I wrote my earlier post ‘Their Trade Is Fuckwittery’ after reading Greg Dyke’s book ‘Inside Story’. I mentioned in that post that Greg’s book was so full of gems and leads that I’d never have time to blog about it all, so I was just going to write about a few of the highlights. In ‘Their Trade Is Fuckwittery’ I concentrated on the shambles that was TV-am and the questionable conduct of those who were running that company, as well as providing a few details about ITV and Yorkshire Television, two very big players in independent TV. People tend to believe that Gov’ts always have the BBC over a barrel because of the existence of the licence fee and the Charter, which are of course completely in the hands of the Westminster Gov’t, but as I made clear in ‘Their Trade Is Fuckwittery’, other media folk not involved with the BBC didn’t dare fall out with the Gov’t – during the 80s, the Thatcher administrations – because the Gov’t was busy drawing up the legislation relating to broadcasting. There is a very close symbiotic relationship between all broadcasters and Gov’t – Dyke’s book makes the extent of this very obvious.
This blog has previously named towering figures in broadcasting – such as Huw Wheldon of the BBC – who had direct links to those who were overseeing the abuse of kids in care and mental health patients, which might explain why investigative documentaries about such matters rarely got to see the light of day. It wasn’t just the fault of a few individuals like Huw Wheldon though. Senior figures from right across the political spectrum have been identified as being involved with such abuses, so it’s not just a matter of waiting for a change of Gov’t before receiving the all-clear for a documentary – the next Gov’t coming along will be just as compromised. Virtually every other page of Dyke’s book names a senior political figure who is best mates with an influential figure in broadcasting, there are hundreds of close connections between the two sectors. The media world is also small and incestuous, nearly as bad as the world of health and social care – it is just one big game of musical chairs, with people jumping between organisations in ever more senior roles, where they become ever more closer to but at the same time more beholden to politicians. Remember the case of James Purnell, the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport until he resigned in 2009 – he managed to leave a job in Gordon Brown’s Gov’t, spend four years as Chair of the IPPR and then walked into a job as Director of Strategy at the BBC on a salary of £295k pa.
Since Jimmy Savile’s death it has become clear that an awful lot of people at the BBC and elsewhere knew that he was sexually assaulting children and young people, despite the official silence. What really struck me as I was reading Dyke’s book though is how many very senior people in TV will definitely have known about organised child sexual abuse and its ramifications. I tend to just perceive people on TV as being obsessed with issues that don’t really matter, people who appear on prime time and talk asinine nonsense. I forget that a great many of these people started their careers as journalists or researchers, either on newspapers or on regional TV or radio. Local journalists do know what goes on – they will freely admit this, but then explain that they couldn’t publish because the editor wouldn’t allow it. That will be true – but their editors will be the local journalists of yesteryear, who are now dining with politicians and don’t want to upset the Gov’t…. This is how a complete silence surrounding certain subjects is maintained.
Dyke names powerful figure after powerful figure in the media whom he worked with years ago when they were local journos or researchers on news programmes or investigative projects who undoubtedly came across the matters discussed on this blog but who never broadcast them, even when they were in a position to do so. A glaring example is Janet Street-Porter, whom Dyke worked with back in the dark ages in the current affairs dept of LWT on a local London programme. Janet was one of the journos going out and about. Street-Porter has latterly reached the dizzying heights of ‘Loose Women’, where matters Jimmy Savile and sexual exploitation by media figures have recently been discussed, as they have on other TV programmes. I watched a clip of someone angrily interrogating Janet and asking her why she had never said a word previously. Janet squawked away in a very vexed manner, maintained that she ‘couldn’t’, because she was a ‘woman’ and women get ‘harassed’. The interrogation continued and Janet then stated that when she was ten she was molested and when she told her mum her mum slapped her. Janet Street-Porter as traumatised victim. An interesting notion – yet Street-Porter went through a phase not so long ago of writing articles denouncing her mother as the most vile old cow and even maintained that she loathed everything Welsh because her mother was Welsh. She may well have been quite right about her mother but EVERYTHING about Street-Porter’s life and career from her teens onwards suggests that she is pretty tough – it is far more likely that she didn’t publish or broadcast because she wanted promotion. By the time that Street-Porter was being interrogated by an angry viewer she wasn’t ten, she was a wealthy senior media executive in late middle-age who scared the knickers off many of her colleagues.
If Street-Porter had really wanted to expose Savile or others like him, she could have – but she knew that the dinner invitations and commissions would dry up if she did. Street-Porter did most admirably have a go at the NHS when her sister died in truly appalling conditions – Street-Porter was editor of the Indie on Sunday at the time and published some very damning articles despite the squealing of the NHS and I was most grateful that she did this. Yet the Indie on Sunday was one of the papers that Gordon Anglesea sued for libel in 1994 after they and others named him as abusing kids in care in north Wales. Last year Anglesea was jailed – for abusing kids in care in north Wales. Did the Indie on Sunday – or anyone else – put the boot in? No. Anglesea had been demonstrated to be a child molester, a liar, a perjurer and someone who trousered nearly £400,000 in libel damages as a result of his criminal activities. Anglesea had also enjoyed the full support of the Police Federation throughout. One of his accusers was found dead shortly after Anglesea won his libel case. Er – fancy a follow up investigation or even an article then Janet? No? Never mind – it’s why I started this blog…
There is only one reason why I am not even ruder about Janet and the others regarding their extended silence – and that is that some very unfortunate things tend to happen to people who merely bump into and spill the pints of those involved with the North Wales Child Abuse Scandal. Like the young man who dared appear on TV and name Gordon Anglesea as one of his abusers whilst he was a kid in care in north Wales, they tend to be found dead. Janet and her mates are far safer than the former residents of children’s homes or the mental health patients of north Wales, but Greg’s book does mention something similarly very worrying. That Richard Dunn, the head of Thames TV who were responsible for making and broadcasting ‘Death On The Rock’ the documentary about the shooting of the three members of the IRA by the SAS in Gibraltor in 1988 – that so enraged Thatcher and her Gov’t – was in Aug 1998 found dead at the bottom of his swimming pool. The reason given for the cause of his death doesn’t quite add up and anyway don’t bodies float?
Dyke’s book teams with evidence of the favours that people in the media do for politicians whilst they are all on their way up. The earlier part of Dyke’s career as a media big-hitter took place under Tory Govt’s – first Thatcher’s administrations, then Major’s – but the latter half was under New Labour. It was Dyke’s almighty ding dong with Blair’s Gov’t that saw him resign as Director-General of the BBC. Greg caused havoc, but he also got rid of Alistair Campbell as Blair’s Rottweiler in Chief, so we have that to be grateful for.
Dyke’s account nicely illustrates how favours and feuds going back decades and indeed generations influence present day decisions. Greg himself goes back a long way in terms of his friendships with people who later became very powerful. Although as a manager Greg took a very Thatcheresque view of the trade unions in TV and delighted in thwarting them, he admits that a few years previously when he was of them, he too screwed the management over and fleeced them – it’s how he knew the techniques that the unions would employ when he joined management.
