julie Kirkbride MP,   Michael Fabricant MP,  Adrian Flook MP, Presswise

Dear Professor Pinker,

The payment of money to police for information

On  11 March 2003,  the editor of the Sun newspaper,  Rebekah Wade, admitted before the Culture,  Media and Sport  Commons Select Committee that while she had been an  editor with News International  she had paid police officers for  information. The information was given in answer to a direct question from the  Labour MP,  Chris Bryant. I enclose a  Daily  Telegraph report  dated 14  March 2003 which contains details  of  Miss Wade’s  admission.  I was there in person when she  made the  admission.

By  paying police officers  for information,  not only  does  the police  officer  commit a criminal offence under  the  Public  Bodies Corruption  Act  1889 (as  amended   by the Prevention of Corruption Act of 1916) in receiving the  money  or other material inducement,  so does the person paying  the  bribe.  Anyone of normal intelligence will  realise  that  bribing police officers is illegal.

In addition,  all police officers sign the Official  Secrets Act (OSA).   They   commit a  criminal  act by  supplying  information covered by the OSA.  Any information relating  to   police work will be covered.  Similarly, a person  receiving  information where they know the supplier is in breach of  the  OSA by  supplying it  commits an offence by  receiving the information.  Both formal training courses for  journalists and the various books designed to instruct journalists in the relevant areas of the  law cover the OSA’s  implications for journalists.   Journalists will consequently know that police officers have signed the OSA and be aware of the implications for  themselves  of   receiving information   from   police officers.  Even  if no money changes hands, the  journalist still breaks the law if he knows he is receiving  information from someone who has signed the OSA.

The PCC’s Code of Practice states in its preamble that  “All members  of  the press have a duty to  maintain  the highest professional  and  ethical  standards…”    Clearly bribing  police officers and receiving illicit information from them does not come  under the heading of “the highest professional  and ethical standards…”    No public interest  defence  is  contained within the Code for this general duty.

The PCC   Code  article 7.1 states  Journalists should  not  generally  obtain or seek to obtain information  or pictures through  misrepresentation  or  subterfuge.”   Clearly the  bribing of police  officers comes  under the  heading  of subterfuge.  There is a public interest defence to the use of  subterfuge, but  clearly  corrupting police  officers and  committing  serious  criminal offences can never come  under that heading.

The PCC Code article 9 states “Payment or offers of  payment  for articles,  pictures or information should  not be made  directly  or through  agents  to witnesses  or   potential witnesses in current or criminal proceedings or  to people engaged in crimeor  their associates–  which  includes family,  friends, neighbours and colleagues  — except where  the material concerned ought to be published in  the public  interest and the payment is necessary for this to be done.”

Clearly,  any police officer is likely to be  a  potential witness  if he  or  she  has  access  to readily  saleable  confidential material,  because otherwise they would not have  easy access to it.  That applies particularly to documents or  computer files.  Hence, the public interest is unlikely to be  served  by accepting any information from a police  officer because  the chances are that it will  compromise a criminal investigation.

I ask you to investigate Miss Wade’s admission of  criminal  behaviour  under the various heads described  above, namely,  the general ethical imperative and   articles 7 and 9.

I also enclose a letter from the Mirror editor Piers  Morgan  to the PCC dated 16 Oct 1997.  This contains an admission of  the Mirror  receiving information  illegitimately  from the police.    The PCC has previously refused to investigate this  admission.  I ask you to do so now.  Doubtless, you will  be  happy to  supply  me with an explanation  for the  original refusal which I can pass onto the  select committee.

In view of  the Culture, Media   Select  Committee’s  interest,  I am  sure that you will wish  to begin  a  most thorough investigation immediately and to give the matter all  priority.

Copies  of this letter have been sent to every member of  the  select committee.

Yours sincerely,

Robert Henderson


Press Complaints Commission

From the Deputy Director

31 March 2003

Robert Henderson Esq

Dear Mr Henderson,

Thank you for your letter of 16th March.

Much of it seems to be concerned with allegations which, if true, would be criminal matters. The PCC is not charged with  investigating alleged breaches of the law. That is a matter for the police.

Regarding your other point about the Daily Mirror,  you do not seem  to provide  any grounds for the PCC to re-open its file on  this matter, which  is  now of course several years old and which has  in  any  case already been put to the Commission for a decision on whether or not to investigate it.

Yours sincerely

Tim Toulmin

1  Salisbury Square London EC4Y 8JB Telephone  020 7353  1248  Facsimile  020 7353 8355

2 April  2003

Prof Robert Pinker

Acting Chairman

Press Complaints Commission

1 Salisbury Square

London EC4Y 8AE

cc  Rt Hon Gerald Kaufman MP,   Frank Doran MP,  John Thurso MP,  Rosemary McKenna MP,  Alan Keen MP,  Derek Wyatt MP,  Debra Shipley MP,  Chris Bryant MP, Julie Kirkbride MP,   Michael Fabricant MP,  Adrian Flook MP, Presswise,   Sir Harry Roche (Pressbof)

Dear Professor Pinker,

The payment of money to police for information

Nick  Toulmin has replied on your behalf  to my letter of  16  March.   I am afraid Mr Toulmin’s reasons for failing to act in the cases of Rebekah Wade and Piers Morgan literally  make      no sense.

Mr Toulmin  rejects the idea  of  investigating  allegations which would criminal offences if true on the ground that they  are ” a matter for the police”.  This repeats the  position taken by the PCC before the Media, Culture and Sport select  committee (CMS) on 25 March, evidence which I witnessed.

During  that evidence,  Mr Black claimed that the PCC  could not act where the complaint involved criminal issues.   This   is untrue.  My complaints to the PCC in both 1995 and 1997 involved   illegal behaviour,  including   criminal  libel,  incitement  to violence  against me,  incitement to  racial  hatred against me and   assault. At no point did the PCC say they could not act on my complaints because of the  criminal  actions.

More fundamentally the PCC Code of Practice itself makes  it  clear that matters which are potentially criminal  acts can be adjudicated  by  the PCC.  Clauses  1, 7,    raise  the  possibility  of criminal libel.  Clauses 4, 8, 10  and  12  concern behaviour which  could be the subject of a  complaint under the Harassment Act, a complaint of  criminal trespass  or action for a breach of the peace.   Clause 5  forbids  the  interception  of private telephone calls,  ie phone tapping,  which is illegal under any circumstances when committed by  a  private  individual. Clause  13  complaints  could  concern  breaches of  the sub judice rules or be a contempt of  court.  Clause  15 could  concern  breaches of  the  various  Race Relations legislation.  Clause 16 could involve a  series of  offences  ranging from  fraud to obtaining  money by  false pretences.

All this   being  so,  I ask the  PCC  to proceed  with  an   investigation of Rebekah Wade’s admission of paying policemen  for information.

As for Piers Morgan,  the fact that my original complaint was not acted upon by the PCC says everything about the PCC  and nothing  about the strength of the complaint.  You  have  a letter from Morgan (addressed to the PCC) in which he  admits  receiving information illegitimately from the police.  I  ask you to both investigate the complaint now and explain why  it was not investigated originally.

Civil redress

Mr Black also claimed during his evidence to the  CMS  that  the PCC would not act where civil action was a possibility to  gain redress  for  the complainant.  Again, in both  my complaints  in 1995 and 1997 and in my further  complaint in  2000 against the Observer journalist Nick Cohen of  obtaining  valuable  information by subterfuge,  there were clear  legal options had  I had the money to take them.

