Workers’ Play Time

I have mentioned in previous posts and comments that in 1993 I wrote to the UK’s most high profile radical barrister Michael Mansfield at his chambers in Tooks Court about the mental health services in north Wales. I had just been prosecuted – yet again – at the insistence of the mental health services for ‘staring at a social worker in Safeways’. I was fined £60 by Bangor Magistrates Court. The social worker concerned, Jackie Brandt, a member of the delightful Arfon Community Mental Health Team, had previously illegally detained me, refused to investigate my complaints – as had her boss Lucille Hughes – and perjured herself in an attempt to have me imprisoned. Brandt had alleged to the police that I had screamed and yelled at her in Safeways, swore at her and threatened her. She admitted under cross-examination in Court that I hadn’t done any of these things, but I had ‘looked at her’, indeed at one point ‘stared’. Brandt then started crying. No-one asked any questions about why Brandt had felt able to lie in a statement to the police, lie again in Court and only admit that she had lied when my solicitor questioned her. Instead Bangor Magistrates deemed that by looking at Brandt I had breached the Public Order Act. The Act in question had been passed by Thatcher’s Gov’t to criminalise the striking miners in the 1984 dispute but was being widely used to prosecute anyone for anything. Mansfield mentioned the abuse of this Act in his 1993 book ‘Presumed Guilty’, which is why I wrote to him.

I did receive a reply from Michael Mansfield himself – he simply wrote me a couple of lines thanking me for my letter and saying ‘it is always good to have support’. I didn’t think anymore of this at the time – I just presumed that Mansfield would be in receipt of huge quantities of mail from people having a hard time and that he’d be busy defending the Birmingham Six or something. I missed a few things at the time.

At that time Mary Wynch had just made legal history by suing Dr Dafydd Alun Jones, Risley Remand Centre and Clwyd Health Authority for wrongful arrest and false imprisonment (see post ‘The Mary Wynch Case – Details’). Mansfield will definitely have known about this case – not only because it made legal history and received widespread media coverage, but also because there’d been a TV documentary made about it ‘Who Will Listen To Mary Wynch?’ (by Elizabeth Clough, Jeremy Paxman’s partner at the time) and because Mansfield’s longstanding friend and colleague Gareth Peirce, the radical solicitor, worked – as did Paul Boateng, Imran Khan and John Wadham (who became the Director of Liberty) – in Birnberg and Co, the solicitors that represented Mary. Gareth Peirce later became a senior partner in what became Birnberg Peirce and Partners. Benedict Birnberg himself retired in 1999 – just before the publication of the Waterhouse Report. Birnberg was also co-secretary of War On Want. At the time that I wrote to Mansfield, allegations of a paedophile ring operating in Cheshire and north Wales involving public figures including politicians and civil servants had appeared in the London based media. Allegations of a cover-up reaching to the highest levels of Gov’t were being made, a police investigation had been launched but had found ‘no evidence’ of the involvement of people in high places, an independent investigation by John Jillings of the abuse of children in the care of Clwyd County Council had been ordered and Alison Taylor -a social worker from Gwynedd – had blown the whistle loudly on the abuse of children in care in north Wales only to be sacked from her job by Lucille Hughes. The year before I wrote to Mansfield, Alison had appeared in a TV documentary with former residents of children’s homes in north Wales alleging abuse of kids in care and they had named a senior police officer with the North Wales Police, Gordon Anglesea, as one of the abusers. By the time that I wrote to Mansfield, Anglesea was suing the media outlets who had named him for libel. Michael Mansfield’s partner Yvette Vanson was a TV producer – it was her colleague Tony Wardle who co-wrote ‘Presumed Guilty’ with Mansfield. They will not have missed the havoc in north Wales. Mansfield had then received a letter from someone living near Bangor supplying him with details of the most extraordinary abuse of the law by Gwynedd Social Services involving collusion by the North Wales Police, Bangor Magistrates Court and the CPS… Did his antennae really not twitch?

A few days ago, I read Michael Mansfield’s 2009 book, ‘Memoirs of a Radical Lawyer’.

Mansfield established his chambers Tooks Court in 1984 as a collective. I don’t know what was going on there, but Mansfield admits in his book that their senior clerk walked out in response to the ‘arrogance’ and ‘demands’ of the barristers at Tooks. The radical socialist barristers who were fighting for the common man…

Sadly, rather than genuinely radical barristers, Tooks was hosting some unscrupulous hypocrites of the highest order. Helena Kennedy QC worked there – the Helena who worked closely with corrupt psychiatrist Professor Nigel Eastman from St George’s Hospital Medical School. Eastman was not only concealing and colluding with wrongdoing at St George’s and Springfield Hospital (the psychiatric unit attached to St George’s), but he also colluded with those we know and love in north Wales in 1991 when he was faced with evidence of their criminal activities (see post ‘Some Very Eminent Psychiatrists From London…’). Helena also will have known about the abuse of women patients in the special hospitals, many of whom had already been abused as kids in care and as mental health patients – no, she didn’t say a word. I bet she knew about Jimmy Savile’s activities at Broadmoor as well. Please read my post ‘Eve Was Framed – As Were A Lot Of Other People’ for further details regarding St Helena.

Patricia Scotland QC worked at Tooks. Patricia Scotland was involved in the Waterhouse Inquiry. Did Patsy represent any of the kids who’d been abused whilst in care in north Wales? No. Patsy was the QC who represented the Welsh Office. The Welsh Office who ignored complaints that children were being terribly abused, the Welsh Office who were failing to carry out regular inspections of children’s homes even after staff in the homes had been convicted of sexual and physical assaults on children in their care, the Welsh Office who employed corrupt lawyer Andrew Park who advised the mental health services as to how to mount prosecutions against me and how to avoid investigating my complaints, the Welsh Office which employed the corrupt Medical Ombudsman Professor Robert Owen who – along with Professor Robert Bluglass and Dr Colin Berry – concealed the criminal activities of Dr Dafydd Alun Jones and Dr Tony Francis (Dr X). Patsy’s sterling work on behalf of the Welsh Office involved cross-examining the witnesses – the people who had been abused – so harshly that some of them became so distressed that they needed medical attention whilst others were unable to walk out of the building unaided. Details of Patsy’s glorious career as a black woman barrister who is completely dedicated to helping the unfortunate can be read in posts ‘Baroness Patricia Scotland Was On Board As Well!’, More On Baroness Patricia Scotland QC – And Her Very Sleazy Friends’ and ‘Even More About Baroness Patricia Scotland QC’.

Another alumnus of Tooks was Constance Briscoe, who like Patsy made much of being black and in possession of ovaries. After making it as far as a judge presiding over mental health and child care cases, Briscoe was imprisoned for perjury. Briscoe’s mate Vicky Pryce and Pryce’s former husband Lib Dem MP Chris Huhne were also imprisoned, but unlike Briscoe and Huhne who’s careers were finished off, dear old Vicky returned to work as a Gov’t economist after she’d served her stretch and can be heard regularly on the BBC. Vicky also wrote a misery memoir about her time in prison, from the perspective of an oppressed woman.

Vera Baird QC, another well-known radical feminist lawyer, also worked at Tooks. Years later in her capacity as Solicitor General in Gordon Brown’s Gov’t, Vera assisted Charlie Falconer in withdrawing virtually all legal aid in cases where people had had their lives wrecked by the state.

Many of the Tooks lawyers were networked to fellow lawyer Cherie Booth and when Cherie’s husband Tony Blair became PM he gave a lot of them peerages.

Friends and colleagues of Mansfield et al at Tooks included other big names among radical barristers, such as Stephen Sedley, Anthony Scrivener and Anthony Gifford.

I am the first to admit that Mansfield and some of his colleagues have done some excellent work. They have successfully helped some victims of terrible miscarriages of justice such as the Guildford Four and the Birmingham Six and I know someone who has worked with Lord Gifford fighting for prisoners on death row in Jamaica. Some of those people would be dead without Tony Gifford. But again and again, I notice that the radical barristers just do not touch cases involving people who have been abused by the state child care system or the mental health system in the UK. In fact no-one will take those cases. Birnberg and Co did fight for Mary Wynch initially – but Mary’s problems did not end when she won her case. Clwyd Health Authority et al then refused to stump up the damages, Mary ended up having to go into hiding, the property and money of which she was fleeced by Dr Dafydd Alun Jones et al was never returned to her and she was finally ruined by the Home Office under Michael Howard in 1995. At which point she was never heard of again – the few people who had fought for her and publicised her case fell silent.

I can only speculate that the problem is as this blog has detailed ie. that the corruption involving the North Wales Child Abuse Scandal and related events reaches to such a high level – including the most senior members of the judiciary – that even Mansfield and Gareth Peirce won’t touch it. Perhaps they know that their own careers will be ruined if they take those cases. Perhaps they are simply too frightened – they will know that numerous witnesses to the north Wales case were found dead after complaining or giving evidence and in the case of the five witnesses who were killed in an arson attack in 1992, even the Court returned a verdict of ‘unlawful killing’ (see post ‘The Silence Of The Welsh Lambs’). The cynic in me observes that the radical lawyers had close connections to the inner London boroughs whose Councils were running the children’s homes where paedophiles had infiltrated and that those Councils were also sending children on placement to homes in north Wales. Paul Boateng’s own wife was a social worker and Councillor in Lambeth, which had one of the biggest problems with abuse of children in care in the UK. Those boroughs also pioneered community law centres, in which some of the radical lawyers worked when they were very young – they were not going to effectively represent people who had been abused by the staff of the organisation funding the law centre.

It was easier for Michael Mansfield and Gareth Peirce to represent clients like the Price sisters who proudly admitted to blowing up part of London than to represent people who had been raped by paedophiles employed as social workers and then unlawfully imprisoned and abused again by Top Doctors employed as psychiatrists.

 

It is clear from Michael Mansfield’s memoir that he has encountered the results of the North Wales Child Abuse Scandal – and child abuse by the state in other regions of the UK – and the abuse of psychiatry many times. Michael Mansfield spends time talking to and listening to people who have been crapped on by the state – he believes what they say as well and is acutely aware of just what the state will do to get itself out of trouble when little people have witnessed or gained evidence of wrongdoing by people in high places. Mansfield is also sensitive and intelligent enough to know that even when he is hearing a truly bizarre story from someone disorientated, there may well be much truth in the story and it’s that which he must identify. Interestingly Mansfield learnt this as a young man by talking to psychiatric patients from Friern Barnet Hospital when he had a job emptying the bins there – he was hearing hair-raising anecdotes and he gradually started to realise that the nutters were telling the truth about a great many matters. I noticed this phenomenon myself. I heard the most extraordinary things from patients that the Top Doctors and Angels tripped over themselves to dismiss as delusions and psychotic ramblings – and I watched and I listened and I realised that a great deal of what I was being told was true.

There used to be a number of people wandering around north Wales – I say used to be, because they have now nearly all died as a result of neglect from the mental health services – who claimed to have worked as prostitutes or groupies and to have had sex with a variety of well-known people or local bigwigs. These people were universally dismissed by the people paid to care for them as being ‘difficult’, having ‘upset people’ or being ‘troublemakers’. These insults were used to justify extreme neglect and even unlawful refusal of ‘services’. The people being left to die had all lived through the paedophile years in north Wales when vulnerable people – particularly kids in care and psychiatric patients – were sexually abused and exploited and trafficked into sex work. I know that this went on, I know some of the people who were doing it and I know that at least some of the people who were named by these virtually destitute patients were indeed sexually using vulnerable people. As Jimmy Savile knew, if you want to sexually assault people and get away with it sexually assault kids in care, learning disabled people or people labelled as having mental health problems. Not only will you get away with it but if your victims dare tell anyone what you have done they will be punished all over again by whoever it is ‘looking after’ them. And the Top Doctors will assist you by pouring venom upon your victims like there is no tomorrow.

Mansfield’s book mentions that he worked on behalf of people who were in trouble with the law for drug use. He’ll have known that there were both high levels of police corruption in the drug squads and that some Top Doctors working in the field were essentially dealers, often to rich elites. No doubt Mansfield also knew about the corruption in the Home Office Drugs Branch responsible for the oversight of controlled drugs (see post ‘Little Things Hitting Each Other’). Mansfield mentions Bernie Simons, an associate of Dr Ann Dally, dealer to the stars. I haven’t been able to find out who Bernie Simons was, but from what Mansfield says he seems to have been a solicitor as well as a drugs campaigner.

Throughout the 70s, 80s and 90s, Risley Remand centre served as the personal prison of Dafydd and the paedophiles’ friends. Huge numbers of the prisoners there had passed through the north Wales children’s homes or mental health services. Mary Wynch was detained there unlawfully and I know of at least one other mental health patient in north Wales who was as well. The brutality at Risley was legendary and the suicide rate astronomical. I know three people – all mental health patients – who were in Risley in the 80s. They related accounts of hearing the screams of other prisoners at night as they were beaten up by the warders and of being assaulted by the warders themselves. One man had been left in complete darkness in his cell for a number of days after a prison officer removed the light bulb because the prisoner had complained about the bulb flickering on and off. The same man had been detained in Risley after the North Wales Drug Squad had framed he and his wife and assaulted him. Whilst he was in Risley he maintains that he was visited by an unidentified senior detective from London who tried to interrogate him about offences of which he knew nothing. The detective became angry with him, told him that there was no point questioning him because ‘you’re fucking mad’ and threw him back in his cell. This man was subsequently transferred to the ‘care’ of Dafydd in the North Wales Hospital Denbigh – where he stayed for a year. His complaints about the North Wales Police were never investigated. Another man described sharing a cell with a suicidal man who was trying to injure himself – the man whom I knew rang and rang for help but no-one answered the bell. His cell mate succeeded in killing himself and the man whom I spoke to was left alone in the cell with the corpse for some time. I was friendly with a lady who fostered a young man with mental health and drug problems. At the age of 18 he was detained in Risley – when my friend went to visit him he was visibly injured after a beating by the officers. My friend challenged the officers and was met with one of them boasting about how much he enjoyed beating the ‘little bastards’ up. There were some prisoners in Risley who were serious offenders, but there were many more who had been accused of trivial crimes but had been detained there on the orders of Dafydd and the paedophiles’ friends ‘for psychiatric assessment’. Some like Mary Wynch had not committed any crime at all.

The wrongdoing at Risley permeated levels higher than the thugs employed as prison officers. The Waterhouse Report mentions the panel having sight of a letter allegedly written by a prisoner in Risley to Lucille Hughes in support of Nefyn and June Dodd, the managers of Ty’r Felin children’s home in Bangor. The Dodds were tremendously cruel to children in their care and the kids from that home were being trafficked to London and other locations for prostitution. Even Sir Ronnie Waterhouse accepted that the letter was forged and had not been written by the prisoner – a former resident of Ty’r Felin – at all. Not that Ronnie asked any questions, this was just another incident that was dismissed without investigation. So someone at Risley went to the trouble of forging a letter from a prisoner to Lucille Hughes at a time when the Dodds were under investigation and allegations of a paedophile ring operating in the children’s homes in north Wales were appearing in the media.

My own medical records provide evidence of corruption at Risley. In 1987 Dafydd Alun Jones told me over the telephone that if I didn’t drop my complaints about him he’d have me imprisoned in Risley. Brown heard this phone call as well. I ignored Dafydd’s threats and continued to try to pursue my complaints. Some months later a junior doctor working for Dafydd at the North Wales Hospital Denbigh made a statement to the police maintaining that I had tried to stab him – I was arrested and taken to Bangor Police Station. He claimed that I had pulled a knife out of my pocket and had brought the knife down upon him as though to stab him and the only reason that he wasn’t stabbed by me was that a male nurse had dragged me off him. The male nurse who allegedly rescued this junior doctor from my murderous attempt made a statement about the same incident. His statement maintained that I had shouted at the junior doctor because no-one was investigating my complaints about Dafydd et al – which was true. The nurse explained that I had a camping knife in my possession – this was in the days when camping knives could be legally purchased and held (yes, I was in north Wales camping at the time) – but I did not withdraw the knife, no-one saw the knife and I certainly didn’t try to stab anyone with it. Whilst I was at the police station, colleagues of Dafydd Alun Jones rang the police claiming that I had threatened to kill them. The custody sergeant was good enough to refuse to take their statements there and then and told me that ‘they’re all conspiring against you up there’. I later complained to the NHS about these events and observed to Alun Davies the corrupt manager of the mental health services that the custody sergeant had made this comment. Davies bellowed at me down the phone that he’d be ‘having a word with the police’ about that sergeant. The sergeant, Sgt Morgan, was some months later arrested and charged with indecently assaulting a teenaged girl in custody. Bangor Magistrates Court found him guilty and he was sacked from the North Wales Police. Before the police released me, Dafydd turned up at the police station, although he didn’t explain what he was doing there. Dafydd’s visit was very brief and involved him saying to me ‘I think ewe should be in prison’. The next day I returned to Leicester, where I was living at the time.

My complaint about the whole saga was never investigated and the junior doctor who lied in his statement to the police was never investigated either. Many years later when I finally obtained my medical records, I found a copy of a letter that had been written by an NHS administrator at Ysbyty Gwynedd at the time which stated that I was ‘now in Risley Remand Centre after stabbing someone with a knife’. Not only that, but there was a copy of a letter from the Mental Health Act Commission to the mental health services in north Wales, stating that as I was now in Risley Remand Centre they would write a letter to my home address in Leicester in response to my complaints about Dafydd et al.

I was never charged with attacking anyone with a knife. I had not appeared in Court in relation to attacking anyone with a knife and no request was made to any court at that time to have me remanded in Risley. So the Mental Health Act Commission cannot possibly have received any official documentation stating that this had happened. They had obviously just been told by one of their mates in the north Wales NHS – a mate who hadn’t realised that Dafydd’s plan had gone pear-shaped – that I was now safely in a cell in Risley, so of course a letter concerning my previous very serious complaints about Dafydd et al could be sent to my home address where the Mental Health Act Commission thought that I wasn’t. Problem dealt with. No investigation, patient framed and imprisoned for a serious offence, complaints about Dafydd’s previous criminal activities kicked into the long grass.

This whole sequence of events suggests corruption in the NHS, in Risley Remand Centre and in the Mental Health Act Commission. There was never an investigation into any of it or any of the people involved. People who included Dafydd, Dr Tony Francis (Dr X), Janice Davies (Dafydd’s henchwoman at the North Wales Hospital Denbigh), a Dr Ponnampalam, a Dr Khalid Siddiqui and David Ewart at the Mental Health Act Commission. Four years ago I discovered that Khalid Siddiqui was employed as an ‘independent doctor’ in the south east of England assessing people under the Mental Health Act. He is probably still doing this and getting paid handsomely for it.

In May 1989 Risley finally exploded in the form of a prison riot. A group of prisoners trashed a wing – not that there was much worth trashing, it wasn’t the Ritz – and a roof-top protest lasting three days took place. Michael Mansfield defended one of the leaders of the riot (not a man from north Wales). I remember Michael Mansfield writing in the press at the time about the appalling conditions, brutality and corruption at Risley. Mansfield’s client may not have come from north Wales, but I bet that Mansfield knew what was going on at Risley – as will have the other lawyers who worked with him on the case, Tim Owen and Jeremy Hawthorne – because of his habit of chatting at length to numerous people and knowing when he is hearing about corruption in high places. The jury acquitted the rioters at Risley. At the time of the Risley riot, the Home Secretary was Douglas Hurd, who was later replaced by David Waddington – members of the Gov’t who were wilfully ignoring the criminal misconduct that they were told was going on in north Wales.

Michael Mansfield came up against someone else who was networked into Dafydd and the paedophiles’ friends when he represented Mohamed Al Fayed at the inquests of Dodi and Diana – Lord Thomas Scott Baker. Scott Baker had previously sat as a judge on the Chester and Wales Circuit and in 1995 had imprisoned a highly vulnerable woman, Susan Brooke, who had passed through the North Wales Hospital who had undoubtedly crossed the paths of the paedophiles’ friends (see posts ‘So Who’s Path Had Susan Brooke Crossed?’, ‘More On The Susan Brooke Case’ and ‘Update On The Cases Of Susan Brooke And Sara Thornton’). How Scott Baker ever made the career move from being a paedophiles’ friend in north Wales to the coroner holding the inquests of Dodi and Di I do not know – particularly as the inquests of Dodi and Di were the first inquests that Scott Baker had ever conducted. Press comment at the time suggested that Scott Baker had been specifically brought in for the inquests because he was the one person who was thought to be capable of standing up to Michael Mansfield.

Think about this. Mansfield is clever, has been around a long time, knew about north Wales and Risley and always does his homework well. He will have made it his business to rifle through Scott Baker’s undies before the inquests – and he will have known that Scott Baker had previously worked on the shamefully corrupt Chester and Wales Circuit and had been involved in the Susan Brooke case. As with the case of the paedophiles at the heart of Thatcher’s Gov’t, Mansfield could have really dug up the dirt on Scott Baker and used it. He didn’t. Perhaps because Scott Baker was in a position to throw even more dirt at Mansfield – dirt suggesting that Mansfield and his famous freedom fighters had remained silent about a viscious paedophile ring linked to organised crime which had resulted in the framing and imprisonment of scores of innocent people, the deaths of a great many witnesses and the collusion of some of Mansfield’s friends and colleagues.

Michael Mansfield knows how low the Top Doctors and those who care will stoop if they feel that it is necessary. Mansfield represented Angela Cannings, a mother wrongly convicted and imprisoned for the death of two of her children, on the basis of the ‘expert evidence’ provided by Sir Roy Meadow. Meadow was a paediatrician who managed to invent a new psychiatric diagnosis – Munchausens by Proxy – and also managed to make up some statistics which he then spouted off whilst in the witness box. No-one questioned him until a number of mothers had been wrongly imprisoned for killing their children. A number of real statisticians then came forward and demonstrated very clearly that Meadow didn’t know his arse from his elbow and a number of innocent people were subsequently released from prison. The most famous example was Sally Clark, a solicitor who’s character had been absolutely trashed by the Top Doctors after two of her children died in infancy. Sally was imprisoned and although she was released on appeal in 2003, she had been so destroyed by her experience that she died not long after release. Not that this was enough for the Top Doctors. After Sally Clark was released, Top Doctor Professor David Southall – another expert in Munchausens by Proxy – on the basis of no evidence at all then named Sally Clark’s husband as the murderer of the children. Probably because his eyes were too close together. Meadow and Southall were eventually disciplined by the GMC, but a rearguard action was supported by their colleagues -particularly in the case of Southall – and many articles sympathetic to them appeared in the liberal media, reminding us that Southall was a Brave Doctor Who Cared About Children. The fact that in the case of Sally Clark a pathologist actually discovered that one of her children had died of an infection but chose not to mention this before or during the trial was not discussed in the Southall-supporting media. Meadow and Southall both maxed out the appeals process and were eventually reinstated as Top Doctors.

Mansfield also defended Barry George, the man with a number of vulnerabilities who was found guilty of the well-planned assassination of Jill Dando, although he was at a day centre several miles away when Jill Dando was shot dead outside of her house. Jill Dando was a reporter on ‘Crimewatch’, a programme which led to several miscarriages of justice, although the BBC didn’t make reference to that when they boasted about ‘Crimewatch’s’ success the other day. ‘Crimewatch’ was responsible for the conviction of Michael Stone, another case that many people find very troubling. There was no forensic evidence against Michael Stone whatever, but a Top Doctor watching ‘Crimewatch’ saw the episode featuring the murder of Lin and Megan Russell and rang in saying that it was just the sort of thing that his patient Stone would have done. Stone remains in prison many years later and continues to profess his innocence. Dando’s colleague on ‘Crimewatch’ Sue Cook was a close friend of George Carman QC, the crooked barrister who had many good friends who were gangsters or bent police officers (see posts ‘No Ordinary Methods’ and ‘No Ordinary Methods – Supplementary Post’).

Mansfield is not naïve. He knows that Top Doctors lie, particularly to cover their tracks after they have screwed up and he knows that Top Doctors who stick their necks out and challenge their colleagues are subjected to witch-hunts by the medical establishment. Mansfield is well-acquainted with the facts involved some of the most high profile child protection disasters that there have been since the 1970s, 80s and 90s and later. Yet staggeringly, he described Esther Rantzen as a ‘vociferous and committed’ campaigner, citing Childline as evidence. The Esther who ‘didn’t know’ about Jimmy Savile, who ‘didn’t know’ about her former bedfellow Sir Nicholas Fairbain, the Esther who’s sister worked as a social worker for Lambeth Social Services whilst it had one the worst records on child protection in the UK, the Esther who appointed her sister’s manager as Chief Exec of Childline. The Childline that was alleged to have ignored calls from children in care who were being abused. The Esther who then ran a mental health campaign and who ignored a letter that I sent her about the criminal activities of Dr Dafydd Alun Jones et al. But then Mansfield’s PA Susie Haig worked as a counsellor for Childline. So Susie probably heard the same story that I heard from Childline then – that Esther was so dreadful when speaking to the children that they had to work hard to ensure that she didn’t actually answer any calls herself when she was gracing Childline with her presence to drum up a bit of good PR.

Mansfield did a lot of work for the NUM during the miners strike of 1984 and also defended Arthur Scargill when Scargill was arrested. Mansfield and Scargill were friends and established the Socialist Labour Party together. My post ‘It’s All About Protecting Children’ described how Arthur Scargill shared a platform in Bangor a few years ago with a paedophiles’ friend and how this particular paedophiles’ friend has married a lady who has stood for the Socialist Labour Party in north Wales in General Elections. Mansfield had an excellent grip on the police corruption and the various dirty tricks used to frame and prosecute miners who had themselves been assaulted by the police.

It was at this time that Mansfield got together with the lady who was to become his wife for 30 years, documentary maker Yvette Vanson. Vanson and Mansfield lived in Yorkshire for a while, Vanson researching for and making her films and Mansfield defending the miners. Mansfield and Vanson became very well-networked into the community in Yorkshire via a man called Terry Dunn and they also had connections on the ground in south Wales. Like north Wales, Yorkshire had a major problem with police corruption, a paedophile ring – and a man called Jimmy Savile who was involved with both. Surely Mansfield and Vanson heard SOMETHING about all of this? Terry Dunn must have known – Mansfield tells us that after the strike, Dunn did a degree at the LSE and ‘fought for trade union rights’ via an unidentified charity in London. Mansfield was a lawyer and Vanson was a producer of TV documentaries about people having a hard time – people like Mansfield and Vanson are approached constantly by people who’ve been stuffed over asking for help. This even happened to me after I appeared in the media talking about the abuses of the mental health services and I’m not famous – but people rang me, they e mailed and they wrote. Anyone speaking publicly about the abuse of people who feel powerless definitely gets approached by people who’ve suffered at the hands of the oppressors.

 

It is to Yvette Vanson to whom I will now turn, because I suspect that Yvette Vanson knows so much she would be capable of writing a blog like this and she must have shared some of what she knew with Michael Mansfield.

Yvette Vanson went to the Royal College of Music and Drama in Cardiff, 1968-70 and also did a degree in social sciences at a later date. In 1979 Vanson landed a job with the BBC Community Programmes Unit with Mike Fentiman, only to find herself then blacklisted because of her previous involvement with the Workers Revolutionary Party (WRP). The BBC at the time was reputed to employ a member of MI5 who beavered away screening out undesirables and Vanson was one of them. So Vanson occupied herself doing other things for a few years, including producing training videos with Tony Wardle for East Sussex Social Services. Vanson is the sort of TV producer who gets to know her subject well, she too mixes and chats with people who are being exploited and abused. Vanson is not daft and her – extensive – work for East Sussex Social Services will have undoubtedly brought her face to face with bad practice, a dysfunctional social care system and neglect and abuse of clients. Vanson also made a documentary about the Mental Health Act – that was the Act which was drafted by Professor Robert Bluglass who two years later covered up the criminal activities of Dafydd and Dr Tony Francis which included breaking the law enshrined in that Act. Vanson worked in other areas of disability as well, which brought her into close contact with people from SCOPE and Leonard Cheshire – both organisations which have been accused of the abuse of vulnerable people. She will have known something.

Vanson took her film crew into Lambeth Town Hall when Lambeth Council workers were staging a sit-in – a Jim O’Brien was leading the workers’ protest. Ever think of mentioning what was happening to the kids in the care of Lambeth to the film crew then Jim?

Vanson made ‘Kentucky Fried Medicine’, a critique of the US healthcare system. She noticed only a ‘very, very few people who were willing to criticise and risk their jobs’. She’ll have noticed the same phenomenon in the UK NHS but she doesn’t mention that – Vanson made a documentary called ‘Stitching Up The NHS’.

In 1984, Vanson managed to find her way back into the BBC again, once more working with the BBC Community Programmes Unit and names Mike Fentimen and Tony Lye as people with whom she worked.

I have a friend who worked for the BBC in the late 80s and early 90s – in the documentary commissioning department. My friend maintained that the dept was openly corrupt and his boss had a huge row with him after my friend refused to accept bribes. My friend was told by this boss that he’d make sure that my friend would never work in London again. Weeks later my friend was transferred to Manchester and was made redundant shortly afterwards. The name of the BBC executive whom my friend alleged was involved? Paul Hayman. I was also told that Hayman had a huge in-tray on his desk full of ideas for commissions that documentary makers had sent in and that Hayman would invite chosen people into his office and tell them to take their pick of the other people’s ideas. Vanson mentions working with Paul Hayman when she produced ‘Presumed Guilty’ for BBC’s Inside Story.

The interview which Vanson gave from which I have obtained my information about her career didn’t mention the sort of rampant corruption witnessed by my friend at the BBC, but Vanson does talk about some people at the BBC editing her work to such an extent that the documentary was changed as well as the reluctance of certain people at the BBC to produce anything that the Gov’t might throw a hissy fit over. In the wake of Vanson’s documentary about the miners’ strike ‘Taking Liberties’, the BBC threatened to close the whole Community Programmes unit.

Vanson seemed to have been particularly irked by Liz Forgan, although when Forgan was getting on Yvette Vanson’s tits I think Forgan might have been working for Channel 4 – Vanson made documentaries for them as well. Liz Forgan is now Dame Liz. She was Editor of the Guardian Women’s pages 1978-82, then a Guardian columnist 1997-98 and then a non-executive director of the Guardian Media Group from 1998. Forgan was founding Commissioning Editor and then Director of Programmes at Channel 4, 1981-90. In 1993 she was appointed MD of BBC Network Radio, but she left the BBC in 1996 over a row with the DG John Birt concerning moving BBC Radio News from Broadcasting House to Television Centre. (Which seems an extraordinary thing to leave one’s job over – couldn’t Liz have resigned over Savile or all the corruption or something worthwhile?) Between 2001-08 Forgan was Chair of the National Heritage Memorial Fund and the Heritage Lottery Fund. In 2009 Dame Liz became Chair of the Arts Council of England – this was seen as a Labour Party appointment and Liz must have pissed a few other people off as well as Yvette Vanson, because in 2010 the Coalition Gov’t cut the Arts Council’s budget by nearly 30%. In 2003 Forgan was appointed Chair of the Scott Trust, the company which owns the Guardian Media Group and which is responsible for appointing the Editor of the Guardian.