Greg’s early power base was at LWT, which certainly seemed to serve him well. At LWT he worked with a John Birt, a Peter Mandelson and a Michael Grade. When Dyke was applying for what seems to be his first go at a worthwhile job at LWT, he was told by a colleague at LWT that John Birt was the most important person on the Board – Birt was then head of features and current affairs at LWT and had been described to Greg as ‘all powerful’. Greg did his best to toady to John Birt in the interview but unfortunately he didn’t actually manage to identify who John Birt was and ingratiated himself to the wrong person. Greg didn’t get the job, but he did get another job with LWT soon afterwards. Greg observed that as Birt became very powerful within LWT, Mandelson – who was a producer – became his best friend.
Birt left LWT in 1987 to become Deputy DG of the BBC – Birt was valued for his expertise in current affairs and was responsible for news and current affairs as Deputy DG. Birt will have certainly have been party to a lot of information by this stage in his career. He had worked at Granada between 1966-71 where he’d been part of the World In Action team, becoming joint editor in 1969. He joined LWT in 1971 and was founding editor and executive producer of Weekend World. Birt then became head of current affairs, then controller of features and current affairs. He worked on Weekend World with Peter Jay.
Peter Jay was the son of two Labour politicians who then married Margaret, the daughter of Jim Callaghan, who later became PM. When Callaghan became PM in 1977 Peter Jay was appointed Ambassador to the US by his friend, Foreign Secretary Dr David Owen. Jay had never held public office and was not a diplomat. Jay did well out of his friends though – he landed a job as Economics Editor of the BBC courtesy of his mate John Birt. At one point Jay was Chief of Staff to Robert Maxwell. Jay was founding Chairman of TV-am (see post ‘Their Trade Is Fuckwittery). Between 2003-09 he was a non-executive director of the Bank of England.
Birt took a break from LWT in the mid-70s to work with David Frost producing The Nixon Interviews, in which they famously managed to get Tricky Dicky to fess up to serious wrongdoing. Birt returned to LWT in 1982 as Director of Programmes. It was in this capacity that he revived the career of a singer with whom he had been friends many years ago when they were young – this is the lady whom I have mentioned in previous posts and comments who was a patient of and a friend of the Professor in the Dept at St Georges Hospital Medical School in which I worked between 1989-91. The Dept which was chaotic, riddled with workplace bullying and which sometime after I left became embroiled in a research fraud scandal, then another scandal in which a fertility consultant was accused of pressurising NHS patients into donating eggs to private patients, then yet another scandal before the Dept was closed down (see post ‘St George’s Hospital Medical School, 1989/1990’). This was also the Dept which employed an MSF rep, David Hole, who as far as I could see was corrupt. Only a few years previously, the Professor of Paediatrics at St Georges, Oliver Brooke, had been jailed for the possession of child porn. At the same time, the Dept of Psychiatry, along with the associated psychiatric unit Springfield Hospital, were as corrupt as fuck and were colluding with the criminal activities of NHS staff and social workers in north Wales, including the concealing of abuse of children in care and of mental health patients (see post ‘Some Very Eminent Psychiatrists From London…’). The occupational health physician at St Georges, Dr Nicky Mitchell-Heggs, was also on board with all this.
I am sure that John Birt’s showbiz friend knew nothing about the shenanigans behind the scenes at St George’s at all, all she saw were Top Doctors grovelling to her as their highest profile private patient, but I have been told that it was substantially as a result of this lady’s very good relationship with St George’s that the lid was kept on the wrongdoing there. She thought that they were great and used to occasionally mention them when interviewed. By the time that I worked at St George’s this lady was LWT’s biggest star – the two light entertainment shows that she hosted were the root of LWT’s success and profits in the 1980s/90s and she was the highest paid female presenter on UK TV. Her fame was used to conceal some real horrors at St George’s.
Birt’s friend won’t have known what St George’s were concealing, but it’s very likely that Birt with his background in current affairs and extensive network did. Not only was Birt big mates with Mandelson – who was Director of Communications for the Labour Party – but Birt was also a member of the Labour Party at the time of his appointment to the BBC, although this was only revealed later. Which was certainly ironic because Birt had been recruited by Thatcher’s old mate Duke Hussey, who had been appointed as Chairman of the BBC Governors because Thatcher and Tebbit et al were fuming at what they believed were the pinkos working on the Today programme and the broadcasting of a few other things that had upset them, such as ‘Maggie’s Militant Tendency’ (see post ‘Wheels Within Wheels Or Flies Drawn To The Same Incestuously Corrupt Shithouse?’).
Birt was appointed as DG in 1992 and remained in post until 2000. His tenure was certainly controversial. He – along with Hussey – was loathed by many and numerous people became very alienated. Birt was perceived to be Thatcher’s lap dog and he also really liked Management. So much so that as well as all the highly paid managers already in the BBC, Birt spent huge quantities of money on management consultants McKinseys and Co – who had also been sent into the NHS by Gov’t in a vain attempt to address the entrenched corruption and bad practice. Although Hussey and Birt were both hated by much of the media world, they didn’t like each other very much either. Dyke maintains that months used to pass without them even speaking to each other and the final straw came in 1995 when Panorama broadcast the infamous Tell All interview with Diana, Princess of Wales. Hussey was mates with members of the Royal Family and was horrified that he hadn’t been told about the programme until he wasn’t in a position to stop it.
When Birt became DG of the BBC, he fell out with another person with whom he’d been big mates with in LWT as long ago as the 1970s – Michael Grade. Grade got so pissed off with Birt that Grade left his senior post at the BBC and went to Channel 4. Grade later described Birt’s BBC as a ‘secret and forbidding place to work’ in the McTaggart lecture in Edinburgh. The following year the McTaggart lecture was given by Dennis Potter, who put the boot into Birt’s groin even harder and described him and Hussey as ‘croak-voiced daleks’.
It was Birt who was behind the expansion of the BBC into online services, which enraged many people because it squeezed out virtually all other competitors – Birt created a whole new Media Division.
