Ted Heath, Jonathan King and the role of The Spectator(s).

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August 2015

Please read the following before forming any opinion, sharing on Twitter, or other social media sites. You may now turn over your paper.

Case Study A

There are allegations against a series of people and those allegations are that they took part in illegal activities some decades ago. The alleged crimes had victims, who are still alive today.

The crimes were fraud, war crimes, embezzlement, tax avoidance, libel, property theft, and medical misconduct.

The police have announced they will be investigating these allegations and if warranted, passing on the evidence to the country’s independent judiciary system.

This is known as a formal investigation.

Case Study B

There were once allegations against a series of people and those allegations were that their personal beliefs were at odds with the prevailing state doctrine.

The alleged activities resulted in no individual victims. The crimes were socialism, communism and homosexuality.

Members of the state senate secretly investigated the allegations, or in totalitarian states, members of the armed forces or police.

Executions or expulsions from society were carried out.

This is known as a witch hunt.

Case Study C

There are allegations against a former Conservative Prime Minister, who was a distinguished statesman, an exceptional yachtsman, and respected public servant. The alleged crimes had victims, who are still alive today.

The crime was sexual abuse of children.

The IPCC have announced they will be investigating these allegations and Wiltshire Police have reopened their enquiries into claims of abuse by the former Prime Minister.

If warranted, they will pass on the evidence to the country’s independent judiciary system.

This is known as a formal investigation into police corruption and sexual abuse claims.

Question: Which case does case study C most closely resemble? Extra marks are available if you can strike out the irrelevant words in C’s first paragraph.

The Spectator today published convicted paedophile Jonathan King to make the case for Heath not being gay; (presumably next week they will publish Max Clifford’s claim that Ted Heath wasn’t a Celebrity Publicist who drove a yellow car either, followed up by Rolf Harris’ assertion that he was crap at painting Australian landscapes. Frankly, that would be less bafflingly irrelevant.)

Having randomly* asking a convicted paedophile to comment on an alleged paedophile’s level of attraction towards him, (King presumably waived his fee in favour of six unedited paragraphs of excruciatingly pathetic self-congratulation) The Spectator then put the emphasis firmly on the, ‘shit’ in ‘shit or bust’ by allowing him to comment on the emerging and overdue culture of victim belief being a start point in sex abuse investigations – just as it is in literally every other single crime under the sun.

“That was when I became aware of the sex abuse allegations industry. I could not believe that one could be accused, arrested, charged and eventually convicted for crimes, when there was no evidence that they had ever taken place… The sex abuse allegations industry has exploded. Whether genuine misunderstandings and adapted memories over the passage of time or a desire for sympathy and attention, cash reward, delusions or simple exaggerations, it is far preferable if the celebrity is dead or incapacitated.… …the vast majority are clearly misunderstandings, inspired by drink or drug use or simply never going to be able to be proved.”

This is not part of a ‘sex abuse allegation industry’ as King revoltingly calls it. This is not a witch hunt.

For the media to continue to draw a parallel between the alleged rape of children and the subjects of 20th Century persecutions – political beliefs and sexual preferences – reveals that for many, paedophilia should be considered more a private past time than a violent crime and any investigation into allegations of it be seen as a gross invasion of that privacy.

There are no such thing as Schrodinger’s crimes, as King would have us believe, where the fact that they are difficult to prove, carried out behind closed doors, in dark and in secret means they didn’t happen. Clue, Jonathan. Many crimes are committed in secret. That’s why we have people called, ‘detectives’ working in the police force.

Also, living with shame, moving house endlessly to avoid attention from fans or the press, coping with emotional, physical and mental health issues over a life time is not the huge motivating factor you think it is in bringing a claim to the police.

Similarly, unconsensual sex when consent is unable to be provided (such as being under the influence of drink or drugs) is rape. I know you’ve been gone a while, but the internet is now widely available.

Finally, to feel more empathy for the person being investigated, rather than potential victims shows an entrenched set of values that still centres white, middle and upper class adult males over any other set in society. And when I say, ‘centres’, I mean no one else is on the page.

This is a formal investigation into alleged crimes and corruption. This is not a witch hunt.

*We know it wasn’t random. We know the Spectator subtext here is that homosexuality is paedophilia-lite. We didn’t come down in the last shower.

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8 thoughts on “Ted Heath, Jonathan King and the role of The Spectator(s).

  1. “where the fact that they are difficult to prove, carried out behind closed doors, in dark and in secret means they didn’t happen.”

    Well, it doesn’t mean they did either. Moral Panics do happen, and I’d suggest you’re missing category D, as exemplified by the Orkney and Rochdale Satanic Ritual Abuse scandals (and others). Furthermore there is profit to be made from false accusations, as Chong Kim and Somaly Mam have richly exploited, and false memory syndrome does undoubtably exist, even if it’s been used as an excuse by real abusers to hide crimes sometimes.

    Now, King is a pretty odious character to put it mildly who really shouldn’t be given space in a national magazine, even as clickbait, but being of an age where I’ve seen a few moral panics now I do find the path we’re on a bit disquieting and reminiscent of previous panics. Asexual people do indeed exist, and Heath has been a target of insinuation ever since he was PM and before.

    So IDK. I see where you’re coming from and I guess broadly I agree with you. But I think it is a bit over-simplistic to polarise to the degree you seem to see it and perhaps dangerously so. After all something like that did happen with SRA, and all phenomena of this nature do build up a cohort of professional (and not so professional) people who profit from it’s existence. The worst possible outcome would be that is does become apparent that’s we’ve over reacted and so give credence to the likes of King.