Other notables as well as Liz have occupied the position of Chair of the Scott Trust. Hugo Young was in that role immediately prior to Liz – it was on Young’s watch that Alan Rusbridger who was Editor of the Guardian between 1995-2015 was appointed. The Chair before Young was Alistair Hetherington, who was appointed in 1984.

I first heard about Hetherington in 1982 from two of my friends who were studying film and media at Stirling University. They told me about a huge row that had blown up which had found its way into ‘The Scotsman’ – the University had appointed Hetherington, a journo, to a Research Chair. This was one of the first appointments by a UK university of a non-academic to a Chair and the fur flew. There were allegations that Stirling had only done this to toady to people in high places and that Hetherington had none of the qualities needed to successfully occupy the role. The students protested and my friends were signatories to the letter of protest that was sent to ‘The Scotsman’. Hetherington was appointed nonetheless – but it looks like my friends were right to have had their reservations, because Hetherington was never seen in the University, certainly didn’t do any research and buggered off in 1984 to Chair the Scott Trust. Whilst at the Scott Trust Hetherington received very serious grief from the NUJ. He supported Peter Preston as Editor of the Guardian and played a substantial role in the appointment of Hugo Young as his own successor as Chairman of the Scott Trust. So who was this man whom Stirling University prostrated themselves before?

Alistair was the son of Sir Hector Hetherington, a Professor at University College Cardiff and then Principal of the University of Glasgow. Whilst serving in the army in WWII Hetherington was a major in the Intelligence Corps. In 1950 he joined the Manchester Guardian as a journo and in 1953 Hetherington became Editor. Hetherington claimed to be a campaigner for social justice – he was present at the founding of CND and attended the preliminary meetings at the house of Lord Simon Wythenshawe, along with Sir Bernard Lovell and Bertrand Russell. Yet Hetherington did not support or join CND – indeed Hetherington actually tried to launch his own movement with aims directly in opposition to CND. Years later he performed another U turn over Vietnam, after meeting US military commanders in Saigon. In 1959 Hetherington oversaw the evolution of the ‘Manchester Guardian’ into the ‘Guardian’ and the office subsequently relocated to London. The ‘Guardian’ lost a great deal of money but was kept afloat by its sister paper, the ‘Manchester Evening News’.

Hetherington was close to Harold Wilson but even closer to Jo Grimond, the Liberal MP who would have become leader of the Party had Thorpe not got there instead. Hetherington spent 20 years writing leading articles to promote Liberal-Labour co-operation in order to defeat the Tories.

In 1975 Michael Swann, the Chairman of the BBC, offered Hetherington the post of Controller of BBC Scotland. There was as much trouble following that appointment as there was when Hetherington landed the Chair at Stirling. Hetherington  clashed with the DG at the BBC, Charles Curran and in 1978 was sacked by Curran’s successor, Ian Trethowan. Hetherington had to slum it as the manager of BBC Radio Highland until he was offered the Chair at Stirling.

Hetherington’s mate Michael Swann was a molecular biologist. Between 1965-74 he was Principal and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Edinburgh. In 1972 Swann was confronted with much trouble from the students, led by one Gordon Brown, who had been elected Rector. Ted Heath was so wowed at Swann’s ‘strong leadership’ at Edinburgh that he gave Swann a knighthood and then in 1974 appointed him as Chair of the BBC. In 1979 Swann was appointed Chancellor of York University and in 1981 he was given a peerage. Swann’s brother Hugh was Cabinet Maker to HM the Queen.

The present Chair of the Scott Trust is Andrew Graham. His CV has all the right ingredients – Sunday Times, LWT, Channel 4, Fellow of the Royal Television Society and Royal Society of Arts…

 

Today’s Mail Online published an angry article demanding to know why so many ‘left wing luvvies’ are heads of Oxbridge Colleges. A number of sinners were named and shamed, including Mark Damazar (latterly of the BBC), Alan Rusbridger, Jackie Ashley (Guardian columnist and wife of Andrew Marr of the BBC) and dear old Baroness Helena Kennedy. I don’t think that the elevation to great heights of such folk has much to do with them being lefties or luvvies. Like the people at the top of the Daily Mail, one reason why none of this lot have been blown out of the water is that they have all kept schtum about the organised sexual abuse of children by public figures and senior politicians and civil servants.

 

Vanson won a Royal Television Society award for her film about sexual harassment at work, ‘Making Advances’. The film was presented by Emma Freud. This was pre-Savile, pre-Rolf and pre-Stuart Hall. And indeed pre-Clement Freud, Emma’s father.

There is one TV documentary made by Vanson that I am particularly interested in. It was a documentary that was screened by BBC Wales in approx. 1996-97 entitled ‘Breaking the Mold’ and it concerned the fight to save Theatre Clwyd which was facing closure. Vanson mentions working with the commissioning editor of BBC Wales, John Geraint on a programme about Aberfan, so I’m wondering if he commissioned ‘Breaking The Mold’.

Theatre Clwyd was the baby of the former Chief Exec of Clwyd County Council, T.M. Hadyn Rees. Hadyn Rees was Chief Exec of Clwyd 1974-77 – as the paedophile gang raged in children’s homes run by Clwyd County Council. Hadyn Rees was a lawyer who was a member of the Welsh Arts Council, 1968-77. Hadyn Rees, like his successor Mervyn Phillips, had a great many fingers in a great many pies. Further details of the numerous fingers and pies involving these paedophiles’ friends can be read in my post ‘Ain’t Nothing Clean – Not Even The Welsh Calvinistic Methodists’. The upshot was that Hadyn Rees and Mervyn Phillips spearheaded huge projects which purchased them much kudos and power within north Wales yet it was never clear how these projects were funded. Whilst all this was happening, there were constant financial crises in Clwyd County Council  – the money just seemed to disappear but on what was unfathomable, because the Council certainly weren’t spending it on services for the citizens of Clwyd. Again and again there are references in local gov’t documents to the terrible financial problems in Clwyd – the Council had to go cap in hand to various places for bail outs, there was a huge row because the rates/council tax had to be hiked up to one of the highest levels in the UK and after the abolition of Clwyd County Council at the time of the submission of the Jillings Report into the abuse of children in the care of the Council, an enormous black hole in the funds was revealed which was carried over into the new organisation, Flintshire County Council. At the retirement party of Roger Parry, the Finance Chief of Clwyd, jokes were made about Roger’s catchphrase being ‘struggling on’, although there were many warm words for him from senior officers who remembered how he ‘rescued’ the Council at a time of crisis. Roger himself told the party that he was glad that he was able to save the day, but warned everyone not to embezzle the Council funds after his retirement.

Theatre Clwyd was a grand enterprise from the outset – it was opened in 1976 by HM the Queen and for a theatre in a small rural town in north Wales it really is quite impressive. The official narrative regarding the funding of the theatre is that it is funded by Clwyd County Council. It hit the buffers in about 1996 and was facing closure – this happened when Tom Middlehusrt was Chief Exec of Flintshire County Council. Just after the Jillings Report had confirmed the most dreadful abuse of children in Clwyd and the possible presence of a paedophile ring, just as the Waterhouse Inquiry was ordered. Just after Clwyd County Council had disappeared in a puff of smoke leaving the huge black hole in its wake – and when the newly created Flintshire County Council was ordered by Michael Beloff QC, the legal advisor to their insurers, to never release the Jillings Report to anyone, even the Councillors, on the grounds that what had happened to the children in care was so indefensible that the insurers would withdraw the Council’s cover if the Report was made public and the Council members themselves would be personally liable for the damages and costs if any of the former children in care sued. Michael Beloff QC styled himself a human rights/civil liberties barrister – he was a colleague of Mansfield, Gareth Peirce, Cherie Booth et al.

Tom Middlehurst – who later became the AM for Alyn and Deeside – is credited for having helped save Theatre Clwyd, although I can’t quite work out HOW. What is clear though is that Middlehurst managed to drum up a great deal of good publicity for the Theatre, which included Vanson’s documentary. Vanson herself described Theatre Clwyd as ‘really inspirational’ and in retrospect suggested that perhaps her film had helped the theatre stay open and that it was one of her ‘campaigning successes’. The person running Theatre Clwyd at the time was Helena Kaut-Howson, who is now a very big name in theatre internationally. David Hanson MP – another one of the paedophiles’ friends who is married to Margaret Hanson, the current Vice-Chair of the deadly Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board – spoke in Parliament about the crisis facing the theatre and described Theatre Clwyd as ‘an important social and cultural asset of north Wales’.

Middlehurst summoned up a very big name indeed in order to save the paedophiles’ friends’ extravagant folly – he contacted Terry Hands, who became CEO and Director of Theatre Clwyd in 1997. Terry Hands was one of the founders of the Liverpool Everyman Theatre in 1964. Hands went to school in Woking and studied at the University of Birmingham and RADA. After establishing the Everyman, in 1966 Hands joined the Royal Shakespeare Company and in 1986 became its CEO. Then in 1997 he gave the paedophiles’ friends an enormous helping hand. Hands also became the Vice-President of the Llangollen International Eisteddfod – scores of the paedophiles’ friends are associated with that festival and for a number of years Sir Ronnie Waterhouse was President. Hands is or was visiting Professor at the Atrium at the University of South Wales and is or was Joint President of the Arvon Foundation. The Arvon Foundation is a charity which promotes creative writing and runs a number of residential writing retreats. Poets previously involved with the Arvon Foundation include Ted Hughes, Seamus Heaney and Philip Larkin. Former tutors include Willy Russell, Ian McEwan, Andrew Motion, Carol Ann Duffy, Ian Rankin and Will Self. Hands left Theatre Clwyd in 2015, by which time it was the most successful theatre in Wales. In 2014 Wales Online had reported that Theatre Clwyd’s funding was at risk again – at this point Colin Everett was the Chief Exec of Flintshire County Council. Wales Online reported that the theatre had its own production company which travelled across the UK – the theatre company was described as being ‘subsidised’ by Flintshire County Council, which had left the Council with a big bill…

I have no idea how Middlehurst managed to rope Terry Hands in, but I note that Middlehurst went to Liverpool Poly. The Everyman was a huge cult in Liverpool and it fancied itself as bohemian and political. By the mid-70s some people who became very influential were associated with the Everyman, including Julie Walters, Cathy Tyson, Pete Postlethwaite and Matthew Kelly. The Everyman was associated with actors and writers on the left who had originated from working class backgrounds.

Pete Postlethwaite died not so long ago and spent the last part of his life in Shropshire. In 1987 he began a relationship with the woman whom he married in 2003, Jacqui, who was a BBC producer. In 1994 Pete Postlethwaite starred in  ‘Sin Bin’, directed by George Case. Postlethwaite played the part of a prison officer in a secure hospital in which one patient murders another. Case and the scriptwriter obviously had a very good knowledge of what goes on in secure hospitals – scenes involved the prison officers making crude sexual jokes about the patients, about the crimes that they were alleged to have committed which resulted in them being banged up and mocking notions such as ‘service users’. Like the film ‘Scum’ which portrayed the brutality inside a young offenders institution some ten years previously, ‘Sin Bin’ accurately portrayed the attitudes of staff – but it wasn’t quite as bad as those institutions are in real life. In the way that ‘Scum’ didn’t portray the staff sexually assaulting the boys, no-one banged up in ‘Sin Bin’ was there because they’d dared mention that they’d been abused in care or by the Top Doctors.

It is significant that both ‘Scum’ and ‘Sin Bin’ were fiction – not even Yvette Vanson made a documentary about the institutions that the paedophiles’ friends ran. She just made a film about their theatre when it had bankrupted the Council. Again.

Matthew Kelly spent much of his career pursuing a rather different path to his contemporaries at the Everyman. Like Julie Walters and Victoria Wood, Kelly trained at Manchester Poly – and like Vanson and Gareth Peirce he had been a member of the Workers Revolutionary Party. Kelly spent years presenting light entertainment shows such as ‘Game For A Laugh’ and ‘Stars In Their Eyes’. Until in 2003 – when he was arrested over allegations of child sexual abuse, as part of Operation Arundel. Operation Arundel resulted in the imprisonment of Jonathan King who like Kelly was investigated for abusing underaged boys in the 1970s. Kelly was never charged, on the grounds that the CPS did not have sufficient evidence. Another person investigated as part of the same operation was Tam Paton, the former manager of the Bay City Rollers, one of whom was imprisoned for the possession of child porn whilst he was working as a nurse in middle age. After Jonathan King was released from prison he angrily denounced what he claimed was the hypocrisy of those who had prosecuted him and excluded him from polite society. King maintained that he knew scores of other people in the entertainment industry who had done exactly what he had done but who had not been prosecuted. He also claimed that the judge who sentenced him to seven years inside had been at Cambridge with him and had also been having sex with underaged boys. I note that no-one ever sued Jonathan King regarding that allegation.

Although Matthew Kelly was not prosecuted, he was certainly very shaken and distressed by the police investigation. Granada and ITV supported him – as did Julie Walters – and said that they looked forward to his return, but Kelly didn’t return. He kept a very low profile for the next ten years and only relatively recently began making public appearances again.

I have no idea whether Matthew Kelly ever has been involved with under-aged boys as accused, but I do know that people in the entertainment industry will robustly support people whom they are aware may be conducting themselves in a questionable manner. Greg Dyke’s book ‘Inside Story’ mentions that Michael Barrymore’s behaviour was so bad and so bizarre that people found him nigh-on impossible to work with. Dyke maintains that ‘everyone’ knew that Barrymore was gay and that he would disappear for days at a time when he was supposed to be filming. This went on many years before a sexually injured corpse was found in Barrymore’s swimming pool of which Barrymore claimed to know nuzzing.

There was an article in the ‘Morning Star’ today about culture/plays for the working classes, headed ‘Workers’ Play Time’. I wondered if it might mention Terry Hands, the Everyman, Mike Leigh etc, but it didn’t. However I discovered a whole new world. The article was written by Doug Nicholls, the GFTU (General Federation of Trade Unions) General Secretary. Doug was previously General Secretary of the union CYWU (Community and Youth Workers Union), 1987-2007, which represented youth workers, workers in youth theatre, community education, outdoor education, play workers and personal advisors. Don’t tell me that they didn’t know something about the sexual exploitation of young people. The CYWU joined the TGWU in 2006 and is now part of UNITE.  The CYWU used to publish their own magazine, ‘Rapport’. I’ve had a very quick look through a vintage copy and it comments on the sort of thing that I suspected that it would – it mentions the NCCL and Patricia Hewitt and there is a lot of confusion about sexuality. There are some people maintaining that they should be able to come out as gay or lesbian and act as a ‘role model’ to the youngsters, but these people are opposed by other members taking an overly bigoted or macho stance with references to poofs and lesbians in tweed. It is in such fetid atmospheres that the sexual exploitation of young people flourishes….

 

Michael Mansfield lived in Wandsworth whilst St George’s Hospital Medical School and Springfield Hospital concealed the serious criminal activities in north Wales. Wandsworth is just down the road from St George’s and Springfield, loads of the staff of those hospitals live in Wandsworth. I know for a fact that David Hole the corrupt MSF rep did – he knew what had happened to me in north Wales.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Secret And Forbidding Place To Work?

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 in Wales 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! Woman’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 over 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 pushover 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 Woman’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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Their Trade Is Fuckwittery

I mentioned previously that I was reading Greg Dyke’s book ‘Inside Story’, which he wrote in the aftermath of the enormous scrap that resulted in his resignation as Director General of the BBC. Dyke’s book is so full of gems that I’ll never have enough time to blog about them all, but I have decided to blog about the most glittering.

One particularly fascinating and illuminating part of Greg’s book is his account of life behind the scenes at the catastrophe that was TV-am. Although TV-am was famous for being a series of disasters, Greg provides interesting details of the action behind the scenes that led to public spats such as Anna Ford throwing wine over Jonathan Aitken. Greg has certainly provided a good description of how greedy, crooked and unscrupulous many of those involved with TV-am were.

TV-am came into existence in 1983 after David Frost created a consortium to bid for the ITV franchise. The consortium consisted of Michael Parkinson, Angela Rippon, Anna Ford and Robert Kee. Peter Jay, the former British Ambassador to Washington was both Chair and Chief Executive. Jay had already enjoyed a media career and was well-connected within the industry.

According to Dyke’s book, Dyke was approached by Michael Deakin, who was to be TV-am’s Director of Programmes, for a ‘chat’ before TV-am was launched. Deakin had previously worked as a documentary maker at Yorkshire Television. Readers may remember that in June 1989 Yorkshire Television approached Alison Taylor the Gwynedd social worker who blew the whistle on the North Wales Child Abuse Scandal regarding a programme about it. On 12 Sept 1989 Alison Taylor and a man who alleged that he had been abused whilst in care in north Wales were filmed extensively for Yorkshire TV, but in Feb 1990 the programme about child abuse in Gwynedd was abandoned for a film about child abuse in another region of the UK. I will return to this later in this post.

TV-am was dogged by problems from the outset. Peter Jay and Anna Ford were soon ousted in a coup engineered by Jonathan Aitken, who was thought to be the major shareholder – although it was revealed years later that he wasn’t, Aitken had deceived everyone and the company was actually bankrolled by Saudi money. Nevertheless Aitken was installed as Chief Exec.

Dyke was asked by Jonathan Aitken to rescue TV-am after Aitken took over – Aitken was also still the Tory MP for Thanet. At this point the Chair of TV-am was Dick Marsh, the former British Rail boss and former Labour MP.

Although TV-am was notorious for lurching from one financial crisis to the next, Jonathan Aitken certainly lived an opulent lifestyle. Dyke dined at Aitken’s house at Lord North Street in Westminster – Sir Peter Morrison the Tory MP for Chester who was known to have abused boys in care in north Wales also lived in Lord North Street – and discovered that not only did Aitken employ a butler, but the butler was so outrageously high camp that he was a talking point between Dyke and his wife for months.

Aitken was famous for hosting dinner parties to which powerful figures from the media, politics and business would be invited. It was at one of these parties that Greg met Clive Jones who was later Chief Exec of ITV News. Jones and Dyke became good friends. Aitken was also the convenor of the Conservative Philosophy Group and hosted the likes of Henry Kissinger, Richard Nixon and William Rees-Mogg a few doors down from Morrison the child molester.

Dyke describes a world in which crazed megalomaniacs from media, business and politics spend much time troughing and boozing at each others houses, but constantly knife each other in the back. For example, when Greg was told in confidence that Jonathan Aitken was to be the new Chief Exec of TV-am, Greg passed the info on to John Birt, who would later become Director General of the BBC. Birt leaked the information to the Guardian – but Dyke only found this out months later when he received a call from Birt asking Dyke to help him cover his tracks as being the source of the leak because he was now ‘helping the Guardian’ in their battle against Aitken. (In 1995 the Guardian and World In Action exposed Aitken as being involved in some very questionable business practices, to which I shall return later in this post.)

As an example of the degree of goodwill that the TV folk showed towards each other, when Dyke left LWT to take up his post at TV-am, Dyke’s immediate boss David Cox wrote the message ‘fuck off and good riddance’ in Dyke’s leaving card. Dyke’s book is full of such anecdotes – people setting out to embarrass each other in public in as vicious a way as possible at leaving parties, accessing confidential info about each other when they are promoted and thus have access to staff files and then reciting the info that they’ve read on the files at drinks parties etc. The corollary to this was to wreak one’s terrible revenge by gaining promotion and then a few years later returning to the scene of one’s humiliation to kick one’s old adversary in the teeth now that one was their boss. Greg certainly excelled at this – his whole career seems to have been based on the desire to seriously screw other people over. He took great pleasure in later becoming David Cox’s boss himself and crapping on him from a height. I can understand why Dyke would want to shaft these obnoxious people, but he spent years supping with them and treating them like his best mates whilst seething inside and planning to wreck their careers.

Not only do the TV execs in Greg’s world all screw huge quantities of money out of their employers, but they like to be seen to be raking it in – it is a very ostentatious business with much mindless consumerism. Greg boasts about a straightforward fiddle that the execs at TV-am were working to ensure that the bigwigs ended up with company cars nearly as good as the biggest wigs and definitely a lot better than the cars that the plebs were driving. The cars in question were all so expensive that none of them will have been in any danger of breaking down, so one wonders why Greg and his mates thought that it was worth fleecing TV-am over this  – particularly as the company was in a state of near bankruptcy throughout the time that Dyke was there.

Greg filled TV-am with either his friends or people whose careers that he ‘boosted’ who remained indebted to him – he boasts of ‘helping’ Lynn Faulds-Wood, Mark Damazar and Adam Boulton. He brought in one of his old colleagues from his days as a journalist in Newcastle, Peter McHugh, as well as Andy Webb and Eve Pollard. Pollard was recruited from Fleet street, specifically the Sunday People and later returned to Fleet Street to edit the Sunday Mirror and then the Sunday Express. Greg poached Nick Owen and Anne Diamond from Nationwide and then recruited Wincy Willis, Gordon Honeycombe and Lynn Faulds-Wood’s husband, John Stapleton.

TV-am succeeded in breaking broadcasting rules and conning the viewers by the use of Diana Dors and her ‘diet slot’, in which she advised viewers on weight loss, claiming to be following a diet herself. Dors religiously weighed herself on TV and claimed miraculous weight loss – Dyke admits that he was virtually certain that Dors was lying about her achievement and was concealing weights about her person for the early weigh-ins and then progressively shedding them. Why would Dors be doing this? Because she had a product to sell – a Diana Dors weight loss calculator, which she then promoted on TV-am, which Dyke admits was not permitted under broadcasting rules. Dors requested that viewers wanting to buy her product write to her at TV-am. Ten thousand duped viewers wrote in, but Dyke kept all the letters claiming that they were the property of TV-am. Dors went to Court to try and get her hands on the letters but lost the case. The letters remained in the clutches of TV-am and no viewers received the product that they were conned into trying to purchase. I bet they didn’t even receive an explanation.

Despite the way in which the viewers had been hoodwinked by both Dors and Dyke, after Dors died, TV-am screened a special tribute programme to her. One of the guests was Barbara Windsor who waxed lyrical on camera about how great Dors was and then told Dyke after the show that she’d hated her. Another guest was Dors’ ‘friend’ Jess Conrad who used the tribute programme to dear old Diana to plug his latest record.

You can see how the BBC ended up screening tribute programmes to Savile after his death, whilst not mentioning the side of his life that was most important to him. But then both Dors and Windsor had relationships with serious criminals who ended up in prison and that was always described very euphemistically by the media when Dors and Babs became too old to remain as sex symbols and had to metamorphose into the nation’s aunties instead.

I mentioned that Dyke was imported into TV-am in order to ‘rescue’ it – he is credited as having done so by introducing a puppet called Roland Rat. I never understood how a puppet could actually rescue an ailing TV company descending into debt, it’s not even as if Roland Rat was as good as Sooty and Sweep, but unbelievably media history does maintain that Dyke’s employment of Roland Rat did the trick. There was a worrying moment for Dyke when he received a phone call from the Daily Star telling him that they were going to run a story about the puppeteer who worked Roland Rat hosting a Soho club for rubber and latex fetishists, but it all turned out OK because when Dyke rang the IBA (Independent Broadcasting Authority) to warn them, the IBA told him that they were not in the least bit concerned about such matters. I can’t understand why Greg ever thought that they would be.

However I think that someone should have been very concerned indeed at a few other things at TV-am. Whilst Greg and his mates worked their scam to ensure that they always drove top of the range cars paid for by TV-am, there were masses of other fiddles perpetuated by the management as well as the staff, as the company drowned in debt. One creditor was owed £12k and there was no attempt to pay them. The company never had enough money for basics, staff were told silly lies such as ‘there’s been a computer glitch’ on a regular basis because there was not enough money to pay them, bills went unpaid, the local newsagents were owed so much that they refused to deliver the newspapers for the newspaper review spot, local taxi firms refused to do business with TV-am and thus guests due to appear on the TV couldn’t be collected, writs mounted up but were routinely ignored on the grounds that one has 28 days to respond to a writ, bailiffs arrived at the homes of researchers and tried to remove property after hotel bills that the researchers had signed off had not been paid, correspondents had to use phone boxes because the phone bill hadn’t been paid and the electricity was nearly cut off as well, but ‘somehow’ ‘someone’ found the cash from ‘somewhere’. One advertising agency tried to deal with TV-am by telling them that they wouldn’t make any further promotions until they had been paid the considerable sum of money that they were owed. Greg knew how to respond – he told them that if the advertising agency didn’t continue to work for TV-am Greg would take even longer to pay them the outstanding debt.

Whilst all this was going on, Greg and co drove their flash cars, Jonathan and Tim Aitken – who owned TV-am – continued to run their merchant banking business Aitken Hume International, Jonathan continued to employ his camp butler and hold lavish dinner parties for important folk and Tim’s office at TV-am was crammed with bottles of pink champagne. It was just the ‘staff’ that didn’t get paid – probably the cleaners, canteen staff, receptionists and secretaries ie. those who really needed the dosh. The bank accounts of the ‘talent’ will have remained healthy or they would have walked out. During this time of crisis, someone hit on the idea of paying Chris Tarrant to go out onto the streets and throw buckets of water over people who were smoking cigarettes – because Greg wanted an anti-smoking campaign. I’m surprised that no-one actually thumped Tarrant or even sued him for assault.

Where Roland Rat’s much publicised ‘rescue’ of this shambles came in I do not know.

TV-am had very few advertisers – they only had contracts with three regulars, one of which was Walls Pork Sausages. Lynn Faulds-Wood – a ‘consumers champion’ a la Esther – wanted to use the consumers slot to expose Walls after it had been discovered that Walls bangers contained rather more water than was deemed unacceptable. TV-am decided not to run this particular expose in the light of the advertising revenue that they were receiving from the folk who were selling water rather than sausages.

I found this anecdote illuminating because I remember Lynn Faulds-Wood on TV doing her exposes years ago and I noticed that only certain things were exposed – I concluded that Lynn was following the Esther model of not upsetting anyone important. But Faulds-Wood was considered to be rather less unscrupulous than Esther. John Stapleton, Faulds-Wood’s husband, hosted a daytime ITV show during the 90s called The Time The Place, which was thought to be rather less tawdry and dishonest than Kilroy, a daytime show on the BBC which was screened at the same time as The Time The Place – both shows covered similar topics. I have mentioned previously how Dr Dafydd Alun Jones actually turned up on Kilroy to talk about mental health problems whilst havoc reigned in north Wales and criminal investigations were held into the paedophile ring which he and his mistress Lucille Hughes facilitated and concealed. To my knowledge Dafydd never made it through the doors of The Time The Place, but as on Kilroy, when mental healthcare or child abuse was discussed by John Stapleton and his guests, it was very clear that only certain voices were ever allowed to be heard. Well if Stapleton’s wife wouldn’t even tackle pork sausages, whoever was going to take on institutionalised abuse in psychiatry and the Westminster Paedophile Ring? Particularly if the likes of Jonathan Aitken owned the TV company.

I say that Jonathan Aitken – along with his cousin Tim – owned TV-am, but as I mentioned earlier it was later revealed that Jonathan and Tim didn’t own the company. TV-am was effectively owned by some Saudis who were actually the major shareholders after a deal had been done by Jonathan Aitken to disguise this – an illegal deal, which Tim Aitken claimed to have no knowledge of. Tim Aitken might have claimed to Know Nuzzing about the Saudis who were bankrolling the company, but he did know that the company was trading when insolvent in early 1984 when he asked Greg Dyke to join the Board. Greg himself claimed ‘not to have known’ what trading when insolvent meant – although he does know now.

Greg didn’t like Jonathan but he ‘liked and trusted’ Tim. There was however a problem with Tim in that he was clueless about running a TV company and anyway was far too busy running his merchant bank to even try to run TV-am. It is clear that Tim was a bit of a liability.

TV-am hit yet another crisis in 1984 – obviously Roland Rat wasn’t pulling his weight – and they desperately needed huge quantities of dosh. They managed to tempt in two new investors – Fleet Holdings (who owned the Express Group) and the much loathed (by everyone but Thatcher if I remember) Aussie businessman, Kerry Packer. However Greg and ‘the management’ still needed to convince the other shareholders that they were a ‘strong’ management able to stand up to the unions. The broadcasting unions in the 1980s, like the print unions, were very powerful and their members earned very, very high salaries – it was Thatcher’s stated mission to break them after she had screwed over the NUM and then passed the legislation that Murdoch needed to break the print unions. TV-am were not actually able to stand up to the unions very well – the unions were unreasonable and greedy, but so were the management – the company was in meltdown. However Dyke and co set up a number of intrigues in order to convince the staff that a crucial vote had to go as the management (and shareholders) desired or the company would go into liquidation and no-one would have a job. On the day of the vote, Jonathan Aitken made a show of clearing his office in front of a shop steward, just to convince the unions that it was now crunch point. It seemed that Dyke et al either weren’t convinced that the vote would go their way OR they didn’t have confidence that the company would survive even if the staff did vote the way that Dyke et al were manipulating them to.

Dyke explains that the company was ‘near liquidation’ and that on the day of the vote, the managers all parked their cars outside the building lest they needed a ‘quick getaway’ – I imagine that the staff were pretty close to lynching them all anyway. Dyke calculated that TV-am owed him about £30k and he wanted his dosh – so he looked around for something that he could steal and sell. He couldn’t find anything suitable inside the building, so he stole the keys to the TV-am barge (TV-am was located at Camden Lock).

The staff were sufficiently panicked and manipulated into voting in the way that Dyke and the shareholders wanted, so TV-am lived to fight another day. And rip a few more people off. It was now vital that Tim Nice But Dim be removed as Chief Exec – so the Board hatched a plan to knife the Chairman Dick Marsh, which would then enable them to install Tim as Chairman. For some reason Tim couldn’t be removed altogether, so a vacancy had to be created at the top. It was Marsh who was clobbered.

So in 1984 a new Chief Exec arrived – Bruce Gyngell. I can’t quite work out from Dyke’s book who exactly hatched the plot to stuff Dick Marsh but Bruce Gyngell was brought in by Kerry Packer. Gyngell had come from Australia where he had worked for Kerry Packer’s empire and he became a favourite of Thatch, she really loved Gyngell. He became good friends with her and epitomised Thatcher’s idea of everything that a media executive should be.