In both  1995 and 1997 there were gross libels  of  me. For  example,  the 13  March 1997 Mirror story  (see folio  15)   completely   fabricated this quote which they  attributed to me: “If he [Blair]  gets elected he’ll let in all the blacks  and Asians”, – see folio 15 – and falsely claimed that  my  letters  to the Blairs were “…full of racist filth”  In addition,  I had the option of  actions for malicious falsehood   and the obtaining of valuable documents by false pretences.   It  was   never suggested  that  my complaints  would  be disallowed because of I had these theoretical options.

As with criminal matters,  the PCC Code undermines the claim  that cases  cannot  be accepted. Clauses  1,3  and 7  will  probably involve defamation – clause 2 also has a bearing  if  no opportunity for reply is given.  Clauses  4, 5, 8, 10, 12,  13, 14,  15 and 16  could all be the subject of tort actions   and/or applications for injunctions.

Please   explain to me why Mr Black was allowed to  make his obviously false claims to the CMS  without contradiction from  the other PCC representatives.

Yours sincerely,

Robert Henderson


28 April 2003

Prof Robert Pinker

Acting  Chairman

Press Complaints Commission

1 Salisbury Square

London EC4Y 8AE

cc  Rt Hon Gerald Kaufman MP,   Frank Doran MP,  John Thurso MP ,  Rosemary McKenna MP,  Alan Keen MP,  Derek Wyatt MP,  Debra Shipley MP,  Chris Bryant MP, Julie Kirkbride MP,   Michael Fabricant MP,  Adrian Flook MP, Presswise,   Sir Harry Roche (Pressbof)

Dear Professor Pinker,

I am  still waiting for a reply to y letter of  2nd  April.  Please reply by return

Yours sincerely,

Robert Henderson

12 May  2003

Sir Christopher Meyer


Press Complaints Commission

1 Salisbury Square

London EC4Y 8AE

cc  Rt Hon Gerald Kaufman MP,   Frank Doran MP,  John Thurso MP ,  Rosemary McKenna MP,  Alan Keen MP,  Derek Wyatt MP,  Debra Shipley MP,  Chris Bryant MP, Julie Kirkbride MP,   Michael Fabricant MP,  Adrian Flook MP, Presswise,   Sir Harry Roche (Pressbof)

Dear Sir Christopher,

You will  find two letters enclosed which are  addressed  to  Prof  Pinker  and  dated 2nd and 28  April. They  have  gone  unanswered.

The letters concern (1) evidence given by Guy  Black before the Culture Media and Sport Commons select committee and  (2)  the  question  of  information obtained  by  the press by illegitimate means from  the police with particular reference  to admissions  of such behaviour by Rebekah Wade  and  Piers Morgan.

This stupidly arrogant failure to address matters which  are  both serious and of general public interest is all of a  part with the general PCC behaviour when confronted with difficult issues. It is one of the prime reasons why the PCC is held in contempt  by most people who have ever used it – I write as a  three time user.

As the incoming chairman you have the very great  luxury of a  fresh start.  I urge you to use that luxury to signal a  new  ethos for the PCC by  acting upon my letters by answering the points I raise about Mr Black’s evidence before the committee  and by instigating investigations of Wade and Morgan.

Yours sincerely,

Robert Henderson


From the Deputy Director

12 May 2003

Robert Henderson Esq

Dear Mr Henderson,

Thank you for your letter of 28th April to the former Acting Chairman.

Professor Pinker left the post on 30th March.

The position regarding yqur complaint against the Daily Mirror  remains the  same as far as I can tell.  You have provided no reasons  why the Commission should look again at a matter that is several years old  and that the Commission has already decided not to pursue.

It also remains the case that the matter of payments to police officers is  something  for  the police themselves to investigate.  It is not something that is covered by the Code at the moment. There may be areas of  the Code  where there is a theoretical overlap  with   the law  – although  in  general the Code imposes standards on editors  over  and above legal requirements – but the Commission will not of course,  for very  obvious reasons,  investigate a matter that is the subject  of  a legal inquiry.
Neither will it investigate  complaints where it is more appropriate, in the Commission’s opinion, for the complainant to pursue an  alternative  legal remedy.   This certainly does not mean  that  it turns down every case where there is a theoretical alternative remedy, and in fact does so in  relatively few. Those cases,  such as your own, where  it does  conclude that it is not  appropriate to  proceed  are considered  individually by the Commission and on their merits.

l do hope this is helpful.

Yours sincerely

Tim Toulmin

1  Salisbury Square London EC4Y 8JB Telephone  020 7353  1248  Facsimile  020 7353 8355

16 May  2003

Sir Christopher Meyer


Press Complaints Commission

1 Salisbury Square

London EC4Y 8AE

cc  Rt Hon Gerald Kaufman MP,   Frank Doran MP,  John Thurso MP ,  Rosemary McKenna MP,  Alan Keen MP,  Derek Wyatt MP,  Debra Shipley MP,  Chris Bryant MP, Julie Kirkbride MP,   Michael Fabricant MP,  Adrian Flook MP, Presswise,   Sir Harry Roche (Pressbof)

Dear Sir Christopher,

I have just received a letter from your deputy director,  Tim   Toulmin,  in reply to my letters  of 2 and 28 April.

I suspect  that   my letter to you of the  12 May  was  the   catalyst for Mr Toulmin’s letter.  Useful  as any response is  from the PCC,   as much for what is not said as for what  is  said, I would ask you to reply personally to this letter and  my letter to you of 12 May and to send a copy of your  reply to the CMS committee.

Mr Toulmin states in his letter that cases refused because  a  legal alternative exists will be relatively few”.  This is a  considerable  movement from the statement of  your  director uy Black  before the CMS committee that it was the  norm to  refuse  such cases.

As I pointed out in my letters to  Prof Pinker,  Mr Black must have known this was untrue  when  he   made his  statement to the CMS committee.  You may  wish to consider whether a man who deliberately attempts to mislead a Parliamentary committee is the  type of character you wish to  have as your chief administrator.

The position for all complaints to the PCC should be  this.  Any complaint should be considered provided (1) no  criminal  investigation is being undertaken or(2) no writ for a  civil  action has been issued.  That is an objective test.  Anything else is merely a subjective  decision made at the whim of the  PCC administrators.

As for Mr Toulmin’s response to my complaints against Rebekah Wade and Piers Morgan,  Mr Toulmin’s claim that the  PCC Code  does not cover it is manifestly absurd.  The Code preamble begins “All members of the press have a duty to maintain  the highest  professional and ethical standards…”  Bribing  the  police  clearly breaches that, while  clause  7.iii) states   “Subterfuge can be justified only in the public interest  and  only when material cannot be obtained by any other  means.”

Clearly bribing  the  police can never  be  in the  public  interest.  Finally, clause 9 runs  “Payment  for articles  offers  of payment  for articles,  pictures or  information should   not be made directly or through agents to witnesses or potential   witnesses in current or criminal proceedings…”   Clearly many  of  the  police  passing  on information are potential witnesses.

