Reports Of Death Were Greatly Exaggerated

The stream of people appearing in the media to pledge their loyalty to Top Doctors who tell them that they have cancer when they might well not continues. This supply of eager folk seems to have been given an extra boost since I wrote my post about the massive scams at the heart of cancer research (see post ‘Oh Lordy, It’s CR UK’). The latest person to share his troubles re prostate cancer is a man called Bill Turnbull. He’s someone who is on the TV, but I don’t have a TV and when I have access to one I don’t watch the programmes starring Bill Turnbull, so I only have a rather hazy grasp of who he is. Bill has announced that not only does he have prostate cancer but it has spread to his bones and how he wishes that he’d consulted his Top Doctor four years ago. I do not envy Bill having cancer which has metastasised and I am genuinely sympathetic to his plight, but the harsh reality is that even if he had taken medical advice four years ago, that cancer might well have been missed – as it was in the case of Jade Goody. There is nothing that the Top Doctors like more than a celeb who has developed cancer because they are ruthlessly used to Send A Message.

Bill has been supported by his colleague Fiona Phillips. Now I DO know who Fiona Phillips is – she is a self-centred narcissist who used to be on breakfast TV and she also wrote a column in one of the tabloids. Fiona was a laugh a minute – she took a hard right wing line on everything, was utterly unsympathetic to anyone and was sufficiently bothered by people who wore Birkenstock shoes that she devoted a whole column to the subject. Not that Fiona managed to explain why Birkenstock shoes were so offensive, her column simply repeated ‘they’re not fashionable, they’re ugly. Ugly, ugly, ugly’. A photo of the offending shoes were supplied. Another one of Fiona’s high points was her appearance on TV with Philip Schofield when they rolled around laughing at parents who did not smack their children and Philip proffered the opinion that fings ain’t been the same since they banned the cane in schools.

There is however one cause close to Fiona’s heart – Alzheimers. Although Fiona only became concerned about this when her mother developed the condition and it dawned on Fiona that her mum was soon going to need looking after. So Fiona started campaigning…

 

So in the face of all those who maintain that ‘Sally Baker is a nutter who is talking crap again’, I would like to remind everyone of the Chilvers Report which caused ructions in medicine in Sept 1990. The Chilvers Report was a paper which was published in The Lancet by Clair Chilvers and others who claimed to have demonstrated that cancer patients receiving ‘treatment’ at the Bristol Cancer Help Centre were very much more likely to develop secondary cancer and to die prematurely than patients receiving conventional treatment at the Royal Marsden. The Bristol Cancer Help Centre  was an ‘holistic’ centre which ‘treated’ cancer patients through the use of diets, meditation, relaxation, ‘visualisation’ etc. When the Chilvers paper was published I was a little confused because although I am someone who takes the view that cancer cannot be cured by altering one’s diet or listening to whale songs, I didn’t believe that such things are so detrimental that they finish you off within months. I took the view that they were ineffective rather than actively dangerous.

The Bristol Cancer Help Centre originated in 1979 after Penny Brohn, a cancer sufferer herself, took an interest in what she felt was a deficit in cancer treatment. Brohn initially worked as a child care officer in Bristol in the late 1960s – so she was another person who will have known what was happening to kids in care – then became a lecturer at Bristol Poly and then trained as an acupuncturist and in Chinese medicine. Penny Brohn was married to David Brohn, a civil engineering lecturer at Bristol Poly. Penny Brohn had no medical or scientific education – and her husband managed to acquire a PhD in engineering without having a first degree in engineering, which can be done but is unusual. Penny pooled her resources with Pat Pilkington and her husband Canon Chris Pilkington who were already running a healing clinic in Bristol and they established the Bristol Cancer Help Centre.

The Brohns and Pilkingtons seemed very successful at drumming up positive PR for their Centre. Penny Brohn’s obituary in the Indie in 1999 stated that a journalist was dispatched to ‘expose the flaws’ in complementary medicine, but was ‘so inspired’ by the Bristol Centre that a six part BBC TV series resulted showcasing the work of the Centre, entitled ‘The Gentle Way’. This led to an ‘overwhelming’ public response and the subsequent recruitment of paid staff and a newly acquired building for the Centre, Grove House, which was formally opened by Prince Charles in 1983. Charles really loved the Bristol Centre and Penny’s obituary tells us that in the wake of the Chilvers Report, Penny ‘took great comfort’ from Charles. In fact articles about Penny and the Bristol Centre read a little like Private Eye’s spoof stories penned by Silvie Krin about Charles  – Penny ‘provided hope and inspiration to cancer sufferers the world over’. Sadly for Penny, after the Chilvers Report row, her ‘personal healing journey’ involved her cancer returning with a vengeance and after conventional surgery she retired to Crete and ‘spent several blissful years renovating a mountainside cottage under the comforting rays of the Greek sunshine’.