Gyngell was of course ruthless, rather mad and some thought him predatory. He was noted for wearing pink to such an extent that his staff called him the Pink Panther, he was very superstitious and distributed company key fobs and watches to the staff and urged the staff to rub these objects to channel positive forces and although he was very rich and very greedy he maintained that he was deeply interested in Eastern spirituality and was enthusiastic about Zen, meditation and insight philosophy. Yet Gyngell was no monk. He was a notorious shagger – although he was happy to lecture the media industry about morality – and according to Greg, when Gyngell arrived at TV-am he asked Adrian Moore, the Director of Production, which of the women who worked there were an ‘easy lay’.

In 1986 Gyngell married Kathy Rowan who worked as a producer at TV-am. Rowan had previously worked at LWT.

During 1987-88, Gyngell became involved in the most enormous battle with the technicians union ACTT at TV-am, Murdoch-style. He was encouraged by Thatcher who maintained that the ITV unions were ‘the last bastion of restrictive practices’ and the dispute ended in a three month lock-out. Gyngell ran TV-am for a number of months without the union members – other people were simply recruited to do the jobs that they were doing. Gyngell did break the ACTT and 200 members at TV-am never returned to their former jobs, although Gyngell suffered a heart attack which was attributed to the stress of the dispute.

In his capacity as Chief Exec, Bruce Gyngell gradually booted out all of Dyke’s mates and then kicked out Dyke. Dyke joined TVS and his old mate Clive Jones followed him there shortly afterwards.

Gyngell did succeed in returning TV-am to profit by ruthlessly targeting programming costs and for a while it was the most profitable TV company in the UK – it was floated on the Stock Exchange.

However, in 1991 Greg wreaked his terrible revenge which led to TV-am going out of business. When the ITV franchises came up for auction, Greg – who was by then Chief Exec of LWT – put together the Sunrise consortium (which became GMTV) to bid for the ITV breakfast franchise. As a result of legislation that Thatcher herself passed, the bidding process was blind – so no-one knew what any other bidders had bid – and the franchise had to be awarded to the highest bidder. Greg’s Sunrise consortium put in an enormous bid many millions bigger than TV-am’s bid, so Sunrise/GMTV were awarded the franchise. Poor old Gyngell struggled on for a bit but in 1992 TV-am closed down.

Gyngell and Frost held a farewell party to celebrate TV-am going out of business and Gyngell was delighted to tell the guests that he had received a personal letter of apology from Thatcher, who was distraught that legislation that her Gov’t had passed to ‘encourage’ the likes of Gyngell had inadvertently blown up in their faces and led to his end. Thatcher couldn’t understand what had happened. Er – ill-thought out legislation and a bunch of backstabbing crooks conducting business in the way that you had encouraged Thatcher? It is documented that Gyngell broke industry rules when he arrived at TV-am by negotiating a £1.2 million advance payment for an advertising campaign by a toy company. There won’t have been any comeback…

 

After the death of TV-am Gyngell became Executive Chair of Kerry Packer’s Nine Network. In May 1995 Gyngell was appointed MD of Yorkshire-Tyne Tees Group (Yorkshire TV had merged with Tyne Tees), replacing John Fairley. Ward Thomas was Chair of YTT. Gyngell’s post ended when Granada took over YTT in 1997.

 

Bruce Gyngell died in 2000, but his wife Kathy lives on. Kathy Gyngell is described as a ‘right wing operative’ who is a research fellow for the Centre of Policy Studies. She is the co-editor of the website Conservative Woman and she’s even managed to find her way into the Guardian on a number of occasions. In July 1999 (whilst Bruce was still alive) she co-founded a right wing media monitoring company with David Keighley, the former Director of Corporate Affairs at TV-am. This company was dissolved in 2006 and superceded by another company, Newswatch, which was dissolved in 2009.

In 2006 Kathy co-authored a Centre for Policy Studies report with Ray Lewis. In this report, Gyngell was described as the Chair of the Addiction Working Group of the Social Justice Policy Group, the Conservative think tank established by Ian Duncan Smith.

Readers might not recognise the name of Ray Lewis, but I won’t forget it. Ray Lewis was appointed Deputy Mayor of London by Boris in 2008. Lewis had wowed Ian Duncan Smith with his ‘remarkable’ work with black youth in Newham at the Eastside Young Leaders Academy. Lewis had wowed a lot of people actually – Stephen Norris and Francis Maude were Trustees of Eastside, the Archbishop of York Dr John Sentamu was the Patron and donors included Morgan Stanley and Lehman Brothers. In 2005 Cameron’s first photo op as Conservative Party leader was at Eastside.

However two months after Lewis’s appointment as Boris’s deputy, Lewis resigned after a number of public revelations about his past activities. In 1990 Ray Lewis had been ordained as a Church of England priest and in 1993 he was appointed the vicar of St Matthews in West Ham. In 1995 Lewis was accused of exploiting vulnerable pensioners by borrowing a total of £41k and not repaying it. There were also allegations of sexual harassment and Scotland Yard had received a string of complaints, including blackmail. Lewis denied all the allegations and no charges were ever brought. In 1997 Lewis left the UK for Grenada where he organised a charity raffle – the first prize was a car, but the winner never received it. Then a Nigerian bishop complained that a charity that he had set up with Lewis had been drained of its funds, £8k – Lewis had been the Treasurer. The Diocese of Chelmsford reported the matter to the police – no charges were brought. Neither were any charges brought against Lewis in 2000 when he was arrested on suspicion of deception over a house sale. However, the Church barred him from Ministry and preaching. Lewis also claimed to be a magistrate – he wasn’t. In 2000 Lewis worked as a prison chaplain, then joined the Prison Service and for nearly two years worked as a junior governor at HMP Woodhill Young Offenders Institute. It was after that that Lewis set up Eastside.

After Lewis’s past became public in 2008, the man who stripped Lewis of his rights as a priest, the Rt Rev Roger Sainsbury, the retired Bishop of Barking, stated that he’d been an admirer of Eastside and believed that Ray Lewis had reformed. Sainsbury’s successor, the Rt Rev David Hawkins, saw Lewis with Boris at a day of prayer event and wrote to Boris telling him that Lewis was no longer an authorised Minister in the Church of England and suggested that Boris should get in touch. Boris did not respond. Several weeks later a TV journalist approached the C of E for the background on Lewis and it was then that the story came to light.

The longstanding Labour Council in Newham admitted reporting in 2005 on allegations of physical abuse at Eastside – Scotland Yard confirmed that five allegations were investigated, but were all dropped.

Duncan Smith suggested that all this dissatisfaction with Lewis was designed to ‘get at’ Boris. He stated that Newham Council ‘is on the left and hates Ray Lewis and his methods which are not for the fainthearted’. Duncan Smith does of course describe Eastside as dispensing ‘tough love’.

The chaplain at Eastside, the Rev Bruce Stokes, a Baptist Minister, maintained that anyone working ‘this way with kids’ was ‘bound to be investigated’ and that he thought that it was probably Lewis’s ‘personality and style’ to which people objected.

The London Evening Standard claimed that the mess was all the fault of the Church.

After Lewis’s resignation, everyone was very keen to distance themselves. The child protection officer at Eastside, Dapo Abidoye, had ‘nothing to say’. Neither did Richard Atterbury, the co-head of global finance at Lehman Brothers and a Trustee of Eastside. John Sentamu issued a statement explaining that he did not have ‘any involvement, or fiduciary obligation, relating to day-to-day management’ at Eastside.

Dear old IDS claimed that the media and Lewis’s political enemies were ‘crushing a good man’. The Rev Stokes stated that Lewis ‘comes up with answers. It feels he has been completely stitched up’. Stokes was saddened that in the wake of the controversy surrounding Lewis that similar academies planned elsewhere in the UK were unlikely to go ahead.

No-one ever got to the bottom of the Ray Lewis and Eastside business, because a planned Public Inquiry into the whole affair was scrapped after Lewis resigned.

However I think that Ray might have made his mark years before the shit hit the fan in the wake of all those complaints about him in the 90s after he’d managed to become ordained.

At the time that the Ray Lewis business became public in 2008 I was sharing a farmhouse in Gwynedd with my friends. One of my friends was a Buddhist and was a member of a Buddhist sangha which had connections to a number of other Buddhist communities. A few months before Ray Lewis hit the media, a Buddhist asked us if we could put someone up who had just left a community and was in need of somewhere to live. This lady subsequently moved into our house and although she was very friendly it soon became clear that she had serious mental health problems and seemed very traumatised and very angry. She stayed with us for many weeks and we got to know her quite well. Whilst she was staying with us, I had appeared in the newspapers talking about abuse in the mental health services and our guest asked me how I knew that such things were happening. I told her some of what had happened to me at the hands of the mental health services and said that I knew that it was a major problem.

Our guest – whom I will call D – had already told us that back in the 80s she’d been a social worker in London but had spent many years living in various different communities. I guessed that D had some sort of breakdown and had been unable to work. When she discovered that I had experience of abusive psychiatry, she did what quite a few other people have done and told me about her own bad experiences. D had been through a nightmare. She described receiving dreadful treatment after being sectioned in a London hospital – she had been diagnosed with psychotic depression, had been given ECT against her will and claimed to have been physically and sexually assaulted by staff in the hospital. When she finally got out of there – after many, many months, D got as far away from the mental health services and anyone connected with them as possible and started travelling around the UK living in alternative communities.

The problem that any patient who has been diagnosed with a serious mental illness finds if they try to communicate being on the receiving end of abusive mental health services, is that they are not believed. As I have detailed on this blog, diagnosing serious mental illnesses in people who have been abused by the welfare state or have been witness to things of which other people would rather remain unspoken is a remarkably common way of dealing with the problem. Everything that D told me rang true – she described the sort of casual institutionalised abuse that I witnessed in the North Wales Hospital Denbigh, in Springfield Hospital, in the Hergest Unit and that I hear about frequently. But then D told me about the circumstances of her admission to hospital.

D had been working as a children’s social worker in inner London in the 80s. She was white and was a doctor’s daughter who’d grown up in Bath. The young people that she was looking after once she had qualified were predominantly from ethnic minorities, in inner London. That wasn’t the problem. The problem arose when D noticed that the practices of her colleagues were a very long way from the practice and theory that she had been taught whilst she was training. The shit really hit the fan when two of the teenagers whom she was responsible for – girls of 13 and 14 – told her that they were being forced to have sex with a man who was entering the children’s homes. This man was some sort of youth worker. D told her senior managers what the teenagers had told her. She was told to ignore what the girls had told her, not to speak about it again because the man whom the girls had named was ‘big in black politics and he’s untouchable’. D told me that the name of this man was Ray Lewis.

D was horrified. I gained the impression that when this happened she hadn’t been qualified long and she was still idealistic. She was very concerned for the welfare of the girls and became even more concerned when the two girls who had previously alleged that they were being sexually assaulted told D that other kids had experienced similar problems.

D returned to her managers – and made the fatal mistake of reminding them that the children in their care had been raped, were being put at risk further by the social services lack of action and that what was happening was illegal and contrary to all good social work practice. D was referred for ‘medical help’. D’s own dad was a Top Doctor  – she might not have realised what organisations use the less scrupulous Top Doctors for. D was told that she was depressed and unfit for work. Which she might well have been by then – I can imagine how distressing a young, newly qualified, idealistic social worker would have found all this. D was sent to a psychiatrist – she did of course tell them what was going on in her workplace and that she was not going to keep quiet about it as ordered. D was sectioned. Not only was she diagnosed with ‘depression’, but it was ‘psychotic depression’. Just in case anyone might be in danger of believing anything that she said…

The treatment was successful! D was destroyed, she left social work and indeed London and took up an itinerant lifestyle wandering around the UK staying in a variety of alternative communities. She had been doing this for years by the time that she arrived at our place. She knew that she had been very distressed by what had happened in London, both at her workplace and at the hands of the caring sharing mental health services and she had made a number of attempts to access therapy and care. On every occasion that she did so, once the therapist had heard her story somehow the therapy came to an end. D was untouchable – which tends to happen to people who have witnessed organised child sexual abuse. One manifestation of D’s distress was quite obsessional cleaning. She knew this and would offer to clean in return for a place to stay – our place was spotless whilst she was with us, it was incredible. We weren’t the only people who noticed how good at cleaning D was. Some of her therapists did as well. At one point she was offered a job in a Rudolph Steiner Care Home in the midlands. The deal was supposed to be that she would do a few hours cleaning each day in return for free training and tuition in Steiner care. Once she arrived however somehow she ended up on the cleaning full time and no tuition or training was forthcoming. After six months she realised that this wasn’t going to change so she left.

So how did D arrive in north Wales? D was offered a job as a cleaner at a place called Trigonos in the Nantlle Valley in Gwynedd. The Nantlle Valley is really beautiful and Trigonos is a conference centre favoured by alternative types – it is next to the lake, under the mountains and supplies organic food and other necessities of alternative life. Trigonos’s main custom seems to come from the Bangor University Mindfulness Centre – nearly all their courses for training Mindfulness practitioners and teachers are held there and they used to hold their conferences there as well. D knew about this and thought that it would be a suitable environment for her. However when she arrived, she found that she seemed to be working very long hours for very little pay. She moved out of Trigonos after a few months seeking somewhere else to live which is how D eventually ended up at our house. D stayed with us for many weeks and then moved on to a community in Scotland. It was just after she left that Ray Lewis hit the headlines. A few months after that I encountered one of the more irresponsible members of the family that runs Trigonos. When he found out which house I lived in he realised that I was one of the people who had taken in D. I asked him why she had left Trigonos. I was told ‘she was a fucking brilliant cleaner but she was a nutter so we got rid of her’.

The vast majority of the Mindfulness trainers who practice their loving-kindness and compassionate meditation at Trigonos are former social workers, many of whom were employed by Gwynedd and Clwyd Social Services – whilst the paedophile ring operated in those organisations. One of the leaders of many of those courses at Trigonos is a Judith Soulsby. Soulsby is a former psychiatric social worker with the Arfon Community Mental Health Team. Her colleagues were the people who perjured themselves in an attempt to have me imprisoned after I alleged serious abuse in the mental health services in north Wales. Not only does Judith train Mindfulness practitioners at the centre where the cleaners are not allowed to be nutters, but Judith has co-authored with Professor Mark Williams and was part of the original team who set the con that is Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy on the road (see post ‘The Biggest Expert Of The Lot’).

 

Now for a few more details on Jonathan and Tim Aitken who lived like kings whilst their TV company owed money to the little people.

Tim Aitken is the grandson of Lord Beaverbrook and is rather less illustrious than his cousin Jonathan. Since Jonathan ended up in prison Tim has distanced himself from him. A recent newspaper article suggested that Tim spends most of his time on his yacht.

Jonathan is the son of Tory MP Sir William Traven Aitken. Selwyn Lloyd, the Chancellor of the Exchequer under Harold Macmillan, was a friend of Jonathan’s dad which was how Aitken got to meet the PM whilst he was still an undergrad at Oxford reading law – Aitken wrote speeches for Selwyn in his summer holidays. At Oxford Aitken was Chair of the Oxford University Conservative Association – he did try to become President of the Oxford Union but was unsuccessful.

After Oxford he worked as a journalist and in 1970 ended up on trial the Old Bailey for breaking the Official Secrets Act, after passing classified information to a Tory MP Hugh Fraser, although he was acquitted. Between 1968-70 Aitken worked for Yorkshire TV, presenting regional news shows. Aitken had ambitions to enter Conservative politics from a young age and he struck up a friendship with Fraser – that ended after Aitken had an affair with Fraser’s wife Antonia. Aitken’s account of his life as a young man stresses how he had no money and therefore knew that he had to make his own way in the world. So he does what everyone who finds themselves on their uppers does – he launched a merchant bank and became Chairman of Slater Walker Securities.

In 1973 Aitken met Prince Mohammed bin Fadh of Saudi Arabia and became close friends with the Prince’s personal secretary after Aitken ‘organised hospital treatment’ in the UK for the Prince’s secretary’s mother. What all that was about I don’t know, but if Jonathan Aitken was involved it won’t have been clean.

In 1974 Aitken was elected as Tory MP for Thanet.  At about this time he had a relationship with Carol Thatcher but it ended in tears – literally – and Margaret Thatcher never forgave him. Aitken’s falling out with the Thatcher family was notorious ad it was suggested that it was the reason why he remained on the backbenches for so many years although he clearly thought that he ought to be PM.

In 1979 Aitken married a neighbour of Prince Mohammed’s personal secretary. He blotted his copybook soon after by having an affair with a prostitute, but his family forgave him.

In 1980 Aitken wrote to Thatcher alleging that Sir Roger Hollis, the former Director General of MI5, had been a double agent working for the Soviets. This info had been given to Aitken by CIA spymaster James Angleton. The allegation against Hollis caused an almighty row and led to Chapman Pincher’s 1981 book ‘Their Trade Is Treachery’, which in turn led to the publication of ‘Spycatcher’ in 1987.

Aitken’s Saudi friendships came in handy for propping up Aitken Hume International and for bankrolling TV-am. Aitken was forced to resign from TV-am when it was revealed that Aitken Hume was a front for Saudi control of TV-am.

Aitken cultivated friendships with some rather unsavoury people, including the well-known sexual harasser Tory MP Alan Clark, who described Aitken as ‘my old friend and standby for many a dirty trick’. Aitken was also known to leak damaging info about his fellow Tory MPs. Aitken was close friends with Tory MP Richard Shepherd and for some reason ended up as godfather to Diane Abbott’s son. One of Aitken’s book launch’s was attended by Christine Keeler.

Aitken complained in the Commons about the excessive secrecy of the security services, but maintained close contact with some present and former officers. Malcolm Turnbull – who later became PM of Australia – was Peter Wright’s lawyer when Wright was trying to get his book Spycatcher published and approached Aitken in an attempt to reach a settlement between the British Gov’t and Wright. Aitken ‘tried to help’ but failed.

In Nov 1990, three months after the Iraq invasion of Kuwait, Aitken flew to Oman as the Sultan’s guest to attend a meeting of Le Cercle, a right wing group formed by former intelligence agents, of which Aitken was Chairman. The dreadful Alan Clarke was present as well – Clark alleged that Le Cercle was funded by the CIA.

After John Major became PM, he appointed Aitken Minister for Defence Procurement – the Saudis were delighted with this appointment as were MoD arms salesmen, but a great many other people weren’t.

Between 1988-90 Aitken was a Director of BMARC, an arms exporter. Whilst he was a Cabinet Minister, he signed a Public Interest Immunity Certificate in Sept 1992 relating to the Matrix-Churchill trial which gagged documentation including that relating to the supply of arms to Iraq by BMARC when he was a Director of that company.

Aitken became Chief Secretary to the Treasury in 1994 and subsequently faced questions about defence contracts and Saudi money. He resigned in 1995 after allegations that he’d breached Ministerial rules, still lent his house to Michael Howard during Howard’s leadership campaign.

In 1995 the Guardian published an article regarding Aitken and Saudi arms deals. Journalists from Granada’s World In Action also helped with the expose. On the day that the article was published, Aitken held a press conference at the Conservative Party Offices in Smith Square and very pompously denounced the allegations. He stated that if World In Action screened the programme ‘Jonathan Of Arabia’ that was scheduled for that evening he would sue for libel. The programme was screened as promised and Aitken began a libel action against the Guardian and Granada.

In June 1997 the action collapsed after George Carman acting for the defence produced documentary evidence demonstrating that Aitken had lied during the trial. Evidence also indicated an arms deal scam with Aitken’s friend and business partner, the personal secretary of Prince Mohammed bin Fahd. It was also alleged that if the case had continued, Aitken had been prepared to have his teenaged daughter lie under oath.

Aitken was imprisoned for perjury and served seven months. Whilst he was in the slammer he experienced an almighty religious conversion and has since taken to writing about prayer and matters theological.

Aitken was faced with a legal bill of over £1 million – he was allowed to drop the case on promising to pay costs, but escaped from his liability by declaring himself bankrupt. The Guardian observed that most of Aitken’s assets were conveniently owned by other people.

Although Aitken lost his seat in the 1997 General Election, within a year was appointed as a representative of the arms company GEC-Marconi.

In 1999 a DNA test revealed that Aitken was the father of Soraya Khashoggi’s daughter – the Soraya Khashoggi’s husband became very rich by arms dealing.

In 2004 some Conservatives in Thanet proposed that Aitken return as the Conservative candidate, but this bright idea was vetoed by Michael Howard. In the same year Aitken declared his support for UKIP.

In 2006 Aitken became President of Christian Solidarity Worldwide.

In Nov 2007 he led the task force on Prison Reform with Ian Duncan Smith’s Centre for Social Justice to ‘help form Conservative policy’.

 

The names of two independent TV companies crop up constantly in Greg Dyke’s book – LWT and Yorkshire TV. The most powerful people in the media world seem to have passed through those organisations, as well of course as the BBC. Because the really big players in TV are so few, they all just rotated between the BBC and the independent companies as they climbed higher and higher. The same names pop up constantly and those names also toady shamelessly to Gov’ts of all hues. If you’re the BBC the Gov’t has got you over a barrel because you depend upon them for the continuation of the licence fee and the renewal of the Charter and if you’re an independent company you’re out in the free market depending upon the Gov’ts policies that affect the operation of that market. Gov’t can do great damage to TV execs, the execs dare not upset Gov’t. So one can see how easy it would be for the few influential people in the media to ensure that nothing was ever screened on TV that might lead to the identification of public figures abusing children in care for example.

My post ‘One Dangerous Fucker’ describes how Marjorie Wallace has done a really great job suppressing info concerning the use of psychiatry in concealing child abuse – Marjorie’s long term partner Tom Marjerison was the founder of LWT.

Yorkshire TV is as much as a key player as the BBC. As previously mentioned, it was Yorkshire TV who in Sept 1989 actually began filming a programme about child abuse in north Wales. By Feb 1990 the programme had been abandoned. So let’s look at Yorkshire TV.

The Director of Programmes for Yorkshire TV 1984-92 was John Fairley. Fairley was born in Liverpool and went to school in the north west of England. He began work with the Bristol Evening Post in 1963 and moved to the London Evening Standard in 1964. Between 1965-68 he was a radio producer with BBC Radio – so he’ll have known a Jimmy Savile then. Between 1968-78 Fairley was a TV producer for Yorkshire TV – Savile country. My post ‘A Very COHSE Relationship With Some Very Nasty People’ details how one of the paedophiles’ friends from north Wales migrated to Yorkshire and ended up in a position of very great influence. Fairley was MD of Yorkshire-Tyne Tees TV, 1993-April 1995. He then became Chief Exec of UKTV. Fairley lives in Ryedale in North Yorkshire.

Sir Paul Fox was Head of Programmes for Yorkshire TV, 1973-86, then MD of Yorkshire TV, 1977-88. Earlier on his career he had been Head of Public Affairs at BBC TV and Controller of BBC 1. Between 1986-88 he was Chairman of ITN and MD of BBC Network TV between 1988-91. My post ‘Ian Brockington’s Mischief’ details how a friend of mine who wanted to make a documentary about what had happened to me at the hands of the mental health services was subjected to an extended campaign of harassment and then unlawfully dismissed from her job at the Royal Television Society in 1991 – Paul Fox was President at the time. Fox picked up his knighthood in 1991.

Ward Thomas was CEO of Grampian TV between 1961-67, MD and Chair of Yorkshire TV between 1967-76 and then again between 1993-97. Between 1971-84 he was MD of Trident TV (and Chairman between 1976-84). Trident TV was formed as a holding company for Yorkshire TV. After 1980 Trident also purchased casinos, including casinos owned by Hugh Hefner – the deal included the Playboy Club and other ‘gentlemen’s clubs’. Ward is now very elderly but remains as non-executive Chair of Irving International, a media consultancy.

Yorkshire TV did battle with the technicians union in 1979 – Ward Thomas and Paul Fox were the two executives who were instrumental in fighting the unions. So they’ll have got on well with Thatcher then – as with Murdoch they’ll have been relying on her to pass the legislation to enable them to break the unions. They won’t have wanted to broadcast anything even hinting that her mate Savile and her aide Peter Morrison were molesting children.

In 1980 Jonathan Aitken had a go at owning a TV station based in Yorkshire. In the 1980 franchise round several Yorkshire TV staff submitted an application backed by Aitken, although they were unsuccessful.

In 1966 Jonathan Aitken co-authored a book with Michael Beloff. Michael Beloff was the barrister who in 1996 instructed the insurers of Flintshire County Council to suppress the Jillings Report into the abuse of children in the care of Clwyd County Council because what had happened to the kids was completely indefensible. The insurers told Flintshire that if they published the report they would withdraw insurance cover and the Councillors themselves would become personally liable for the damages payable to anyone who sued which would result in the loss of their homes and bankruptcy. The insurers also recommended that the Chair of the Social Services Committee, Cllr Malcolm King – who had been dangerously unco-operative with the paedophiles and their friends – should be sacked if he managed to discover what was in the Jillings Report and publicised it.

 

 

 

News Round Up, 6 October 2017

The Betsi has been in the news again this week and of course it has not been for any positive reasons. Both BBC News Wales and Daily Post Online have reported on the case of ‘Mr D’, who died at Ysbyty Gwynedd after receiving ‘substandard care’.

Mr D was admitted to Ysbyty Gwynedd in Dec 2014 with COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) and was diagnosed with pneumonia and respiratory failure. The day following his admission, his daughter Ms C was told that he was improving and that discharge plans were being discussed. Yet Mr D’s condition worsened and on Christmas Day, four days after he had been admitted, he suffered a cardiac arrest and died.

In Feb 2015, Ms C – ironically a member of staff in the Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board’s Complaints Dept – made a formal complaint to the Betsi. She waited almost a year for a response but having still heard nothing from the Betsi about her complaint, she enlisted the help of a Community Health Council advocate. Nineteen months after her complaint was lodged the Board finally replied and although they admitted that there was a failure to carry out observations on Mr D, they stated that this did not affect the ‘sad outcome’.

This complaint has ended up in the hands of the Public Service Ombudsman for Wales, Nick Bennett, who has absolutely slammed the Betsi. Mr Bennett has highlighted ‘serious failings’ and ‘missed opportunities’ – such as the failure to move Mr D to a high dependency unit – which led to Mr D’s death. Mr Bennett also mentioned that an inaccurate record was made of the cause of Mr D’s death and that there was a failure to carry out a serious incident investigation. Mr Bennett stated that the Betsi had been ‘disingenuous’ and had refused to admit that their failings led to Mr D’s death. Mr Bennett’s report also revealed that the cause of Mr D’s death had actually been acute kidney injury secondary to sepsis, which was never treated. Furthermore the staff involved in Mr D’s ‘care’ made inappropriate comments about the complaint to a member of Mr D’s family – the Board failed to follow up this matter properly.

So the Betsi failed to diagnose a serious illness, they failed to provide the appropriate care, a completely avoidable death occurred, they then failed to respond to a complaint about that death for more than a year and six months, when they did respond they lied, they also failed to follow their own complaints procedure, a member of their staff then spoke ‘inappropriately’ and breached confidentiality and the Betsi failed to deal with that matter properly as well.

This is pretty much par for the course where the north Wales NHS is concerned and it has been for decades.

Gill Harris, Director of Nursing at the Betsi, has spouted the usual load of meaningless tripe about how sorry they are, how they are seeking to improve and how they are improving their ‘concerns procedures’ (it is a standing joke in north Wales that the Betsi never refers to a ‘complaint’, it is always a ‘concern’).

The Betsi have been told repeatedly to improve their ‘clinical standards’ and to improve their response to complaints. The north Wales NHS was told this repeatedly in its previous incarnation in the form of the NHS Trusts that preceded the Betsi. They were supposedly ‘prioritising sepsis’ nearly ten years ago – yet someone else has now died of it after the Betsi failed to treat it and in this instance the Betsi simply pretended that the patient had died of something else.

Is anybody really surprised that this has happened AGAIN? There are members of the Betsi Board such as the Chair Peter Higson and Director of Workforce Martin Jones who have been employed in the NHS in north Wales for decades and they have ALWAYS concealed gross negligence and misconduct on the part of clinical staff, lied about doing so and then failed to investigate complaints properly – it is their business model. Did anyone expect them to conduct themselves any differently just because the organisation was given a new name?

Much as I sympathise with Ms C after what she has been through, I would like to ask her why, as a member of the complaints team at the Betsi, that she hasn’t previously blown the whistle when she witnessed this happening to other people – because she will have. Perhaps Ms C could also tell me when the very serious complaint that I made about the Betsi last year will be investigated because to date it has not been. I was lied to – and about – as well and when I pointed this out it was ignored. My complaint remains unresolved – but I will not be alone, there’ll be hundreds of us in that position.

 

The Daily Post has reported on the inquest in Ruthin of Susan England, a 63 year old teacher who died in Ysbyty Glan Clwyd of an accidental overdose of dihydrocodeine. Ms England took the accidental overdose after trying to ease the pain from her hip whilst she waited for an operation. The Coroner Nicola Jones stated that this death illustrates the ‘perils of self-medicating’. It also illustrates the perils of having to rely upon the north Wales NHS – you are left in agony and I bet that there was no advice or help given to Ms England concerning pain management. She’ll have been left to deal with it herself. Nicola Jones told Susan England’s family that she realised that they’d been through ’48 hours of absolute hell’. Ms England herself had probably been through many months of hell, firstly trying to get an appointment regarding her hip problems, then being left to deal with the agony alone on a very long waiting list. I have two friends who both recently had orthopaedic problems and who live in north Wales. They were both told that they could skip a very long waiting list if they agreed to pay for private treatment – from exactly the same consultant who would perform the operation if they had it on the NHS. One friend is ideologically against private care and stated that as a matter of principal he’d wait for NHS treatment. Within two months of being offered the chance to skip the waiting list, he was in agony – which his greedy, grasping ‘NHS consultant’ knew that he’d be. There was no advice offered regarding pain control – just another offer to skip the waiting list if my friend stumped up for private treatment. The consultant treating him – or more accurately doing all he can not to treat him unless it is on a private basis – will be earning almost £100k pa for his NHS work. NHS work that involves leaving people in agony on a very long waiting list whilst you wait for them to crumble and agree to book in for private care at Spire Wrexham or some such similar establishment.

Nicola Jones observed that Ms England was ‘a healthy woman apart from her hip pain’ and returned a verdict of ‘accidental death’.

 

Nicola Jones also recently carried out the inquest on Mathew Gareth Jones, a 34 year old man with an alcohol problem. Nicola Jones stated at the inquest that Mathew’s death was ‘alcohol related’ and that ‘a lot of work was done by health professionals to try to help him’. Mathew’s parents disagreed with this statement so strongly that they spoke to the Daily Post. They maintained that Mathew should have had more help for his alcohol problem and that both Denbighshire County Council’s housing dept and the Ablett Unit at Ysbyty Glan Clwyd let him down badly. They explained that Mathew had been in and out of the Ablett Unit for two years, that he was homeless during this time and that when he was housed, it was in a B&B above a pub in Rhyl.