Finally,  Mr Toulmin’s refusal to re-open my past  complaints  is based on the fact that I provide no new information   is  irrelevant.  The point is that  the complaints in 1995,  1997  and  1998   were  simply not   honestly   investigated   or  adjudicated.  They were simply refused for no good reason.  I ask you to review these complaints personally.  I also seek a  personal  interview with you to discuss the behaviourof  PCC  staff in dealing with my complaints which were all  serious and well documented and described.

You are appearing before the CMS committee on the 21 May.  I suggest   you address  the  general question  of   refusing complaints for reasons of potential legal opportunity and the PCC’s failure to address complaints against Wade and  Morgan   for the  clearest  breaches of  the  Code  by receiving  information illicitly from thepolice.

Yours sincerely,

Robert Henderson

19 June  2003

Sir Christopher Meyer


Press Complaints Commission

1 Salisbury Square

London EC4Y 8AE

cc  Rt Hon Gerald Kaufman MP,   Frank Doran MP,  John Thurso MP ,  Rosemary McKenna MP,  Alan Keen MP,  Derek Wyatt MP,  Debra Shipley MP,  Chris Bryant MP, Julie Kirkbride MP,   Michael Fabricant MP,  Adrian Flook MP, Presswise,   Sir Harry Roche (Pressbof)

Dear Sir Christopher,

I am still awaiting a reply to my letter of 16 May.  Were you merely  a private individual you would of course  have  the right to refuse to reply. But I am not writing to you in your capacity  as a  private individual but as  the head  of  a   quasi-public body.  In that position,  you should reply  to  correspondence as a matter of course. Please do so by return.

With regard  to  Rebekah Wade and  Piers  Morgan obtaining  information  illicitly, I refer you to proposal  30  in  the  Culture  Media and Sport select committee’s report  on  media  intrusion:

31.  We cannot see how the matter of illegal payments  to   policemen  can fail to fall within the criteria  set out  by the PCC for taking  the initiative,  or how the issue is different to the xample of illegal  telephone-tapping   highlighted by the Commission itself. We  believe the PCC must  investigate. This  may  be best  accomplished  in cooperation  with the Information Commissioner and  the Police  Complaints Authority and, if necessary, rsult in an addition to the Code (such asoccurred on intercepting  telephone calls).  (Paragraph 95)

I expect your early reply assuring me that Wade  and Morgan will be investigated.

Yours sincerely,

Robert Henderson


I received no further response from the PCC – Robert Henderson  8 July 2011

Don’t be surprised that the police failed to thoroughly invesitgate the News of the World

Many people will be mystified by the failure to date  of the police to successfully investigate the phone-hacking complaints against the News of the World (NoW). They may be even more surprised by the  failure to act on the admission by Rebekah Brooks (previously Rebekah Wade) when she was editor of the NoW  that the paper paid police officers for information. The fact that Brooks made the admission before a Commons Select Committee will add to their astonishment. (https://livinginamadhouse.wordpress.com/2011/04/16/the-refusal-of-the-police-to-investigate-rebekah-wade/).

They should not be amazed because this is regulation behaviour by the police. Those who believe that they rigorously investigate complaints as a matter of course are sorely mistaken.   The police  routinely fail to investigate complaints properly or at all  when it suits their purposes.  It is reasonable to assume that it suited  the purposes of the Metropolitan  Police  these cases involving the NoW, both because of the strong links between politicians and the Murdoch empire and from fear that the corrupt officers selling information to the NoW (and other media outlets) would result in criminal prosecutions of police officers, perhaps many of them with very senior officers included.

I have a good deal of personal experience of  the Metropolitan Police failing to investigate complaints or to even record them.  This ranges from  refusals to investigate Peter Mandelson after he obtained a mortgage by  fraudulent means (https://livinginamadhouse.wordpress.com/2011/07/07/laws-are-for-little-people-the-mandelson-mortgage-fraud-cover-up/) ; refusals to investigate complaints of incitement to racial hatred by Greg Dyke when BBC Director-General  (his “hideously white” description of the BBC) and a Plaid  Cymru leader who described the English in Wales as “a virus and, most topically, the illegal giving of information by a Met Police officer to the Mirror newspaper (https://livinginamadhouse.wordpress.com/2011/04/17/the-failure-to-charge-piers-morgan-with-illicitly-receiving-information-from-the-police/). The last has the added  interest that the complaint arose from Tony and Cherie Blair’s  attempt to have me prosecuted on bogus charges during the General Election campaign of 1997 (https://livinginamadhouse.wordpress.com/2010/10/26/when-tony-and-cherie-blair-tried-to-have-me-jailed/).

The NoW ” paying police for informagtion”story was broken in Britain by the BBC on 6 July 2011 by the BBC’s Business  editor  Robert Peston  (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-14039915). I have sent the letter below  and  copies of letters from Piers Morgan to the PCC and my complaint to the police  to him and all other major British media outlets.

6 7 2011

Dear Mr Peston,

I have personal experience of the police selling information to the media.

In 1997  The Mirror ran a story about me which involved information being supplied to them by a police officer. I discovered this when I made a complaint to the PCC and they released a letter from the then editor Piers Morgan to them in which he admitted receiving illegitimately information from the police, viz:

“The police source of our article (whose identity we have a moral obligation to protect) [thus the police informant behaved illegally by supplying the information] gave us the detail of the letters that we then published. Nothing that Mr Henderson writes has convinced me that the article was anything other than accurate”

The complaint was passed to Scotland Yard where Det Chief Superintendent Ian Curtis supposedly investigated. My complaint ended in a curious way with Curtis ringing me to tell me that no action would be taken. During our telephone conversation, he admitted that no one at the Mirror, including the Piers Morgan and the reporter who wrote the story Jeff Edwards had been interviewed. Ergo, no meaningful investigation was undertaken.

If charges of receiving information illicitly from a police offer cannot be brought against an editor who has admitted in writing to a quasi-official body investigating a complaint that he has received illicit information no one could ever be charged with the crime.

Yours sincerely,

Robert Henderson


The fact that a Chief Superintendent  (DCS) from Scotland Yard was deputed to investigate tells us a good deal in itself. Normally such a complaint would be conducted by a Detective Inspector (DI) I or just conceivably a Detective Chief Inspector.  A  DCS taking such a case is abnormal in the extreme; one from Scotland Yard simply bizarre.

The appointment of such an officer is simply a reflection of the  general panic which set in whenever the police had to investigate a complaint from me which was directly or indirectly linked to the Blairs’ attempt to have me prosecuted.  After they failed I made a series of complaints of criminal activity to the Met about the Blairs (an attempt to pervert the course of justice); the Mirror (various offences concerning paying the police for info; breaching the Official ACT   and criminal libel) and against officers who failed to investigate complaints meaningfully. During the course of this I had in my flat the following: a DCS who was head of the Met’s internal investigations office (a very senior and influential copper indeed); two other DCS; two DCIs and 2 DIs, all for cases which would normally have been investigated by anyone from a Detective Constable to a DCI.


Here is Morgan’s full letter into which I have interpolated my comments in brackets marked RH.


By fax (0171-353 8355) & by post

16 October 1997

Your ref: 970738

Christopher Hayes Esq

Press Complaints Commission

I Salisbury Square



Dear Mr Hayes

Mr Robert Henderson

I refer to Mr Henderson’s complaint as outlined in his letter of 23 September.

As you are aware, we have been in contact with Mr Henderson for some time due to his propensity to bombard individuals and this office with correspondence. [RH: Translation: Mr Henderson sent more than one letter because the Mirror refused to reply].

