Thursday, July 10, 2014

Geoffrey Dickens and Cyril Smith dancing to Bananarama

And you thought the 1970s were weird.

This gives me a chance to say something about Geoffrey Dickens and his dossiers. He always seemed something of a buffoon, but in retrospect he was right to name Sir Peter Hayman and David Steel, among others,* was wrong to criticise him.

It seems unlikely that Dickens came by evidence that was not known to investigative journalists at the time. What hampered those journalists were the traditional unwillingness of the police to investigate the powerful and our libel laws.

Those laws still exert their influence. The identity of peer in today's Daily Mirror story, for instance, is clear, but I shall not be naming him here.

* It is pleasing to see that Julian Fellowes was a bad writer in those days too.