Why Theresa May was right to ignore David Aaronovitch over child sex abuse in North Wales

Times columnist David Aaronovitch. Pic credit :Flickr

Times columnist David Aaronovitch. Pic credit :Flickr

Two years ago when Theresa May announced she was re-opening the police investigation into the North Wales child abuse scandal  Times columnist David Aaronovitch penned a highly controversial column warning that the nation was in danger of mounting a modern witch hunt over alleged paedophilia. Indeed his post was entitled Beware a modern Salem over child abuse.

He  pointed out that both the  original John Jillings report and the ” exhaustive inquiry ” by retired judge Sir Ronald Waterhouse Lost in Care had found no evidence of a paedophile ring and therefore  there was no need for any fresh inquiries.

I remember disagreeing with him on the BBC Radio Four’s Today programme over his findings after reading the report. He was right about  Waterhouse’s findings but failed to notice that the findings somewhat jarred with the detailed evidence contained in the same report.

He also firmly disagreed with the line taken by one survivor’s solicitor, Steve Messham, that Waterhouse had too limited a remit to inquire properly into the idea of an abuse network.

Fast forward to this week and Operation Pallial, the National Crime Agency run investigation set up by Theresa May, has achieved its first scalp,John Allen. He was sent to prison for life and given he is 73 will probably die there.

Nor was this minor stuff – he was convicted of 33 extra charges – that somehow had been missed in an earlier police investigation. The full background is outlined here in the Liverpool Daily Post. And he is not the only one to face new allegations which will be heard in future trials. To be accurate the latest Pallial statistics say 13 more people are facing trial, there are over 100 new suspects and over 200 survivors coming forward.

Now if David Aaronovitch had won the argument Mr Allen would be a free man and would have got away with all this and died peacefully at home. A  lot of survivors claims would never have been proven and left to fester on no doubt ” lurid and preposterous” ( as Aaronvitch would have it) sites on the internet.

Of course Mr Allen, who had already been found guilty of previous offences, claimed in his defence he wasn’t gay, was not sexually attracted to children and had suffered a “miscarriage of justice ” when he was convicted in  the first place. His accusers were making it up to get compensation money, his defence lawyers said. The jury did not buy this.

I raise this because some of the commentariat and the Establishment believe the latest allegations of a Westminster paedophile ring and alleged murders of some of the victims is another fantasy and leading to a new witch hunt. While the investigation is in no way as advanced as Pallial – Pallial shows it needs following through.

Theresa May in setting up Pallial  and an overarching child sex abuse inquiry obviously does believe that further investigations are needed to find out  what really happened decades ago. She is in on record that this could be ” the tip of an iceberg”. David Cameron believes this is ” stuff of conspiracy theories ” and David Aaronovitch reflects this view in his own column and tweets.

I am backing Theresa May on this one.

17 thoughts on “Why Theresa May was right to ignore David Aaronovitch over child sex abuse in North Wales

  1. “Witch hunt ” ” moral panic ” paedo panic” ” compo culture ”
    they trot that crap out all the time.

    You join up the dots and see why

    Anna ( my mate David Rose who trashed steve messham ) Raccoon >Brendan O Neil (spiked aka paedo monthly) > Spectator>Mathew ( my dead mate was a paedo)Parris, Charles ( Dickens was a buffoon / Saff UK ) Moore, Dominic ( i will just repeat what Moore said) Lawson

    Richard (Lying git) Webster
    Then just add in mate Tom O Carroll in that club
    And you can see why


    • Nice comment Bob. I don’t think I need to mention any names of those who’ve been using the spookies above to attack many CSA campaigners on Twitter and elsewhere. I’ve inquired about the ongoing running of Websters site but have yet to discover who’s behind it. FACT are also referring to him a lot. Desperate measures from desperate people. Great article David. Left me wanting more


  2. I’ve re-read David Aaronovitch’s piece and nowhere does he suggest that the police should not have investigated John Allen. What he said was this:

    “So we must not dismiss allegations, but they can never be taken or repeated with anything other than the most tedious sobriety. And that, if you like, is a generic rule applying to all situations. This week’s specific horror concerns child abuse in care homes in North Wales. For this, there is a second thing that needs saying. One fairly persistent modern meme in conspiracy theories is the idea of the paedophile network of powerful men. I say this not because such an accusation must always be false, but just to point out that the idea is somehow attractive. It unties some knots for us. And I know of no case where it has turned out to be true.”

    He expressed a lot of scepticism about an inquiry into Waterhouse but of an inquiry into the police investigation he said:

    “A second inquiry will look into previous police investigations into child sexual abuse — which may be more appropriate but seems to have been dreamt up on the hoof.”

    Aaronovitch was not calling for no investigations, he was saying that there such investigations should always be undertaken with “tedious sobriety.”

    In the light of the way that Exaro and others have been sensationalising this issue I think his call for tedious sobriety is obviously one that should have been, and clearly has not been, listened to.


    • Matthew,
      Actually I never said David Aaronovitch called for Allen not to be prosecuted. He couldn’t have two years ago. It was only the setting up of Operation Pallial that they were able to prosecute them – if that hadn’t been done Allen would be a free man today.
      The reference to Waterhouse is to the debate I had with David Aaronovitch on the Today programme and there is link where you can find the interview and listen to it.