There are certain irrefutable facts that escape emphasis in Mr Henderson’s correspondence.

Far from ignoring any of his correspondence we have written to him on the 20 May, 22 July and 6 August. [RH: The letter of 20 May merely
said he was not going to enter into correspondence. The other two letters were from his legal department in response to Subject Access Requests I made under
the data Protection Act. These were legally required]. We have consistently made it clear that we have no intention of entering into any further
correspondence with him.

Be that as it may I will address his concerns:-

In essence, the basic “sting” of the article, of which he complains, was that he had been sending numerous insulting letters, some with racist undertones [No  such letters were ever sent, hence, no prosecution RH], to Mr and Mrs Blair which had been passed to the Crown Prosecution Service for consideration.

Mr Henderson himself admits that he sent Mr and Mrs Blair at least thirteen letters. I have no way of directly knowing of the content of those letters because I have not had sight of them. However, clearly they sufficiently concerned Mr Blair’s office to be passed to the Crown Prosecution Service [RH: The CPS said as soon as they saw the letters that they were entirely legal] and I think the Commission is perfectly entitled to draw an adverse inference on the contents of those letters as a result of that referral.

I cannot accept Mr Henderson’s explanation for writing to  Cherie Blair. To do so was clearly designed to intimidate. In Mr Henderson’s draft article “Moral Simpletons Target Innocent Man” the bile that he shows on the second page of that article clearly illustrates his capacity to insult in his letters to Mr and Mrs Blair[RH: an absurd deduction. What I wrote to the
Mirror says nothing about what I wrote to the Blairs] (to the extent that they be referredto the Crown Prosecution Service). I would also refer the Commission to Mr Henderson’s gratuitous reference to a “Blaireich”.

He also admits to expressing his disgust (we can only guess in what terms) of the decision of Mr and Mrs Blair not to send their son to a school whereby a white schoolboy was, apparently, murdered by five other boys (and that that murder was racially motivated). [RH: This was the Richard Everitt murder].

The police source of our article (whose identity we have a moral obligation to protect) [RH: thus the police informant behaved illegally by supplying the information] gave us the detail of the letters that we then published. Nothing that Mr Henderson writes has convinced me that the article was anything other than accurate.

Perhaps one can get a flavour of his correspondence with Mr and Mrs Blair by examining the final sentence of his draft article in which he states “It was a cargo of ancient male gonads”.

The Commission may be aware (I am attempting to get hold of the article) that the article of Mr Henderson’s that appeared in Wisden’s Cricket Monthly in 1995 gave rise to an  extraordinary amount of controversy and resulted in Wisden paying substantial libel damages to the Cricketer, Devon Malcolm,[RH: Malcolm refused to sue me after I made it clear I would take the case to the floor of a court] whom the Commission will be aware is a coloured fast bowler for England. As I understand the matter, and Mr Henderson will correct me if I am wrong, the article implied that coloured players will not try as hard when playing for England as white players. [RH: The article put it forward as a possibility, no more]. I have discussed the legal position with the newspaper’s solicitor, Martin Cruddace [RH: Cruddace is a proven liar. He made a declaration to my Subject Access Request under the Data Protection Act to the effect that the Mirror held no qualifying documents. Eventually after I had done some detective work, he had to admit that the Mirror had a small matter of 118 pages of documents relating to me], and he has assured me that the law has recently developed whereby words (be they written or spoken) can constitute assault [RH: No person in the UK has been convicted of such a crime. The definition of GBH has been extended to non-physical abuse such as abusive phone calls but it requires a psychiatric illness to be proved to be caused by the alleged abusive behaviour. Mere emotions such as fear do not qualify. The failure of the police to consider such a course and the CPS’ immediate definition of the case as “NO CRIME” shows that my letters were entirely lawful] if the pattern of those words is such as to make the recipient of them either anxious or ill. It has developed as a reaction to the former impotence of the law on stalking. The law has therefore developed since the publication of the dictionary reference on which Mr Henderson relies.

I cannot accept that the taking of the photographs of Mr Henderson, given the clear public interest concerning the subject matter of The Mirror article, could possibly constitute harassment under the Code. [RH: It was a clear breach both because I had advised them of my eye trouble and because they took photographs having come over my threshold.]

I am most concerned not to waste any further time in dealing with Mr Henderson’s complaint but, naturally, if the Commission wishes me to address any further matters then I will endeavour to do so. However, I hope that the above is sufficient to convince the Commission that the basic “sting” of the article is accurate and that Mr Henderson’s complaint ought to be dismissed.

Yours sincerely

Piers Morgan


Having got cast iron evidence that the Mirror had been involved in illicitly receiving information from the police, I made a complaint
to the Metropolitan police, viz.

26-August 1998

Chief-Supt Eric Brown

Metropolitan Police

12A Holmes Road

London NW5 3AE

cc Metropolitan Police Committee

Dear Mr Brown,

I enclose a letter from the Metropolitan Police Committee dated 25/2/98. Please note the third paragraph.

The complaints I wish to register are: 1. A breach of the Official Secrets Act Culprits: An anonymous police officer most probably
stationed at Belgravia station.

The Mirror reporter Jeff Edwards

The Mirror editor Piers Morgan

The most likely police officer is DS Connor of Belgravia Police. This officer handled the Blairs complaints against me.

2. A breach of the Public Bodies Corruption Act 1889 as amended by the Prevention of Corruption Act 1916

Culprits: The anonymous police officer mentioned in 1.

Any Mirror representative responsible for the offering or payment of a bribe.

3. A breach of the Prevention of Corruption Act as amended by the Prevention of Corruption Act 1916

Culprits: The anonymous police officer mentioned in 1.

Any Mirror representative responsible for the offering or payment of a bribe.

4. A breach of the Met’s Code of Practice

Culprits: The anonymous police officer mentioned in 1.

The basis of the complaints The offences arise from a Mirror story entitled “Pest Targets Blairs” published on 25/3/98 (copy enclosed).

The Mirror story quotes unnamed police officer(s) as follows:

“Police said that sending such material could result in an assault charge.”


A Scotland Yard source said “By sending letters in a very unpleasant tone the writer has committed an assault”

The statement that I have “committed an assault” is a breach of the Met’s Code of Practice. The police investigate complaints. They do not decide guilt or innocence.

In a letter to the Press Complaints Commission dated 16/10/97(copy enclosed) the Mirror editor Piers Morgan claimed that the primary source for the Mirror article was a policeman viz: The police source of our article (whose identity we have a moral obligation to protect) gave us the detail of the letters that we then published.”

The giving of such information would of itself be illegal.

The Mirror confirms that they knew it was illegitimate by their “whose identity we have a moral obligation to protect”.

All police officers sign the Official Secrets Act. The police officer who supplied the information to the Mirror is consequently guilty of a breach the Official Secrets Act. He has also breached the Met’s internal code of conduct.

The Mirror by knowingly abetting the breach of the official Secrets Act is guilty of a criminal offence which carries the same penalties as that to which the police officer is subject.

If the policeman was paid, both the Mirror and the officer are guilty of serious criminal offences under The Public Bodies Corrupt Practices Act 1989 (amended by the Corruption Act 1916) and The Prevention of Corruption Act 1906 (amended by the Corruption Act 1916).

The reasonable presumption must be that the officer was paid. First, he restricted the information to one newspaper. Second, what other plausible motive could he have had?