Despite the high levels of dissatisfaction all around at the BBC with Birt’s activities when he was DG, when he left the BBC he picked up a peerage and was appointed as strategy advisor to Blair. Of course Birt already knew Blair – they had known each other since the 1980s. It was Birt who in his capacity as DG at the BBC in 1998 had ordered a blackout on any references to Mandelson being gay, after Matthew Parris let it slip on Newsnight. Mandy had also been a Councillor in Lambeth Borough Council in the late 1990s – Lambeth children’s homes had been choc full of paedophiles for years, but whether Birt was censoring that piece of info as well I do not know. Blair also knew Greg Dyke and Greg’s mate Barry Cox from LWT. Greg first met Blair in 1980 at Barry Cox’s – Greg was a producer with LWT and Blair was working as a barrister, presumably as George Carman’s junior, but told Dyke that he wanted to be a Labour MP. Barry Cox and his wife Fiona Hillary (who was Dyke’s PA for many years) were neighbours and friends of Blair and according to Dyke, when Cox was Director of Corporate Affairs at LWT in the early 1990s (by which time Dyke was Chair of LWT), Cox warned Blair of Murdoch’s dominance and ambitions to achieve further dominance of British TV. Blair knew about the danger that Murdoch posed, but maintained that Labour could do a deal with Murdoch. So that’s how Murdoch ended up taking over the world and telling UK PMs what to do, blackmailing a twelve year old Charlotte Church into singing at a private event of his by threatening to publish stories about her mum who had mental health problems if she didn’t – although Murdoch published the stories anyway a few years later – whilst his staff hacked into the mobile phones of murdered teenagers and purchased stories from police officers, prison officers and NHS staff.
Birt had already begun advising Blair before he was appointed his strategic advisor – Birt had previously dispensed pearls of wisdom regarding criminal justice. Birt – the man who had been DG at the BBC whilst everyone kept schtum about Savile. Once he became strategy advisor, Birt also advised Blair on drugs, health and crime reduction, as well as other matters. Since then Birt has picked up numerous other advisory roles and directorships, including a consultancy at McKinsey and Co.
In 2005 Birt began a relationship with Eithne Wallis, the former head of the National Probation Service, whom he later married. The wedding was attended by, among others, Mandelson and Trevor Phillips, Chair of the Commission for Equalities and Human Rights. Phillips had worked at LWT along with Birt and Mandy.
Although most people are very rude about Birt’s legacy at the BBC – producer Tony Garnett stated that Birt’s regime of ‘totalitarian micromanagement’ remained even after Birt himself had departed – James Purnell believes that Birt’s ‘boldness’ saved the BBC. It certainly ensured that a lot of things were never broadcast, including a lot of things about Mandelson et al.
The Chair of the Governors who appointed Birt, Duke Hussey, later said that he should not have done so. I mentioned previously that Hussey was a political appointment, made by Thatcher et al. No matter how keen Thatcher was to give the Guardianistas at the BBC a kicking, Hussey didn’t seem to be a good choice for Chairman, although he was there for ten years, 1986-96. Hussey had previously worked for Fleet Street, but not as a journalist – all his experience had been as a manager, but he hadn’t had a great deal of success. He had nearly succeeded in destroying the Daily Mail when he had management responsibility for Associated Newspapers. Hussey then became Chief Exec and MD of the Times Newspapers in 1971. He entered into a disastrous war with the unions in the late 1970s during which he decided to lock them out – the lock-out lasted so long that the papers went out of production for the best part of a year, without the unions conceding anything. The proprietors sold out to Murdoch after sustaining substantial losses. The world was astonished that Hussey remained in place after Murdoch took over, but it was speculated that Murdoch only wanted Hussey in place for the shin dig that he was soon to be holding to celebrate the bicentenary of the Times at Hampton Court. Hussey was able to rope Prince Charles in as a guest which afforded Murdoch some good PR.
Hussey was able to secure a high profile Royal because he had close links to the Royal Family. Hussey’s wife Susan had when young been appointed as Woman to the Bedchamber of Elizabeth II, a position that she retained for the rest of her life. Susan was also godmother to the Duke of Cambridge and the Queen occasionally dined at the Husseys’ home. Hussey’s wife also provided close links to the Tory Cabinet – Susan was the elder sister of William Waldegrave, who held a number of Cabinet posts, including that of Secretary of State for Health, 1990-92. Yes, Waldegrave was in office whilst the paedophile ring which involved Thatcher’s aide Sir Peter Morrison raged in north Wales and the mental health services resorted to criminal activities in order to conceal it, whilst they busied themselves with perjury and perverting the course of justice in an attempt to imprison me, whilst five witnesses were killed in an arson attack and whilst the associated corruption at St George’s was in full swing. Waldegrave had also worked in the Conservative Research Dept in 1971 – Matthew Parris worked in that Dept in the 70s and alleged that not only were there many gay men employed there, but at least one senior member of staff was very predatory and was known to go out seeking younger men. Staff in that Dept also holidayed in a destination in Italy at a place known as the Villa of Shame where ‘boys’ were supplied.
Hussey was Chairman of the Royal Marsden Hospital, 1985-98.
Hussey was offered the position of Chairman of the BBC over the telephone by Douglas Hurd, the then Home Secretary. Hussey cheerily admitted that he knew nothing about the BBC – he didn’t even know where it was. When Hurd offered him the Chairmanship Hussey had to look up the location of the building where he would be working. Alisdair Milne was the DG in place when Hussey was appointed but was forced out by Hussey and the Governors within months. Sir Michael Checkland, an accountant, was appointed DG by the Governors as the ‘compromise candidate’, with Birt as Deputy DG. Checkland remained as DG until 1992 and did the bidding of Thatcher’s Gov’t. After his retirement, Checkland was involved in NCH (the National Children’s Home) – which had links to the North Wales Child Abuse Scandal. Checkland also sits on the Board of the Wales Millennium Centre. Checkland was Vice-President of the Royal Television Society between 1985-94. So he was in post when my friend who worked at the Royal Television Society and who wanted to make a documentary about what had happened to me in north Wales was bullied out of her job and later won a case against them for unfair dismissal. I think that it’s about time that I named the foot soldiers who did the dirty deed where my friend was concerned – they were Tony Pilgrim and Claire Price. Price still works at the RTS. Hey Claire, did you know about that employee of yours who was convicted of indecently assaulting a ten year old boy? And did you know that one of your colleagues told my friend – whom you unlawfully hounded out of her job – that it was ‘a pity’ about him being caught?
Hussey’s Vice-Chair at the BBC was Lord Joel Barnett, the Labour MP who had been Chief Secretary to the Treasury when Denis Healey had been Chancellor of the Exchequer under Jim Callaghan. Barnett was Vice-Chair between 1986-93 – he had succeeded William Rees-Mogg.
Hussey was given a peerage in 1996. His obituaries mention that it was uncertain why he was ever offered the position of Chairman of the BBC above other people with links to the Conservative Party – there was speculation that it could have been as a result of his Royal connections or that perhaps William Rees-Mogg suggested his name, Rees-Mogg having been the editor of the Times and supportive of Hussey whilst he was Chief Exec and MD of the Times Newspapers. Greg Dyke suggests that it was Murdoch who recommended that Thatcher appoint him.
Dyke maintains that Hussey assisted Murdoch’s business interests by carrying out negotiations involving the Premier League and thus licence payers money was used to help Murdoch.