There seems to be much regarding the establishment and initial success of the Bristol Centre that has gone unmentioned. It is not an easy thing to persuade the BBC to give one one’s own TV series to publicise one’s healing centre before it has even has its own building or paid staff. It doesn’t matter how inspirational one is or how much energy or passion or commitment one has, the BBC don’t usually turn up on one’s doorstep offering one a six part free advert. Penny or one of her mates will have known someone at the BBC.

As for The Gentle Way, there was nothing gentle about the way in which Prince Charles’s Private Secretary Sir Michael Peat pressurised Exeter University to destroy Professor Edzard Ernst’s career and dept after Edzard refused to collude with lies regarding the effectiveness or otherwise of various complementary/alternative therapies (see post ‘Tuppence And His Fragrant Wife’). As Prince Charles would have said had he not been behind it, ‘it really was appalling’.

Penny’s close friend Chris Pilkington was a member of the Pilkington Glass dynasty and for many years was Rector of the City Parish of St Stephen’s in Bristol.

Readers of this blog who follow my comments section might remember that recently someone posted a you tube link in a comment which referred to the alleged involvement of a former Chairman of Pilkington Glass in child abuse. I had never heard this allegation before and have seen no evidence at all to support it. Pilkington Glass was based at St Helen’s on Merseyside and for many years was the biggest employer in the town. Sir Alastair Pilkington was Chairman of Pilkington, 1973-80 and Sir Antony Pilkington – a distant cousin of Sir Alastair – was Chairman, 1980-95. Sir Antony’s uncle, Sir Richard Pilkington, was Tory MP for Widnes, 1935-45 and then Poole, 1951-64. Sir Richard was born on Merseyside and his father Arthur Pilkington was Chairman of Pilkington.

Sir Antony told an interviewe in 1990 that he wanted Pilkington’s to be ‘a good company in the best sense’, ‘not just a money machine’. His concern was reciprocated in much local support for Pilkington’s when it became the target in 1986 of a hostile takeover bid by BTR, an industrial conglomerate known for its ruthless approach to cost-cutting.

In response to the industrial recession of the early 1980s, Pilkington’s had reduced its workforce from 11,500 to 6,700. But they did so on generous terms and much effort – through the pioneering community of St Helen’s Trust, of which Antony Pilkington was founder Chairman in 1978 – to create small-business opportunities for those made redundant.

BTR was rumoured to have abruptly sacked many workers at Dunlop – one of its recent acquisitions – in the week before Christmas. Politicians and local Councillors joined the Pilkington’s workforce in rallying to the Pilkington Board’s support and after a nine week battle BTR was forced to withdraw.

Antony Pilkington was a very effective moderniser. He reformed Pilkington’s hierarchical management structure, reduced the size of its Board and placed new emphasis on salesmanship.

An attempt to diversify into spectacle and contact lenses through the takeover in 1987 of the American firm Visioncare was problematic, but Antony Pilkington continued to search for ways to reshape the group in response to market conditions. In 1992 – once again faced with a sharp recessionary fall in demand for glass – he was forced into another round of cost-cutting at St Helen’s and a rationalisation of its operations in Europe. Recovery was slow, but Pilkington’s remained a world leader in glass technology.

Antony Pilkington was also a Director of GKN, National Westminster Bank and ICI. He was a Governor of Liverpool John Moores University, a member of the Court of Manchester University, a Deputy Lieutenant for Merseyside and High Sheriff of Cheshire in 1996-97.

So Sir Antony was in the midst of many of those previously named on this blog as being involved with or concealing the paedophile ring in north Wales and the north west of England. He was Chairing a company facing serious difficulties on Merseyside in the 1980s. Sir Antony had the disastrous effects of Thatcher’s policies on Merseyside – and then the aftermath – to contend with and he was at the centre of the Liverpool branch of the empire of Dr Dafydd Alun Jones and the paedophiles’ friends. He was a Governor of Liverpool John Moores – another Governor was John Hamilton, a very close friend of the paedophiles indeed. Cherie Booth was Chancellor of Liverpool John Moores. Then there was Eric Heffer, Derek Hatton and others on Sir Antony’s doorstep. The whole lot of them were at each others throats and concealing the serious criminality of Dafydd and co (see post ‘These Sharks Are Crap As Well’).

