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Star Comment: Still keeping a lid on truth

THE two inquiries into child sex abuse announced by the Home Secretary are already raising more questions than they are likely to answer.

Without having to doubt Theresa May’s sincerity or the integrity of Home Office officials or investigators, her statement to MPs reflected some of the complacency that has been one of the hallmarks of the Establishment’s approach to these matters over decades.

In particular, she declared herself satisfied with last year’s investigation into the dossier presented to her predecessor Leon Brittan by the late Geoffrey Dickens MP in 1983, even though it revealed that only 13 relevant files relating to allegations during that period had been examined — and no dossier found — while 114 other documents on child sex abuse had vanished.

She unquestioningly reported the findings of her departmental officials and their “independent investigator” that none of these papers had been misplaced, lost or destroyed “inappropriately.” 

How would anyone know for certain whether or not their disappearance was inappropriate, short of the culprit helpfully leaving a note to that effect in the filing cabinet? 

Ms May also seems to accept the Home Office inquiry’s conclusion that no Dickens dossier as such had ever existed. Yet Mr Dickens himself revealed in a newspaper interview in 1985 that not only had he handed a dossier to Brittan, he had also given a copy to the then director of public prosecutions, Sir Thomas Hetherington.

Perhaps that has mysteriously disappeared, too. 

In the same vein, the Home Secretary reassured MPs that “the investigation found no record of specific allegations by Mr Dickens of child sex abuse by prominent public figures.”

With so many missing files, who knows what else Mr Dickens might have alleged. 

What is a matter of public record is that, under the protection of parliamentary privilege, he named distinguished diplomat Sir Peter Hayman as one member of a circle of paedophiles within Britain’s powerful Establishment and intended to name more. 

Certainly, there is much more information still to reach the public domain about such circles, embracing as they did MPs, government ministers, judges, intelligence officers and business tycoons.

The most influential sections of Britain’s mass media have known some of the names for decades.

Indeed, a flurry of news reports filled the national press in August 1982 when the lid was blown off the vile goings on at the Elms Guest House in Barnes, south London, where children were being shipped in from care homes to be raped and otherwise assaulted by the likes of now dead Tory minister Peter Morrison, the late MP Cyril Smith, former British nazi fuhrer Colin Jordan and ex-spy Sir Anthony Blunt.

Then the stories stopped as suddenly as they had appeared. Numerous police enquiries resulted in the conviction of some of the small fry involved in the Elms and similar scandals.

Only decades later, in late 2012 and 2013, did allegations resurface in the national media that ruling-class paedophile rings had been at work in the early 1980s, as well as earlier and almost certainly later.

The Morning Star went further than most other national dailies in reporting new evidence and naming names, despite the dangers presented by Britain’s punitive libel laws and court injunctions.

We remain to be convinced that, through Ms May’s new inquiries, Britain’s Establishment will save us further risk by exposing the full extent of this particularly depraved abuse of ruling-class power.

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