Hussey stood down as Chair of the BBC in 1996 – Sir Christopher Bland was then appointed and remained Chair until 2001. Bland had been Deputy Chair of the ITA – which then became the IBA – in 1972 and Chair of LWT in 1984. Bland had been involved with the Conservative Party – he had been a member of the GLC for Lewisham, 1976-70. Lewisham was yet another Council which had a problem with the abuse of children in care – a reader of this blog sent me a link recently concerning a number of cases of abuse that were of course concealed by Lewisham Council when they were brought to their attention. Bland had been Chair of the Tory think tank the Bow Group, 1969-70.
Bland was a Director of ITN, sat on the GMTV Board and was also Chair of LWT. He joined the Board of LWT (Holdings) in 1984 and after the 1993 franchise renewal when LWT was taken over by Granada, Bland was one of the people – along with Dyke – who made a great deal of money. Dyke states that he made £7 million and Bland made much more. According to Dyke this bonanza was engineered by Neil Canetty-Clarke, a merchant banker on placement with LWT, who later became financial director. The huge profits resulted from a clause that had been added to the relevant Parliamentary Bill by David Mellor, who was at the time a junior Home Office Minister.
Christopher Bland was Chair of Hammersmith and Queen Charlotte’s Hospitals NHS Special Health Authority, 1982-94 and Chaired Hammersmith Hospitals NHS Trust including Charing Cross Hospital, 1994-97. So Bland presided over the research fraud and bad behaviour that was occurring in Hammersmith Hospital in the mid-late 1980s, as detailed in my post ‘A Cause Close To Our Hearts’. He will also have been Chair when Lord Robert Winston employed a gynaecologist who was a serial sexual harasser, but passed him onto St George’s Hospital Medical School rather than ensure that he was removed from circulation. Bland was a member of the PM’s advisory panel on the Citizens Charter and co-owned Leith’s School of Food and Wine, with Caroline Waldegrave, wife of Tory Cabinet Minister and Secretary of State for Health 1990-92, William Waldegrave.
Christopher has a son, Archie. The ability to land plum jobs in the media is obviously a genetically inheritable trait – in 2004 Archie was named ‘Guardian Student Columnist of the Year’. In 2012 he became Deputy Editor of the Independent – the youngest Deputy Editor in the paper’s history and possibly the youngest ever on Fleet Street! In 2013 Archie was appointed a senior writer at the Indie and Indie on Sunday and he is at present Deputy National Editor at the Guardian. Perhaps we can expect Archie soon to be given responsibility for some major London teaching hospitals pervaded with corruption carrying out some questionable animal experiments.
Greg Dyke was appointed DG of the BBC shortly before Bland stepped down. Greg’s book describes considerable opposition to his appointment. He believes that the Editor of the Times Peter Stothard led the fight against his appointment. Pauline Neville-Jones, a BBC Governor and a Tory, opposed Dyke’s appointment. William Hague, then the leader of the opposition, wrote to the Chair of the BBC stating that Dyke was unsuitable on the grounds of his Labour Party membership and donations to the Party – Dyke had donated to Blair’s leadership campaign in 1994. Alan Yentob – who later achieved infamy through his involvement with Kids Company – also wanted the job as DG.
Like Bland, Dyke was a media executive who had been asked for his remedy for the NHS. In the summer of 1997, Dyke met Margaret Jay – Minister of State for Health, daughter of former PM James Callaghan and wife of Dyke’s media colleague Peter Jay – at David Frost’s garden party (Greg was a regular at Frost’s garden parties, he bumped into Alistair Campbell at one of them a few years after the huge scrap between the BBC and Campbell). Margaret Jay, Minister of Health under Frank Dobson, subsequently asked Dyke for new ideas regarding the Patients Charter – Dyke was helped in this by Alison Nield, an Angel who became an NHS manager. Dyke’s report was published in Nov 1998, whilst Margaret Jay was leader of the Labour Party in the Lords.
At the time that Margaret Jay was tapping Greg for his wisdom, havoc had broken out in the mental health services in north Wales – this was before devolution, so the NHS in Wales was still run from Westminster. The Hergest Unit had really hit the buffers. The corrupt manager Alun Davies was in the process of closing down the day centre – which was the only part of the Hergest that functioned properly and was overwhelmingly popular with the patients – on the orders of the dreadful Dr Terry Maxwell, the Medical Director of Ysbyty Gwynedd. Maxwell had been given a merit award in return for cutting the mental health services and I suspect that Davies will also have received a ‘performance related bonus’ for his role in the dirty deed. At this time the better staff at the Hergest Unit were very obviously voting with their feet and leaving and the unit was unable to recruit replacements. Patient care began to suffer greatly and a number of patients killed themselves – others became destitute. One consultant, Dr Tony Francis (Dr X), went into meltdown – he was having huge rows with his colleagues in public, patients were told by Angels that Francis was ‘mentally ill’ (which was true, but the information should not have been communicated and certainly not in that manner) and Francis took (very) early retirement soon after. What was happening in north Wales at this time? The Waterhouse Inquiry. By 1998, the witnesses had given evidence and the most appalling catalogue of abuse in the children’s homes in north Wales had been revealed – abuse that had been concealed by the education system, the NHS and many others. Sir Ronnie Waterhouse famously did his best to discredit the witnesses, but it was crystal clear that something very, very grim had gone on over many years and Ronnie did have to fess up to that. Tony Francis killed himself a few years ago – just as Operation Pallial re-opened the investigation into the North Wales Child Abuse Scandal. I was told recently that he was under investigation himself, but I do not have documentary evidence of this.
So what were Greg’s suggestions for turning around an institutionally corrupt sclerotic NHS which for years has colluded with the abuse of vulnerable people? I haven’t read the report that he compiled for Margaret Jay, but Greg outlines his views in his book. He bangs on about leadership – the NHS has a surfeit of leadership, they’re all fucking leaders in the NHS, I think that they’ve got quite enough leadership – and states that the senior managers in the NHS should be doctors. That is the opinion of many people and one can see the logic, but there are problems with that idea. Good doctors very rarely want to be managers – they want to be doctors. Traditionally in the NHS, there were doctors who became managers (they were called administrators in those days) – it was usually what was done with doctors who were so bad that letting them loose on patients was not a good idea. The documents that my lawyers obtained pertaining to my own case contain numerous references to these doctor-managers that worked in north Wales in the 80s and 90s – for example, Dr Cedric Davies and Dr David Jones. It is quite clear from my documents that these two people had only one function – their status as clinicians was used to further conceal the criminal activities of their colleagues. The lethal lobotomist Dr T. Gwynne Williams had also been given a managerial role – unsurprisingly it compounded the problems. What the NHS desperately needs is high calibre, honest managers who are able to genuinely facilitate the work of the practitioners in the NHS. The NHS has such a rotten culture that managers like that really don’t want to work in the NHS. If they are tempted in, they leave again very quickly.