As the Mirror has admitted to receiving illicit information from the police, a failure to both record and investigate my complaints will be tantamount to an admission of deliberate maladministration of justice by the Met. As I am sure you do not need me to tell you, such deliberate maladministration by the police commits one of the criminal offences of  perverting or attempting to pervert the ourse of justice.

Yours sincerely,

Robert Henderson

The immorality of Utilitarianism

“The creed which accepts as the foundation of morals, Utility or the Greatest Happiness Principle, holds that actions are right in proportion as they tend to promote happiness, wrong as they tend to produce the reverse of happiness. By happiness is intended pleasure and the absence of pain; by unhappiness, pain and the privation of pleasure”. J.S.Mill

Utilitarianism is a transparently bogus philosophical theory because it poses as a moral philosophy when it is disqualified from being so because it deals not with the individual but the group. This means any moral enormity, for example the murder of one person to save the life of two people,  can be sanctioned against individuals or minorities on the grounds that the overall effect of a policy will be beneficial to the group.  Nevertheless, it has greatly influenced British politics over the past two centuries is worthy of study, as is Marxism, for that reason alone.

How did Utilitarianism arise? It was a theory born of the self-conscious rationalism which gripped the world after the definitive  mental  shift caused by Newton, a change of intellectual outlook which drove some to mistakenly believe that the behaviour of men could be reduced to laws as certain as those of motion.

As an individual  doctrine it originated with  the eighteenth century philosopher,  Jeremy Bentham. He first outlined the basics of Utilitarianism in his Fragment of Government published in 1776.  This  was an attack on Blackstone’s Commentaries (on English law), which Bentham viewed essentially as an apologia for English law written as   ruling  class propaganda.  Bentham’s interest in  the reformation of the law remained one of the strongest themes of his life and it was the field in which he had most practical  effect.  Most of the British  judicial  and penitential reforms of the nineteenth century originate from his ideas.

Treated purely as a philosophical construct, Utilitarianism is a literal nonsense, because the premise on which it is predicated – the greatest sum of happiness as determined by the pain pleasure calculus – is in principle impossible of any practical application, for  manifestly no objective quantification of the determination of the qualities such as   happiness, pain and pleasure can be made. However, even if that were not so, there are other grave objections.

As described by Bentham, Utilitarianism was essentially nothing more than a matter of social function.  Indeed, because the theory is concerned with the sum total of happiness rather than the happiness of the individual,  its claim to be an ethical system is objectively invalid.  From this arises one of the main objections to  Benthamite Utilitarianism,  namely how may the tyranny of the majority be prevented? If the greatest happiness of the group is all that is required, any amount of individual unhappiness less than the sum of the group happiness could be inflicted in search of the greater happiness of the group.

The other primary objection  was  that motivation  became  irrelevant. Thus, under the Benthamite regime, if I kill you by accident in the course of attempting to do you a favour, that is irrelevant in assessing the amount of pain I have  inflicted on your relatives and friends. I might as well have  murdered you. The only criteria by which Bentham attempted to  calculate pleasure or pain were its four “dimensions”:   intensity,  duration, the certainty of an event  happening  as a consequence of a particular action and the length of  time before it occurred. These again are obviously not capable of quantification.

J.S Mill, the son of a prime disciple of Bentham’s, James Mill, recognised those weaknesses in Benthamite thought and attempted to  introduce a genuinely moral aspect  into Utilitarianism by making the effect of actions upon others a cornerstone of the theory. However, in doing this, he made a nonsense of the idea of a neutral and objective test of  actions which was at the heart of Bethamism. That test although impractical was in principle objective.  Having introduced the idea of consequences for others.  Mill  then compounded his destruction of Benthamism  by assigning  values (to be treated as benchmarks by Utilitarians)  to  actions and things. Whereas Bentham had famously said that   “pushpin is as good as poetry” (one rather feels he might have felt at home in New Labour),  Mill held that “it is better to be a Socrates dissatisfied than a fool satisfied.”

In the course of his philosophical contortions,  Mill developed the mentality which is essentially that of the modern liberal bigot. Mill produced a philosophy which purported to still provide an objective means of testing the moral content of an action, but which in reality was merely a disguised wish list of Mill’s own desired moral  outcomes.    That is the position liberal bigots adopt today: they attempt to enforce their own ideology on everyone,  while claiming that they are merely following universal objective moral principles which they call Human Rights.

After  Mill,  Utilitarianism was  further  significantly developed by Henry Sidgwick  who enlarged on Mill  by  asserting  that the obligation to follow the  Greatest Happiness Principle only made sense if it was regarded as a fundamental moral intuition and from that general  premise    specific moral rules could be justified.

These days Utilitarianism is divided by academic philosophers into Act and Rule Utilitarianism.  Act utilitarianism is concerned  with the outcome of individual  acts.  Rule utilitarianism does not evaluate individual acts, but rather attempts to produce rules which can be generally used to guide behaviour, for example “Everyone should pay their  debts” or “Everyone should refrain from initiating violent   assault on another”.

Human beings are often placed in situations where they do have to make utilitarian choices. A recent example was a mother who was driving her two young children when she crashed and ended up in deep water. She had to choose which child to attempt to rescue first, knowing that the unlucky child might well die. Sure enough, the choice meant that the first child was saved and the other drowned. Anyone would feel great sympathy for a mother placed in such a situation. Nonetheless, the choice she made was not essentially a moral one. She had to decide who decided saving first. That choice may well have been made on practical grounds such as who was closest to her in the car or who was youngest, but who would doubt the possibility that the favourite child was chosen?  If so, that would not be a moral choice but one of personal predilection.   Moreover, even if the choice was made on practical criteria, who is to say that a younger child is more deserving than one who is older. It could be argued that the moral choice in this instance would have been extricating one child from the car then remaining underwater while trying to help the other child as well. That might well have resulted in the death of all three,  but it would have been a moral decision pure and simple.

Drug Control: Futile and Immoral

 Robert Henderson

During the nineteenth century, the period of Britain’s greatest power, comparative wealth and influence, drugs were freely available: at first hashish and opium in various forms, followed by cocaine, morphine and heroin in the latter part of the period.  Not only did the world not collapse and the country fall to ruin, Britain prospered greatly: GDP in 1900 was approximately ten times what it was in 1800, the population increased fourfold, social disorder decreased, the political franchise was considerably broadened, industrialisation proceeded apace and the Empire increased to become the only world empire ever worthy of the name.

Today we live in a country in which it is generally accepted that drug taking ranging from hashish to heroin is widespread despite drugs being illegal, expensive, difficult to obtain and of uncertain quality.  Yet even in these difficult financial times, Britain has the fifth or sixth  largest economy in the world, people are living ever longer and the general health and prosperity of the population is much improved and still improving and growing.  Drug taking now is self-evidently not going to bring society down or even seriously incommode it.

Let me add reminiscence.  I was an undergraduate at Keele University in the late sixties and early seventies.  At that time, the majority of Keele students took drugs: one was thought a little odd if one did not.  Yet the dropout rate was very low. Students took both drugs and their degrees with equal facility.