Sir Antony would have been in a very difficult position indeed.

A senior manager who spent many years with Pilkington’s optronics subsidiary in north Wales, Pilkington PE – which later became Thales Optics Ltd and was then divested from Thales in 2005 as Qioptiq Ltd – knew a great deal about serious organised crime and the abuse of children in north Wales. That is Trevor Jones, the Chancellor of Glyndwr University. Trevor Jones has alighted at every notorious stop during his journey as a paedophiles’ friend – including membership of Clwyd Health Authority whilst Dafydd illegally imprisoned the victims of the paedophile gang in the dungeon there. For full details of Trevor and his criminal associates, see post ‘A Vampire At Glyndwr University!’)

 

After the Chilvers Report was published the Bristol Centre received such bad publicity that it lost huge quantities of funding and nearly closed.

The work which resulted in the Chilvers Report was funded by the Imperial Cancer Research Fund and the Cancer Research Campaign. I had worked for the CRC by 1990 and had witnessed exactly how much fraud there was in cancer research, but I was also acutely aware that some of the claims of people providing ‘complementary’ or ‘alternative’ treatments were just as dishonest and misleading. What I desperately wanted was good science carried out by honest people – sadly there was and still is not much of that about.

Following the publication of the article by Chilvers et al, a group of patients and supporters of the Bristol Centre expressed disbelief regarding the results claimed by Chilvers et al and a review of the work was undertaken.

Then came the bombshell. Some major fundamental errors in terms of sampling and analysis had been made by Chilvers et al. Their conclusions were invalid because – as well as for a number of other reasons – the group of patients receiving treatment at Bristol whose progress was compared with those receiving treatment at the Royal Marsden all had cancers at a far more advanced stage and that was the most likely reason why the Bristol patients died so much more quickly than the Royal Marsden patients. Nothing to do with the lethal consequences of The Gentle Way. It was confirmed that where the outcomes of the Bristol patients were concerned, ‘reports of death were greatly exaggerated’.

Chilvers et al fessed up that they had got this badly wrong and Sir Walter Bodmer, the Director General of the Imperial Cancer Research Fund, issued an apology and published a near total retraction.

Now Walter Bodmer is worth taking a closer look at. Walter’s wiki entry describes him as a ‘German-born British human geneticist’. Walter’s web page on the Oxford University site tells us that ‘In 1996, Sir Walter Bodmer assumed his current position at the Weatherall Institute of Molecular Medicine as Head of the Cancer and Immunogenetics laboratory and more recently within the Department of Oncology.  After obtaining a PhD in Genetics from Cambridge University, he moved to Stanford University in California where he rose to the position of Professor. In 1970, he returned to the UK as the first Professor of Genetics at Oxford University. He subsequently became the Director of Research, and finally the Director General, of the Imperial Cancer Research Fund in London. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society and was knighted in 1986.’

Walter’s wiki states that Walter studied the Mathematical Tripos as a student of Clare College, Cambridge and was awarded his PhD in 1959 from Cambridge for research on population genetics in the house mouse and Primula vulgaris (primrose). So Walter began life as a population geneticist – so he will probably have known Prof Greig-Smith, the Cambridge-educated quantitative ecologist who dominated the School of Plant Biology at Bangor University for many years whilst Dafydd and the paedophiles’ friends ran Bangor University. Prof Greig-Smith was a colleague of Dr Chris Wood, the wife of the corrupt GP Dr DGE Wood who was playing a key role in facilitating the sex abuse ring. If Walter didn’t personally know Greig-Smith, he will definitely have known people in Greig-Smith’s circle. Greig-Smith was a colleague of Cambridge botanist Edred Henry Corner, who was the uncle of Douglas Hurd. Hurd was Home Secretary, 1985-89, whilst the Home Office ignored and concealed the criminality of Dafydd and the paedophiles and framed victims and witnesses for serious crimes if they made complaint. For further details of this sordid network and their skulduggery, see post ‘Additional Security Measures’.

After I wrote ‘Additional Security Measures’ Brown observed ‘a whole load of posh people who weren’t very bright and didn’t work too hard all getting jobs for their mates’. That’s just about the sum of it and it wasn’t only happening among natural scientists at Cambridge and Bangor Universities.