People unacquainted with the ‘help’ on offer to mental health patients in north Wales may believe that Mathew’s parents are unfairly blaming other agencies for their son’s problems. I doubt that they are. For years when I lived in north Wales I watched the most ludicrous – indeed dangerous – decisions taken about vulnerable people. I knew one alcoholic who was housed immediately next door to one pub in Bethesda and just a few doors away from two other pubs. I knew another alcoholic who was housed in substandard accommodation next door to an off licence. Both these men drank themselves to death within months of being ‘housed’. I knew a vulnerable man with mental health problems who was housed in the same block of flats as big time drug dealers – they intimidated him out of his flat (he fled in terror) and he was then refused further accommodation after the Arfon Community Mental Health Team declared that he had ‘made himself homeless’. Another vulnerable mental health patient was housed in the ‘hard to let’ part of the toughest council estate in Gwynedd. She had a brick thrown through her window within three weeks of moving in. I could cite many more examples, it was constant. Furthermore even these people had only been housed after spending years begging for help to find accommodation – most mental health patients requesting such help were just told to take a running jump. The degree of neglect was scandalous. Three years ago I discovered that there was a team of five or six social workers employed by Gwynedd County Council whose remit it was to find homeless people accommodation – and two of those social workers were supposedly dedicated to housing disabled people. I did not know such a team even existed and no-one else that I knew had ever heard of them either – yet I knew numerous disabled homeless people in Gwynedd who had begged for help with housing and were all simply told ‘we don’t have any housing’.

 

So I was not really that surprised to discover that Nick Bennett the Public Services Ombudsman was reported in the Daily Post as saying that the number of health complaints has doubled in a decade and that he is seeing a rise in the number of complaints against the Betsi. Last year Mr Bennett published six public interest reports – three of them concerned the Betsi, all of them involved Ysbyty Glan Clwyd. This should not surprise anyone either. Ysbyty Glan Clwyd has been in a dreadful state for many years and its serious problems were simply denied and concealed by the previous Chief Exec of the Conwy and Denbighshire NHS Trust, Gren Kershaw (see post ‘How Much Do Staff Surveys Really Tell Us?’). The director of Ysbyty Glan Clwyd at present is Craig Barton. Barton was formerly a senior manager of the North West Wales NHS Trust and at one point he was appointed to ‘modernise’ the Hergest Unit. When he was asked by two people known to me how he was going to do this – two people who knew all about the catalogue of deaths and abuse at the Hergest Unit – Barton told them that he wasn’t even going to try, because the then manager of the Hergest Unit Alun Davies was alright if he liked you, but if he took a dislike to you ‘your feet won’t touch the floor’. Davies and Barton remained as ‘managers’ of the Hergest Unit and patients continued to die. I was told that Craig Barton was the rather daft son of someone senior in the North Wales Probation Service – a ‘service’ which was corrupt as fuck and a great friend to the North Wales Paedophile Ring. Craig did rather badly in his degree at Bangor and of course ended up in the north Wales NHS. A career path that has been followed by a great many fuckwits local to north Wales, including Martin Jones.

Nick Bennett has stated that the Betsi needs a ‘culture change’ but this will not be easy. That Nick is because it is run by the likes of Higson, Barton and Martin Jones and no-one is ever sacked no matter how badly they conduct themselves or how many people die. Nick himself is from Anglesey and is now based in Cardiff. So Nick’s pretty much part of the same crowd then – Nick’s pedigree was discussed recently on the Welsh political blog Jac O The North. Nick Bennett told the Daily Post that his ‘most experienced and senior investigators’ were now working with the Betsi. Which will be a complete waste of time, because they will be the very same people who have spent their whole careers in the Welsh NHS or Welsh civil service and it is they who have failed to deal with the problems previously and they certainly won’t now. Most of them probably know Higson by name and may have even worked for him/with him when he was Chief Exec of Health Inspectorate Wales – which consistently failed to investigate serious complaints against the north Wales NHS… Higson’s sister is Dr Ruth Hussey, the former Chief Medical Officer for Wales… I could go on for ever in this vein, but the corrupt incestuous circle involves so many people that readers will just have to use the search facility on this blog for further details.

 

BBC News Wales reported a crisis in home care on Anglesey. Gwawr Rowlands who has Rett syndrome – a genetic condition which affects brain development and can result in severe mental and physical disabilities – has been receiving a care package funded by the Betsi but organised by Anglesey County Council’s social services. The package includes help with washing and changing. On 25 Sept Gwawr’s mother received a phone call telling her that Gwawr’s carers would no longer be providing care after 29 Sept – so Gwawr and her family received a grand total of five days notice that her care was going to stop.

The company contracted to provide care for Gwawr was Abacare. Abacare maintain that they made Gwawr’s social worker aware that they were struggling to provide the care package ten days previously and that they suggested that Anglesey County Council find another agency to provide care. It transpires that Abacare has had problems fulfilling other care packages for clients on Anglesey and the company has stated that it has been using care workers from Bangor and Caernarfon which is not sustainable. Abacare maintains that they have offered to work with the Council’s in-house dept or other agencies in order to find care for Gwawr ‘although this is against the company policy’. They have had no response from Anglesey County Council. Gwawr’s mother maintains that she has had no explanation from Abacare regarding their decision to suddenly withdraw her daughter’s care.

I suspect that there are many other cases like Gwawr’s, but Gwawr’s has come to light because Gwawr’s mother rang a radio programme about her case. The care system in north Wales has been doing things like this for years. There are scores of ‘care agencies’ that have now been contracted to provide a few hours of ‘care’ daily to clients in their own homes (Gwawr’s care package consisted of two hours daily). I have friends who have worked for these agencies and as long ago as 2005 it was a shambles. North Wales is a rural area and carers – being paid the minimum wage and no travelling expenses – were being despatched many miles to provide one hours ‘care’. I knew someone who lived in Cricieth who was given clients in Rhyl – she was expected to drive to Rhyl and back for one or two hours work. The agency my friend worked for was Medicare – it was scandalous. The carers were casual workers – no-one was offered any training and many of the staff were young people who weren’t able to shoulder the responsibilities given to them. Untrained unqualified carers were told to administer prescribed, essential medication. My friend discovered that the only source of ‘support’ or ‘advice’ was telephone contact with a ‘manager’ – who didn’t even have a nursing qualification. On a number of occasions my friend arrived at clients’ homes to find that the carer responsible for the previous ‘shift’ hadn’t bothered to turn up and hadn’t bothered to tell the ‘manager’ that they were going to make their call. My friend called on one bedbound elderly man at 6pm to find that his morning carer hadn’t turned up, neither had his lunch-time carer. He had not been out of bed, taken to the loo, given any food or drink or his medication since the evening before. My friend left Medicare after this, stating that people’s lives were being put at risk and that she wasn’t prepared to be part of it.

I know one person who was offered a carers job last year with an agency responsible for home care in Wrexham – commissioned by Wrexham County  Borough Council – without references being taken up or a DBS check being carried out. The job involved handling the money and medication of housebound elderly people. The agency involved was a company based in Nottingham who’s ‘office’ in Wrexham was a portacabin on an industrial estate. During the ‘interview’, confidential clients’ files were scattered around the room with clients’ names and details visible.

Most of these ‘care agencies’ are so shambolic and pay staff so badly and treat them so unreasonably that no-one wants to work for them – that is why they are constantly short of ‘carers’, even in a region like north Wales which has a high rate of unemployment. The Councils contracting them are equally as sloppy – they know damn well how these agencies conduct themselves. Both Anglesey and Wrexham Social Services have a long and glorious history of serious abuse in their children’s services. I suspect that Gwawr’s ‘care’ was the responsibility of Anglesey’s Communities section – the head was (and may still be) the hopeless Gwenan Carrington, previously Director of Gwynedd Social Services. After her position there became untenable following a series of well-publicised disasters, dear old Gwenan made a sideways move into Anglesey County Council… Gwenan’s colleagues in Anglesey Social Services are no better – they have failed to deliver any ‘services’ for years, the residents of Anglesey with relatives in need of services are tearing their hair out. There has also been a long-standing problem of the bullying of social work students who have dared raise concerns at the bad practice that they witnessed on placement.

Gwawr has Rett syndrome. I think that everyone involved in providing the ‘care packages’ that she and other disabled people depend upon must have Rhett syndrome, named after Rhett Butler, the famous character in Gone With The Wind – definitely a case of ‘frankly my dear I don’t give a damn’…

 

Wrexham Maelor psychiatrist Thomas Jenkins who was caught using the gay dating app Grindr to request a 13 year old boy to have sex with him without a condom by an undercover police officer has been ordered to attend a sex offenders programme for three years and has been placed on the sex offenders register for five years. Jenkins qualified at Cardiff University two years ago and was in the second year of the foundation course in psychiatry at Wrexham Maelor when he was arrested. That’ll be the course that Peter Higson, Martin Jones and the rest of the Betsi Board are so proud of. I wonder if Higson will be mentioning this particular triumph at the next Board meeting? Incredibly the GMC have actually struck Jenkins off. Can they possibly be clamping down on criminal medical practitioners? Jenkins was told by the GMC that he’d brought the profession into disrepute (unlike dear old Dafydd, who is of course a fine upstanding member of that profession) and that his ‘fellow doctors would fins his actions deplorable’. Even if they did, experience demonstrates that they would still lie on his behalf, refuse to investigate complaints against him and continue to refer patients to him. And the GMC would not be above forging documents in order to protect him either.

 

The Welsh Gov’t have been boasting about providing midwives in Wales with special training to care for premature babies who are born before 24 weeks and will not survive. A young mother from Cardiff was so distressed at the treatment of her own premature baby – who was born at 22 weeks and died just after an hour later after midwives had refused to touch or handle the baby at all – that she lobbied Health Boards and Welsh Gov’t Ministers for dignified treatment of premature babies who will not survive. Sadly what this young mother and the Welsh Gov’t will not be taking into account is, once more, the bad behaviour of Angels and Top Doctors in the face of ‘training’. In the early 1990s St George’s Hospital Medical School was considered to have had an excellent special care baby unit, so a lot of mothers in the region who were considered to be at risk of delivering premature babies opted to give birth at St George’s. I have mentioned previously on this blog that a lot of the midwives there were very good. Even in 1990, it was routine at St George’s for the very premature babies who died to be dressed up in baby clothes and put in a Moses basket and to be given back to their mother for a few hours. Most of the midwives did treat the bodies of the babies who died with respect. But there was one midwife there who used to entertain herself by playing with the dead babies, putting their limbs in grotesque positions and having a good laugh whilst she was doing it. As ever, she was not challenged although everybody knew what she was doing. And no, her conduct would not have improved if she’d been paid more…

 

Mark Drakeford, the Finance Minister (formerly the Health Minister, formerly Rhodri Morgan’s special advisor on Health Policy, formerly a social worker in Dyfed where a paedophile ring existed), has announced that he can only give the Welsh NHS £450 million because of austerity imposed by Westminster. I have no time for the Westminster Gov’t and they undoubtedly do great damage to Wales, but Drakeford is not helping matters by giving millions of pounds to people whom he knows are institutionally corrupt and telling them how sorry he is that he cannot give them more. Wales needs that money very badly Drakeford and you are giving it to crooks – and you have known for years that they are crooks, but you ignored the people (like me) who sent you the evidence. Tawel Fan blew up in your face whilst you were Health Minister and it has not yet been resolved – the worst mental healthcare scandal that there had ever been in the UK happened at the Ablett Unit in the Betsi and not one abusive member of staff was disciplined. Instead the nurse who blew the whistle on it all was sacked.

 

I despair of Drakeford et al, I don’t think they that have any idea of the public anger that there is in north Wales regarding the shite public services which are gobbling up millions whilst they exterminate vulnerable people – and every time there’s another scandal the dickwit Drakeford tells everyone that it’s because the paedophiles’ friends have not been given enough money. The troughing bastards are the most highly paid people in north Wales, the Martins and the Craigs with their third class degrees from Bangor, Aber and Cardiff are all pulling in well over £100k pa. (Martin is trousering about £150k now.)

 

NHS England continues to experience traumas, as reported by the Mail Online.

The Warrington and Halton Hospital NHS Foundation Trust in Cheshire has stopped spinal surgery after four serious incidents, two of them involving patient deaths.

Brioney Woolfe, a former midwifery assistant, has appeared in Colchester Magistrates Court after accessing the data of 29 patients – not just midwifery patients either – between Dec 2014 and May 2016. Woolfe’s activities only came to light after one patient discovered that details of an illness that he wanted kept private had become public knowledge. I am staggered that Woolfe has even been disciplined for this, yet alone has ended up in Court. This conduct is de rigueur, both in the NHS and social services. Confidentiality is flouted constantly, patients and clients are the subject of casual gossip and patients’ records and data are freely passed around to just about anyone, including non-clinical members of staff. It is endemic. There is no confidentiality in the UK NHS or social services – I have given numerous examples on this blog and some of my readers have left comments on the blog about serious breaches of confidentiality involving them.

 

A major scandal involving IVF Hammersmith, the fertility clinic that Blair’s mate Lord Robert Winston (who has featured on this blog previously) established, has hit the media today. A man who cannot be named for legal reasons sued Hammersmith after his former partner forged his signature on a consent form and gave birth to a daughter after becoming pregnant using an embryo frozen several years previously. The couple had been patients at IVF Hammersmith, had one son as a result of their treatment there but then had a very acrimonious relationship break-up. Hammersmith were not told about this and several years later the female partner approached Hammersmith for further treatment and was implanted with an embryo fertilised by her previous partner after forging his signature of a consent form – he knew nothing about this until she texted him when she was three months pregnant. He had made it known that he did not want any more children. The man concerned has given a media interview explaining his distress at now being the father of a little girl whom he cares for but did not actually want – the confusion that has resulted from it is evident in his comments.

The father of the little girl sued Hammersmith for negligence and the anticipated cost of bringing up the child. The details of his claim are somewhat laughable to those of us who are not rich enough to be patients of IVF Hammersmith – it included the cost of her private schooling, ski-ing trips, gap year, wedding and the cost of an expensive car to drive her to school. However, it is people who consider such things to be necessities whom IVF Hammersmith targets as patients. He has lost his claim, but the case is going to the Court of Appeal.

IVF Hammersmith is trying to wash its hands of the whole matter, maintaining that they take patients on trust and cannot know if they are criminals. Yet IVF Hammersmith would seem to have been very lax indeed here – there has always been much emphasis in fertility treatment on seeing both partners if a couple are requesting treatment, on ensuring that no-one is being coerced into fertility treatment, on ensuring that the relationship is stable etc. How did Hammersmith manage to treat a woman when she reappeared several years after a previous course of treatment with nothing more than her partner’s (alleged) signature on a consent form? My post ‘Every Sperm Is Sacred – Particularly In Scotland’) details some of what I knew to be going on in fertility clinics in London in the 80s and 90s. Robert Winston at Hammersmith was always considered above and beyond such unscrupulous practices, but he did know what was happening in his colleagues’ clinics. I have also described how Winston employed a gynaecologist at Hammersmith who was a serious sexual harasser but simply passed him on to another hospital.

The man who tried to sue Hammersmith commented upon the ‘unacceptable conduct of fertility clinics which have grown into multimillion pound businesses on the back of sharp practices’. He is quite right, its been happening for years and is well known in the field of obstetrics and gynaecology. As with all branches of medicine, no-one has been prepared to speak out about the way business is being conducted. Despite all the talk of ensuring that patients are in a position to give a child a stable, caring home, the reality is that for many of those clinics if you come up with the dosh you will be treated. Furthermore you will be encouraged to part with large quantities of dosh even if there is very little chance of you becoming pregnant and some highly questionable procedures will be flogged to you.

The man in the Hammersmith case lost in court because although it was accepted that his former partner had forged his signature and Hammersmith were condemned for being so sloppy in their procedures, it is policy that damages for negligence cannot be awarded in the event of the birth of a healthy child.

So once more the Top Doctors are off scot free leaving a big mess in their wake.

So who is responsible for regulating the Top Doctors in question? It is the ‘independent regulator’, the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA), as featured on this blog previously – whose failings have now been described as ‘catastrophic’. The thing that has always struck me about the leading lights at the HFEA is that none of them are doctors or scientists, so they are not even in a position to understand the science behind the business that they are supposed to be regulating. The folk involved with the HFEA are essentially elitist public figures who are professional busybodies – they jump from being Chair of one quango to another and then lead an Oxbridge College or two until they arrive at their final destination in the Lords.

Baroness Mary Warnock was the pioneer, she Chaired the Inquiry back in the early 80s which led to the establishment of the HFEA. Mary Warnock was originally a girls’ schoolteacher along the lines of the Malory Towers model and then became an Oxford academic – her field is philosophy. Mary Warnock was regularly wheeled out in the media to offer her opinion on the Big Questions, although things went a little pear shaped some years ago when she pronounced herself to be so in favour of euthanasia for the elderly that she was about to volunteer for it. There was quite a fuss with her family going public on the fact that they really didn’t want to wave her off to Dignitas and since then Mary Warnock has kept a low profile. But it was fairly obvious back in the 80s that Warnock was quite out of her depth at being given the responsibility to grapple with a very new, little understood, fast developing and highly experimental branch of the biomedical sciences. Basically she knew bugger all about it.

Successive Chairs of the HFEA have been variations on Mary Warnock. They have included Lord Richard Harries (an Army Officer and a bishop);  Lisa Jardine (daughter of Jacob Bronowski, historian and Radio 4 regular); the awful Baroness Ruth Deech (lawyer, formerly of the BBC Governors, Oxford academic); Dame Suzi Leather (who has Chaired every quango going as detailed on this blog some months ago); Shirley Harrison (Sunday Times journo, NUJ member, Chair of the South Yorkshire Probation Board, member of Sheffield Council, Labour Party member, also involved with Cancer Research UK); Walter Merricks (lawyer, inaugural director of Camden Community Law Centre, founding Chair of the Office of Health Professions Adjudicator, Chair of the Trustees of the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges); Sir Colin Campbell (lawyer, former VC of the University of Nottingham 1988-2008 who just prior to his retirement accepted a 90% pay rise making him the highest paid VC in the UK, he proposed the privatisation of universities and accepted a £3.8 million endowment from British American Tobacco to fund an International Centre for Corporate Social Responsibility at Nottingham University Business School which caused resignations, the exodus of a research team and the withdrawal of research funding from Cancer Research UK). The current Chair is Sally Cheshire, a corporate accountant lately of Deloitte.

With this lot at the helm are we surprised that there have been ‘catastrophic failings’ at the HFEA? Readers will have realised from the details provided that a few of the above will know what Top Doctors get up to – but they are certainly never going to admit it. Lisa Jardine almost got around to admitting how questionable the whole fertility business is after she stepped down from her role as Chair of the HFEA. She stated in an interview with the Indie that ‘as a communicator’ she regretted that she had not been able to publicise how traumatised many patients were by fertility treatment or for how many people it was unsuccessful. In the same interview Jardine also admitted that a mixed race baby had been born to a black couple. So how was it that ‘as a communicator’ Jardine didn’t manage to spit all this out whilst she was still Chair? She had her own slot of Radio 4 in which she mouthed off every weekend, so who or what was keeping her quiet? The Coalition Gov’t wanted to abolish the HFEA in their ‘bonfire of the quangos’. Jardine somehow stopped them – so she managed to communicate something then.

The lawyer acting for Hammersmith was James Lawford Davies, a partner at Hempsons. The Hempsons who act for the MDU, who so helpfully supplied Dr Tony Francis (Dr X) with lawyers and barristers who attempted to imprison me – although I now have copies of documents demonstrating that Hempsons knew that I had not done what I was accused of and that Francis was perjuring himself.

So what of the people of IVF Hammersmith itself? The person wheeled out to make the ‘I Know Nuzzing’ comments to the press was Jude Fleming, their Chief Operating Officer. Now I think that someone at Hammersmith really should have taken a closer look at Jude’s CV before they gave her that job. My suspicion was aroused after reading Jude’s Linked In profile – it would not have looked amiss on the university application of a rather weak A level student who couldn’t think of anything original to say about themselves. Jude explains that she is an active person who is interested in what she does and has worked very hard in educational and sporting activities since she was 11. Incredibly enough, until just over ten years ago, Jude’s employment was as a bookings clerk and a waitress and then as a ski-instructor at Glasgow Ski and Snowboard Centre. Many people of course have worked as waitresses and ski-instructors, but somehow Jude went directly from that to managing a fertility clinic – namely GCRM Fertility Clinic in Glasgow. Yet googling GCRM Fertility Clinic doesn’t reveal what one normally thinks of as a fertility clinic. GCRM is situated on the business park, just next to the M8, around the corner from the Volvo Truck and Bus Centre. It is certainly a most unusual setting for a fertility clinic and the online info is a bit odd as well. There are no details of the doctors working at this ‘clinic’, just a notice explaining that if you’re a patient who needs advice out of hours you’ve got to ring the emergency services because doctors are only available during clinic hours. It doesn’t sound anything like any fertility clinic that I’ve ever come across and I suspect that it might simply be a referral centre to doctors who are actually based elsewhere. Jude worked around the corner from the Volvo Truck Centre for eight years and then landed a job as manager of the Oxford Fertility Unit in 2015. I presume that she is a recent arrival at IVF Hammersmith.

What about the Clinic Directors at IVF Hammersmith? Well now that dear old Robert Winston has joined the ranks of those who slumber on the benches in the Lords in return for £300/day, the Directors at Hammersmith are Stuart Lavary and Geoffrey Trew.

Stuart Lavary is a Consultant at Hammersmith and Queen Charlotte Hospitals and also runs a private practice at Hammersmith Hospital, Harley Street and Marylebone. Nice little earner, NHS consultancy and plenty of private work as well. Stuart is the HFEA ‘person responsible’ for IVF Hammersmith – so the business of the forged signature was his domain then. Lavary is an honorary senior lecturer at the den of bad practice/research fraud that is Imperial College (see post ‘A Cause Close To Our Hearts’) and trained at the John Radcliffe, Oxford.

Geoffrey Trew is also a Consultant at Hammersmith and Queen Charlotte’s – he qualified at St George’s in 1984! He’ll have witnessed much the same madness that I did then. And he’ll have been there when Professor Oliver Brooke who was later jailed for the possession of huge amounts of child porn worked at St George’s as a paediatrician. Trew has ‘an international referral base and has appeared for the last three years in the Tatler’s list of Best Private Doctors’. Which just about sums it up – never mind The Lancet or Nature, IVF Hammersmith comes highly recommended by fucking Tatler.

 

Finally a conundrum from NHS England. A few days ago I heard Dr Sarah Wollaston, GP and Tory MP, interviewed on Radio 4 about Boris’s dreadful behaviour. Something clicked – why hasn’t Theresa May appointed Sarah Wollaston as Health Minister? She is very well thought of even by people who are not Conservatives, she is very popular in her constituency in Devon, she is indeed a Top Doctor but doesn’t seem to be a pompous demanding greedy one – she seems to be the real article – and she actually KNOWS about medicine and healthcare. I have never heard anyone say a bad word about Sarah Wollaston – she is capable, respectful, well-informed and doesn’t spout rubbish. Furthermore unlike other women in politics Sarah Wollaston doesn’t feel the need to bollock on about being a strong woman or obsess over her clothes. What on earth is Jeremy Hunt still doing in his job? In fact if I were the Tory Party I’d be asking Dr Wollaston if she’d like to be the next leader – they are going to be looking for one soon but all they can do is scream ‘ooh it has to be Boris’. But on second thoughts – a pleasant, intelligent, capable woman who knows what she is doing or an offensive dangerously irresponsible idiot with a track record of abusing and exploiting people? Of course they’ll choose Boris. Frankly I’m surprised that anyone listens to Dr Wollaston at all – she hasn’t been highly recommended by The Tatler.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Newcastle-Upon-Tyne Connection?

My post ‘A UK Network’ speculated upon possible connections between north Wales and the north east of England. I described how I suspect that the Cleveland Child Abuse Scandal did Dafydd and the paedophiles’ friends in north Wales a very big favour by muddying the waters just at the very time when Alison Taylor, Mary Wynch and I were writing to politicians, Ministers and others regarding the criminal activities of welfare professionals in north Wales. At the time I didn’t realise that what I was witnessing and experiencing was a direct result of the paedophile ring in north Wales and I don’t think that Mary did, but Alison was of course a children’s social worker for Gwynedd Social Services who was blowing the whistle on the abuse happening in the children’s homes.

‘A UK Network’ named Dr Neil Davies and Professor Bob Woods as being two senior figures who worked in the mental health services in north Wales for years who had both previously worked in Newcastle-Upon-Tyne. Neil Davies read medicine at Cambridge and then worked in Newcastle, Bob Woods did his clinical psychology training in Newcastle and worked there afterwards. Bob Woods had also worked at the Institute of Psychiatry before moving to Bangor. Neil Davies was a Consultant Psychiatrist in north Wales (he has now retired) and Professor Bob Woods is a Clinical Psychologist who for many years ran the Clinical Psychology training at Bangor University, working in partnership with the mental health services in north Wales. Bob Woods is Professor of Old Age Psychology at Bangor University and specialises in dementia and Alzheimers.

Neil Davies was for many years a Consultant Psychiatrist in the North Wales Hospital Denbigh – I met him whilst Dafydd unlawfully imprisoned me there in the winter of 1986/87. My post ‘How I Arrived At Denbigh’ details the entries that Neil Davies made upon my medical records in 1986 after being confronted by a nurse who told him that she was most unhappy about being implicated in Dafydd’s illegal activities and the ‘deal’ that he had done with a corrupt policeman at Bangor Police Station, a Superintendent Roberts. Davies reassured her that it wasn’t actually her who was breaking the law or participating in the ‘deal’ (that was the word that Davies actually used on my medical records), all she had to do was to refuse to let me out of the locked ward where I was being unlawfully held.

I met Neil Davies again some years ago. He was then a Consultant at the Ablett Unit, Ysbyty Glan Clwyd. I went to see him after my lawyer had conducted a battle for more than a year to get me an appointment at the Ablett Unit, so that I would never have to risk my neck with the dreadful Hergest Unit again. The North West Wales NHS Trust had simply ignored my lawyer’s repeated requests – I don’t know why, because they hated me and the lethal Dr Tony Roberts of the Hergest Unit had made it clear that I could die before I’d receive any support, but no, they just couldn’t find it within them to refer me elsewhere. After a very long battle and my lawyer pointing out repeatedly that denying me care was simply illegal (although breaking the law has never bothered the north Wales mental health services), I did receive an appointment to see Neil Davies.

I remembered Neil Davies from the North Wales Hospital, but when I went to see him we didn’t mention meeting there, although I presumed that he did remember me. When I went to see him at the Ablett, I hadn’t yet gained access to the records that he’d written at Denbigh years earlier, so I knew nothing about these written confessions of illegal incarceration and deals with corrupt police officers. At the Ablett, Neil Davies was very chatty and pleasant – people always find Neil Davies chatty and pleasant, he is not conspicuously deranged like Dafydd – and we actually spent most of the time discussing my publications. I only saw Neil Davies I think about three times when I gave up again – dear old Tony Roberts reared his ugly head once more, throwing hissy fits and ordering junior doctors at the Ablett not to treat me no less, because I was ‘his’ patient, not Neil Davies’s. God knows what was going on, I just gave up with them at that point.

Last year however my lawyer forwarded yet more records to me, including the incriminating records that Neil Davies had compiled at Denbigh. But she also forwarded the records that he had compiled about me when I’d been to see him at the Ablett. I discovered that there had been no official referral. Alun Davies, the corrupt manager of the Hergest Unit, had simply ‘had a word’ with Neil Davies at a meeting about another matter in mid-Wales and asked him if he would see a ‘difficult patient’. I can only imagine what Davies said about me. Furthermore it came as no surprise that there was no appropriate referral – Alun Davies conducts his whole existence on the basis of ‘having a word’ with people (often his corrupt contacts) and if he ever was told that a third party had been critical of the Hergest Unit, his standard response was to bellow ‘I’ll be having a word with them’. He even bellowed that he would be having a word with Edwina Hart the Health Minister when she implemented a policy that he didn’t like.

The records from Neil Davies were illuminating. He had written a letter to my GP after my first appointment mentioning that he’d seen me, but he didn’t realise ‘who she was’ until I started talking about my work. Davies stated that he realised that he ‘knew me by repute’ – presumably he had forgotten completely about the corrupt deal and illegal detention that he had been party to in Denbigh. But then that sort of thing was an everyday occurrence out there.  Now when Neil Davies said that he knew me by repute, he didn’t mean hat he knew me as an academic. Davies meant that he knew me as the woman who had dared to complain about Jones and Denbigh, the women whom the mental health services had spent years trying to imprison because she was so phenomenally dangerous but who had recently completed a PhD and was now appearing in the press commenting about the failing mental health system. I even found copies of some of my academic papers among Davies’s records relating to me (good to know that you thought they were worth keeping Neil!). Davies’s letters to my GP didn’t mention me being a potential axe murderer as most of the correspondence about me usually did, but interestingly he talked about me being a ‘very disordered personality’ (yeh, that’s how I am such a prolific writer Neil, when you’re as mad and as disordered as me you can write even more publications than anyone else). Interestingly enough, in support of his claims of my ‘disordered personality’, the only thing that Davies managed to dredge up was that I had just broken up with someone after a ‘brief relationship’. The brief relationship in question had lasted nine years. Which I think is longer than any of Dafydd’s serial marriages lasted…

What was most telling though was the copy of Neil Davies’s hand-written notes that my lawyer forwarded. At the top of the first sheet of the ‘contemporaneous notes’ that he made during my first appointment with him, Neil Davies had written ‘DAJ issue’. ‘DAJ’ in north Wales psychiatry ALWAYS translates as ‘Dafydd Alun Jones’. In the Hergest Unit, Dr Tony Francis (Dr X) even used to say ‘DAJ’ rather than utter Dafydd’s name. So although we didn’t mention Dafydd during our meeting and although no letter had ever been sent to Davies telling him that when I was younger I had made complaint about Dafydd, he knew that there was a DAJ issue. He also considered it to be so overwhelmingly important that it was the first thing that he wrote down. In doctor speak. Not mentioned again in any official correspondence. Which sums it up really – are you a prolific academic with an out-patients appointment after you happened to have ended a nine year relationship? Well of course you have a ‘disordered personality’ – because you’re the bastard who complained about Dafydd breaking the law and sexually exploiting patients 25 years ago and we know you ‘by repute’.

