Child Sex Abuse: Failings in the Peter Wanless and Richard Whittam Review

Peter Wanless: Some failings in his inquiry PicCredit:

Peter Wanless: Some failings in his inquiry
Pic Credit:

Yesterday Theresa May, the home secretary was rightly called before Parliament by her shadow Yvette Cooper, to answer questions about the findings of the Wanless and Whittam Review into the missing dossier naming VIP paedophiles given to her predecessor, Leon Brittan by the late Geoffrey Dickens MP. If Yvette hadn’t done it, Tessa Munt, one of the” magnificent  seven” MPs who called for an overarching inquiry was already planning to do so.

The report with its 12 annexes was rushed out at 11.30 am leaving MPs of the House of Commons Home Affairs Committee precious little time to digest it before questioning both authors in a session truncated because of the timing of May’s statement. No wonder Keith Vaz, its chairman, might have been a bit tetchy during May’s statement.

In conducting a meticulous search inside the Home Office  both  Wanless and Whittam did a thorough job – as far as they could – to try and find any references to  what appears to be a long destroyed document. They also exposed the chaotic state of the Home Office’s record keeping and if you look at the annexes to the report shed a little more light on other cases.

So far so good. They then seem to have asked other Whitehall organisations to conduct a search on their behalf but as Zac Goldsmith, the MP for Richmond, quizzed her over the failure to find anything at the old Director of Public Prosecutions, where the dossier was sent, still left a question in this area whether the work had been thorough.

They also seem to have spent some time chasing officials who held documents at the time they have been destroyed in  the hope that they might get them. This is important – even though their report is sceptical about it – because in one of my investigations for Exaro  official documents have turned up because someone kept them in their attic.

They also questioned the Home Office whistleblower who came forward to Tom Watson MP with his fears that a senior civil servant,Clifford Hindley, may have been involved in the funding of the notorious Paedophile Information Exchange.

But where they failed – and this was taken up by Steve McCabe, Labour’s shadow social services minister, – was in pursuing civil servants who were around at the time. The lame response from Theresa to appeal to people to come forward was not good enough.

Wanless and Whittam would have seen a lot of documents with civil servants’ names on them because of the way Whitehall has a distribution list for almost every document.Some may be dead, most will have retired.

But they missed an opportunity to be proactive and chase them up. For they must be accessible. They will all be on final salary pensions paid out by Whitehall. It would not be too difficult, to contact the semi privatised agency and get their names and addresses and ring them up. They might be a little outraged about their personal data being accessed – but this is an official inquiry to get to the facts. People do talk to each other – and also someone at the DPP at the time also got that dossier who may not want to disturb a pleasant retirement going on cruises and playing golf.

The result is that we have unsatisfactory verdict of ” not proven ” from this investigation which takes us little further than the Home Office’s original findings.

To get to the truth over child sexual abuse we are going to need a lot of lateral thinking and a sceptical investigative state of mind to prise out information. I hope the overarching child abuse inquiry takes this on board and treats the Wanless review with some forensic scepticism.

8 thoughts on “Child Sex Abuse: Failings in the Peter Wanless and Richard Whittam Review

  1. My “sceptical investigative state of mind” leads me to make the following observations:

    – Dickens was a self-publicising windbag.
    – The “dossier” – or, more accurately, “dossiers” – was/were bundles of papers relating to disparate subjects (letters from the green-ink brigade, etc.) which must have been greeted with wearisome sighs as he blusteringly dumped them on someone else’s desk to sort out.
    – Dickens claimed that he had been burgled, the inference being that it was the “spooks” looking for his establishment-destroying “dossier”. However…
    – He claimed to have secreted a copy away (of which one?!?), which would somehow see the light of day if anything untoward befell him. It never did.
    – Dickens mentioned being on a “multi-killer’s hitlist”. Somehow he dodged those bullets & continued to work & deal with the party & people we are to believe he was exposing, on a daily basis, for many years.
    – So earth-shattering was this dossier that the establishment allowed him to keep a copy at home, a copy disposed of by his family when he died. Drat!
    – Dickens used parliamentary privilege to “name & shame” not only the guilty (Hayman) but the innocent too. Never mind…
    – Dickens continued delivering his “dossiers” to other unfortunate Home Secretaries. (In 1988, for example, this time banging on about the “witchcraft” sweeping the country. The Home Office denied ever receiving it – another cover-up!).
    – Dickens equated homosexuality with perversion. And paedophilia with homosexuality.
    – He gave succour to the rabid lunatics claiming that thousands of babies were being sacrificed yearly – just in the UK! – by the innumerable covens which existed within the confines of their own evangelical minds (and nowhere else).
    – Genuinely innocent families were torn apart by this witchhunt – literally, a hunt for witches – whipped-up with his help. Dickens can share the blame directly for this. More collateral damage…

    There is more, so much more… But what’s the point?
    This revisionist take on the man is astonishing, straight out of ‘1984’. If no one has had the idea to crowd-fund a life-sized statue of the man it can only be a matter of time… I would stump up a tenner myself if it were to include around his feet the weeping children who grew up seperated from their families thanks to his & others’ actions.

    My guess about the value of the Dickens material is that it may well have contained something of interest, if only for the fact that his Commons grandstanding (Hayman) brought him to the attention of those who might have had useful information to pass on. But it also brought him to the attention of all those who had an axe to grind (particularly, puritanical Christians in a strop over the degenerate homosexuals bringing down the walls of Sodom).
    He clearly had no ability when it came to discerning the useful from the useless, truth from fiction, the likely (or possible) from the unlikely, etc. Oh, and his dossier obviously didn’t contain anything relating to the man to whom he handed it!

    (Don Hale with his incredible vanishing Barbara Castle “dossier”, the one no one had heard a peep about but now that he’s mentioned it we all suddenly believe it existed as described, also went to some effort to make this point too – the ex-Minister was not “outed” in it. Mind you, this is Don Hale who wrote about Jill Dando investigating a BBC “paedo-ring” – a few days after remembering the Castle encounter – forgetting his previous Dando work about left-handed hitmen & tales of how Barry George was going to become a paparazzi & follow famous people around! And, you guessed it, Dando produced a dossier too! Investigative journalism at its best, or a steaming pile of anything-for-a-headline bullshit? You decide.)

    The Dickens dossier has been a useful stick with which to beat the establishment, but the credible testimony of another witness or two would surely be of more use.

    P.S. A possible problem with the inquiry NOT being a statutory inquiry is that witnesses will be free to embroider without fear of perjuring themselves (?). Given that even the “good guys” seem to get occasionally carried away (Danzcuk’s dubious tale of the Tory Minister “stepping out of the shadows”, for example) this might be a concern.

    P.P.S. Sorry for the negative tone of the above, but I’ve found myself recently agreeing with both Daily Mail articles & Norman Tebbit opinions, an unsettling experience & an unnerving admission.


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