In 1985 Walter Chaired the Royal Society Committee which resulted in The Bodmer Report, credited with starting the movement for the public understanding of science. If the public really understood science, Walter would be out of a job and no-one would be running a marathon dressed in a pink bra to raise money for cancer research.  

Bodmer was one of the first to suggest the idea of the Human Genome Project. He was the Director of Research (1979–1991) and then Director General (1991–1996) of the Imperial Cancer Research Fund. So Walter was Director of Research whilst the deeply flawed comparative study involving the Bristol patients was carried out. Looks like that ball was firmly in Walter’s court.

Not that it held Walter back. He was Chancellor of the University of Salford, 1995-2005 and Principal of Hertford College, Oxford, 1996-05.

Whilst Walter was Chancellor of Salford, that institution hosted a rather troubled social work dept. Walter was succeeded as Chancellor of Salford by Sir Martin Harris, upon whose watch a Professor of Social Work Research was appointed, whose incompetence and dishonesty would have made Water proud. I and two colleagues at Bangor encountered the fuckwittery of this man over a period of months and at first we wondered if he was having some sort of breakdown in the light of his chaos, crazy e mails and outright lies. Then a colleague of mine met someone from Salford University who told him that an utterly mad Professor of Social Work had been appointed because Salford wanted to pretend that it was hot stuff in the research arena, but this Professor knew nothing about research, lied through his teeth to everyone about his experience and pompoused around the university in an expensive suit smarming to visitors. It all caused much resentment at Salford.

Martin Harris was born in Ruabon – at the heart of the north Wales paedophile gang.  Harris’s father William Harris was appointed City Librarian of Plymouth – so he’ll have known Michael Foot’s family who were lawyers in Plymouth and undoubtedly knew Michael Foot, Labour MP for Plymouth Sutton, 1945-52 and later leader of the Labour Party who spent years concealing sexual abuse in politics and other high places (see post ‘Oh, No! It’s The Pathetic Sharks…’).  Martin Harris will have also known the MP for Plymouth Devonport, 1966-92 – Dr Death! Dr Death knew some of the Top Doctors who were involved in criminal activities in Wales (see post ‘Dr Death’).

Martin Harris was educated at Devonport High School for Boys, Queen’s College, Cambridge and at SOAS (School of Oriental and African Studies).  He began his academic career at the University of Leicester in 1967 – where a great many people were concealing the paedophile gang of which Greville Janner and Frank Beck were part of (see post ‘Radical Leicester And Some Other Free Radicals’).  Harris spent 15 years at the University of Salford as a Senior Lecturer, Professor of Linguistics, Dean and later, Pro-Vice-Chancellor. From 1984 to 1987 he was a member of the UGC (University Grants Committee). In 1984 the UGC and its hatchet man Sir Peter Swinnerton-Dyer imposed such a severe grant cut on Salford that the University very nearly didn’t survive. So Harris gave his own institution a real kicking.

As a member of the UGC, Martin Harris will have known how Alwyn Roberts, a PVC at UCNW (Bangor University) persuaded the UGC and Swinnerton-Dyer not to close Bangor down, which was what Swinnerton-Dyer planned to do. The negotiating had a great deal to do with so many staff at Bangor being involved with, concealing or at least knowing about the paedophile ring in north Wales of which a member was Sir Peter Morrison, Thatcher’s aide and friend. Morrison’s sister was Lady-in-Waiting to HM Lilibet – at the time Prince Charles was Chancellor of the University of Wales (until relatively recently, Bangor and most of the other Welsh colleges were constituent members of the University of Wales).

Harris’s first appointment as Vice-Chancellor was at the University of Essex in 1987. He was VC of the Victoria University of Manchester from 1992 until its dissolution and reformation as the University of Manchester in 2004. So Harris knew about Dafydd’s mates at Manchester who really pushed the boat out to conceal the paedophile gang in north Wales/Cheshire as well as the havoc that they caused in the mental health services in Manchester (see post ‘The Mentor’).

Martin Harris was a member of the CHI (Commission for Health Improvement) whilst it gave a glowing review of the mental health services in north west Wales at a time when so many patients committed suicide that it showed up as a statistical outlier and when a number of patients were framed for criminal offences after complaining about staff violence. At least two members of staff met the CHI and told them in no uncertain terms that the Hergest Unit was very troubled and unsafe for patients, but that glowing inspection report from Harris et al arrived a few weeks later nonetheless (see post ‘Discussions On The Minibus – And A Revealing Letter’).