I have never heard any allegations at all that Neil Davies sexually exploited patients. But he knew all about Dafydd and my records demonstrate that he colluded with Dafydd’s criminality. For all his pleasant manner, Neil Davies’s remedy was the same as everyone else’s – this patient must be discredited…

I have never had any dealings at all with Professor Bob Woods, although I know a number of people who have. However he has been working in north Wales for long enough to be well aware of the history and practices of the mental health services. Although his CV boasts of his status as one of the UK’s leading lights in dementia and Alzheimers, he also works in ‘partnership’ with the Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board which was responsible for the abuse and neglect at Tawel Fan, a dementia ward in the Ablett Unit. Tawel Fan was the worst mental health care scandal that the UK had experienced for many years (see post ‘The Tawel Fan Scandal’).

I mentioned in my post ‘The Case Of The King’s Sperm’ that one of the friends and protégés of the crazed psychiatrist and eugenicist Eliot Slater – who with his colleagues Dr Carlos Blacker and Dr Desmond Curran discussed the possibility of asking King George VI to donate sperm in order to artificially inseminate a patient of Curran’s – was Professor Sir Martin Roth. Martin Roth died in 2006 and was a very big name in UK psychiatry – he worked in Newcastle and it was there that he achieved his towering reputation. Roth’s speciality was old age psychiatry, particularly dementia and Alzheimers. I suspect that Martin Roth may have been yet another person who’s status and reputation was used to protect those screwing up so badly in the mental health services in north Wales for decades.

Roth was appointed Professor of Psychological Medicine at Newcastle in 1956, whilst Newcastle was still part of the federal Durham University. He stayed there until 1977. He will have been there when both Neil Davies and Bob Woods worked in Newcastle. Roth established units for child psychiatry, neurosis and psycho-geriatrics. His obituaries tell us that ‘he embraced the discipline of clinical psychology within his department’.

By 1959 Roth had an international reputation and was consulted by WHO (World Health Organisation). In the 60s Roth became known for his pioneering dementia research, demonstrating that the problems with a poor prognosis experienced by many elderly people in psychiatric hospitals attributed to senility and dementia were actually a result of treatable conditions eg. depression or infections. Roth instigated studies with Sir Bernard Tomlinson into Alzheimers and it is claimed that as a result of this, ‘patient care was improved’. Roth and his researchers undoubtedly conducted interesting work into the molecular pathology of Alzheimers, but in view of what happened at Tawel Fan and the standard of ‘care’ meted out to thousands of other elderly people with dementia or Alzheimers, I’m not convinced that Roth’s research has led to an improvement in patient care. Some of the recent scandals in the care of the elderly mentally ill have been as bad as the Ely Hospital Scandal in the late 60s.

In 1964 Roth was a member of the Clinical Research Board of the MRC and Director of the MRC Research Group in psychiatry at Newcastle.

Between 1965-75 Martin Roth was an advisor to the Ministry of Health on mental health and was involved with Keith Joseph in Gov’t plans to replace mental hospitals with units in District General hospitals and community care. Roth was said to have ‘expressed concern about the quality and scope of care, which went unheeded’. I have noted previously how when Denbigh was closed, the abusive practitioners who had been employed at Denbigh were simply re-employed in the new services and most of them carried on with their abusive and/or negligent practices. It wasn’t the building at Denbigh which was the problem. But Bob Woods and Neil Davies have never admitted that, at least publicly.

In 1971 Roth was elected as the first President of the newly created Royal College of Psychiatrists.

Roth was knighted in 1972 whilst he was at Newcastle.

After Roth left Newcastle he continued his Alzheimers research at Cambridge, where he was the first Professor of Psychiatry between 1977-85, then Professor Emeritus. Roth was a Fellow of Trinity College Cambridge from 1977.

Roth was considered to have pioneered psychogeriatrics, but he was also described by Professor Claude  Wischik, a former PhD student of his, as being ‘a leading voice for biological psychiatry and was listened to throughout the world’. However Roth also had interests in anxiety, panic attacks and agoraphobia.

Along with Willy Mayer-Goss and Eliot Slater, Roth wrote ‘Clinical Psychiatry’, the standard text until well into the 80s. The first edition was published in the mid-50s, but further editions and revisions were published until 1977. Roth was also responsible for Camdex – the Cambridge Examination for Mental Disorders of the Elderly, published in 1988.

Roth is attributed with having done much work on the diagnosis and classification of mental disorders and it is said that it was Roth’s work that in the 1970s led to the task of differentiating between the affective disorders. Roth’s obituary in the Daily Telegraph in Oct 2006 maintains that ‘his greatest contribution lay in his emphasis on categorisation, on clinical diagnosis, on the formulation of reliable and objective systems for describing psychopathology’. How successful were Roth’s efforts? According to the obituary of Roth written by Claude Wischik, Roth emphasised a ‘quantitative scientific approach using mathematics, genetics, experimental biology and physics’. His ‘perceptions were enshrined…in definitions of distinctive forms of illness captured in DSM [the American Psychiatric Association Diagnostic and Statistics Manual] and ICD [WHO’s International Classification of Disease]’.

I’m not quite sure where Claude has witnessed maths, genetics, experimental biology and physics being utilised in the diagnosis of mental health problems but I have certainly never seen it happening and I don’t know of any other patient who has. What I and most other people I have known observed was diagnoses being made after short superficial interviews and cases of numerous patients receiving a number of different diagnoses over a period of time. Dr Tony Roberts only had one diagnosis – borderline personality disorder. Dafydd only had one diagnosis for private patients – PTSD. Other diagnoses from Dafydd depended upon what was convenient for his purposes at that particular moment – over the course of a few months he told people that I had paranoid schizophrenia, a process psychosis, a disturbed personality disorder and then told me that I had manic depressive insanity. Two years later, after I had complained about him, he agreed with Professor Robert Bluglass that I was criminally insane. Which mathematical equations and laws of physics they used to make those diagnoses I do not know – there are no references to maths and physics on any medical notes of mine. Or even experimental biology and genetics. Whenever I have read DSM I have seen no references to the equations and physics necessary to make any of the diagnoses detailed within. I suspect that all of the psychiatry that I encountered was actually predicated on the Neil Davies methodology ie. ‘DAJ issue’ being the most important symptom to be taken into account.

During Roth’s career, psychiatry did of course come under attack and Roth defended psychiatry against its critics, the most famous of that time being R.D. Laing, Thomas Szasz and Ivan Illich. Roth challenged Szasz’s view that ‘psychiatry merely provides a police and custodial service on behalf of the socio-political establishment to deal with deviancy’. I have to contradict Roth – in north Wales, that is exactly what psychiatry did and Neil Davies and Bob Woods knew it. Critics of Szasz, including Roth, maintain that mental illness is ‘real’ and the problem is how to help. That is perfectly true – I witnessed numerous people in north Wales who were deeply distressed, who were suicidal, who were so clinically depressed that they could not talk, walk any distance or look after themselves or who were living with serious psychotic symptoms. But whether they received ‘care’ or ‘treatment’ and what ‘care’ or ‘treatment’ (or diagnosis) they received had far less to do with their symptoms or degree of distress than the vendettas being conducted against anyone who dared complain about Dafydd and the paedophiles. People were undoubtedly often left to die if they had dared cross the path of those we know and love. A common pattern was incarceration in the North Wales Hospital (when it was still in operation) and if that didn’t shut someone up it was transfer to Risley Remand Centre/prison/secure psychiatric unit, all the way up to the level of Broadmoor/Ashworth/Rampton if necessary. It is clear from my records that this was the course planned for me. Not because I’d assaulted anyone, committed violent offences etc – but because I had complained about Dafydd, Gwynne the lobotomist and Tony Francis (Dr X). This was also the path followed by so many of the children in care in north Wales who were abused by the paedophile ring. There really was no correlation with any degree of illness. After Denbigh closed, the solution was to fail to provide any care and support or indeed basics such as housing and disability benefits, whilst harassing and threatening the patient and then to stand back and wait for them to turn up dead sooner or later.

Professor Anthony Clare interviewed Thomas Szasz on ‘In The Psychiatrist’s Chair’ many years ago and accused Szasz of cruelty in failing to recognise the suffering caused by mental illness – Szasz became very angry with Clare for trying to colonise the moral high ground. Szasz’s ideas certainly can be used to justify cruelty – the Arfon Community Mental Health Team used to quote Szasz when they justified abandoning their clients to suicide – but Dafydd et al have had a ball with conventional psychiatry. Except that of course when it suited them, they started quoting Laing and Szasz…

As for Ivan Illich, Roth claimed that he was ‘a brooding presence in night, like a dysfunctional lighthouse, emitting shafts of darkness to confuse unwary travellers’. Unwary travellers were confused far more by Dafydd facilitating a paedophile ring whilst utilising a network of psychiatrists across the UK – some of them being of international stature – to ensure that he was never held to account (let alone stopped) and that anyone who challenged him was ruined.

I note with some irony that Roth wrote about the use of psychiatry to silence Soviet dissidents…

Roth’s Daily Telegraph obituary maintained that ‘Roth never lost his sympathy for the individual patient or his awareness of the reality of his or her suffering’. I never met Martin Roth, he may have been an excellent, compassionate doctor. However, at least two who had worked in his empire at Newcastle ignored a great deal of suffering indeed…

In 2006 Roth’s former student Claude Wischik noted that ‘the times of vast psychiatric institutions housing populations in excess of 1000 souls in varying degrees of torment and hopelessness are still etched in the collective social consciousness and their residue lives on in the stigma which is still so often attached to mental illness’. I would argue that rather than stigma arising from the population’s collective memory of asylums, it arises from psychiatrists telling third parties that people are ‘criminally insane’ or ‘extremely dangerous’ or indeed merely ‘disordered personalities’ because of a ‘DAJ issue’ many years ago…

In terms of it’s status as a profession, it seems that psychiatry has a lot to be grateful to Martin Roth for. Not only was he the first President of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, but his ‘expert early nurture’ was instrumental in it’s ‘robust growth’ into the powerful institution with political muscle that it is today.

Like all medical institutions that want to be taken seriously, the Royal College of Psychiatrists has a very grand office – it is situated in Belgravia. It was Martin Roth who assisted with the acquisition of this very upmarket building. Roth’s Times obituary explains that there was great difficulty in raising the money for the ‘splendid late-Georgian town house, 17 Belgravia Square SW1’, but with the ‘persuasive wiles of Roth, the influence of Lord Goodman and a very substantial gift from the charitable Trust of Marks & Spencer, it was done’. My first thought was what fiddle had Marks & Spencer been involved in, particularly as Arnold Goodman – Harold Wilson’s solicitor who was widely believed to have been a crook – played a role. Lord Goodman acted as legal advisor to Jeremy Thorpe after Thorpe was charged with conspiracy to murder and incitement to kill.

But I have found another article concerning the acquisition of 17 Belgravia Square by the Royal College of Psychiatrists, explaining that the building cost £750,000 (at early 1970s prices) and that ‘the money had to be borrowed and substantial amounts of interest paid’, although there was ‘additional help from generous sponsors’.

So how did a fledgling organisation ever raise and repay that money? £750k was a very great deal of dosh in the early 1970s – 17 Belgravia Square nestles among the residences of relatives of the Royal family. Much of Belgravia is of course owned by one particular relative of the Royal Family – the Duke of Westminster. The Duke of Westminster in the early 70s was Gerald Cavendish Grosvenor, Prince Charles’s mate – who is now dead – but was the President of the City of Chester Conservative Association when Sir Peter Morrison was MP for Chester and molesting boys in care in north Wales (see post ‘I Want Serious Money Now Please’). Gerald Cavendish also had a claim on St George’s Hospital Medical School – who concealed Dafydd and the paedophiles’ friends’ wrongdoing – because his family provided the money for the charitable Trust which founded St George’s (see post ‘Running The Country – And All That Jazz’).

Not that setting up shop in a palatial building in the poshest part of London was ever what Roth and the Royal College wanted – Roth explained that ‘we didn’t chose to go to a fashionable place but we couldn’t find any other’. Presumably there were no tin sheds in Basildon available when Roth and the Royal College of Psychiatrists went looking for office space, so they were dragged kicking and screaming into Belgravia.

Martin Roth was made a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1996, one of only three psychiatrists ever to have been given such an honour (one of the others was Sigmund Freud).

In his obituary in the British Journal of Psychiatry in April 2007, Roth was described as ‘the most respected and most successful psychiatrist of his generation’. Roth studied medicine at St Mary’s Paddington and although nearly every article available about him stresses his Messianic qualities, his deep compassion for his patients, his inspirational role as a teacher and a scientist, a Special Article in the British Journal of Psychiatry April 2007, ‘Sir Martin Roth: An Appreciation’, explains that Roth stated that his decision to embark upon a career in medicine arose out of ‘the necessity to qualify at something I could make a living at’.

My suspicions that two of the north Wales contingent passing through Roth’s empire helped ensure that the wrongdoing on their patch was concealed in the same way that Dafydd’s stint under Bob Hobson at the Maudsley ensured that no-one ever fessed up to exactly what Dafydd was doing lest the reputation of Hobson took a tumble, were fuelled by a comment of Claude Wischik, Professor of Geratology at Aberdeen, after Roth’s death. Claude observed that he was the last of the ‘Roth-Mafia’, the Professors of Psychiatry trained and inspired by Roth. That’s the problem with medicine – it really does operate as a Mafia, with a network that no-one is allowed to leave or dishonour. If you do, you’ll be sleeping with the fishes. Who ever was going to admit that two of those who had trained at the knee of one of ‘the most successful and most respected psychiatrist of his generation’ were working with old Dafydd who was colluding with organised crime? Far easier to perpetuate the myth that they’re all ’eminent’ up there in north Wales – although for some reason for donkeys years that quiet rural region had a terrifyingly high suicide rate…

 

Martin Roth was a lifelong friend of Eliot Slater – he who suggested procuring the King’s sperm – and they co-authored together. One account of Roth’s career states that Roth met Eliot Slater when he went to work at the Maudsley, but another account states that Slater invited Roth to come to work at the Maudsley with him. The lack of clarity could be significant because although Roth did work at the Maudsley after he qualified, things did not go smoothly and he left prematurely.

My post ‘The Case Of The King’s Sperm’ provided some details of Slater’s unpleasant notions and running mates. Slater was not simply ‘a man of his time’, he clung on to his fondness for lobotomy long after it had become discredited and when he was younger he had worked with Ernst Rudin, the architect of Hitler’s eugenic sterilization policies. Slater was an enthusiastic eugenicist who worked at the Maudsley/Institute of Psychiatry for decades. He will have been there when Dafydd ‘trained’ at the Maudsley.

Roth credited Slater with being ‘the greatest influence on his intellectual development, firing him with a conviction that scientific method could be used to elucidate clinical psychiatric problems’. Roth was ‘impressed by the scientific integrity and precision of Eliot Slater’s writings’.

Slater went to work at the Maudsley as Senior Registrar to Professor Sir Aubrey Lewis. The Maudsley was considered to be the ‘Mecca of academic psychiatry in the UK’.  One toadying commentator stated that Slater and Lewis were ‘both intellectual titans’ but ‘proved to be incompatible’. Slater himself stated of Aubrey Lewis: ‘at first I was impressed but later I found he poured jars of cold water on people, some of whom gave splendid presentations’. Whether Slater is referring to real or metaphorical jars of cold water I do not know – this lot were so crazy and so arrogant that they would have quite capable of drenching one another when lecturing. Whatever was going on, Slater felt that he had no option other than to leave the Maudsley after only two years. In his own words ‘I felt unhappy and it was clear that I had no future there’.

Aubrey Lewis was yet another mad eugenicist – he died in 1975. He was born in Australia and qualified as a doctor from the University of Adelaide. He then carried out some anthropological work on Aborigines – it can be assumed that was probably quite unsavoury. He arrived at the Maudsley in 1928 and became Clinical Director in 1936. Lewis was a member of the Eugenics Society and contributed to a 1934 volume ‘The Chances of Morbid Inheritance’, edited by Carlos Blacker (another psychiatrist who was in hot pursuit of the King’s sperm, along with Slater). This book has been described as being ‘remarkable for its total admiration for the German work and workers, including Ernst Rudin’. The ‘German work’ was of course all that eugenic thought that so influenced Hitler and which he put into practice…

In 1946 the Maudsley was designated the Institute of Psychiatry, under the auspices of the University of London. Aubrey Lewis was appointed to the inaugural Chair of Psychiatry at the Institute, which he held until his retirement in 1966. Aubrey’s wiki entry proudly reproduces a quote that stated that it is ‘said that the flowering of British psychiatry after World War II can be attributed to three things: a long humanitarian tradition, the NHS and Aubrey Lewis’.

‘Humanitarian tradition’ is not a phrase that one readily associates with these unhinged adherents to the ideology which excited the Nazis so much. If British psychiatry did any flowering following World war II it could probably be best compared to the blooming of Amorphophallus titanium aka the Corpse Flower, a plant with a giant bloom that smells of rotting flesh.

The Maudsley is nothing if not good at promoting itself. Aubrey Lewis was credited with attracting ‘many of the most promising medical graduates from around the world’. So that’s how Dafydd found himself entering through their doors then.

Aubrey Lewis was a member of the Advisory Committee on Medical Research of WHO.

Lewis had a most effective PR man who worked with him, a psychiatrist called Michael Shepherd, who died in 1995. Shepherd worked with Roth. Shepherd notes that Lewis had an ‘austere appearance’, which was captured in portraits which some people stated made him look ‘mean’. Shepherd however was able to confirm that this was deceiving, Aubrey was a lovely old buffer.

Michael Shepherd was yet another towering figure in British psychiatry – the Maudsley churned them out – who was born in and went to school in Cardiff no less. Shepherd started working in psychiatry at the Maudsley in 1947 and in 1956 joined the staff of the Institute of Psychiatry as a Senior Lecturer. In 1961 he became a Reader at the Institute and in 1967 he was appointed to the Chair of Epidemiological Psychiatry, yet another world first. Shepherd was also a Consultant Psychiatrist at the Maudsley – he spent his whole career at the Maudsley/Institute of Psychiatry except for 1955-56, which he spent at John Hopkins University, Baltimore. So Shepherd will have been another giant who was at the Maudsley when dear old Dafydd ‘trained’ there.

Shepherd was a Founding Fellow of the Royal College of Psychiatrists in 1971. Who knows, perhaps he contributed to the palace in Belgravia for which they had to beg, steal and borrow to fund.

In the late 50s, Shepherd established a GP Research Unit at the Institute of Psychiatry under the auspices of the DHSS. He remained the Director of this Unit until he retired in 1988. Shepherd maintained that the capacity of the mental health services could not be enhanced by an ever-proliferating number of psychiatrists, it could only be enhanced by GPs focussing on the more minor psychiatric problems. Thus Shepherd pressed for better support and training for GPs, rather than more resources for psychiatry which certainly pissed a lot of his psychiatrist colleagues off. Shepherd himself stressed the interpersonal and social aspects of a case and left the epidemiological studies to his team of young researchers.

Enhancing the role of GPs, emphasising the interpersonal and the social – are we talking about a human being for once among all the lobotomising eugenicists that Dafydd rubbed shoulders with? Probably not – I have only found one patient opinion as opposed to the many colleagues of Shepherd who recorded his splendours – the patient spoke of Shepherds ‘chillingly superior glance’. Yes, that probably summed up the extent of his communication skills. ‘You’re a piece of shit and of course no-one’s facilitating a paedophile ring or shagging the patients – now let me introduce you to Dr Gwynne Williams and his ice-pick…’

Michael Shepherd devised a classification system which involved identifying the dreadful Aubrey Lewis as a ‘representative psychiatrist’, whom Shepherd seemed to feel embodied all the elements of one who was great and good in that profession.

Shepherd was the founding Editor of ‘Psychological Medicine’, the go-to journal between 1969-93.

There are hints that Shepherd had help in achieving the status of a Colossus. It was observed that ‘it is important to note that he was served by generations of young research workers whose assistance helped him achieve the epidemiological studies for which he is renowned’. His former student the media psychiatrist Anthony Clare stated that Michael Shepherd was ‘without equal’ in his record of ‘selecting and nurturing young men and women who would go on to fill senior academic posts in Britain and throughout the world’. So they did his research for him – although I bet he still put his own name on the publications and he may even have left theirs off – and if they were lucky he ‘selected and nurtured’ them. There’ll be a lot of senior people who owe their careers to Shepherd – and probably a few who had their careers brought to a sharp stop by him as well. Clare explained that Shepherd ‘identified able and committed doctors in Africa, Asia, South America and East Europe on his travels…he often raised funds for their salaries and took a great personal involvement…securing them a foot on the ladder of academic achievement, whilst helping to maintain the Maudsley’s position as one of the world’s great postgrad centres for teaching and research’. So Shepherd had his paws on the purse strings as well then.

Michael Shepherd sounded as though he wielded a great deal of power in post-war psychiatry. No wonder everyone continued to hail the Maudsley as a fine institution, despite the Nazi sympathisers and pursuers of Royal sperm on which its foundations were built. No-one was going to dare admit the monster that was Dafydd had been spawned down there. Presumably Michael Shepherd didn’t ‘select and nurture’ Dafydd – he sent him back to north Wales when he realised what Dafydd was like. I can’t believe that they didn’t notice what Dafydd was like – there’s no way that he went from competent trainee at the Maudsley to lunatic facilitating a paedophile ring and sexually exploiting the patients the minute that he hit home turf. The attitude will have been what it was at St George’s/Springfield – we know what Dafydd is doing but as long as he’s not doing it on our patch we don’t give a damn.

 

As I read about the barking mad deeply unpleasant megalomaniacs at the Maudsley, I was struck by how many of them were described as highly cultured men, who loved arts and the ballet, literature, poetry and music and who spent much time pursuing such interests – as well as of course being scientific geniuses who overflowed with compassion for the poor wretches who filled their clinics. No I don’t believe it either.

In 1967 a collection of essays and articles by Aubrey Lewis was published. It was called ‘The State of psychiatry’. That State was an absolute disgrace then and it’s no better now.

 

 

 

In The News At Present

I’m following up a few research leads for the blog at the moment, so today’s post is just a resume of a few stories that are currently in the news, with a bit of background info on some of the people involved.

This morning the ‘Today’ programme broadcast a rather weak piece concerning the issue of men in the workplace and their mental health. Of course, MIND provided someone to comment  – not the odious Paul Farmer, who has kept a low profile for a few days, but a Madeleine McGivern. Madeleine is ‘head of programmes, workplace well-being’ for MIND. I’m taking more and more of an interest in the Third sector, as are a number of other bloggers, because it has become clear that MIND are not the only charity coining it in by pretending to be representing the oppressed whilst doing anything but. There are problems across the whole of the Third sector. Madeleine has a wealth of experience in this domain, having previously worked for Christian Aid and Water Aid for some years. She does actually seem to have a lot of experience in working in the Middle East and specialised in the Middle East whilst she was at university. Her CV in that field is very impressive. So one wonders how she ended up in her present post with MIND – the only clue is that prior to her extended stint concerning the Middle East, she was a charity junky, having worked in a number of roles in the Third sector after she graduated. But there are now many people who are building extended highly paid careers on the back of charity work. Madeleine has shown a bit of nous in terms of building a network to land such roles – she co-founded something called FIND, a network which connects women with professional interests similar to hers. Despite her lack of previous stated experience in mental health, Madeleine is also a Trustee of Haringey MIND. My post ‘MIND Are Out For Mental Health – Never For Themselves Of Course…’ mentions that the worryingly paedophile-friendly Tony Smythe, former Chief Exec of MIND, continued to be involved with Haringey MIND long after he stepped down as Chief Exec, as did his partner Jeanne. So I took a look at the present ‘Board of volunteer Trustees’ for Haringey MIND.

There’s an awful lot of them – so either Haringey MIND is a substantial concern or they are top heavy. The Trustees are described on the MIND In Haringey website thus:

David Pascall, Chair and Acting Treasurer. David states that he has personal experience of mental illness and that he lives in Haringey. Is he a long term service user, battling with the excesses of welfare reform? Probably not. He states that he has retired from full-time executive work and is seeking non-executive chairmanships and directorships. He’s not going to be making the tea at the drop in centre then. I completely accept that executives can experience mental illness but David’s CV suggests that he wasn’t clobbered that badly – and some of his previous posts are rather inconsistent with the image that MIND likes to project. David was a senior executive with BP for 25 years. That’s the BP that was responsible for the 2010 Deep Horizon oil spill, the biggest oil spill in marine waters in history, which resulted in BP pleading guilty to eleven counts of felony manslaughter, two misdemeanours, one felony count of lying to Congress and paying more than $4.5 billion pounds in fines and penalties. David was the MD of Terra Firma, a private equity group, for eight years. (Terra Firma’s record is so bad that I have not got time to detail it all here, I recommend interested readers to just google, you’ll find pages of unscrupulous practices.) David has also held Gov’t positions and has experience of a range of non-executive chairs and directors positions.

Marcus Yorke. Marcus doesn’t claim any service user credentials himself, but he previously worked as an occupational therapist in a 57 bedded unit for young males with psychotic illness, supporting them to find work and educational opportunities. Marcus may have been doing a very useful job there – or he may have been the sort of mental health professional described in a previous post, who coerced people into work and education when they were not capable of it, resulting in them hitting disaster after a few weeks and finding themselves back in the mental health system again, although the records of Marcus will have had lot of ticks in the boxes labelled ‘recovered’. I cannot help thinking that Marcus’s previous employment will have been very attractive to MIND, as they made it clear to Gov’t some time ago that they couldn’t wait to bid for those lucrative DWP contracts forcing claimants with mental health problems off benefits into work. Marcus has organised events challenging stigma!

Gemma Coleman, Secretary. Gemma spent five months volunteering at Haringey MIND and then joined the Board. She worked for the Dept of Education in SEN and disability research. She has also worked for Rethink Mental Illness and has a Masters in Mental Health Research from UCL.

Laura Aldridge. Has personal experience of mental health issues. Laura spent a year volunteering at Haringey MIND in the admin dept. She believes that ‘mental health charities are ever more important due to the lack of Gov’t funding for mental illness’. Not only is that the Official Paul Farmer Line, but the only reason why Farmer, in his £100k pa plus post, wants an increase in Gov’t funding ‘for mental illness’ is so that it is channelled in the direction of MIND. Laura has worked in academic publishing and is a graduate of UCL.

Oran Blackwood. Oran is a mental health survivor and is training as a counsellor and SEN co-ordinator. He has ten years of experience working with SEN and mental health issues in post-16 education. Oran also volunteers with a number of other charities.

Tricia Bohn. She has worked as a GP in Hackney for more than 20 years, in a practice with a strong commitment to mental health and local voluntary organisations. Prior to working as a GP Tricia was a Youth and Community worker in Haringey and Hackney.

Glynnis Joffe. Glynnis has over thirty years experience in working in social care, initially as a social worker and then as a social services senior manager for twenty years. She has experience of working with NHS CCGs and provider Trusts offering hospital and community services, including mental health. Glynnis believes in co-production between the voluntary sector and service users!

Helen Moulinos. Helen trots out the myth that ‘1 in 4’ people suffer from mental illness. Which is not true, but it’s what MIND tells people. She has twenty plus years of international commercial experience in charity and the financial services. She has skills in business and commercial strategy and creating new business models. She is a Trustee of an East London based mental health charity – which is helping people return to the workplace! Helen is also involved in restructuring three of the UKs largest public health and social care charities.

David Mosse. David has personal experience of bereavement due to suicide. He is the Professor and Head of the Anthropology Dept at SOAS (University of London). His career has been in community based approaches to poverty reduction and human development internationally eg. Oxfam in India. He is a Trustee for an NGO working in rural India and a Governor of SOAS.

Heather Pegrum. She is a Mental Health First Aider and a volunteer support recovery worker with a background in fine art/graphic design.

Richard Popple. Richard is a trainer and facilitator for the private and public sectors including the NHS. He is also an actor and writer.

 

What is striking about these Trustees is what a very limited sector of society they have been drawn from. Many of them work in or manage the mental health services or arms of Gov’t which have led to so many of the problems experienced by ‘service users’. Two of them were educated at UCL which has been involved in concealing abuses in the mental health services and a number of them have spent their careers working in the Third sector. There is not going to be much divergence in thought among these Trustees – with the exception of the two who have a background in academic/international NGO work and of course the oil executive/corporate capitalist, they will all have been completely inducted into thinking about mental health problems and ways of addressing them in the way that the mental health services and MIND do. Which has not got us very far. Furthermore, most of these Trustees are in positions which makes public dissent impossible.

The Voice of the Service Users? Hardly. Some of them claim to have personal experience of mental health problems, but they all seem to have been able to build careers. That is not to dismiss their own experiences, which will be valuable – but there is an obvious absence of the voices of people with severe enduring mental illness who have experienced long-term poverty. It is those people who are being left destitute by Theresa May’s welfare reforms – welfare reforms which MIND intends to benefit from by bidding for Gov’t contracts. Something else is clear about this Board as well. Whilst I am cynical about organisations hitting ‘diversity’ targets, there is only one Trustee who is not white British. Haringey has one of the most ethnically and culturally mixed populations in the country. There is a huge Cypriot community, a huge Black community and a Jewish community. Statistics tell us that the Black community in Haringey will be over-represented among people who have been diagnosed with psychosis and treated under the Mental Health Act. Where are they on this Board? Where are older people, many of whom will be in receipt of ‘services’ (or more probably will need to be in receipt of services but won’t be getting them)? The Service Users on this Board are professional people whom I suspect have experienced the milder types of mental health problems. Which is probably why one of them is quoting the misleading 1 in 4 statistic…

 

Another health news item on the ‘Today’ programme was a discussion concerning the Gov’ts plans to increase the number of medical student places in UK universities – it’s a bit too little too late. It was pointed out to the Health Minister being interviewed, Phillip Dunne, that those students won’t be arriving in the medical workforce for years, yet the increase in numbers is a response to the alleged shortage of doctors now. Dunne stated that medical students make a valuable contribution to the medical workforce whilst they are training. They are certainly used as cheap labour for menial tasks, but they are also kicked about and bullied – particularly by a certain sort of Angel actually. Angels get kicked about and bullied by Top Doctors themselves which causes some of them to get the retaliation into medical students on the grounds that in a few years time their salaries will be exceeding the Angels’ pay and they’ll be putting the boot into the Angels themselves. It’s all a case of Red In Tooth And Claw in the NHS. Medical students are also completely powerless – so if they’re witnessing mad or negligent Top Doctors in action they can do nothing about it at all, even if patients are being very obviously harmed. NHS whistleblowers are nearly always sacked even when they’re paid up members of the workforce – I’ve not yet actually encountered a medical student who’s ever tried to report malpractice or misconduct, although I know plenty who have witnessed it. I do know student nurses who have been forced off their course for reporting the abuse of patients.