    • Hi- thanks for your comments, and I certainly understand your perspective. I’ve wrestled with the notion of adopting a de facto position of ‘I believe her’ before any investigation has taken place. But I’ve come to the conclusion that we have to extend the principle of innocence to the person making the claim- ie they are innocent of being an automatic liar, until at least a year down the line when they finally get to court- because on the basis of stats alone they are massively more likely to be telling the truth than not. I can’t use the principle of innocent till proven guilty outside of the court room for just one half of the party. Because this crime is so secretive and shrouded in mystery, that murkiness is used too often as a cover for habitual paedophiles and consequently we arrive at a situation where abused women and children have to live with the massive insult on top of injury of being presupposed to be in it for the cash, making it up, lying etc because people can’t apparently hold two simultaneous presumptions of innocence at the same time. I wrote about it on this blog better than in expressing it here, if you’re interested. Thanks so much for your comment though- it’s a thorny topic indeed.

      • Thank you for your courteous reply, and yes I read that post after placing my comment. It’s a defensible position certainly and well argued, but I don’t think relying on statistics as justification to an automatic ‘I believe’ is wise, given that the minority of provably false instances while low is not zero, or indeed close to zero. My issue with that is that those cases which are then proven false then become disproportionate examples by people who wish to minimise pedophilia or whatever – it only takes a few high profile cases which can be shown to be miscarriage of justice for public perception to shift and make actual conviction of the guilty harder. Again to use a past example, what is your perception of the accuracy of conviction of Irish Terrorists by the Police? Mine certainly, given the Birmingham 6, Guilford 4, Maguire 7 and others is that the police were locking random people up for speaking with an Irish accent in the 70s and 80s, and I have no real idea as to the actual true conviction rate of real terrorists which could be in reality be near 100%

        I’d suggest that rather than ‘I believe’ the better position is ‘I don’t disbelieve’ and then treat the allegation seriously and investigate thoroughly but dispassionately. It’s weaker I know, and doesn’t have the appeal of an automatic IBH, but I think serves the greater good for the greatest number of people in the long run. I’d point to the Jersey abuse case here, as you’ll recall the press frenzy (again I’d argue a moral panic) led to lurid stories of children’s bones buried in the cellar, which later turned out to either animal, prehistoric or bits of coconut (in the case of the ‘child’s skull fragment’. As a result it’s pretty clear that the investigation was a shambles and real abusers have probably walked free.

        Heath in particular bothers me because there’s always been insinuations about Heath (I’m old enough to remember them) but whilst previously they were about him being homosexual, they’re now about him being a pedophile. It’s almost like he’s being used as reflection of the moral panic of the age. That’s not to say the pedophilia allegations may not turn out to be true in the end, simply that that observation alone makes me cautious to accept them at face value.

        Finally I would emphasis that it’s *always* worth asking the question ‘who benefits’? During the Satanic Ritual Abuse panic there were a significant number of experts who furthered their careers and reputation off the back of it, and so were invested in reenforcing the whole circus. As has been pointed out elsewhere this resulted in more victims than the directly falsely accused as it minimised other abuse because SA was seen as the ultimate gold standard (you were only neglected? lucky you). I see similar things at the moment… There’s definitely a group of experts who’ve built there careers and pay their mortgages off human trafficking for example and as a result when the more extreme claims are shown to be false we’re swinging back to a position where real harm can be dismissed as myth.

        I happen to believe that evil is not gender-specific and women can be just as abusive and bad as men, but because of our patriarchal society how that manifests is different (it’s the other side of the coin from the sexists belief that women are naturally good and nurturing). There is a certain meme around at the moment that because the conviction rate for abuse is 90% male then we can dismiss the other 10% as somehow an irrelevance and that perception is re-enforced because there are professionals and others who benefit by finance or reputation from women being the abused sex. Again this makes me uneasy – I wonder how true it really is, or if there’s more perception bias here than we can currently admit to ourselves.

        btw, thanks for engaging, you’ve made me think a bit through my assumptions and I hope I do likewise. And I hope I don’t sound to cynical and world weary!!

  2. Well, Oosty, aren’t you brave? An anonymous middle-class Guardian reader, who declaims nasty middle-class and upper-class men as disgusting perverts! Well, I’m a working-class gayboy and I’m going to defend Jonathan King. Thanks to you, my sex are completely emasculated. While we are supposed to love the site of women breastfeeding in public – I don’t – at the same time Germany is banning men’s urinals. It’s not our fault if we can quickly go into a toilet, do our business, and leave again. I note you don’t decry middle-class women. Well, it’s good to know what you are, luv! I’m someone who never finished school, the shouts in the changing room of: ‘Urgh, Saunders you queer, are you trying to bum me?’ meant that I left school at 14. In those days the age of gay consent was 21. We never took any notice of it at all. And when I saw the film ‘Pride’ watched in disbelief that there was every any imagination that anyone ever did take notice of it. Jonathan King had sex with teenagers, not babies. He was only ever convicted of 2 of the 18 offences on his indictment. For a gay man, I was very sorry to see he could no longer help select our Eurovision entry. His friends’ Katrina and the Waves providing our last ever winner. You Guardian readers make me sick, taking the easy option of decrying Jonathan King, and not standing up for a man who is the victim of a miscarriage of justice. Those who later turned against him, sold their stories to the newspapers. Fancy that. He did not recollect them at all. No one ever suggested he never had sex with teenagers, but this was the 1970s, in the world of Sex and Drugs and Rock and Roll, who didn’t?

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