    • “Tedious sobriety” didn’t do a very good job of revealing what Savile and his associates were up to or, more to the point, preventing and repairing the damage that was caused by his unhindered activity.


    • It is being senationalised but now it’s not just the press doing it. Police cannot say murder allegations are ‘true’ when they have no bodies and dont even know the identity of victims. It’s insanity. I’m in a Brass Eye sketch.


      • Callie

        The Police aren’t saying the allegations are true, they are saying the witness is credible which is quite a different matter and are appealing for others to come forward to see of the allegations can be corroborated.


  3. 11KBW and their involvement in the ‘trial’ of the Richmond abuse whistle-blower is worth looking at and while you are at it look at Cloisters and Penningtons as well.
    Tick-Tock re. the same case.


  4. The Westminster allegations need following through. What they do NOT need is police saying the allgations are ‘true’. That’s utterly preposterous at this stage and brings both police and law into disrepute. This is quickly becoming very worrying, not because the truth will be revealed but because I’m not sure who I can trust to tell the truth any more. By the way Bob, no one ‘trashed’ Messham, he did that by himself with the help of over eager journalists.


  5. I have always said that there is a lot to North Wales not yet been unearthed.Take your mind to what p.I.e was trying to do with age of consent.Now think what happens if they got it a legal child porn business ’cause it’s just one question Where were these people going to be able to carry out their task. One answer:children’s homes. Images were in my home, snuff films in Brynalyn, take a thought, David. .John Allen had the business ready. Scary when you think about it, we were lucky and unlucky.


  6. What they do NOT need is police saying the allgations are ‘true” Which of course the police never said this at all. But the main case for the defence, is this is trial by Internet, how can the defendant get a fair trial?
    On one website the defendant is described as X scum and ritualistic murderer on another a writer describes him as sexual deviant who used to hang around public toilets until the security services warned him off.
    It would be ironic if the people who have worked for years to expose injustices end up providing the defendants with a get out of Jail card.

    Now this brings me to another point, if we have well organised paedophile rings, we also have a well organised ring of people who discredit the theory of well organised rings in the Establishment (term being used loosely). This ring of people are involved in Newspapers, Broadcasting Magazines, Academia, Business and websites, I am unable to provide names because of Libel/Censorship Laws but it would not take long if you start researching the names attached to articles disproving the existence of child abuse amongst the establishment. The research we did even turns up funding being giving from Business to Academia on a project that could be very useful to the defendants if they went to court


  7. As an ex lover of London, I moved to North Wales 8 years ago. I can only give a personal opinion on the North Wales Polices conduct & professionalism that I know of today. 99% are first class human beings struggling to serve the public 100%. I feel sure that should they receive any serious complaint TODAY involving children in danger or potential danger then I feel confident that they would be deal with it in confidential & professional method. Which would not necessarily mean that they are obligated to inform everyone in the media.
    I am aware of the serious paedophile activities of the recent past. but I believe that they are not being disregarded as a trivial or closed matter by the all the Police Constabularies of Wales.
    They do things in Wales very differently !


  8. “99% are first class human beings”, I would agree that most police do a good job under difficult circumstances and you will get rotten apples in any profession. I have attended a number of magistrate court hearings may I add in the public gallery out of interest and I have come away been deeply concerned as what passes as English Justice, On a numberhttp://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/obituaries/law-obituaries/8093747/Andrew-Cunningham.html of occasions I have seen cases been thrown out on a technicality, when it was clear that there was a case to answer. In one case the prosecution solicitor threw his papers down in disgust at the magistrates threw a case out. My conclusion is that English justice needs a complete overhaul including adopting the Napoleonic code.

    What disturbs me most is the politicisation of the Legal system and the appointment of Police Commissioner’s. I am old enough to remember a case in the 1970’s which illustrates how power can corrupt especially when politicians and their friends hold all the levers, especially indirect or direct control of the police.


      • Can I suggest that they interview Labour MP Keith Vaz who was one of 16 MPs who publicly defended Greville Janner against child sex abuse allegations at a time when prosecutors now admit the peer should have faced trial. Did he do this out of loyalty to Janner, loyalty to the Labour Party, or on the orders of his political masters? Now if none of the above then one must question if his judgement is flawed. Keith Vaz has led a colourful political career and because of the Libel/Censorship laws I am unable to provide further information.
        One thing I can inform the readers is that Keith Vaz sits on the Home Affairs Select Committee. This appointment proved controversial as documented below.
        Vaz was elected Chair of the Home Affairs Select Committee, replacing John Denham, on 26 July 2007. He was unusually nominated to the Committee by government minister Harriet Harman, Leader of the House of Commons and Lord Privy Seal, rather than by the quasi-independent Committee of Selection which, under the Standing Orders of the House, nominates members to select committees.[29] Harman argued that this was because there was not sufficient time to go through the usual procedure before the impending summer recess. The Chairman of the Committee of Selection told the House that the Committee had been ready to meet earlier that week, but had been advised by the Government that there was no business for it to transact.
        Keith Vaz was then influential in the following year in passing the 42 day Detention without charge, overturning centuries of English Law. Apart from this vital issue my main concern is that Keith Vaz should not be on the Home Affairs Committee and certainly not as Chairman, The purpose of these committees is to have oversight of Government and can we really say that Vaz carries out that role or he is a man who acts as a defence shield for politicians? I let others decide that, but he certainly as a case to answer why he defended Janner.


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