Greg does of course mention the necessity of ‘culture change’. Everyone who is asked to give their opinion on the NHS mentions this. It is obviously the polite response from people who can barely believe what they have discovered going on in the NHS. But because it’s the NHS no-one dares state what has been uncovered, so it’s all breached in terms of the need for a ‘culture change’. We need HSE prosecutions and indeed even corporate manslaughter charges in certain cases before the ‘culture change’ can begin to happen. Not that the general public have any idea of the state that the NHS is in – because the media won’t report it will they Greg…
Greg mentions in ‘Inside Story’ that Mal Young, who was responsible for drama series at the BBC, was concerned that Holby City and Casualty didn’t reflect real hospitals. Was Mal referring to the fact that in these dramas there are very rarely staff portrayed who are vindictive and abusive to patients or who regularly make mistakes so serious that patients are harmed? Or that these dramas never show staff lying at inquests or in Court, or altering medical records to conceal cock-ups? No, Mal was concerned because he believed that the ‘BBC hospitals’ didn’t show the same racial mix as NHS hospitals – Mal wanted more ethnic minority actors in these dramas, so he sent the producers into some real hospitals to see what they were like. In which case, the producers will have actually noticed that ethnic minority staff in NHS hospitals are disproportionately represented in cleaning, cooking and portering jobs and that if they are practitioners they overwhelmingly tend to be working in the more junior roles or in the less prestigious specialities where recruitment is difficult.
Now I don’t see that on the dramas that Mal was responsible for. Holby City has a consultant neurosurgeon who is Afro-Caribbean and hailed from the ghetto. That would be a very rare thing alone, but Holby City has also managed to find a consultant cardiac surgeon who I think has now been given a Chair as well – one who leads the unit furthermore and is a world expert on experimental cutting edge procedures – who grew up in a children’s home and was sexually abused whilst she was there. The same cardiac unit has yet another surgeon who is Afro-Caribbean and the first in her family to go to university. That’s one hell of a hospital and it’s certainly nothing like any UK NHS hospital that I’ve ever come across – it is a hub of upward social mobility that simply does not exist in UK medicine. Casualty did its bit by having a romance – and then a wedding, albeit one that went badly wrong – between an Asian female doctor and a white male porter. There is a great deal of social snobbery in hospitals and the nearest to the Casualty scenario that I ever came across was a porter at Ysbyty Gwynedd who was caught serially having sex with people on hospital premises. Was he sacked? No – because he actually had a place to read medicine at Guys and Tommy’s and he was working at Ysbyty Gwynedd for a few months before taking up his place. There were similar incidents whilst he was a medical student. He qualified – and returned to work at the Hergest Unit as a psychiatrist. There were a number of concerns raised about him – including by me. I wrote to the GMC, only to find that Keith Thomson, the CEO of the North West Wales NHS Trust, also wrote to the GMC stating that I had made ‘outrageous allegations’. There was no investigation. Some four years later I heard that this man had attacked his wife so violently that she was sectioned such was her distress and that his two children had been taken into care as a result of severe neglect. It was only then that he was stopped from working as a doctor. How did I know all this? Because he was one of my neighbours and I knew him well for about ten years. As did the rest of the village. We saw him attack his dog so ferociously that the dog nearly died and the vet threatened to prosecute him, we saw him kick a neighbour’s cat across the garden because he ‘didn’t like cats’ and we saw a previous partner of his leave with her child and refuse this man access because she was so frightened of his violence. The Rev Wynne Roberts, the hospital chaplain at Ysbyty Gwynedd, was friends with this doctor, knew about his violence and said nothing. Wynne Roberts sat on the Bangor University School of Healthcare Sciences Ethics Committee and was also a member of the Mental Health Act Commission. Wynne had previously worked as a priest in the Church of England but had been obliged to leave after he had a sexual relationship with a parishioner – whilst Wynne was married to somebody else as I think was the parishioner concerned – whereupon the North West Wales NHS Trust employed him as their hospital chaplain and later gave him a management role (see post ‘Music Therapy Anyone?’).
Beat that Mal.
Greg states in his book that Foundation Hospitals are the way forward because they ‘give power to local managers’. The local managers in the NHS are like Martin Jones and Keith Thomson – they are mini versions of the corrupt ferocious bullies that are the regional managers and the most senior directors. It is the NHS model of management. Mid-Staffs occurred because a bunch of lying callous dickwits wanted to achieve foundation status – if the managers are both thick and corrupt, no model of management is going to be successful. The mortality rates at Mid-Staffs were known throughout the NHS hierarchy, right up to the level of Secretary of State. The problems had begun under the Tory administrations of the 80s and 90s and became worse and worse and worse, because the response of everyone was to conceal the serious problems. Mid-Staffs was in crisis at the time that Margaret Jay was bollocking on to Greg about the Patients Charter. Whilst patients drank water out of vases, were told to crap in their beds by Angels who couldn’t be bothered to walk across the ward with a bed-pan and were ‘assessed’ by receptionists – and died unnecessarily in great numbers.
Dyke’s observations on the culture and management at the BBC include that there is much inbreeding at the BBC – that is, people working in the BBC being married to each other or being in relationships with each other (just like the prevailing situation in the NHS). What Greg doesn’t mention is that this sort of inbreeding at the BBC is also often the basis for securing jobs or promotion – as is sexual relationships between staff. Neither does Dyke mention the number of BBC staff who are the children of media executives/professionals, often specifically those who have worked for the BBC.
Dyke mentions that in the 80s the BBC was ‘very white, very male’, but with initiatives pushed through by John Birt ‘who felt passionately’ about gender equality this has all now changed – the glass ceiling has been well and truly broken. Dyke also mentions the efforts that the BBC have made towards better representation of ethnic minorities in the workforce. Greg wrote his book some ten years ago. A few weeks ago, a huge rumpus followed the revelations that women at the BBC earned far, far less than their male colleagues – even when sitting in the same studio, presenting the same programme – and that very few people from ethnic minorities were in senior positions or on higher salaries. Because the debate pivoted around gender inequality, the many other injustices barely received a mention. Although women were paid less than men at the BBC, women doing jobs needing a high level of education, knowledge and competence were paid a pittance compared to the airheads presenting light entertainment programmes. Claudia and Tess from Strictly Come Dancing were earning twice as much as Laura Kuenssberg or the women journalists on the Today programme. And everyone was grossly overpaid anyway.
The BBC does now have many senior female executives. They behave pretty much as the senior male executives always have – they are ruthless, and obsessed with their status and money. Many of them achieved their positions via relationships with their male senior colleagues and have evolved into cougars continuing this fine tradition with their more junior colleagues. Greg observes that in the BBC, the upper echelons consist of ‘competing individuals in a climate of fear’. Yes – and the women carry on just like the men. Greg doesn’t mention social class – the BBC still draws it’s staff – particularly the senior staff – from the middle classes who have been educated at Oxbridge or Russell group universities. Of course there will be plenty of excellent graduates coming out of those institutions but this phenomenon definitely squeezes out everybody else – it is also closely linked with the nepotism that is so obvious at the BBC. My mum/dad went to Oxbridge/Durham/St Andrews/Bristol, read humanities and spent their careers in the BBC and now I’m doing exactly the same…It’s because we’re all so talented! Unless my mum is Eve Pollard who has edited most of the nation’s biggest circulation newspapers, in which case I’ve evolved into Claudia Winkleman which is why I get paid nearly £500k for wearing too much eyeliner and wiggling my bum once a week on Strictly Come Dancing.