Phillip Dunne also emphasised that more ‘diversity’ was needed among medical students and that the Gov’t will be giving universities incentives to accept students from underprivileged backgrounds or those who want to work in rural or coastal areas or psychiatry. No doubt the Gov’t will now implement some simplistic lame initiatives which will not result in what they want to achieve. This blog has previously commented that many Top Doctors are from privileged backgrounds. Younger Top Doctors however are often not quite so privileged – they still tend to be from the middle classes, but many more of them have attended state schools. The discussions concerning diversity in medicine that I’ve encountered are missing a crucial element. A greater variation in social backgrounds would be a positive move, but the problem with the Top Doctors isn’t so much that they are drawn from the more privileged sections of society – it is that so many of them are incredibly self-interested and no-one is acknowledging this. Their self-interest and sometimes sheer naked greed is what leads them to abuse or neglect patients, to demand bigger and bigger salaries, to mistreat their colleagues and to falsify research. There is little point in increasing diversity if the system still selects for people who’ll murder their grandmother – or indeed other people’s grandmothers – to advance themselves.

‘Today’ broadcast an interview with a Top Doctor who had been working in a rural GPs practice but who had returned to the city to work in a hospital. He explained in his interview that he had found general practice rather routine and boring and wanted ‘broader experience’. He was probably too tactful to admit that he had been stuck in a surgery with a group of old farts of senior partners who had ‘done things this way’ for years and weren’t going to take on board any suggestions from a whippersnapper. Of course, the image presented to aspiring medical students – including by medical schools themselves – is that of medicine as a glamorous career which involves endless heroics and life-saving, plus a healthy dose of brain surgery. If the students have been lured in on that basis, they will feel that it’s a bit of let-down when they find themselves spending most of their time treating frail elderly people with conditions that are not going to improve. As for tempting students into psychiatry – well Phillip Dunne needs to get rid of the Dafydds, the Marie Savages and the Tony Roberts’s if psychiatry is ever to become a popular speciality.

As is my current practice, I did a bit of research on the person being interviewed by ‘Today’, Phillip Dunne. His wiki entry describes him as a ‘farmer’ and a ‘banker’. I presume that he’s not the sort of farmer who has a flock of sheep on the side of a mountain in north Wales and is reliant on the agricultural subsidies to keep him from bankruptcy. Phillip I suspect is the sort of farmer who owns a few thousand acres and who also receives agricultural subsidies – but in his case they will ensure that he remains one of the wealthiest people in the UK. (I think that Lord Newborough of Rhug Farm Estate worked in the City before he returned to north Wales and took over the ‘family farm’.) I’m not sure that either of Dunne’s previous jobs leave him in a particularly good position to take up a role as Health Minister.

I was also interested to hear the former Chancellor Alistair Darling speaking on the radio – ‘Today’ were celebrating the 10th anniversary of the banking crash. Alistair reminisced about how it took him completely by surprise, he was actually on holiday and had gone out to buy some rolls when he heard that the French banks had collapsed. He didn’t worry but he then heard that banks were collapsing across the world and he thought gosh it might happened to the British banks. It did, a few hours later. Just like that. He subsequently had a phone conversation with the head of one of the biggest UK banks who told Alistair that the bank was probably going to run out of money later that afternoon and Alistair realised that he didn’t know what to do about any of it. Alistair, who had no idea that his running of the economy was going to lead to a banking crash and then didn’t know what to do when it did, has of course been rewarded with a seat in the Lords. Harriet Harman memorably stated that if only Lehman Brothers had been Lehman Sisters none of it would ever have happened (it was a problem of gender you see, not one of global capitalism) and the rest of them blamed the general public for spending like drunken sailors, although Gordon Brown had positively encouraged everyone to do this. Liam Byrne put the icing on the cake by leaving a witty note behind telling the incoming Coalition Gov’t that there was no money left.

 

BBC News Wales online has reported that the Welsh Gov’t has announced that it will be dispensing with the post of the Welsh Language Commissioner, who is of course a star of this blog – Meri Huws aka the Crack of Doom (see posts ‘Let Me Enlighten Lord Gnome… and ‘Local Accessories’ for background on Meri and the way in which she was alleged to have secured the numerous jobs that she could not do). Cymdeithas yr Iaith have got very angry about this, but then Meri is their former Chair, so they would wouldn’t they. Heledd Gwyndaf from Cymdeithas stated that the Welsh Gov’ts proposals were ‘aimed at making civil servants lives easier’. Their lives certainly will be easier once Meri is out of the door, when she was given that job a senior colleague of mine at Bangor University observed that she won’t know what she is doing, but at least the civil servants will. Alun Davies the Minister for the Welsh language made some eminently sensible comments, including that promoting and protecting the Welsh language involves ‘more than slogans and chanting on an Eisteddfod field’. But as I noted previously, Meri should never have been given that position, there was outrage among language scholars and researchers when the appointment was announced because she had no credibility with any of them.

Meri gave an interview stating that ‘change for change’s sake is not acceptable’ but ‘change is acceptable if it leads to improvement’. So Meri, who has received more than £100k pa for the last five years from the Welsh Gov’t, is now dictating the circumstances under which they can kick her out. Meri has demanded ‘evidence’ that change is needed. The evidence Meri is that you made such a hash of drawing up ‘standards’ a few years ago that Leighton Andrews had to publicly comment on the cock-up and that after five years of you being in post there is every indication that Welsh is still on the back foot. Furthermore, it was recently reported that ‘Sports Direct’ in Bangor had banned staff from speaking Welsh. Did you organise a boycott of ‘Sports Direct’ or send anyone in undercover to clock how many laws they were breaking – which they will be, they are after all ‘Sports Direct’? No, you were at the Eisteddfod, giving interviews explaining why it wasn’t ‘acceptable’ for the Welsh Gov’t to sack you.

There was however a protest in Bangor yesterday by another self-appointed guardian of the Welsh language. Hywel Williams, MP for Caernarfon, was photographed standing in the rain on a pavement in Bangor holding up a small piece of paper with a ‘No To Starbucks’ printed on it. It transpires that ‘Starbucks’ are planning to open a café in Bangor. Was Hywel protesting because this American tax-dodging giant might put other cafes out of business or disrespect the Welsh language (which it probably will)? No, Hywel was protesting because he thought that the road junction on which the proposed ‘Starbucks’ is to be sited is ‘dangerous’. Not that anyone has ever been killed or injured there.

Even the ‘Times’ yesterday, the Murdoch owned, Danny Finkelstein-employing, Tory-supporting ‘Times’, published a leader supporting the right of people to speak Welsh and condemned ‘Sports Direct’ in the strongest terms. So the ‘Times’ has been more pro-active in it’s support for Welsh than the Welsh Language Commissioner. Is anymore evidence needed to justify her dismissal?

BBC News Wales recently ran a story concerning a scandal in a Council in south Wales. A number of staff were disciplined for consuming cooked breakfasts whilst they were supposed to be working. New readers may not be aware that one of my first posts when I started this blog was an account of the practices of the Arfon Community Mental Health Team. Not only did they perjure themselves in an attempt to have me imprisoned and threaten to assault clients in their own homes, but the Arfon Team achieved notoriety for their consumption of cooked breakfasts. They’d all gather in Morrison’s café in Upper Bangor at about 9-30 every morning and enjoy a fry-up, finally returning to their offices at about 11-30. ‘Service users’ who were being refused ‘help’ from this team on the grounds that they were ‘too busy’ would watch this ritual daily. It went on for years – that ‘team’ was jointly managed by Gwynedd Social Services and the North West Wales NHS Trust. Disciplinary action was never mentioned.

To finish, some news about Bangor University. The Daily Post online is taking delight in reporting that the University has once more performed brilliantly in terms of student satisfaction. Bangor has done well on this measure for years – there are a lot of staff, including admin staff, who are very committed to student welfare and love working with the students. The irony is that the man who is basking in the glory and bragging about it to the Daily Post is none other than Professor Oliver Turnbull, PVC for Teaching and Learning. Turnbull is best known for being sent on extended gardening leave a few years ago when an e mail that he wrote was leaked to ‘Private Eye’. A female psychology student had complained about being sexually harassed by a teaching assistant. Turnbull had responded by asking whether her complaint should be taken seriously or whether she should just be viewed as a poorly performing student who was seeking excuses. Turnbull accidentally cc’d the e mail to the student herself. It remains a mystery why he was ever appointed as PVC for Teaching and Learning after his suspension. One thing is certain. Bangor excelling in it’s support for students will have sod all to do with Oliver Turnbull. For more details of Oliver Turnbull and the School of Psychology that he runs, see post ‘He’s Not The Messiah, He’s A Very Naughty Boy’.

The Great And The Good

As promised I’ll provide brief reviews of those Top Doctors and their associates who have popped up in the media today. The first one that I heard was Cathy Warwick, Chief Exec of the Royal College of Midwives on the ‘Today’ programme this morning. As well as awakening to the Mental Health Crisis which has been with us for years, the UK has now awoken from it’s slumber regarding the Maternity Care Crisis. It has been revealed that during 2016 nearly half of the maternity units in England temporarily shut down at some point as a result of a ‘bed shortage’. Some of the media reports have attributed the problems to ‘women choosing to give birth at a later age’ thus increasing the number of complex deliveries, or ‘a higher number of obese mothers’. So it’s the patients’ fault then, I thought that perhaps it might be, they’re all old and fat. Now and then the real reason for the problem has been mentioned – the NHS is short of thousands of midwives. Discussions have been held about the possible reasons – such as pay or the loss of training bursaries. The one factor not mentioned is that good midwives won’t work in an NHS where women and babies are regularly put at risk or where the midwives are scapegoated for cock-ups that are beyond their control – I actually know midwives who have left midwifery who have not hesitated to state that these were the reasons why they left their jobs.

So Cathy was wheeled out to comment on Radio 4. She didn’t admit the real reasons why midwives are fast becoming an endangered species either. But then she is very much part of the problem. Cathy Warwick has led the RCM since 2008 and knows exactly how dreadful some maternity care is. Not only has she never spoken out about this, but when James Titcombe, a former advisor to the CQC, was a little too critical of the state of maternity services for her liking, she wrote to the Chief Exec of the CQC and asked them if they could persuade James to be ‘less antagonistic’ on social media. James ended up resigning from his post as a result of the relentless pressure that he was subjected to by the midwifery establishment.

James Titcombe had good reason to be blunt about the danger that women and babies are regularly placed in – his own baby died as a result of negligence at Furness Hospital. Not only that, but after James was faced with a less than honest response following his son’s death, he did a bit of digging and found that many other babies had died at that hospital and that there had been a major cover-up regarding the dreadful conduct of a small number of midwives. James faced extreme hostility and efforts to silence him after he had been appointed to his role with the CQC and at one point a midwife even sent out a tweet about it being difficult to disagree with a ‘grieving and angry man’ who was blaming a whole profession for his loss. James had every right to be angry and of course he was grieving, his baby had died. Furthermore he wasn’t blaming a whole profession for his loss, he had simply very skilfully demonstrated that the ‘whole profession’ closes ranks and risks patient safety and that it is a considerably dishonest profession. In 2015 James commented that the National Review of Maternity Care failed to examine the current quality and variation in safety on maternity wards. Anyone want to admit that he was correct?

Not only has Cathy Warwick failed to speak out regarding the many problems in NHS maternity services, but she’s kept very quiet about the systematic way in which independent midwives have been prevented from practicing. A number of them such as Beatrice Carla were subjected to high profile show trials at the hands of the NMC and were driven out of the profession in that way, but because a few dared to persist their insurance was then withdrawn and midwives are legally unable to practice without insurance, so it was curtains for them. It is unlawful for women to give birth unaided in the UK, so unless one is very wealthy indeed and books oneself into somewhere like the Portland Hospital – which provides lovely grub and rooms as good as the best hotels but has presided over some major clinical disasters itself – it’s off down to the local NHS Unit for everyone now, even if the one nearest to you is lethal. The only way around this is for a woman to lie about her delivery due date and give birth ‘accidentally’ at home. Which is actually what some women are resorting to if they’ve previously had a really bad experience in hospital.

This is no way to treat women is it. The biggest laugh of all is that whilst risking women’s and babies safety, Cathy Warwick maintained that as a feminist she would make an ‘executive decision’ on behalf of the RCM to support the abolition of any time limits on abortion – members were not balloted. Hundreds of furious RCM members who had conscientious objections to abortion protested but Cathy ignored them.

Cathy rakes in a good deal more than the average midwife – in excess of £100k pa. She was awarded an honorary doctorate by that hallowed institution St George’s Hospital Medical School in 2007.

 

Then Radio 4 inflicted a Top Doctor upon it’s listeners on ‘The World At One’ – John Ashton, who was fuming away about the health of ‘northerners’ and maintaining that what was needed was more funding for public health in the north. Ashton’s angry near-rant followed clips of interviews with a number of northern men who all showed a healthy disrespect towards the BBC journalist when he quizzed them about their smoking habits and diets. Ashton banged on about the sins of Public Health England in spending far more per head of population in the south than they do in the north and also got in a mention of the ‘male identity crisis’ as well. The male identity crisis is not something that is going to be solved by the Gov’t giving more money to bodies like Public Health England or indeed by Public Health England upping their budget for the north. There is massive inequality between the south and the north but Public Health England is not the sort of body which will address the sort of inequality that needs addressing. John Ashton sounded so furious that I thought that it would be worth googling him because I hadn’t come across his name before.

Professor John Ashton has passed through the hands of a few institutions that have been named on this blog as concealing the wrongdoing of the Top Doctors – the University of Southampton, the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and the University of Liverpool Medical School. Ashton is the former Director of Public Health for Cumbria – well the NHS had a few problems in Cumbria didn’t it John, which were of course concealed. Such as all those babies who died in Furness Hospital, one of whom was James Titcombe’s son. It was also the NHS in Cumbria which appointed William Bingley to a senior role in the regional Trust – the William Bingley who colluded with the criminal activities of the Top Doctors in north Wales whilst he held senior positions with MIND and the Mental Health Act Commission. Bingley ended up resigning from the Trust after his business activities and associated conflicts of interest were made embarrassingly public. He ended up with a Chair in Mental Health Law and Ethics at the University of Cumbria, so he didn’t go far.

John Ashton might have known about Dr Dafydd Alun Jones and the paedophiles’ friends in north Wales himself. In 1986 John Ashton was employed as a Senior Lecturer in Liverpool Medical School. It was in 1987 that Dafydd told me that if I dropped my complaint against him he’d have a word with his friend who was a Professor in Liverpool Medical School and he’d get me a place there. In the summer of 1984 I had been told by a friend of Sonia Maxwell, the daughter of Terry Maxwell the Clinical Director of Ysbyty Gwynedd, that Sonia had been offered a place to study medicine at Liverpool regardless of her A level results before she had even applied ‘because they know her dad’. Ashton himself whilst he worked in Liverpool in 1986 established a pioneering needle exchange scheme for addicts. So I presume that Ashton knew the pioneering psychiatrist Dr John Marks from Liverpool who achieved impressive results regarding the reduction of harm among drug users, who in the early 1990s wanted to go to north Wales to work. Whose appointment was blocked by Gwynedd Health Authority because they wanted to give the contract for ‘substance misuse services’ to Dafydd. Which indeed they did (see post ‘The Evolution Of A Drugs Baron?’)

John Ashton originally trained as a psychiatrist. He has also worked in family planning and reproductive medicine. He’ll know all about the fertility treatment scams which have been discussed on this blog then.

In Feb 2007 the Manchester Evening News reported that Ashton was quitting his NHS post because he was fed-up with Gov’t reorganisations of the NHS and ‘red tape’. He stated that he was contemplating a career in politics.

He obviously changed his mind because between 2013-2016 John Ashton was President of the Faculty of Public Health. He was suspended from his post at one point after sending out a tweet referring to a group of people as ‘cunts’. I think that they had disagreed with him over something.

In July 2014 Ashton pledged his support for a change in the law to allow doctors to act in cases of ‘assisted dying’. The suicide statistics for north Wales suggest that Dafydd et al have been helping people on their way for years.

John Ashton has been very robust in his support of some other Top Doctors. In 2012 he took on the UK media after an article appeared in the ‘Independent’ stating that Clare Gerada, the Chair of the Royal College of General Practitioners, had a vested interest in opposing the Gov’ts NHS reforms. Ashton charged into battle on her behalf, robustly defending her and later accused the Dept of Health of trying to gag him, saying that he had felt ‘bullied’. He should have just sent them all a tweet calling them cunts.

Who was the oppressed woman whom Ashton valiantly defended? Clare Gerada was the Chair of the Royal College of General Practitioners between 2010-2013. She is a London based GP with interests in mental health and substance abuse. So she’ll know how crap the mental health services are then. Not that she’ll have ever publicly admitted it – because she’s one of the lot who trained in psychiatry at the Maudsley! In the 1980s – when the Maudsley’s finest alumnus Dafydd was concealing the paedophile ring and illegally imprisoning people in the North Wales Hospital Denbigh. But Clare will already have been schooled in the art of keeping quiet in the face of people doing unscrupulous things – she studied medicine at UCL. In 1992 Clare began working as a GP in Lambeth – the Lambeth that, like north Wales, ran children’s services teaming with paedophiles. The Lambeth who – until the 1990s – was also sending children in it’s care to children’s homes in north Wales where they were abused. Did you really not ever notice any of this Clare?

In April 2016 Clare was elected to the Council of the BMA. Clare is also a member and honorary fellow of the Royal College of Psychiatrists.

In Sept 2016 Clare was named as one of the Lib Dems new ‘Beveridge’ group of advisors – although she had been a lifelong supporter of the Labour Party until the EU Referendum. Perhaps she was one of these people who threw a hissy fit because they thought that Jeremy Corbyn wasn’t enthusiastic enough about the bankers club which is the EU.

Clare is a convenor of the cross party political group ‘More United’. I suspect that the only unity that Clare shows is with that of other Top Doctors.

There is a nice photo of Clare on her wiki entry. She is carefully posed – in a similar position to that famous pose adopted by Helen Mirren when she was photographed a few years ago to demonstrate that the over-65s can still look wonderful in a bikini. Clare isn’t wearing a bikini though, she’s wearing a boring but very expensive dress and for some reason is clutching an equally boring designer handbag in such a way as to ensure that it is featured in the frame. Clare must have spent ages getting that photo right, it even looks as though it was professionally done in a studio. The caption above the photo reads ‘Lady Clare Wessely’. Because that’s who she is – she’s married to a Sir!

The Sir to whom Clare is married is another Top Doctor, Professor Sir Simon Wessely, the Professor of Psychological Medicine at Kings College London and the Director of the Kings Centre for Military Health Research. If I presented ‘Woman’s Hour’ I’d call Clare and Simon a ‘power couple’.

Sir Simon is also an Honorary Consultant Psychiatrist at Kings College Hospital and at the Maudsley! Indeed he studied at the Maudsley in the mid-1980s. And at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. He is a Civilian Consultant Advisor in psychiatry to the British Army.

He was knighted in 2013 for his services to military healthcare and to psychological medicine. In 2014 Simon was appointed President of the Royal College of Psychiatrists.

Yet the mental health services are such a mess…

In an interview with the ‘Lancet’ in 2007 regarding the controversy over Wessely’s position concerning Gulf War syndrome and chronic fatigue syndrome, Wessely excused himself by saying that he was ‘keen to get published’. So what else did he publish in a hurry without thinking about it? He maintained however that regarding chronic fatigue syndrome, he was subjected to ‘a relentless, vicious, vile campaign designed to hurt and intimidate’. Never mind Simon, at least you weren’t illegally imprisoned, fitted up for crimes that you never committed, hounded out of jobs, subjected to an organised slander and discovered two attempts to set fire to your house, which is what happened to me after I complained about Dafydd and the Top Doctors. Of course most of the people who gave evidence against the paedophile ring that Dafydd et al concealed were found dead. That is what constitutes a relentless, vicious, vile campaign designed to hurt and intimidate, not a bit of criticism of some rather sub-standard research and ill-advised public comments.

Simon Wessely is a member of the Gov’ts Mental Health Taskforce, that one Chaired by Paul Farmer – who’s known all about the wrongdoing of Dafydd et al for at least ten years. Ever since I wrote to him about it.

Wessely was instrumental in setting up the Committee on Acute Psychiatric Care investigating out of area psychiatric placements which was Chaired by Lord Crisp, the man whom Blair put in charge of the NHS at one point. Crisp resigned from his position running the NHS when he realised that he (Crisp) didn’t actually know what was going on. Acute psychiatric care is now so bad that some NHS organisations have placed patients in France because they were unable to find placements anywhere in the UK.

When Wessely ascended the throne at the Royal College he stated that his priorities would include improving the image of psychiatry and psychiatrists, improving recruitment to the speciality and ensuring excellence in education and training. He’s done brilliantly there hadn’t he, no doubt he’ll be elevated to the peerage soon and Lady Clare can purchase a new outfit for the occasion.

Health Services Journal named Simon as one of the ‘Top 100 Clinicians’ in 2014. But then HSJ named Katrina Percy as CEO of the year. Katrina Percy was CEO of Southern Health which oversaw the deaths of hundreds of patients with mental health problems and learning difficulties, one of those deaths being of Connor Sparrowhawk. The Top Doctor responsible for Connor’s ‘care’ at Southern Health is currently facing a GMC tribunal. Yesterday she admitted 28 ‘failings’ in relation to Connor’s care.

In Feb 2017 BBC News online reported that had been a 50% increase in unexpected mental health deaths – including those due to suicide, neglect and misadventure – in three years. The Dept of Health maintained that the increase was due to ‘changes in recording and investigating deaths’. Perhaps that meant that the DoH had stopped lying about the situation. Simon announced that the ‘services are about to get worse’. The services were so bad by then that they couldn’t get much worse – perhaps Simon meant that the horrible truth could not be concealed any longer. Marjorie Wallace (see post ‘One Dangerous Fucker’) was gobsmacked that the DoH had started admitting the dire state of affairs as well – she  claimed to be ‘shocked’ by the figures.

 

Another guest on the ‘Today’ programme this morning was the barrister who is acting for the 17 year old girl who was the subject of Sir James Munby’s comments that society will have blood on it’s hands if a place in a suitable mental health unit cannot be found for her. The barrister described the girl’s current living conditions – alone in a cell, with only a mattress. As I have explained previously these are exactly the conditions to which some patients in mental health units are subjected – there is no guarantee that the treatment of that young woman is going to change in any way with a move from custody to ‘psychiatric care’. Her barrister also explained that at present, the way in which that young woman is restrained is by people ‘sitting on her’. The journalist conducting the interview was horrified. I’m sorry to burst her bubble, but ‘sitting on people’ in order to ‘restrain’ them happens in mental health care settings as well – and it is the Angels who do it. There was for many years a notorious dreadful building in Bangor called Neuadd Deiniol that was laughingly described as a home for people with mental health problems. The care was dreadful, one man choked to death in there and his body wasn’t discovered for a few hours – although he was being ‘observed’ every twenty minutes of course – and the only people who worked there for any length of time were people who couldn’t get a job anywhere else. At one point virtually all the patients there were Dafydd’s but after a while Neuadd Deiniol extended it’s welcome to patients of other Top Doctors as well. I got it straight from the horses mouth – I encountered a rather weird woman who was employed there as a nurse in charge and she cheerily recounted how they had to ‘sit on’ patients. A care assistant – who was no paragon of good practice herself – witnessed the conversation and challenged the Angel, saying that there were never any circumstances in which one should sit on a patient. The Angel was baffled and reiterated ooh no, you’ve got to.

 

As mentioned in previous posts I have suspected that once more the BMA are on a course of action in which they are going to scream and scream until they’re sick. It’s been confirmed by an article in Mail online today. The BMA have organised a ballot of ‘senior GPs’ across England regarding the possible suspension of new patient registrations. In other words, if the GPs vote yes, surgeries will refuse to take on any new patients. Which means that no-one will be able to change doctors, or register with a new practice when they move house or find a new doctor if their doctor retires or dies. Richard Vautrey of the BMA suggested a ban on new registrations as a form of industrial action in protest at ‘the lack of funding for surgeries’. It is reported that the Top Doctors are ‘angry’ at, among other things, the prospect of weekend opening. There is of course still quite a lot of funding for surgeries and for the salaries of Top Doctors. In fact GPs are still benefiting from the notorious out of hours contract that the BMA negotiated in 2004 which means that they can opt out of evening and weekend responsibilities but still earn in excess of £100k pa.

But did Top Doctors who worked as GPs offer a better service before they became as ‘angry’ as they are at present? This blog has posted much about a number of GPs who have conducted themselves appallingly, such as Dr D.G.E. Wood and Dr K. Shah who assisted Dafydd et al in their criminal activities. But even GPs in positions further removed from Dafydd and his mates were capable of some pretty dreadful things. My post ‘A Trade In People – Between London And North Wales’ described how a group of Top Doctors, assisted by some crooked lawyers, swindled a vulnerable brother and sister from London out of their inheritance and relocated them to north Wales after their mother had died in suspicious circumstances in Warlingham Park Hospital, although they had never even visited Wales previously. The financial swindle was perpetuated by Top Doctors in London, as was the most serious abuse and neglect to which these this family had been subjected, but the full details of their history was known to the GPs at Bethesda surgery. Those GPs also witnessed the serious poverty that they were living in and the dreadful neglect towards them by the Arfon Community Mental Health Team. They were not the only patients who were neglected by that surgery, the village was alive with anecdotes of very poor practice and not only with respect to vulnerable mental health patients. I attributed nearly all of this to the general level of poor care offered by that surgery, although there was one GP there who was noticeably better than the others.

There was one GP in that practice though who was quite competent when he wanted to be – when treating his friends for example – but who seemed to be incredibly negligent or ‘make mistakes’ in certain other circumstances. I witnessed him completely blank someone when they reported a case of sexual abuse to him for example – neither did he ever follow that report up. He also seemed to want to exert an astonishing level of control over the brother of the vulnerable family from London. He refused to refer this man for specialist care when he requested it, he told the man ‘not to bother’ when the man expressed an interest in voluntary work and intriguingly when this man had a short-lived sexual relationship with another woman who lived in the village, he virtually demanded full details of their sexual activity. His interest in the details of this man’s life were inexplicable – the GP wasn’t ever interested in providing him with a better level of care, or better living conditions and the sexual relationship that he was so interested in was consensual, between adults and non-exploitative. Neither was an unplanned pregnancy an issue because of the age of the woman involved. A couple of years after this, the same GP was involved in the death of a patient, a young man, S.

S had an older brother, J. J was notorious locally. He was in care as a child, developed drug and mental health problems by his mid-teens and ended up in the notorious Risley Remand Centre for burglary. I was friends with one of his foster parents who not only told me about the violence and abuse to which J had been subjected when he was young but also told me of the beatings and abuse that he and other young men suffered whilst in Risley Remand Centre. My friend did try and challenge the authorities regarding what was happening but she realised that the prison service was a law unto itself and she got nowhere. When J was released from Risley Remand Centre, he resumed his lifestyle of hard drug use, petty crime and dossing down in other peoples houses when they allowed him to. My friend continued to keep in contact with him. However S, his younger brother, was much more stable. He never became involved in crime or drug use and at the time that he died he was actually performing very well at a local FE college. Despite the differences between them S and J were on good terms and communicated regularly.

Then something happened to J that really concerned my friend. He was referred to Dr Dafydd Alun Jones. J began telling my friend some very bizarre things about his encounters with Dafydd. Dafydd told J that he loved him. (A number of other patients also reported that Dafydd had told them that he loved them.) J then appeared on a TV programme telling a few porkies in support of Dafydd when there was an attempt to force Dafydd into retirement in the mid 1990s. My friend asked J why he had gone on TV saying those things and he replied that he’d been paid to do so. Although J had a drug problem, Dafydd did what he was notorious for doing – he supplied J with any drugs that J requested. Whilst all this was happening J could be seen in Bangor openly selling hard drugs to school children. A number of people reported this to the police but no action was taken.

My friend then moved away from Bethesda and I didn’t hear any further details of J’s interactions with Dafydd although I was aware that J was still ‘Dafydd’s patient’. A few months after my friend left the village, there was a huge pubic scene in the GPs surgery. S and J’s mother was screaming abuse at one of the GPs and calling him a murderer. It transpired that S had died the night before – he was 18. He had been taken ill at home and the family were concerned that he had meningitis. They had rung Bethesda surgery and a GP had visited and stated that he ‘didn’t think’ that it was meningitis, it was just flu. S’s condition deteriorated and a few hours later they rang the surgery again. This time a different GP arrived – the GP who took such a close interest in the activities of the man from London. Again S’s parents expressed their concern that S might have meningitis. The GP told them quite categorically that S did not have meningitis, told them to give S paracetamol and not to call the GP again. Later that evening S started to lose his vision. His dad drove him to Ysbyty Gwynedd. By the time they had got out of the car S told his dad that he could no longer see. S died a few hours later. He had meningitis.

S’s death caused a huge amount of bad feeling in Bethesda, he was a popular young man. His mum made a complaint and attempted to have an investigation into her son’s case opened but got nowhere. The GP who had told her husband that S didn’t have meningitis, to give him paracetamol and not to call them out again told third parties that S’s mother’s distress was due to guilt ‘because the wrong son had died’. At the time I just put S’s death down to yet another monumental cock-up on the part of Bethesda surgery. But something was brought to my attention this morning. That is, that S was yet someone else who will have known what Dafydd was up to – because J will have told him – who would be a credible witness but who died as a result of a ‘mistake’ on the part of the NHS in north Wales. J is still alive. But J is like all those witnesses who gave evidence at the Waterhouse Inquiry – he has a history of drug abuse and mental health problems as well as a criminal record and people who didn’t know him would never believe a word that he said. The GP whose actions led to the death of his brother retired last year, although he’s only in his late 50s. He told some people that I know that he was fed up of working and could afford to retire so he would.

So was Dr Gareth Jones a truly incompetent GP who didn’t notice the terrible abuse and fleecing of a vulnerable family at the hands of a circle of crooked professional people and who just had an inexplicable desire to exercise control over this family – and a few years later made a disastrous mistake when someone who had been a witness to Dafydd’s wrongdoing developed the symptoms of meningitis? Or was something even more unpleasant happening?

 

The ‘Today’ programme doesn’t just provide Top Doctors with air-time, it does of course have a daily slot set aside for people with theological interests. So imagine my surprise when the person introduced as the presenter for Thought For The Day this morning was Rabbi Laura Janner-Krausner, Greville Janner’s daughter! This morning Laura was talking about ‘healthy holiness’, but of course the last time that I heard Laura on the ‘Today’ programme she was spitting blood in the direction of those people who claimed that her father had molested them when they were children in care in Leicestershire – Laura’s insistence that it is the easiest thing in the world to falsely convict an innocent peer for child sexual abuse prompted my post ‘It’s A Piece Of Cake’. Laura memorably said of Greville that ‘he was great and he was good’, which why she and the extended Janner clan were going to defend his name and silence those who had dared make allegations against him. (She didn’t manage to explain why the CPS admitted that there was enough evidence to prosecute Janner as long ago as the early 90s but for some reason they didn’t or that his own lawyer fully expected him to be charged with child abuse, which is why they had George Carman on speed dial.)