Once a product that is widely desired is made illegal a certain pattern of behaviour always results: a black market, gangsters, the  criminalisation of essentially law-abiding people and much social dislocation.  This applies whether or not the object of desire has long been part of the social fabric such as drink or a novelty such as crack cocaine.  Take the example of American Prohibition.  The consequence of that quite insane piece of social engineering was illegality on a Herculean scale.  Indeed, it was Prohibition that allowed the rise of the Mob and organised crime, with all the varied criminality and misery that brought not merely during Prohibition but ever since, a fact all too easily ignored by those who wish drugs to remain illegal.  Drug profits are and have been so large that they fund much of non-drug major crime.

The life of the addict

What is the life of the addict today?  Most will either not be able to get drugs supplied by the state or will reject those on offer such as the heroin substitute methadone because they are inadequate substitutes.  If the addict does not have money, he must regularly commit crime.  That may be anything from stealing from his family and friends to violent street robbery.  Living like that, he will probably alienate his family and friends and his only companions will be fellow addicts.  The addict may often become a dealer to fund his habit.  To obtain his drugs he is reliant on suppliers who have no scruples and who may not be readily available when the drug is needed.  The drugs he obtains may be adulterated or too pure and thus too powerful.  Either may kill the addict, although the number who die is actually small. If he is caught by the police the addict risks prison with all its brutalising effects.  In short, the average addict’s life is one of constant worry, frustration, social disruption and danger. It is that package of ills, not the effects of the drugs, that generally makes drug addicts go to rehab clinics.

That the average addict has to live in this way has severe consequences for society in general.  Even if someone is not the victim of a drug-related crime, everyone is affected by the cost of policing, trying and imprisoning addicts.  There are further costs, for example the state rehab centres that exist primarily because drugs are illegal and the provision of substitute drugs such as methadone.  It is also true that were drugs freely available, many poor addicts would be able to hold down a job because they would no longer have to spend their days desperately trying to get the means to purchase drugs.

The rich addict has a rather different life.  For him the main problems are the risk to health of adulterated goods or overdosing from an overly pure product and the danger of being arrested.  In practice, he normally manages to avoid both.  If he does fall ill or foul of the law, he can mitigate their effects by using his money.  Thus, the drug laws in practice discriminate between the rich and the poor.

Moral panic

Most people are aware at some level of the deleterious social effects of enforcing drug laws, yet overwhelmingly they support them.  The question is why?  The answer is that human beings are all too easily persuaded to join in a moral panic.

Moral panics are a consistent theme of society.  To take a few at random from English history.  On they economic front we have moral panics over tulip mania, the South Sea Bubble, canal mania and railway mania.  In every case the country, according to the Jeremiahs, stood on the brink of ruin.  On the moral front, we have had panics over the drink, unbelief,  ill-manners, unwed couples and illegitimacy.  On the political front we have had concerns that the lower orders would dispossess the well-to-do if they were given the vote and a positive bevy of despair over the country going to the dogs after some setback such as the loss of the America colonies.  All proved to be a passing fashion.  The world did not end, England still stood after they had passed and our society evolved safely.

In the case of drugs, those opposed to their legalisation are confused about both their effects and of what exactly they are afraid.  The truth is that very few people in Britain unambiguously die of drugs each year, the numbers being counted in dozens rather than hundreds.  By unambiguously I mean the death is attributable to the taking of a drug rather than merely being the death of an addict.  Moreover, many of those who do die from drugs, do so because of the problems associated with the lives they live as a direct consequence of drugs having been made illegal.

The problem is that every now and then a tragic death of a youngster hits the headlines and the media, politicians and the professional anti-drug propagandists go into action to paint a picture of a world run mad with drug deaths and drug induced disorder.  Parents are naturally appalled and worried when they see these rare consequences of drug use.  What they do not generally do is understand that these are wholly exceptional cases and that even if their children took drugs it is very unlikely that they will die or be seriously harmed.  That they do not understand this is not surprising because they are faced with more or less blanket anti-drug propaganda by politicians, police and the media.

For those who have family or friends who are addicts, reality impinges.  Their concerns and fears are frequently not primarily the largely illusory dangers of drug taking, but the antisocial behaviour to which the illegality of the drug drives the addict and the ever lurking dangers of imprisonment with which an addict must live.

The myth of a golden age

The moral panic about drugs is part of a larger moral panic that sees, quite against the evidence, that our present society is in some way lacking in the moral certainties and restraint of previous ages.  ‘Permissiveness’ and the welfare state are fingered as the culprits.  In fact, this is merely a re-run of previous moral panics that always harked back to a golden age.

A few facts from our social history.  The Welfare State did not suddenly materialise in 1945.  England has had a welfare state of sorts since the seventeenth century.  The Tudor concern for the growth of ‘sturdy beggars’ culminated in the Poor Laws of 1597 and 1601.  These created the first legally enforceable national provision for the poor in the world.  The Acts placed a legal obligation on parishes to provide for their poor by a general poor rate.  It was not generally enforced until after the Restoration, but from the latter part of that century it was in effect a welfare state and provided the means by which an able bodied man and his family might live even if they could not find paid work – although they would be expected to labour at work provided by the parish – and the infirm supported.

Between 1660 and 1830 the provision offered under Parish relief grew.  Outdoor relief, i.e. relief outside the workhouse reached its zenith with the supplementing of wages in what was known as the Speenhamland system.  (Sounds familiar?  Employers, generally farmers, did the obvious and reduced their wages to a level that permitted the recipient of such relief to live on the combined relief and the reduced wages).

By the 1830s, the Poor Law had become both an expensive, uneven and ill-administered system.  It was reformed by the Act of 1834 (the Poor Law Amendment Act), which standardised the provision of relief offered throughout the UK and retained the emphasis on helping the ‘deserving poor’, their deserving status being ensured by insistence on labour if the person was physically capable of it.  It was a harsh system – men and women were separated even if man and wife – and much hated, but again it did ensure a man and his family would not starve.

By the time that drugs were first criminalised in the 1920s,England had a very broad state provision for much of the population of what we would now call the welfare state: pensions, unemployment pay, sick pay, healthcare and education.

Alongside state provision was a vast array of private charity, providing everything from money, housing, education, training, employment and healthcare, such as it was before the latter half of the 19th century.

The truth is that people have always been able to escape the effects of their fecklessness.  Take unwanted children.  Until the end of the eighteenth century and quite probably later, infanticide was common in England.  Babies were also frequently left in public places in the hope that they would be ‘adopted’ by others.  Many were.  Later, formal adoption became common for the children of ‘fallen women’.

There were other ways of getting rid of children.  They could be left on the parish.  When older they could be sold (often by the parishes) as ‘apprentices’ to often-unscrupulous masters: chimney sweeps were frequently recruited in this manner.

The golden age of sexual propriety is just a small window in English history.  Illegitimacy was very high before the latter half of the 19th century.  Men frequently deserted women they had made pregnant: the ‘navigators’ who built the railways in the 19th century were probably the champions of this trick.

As for other fecklessness, until the formation of modern police forces your chances of being caught if you committed a crime were pretty small.  So, if you got into debt, a little light villainy could well get you out of it, at least in London, where ‘liberties’ – areas where the authorities would not go in normal times – protected criminals until the 1850s.  A golden age of moral restraint never existed.

How can the drug fearers be reassured?