Dyke’s book mentions a few of these women who have broken the glass ceiling at the BBC. One is Jenny Abramsky – now Dame Jenny – who when Dyke was DG was Director of BBC Radio. Abramsky was responsible for digital radio – she ‘persuaded, threatened, cajoled’ everyone at the BBC to push this through; the BBC spent £18 million/yr on new digital services and then had to spend many more millions on the transmission system. There is still a proportion of the population who cannot receive digital radio. When Abramsky strong-armed the BBC into the switch- over to digital radio, it was actually the TV audience which was expanding at the time – radio listeners were dwindling. According to Dyke however, everyone was ‘too scared of incurring Jenny’s wrath’ to oppose the idea. It was commercial radio which really benefited – they wanted the switch to digital because they wanted the new radio stations which would result and they knew that only the BBC was big enough to push the switch-over through.
Jenny Abramsky was married to Alasdair Liddell. Liddell went to Fettes College – the same school that Blair attended and the school at which Blair’s father taught. Liddell was an NHS manager! In the 80s he was involved in the creation of the University College Hospitals Trust – so Alasdair will have known about the dodgy research practices there then. He then went on to manage the East Anglian Regional Health Authority between 1988-94, where he experimented with many of the structures that were later introduced into the NHS – structures which failed. So it was hardly surprising that in 1994 Liddell was appointed Director of Planning for the NHS in the Dept of Health. Liddell went on from success to success – he was the brains behind NHS Direct, another disaster and also worked on various IT projects for the NHS. The ones which cost millions but never got off the ground. In 2000 Liddell left the NHS and joined the PR firm Bell Pottinger – which has just imploded as a result of some very foolish decisions that they made in South Africa. Liddell also joined a company called Healthcare Locums. Now I wonder how they make their money?? Liddell was of course a Senior Associate of the Kings Fund. Liddell is now dead.
Another woman who broke the glass ceiling at the BBC was Carolyn Fairbairn, who when Greg was there was Director of Strategy. Fairbairn had previously worked for the World Bank, as a journo on the Economist, as a consultant at McKinsey and Co and in John Major’s Policy Unit in 10 Downing Street, developing policy on health and social care no less. It was Fairbairn who led the BBC team to secure the DTT licence. According to Greg, Andy Duncan – who later became CEO of Channel 4 – and Emma Scott ‘sold’ the idea of Freeview. The beauty of which was that because the customers have to buy the box, if the box doesn’t work or goes wrong, it’s the customer’s problem not the BBC’s.
Dyke maintains that the BBC wanted people to go digital – the Gov’t planned to switch the analogue signal off because if it wasn’t switched off the BBC couldn’t defend the range of digital services. Freeview also sustains the licence fee – the more Freeview boxes there are, the harder it is for the BBC to switch to subscription services and most boxes can’t be adapted for pay TV. In 1998 the BBC agreed to pay £5 million to BSkyB to put TV services on the BSkyB digital platform – although BSkyB wanted the BBC to do this anyway.
Since her involvement in this scam, Fairbairn has been a Director the FSA, a Director of Capita, a non-executive director of the Competition and Marketing Authority, Lloyds Banking Group and the UK Statistics Authority. In 2015 Fairbairn was appointed Director General of the CBI – the first woman to hold the post! Women’s Hour had better add her to their Power List. Fairbairn’s husband is described as a ‘multi-millionaire property developer’. So she can afford to be ripped off on her Freeview box – however at least she doesn’t have to run the risk of Crapita screwing up their assessment for her disability benefits, as they have done for thousands of other people.
Dyke was well-known for claiming that he would dispense with the managerialist insanity that John Birt imposed upon the BBC and for subsequently coining the slogan ‘cut the crap’. Cutting the crap sounds an excellent idea, but Greg did seem to introduce quite a lot of crap of his own. He lists numerous initiatives that he introduced – ‘Just Imagine’, ‘Leading The Way’, ‘The Big Conversation’. Why the staff of the BBC just can’t go into work and do their jobs he doesn’t explain, but Greg did all sorts of bizarre things to demonstrate to the staff that a new style of management had arrived, such as ‘allowing the staff to busk in the foyer of Bush House in London at lunchtime’. Presumably Claudia’s 500 grand a year isn’t enough for her to make ends meet, she’s got to play the penny whistle and pass the hat around as well. For ‘The Big Conversation’, Greg boasts of having 17,000 staff in a ‘huge live discussion’ – this meant that £250k had to be spent on extending part of the BBC building to cram in an additional 8000 staff in order that they could ‘watch and participate’. Greg maintains that a ‘party atmosphere’ prevailed and in all 400 events were held, including in Delhi, Moscow, Cairo, Nairobi, as well as across the UK. At TV Centre in White City, Cerys Matthews entertained everyone and food and booze was supplied.
Anyone still up for paying their licence fee?
Greg observes that the only people who didn’t take part in all this idiocy were the Governors – they probably thought that they had better things to do with their time. Like go to Glyndebourne, on BBC expenses obviously. There was one exception – Gavyn Davies, the Chair of Governors who was appointed after Bland, did participate in the crap that hadn’t been cut. But then Gavyn Davies had previously been a partner at Goldman Sachs. Gavyn had also worked in Harold Wilson’s Policy Unit, 1974-76; had been economic advisor to James Callaghan 1976-79 and was one of the ‘wise men’ to the Chancellor of the Exchequer during the 1992-97 Parliament. Gavyn was recommended for the post of Chair of the BBC by Tessa Jowell.
An ‘inspirational leader’, Susan Spindler, was Director of the crap known as ‘Making It Happen’ in 2002. I presume that this is the same Susan Spindler who was involved with making the documentary series ‘Doctors To Be’ which followed the careers of a group of medical students at St Mary’s Hospital Medical School some ten years before ‘Making It Happen’ – which left out a great many things…
More money was wasted on leadership. The BBC used Ashridge Business School for their ‘leadership training programme’. Ashridge Business School was originally a trust established by Bonar Law, the former PM. In 1929 it became a ‘College of Citizenship’ which was established to help the Conservative Party develop it’s intellectual forces in the struggle with left-wing organisations such as the Fabian Society – it was a cross between a think tank and a training centre. It was then re-launched in 1959 as a College providing ‘management training’.