As well as being a lawyer and a politician, when he was younger Greville wrote a few books. I found one in a second hand bookshop some weeks ago. It looked a rather boring book called ‘Janner’s Complete Letterwriter’, but in the light of Laura’s insistence that the author was ‘Great and Good’ in the face of many other people maintaining that he was a lying child molester who used his mates in high places to keep himself out of trouble, I thought that I’d buy the book and read Greville’s advice re writing letters.

Greville’s book isn’t simply a guide to correct grammar and style. The stated aim of ‘Janner’s Complete Letterwriter’ is to show the reader how to achieve want they want. Greville seems to have made an in-depth study in Getting What You Want. He dispenses advice on how to write letters that will enable one to maximise profits, to fire staff without any comeback, to insult and upset people without using insulting or abusive words, to ingratiate oneself to people who are in a position to do one favours, to flatter, to praise and to appeal for money from very rich people.

‘Janner’s Complete Letterwriter’ commiserates with the reader that one of the drawbacks of hurting someone by letter is that one isn’t there to watch the ‘enemy’ read it, although he does explain that if one later hears that the recipient of one’s letter has been seen moaning and groaning in the bankruptcy courts, the letter has obviously hit home. He helpfully supplies some examples of ‘final, rude, rebuffs’. He explains that if one is ‘attacked by a commercial loud mouth look for his business groin: take aim and fire hard’, that through ‘calculated coolness you can make the other man feel like a worm’, that ‘some lies are forgivable’, that ‘the letterwriter needs to know how best to disguise the truth’, that ‘sometimes the truth is just too horrible to tell’, that ‘courts of law are not courts of morals and justice is sometimes cruel’, that ‘if lies must be told at least tell them well’, that ‘the lying letter is as much a fact of business life as the lying witness is a regular occupant of the witness-box’, that ‘when the lie is a large one, you have two alternatives: you may either build up to it by a series of minor fibs, or you can shout the big fib from the start’ and that ‘the fact of course is fiction’. Greville chooses some interesting sub-headings for his chapters – ‘irony and sarcasm’, ‘at the expense of others’, ‘the sting in the tail’ are just a few examples.

‘Janner’s Complete Letterwriter’ is a masterclass into how to deceive, intimidate and manipulate without anyone being able to describe exactly how one is doing so. When branching off briefly into advice regarding how to conduct oneself in person, Janner explains that it’s most important to always smile, even if you are knowingly inflicting damage upon someone. One of the children who alleged that Janner had abused him made a reference to ‘the smiling man’.

In the introduction to his book Greville thanks his son ‘Daniel Janner, BA (Cantab), barrister’ for his help in preparing the book. That’s Laura’s brother, who since his father’s death has threatened to sue the arse of those who made allegations against his dad if they dare repeat them.

 

 

Yet More Crime And Punishment

The Daily Post Online today is running one of it’s regular shock horror stories regarding that which the hard pressed staff of the Betsi have to tolerate as they go about their daily heroics: ‘Sexual Abuse, Violent Attacks and Verbal Insults – The Crimes North Wales NHS Staff Suffer’. The article explains that ‘new figures reveal the extent of the appalling offences committed against NHS workers’. We are told that NHS staff in north Wales have been ‘attacked’ more than 7000 times since 2012, according to ‘shocking figures’ released as a result of an FoI request. In 2013 there were 1929 incidents and over the next three years there were more than 1700 incidents each year.

It sounds terrible doesn’t it. But these thousands of incidents do not represent the numbers of convictions – they are figures supplied by the Betsi, not the police. Neither have they been confirmed by any other body. I happen to know that the Betsi employs a very elastic definition when it uses the phrase ‘attack on a member of staff’. The statistics for such ‘attacks’ include instances of psychotic or learning disabled patients swearing – not even necessarily swearing AT staff, but merely swearing in their presence. It is entirely at the discretion of Betsi staff whether they report ‘attacks’ on them and some of those staff are known to be reporting the most trivial of incidences – particularly if the patient involved has made a complaint. I know of staff employed in the Hergest Unit who were routinely complaining of being ‘attacked’ by patients as a means of getting themselves out of trouble when the staff themselves were the subject of complaint. I know of a number of patients – including me – who were accused of ‘assaulting’ or ‘attacking’ staff after they had complained about being assaulted by staff themselves. Most of these complaints involved the same staff. Furthermore I have compared my own medical records with the records of some of the patients who contacted me after they too had been wrongly accused – the same phrases had been used about all of us by the same staff. Those staff were working to a script. In no case that I know of were the staff involved disciplined – yet there was complaint after complaint about them.

The problems with certain members of staff in the Hergest Unit reached a peak in the years before the North West Wales NHS Trust was abolished, when Keith Thomson and then Martin Jones were CEOs there. (Details of the violence and aggression that I encountered and that I witnessed other patients being subjected to can be read in my posts ‘Who Is In Need Of Restraining?’ and ‘The Real Story Behind These Figures…’.) Both Thomson and Jones were constantly briefing local newspapers about the problems of staff being attacked by mad psychiatric patients – they were undoubtedly doing this because a number of patients were consulting lawyers and writing to politicians after having been violently assaulted by staff in the Hergest Unit. A now retired member of staff from Hergest told me that they were convinced that evidence against some patients who had dared complain had been fabricated and that some patients had been wrongly convicted as a result.

There is one former member of staff from Hergest who was a willing accomplice in all of this – a nurse called Gareth Phillips. Gareth retired from nursing as a result of ill health, but was offered the post of RCN rep. It was Gareth who was happy to provide comments to local papers about the shocking number of attacks on Ysbyty Gwynedd staff. I knew Gareth for years whilst he still worked as a nurse – I never witnessed Gareth abuse anyone himself, but he certainly knew that some of his colleagues were behaving appallingly. And he knew that some patients were being arrested and fitted up for offences that they had not committed, after hospital staff had lied to the police. Furthermore Gareth knew that this had happened to me. Someone else knew about this as well – Gareth’s wife Penny, who also worked as a nurse at the Hergest Unit. I have mentioned in previous posts how under the regimes of Keith Thomson and Martin Jones, there was an exodus of the better staff from Hergest. I met one of those people after they had escaped to work in another part of the Trust and they told me that both they and their spouse (who was also a nurse) had been stuffed over and forced out of their jobs – interestingly enough after one of them warned the authorities at Ysbyty Gwynedd that the conduct of staff towards the patients was making the Hergest Unit unsafe. This person remarked that the Trust however had ‘looked after’ Gareth Phillips when he became too ill to work, by giving him a job as RCN rep. This person also mentioned that the Trust ‘looked after’ Bob Ingham when Ingham became too ill to work. Ingham was a notoriously aggressive CPN with the Arfon Community Mental Health Team – on my first meeting with him he dragged me down a corridor after telling me that he was someone else and I know of another patient who was threatened with assault in his own home by Ingham when Ingham was making a ‘home visit’. So Keith and Martin were ‘looking after’ staff who agreed to keep silent about abuse and produce propaganda for the media and even staff who were abusive themselves. The people who did not get looked after were staff raising concerns about the level of aggression to which patients were subjected. Martin Jones is at present the Director of Workforce for the Betsi. Are we surprised that florid figures about attacks on Angels are still being bandied about?

If the figures being produced were accurate, anyone spending any length of time in any of the hospitals run by the Betsi would have witnessed at least one of these ‘attacks’. I have spent much time in their hospitals – the only thing that I ever witnessed that came anywhere near to an ‘attack’ was an acutely psychotic patient throwing a book at a psychiatrist which hit him in the face. Even that incident could probably have been avoided if the psychiatrist concerned, the dreadful Raj Sambhi, had built up any sort of rapport with his patients. He didn’t – he walked onto the ward for twenty minutes once a week and spoke arrogantly to distressed patients who barely knew who he was. With the exception of that incident I have never witnessed any patient physically attack any member of staff. I have witnessed an awful lot of rudeness towards members of staff, I have witnessed patients shout and swear at members of staff – but as with Sambhi and the book, many of those incidents were obviously a result of patients being treated very disrespectfully themselves. I have asked other people who have spent a long time in hospitals in north Wales if they have ever seen ‘attacks’ on staff and they haven’t either. One of them, like me, had witnessed an assault on a patient in the Hergest Unit by staff, but had only ever witnessed disorientated or distressed patients shouting or swearing at staff.

The Post article includes a comment from Gwenfair Jones, a Wrexham County Councillor who worked as a community nurse for twenty years before she retired two years ago. Gwenfair states that ‘it’s terrifying to think of the risks that NHS staff face every day at work’. She then relates an account of how a colleague was responding to a patient when someone tried to get in her car and having failed to do that, jumped on the bonnet. Gwenfair doesn’t state that it was the patient who did this, so presumably it was someone else – who actually might have been confused or distressed rather than out to attack the car driver… There is simply not enough info from that anecdote to suggest that it is an example of the terror that NHS staff face every day as a result of their work.

Gwenfair also mentions that when the NHS followed it’s lone working policy, staff were issued with alarms. Well I know of a situation in which the issuing of a piece of equipment to be used as an ‘alarm’ was ruthlessly used by the managers of the Gwynedd Hospitals NHS Trust and their partners in crime in the Arfon Community Mental Health Team in an attempt to frame a patient. In the mid-1990s I was prosecuted at the insistence of Gwynedd Hospitals NHS Trust for allegedly making an obscene and threatening telephone call to Bridget Lloyd, a CPN with the Arfon Team. I did not make this call. Florid statements were made about me to the police by Bridget Lloyd about her being terrified of me, indeed so frightened that the Trust had issued her with a mobile phone to carry with her when she went out in order to enable her to ring for help should she meet me and I attack her. There was also a statement made in Court by the Trust that I represented such a risk to Bridget and her ‘two young children’ that the Trust had organised a safe house for them should I be found not guilty. I did not even know that Bridget Lloyd had young children. I was found not guilty. Whether dear old Bridget and the kids then took up residence in the safe house I do not know, but when I requested an apology for being denied access to NHS hospitals during the course of this malicious case I was told very firmly that I would not be receiving an apology. A few months ago my lawyer forwarded me the documentation relating to this case. Among all the documents was a memo that Bridget Lloyd had written herself to her managers saying that she had only met me once or twice, that it was many years ago and that she was sure that if I saw her I would not recognise her. That memo was written before the case against me went ahead – it was also written at about the same time as her statement about the risk that I presented to her and her children and how she was ‘absolutely terrified’ of me.

Bridget didn’t mention on the memo the circumstances in which she had met me years previously. I met Bridget Lloyd when I had been illegally detained in Seiriol Ward in Ysbyty Gwynedd after I refused to drop my requests for a copy of my medical records. Bridget was the nurse in charge of the ward. I challenged Bridget over my illegal detention, as well as over the threats that I had received from Alun Davies, the manager of the mental health services – and over the mistreatment of other patients that I was witnessing. Bridget told me that ‘someone’ had decided that I ‘should be here’ and that no-one was being abused or illegally detained. Yes they were Bridget and you knew it. Now, off down to the police station with you to provide a statement giving the details of who it was who ordered you to perjure yourself in court in an attempt to secure a conviction against me.

The article in the Post makes a reference to the case of a man called Christopher Bambrough, who was jailed some months ago after ‘threatening to knock out a nurse’ at Wrexham Maelor. Sounds nasty doesn’t it. The facts of the case are that Bambrough had gone to Wrexham Maelor seeking help for mental health problems but had been refused such help and had been told to go and make an appointment with his GP. He became distressed and shouted a few rash comments that people were going to get hurt. OK, so a man whom it is admitted had mental health problems went for help – and was effectively told to piss off. Knowing just how damn near impossible it is to now access mental health care in north Wales I can imagine how desperate and frustrated that man probably was. Furthermore, I wouldn’t be surprised if he had made umpteen visits to his GP and the local hospitals trying to get help – I have witnessed people doing this and it is quite clear that there is no way that they will get treatment. Because the mental health services are no longer permitted to refuse to assess or treat people, the technique used in north Wales is now to send them from pillar to post, around and around in circles, with everybody refusing to treat them and telling them to see someone else.

So who was it who imprisoned a mentally ill desperate man for shouting a few rash things in the direction of the Angels? It was Judge Niclas Parry, who when he was merely solicitor advocate Niclas Parry, represented one of the most vicious of the paedophiles at the Waterhouse Inquiry (see post ‘This Is What Happened To Nicola, Niclas, Merfyn, Joan and Kathryn’ for details of Parry’s glorious career, his shameful role in the Waterhouse Inquiry and his kid-glove handling of two other people involved in organised crime). Parry told Brambrough that ‘hospital staff will be protected by the Courts’. Yes, along with paedophiles and drug dealers thanks to Old Nick being on the bench.

Daily Post Online makes reference to the police ‘having to be’ called out to ‘attacks on staff’ 591 times in the last five years. I wonder what the opinion of the police is regarding those call outs – because when I still lived in north Wales I was told quite frankly by a police officer that they were sick to death of the Hergest calling them out to deal with trivial situations that the staff should be dealing with themselves. But this has been happening for decades. When Dafydd Alun Jones et al first began having me arrested in the 80s there was an officer called Sgt Tim Evans who was known to be telling people that the whole situation was farcical – a bunch of pompous braying consultants were on the one hand telling Sgt Evans and his colleagues that they were ‘experts’ and Had To Be Listened To, but on the other hand were ringing the police on an almost daily basis because I was refusing to drop my complaints about the mental health services and continued requesting copies of my own records. I was told that Sgt Evans noted just how much more than the police that bunch of fuckwits were being paid yet were demanding that the police clear up their mess. As an example of the sort of thing that the Top Doctors were doing, I have in my possession a document which is a copy of a letter written by Top Doctor Sadie Francis, backed up by her mate from the Arfon Team the appalling social worker Sheila Jenkins, complaining about me walking into a room at Ysbyty Gwynedd ‘carrying a rolled up newspaper’. Francis and Jenkins demanded that the police be called in case I was ‘concealing a knife’ in the newspaper.  I could have been storing weapons grade plutonium in the rolled up newspaper but I wasn’t – these crazy allegations with absolutely no grounds were being bandied around about me (and a number of other patients) constantly.

The Betsi told the Daily Post that their staff receive ‘violence and aggression training’ and ‘de-escalation’ training. That ‘training’ leaves a lot to be desired. It is delivered by staff who have learnt their own aggression at the knee of the north Wales mental health services – for many years, the man who ‘trained’ the local Angels in ‘control and restraint’ was a nurse from the North Wales Hospital, the institution in which victims of the North Wales Paedophile Ring were illegally imprisoned. More latterly the ‘training’ was delivered by the dreadful Alison Parry, the highly abusive nurse responsible for running the highly abusive Taliesin Ward. I have watched the Angels from the Hergest Unit use their ‘training’ – it involves jumping on patients from a height for no good reason and pinning them to the floor for twenty minutes. As for ‘de-escalation’ – well after Alun Davies, the former manager of the Hergest Unit, refused to answer questions from either me or my lawyer regarding Parry and co carrying out assaults on me, I asked Davies in person when he was going to reply to my lawyer’s letters. He stood in a corridor at Hergest and bellowed ‘shut up’ at me repeatedly. My lawyer suggested to him that this was rather unacceptable and she received a letter from Davies saying that he was using ‘de-escalation techniques’ and that they were so good that a psychiatrist had complimented him on them. I can only presume that the Top Doctor in question was actually taking the piss out of him, but Davies was far too thick to realise.

In addition to boasting about the ‘training’ that their staff receive, the Betsi told the Post that all three of their District General Hospitals have police and security on site. I have known some of the ‘police on site’ at Ysbyty Gwynedd. One of them was really good, a very nice man with an excellent relationship with the patients. This however was ruined because the Hergest staff kept telling him to threaten to arrest the patients, instead of allowing him to talk to them. On one occasion this resulted in him having to threaten to arrest a young female psychiatric patient in the locked ward at Hergest because she kept dialling 999. Yes, the Hergest staff wanted a psychotic teenager taken out of a locked ward where she was sectioned anyway, arrested and charged for dialling 999 for bizarre reasons. That policeman ended up leaving that post – and I can see why. After he left he was replaced by a Scouse Thug who threatened me over the phone when I rang the hospital to inform them that I would be attending the hospital in person to deliver a statement from a third party who had witnessed hospital staff lie about me in order to have me arrested. I’m sure that the authorities at YG thought that the Scouse Thug did a great job.

As well as on site police and security, a Betsi spokesperson also explained to the Daily Post that they employ a ‘violence and aggression case manager’. Yes, I’ve heard about this person – they’re the one whom I was told actively encourages staff to demand that patients are prosecuted even if staff don’t want to press charges. Interestingly enough, the Betsi spokesperson does admit to the Daily Post that it is ‘important to recognise’ that the figures provided ‘may not reflect the actions of some patients who may not intend to be deliberately aggressive and may act in this way by extent of their conditions’. So that’s them fessing up then. But nonetheless they were still happy to release these ludicrous misleading figures – which even they admit aren’t a true reflection of the situation.

Intriguingly, the Betsi states that there is a National Memorandum of Understanding across Wales between the police, the CPS and the NHS on how to ‘support staff’ following incidents of violence. Readers who have followed my posts about the North Wales Child Abuse Scandal and the associated cover-up will remember that it involved the police, the CPS and the NHS…Those bodies understand each other very well in north Wales – and if Old Nick is on the bench, there’s even more understanding…

People who have been following this blog for a while will also remember my posts describing the scores of errors, fallacious allegations and downright lies that I discovered entered upon my medical records. Highlights include entries that I ‘had held a nurse hostage’, ‘was in prison after attacking someone with a knife’ and had ‘sexually assaulted a psychiatrist’. What’s the betting that these lurid allegations have added to the statistics that the Betsi have made up? Despite protracted correspondence with Gary Doherty, the CEO of the Betsi, I have been unable to persuade them to remove the dozens of lies from my records. Gary did agree to remove the references to me sexually assaulting a psychiatrist because he admitted that never happened – I note that Gary did not carry out any investigation into how these gross slur ever found it’s way onto my records and that no-one was disciplined for writing it. Gary has refused to amend anything else – although I can prove that the comments are not true – on the grounds that his staff told him that these things had happened and thus they must have happened. Furthermore Gary is now stating that twenty years worth of my records don’t exist because he can’t find them. I have copies here with me which my lawyer obtained previously, but no, according to Gary those records don’t exist.

How can anyone believe any statistics at all collected by this bunch of lying dipsticks?

Another former star of this blog featured in the Post article – Tina Donnelly, the Director of the RCN in Wales. Tina warns that these attacks on NHS staff affect recruitment. No Tina, what is affecting recruitment in the Betsi is the dreadful standard of care that is known to exist up there – good nurses do not want to work with negligent abusive people – and the brutal treatment of whistleblowers. The nurse who blew the whistle on the Tawel Fan scandal was sacked, wrongfully arrested after being subjected to malicious allegations and has received death threats. The staff who abused the patients in Tawel Fan were subjected to no disciplinary action at all. Donnelly has sat in the RCN throughout scandal after scandal in north Wales – including Tawel Fan – and has done nothing to take action against her members who are abusing their positions. I have read plenty of her semi-literate articles in the Welsh media demanding higher salaries for her members, or indeed banging on about the way in which they spend every waking hour at work being viciously attacked by unhinged patients, but I have not yet read any condemnation from her concerning poor standards of care on the part of some Angels. Indeed Donnelly seems to be quite close to two particularly unpleasant Angels employed at Ysbyty Gwynedd A&E – Stephen Gallagher and Andrew Parry. Please read post ‘Two Dangerous Very Dishonest Nurses’ for details of Gallagher and Parry’s lies, threats and dishonesty. Donnelly ‘serves’ in the Territorial Army along with Gallagher and Parry. For further details of Donnelly’s contacts and questionable background, see post ‘Oh To Be In Receipt Of Academic Honours’.

At the end of the article, the Daily Post chips in with their ‘opinion’. The Post maintains that ‘people join the NHS because they care…good decent human beings who want to make a difference…the vast majority of them aren’t in it for the money…these same decent people are routinely subjected to violence and verbal abuse – sometimes racist or sexual… [the offenders] should forfeit their right to free NHS treatment in the future…’

Now most people do indeed join the NHS for the right reasons – but there is a very big problem in north Wales. Until very recently a vicious paedophile ring operated throughout the region and it was concealed and facilitated by the mental health services. A lot of the people involved are still working in the mental health services – indeed one of them is the Chairman of the Betsi – and this has left a toxic legacy. These were not ‘caring’ ‘decent’ people and furthermore they were not subjected to violence and verbal abuse, they lied on oath in order to discredit people who were complaining about their own malpractice and abuse. They are using the same techniques now in a desperate attempt to detract from the train wreck that is the NHS in north Wales. I will remind the Daily Post of what happened at Tawel Fan – elderly patients were found to be crawling around naked on floors covered in faeces and urine; one patient had an untreated broken arm; staff swore at patients, trapped them in their beds by placing furniture on top of them and discussed their sex lives. Some of those patients died as a result of the neglect and abuse that they endured. The ward was shut down and the Board was placed in special measures after the Welsh Gov’t admitted institutional abuse of patients. It was the worst mental health scandal in recent years in the UK. And which newspaper carried ‘interviews’ with those staff, interviews in which staff insulted the patients and their relatives? The Daily Post.

Until the 1990s, people working in and managing children’s homes in north Wales were believed to be kindly avuncular folk working for modest salaries looking after ‘tearaways’, ‘naughty boys’, ‘disturbed teenagers’, ‘young thugs’, ‘streetwise kids’ or ‘criminals’. We now know that they were actually starving, beating and raping those kids before forcing them into prostitution and delivering them to the Westminster Paedophile Ring. When those kids told people what was happening to them they were discussed in exactly the same terms that the Post is using to discuss people whom they believe are ‘attacking’ noble selfless NHS staff.

As for people forfeiting their right to free NHS treatment – there are at present people in north Wales, particularly people with mental health problems, who CANNOT access the care that they need and to which they are legally entitled. Sometimes this is because the ‘service’ has collapsed and doesn’t exist to provide treatment, but a number of people have been subjected to a co-ordinated campaign to ensure that they will not be treated under any circumstances – because they complained about a fucking paedophile gang.

As for staff not being in it for the money – no many of them are not. But some undoubtedly are. This blog has exposed a number of scams being runs by NHS staff and those scams have been designed to line their own pockets. It is difficult to find highly paid work in north Wales and no-one but the Betsi is going to pay Martin Jones and his ilk £130,000 pa and Martin knows it. Which is why he is still sitting on that Board after years of disaster wearing cufflinks that cost as much as some people earn in a week. Martin with his rather poor degree (you weren’t up to much when you were at Bangor University were you Martin), Martin who is rumoured to have failed accountancy exams, Martin with his Mickey Mouse qualification in ‘Innovation and Change’, Martin who when he was CEO of the North West Wales NHS Trust flew first class to America on NHS expenses and lived it up with his mates for no good reason. Martin is most definitely in it for the money.

Although the Post article is about the NHS in north Wales, there is a link to an interview with someone employed by Cardiff and Vale UHB. That’s the Cardiff and Vale UHB that employs a consultant gynaecologist who many years ago was frozen out of the London circle because he was a relentless sexual harasser (see post ‘Every Sperm Is Sacred – Particularly In Scotland’).

Newsflash: Just appeared on the Daily Post website – a female paramedic with the Welsh Ambulance Service in north Wales has been convicted of assaulting another young woman. The ‘caring’ ‘decent’ NHS worker had ‘trained’ in the Army Medical Corps. Probably alongside Donnelly, Gallagher and Parry. She’s been travelling around in the back of an ambulance in a green jumpsuit for the last two years whilst the likes of the Daily Post told us that she was some sort of superior being.

As for all this talk of ‘decent’ people, in the early 1990s I attempted to enter Menai Bridge police station to make a complaint about a Top Doctor – one of those who was facilitating the paedophile ring – threatening me. What can only be described as a Ginger Pig in a sergeants uniform confronted me and told me that if I entered the police station he would arrest me. I told him that I had been threatened and I wished to make a statement. The Ginger Pig told me that he was here to protect ‘decent’ people like the Top Doctor and if I didn’t get out of Menai Bridge immediately he’d arrest me. He then pursued me as far as the Menai Suspension Bridge insulting me and told me to do everyone a favour and throw myself off the bridge. When I got home I rang Menai Bridge police station in an attempt to discover the identity of the Ginger Pig. Another policeman answered – whom I knew, because I had met him previously in Bangor Police Station after the Top Doctors had of course had me arrested. He was called Kelvin, he was nothing like the Ginger Pig himself, but he would not tell me the name of the Ginger Pig and he wouldn’t take down a complaint about him. On another occasion I tried to make representation about the Top Doctors and their harassment to an inspector in Bangor Police Station, an Inspector Beedham. As with Kelvin, Inspector Beedham didn’t conduct himself in the manner of the Ginger Pig, but no, he wouldn’t take a complaint about the Top Doctors either.

Sgt Tim Evans, Kelvin and Inspector Beedham all witnessed what was happening to me at the hands of the Top Doctors and Gwynedd Social Services. I now have possession of the documents that demonstrate that the Top Doctors et al perjured themselves repeatedly and ordered their minions to perjure themselves repeatedly, in order to conceal a paedophile ring. Come on Tim, Kelvin and Inspector Beedham, get your statements prepared and can you tell us who the Ginger Pig was as well….

 

I have mentioned in this post and in previous posts just how serious the wrongdoing of staff in the Hergest Unit and Ysbyty Gwynedd A&E was – unlawfully refusing people treatment, threatening patients, assaulting patients, lying to the police about patients, lying on oath, encouraging others to lie on oath etc. I have detailed how Alun Davies, Keith Thomson and later on Martin Jones simply did not investigate complaints (not just mine either – I knew of others who had terrible experiences whose complaints were never ever investigated). After Thomson wasted months of my and my lawyer’s time in a deliberate attempt not to investigate a series of assaults on me by his staff and their malicious allegations about me to the police, I tried the Public Services Ombudsman for Wales. At that time the Ombudsman for Wales was Adam Peat. Getting a response out of Peat to my complaint was like pulling teeth, so in the end I rang his office. I didn’t speak to Peat himself, I spoke to his sidekick – who was either a Gethin or a Geraint, I can’t remember which. And guess what – he insulted and then threatened me. Just like the NMC did when I tried to make representation to them about Sian Ruth Lloyd’s misconduct. Now I was getting pretty used to this sort of behaviour from the Top Doctors and Angels, but this was the Ombudsman’s office…

Shortly after my brush with Adam Peat’s sidekick, I received a reply from Adam himself. He had decided that he wasn’t going to investigate my complaint against the North West Wales NHS Trust. Not in the public interest. (This was at a time when the North West Wales NHS Trust had the second highest suicide rate among women in England and Wales.) I mentioned this later to a Welsh politician who was honest enough to tell me that there was a major problem with the Ombudsman’s office, in that Peat was choosing not to investigate an awful lot of very serious complaints. I now have the documentation relating to that period of time – evidence of perjury and perverting the course of justice, the altering of medical records, a forged document allegedly written by me found in the possession of the GMC, evidence of dishonesty on the part of the Mental Health Act Commission, the illegal interference with my record on the Police National Computer and the forging of a certificate of indictment on the part of the Courts among much other wrongdoing.

Looks like Adam had knowingly ignored some very, very serious stuff.

Adam Peat retired as the Public Services Ombudsman for Wales in April 2008. His final report before he retired covered the period 2007/08. This report showed that despite a 10% increase in complaints that year, the number upheld by the Ombudsman remained roughly the same. Out of 1420 complaints, Peat only upheld – either whole or in part – 139. He did not investigate 975 complaints. Of the complaints that Peat did uphold, 19 became public interest reports. So Peat was ignoring an awful lot of problems – and nearly all the 1420 complaints will have been a result of very serious problems because one cannot approach the Ombudsman until one has exhausted all other avenues of complaint and even then there are so many hurdles to overcome that no-one would ever get as far as the Ombudsman unless they had a real grievance.

So who was Peat, the man who decided that it was best to ignore thousands of complaints, even ones involving serious corruption in the NHS, social services, police, court service and probation service – for which he was paid £135k pa? Well between 1998 and 2003, Adam Peat was a senior civil servant in the National Assembly of Wales. For the previous nine years he had been Chief Exec of Tai Cymru, the body funding and regulating the housing association movement in Wales. Now my worries about Peat were always that he had prevented an investigation into such serious wrongdoing in the NHS – but his activities re housing are just as worrying. He had spent all those years involved with Tai Cymru, yet as Ombudsman he was responsible for investigating housing problems. Indeed, housing problems were something that he took a very big interest in – during his time as Ombudsman, one of his reports was devoted to housing allocation and homeless provision. So not only was Peat suppressing complaint into criminal activities in the NHS, but he had massive conflicts of interest as well.

So where is Adam Peat now? He’s back in the housing business! Adam Peat OBE is now Chairman of Magna Housing. Magna Housing is a community based housing association located primarily in Dorset and Somerset and provides over 8500 homes to let and 350 shared ownership homes. It’s annual turnover is in excess of £36 million. There is a notice on Magna’s website explaining that Magna has a confidential reporting process for employees to report serious concerns relating to trafficking and modern slavery. This organisation has a Chairman who suppressed a complaint about people involved in organised crime, namely a paedophile ring that was trafficking young people into prostitution. I wonder what’s going to happen if a Magna employee does report modern slavery or trafficking?

One of the blogs that I follow is Jac O The North. I don’t share the political views of Jac and most of his correspondents, but Jac does an excellent job of exposing corruption in Wales. There has been much on Jac’s blog concerning housing associations in Wales and the very odd things that seem to be happening in them. For example, the very great difficulty that some people even those who have lived in Wales for years have obtaining housing association properties. Many of Jac’s correspondents have written in with anecdotes of serious offenders from England somehow succeeding in obtaining housing association properties in rural Wales after they have been released from prison. A lot of those offenders have been sex offenders – and there was even a case in which yes, a whole paedophile ring were rehoused in Wales from England. When I first started reading these accounts, I presumed that these were the sort of myths one hears which don’t bear much relation to reality – along the lines of Theresa May’s anecdote to the Tory Party Conference about the terrorist who couldn’t be deported because his pet cat allowed him to use the Human Rights Act to remain in the UK. ‘I am not making this up’ said Theresa. It turned out that she was. However, it seems that Jac and his correspondents really are not making things up – sex offenders and people known to be involved with organised sexual abuse are being housed in rural Wales despite having no previous connections with the region at all. And it is happening too frequently for it to be a consequence of the general movement of people who choose to relocate. What if, as well as the network of corrupt people in the NHS, police, social services and legal services facilitating organised child sexual abuse and associated people trafficking, there were a few of them working in the housing association sector?