How do we on the legalising side persuade the great mass of people that making drugs freely available is safe?  Well, let us start with the experience of the Victorians.  They were not in fact exercised massively by the social effects of drugs, although there was some concern about opium addiction.  Rather they were greatly concerned with the ‘demon drink’.  On a rational basis, they were correct to have that priority, because alcohol is by far the most socially disruptive drug.  Yet in practice, they lived quite comfortably with the ill effects of alcohol and developed a tremendously successful society.  We do the same today.  Most people take alcohol and behave reasonably.  There is a general lesson to be learnt from that, namely, when a drug is freely available a few will abuse it but most will not.

How can we be sure that what happens with alcohol will happen with drugs?  Simple, we point to the experience of drug use when the it was legal and debunk the myth of the past as a golden age of responsibility and restraint compared with our own.

What of the physical effects of drugs?  Few die of any illegal drug.  As for claims such as the supposed memory loss and loss of intellectual function in hashish users, I have known people who have taken marijuana or cannabis for more than thirty years.  I have noticed no intellectual diminution or memory loss in such people when compared with non-users I have known for an equivalent period.  Many people take hard drugs throughout their adult lives and live to a normal age.  Moreover, if drugs were legalised, the quality and strength of the drugs could be assured and what little risk there is of death and serious disablement would be further reduced.

How should legalisation be introduced?

The trick is to legalise all drugs.  If you merely legalise, say, cannabis, you have not cured the problem.  All you have done is deal with one of the symptoms.  People will still want other drugs.

In an ideal world, legalisation would take place globally. However, that is never going to happen, so if we wish to cut the Gordian knot we have no option but to go it alone.  Once one large First World country has had the courage to legalise all drugs, the odds are that the rest will not be far behind.

When I say legalise all drugs, I mean all drugs.  Prescription only drugs vary greatly from country to country and the Internet allows easy access to drugs unavailable in a particular country. Moreover, anyone with the money to go to a doctor privately has always been able to get most drugs on demand.  The objection that the effectiveness and useful life of drugs such as antibiotics will reduced really does not hold water when they are prescribed in such numbers and can be obtained without prescription in many countries.  Bacteria know no national boundaries.  It is also true that many substances that are non-prescription are as potentially dangerous as prescription drugs.

How should drugs be sold when legalised?  They should be treated as tobacco and alcohol are treated.  They should be taxed and be available as easily.  The tax would remove any reasonable gripe about health-related costs resulting from legalisation

There will be those who call for a lower age limit for the sale of drugs.  It may be necessary on political grounds to have such a limit, but let no one imagine that it will be any more effective than the age limits for drink and tobacco.  Such laws are in principle impossible to enforce because they will always be so widely broken that their policing is impossible.  They also have the ill effect of bringing the law into contempt because everyone knows that they are routinely broken.

What addicts want

I presently live in one of the drug hotspots of inner London. Addicts tell me the same story over and over again.  Their primary problems are the uncertainty of supply and the need to commit crimes to pay for their habit.  They also fret over going to prison.  What they are not concerned about is being addicts any more than a cigarette smoker is worried about being an addict.  Take away the criminality and the addicts’ problems, and the problems they cause the rest of us, will miraculously vanish.

People do not commonly go out mugging people to pay for cigarettes.  Legalise drugs and most users will not be out mugging people to pay for them, families will not be disrupted, users will not have their lives made a misery, the crimes of theft and street robbery will fall considerably, the police will be released for other duties, and the state will not have to pay for their imprisonment and ‘treatment’.

In short, let the sociology take the strain and society will not a have drug problem, it will merely have a hard core of abusers just as alcohol has a hard core of abusers.  The distribution of personality and personal circumstances within society and their interaction with the general culture ensures that will always be so.

For libertarians there are two strong reasons for supporting legalisation beyond the practical.  Firstly, the presumption for the libertarian must be that every individual has the right to make choices for himself or herself.  Secondly, the banning of anything gives the state great latitude to interfere in the lives of its people.

The hard truth of drug control is that it is not merely futile but immoral in its effects on individuals and society.

What the nation state owes you and what you owe the nation state

In its purest form liberal internationalism holds that a man may live anywhere he wishes and owe no particular allegiance to any people, place or society. In theory, although not in practice, it is a an imagined universe in which the individual is supreme in his atomistic and egotistical desires and the nation state no more than an administrative adjunct to his life.(In practice, the liberal internationalist says that you may behave as you wish provided your behaviour meets politically correct “absolute” values.) 

If liberal internationalism was merely the eccentric philosophy of those without power it would be no more than another utopian curiosity. As it is the present ideology of Western elites it is a positive danger. Through their control of politics and the media they have sufficiently  translated into reality this fantasy of the world as a place of undifferentiated settlement to the point where it has severely disrupted every Western society.

The engines of the disruption have been immigration on a grand scale of peoples unwilling or unable to assimilate, “globalisation” of trade and industry and an elite propaganda regime, totalitarian in its scope and intent, designed to decry native Western cultures and de-culturalise native Western populations by denying them knowledge of their past, whilst promoting the interests and cultures of the immigrant. To these ends Western elites have abused their control of the law, the media, public policy and state education. They have created a situation  whereby no one may hold a public position without at least paying lip-service to their creed.

Why is liberal internationalism is so dangerous?

The liberal internationalist view of the world is vicious because it is completely at variance with the social instincts of Man, which invariably express themselves in some form of tribal organisation, whether that be a band of fifty people roaming the plains of Africa 10,000 years ago or a modern nation of many millions. Men have an absolute need to feel part of a community with which they identify naturally and ideally wish to possess a territory which they can call their own. That is why empires invariably decay and nations are virtually indestructible, short of an act of genocide.

In short, treating a country simply as no more than a convenient place of residence is a short and certain route for social disaster. Ultimately a nation state only exists because its inhabitants both have a shared sense of identity (the nation) and a willingness to defend the interests of the  country, including in extremis fighting for the country. Destroy that and you destroy the integrity of the nation state. The ultimate consequence of no sense of place is no place.

The value of the nation state

A homogeneous society, a true nation, engenders a natural loyalty amongst its members: a society in which ethnic groups compete for space, the type of “multicultural heaven” envisaged by the liberal elite, results invariably in a first loyalty to the ethnic group.

Beyond the natural sympathy and cultural sharing which glues together a nation, the nation state is also the only social vehicle for delivering a degree of democratic control to large societies. Such democratic control in turn allows the nation to retain its integrity by such measures as  restricting immigration.

Citizenship and nationality

As a society becomes ethnically fragmented it loses its natural ballast. Citizenship becomes the only thing which liberal internationalist governments can hold to as a unifying force. But citizenship is a conscious human construct and is no substitute for the natural loyalty  engendered by the tribal loyalties of the true nation.

Citizenship and nationality are often treated as synonymous. This is an error. A man or woman may be both a citizen of a state and a member of a nation. But he or she can equally be a citizen without belonging to either the nation or nations that comprise a state and may be a member of a nation which either has no legal status within the state, for example English, or is a nation situated outside the state of which the person is a citizen, for example, an Indian immigrant to the USA or Britain.

The cartoonist Ronald Searle expressed the difference during a recent interview. Searle has lived in France since the 1960s, yet when asked whether he would take French citizenship if it was the only way of remaining in France he replied: “If they said you can only stay in France if you become French I’d say, ‘Not possible’. It’s like saying P G Wodehouse should be French. You can’t simply put on a nationality like a jacket. I remain extremely English whatever happens.” (Sunday Telegraph 28 9 03)

The nation is the totality of individuals within a given shared community, the natural sociological expression of the individual will. Citizenship is merely a legal ticket to exist and reside in a place.