Martin Harris’s appointments since retirement from the University of Manchester include that of Deputy Chairman of the North West Development Agency, 2002-2008 and Director of Fair Access at OFFA, 2004-2012. Harris was President of Clare Hall, Cambridge, 2008-13.

Martin will be awaiting his peerage at the moment.

 

To return to Walter. In 2005, Bodmer was appointed to lead a £2.3 million project by the Wellcome Trust at Oxford University to examine the genetic makeup of the UK , the People of the British Isles project.

The research interests of the Cancer and Immunogenetics Laboratory at Oxford of which Walter is currently head include the fundamental genetics and biology of colorectal cancer. So if older readers are wondering why cancer testing kits are arriving unsolicited through their letter boxes with a letter demanding that they send a sample of their turds by return of post, blame Walter. That cancer screening initiative – as with the PSA test for prostate cancer – has a high rate of false positives.

Walter has quite a fitting name for someone involved in cancer screening cons. I remember a 1970s TV sitcom in which most of the humour centred around an elderly man called Walter of whom people constantly enquired ‘have you been Walter?’, the implication being that Walter need to pee on quite a regular basis. Because of course he suffered from benign prostatic hypertrophy – as do nearly all older men – so needed to go for a widdle fairly frequently. As I bet does Walter Bodmer and I very much doubt that Bodmer will have his own prostate removed on the basis of a PSA test result, because he will have heard about the concerns over the accuracy of that test.

The deeply flawed study concerning the clinical outcomes of the Bristol patients began in 1985. Walter was given his knighthood in 1986.

Walter’s wife Lady Julia Bodmer was a Distinguished Geneticist as well, although she didn’t have a science degree. What she did have was a husband.

The Royal College of Physicians ‘Lives of the Fellows Online’ tells us that Lady Julia ‘played an important role in discovering and defining the human leukocyte antigen (HLA) system, the system of inherited differences which accounts for graft rejection and for susceptibility to autoimmune diseases’. Lady Julia was born Julia Pilkington (whether she was any relation of the Pilkington’s mentioned above I do not know) but the Royal College reminds us that at school she was Head Prefect. Julia then went to Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford, PPE – just like David Cameron and so many other politicians! Immediately after graduating, Julia tied the knot with Walter. She followed him to Cambridge and worked as an assistant economist.

Julia moved to Stanford University with Walter and began her family. She began working with Walter on tissue typing. In her first projects, she identified two new tissue types and laid the basis of the first two genes of the HLA system. She went on to find many new types and analyse their distribution in populations. David Cameron never did that with his PPE degree, but then he wasn’t married to Walter.

In 1970, Julia moved back to Oxford, to the new genetics laboratory – guess who had just been appointed Professor of Genetics there? This enabled the genius which was Julia to expand her work to include associations between HLA types and disease. She highlighted the association between HLA type and juvenile rheumatoid arthritis and ankylosing spondylitis, helping to establish the immunological basis of these diseases.

In 1979, Julia transferred to the Imperial Cancer Research Fund in London – when her husband was appointed Research Director there. She extended her work to include analyses of Hodgkin’s disease, Burkitt’s lymphoma and testicular cancer. Through her analysis and collection of families with a history of testicular cancer, she was able to identify the first testicular cancer susceptibility gene.

When Walter became Principal of Hertford College, Julia moved back to Oxford to establish – with Walter – a new laboratory, working on genetic variation in human populations.

Julia helped found the European Federation for Immunogenetics and was President in 1999. She was an honorary Fellow of Hertford College and a fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences. She was awarded a DSc by Oxford University. Well as Julia still didn’t have a science degree, it must have been getting a bit embarrassing and the postdocs were probably fuming at the way in which Walter’s missus was parachuted into senior positions whenever he bagged a new job, so Oxford gave her a science degree to tidy it up.

Walter and Helen had three children – Mark, Helen and Charles.

A Dr Mark Bodmer is Chief Scientific Officer and President of R&D at Evelo Biosciences, Inc.