What do you reckon Adam?

 

 

 

Last Man Standing

I have plagiarized the title of this post from Jack Straw’s autobiography which I am about to start reading. Because I haven’t read his book yet I don’t know why a privileged former Cabinet Minister has framed himself as the last man standing, but the subject of this blog post really is worthy of that title, as his chances of reaching mid-life yet alone pensionable age were so much lower than Straw’s. I decided to write this post to illustrate the ways in which mental health patients’ experiences are grossly caricatured by mental health staff, how abuses and horrors are intentionally air-brushed out of medical histories and how if anyone really wanted to uncover the institutional wrongdoing that was prevalent in north Wales during the latter decades of the twentieth century they could, quite easily.

The man starring in this post is F, a man who has spent most of his adult life living among the hippy community in Bethesda. F acquired diagnoses of, variously, ‘paranoid schizophrenia’, ‘drug induced psychosis’ and ‘chronic psychotic illness, resistant to medication’. F did suffer from a psychotic illness and at stages during his life had been in a very bad way indeed, but the way in which he had arrived at that state does not appear in any of his medical records. F is – unbelievably for those of us who know something of his adventures – still alive, although I understand is no longer under the ‘care’ of the mental health services, after a lifetime of their ‘help’. He told them to piss off some three years ago as he had decided that they play no useful role.

As did many of the Bethesda hippies, F came from a middle class background in England but actively made the decision to ‘drop out’ sometime in the seventies. He moved to Bethesda in either the late 70s or early 80s when his first wife took up a place at Bangor to do teacher training. By the time that F had moved to Bethesda he had already acquired a degree in Fine Art – at one point he was described as the most talented artist in north Wales, but unlike his contemporaries Ed Povey and Peter Prendergast, F was seriously hampered by illness. He could still do the artistic bit and churned out excellent work but tended to say and do bizarre and unacceptable things at exhibitions or when trying to negotiate sales, which unsurprisingly resulted in him not ever selling very much.

By the time that they arrived in Bethesda, F and his wife were enthusiastic dope blowers as well as keen consumers of magic mushrooms. They were completely uninterested in narcotics, had pretty much given up amphetamines but occasionally took hallucinogens. Although F’s wife qualified as a teacher she didn’t like teaching and she established a gardening and house renovating business. F spent most of his time painting although he did spend a few summers working as a gardener at Penrhyn Castle – he inherited money as a young man which enabled him to lead quite a leisurely lifestyle. Previous posts have discussed the police corruption that was rampant in north Wales. This has received UK-wide media coverage because of the part that it played in the North Wales Child Abuse Scandal, but students and hippies invariably experienced it in the form of the completely bent drug squad that operated in north Wales, in particular two notorious plain clothes drug squad officers who used to frequent the Bangor area and stitch up anyone whom had crossed their path. The effect of the actions of these two was to constantly harass and prosecute people for possessing small amounts of cannabis whilst allowing a thriving trade in hard drugs to develop in the area, to a large degree facilitated by Dafydd Alun Jones’s ‘peer support workers’ at CAIS who were frequently dealing to their ‘clients’.

F came to the attention of the corrupt drug squad because he was basically a hippy who was newly arrived in the area. In the early 80s they raided his house. During the raid, they planted cocaine in his wife’s handbag and seized the small amount of cannabis that was in the house. The drug squad then ordered F’s wife to make a statement against him, framing him for possessing much greater quantities of drugs than he actually had, in return for a plea bargain concerning the cocaine that they had planted on her. F and his wife had a volatile relationship and led a fairly chaotic existence – although they were both bright and well-educated – and thus F’s wife allowed herself to be threatened by the drug squad in this way. So F was arrested and taken off to the police station. He was not given access to a solicitor whilst he was there. At the police station – I think it was Bangor – he was ordered to strip naked. After he did so, a senior officer – F described him as an ‘inspector’ – walked into the room and in F’s words ‘ogled me’ and commented on his genitals. F responded by saying ‘Christ can’t I even undress in peace’ and ‘why do you want to look at another naked man’. The Inspector punched him in the face. F responded by saying ‘that took a real man with the whole police force behind you’ and stated to the constable who had witnessed this assault that he would complain about this. The Inspector walked out and F didn’t see him again. F  was charged with possession of drugs – far more than he had actually been in possession of – and after a long while, with no medical attention following the punch in the face, was released. He went back to Bethesda, distressed after what had happened at the police station.

He was alone at home, his wife had gone back to England to visit family, not knowing what had happened at the station. That night, F descended into a full blown psychosis. He had not consumed any drugs since leaving the station – his interpretation is that the arrest, framing and assault at the station had been so traumatising that it all precipitated the psychotic episode. (F had experienced his first psychotic episode in England a couple of years previously.) F’s account of that night is that he hallucinated giant spiders crawling out of the walls, a demon sitting in the corner of the room and then heard God’s voice telling him to ‘raze this house’. F set fire to the house – it was a terrace and fortunately the neighbours saw smoke and called the fire brigade. By this time F had left the house believing that it was possessed. He spent the night outside, seriously ill and he was only picked up when the police arrested him for arson and endangering life.

He was taken to the magistrates court – I think in Bangor – and was detained in the notorious Risley Remand Centre for ‘psychiatric assessment’. F’s account is that after two weeks or so in Risley, the psychotic episode had passed – not that he received any ‘medication’ whilst he was there. He graphically described to me how every night he heard the screams of the other prisoners as they were beaten up by the prison officers, how prison officers taunted all the prisoners with threats of ‘we’ll make sure you come back here and it will be even worse when you do’ and how when he asked an officer if he would change the light bulb in his cell because it kept flickering on and off and was stopping him from sleeping, the officer removed the light bulb leaving him in darkness saying ‘you’ll sleep alright now won’t you’. He was left in darkness for several days. But something else happened to F whilst he was in Risley. A detective from London came to visit him and tried to interview him. This detective got frustrated with F and gave up, threw him back in his cell saying ‘There’s no point talking to you, you’re mad’. F told me this story many times but he never managed to work out what it was that the detective from London wanted to know. F remembers the detective constantly saying ‘I want to talk to you about your brother’. F  had a brother who lived in Surrey whom he did not get on with and had little contact with. F’s brother ran the family business, he was not involved with drugs or hippydom and he was very condemning of F’s lifestyle. So it is unlikely that the detective would have been hoping to grill F about any potential criminal activities involving his brother.

I had always presumed that the detective would have been after info about the drugs trade in north Wales. But researching the details of the North Wales Child Abuse Ring and it’s network into Westminster has thrown up another possibility that F himself never mentioned. F had been violently assaulted after challenging an Inspector who had walked into his cell after F had been framed and ordered to take off his clothes. F was a young man when this happened, he was attractive as a young man and he was also very slightly built. We now know that police officers such as Gordon Anglesea – who was, guess what, an Inspector – were sexually abusing boys and young men after they had been arrested, detained and criminalised for trivial offences. Those young men described being violently assaulted if they resisted – and many of them ended up in Risley Remand Centre or in the mental health system. F had announced his intention to complain about the officer who hit him. The assault had been witnessed by a constable. F was not an illiterate teenager who had grown up in care, he was from a middle class affluent family and his wife’s father was a society dentist with mates in Harley Street. F’s wife’s brother was a journalist. I’m wondering if there might have been some very worried police officers after F ended up going psychotic – F had of course made the headlines of the local papers after setting fire to the house. I suspect that this might have been why F received a visit from a detective from London when he was in Risley. F’s father was dead and his mother had returned to South Africa to live (she grew up there and only moved to England after she married) – so F’s brother was his only blood relative. F’s next of kin was of course his wife – who had been framed by the police herself and forced to make a statement against him. I really don’t think that the North Wales Police would have wanted to answer any difficult questions about what had happened to F in the police station.

So what happened to F after this detective visited him in Risley? Whilst he was there, F’s psychotic episode quietened down. By this time he did have a solicitor, who visited him in Risley and told him that although everyone accepted that he was no longer psychotic, he was going to be transferred to the North Wales Hospital Denbigh ‘to keep the courts happy’. F was told that he would only be expected to stay at Denbigh for three weeks or so. The charges of ‘endangering life’ were dropped – interestingly enough, after F’s solicitor mentioned that he had been assaulted by an unidentified police officer. F was charged and convicted of arson. He was then transferred to the North Wales Hospital – to the care of one Dr Dafydd Alun Jones!

So F arrived at Denbigh, no longer psychotic. Once there he was told again that he would just be there for a month or so as a formality. He had an interview with Dafydd and like all interviews with Dafydd it was bizarre. F described Dafydd as ‘a bit of a twat’, but F is quite open and friendly even to twats, so cheerfully engaged in a conversation with Dafydd about his cannabis smoking habits. F’s account of his interview with Dafydd is worth hearing – he does a good impersonation of Dafydd and explains how he mentioned to Dafydd that he was walking in the mountains and ate some grass. To which Dafydd responded ‘do you mean mar-i-jew-a-na?’. F replied ‘no, grass’. Dafydd asked ‘why were you eating grass?’ F explained ‘because I was thirsty’. At which point Dafydd began furiously scribbling away. F later caught sight of his notes – Dafydd had described him as ‘a man with pleasant manners and casual attire’ who of course was suffering from ‘cannabis psychosis’. No mention of F and his wife being framed by the drug squad, no mention of F being punched in the face by a senior police officer who had inexplicably appeared as F was naked, no mention of conditions at Risley Remand Centre, no mention of the detective from London visiting F at Risley, no mention of F no longer being psychotic and only being admitted to Denbigh ‘to keep the courts happy’. No mention of any of it – but a diagnosis of cannabis psychosis!

So did F only stay at Denbigh for a month to keep the courts happy? No, of course not. F was in Denbigh for a year. When F was first admitted to Denbigh, F commented to the nurses on their quasi-military uniforms. He playfully flicked the epaulettes on the shirt of one nurse and asked him if he was a sergeant major. He was dragged off down a corridor and sedated. After about four weeks in Denbigh F was offered amphetamines by another patient. Yes, Dafydd’s proud establishment, his much boasted about ‘therapeutic community’ where people who’d grown up in care and hippies had to remain for months and months to keep them away from the perils of cannabis, was host to a healthy trade in drugs much more problematic than cannabis. At the time that F was offered the amphetamines, he was severely depressed so he accepted the offer. Whatever he was given was incredibly strong – and it precipitated another psychotic episode. So F was deemed to be suffering from such a serious form of cannabis psychosis that he was detained by Dafydd for a year.

Imprisoning F for a year lest anyone began to investigate those corrupt police officers wasn’t enough for Dafydd though. F only narrowly escaped ending up in Holyrood House, the appalling ‘care home’ in Llandudno run by Margaret Richards that was choc full of Dafydd’s patients. Holyrood House was the centre of a media expose in the 1980s and even got a mention on ‘That’s Life’. Patients were being beaten up by a heavy who was employed as a ‘security guard’ there and a former drug addict from Liverpool was responsible for the drugs cabinet. When Dafydd finally decided that the coast was clear and that it was safe to let F out, he told F that he would make a better recovery in lovely Llandudno. F told me that he ‘wanted to get back to dogs, Bethesda and mess, not live in bloody Llandudno’. Dafydd then refused to let F out ‘because you do not have an offer of accommodation’. Apart from Holyrood House that was. After a few weeks of Dafydd trying to force F into Holyrood House or be forever incarcerated in Denbigh, F sneaked out of the grounds, rang a hippy friend in Bethesda, explained what was happening and the hippy friend agreed to write to Dafydd offering F accommodation. And that is the only way that F actually got out of Denbigh.

F had many other adventures in Denbigh. I’m not going to detail them all here, I’m going to let those we know and love guess how much F told me. They’ll all know who F is and because F is chatty a lot of them actually know what happened to him before he set fire to his house because he used to talk about it quite openly. But those bastards don’t know what else he told me….

Whilst F was in Denbigh, he did try and engage the help of the charity ‘Release’, which had a reputation for being able to get people out of prison or police custody if they had been arrested on drugs charges. A man from ‘Release’ did go all the way up to Denbigh from England, but he was unable to get F out. I wonder what he thought was happening – he had travelled to the wilds of Wales and found a sane but eccentric man being held prisoner in a hell-hole…

I knew F well for the best part of ten years and I knew how he and his problems were conceptualised by the Hergest Unit throughout the 1990s. It was all a matter of drug induced psychosis – or occasionally there would be speculation that he was someone who would have been vulnerable to psychosis anyway, but his consumption of drugs triggered it. I heard him tell Hergest staff what had happened before the fire. I was even in his company when he met the policeman who had witnessed the Inspector punch him in the face and he reminded that policeman of what had happened that day – the policeman still worked locally. The policeman looked sheepish and had a sudden lapse of memory. More recently that particular policeman was stationed at Ysbyty Gwynedd.

North Wales is heaving with people who knew that these sorts of things were happening. They are all colluding in a sort of en masse delusion as many of them now move into their comfortable retirements on public service pensions. Every time the North Wales Child Abuse ring is mentioned – ooh, no, I never knew anything about that. Every time police corruption is mentioned – ooh but we never knew. As for Denbigh – ooh it wasn’t good, but no, we didn’t know patients were being abused….

F’s adventures at Risley and at the hands of Dafydd are some thirty years ago now. But F was stung more recently all over again by those we know and love. My post ‘It’s All About Protecting Children’ details how F was denied access to his own baby because he dared report a child molester who was being protected by Jo Bott, the monstrous ‘safeguarding officer’. Bott had previously been a police officer. That post also describes the untimely death of yet someone else who had witnessed wrongdoing on the part of Gwynedd Social Service’s child protection team – this young man was killed just at the time that no-one could deny any longer that child abuse on an enormous scale had taken place in north Wales and talk of police cover-ups and possible public inquiries were in the media.

I mentioned at the beginning of this post how F has suffered from a psychotic illness throughout his life. This is true – he is bright and sociable, but he certainly had difficulties throughout the whole time that I knew him. But the thing that I noticed more and more during the 90s were that a lot of F’s difficulties were being caused by the mental health services. Not just in the obvious ways – they stood by whilst he was fleeced financially by an unscrupulous family after he finally split up from his first wife and they stood by whilst lies were perpetuated about him which led to him losing access to his own child – but the ‘medication regime’ that he was on had to be witnessed to be believed. This was someone who when he was young did take drugs – but he gave up illegal drugs after the house fire and the year in Denbigh. Instead he moved onto prescribed drugs – which were given to him in huge quantities by the mental health services. Obviously they didn’t have to work too hard to persuade him to take them, he was delighted to have some drugs to take – but they did bugger all to try to stop him. As far as I knew there were only two people – two of the rather better GPs that worked in the area – who warned him frankly about the dangers of excessive drugs and told him that they would in no way collude with him if he abused prescription drugs. The psychiatrists at the Hergest Unit – namely Dr Tony Francis (Dr X) and Dr Bob Tresman – loaded him up with more and more drugs as the years went by. The drugs were never reviewed, although they were very obviously affecting F’s functioning – he used to sleep for about 18 hours a day because he was so heavily sedated – and whenever he expressed any anxiety or stress (which he did very regularly) the prescription pad would be wielded and another anti-psychotic or benzodiazepine would be added. But no drug was EVER removed as another one was added. Suggestions from other people that he might be massively over-medicated would be brushed aside with ‘but he’s got a psychotic illness’. Yet bizarrely his Hergest notes described him as ‘chronically psychotic, resistant to medication’. If his illness was resistant to medication why did they continue to dispense so much of it and continue adding to it?

As F hit his 40s, his teeth very obviously began to disintegrate. He maintained that there was nothing wrong with his teeth because he wasn’t experiencing toothache. In the end, he was persuaded by his friends to visit a dentist. By the time that he made that visit his teeth were so far gone that the dentist maintained that the only option was to remove the remains that were there. F was staggered and asked the dentist why he hadn’t been getting toothache. The dentist explained that he was on such high levels of benzodiazepines and anti-psychotics that his pain receptors weren’t responding. Even the dentist was shocked as to the drugs that were being prescribed. There was one person in F’s life who took prescription drugs along with him though – that was a social worker who lived in the village who had been a friend of his from his hippy days. She used to pop around for a coffee and down a few benzodiazepines with him, just as the rest of his friends were desperately trying to impress upon him that the shite being foisted upon him by the wielders of prescription pads in the Hergest was not really doing him any good. That social worker now works as a social work trainer for Conwy!

F is no longer living in Bethesda and I haven’t seen him for years, but one of my friends is in contact with him. He is now in his 60s and I am told that his psychotic symptoms have decreased drastically, that he still paints and that his moods are much more stable. A few years ago for a while, for the first time in his life, he was allocated a CPN whom I was told was head and shoulders above the others. This CPN actually managed to get a review of F’s medication to reduce the amount being prescribed. His psychotic symptoms gradually started to recede….

So that’s the story of F, who is indeed the last man standing from Denbigh. As far as I know, I and two other women are the last women standing. Like nearly all the former kids in care who witnessed the North Wales Paedophile Ring in action, everyone else from Denbigh (and pretty much the early days of the Hergest Unit as well) is dead. But before they died, they will have told scores of people what had happened to them. Which was almost certainly why no-one worked too hard to ensure that they stayed alive.

F spent more than thirty years being used by the mental health services in north Wales as a cautionary tale of the perils of Too Much Cannabis. He was actually the consequence of a corrupt drug squad, a perverted and violent police inspector, a corrupt magistrates court and Dr Dafydd Alun Jones and the associated thoroughly rotten mental health and children’s services. Compared to the damage that lot did to F, the cannabis was neither here nor there.

Although the main trashing of F seems to have been precipitated by the fear of what would happen if anyone started investigating the circumstances in which he was arrested and what subsequently went on in the police station, a lot of people had a vested interest years later in ensuring that no-one would believe anything that F said and not just because of his knowledge of the misconduct on the part of the children’s services in Gwynedd. F had a sense of humour and although he was always dismissed by Hergest staff as being completely mad, he chatted to people, listened to their stories, remembered those stories and often knew some of the ‘professionals’ whose misconduct he was hearing about. He had heard nearly as many first hand accounts of Dr Dafydd Alun Jones’s inappropriate conduct with female patients and staff as I had heard; he noticed that everyone appointed as a ‘service user representative’ in Gwynedd and Anglesey was a total fuckwit who were simply doing what they were told by the managers of the mental health services and he confronted Alun Davies, the manager of the Hergest Unit, about the naked corruption that was occurring between the managers and clinical director of Ysbyty Gwynedd, Dr Terry Maxwell; he personally knew people who had been threatened with violence by staff of the Arfon Community Mental Health Team; he knew scores of dispossessed people in the area whose lives had been ruined by those we know and love, including people who had been sexually molested by people paid to care for them; he knew about the corruption in MIND and had confronted the staff in the Bangor branch about it and was then banned from the ‘drop in centre’ by the Voice Of The Patients Helen Milne (who after ignoring the criminal abuse of patients at MIND was given the Rape Crisis Centre to play with would you believe) and sometimes, as a result of entertaining himself, F would uncover serious wrongdoing. One such occasion involved F’s efforts to secure a telephone for the Hergest whistleblower.

The Hergest whistleblower led a team of three or four and was the most valuable, helpful member of staff at the Hergest Unit. He was of course also the only person who kept blowing the whistle on the malpractice up there. F noticed that the Hergest whistleblower was treated very disrespectfully by Alun Davies and that although he was a team leader and had a bigger client load than anyone else, the Hergest whistleblower was the only member of staff who didn’t have a phone in his office. So F announced that he would get him a phone. He didn’t tell the whistleblower that he was going to do this, but he did tell me. F then rang BT and told them that he was John Mullen – who was either Chair or Chief Exec of the Trust at the time – and that he wanted to order an extra phone for an office in the Hergest Unit. And BT actually said ‘will this be on the special arrangement Mr Mullen?’ F was not asked to prove who he was, he was not asked anything about an invoice or an account, he was just asked if it was to be on the special arrangement. So F said ‘yes please’ and gave BT the number of the office in the Hergest Unit in which the whistleblower worked. There were literally no questions asked at all, BT cheerily stated that they would be installing the phone asap. F then rang the receptionist of the Hergest Unit, claiming to be BT and told her that a telephone would soon be arriving for the Hergest whistleblower’s office and when BT arrived please could she show them to the correct office. She was happy to oblige. I didn’t think that this plan would ever work, but it was really incredible because about a week later, there was a newly installed phone in the whistleblower’s office. F asked him about it and the whistleblower said ‘it’s all rather odd, I didn’t ask for a phone, Alun Davies told me that I wouldn’t be getting one, but it just arrived’.

So as Brown pointed out, there was obviously an irregular corrupt arrangement between that Trust and BT. Where had the bill for the installation of the phone been sent? Where was the bill for the use of the phone being sent? What on earth was the ‘special arrangement’? How the bloody hell could a patient make one phone call to BT’s marketing dept, claiming to be John Mullen and order a phone? Brown speculated that people in that Trust were installing home phones for themselves and charging them to the NHS and suggested that F could probably have ordered a car for the Hergest whistleblower as well and had that on a special arrangement.

Would John Mullen and Alun Davies care to enlighten us all regarding the ‘special arrangement’? This was happening during the John Major NHS efficiency years, circa 1995. About the time of the Jillings Report and all those assurances from the Welsh Office that there was nothing at all untoward happening in the public services in north Wales. Ooh and about the time that Dafydd was allowed to retire without all the very serious complaints about him being followed up and with the contract for providing ‘substance abuse services’ in his greedy clutches (see post ‘The Evolution Of a Drugs Baron?’).

F’s problems with the North Wales Police were a regular occurrence as well. At one point for a short while, he moved to Holyhead. His house was burgled and he called the police. An officer arrived who then threatened F. F told the officer that he would complain to a senior officer about this – so the police were forewarned. F arrived at the police station shortly afterwards and explained to the desk sergeant that he wished to make a complaint. The desk sergeant tried to obstruct him, so F asked to see the Inspector. The desk sergeant disappeared into the depths and F heard him swearing away at the Inspector waxing lyrical about what a pain F was. F heard the Inspector ask ‘but is he intelligent?’. The sergeant replied ‘yes’. F was entertained to find that the Inspector then appeared wearing a pair of half moons, presumably with the intention of impressing upon F that he was a scholarly intellectual man, rather than a corrupt old bastard whose officers threatened burglary victims. F’s complaint went uninvestigated. The half moons became a joke, because of course Dafydd and many of the other clapped out old fools with whom we all had to deal sported half moons. I have been told that in criminology, this sort of thing is known as a ‘signifier’ – conmen use such techniques, for example brass plaques outside the buildings of people masquerading as professionals when they are not. But in north Wales it was half moons.

Readers might think that although mental health professionals and others in north Wales were told hair-raising stories by F, this was a man who did suffer from a psychotic illness and perhaps those professionals genuinely didn’t believe the stories that F recounted. After all, Dafydd et al were writing down that F had ‘cannabis psychosis’, they certainly weren’t recording what had actually happened to him at their hands or anyone else’s, although he was telling everyone very clearly. It would be understandable to conclude that in the face of wrongdoing this dreadful, it could be difficult to believe a patient with serious mental health problems. But as I keep mentioning, there are some old lags in north Wales who’ve cluttered up the place for decades and they witnessed much of this, although every time there’s an investigation it’s a case of ‘I Know Nuzzing’. That is why I’ve started naming people on this blog.

Now there is one social worker in north Wales who has spent the last twenty years working in community work/probation work/alcohol and substance abuse services/social work training who most definitely knows the names of many of the sinners and knows about the sins that they committed – and many, many years ago he knew F. Step forward Wulf Livingstone, Senior Lecturer in Social Work at Glyndwr University.

Wulf Livingstone certainly knows me from my time working in the School of Social Sciences at Bangor University, but I doubt that he remembers the first time that he met me. It was in about 1993 and I was in a café in Bangor with F. Livingstone breezed through and F cheerily greeted him, only to be patronised by Wulf and spoken to like a loony. That was because Wulf was moving away from being a ‘service user’ himself into one who provides the services. After Wulf had gone, F explained that he knew Wulf from his drug taking days and that Wulf had ‘worked as a cook for that bastard Tindall and sued him’. Tindall was a notorious Bangor ‘businessman’ who owned and ran a number of absolutely dreadful ‘care homes’ for mental health patients – they were bad even by north Wales standards and were eventually forcibly shut down, amid rumours of Tindall being investigated by the police and being forced to surrender his passport. One of Tindall’s ‘homes’ seemed to almost solely house patients of Dr Dafydd Alun Jones. The sorts of things that went on in Tindall’s ‘homes’ were gross – elderly patients thrown back onto beds if they fell out at night, homes for EMI patients had no incontinence pads or gloves available, all health and safety considerations were ignored, chipped and cracked crockery was standard practice, furniture was purchased from junk shops, patients were fed inadequate quantities of the cheapest food available, staff were employed who had been dismissed from everywhere else, it was truly dire. Because there was a shortage of jobs in north Wales, a lot of people took jobs with Tindall’s establishments and left again within a couple of weeks – there were numerous allegations of Tindall not paying people. Wulf’s name was being bandied around Bangor as someone who had been swindled by Tindall and who had challenged him in court. That was how I first heard of and met Wulf.

Years later, when I started in the School of Social Sciences, I was gobsmacked to find Wulf working there – he was introduced to me as a social work lecturer ‘with an interest in mental health’. He didn’t seem too overjoyed to see me – I very much doubt that he ever remembered meeting me that day in the café with F, so I wondered if he was part of the contingent that had begun squirming with embarrassment because I’d turned up at the University with decades of knowledge of how patients were actually being treated in the ‘services’ that these folk were associated with. By then, Brown and I had also started appearing in the laypress making very critical noises about the mental health services in north Wales. A couple of days later I saw Wulf again at lunchtime, so I thought that I’d try to be sociable and I went over to say hello. I told him that he probably wouldn’t remember me but years ago I remembered him making a name for himself by taking on Tindall in court. I told him that it was good to know that someone had challenged Tindall. But Wulf’s reaction was quite interesting – he very obviously didn’t want to talk about that and he just said ‘yeh, right, yeh, nasty man’. So I made a few comments about the vile abuse of patients that had been going on and that I was very glad to see Tindall put out of business. I then mentioned that another chain of care homes equally as abusive as Tindall’s had started up, Prestwood Homes and I wondered if Prestwood was actually anything to do with Tindall. Wulf then announced ‘yeh, yeh, I know all about Prestwwod too. Still, we don’t want to go back to Denbigh do we’ and got up and walked off. Which apart from being bizarre and rude was unfathomable, because the likes of Tindall and Prestwood were abusing patients being released from psychiatric hospitals in exactly the same way that Holyrood House abused patients released from Denbigh.

Over the next few months I began to suspect that I knew why Wulf might have a problem with me. I discovered that since that day in the café, he had actually worked for many of the utterly shite organisations jammed full of abusive or corrupt people – but unlike Brown and me he wasn’t going public about any of it. And he knew that I knew what was going on and that I had intentions of publishing. Furthermore Wulf liked to portray himself as a radical service users champion – so I don’t think he really would have wanted anyone to know what he was keeping quiet about. Wulf had of course worked for CAIS – Dafydd’s set up. Unlike the stooges employed by Hergest as ‘service user representatives’, Wulf is not gullible and naïve, he is a very competent social scientist and he knows abuse and malpractice when he sees it. And from what I know of his CV, he has seen much of it. He was involved with CAIS for years and he also worked for the probation service in north Wales – the probation service that employed some of the people who had been accused of child abuse, the probation service that was warehousing the scores of people who had been fitted up in the way that so many people like F and indeed myself were.

Wulf definitely knows all about another man as well, who like so many of us experienced the worst of the ‘services’. This man was a friend of F years ago and experienced alcohol and drug problems himself for many years. He tried AA and walked out because he found an associate of Dafydd Alun Jones there – a man who masqueraded as a Minister and used to appear wearing his dog collar on TV and calling himself ‘Rev’ along with Dafydd, discussing how people could be weaned off drugs and drink. This friend of F’s brought a lot of grief upon himself by exposing this fake Minister. This man has also done much to challenge another bunch of quacks in north Wales claiming to offer ‘services’ to people with substance abuse and alcohol problems, a group based on Anglesey called AGRO. I do not know one person who has benefitted from AGRO, everybody has described it as a con. There is no confidentiality at all, another friend who was ‘referred’ to AGRO by the Arfon Community Mental Health Team received e mails openly cc’d to dozens of other ‘service users’ with their names and e mail addresses visible to all. On one occasion this friend received an e mail from AGRO asking him to send money urgently because the organiser of AGRO had been robbed whilst on holiday in the Philippines and needed money to get back home – whether this was the organiser of AGRO trying a rather transparent scam or whether his e mail had been hacked I do not know, but AGRO is very obviously not an organisation which is going to assist people with drink or drug problems. AGRO is of course in receipt of funding from numerous sources. How do I know that Wulf knows all about F’s friend’s experiences with AA, Dafydd, the fake Minister and AGRO? Because a couple of years ago I bumped into him and he told me that he was having another go at detoxing – and that his mentor was a man called Wulf Livingstone.

So Wulf has been a ‘service user’ himself, he knows other ‘service users’ very well and he knows exactly how bad and abusive the ‘services’ are – the services that he now works for! Just before I left north Wales I was given the name of a CAIS worker who it was alleged was a major drug dealer in Gwynedd. I was told that she and Wulf were in discussion regarding plans to set up a business together offering probation ‘services’ – the probation service is undergoing a sort of privatisation process and from what I understand many probation officers are now forming businesses in order to contract out their services to the probation service. I also notice that the online blurb available about Wulf describes him as providing ‘social work supervision’ for several teams and that he is also involved with the British Association for Social Work Cymru. It also states that Wulf is part of the ‘growing north Wales recovery movement’. There is no ‘recovery movement’ in north Wales, it is another illusion like ‘service user involvement’, organised by the same abusive colluding people who have spent years colluding with all the other malpractice. Wulf will of course know all about the appalling practices of the likes of the Arfon Community Mental Health Team. He has a particular interest in alcohol and substance abuse – so he will know that the Hergest Unit refuses to assist anyone at all with alcohol or substance abuse problems and that there has been a number of deaths of such patients hours after they have been turned away from the Hergest Unit.

So what’s keeping you so quiet about the rampant wrongdoing, misconduct and abuse of vulnerable people in north Wales then Wulf?