Why the nation state should favour its own members

It makes moral and prudential sense for any society to both secure the loyalty of its people with guaranteed privileges which are not extended to foreigners and to reduce the opportunities for social friction. In a free society where the individual has to decide to give his or her loyalty, the utility of such privileges is much greater than it would be in a dictatorship. In a democracy it makes not merely sense for a government to secure and better the condition of its people, it is a necessity.

How loyalty is destroyed

The modern industrialised nation state that is Britain confers great privileges on those who are part of it. It provides a secure environment based on the rule of law, a decent material standard of living, healthcare and education free at the point of use and, in the form of the welfare state, a safety net for those who fall on hard times. It is, in short, a very efficient life support system which most people in the world are desperate to become part of by hook or by crook.

But these benefits have been steadily eroded over the past fifty years by mass immigration, the movement towards free trade and the growth of international treaty obligations, most notably Britain’s membership of the European Union. The effect of these changes has been to increase social discord by (1) introducing foreign and unassimilated elements into  British society, (2) exporting jobs and (3) passing effective  political control on many major issues from Westminster to bodies such as Nato and the WT0 or the EU Commission. The nation state has failed the British in these matters. Thus, we can see that the state owes more to its citizens than such things as maintaining order, defending its borders and providing welfare provision. It must provide the social structure within which they can be achieved.

If either immigration or the export of jobs – both under the control of governments – make a man redundant or force down his wages, the affected individual can scarcely be blamed for feeling that his government is not merely failing to represent his interests but is actively damaging them. What incentive does that man have to feel an absolute commitment to his own society? He will be bound by his ties of family, friendship and cultural imprinting, but what he will not feel is any sense that he is something more than a human atom within a society which has no particular interest in him at best and is actively hostile to him at worst. This will produce ever greater selfishness and unwillingness to engage in social support because instead of the welfare state providing help  for those with whom a natural affinity exist, it begins to be seen as simply a feeder of competing ethnic groups. Where, as often happens, ethnic minority groups are seen to be taking more than a proportionate share of the welfare or, in the case of adult immigrants,  receiving welfare when they have contributed nothing the resentment is greatly increased.  

More fundamentally, if an elite constantly tells the mass of people that their culture is worthless and their history shameful, whilst constantly promoting the interests of immigrant peoples and cultures, it inevitably has the effect of creating disorientation in the mass of people and weakens national cohesion.

What the Nation State owes its members

The primary duty a democratic government owes is to those it represents, that is those who vote it into power and their dependent children. If the interests of these clash with the interests of foreigners, whether resident in the country or abroad, the interests of foreigners must fall.

How is a democratic government to meet this duty? It must strive to create the circumstances in which a society is most prosperous, peaceful and secure, both physically and psychologically. I suggest these are the ideal requirements:

–    To maintain a clear distinction between natives and foreigners. That requires a strict control of immigration.

 – To protect the industry and commerce of the country sufficiently to   both provide employment and for the strategic reasons of self- sufficiency in vital goods and services.

 –    To spend taxes in ways which only benefit the country and its members directly.

   – To ensure the maintenance of democratic institutions, in particular by avoiding entanglement in international treaties which emasculate democratic control.

 –    To facilitate the promotion of a knowledge of the country’s culture and history above all other cultures and histories.

 What the individual owes the nation state

 Conversely, there are ideal requirements of the member of the nation state, viz:

 –    The individual should feel himself to be a natural member of the nation.

 –    The individual should not see himself as part of a group which owes its first loyalty to that group rather than the nation.

 –    The individual should give preference to his fellow countrymen.

 –    The individual should defend his nation against foreign abuse.

 –    The individual should be willing to sacrifice his own interests where these clash fundamentally with the interests of the nation – most dramatically he should be willing     to fight and die if the homeland is attacked.

 –    Generally, the individual should always act to protect the interest of the nation. The interest of the nation can be normally determined by simply reducing any given national choice to the analogy of a personal choice in the individual’s private life and asking what the individual would do in such circumstances.

An ideal to which to aspire 

The obligations of government and the individual described above are the ideal for the security of a nation state. Of course, no society will ever achieve such perfection, but the nearer a society approaches the ideal the more secure the society and the happier its members will be. Conversely, the further it strays from it, the closer to civil war and  fragmentation will come.

Selling Britain by the pound: the immorality of privatisation

Does a British government have the moral and legal right to sell off industries and property owned by the state? In Britain the answer m is that it can legally do so. Barring restrictions agreed to in treaties, most particularly the Treaty of Rome and its successor treaties, a British government may legally do what it wishes. It may also repudiate existing treaty obligations. Parliament may in principle pass any law it wishes. That demonstrates the danger of having a political system without any  constitutional bars to government action.

But if privatisation is legal, it does not follow that it is morally justified. To begin with to sell that to which no legal title exists  would be illegal in any circumstance other than the special circumstance of Parliament passing a law to make it legal. That governments have no natural; legal ownership of that which is privatized can be seen from the fact that these are enterprises and property which were either developed from scratch by government or were taken over by the state, often from municipal undertakings which were public developments in themselves. In each case taxpayers’ money was used to either start or acquire them and in every case they were sustained and developed with taxpayers’ money.

For Britons who bought shares privatisation was a form of taxation. They paid money for that which the state already held on their behalf.  It was the greatest confidence trick in history,  selling people what they already owned. Non-British taxpayers purchased that which was not morally the State’s to sell. But the deceit went beyond this. By selling that which was held in common for the British, they robbed those Britons who did not purchase shares and the future generations who would have no stake in that which was sold before they were born.  

In many instances, especially after the first flush of Thatcher’s privatization bonanza, there has not been a public flotation , so that the public had not even the say of shareholders in how what was once held in common was managed.  The British government moved from being confidence tricksters to fences, selling what they did not own for what they could get, which, as is the way when thieves sell to fences, was always  far below the real value of that which was sold.  

Privatisation could perhaps have been morally justified if every British citizen had been issued free shares in each privatized industry, which they could then have held or sold as they chose. The Government would not then have had the proceeds, of course, but it should be remembered that the prime reason given by Margaret Thatcher for privatisation was that it would modernise great British industries through the invigorating blast of free enterprise. Ostensibly at least the raising of money for the government was not the prime motivation.

The money received from privatisation has simply vanished into general government expenditure. Had the money been earmarked for particular projects dear to the public’s heart, such as new hospitals and schools or placed in a separate fund to help pay the state pension in the years when it is anticipated that those working will substantially decline in relation to those who are retired, at least the public would have something concrete and identifiable to set against the loss of public assets. As it is the public as a whole has nothing.

It is of course impossible to prove whether taxes would have been higher or that government expenditure would have been lower if there had been no privatisation proceeds, but it is a fair bet that extra money in government coffers has simply meant additional government expenditure without a proper regard to whether the expenditure was warranted. That is the common experience of governments and public money.

The money obtained through privatisation should not be viewed as pure gain in terms of government expenditure. Privatisation has caused a great deal of what private business euphemistically call  downsizing”. The resultant unemployment costs – unemployment pay and other benefits  – have to be set against the privatisation receipts. In addition, a large proportion of those who have gained alternative employment have found themselves earning a good deal less than they did previously. That equals less tax paid.

Privatisation has been a great cheat practised on the British people.

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