Greg himself was sent to Harvard Business School at a cost of $30,000 which Christopher Bland was happy to sign off. Not only does Greg make it clear that anyone who paid the fee would pass the course – which sounds very familiar – but for some reason it was Greg’s course at Harvard that prompted him to rejoin the Labour Party. Perhaps because Miliband, Yvette et al had all done a stint at Harvard – what with them being so very radical and Yvette being a Woman who’s first job was driving a tractor in Yorkshire, or so she claimed when she thought that she was a dead cert to become Labour leader.
Dyke discusses devolution of broadcasting and tells us that in 2003 he suggested to the Governors that some of the BBC services should be relocated to Manchester, in the wake of much feeling that the BBC was far too centred upon the south east of England and that Scotland and the north of England had become alienated from the BBC. Abramsky threatened to resign if Radio 5 Live moved to Manchester, Jana Bennett the Director of TV – another Strong Woman Who’s Broken The Glass Ceiling – wanted BBC 3 to stay in London and the children’s dept also refused to move. BBC did of course end up building a big centre at Salford – and there has been endless trouble because the staff refused to move out of London.
Even Gavyn Davies was savaged for suggesting that too much BBC money was spent on the southern middle classes, but Greg mentioned that whilst he was DG he sent ‘a signal’ by appointing Pat Loughrey from N Ireland as Director of Nations and Regions.
It wasn’t a signal that anyone noticed. In 2005 I was a member of the public at a ‘meet the BBC’ event in Cardiff. This was when Michael Grade had taken over as Chair and Mark Thompson was DG. Grade and the other Governors were there, as was Thompson and Mark Byford (Mark Byford’s dad played a role in concealing the North Wales Child Abuse Scandal – please see post ‘Top Of The Cops’). The audience were all from Wales – obviously – and Rhun ap Iorwerth, now Plaid AM for Ynys Mon, who used to work for the BBC, was the man with the microphone who went among the audience. Grade gave the best display of rude, anti-Welsh bigotry that I have ever witnessed. The big idiot sat there pompousing away bellowing at Rhun ‘you’re tall aren’t you’. It took me a few minutes to work out what it was all about – it was Grade’s idea of a joke, because as we all know, Welshmen are small, so that they can fit down the mines. Rhun’s height is within the normal parameters for an adult UK male. It didn’t stop there – the rudeness regarding everything Welsh and the lame stereotypes continued all evening. The only person who didn’t lapse into this was the Governor for Wales who had to share a platform with this bunch of twats. He did make a few comments that suggested that they were revealing themselves to be a bunch of racist bastards, but it was water off Grade’s back, the insults continued. When a member of the audience raised the question of Ann Robinson recently insulting the Welsh on TV, we were told that the Welsh had to know when to take a joke. Well I look forward to Ann Robinson blacking up and joining in a song and dance routine a la the Black and White Minstrels and we’ll see what happens. Further details of Grade and his colleagues’ appalling crassness at that event can be read in my post ‘News Round Up, May 18 2017’. Greg Dyke mentions in his book that in 2000 he gave a lecture to the Commission for Racial Equality (CRE). I presume that Grade, Ruth Deech and Richard Tait were not in the audience.
Greg observes that Michael Grade was ‘a good and brave Chief Exec of Channel 4, willing to stand up against bullying from politicians’. Well that’s interesting Greg, because the reason that I take an interest in Grade is that back in the 1980s when Grade was a nobody on the make most famous for simply being a relative of Lew Grade, one of my friends worked as the box officer manager for the Edinburgh Fringe Festival one summer. My friend received a very rude demanding letter from a Samuel Brittan, journo on the FT and brother of Leon – later the centre of child sexual abuse allegations. The letter demanded that my friend send Samuel a ticket for the Fringe and arrange hotel accommodation for him – it ended by saying that Samuel worked at the FT ‘and anyone at the Financial Times can vouch for me’. The letter arrived shortly before the Fringe was due to open, so of course the tickets had sold out and accommodation in Edinburgh is booked up months in advance for the duration of the Festival anyway. My friend wrote back to Samuel explaining that she wasn’t able to send him a ticket or arrange accommodation because both had sold out.
Shortly after, a diplomatic incident occurred. My friend was summoned by High Authorities at the Fringe and given copies of the rude letter that Samuel had written her – as well as a copy of a letter that Brittan had then written to Grade FUMING that my mate hadn’t pulled strings for him and a reply from Grade to Brittan, telling Brittan that he was ‘appalled’ at my friend’s ‘rudeness’ and that Grade would ensure that Brittan got a ticket for the Festival ‘even I have to give you mine’. Someone had demanded that my friend should be dismissed over all this – only that wasn’t really possible, because it was just a summer job. I wanted to send the correspondence to Private Eye – but my friend was then told by a well-wisher that Grade was about to become head of Channel 4 and her planned career in media would be wrecked if any of us publicised the letters.
Grade was given a peerage in 2011. He sits as a Conservative – his wiki entry states that Grade didn’t announce that he was a Tory until 2010. He didn’t need to, some of us had known for years…
A couple years after the BBC event in Cardiff I was chatting to some BBC folk from Cardiff who were all telling me how much ‘charisma’ Michael Grade had and how it was this that had taken him to the top. At the same time there were articles appearing in the UK liberal broadsheets about Grade’s winning ways and yes his ‘charisma’ and how he wears red braces and matching socks. Not a word about doing favours for people who’s brothers are Cabinet Ministers running a corrupt Home Office and who are widely believed to have been tangled up in a child sexual abuse scandal that was covered up by a corrupt Home Office whilst he was Home Secretary. If matching red braces and socks are the essential ingredient to being Chairman of the BBC, there are a great many other people who would be capable of doing that job without grovelling to the relatives of some very unsavoury politicians.
Dyke mentions in his book that Tessa Jowell was very keen for Blair to appoint Grade as Chair of the BBC. Tessa herself earlier in her career knew about the abuse of children in care and psychiatric patients, she worked for some of the organisations that were actually perpetuating and concealing this (see post ‘Tower Hamlets, Paul Boateng and Tessa Jowell’). However Dyke also observes that Tessa just went along with whatever Blair ordered her to do which is why she was such a push over when she was at Secretary of State for Media, Culture and Sport. Dear old Tessa did once say that she’d jump under a bus for Blair – so one can’t tell if the driving force behind Grade’s appointment as Chair was Blair, Tessa or someone else. What is clear is that it is very likely that Grade knew something about the chaos and wrongdoing of the inner London boroughs where children were being abused in the 70s, 80s and 90s – run by Councillors like Tessa – and the wrongdoing at the Home Office, run at one point by his mate Samuel’s brother. Grade had spent donkeys years at LWT – he’ll have learnt something from all those current affairs and politics programmes about London that he was involved with making and he’d been toadying around enough politicians for a sufficiently long time to have heard a few things about them as well. Someone who was very much opposed to Grade’s appointment as Chair of the BBC though was John Birt. He tried to influence Tessa and then wrote to Blair telling him that Grade was the worst public appointment he’d made as PM.
