Wednesday, July 09, 2014

The Home Office did fund the Paedophile Information Exchange

Yesterday Mark Sedwill, permanent secretary at the Home Office, gave evidence to the Commons home affairs committee.

In the course of that session he was involved in the following exchange with the Labour MP Ian Austin, helpfully reported by Andrew Sparrow on the Guardian's Politics Live blog:
Q: Your investigation concluded that the voluntary services unit did not fund the Paedophile Information Exchange. But isn't it just as likely that the VSU did fund PIE? 
Sedwill says this is what the investigator concluded. It is "most unlikely" that a funding trail of this kind could have been hidden. 
Q: Tom Watson found a retired Home Office official who thought funding had gone to PIE. Was that official interviewed? 
Sedwill says he is not sure. The Wanless-Whittam review will look at that. He does not want to pre-judge it. 
Austin says, if the retired person was not interviewed, it was not much of an investigation. 
Sedwill says he is not an investigator. He does not consider himself qualified to second-guess the judgments of investigators. 
The Wanless-Whittam review will give a considered view as to whether that investigation was sound. 
Austin says he has been told that the retired Home Office official was not interviewed as part of that inquiry.
Austin is right, of course. If an investigator does not bother to interview to the chief witness in a case then he has not carried out a very good investigation. And if you occupy a senior position in the Civil Service then you should have the intelligence and the self-confidence to admit to that obvious fact.

That witness is Tim Hulbert, who was interviewed by ITV News today. I find his account compelling, but there is enormously strong circumstantial evidence beyond his account.

Hulbert says he reported his concerns over Home Office funding for PIE to his superior, and was told to drop the subject.

That superior was Clifford Handley. And as Ian Pace showed in June Hindley was responsible for a stream of academic publications that sought to normalise the idea of sex between men and boys.

In that post Pace wrote:
This far from exhaustive account of Hindley’s writings in retirement should leave no doubt as to what a central role pederasty played in much of his thought. Beneath a scholarly and deeply learned exterior, steeped in antiquity, lies an obsessiveness and distorted morality which is not so different to that to be found in the more obviously explicit writings to be found in Magpie and other paedophile publications. 
I do not believe we should censor Hindley’s work, by any means, nor that it is without worth. But if the allegations about his having facilitated government financial support for one of the most insidious of all paedophile organisations – members of which have been linked to child pornography and abuse rings and international networks, ritual exploitation of those in children’s homes, and a whole host of cases of sexual predation upon very young boys in other institutions – are proved correct, as looks likely, then Hindley’s scholarly legacy should be afforded a good deal more critical treatment than has hitherto been the case.
So, with respect to Sedwill's unnamed investigator, it seems to me entirely reasonable to conclude that the Home Office did fund the Paedophile Information Exchange.

And that is not as hard to believe as it will seem to many now. As I wrote in a book chapter back in 2005:
When I worked in Birmingham, which dates it as late as 1981 or 1982, pamphlets from the Paedophile Information Exchange [PIE] could still be found among a tableful of literature from other municipally approved good causes in the Central Library.

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