A Dr Helen Bodmer is featured on the Cambridge University Centre for Science and Policy website and is described as being ‘Head, MRC and Health Research Team, Research Funding Unit, Department for Business Innovation & Skills’. The website tells us that ‘Helen’s role as Head of the MRC and Health Research Team includes being the Departmental lead for policy on academic medical research and matters relating to the Medical Research Council (MRC) and the Office for Strategic Coordination of Health Research with high level strategic overview of publicly funded medical research in the UK. She also has responsibility for sponsorship and performance management of the MRC. She works closely with colleagues in her unit which covers all areas of scientific research as well as with the Office for Life Sciences in BIS and other Government Departments, especially the Department of Health and the Home Office. In addition to this she is the UK Delegate for the IDEAS programme (FP7) for the European Research Council.’

So Helen decides who’s going to get the dosh. Now I wonder what Helen might prioritise?

Helen’s background is as an immunologist and rheumatologist and she spent four and a half years as an Inspector in the Home Office Animals (Scientific Procedures) Inspectorate. So Helen inherited Walter and Julia’s tendency to be an immunologist – Walter could no doubt draw us a nice diagram explaining the transmission of the gene responsible or indeed build us a model of the DNA involved and can no doubt also trace the trait back to the time when the Bodmers were nitrogen in the atmosphere before they had actually evolved into scientific giants. Helen was also one of those responsible for allowing questionable animal research to continue without letting the general public know what was being permitted.

A Dr Charles Bodmer is an endocrinologist at Colchester General Hospital. He has some rave online reviews from his patients who compliment him on listening to them, having a sense of humour and also supporting them in their decisions to try alternative therapies. So if he is Walter’s son, he’s obviously learnt something from his father’s mistakes. Dr Charles Bodmer has an interest in diabetes. Perhaps he could do something about all the scaremongering over the allegations that fat bastards with diabetes have brought the NHS to its knees, because he will know that it is more complicated than that.

 

The ensuing row after Walter Bodmer’s apology re the Bristol study was enormous. The Bristol Cancer Help Centre and their supporters declared that this was all a dirty tricks attack from the Top Doctors – it might have been, I wouldn’t have put it past them, but it might just have been more shite, sloppy, dishonest research of the sort that I had witnessed so often. At the time there was a huge war taking place between alternative practitioners and Top Doctors and lies and misinformation were being spread by both sides. Patients’ interests were completely lost in the face of all this and they were left confused and in a very vulnerable position.

The supporters of alternative therapy at the time particularly hated Professor Michael Baum, because he made comments about people who use alternative therapy being middle aged female Guardian readers in ethnic weave clothes. Baum should have acknowledged that the reason why so many people were consulting alternative therapists was because they were having such bad experiences with Top Doctors. However Baum did write an interesting article not so long ago about the obsession with prostate screening and what a waste of time it all is, which culminated in the words ‘keep your fingers out of my anus’. I feel very much the same way myself – indeed it was my resistance to the groping suggestions of the sex traffickers of north Wales which brought the venom of the Top Doctors down upon my head for the next 35 years – but Michael Baum theorised that the obsession with other people’s prostates was an attempt to ‘turn men into women’. I think it is more complex than that – it is certainly an attempt to render men as docile and as obedient as many women have been rendered as they are terrified by horror stories of the many cancers from which they will suffer if they do not Get Screened, but it is also part of growing state authoritarianism in the style of Foucault’s ‘Birth of the Clinic’, ‘Discipline and Punish’ etc. It is of course substantially fuelled by the great Top Doctors’ medical research con.  Michael Baum knows as well as I do that bad practice and research fraud have been endemic in medicine for many years and have never been tackled.

Following the confessions that the Chilvers Report was deeply flawed, in Nov 1990 one of the co-authors of the Chilvers paper – Prof Tim McElwain – was found dead. It was assumed that he had committed suicide. Everyone sobered up and it finally dawned on the world exactly how very nasty all this was. Tim McElwain trained at Barts, then worked at Hammersmith Hospital and Great Ormond Street. He became a Consultant at the Royal Marsden in 1972 and was appointed CRC Professor of Medical Oncology at the Royal Marsden and Institute of Cancer Research in 1983. Tim McElwain will have known that research fraud in medicine was extensive.