It’s not just the Chairs of the BBC Governors who have chums in Gov’t, their relatives do as well. Gavyn Davies’s wife Sue was one of Gordon Brown’s inner circle. As for a few of the other Governors – at one point the Vice-Chair of the BBC was Richard Ryder. Ryder was a former Tory Whip and responsible for organising the revamp that Thatcher underwent in the late 70s. Ryder knew about Sir Peter Morrison’s activities (see post ‘I Want Serious Money Now Please’). Sarah Hogg, wife of Tory Cabinet Minister Douglas Hogg was a Governor – Hogg had previously been head of John Major’s Policy Unit at the time of Black Wednesday in 1992 (see post ‘Running The Country – And All That Jazz’). Although Sarah claims to be one of the UK’s leading economists and was head of the Policy Unit, Black Wednesday wasn’t her fault. So that’s why Sarah was given a life peerage in 1995, just three years after someone else crashed the economy. Sarah then became Baroness Hogg, although she was already Viscountess Hailsham. Hogg was the first women to Chair a FTSE 100 company. Sarah’s daughter Charlotte has inherited her mother’s talent for highly paid jobs – Charlotte Hogg was at one point the Deputy Governor of the Bank of England, but the Deputy Hogg had to resign when an unfortunate undeclared conflict of interest was discovered – Charlotte’s brother had his snout in the same trough but the Hoggs forgot to mention it. Another Governor was Heather Rabbatts, the former Chief Exec of Lambeth Borough Council between 1995-2000. So she was running Lambeth Council when Mandelson was a member. Heather was the youngest Council Chief Exec in the UK. She is a black female barrister who advertises her disadvantaged background. I wonder whose Chambers that she might have passed through? Would you happen to know anything about all those kids who were abused whilst in the care of Lambeth Heather? The kids to whom huge amounts of compensation was later paid, not just because they were molested but because Lambeth knew that it was happened but did nothing? Some of those kids were sent by Lambeth to children’s homes in north Wales…
Heather was a BBC Governor between 1999-01. Heather was on FIFA’s anti-discriminatory task force until she resigned in 2015 after Sepp Blatter was re-elected as President. So she was busy not discriminating there whilst he was President for his first innings at FIFA then – didn’t she notice what he was like? Heather was named in the Women’s Hour Power List!
Greg’s time as DG ended notoriously as sparks flew between the BBC and Blair’s Gov’t – most obviously in the form of Alistair Campbell – which eventually resulted in the resignation of Dyke and Gavyn Davies and a number of other Governors. The row was precipitated by a report regarding Saddam Hussein’s WMD by Andrew Gilligan that was broadcast on the Today programme that Blair et al took umbrage over. The Gov’t tried to pressurise the BBC into saying that Gilligan’s story wasn’t true and when the BBC refused to do this, Mandelson rang his old friend Caroline Thomas who was Director of Policy at the BBC and told her that the BBC would get the full force of the Gov’t PR machine. Mandy was as good as his threat and Campbell et al mobilised against the BBC. In the cross-fire Dr David Kelly’s name was made public by the MoD and Downing Street’s Press Office. Dr Kelly was later found dead, supposedly as a result of suicide, although the injuries that were stated to have been found on Dr Kelly’s body and the quantity of drugs that were said to have been found in his blood would never have been enough to kill him. A group of medics did make this point in a letter to the press sometime afterwards, but nobody took any notice of them. If only they’d alleged that they were being attacked by dangerous mental health patients – their concerns would have been headline news then.
The uproar was such that it led to the Hutton Inquiry, which was about as honest and transparent as the Waterhouse Inquiry. Before Hutton published his exoneration of Blair, Dyke alleges that Philip Gould, a member of Blair’s clique, was asked if the Report could prove difficult for the Gov’t. Gould is alleged to have replied ‘don’t worry, we appointed the right judge’. When Rebekah Brooks ended up in deep shit after the serious wrongdoing of News International became public, it is alleged that she went to Blair for advice and was told ‘tough up and arrange an inquiry that will clear you’. Which is exactly what Brooks did – as well as ‘leaving to start a family’ (I think Rebekah had to resort to fertility treatment to do this, she was no spring chicken, so presumably starting a family had not been a priority previously), receiving at least one million from Murdoch – to pay for the pram and nappies obviously – only to return at a very senior level in Murdoch’s empire a few years later! A lot of people were of the opinion that Brooks should have gone to prison along with her staff. But she had advice from Blair and shared horses with David Cameron…
Grade himself departed from the BBC in a puff of smoke to move into the most senior position at ITV. The next Chair of the BBC was Chris Patten who angrily refused to shoulder any responsibility at all when Jimmy Savile and the Newsnight allegations regarding the abuse of children in north Wales exploded in his face. This is the Patten who was Chair of the Conservative Party when Sir Peter Morrison was busy with kids in care in north Wales, the Chris Patten who’s wife Lavender was the Patron of the Oxford Mindfulness Centre that was established and run by Professor Mark Williams. Not only was Patten himself Chancellor of Oxford University at the time, but Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy was based on a research fraud that Williams had carried out whilst he was working as a clinical psychologist in Bangor in the late 80s/early 90s (see post ‘The Biggest Expert Of The Lot’). Whilst patients killed themselves and were left destitute. Williams’s ‘fieldwork’ was carried out by the notoriously abusive Arfon Community Mental Health Team, whose colleagues were some of the social workers responsible for the abuse of children in care in north Wales. An early publication of Williams’s had an acknowledgement to Keith Fearns. Keith Fearns was the Gwynedd social worker who perjured himself in court on the orders of Lucille Hughes in order for Gwynedd County Council to obtain a High Court injunction against me to prevent me pursuing my complaints against Gwynedd Social Services. Fearns had never met me when he swore his affidavit. Lucille Hughes was named in the Waterhouse Report as knowing that a paedophile ring was operating in Gwynedd Social Services when she was Director, but she failed to act.
Like the NHS, the BBC seems to be a complete recidivist. One of my friends worked there in the late 80s and he spent the best part of a year watching the entrenched corruption, with commissions given out to friends of people at the BBC and the fuckwit children of bigwigs at the BBC turning up in plum jobs. He also noticed that a lot of the senior managers at the BBC were older gay men who had a rather worrying sexual interest in much younger boys. The BBC seems to have got away with a great deal in its time. Just before my friend worked there, Private Eye used to provide updates on the activities of a manager there whom they named ‘spanker’. I can’t remember Spanker’s name, but I do remember the Eye’s regular reports on him. Spanker was interested in women rather than men, but he made a habit of asking young women who had applied for jobs at the BBC whom he was allegedly interviewing if they’d let him spank them. Spanker continued to do this even after the Eye began publishing articles about him – he did eventually resign but it took a while. Neither do I remember hearing about Spanker from any other media outlet.