I was still working in biomedical research when all this happened and I can remember it well, but when I was searching the internet earlier for some of the crucial details about the matter, I notice that certain things seem to have disappeared. I can’t find details of the circumstances under which Prof Tim McElwain died – although ‘pressure of work’ was blamed – so I can’t even do what I usually do and try and work out if there was anything suspicious about his death. Tim McElwain wasn’t the leading author of the paper but he was described as being ‘the most outspoken’ – I have no idea why he felt so bad about it all that he ended up killing himself. Although the Chilvers article was absolutely panned, patients of the Bristol Centre were subsequently very critical of the Bristol Centre as well. In 1993 one angry patient spoke to the Indie claiming that the Bristol Centre had made claims that they could not substantiate and had abandoned patients.

Who could ever tell what had happened behind the scenes.

I also cannot find the original paper by Chilvers et al – I don’t have access to a university library at the moment, so I haven’t been able to search very extensively – but I suspect that like the paper which resulted from the research fraud perpetrated by my old bosses Malcolm Pearce and Geoffrey Chamberlain at St George’s Hospital Medical School (see posts ‘I Don’t Believe It!’ and ‘Oh Lordy, It’s CR UK’), The Lancet has ensured that the testament to the wrongdoing of the Top Doctors can no longer be accessed. After all, the show must go on – there are celebs queuing up to appear on TV telling us that they have cancer and how they wished that they had consulted the Top Doctors and Got Tested, there are highly paid CEOs of cancer research charities and all those fundraisers whose bread and butter (or rather truffles and lobster) is dependent upon anxious people being convinced that they’re about to drop dead if they don’t Get Tested and then there are the thousands of women who need to be encouraged to participate in fun runs whilst wearing pink bras to raise money for the often fraudulent research upon which some Top Doctors have built their reputation. Furthermore where would the nation’s politicians be if they could not take part in photocalls with Top Doctors whilst wearing coloured ribbons and Pledging Their Support? It detracts attention from the abuse of the Parliamentary expenses system, the round the clock troughing and the lucrative company directorships.

The Chilvers affair did not bring an end to the merry-go-round – not only did the Pearce-Chamberlain scandal occur three years later, but Mark Williams and his Mindfulness scam (see post ‘The Biggest Expert Of The Lot’) conquered the world and the people whom I knew thirty years ago who were behaving appallingly started landing knighthoods and peerages for their ‘pioneering work’. Photos of their grinning mugs litter the websites of the charities asking people on modest incomes who have no idea of the scale of the con to hand over dosh.

 

Clair Chilvers, the leader of the team which carried out the flawed research and who was the lead author of the article didn’t seem to suffer many negative consequences at all.

At the time of the research, Chilvers was Professor of Epidemiology working in cancer research at the Queen’s Medical Centre, University of Nottingham. So Clair was was one of those people who worked in the building just over the footbridge from the international disgrace which was Robert Baldwin’s Cancer Research Campaign Laboratories. Clair will have definitely heard about Baldwin’s chamber of horrors (see post ‘Oh Lordy, It’s CR UK’), Queen’s Medical Centre knew about Baldwin.

So what did Clair do after the shit hit the fan and Tim was found dead? She went to work for the Department of Health of course. Clair was subsequently Chair of Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust and Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

Clair is now Chair of the charity that she founded in 2008 – Mental Health Research UK! A nice photo of Clair can be found on the MIRCYL (Mental Illness Research In Children And Young Lives) website explaining that her organisation ‘has made grants for PhDs to a number of different universities in the UK. Her research background is in breast cancer research and so she is very well versed in best practice when commissioning new research’.

Clair is fighting stigma and is committed to achieving equality.

Er – OK. Clair – lest you have forgotten, a member of your research team died as a result of a huge scandal of which you were the key mover and shaker. Do you think that the world of mental health research actually needs you? Or has it got you because cancer research wouldn’t have you back?

Others involved with Mental Health Research UK include: Lord David Neuberger, former President of the Supreme Court – David is well connected with the paedophiles’ friends (see post ‘The Most Dangerous Man In The World – The Scottish Play’); Professor Nick Rawlins, Pro-Vice-Chancellor, University of Oxford and Professorial Fellow of Wolfson College. Rawlins is Professor of Behavioural Neuroscience and has worked on schizophrenia. He became Associate Head of Oxford’s Medical Sciences Division in 2008.  Rawlins is responsible for leading the development of the University’s external fundraising strategy. His most cited paper is ‘Place navigation impaired in rats with hippocampal lesions’, published in Nature in 1982.  That’ll knock ’em dead  when it comes to fighting stigma. Chilvers’ co-founder of Mental Health Research UK was the late John Grace QC. Early in his career, Grace defended a group of Hell’s Angels in a ‘turf war’ involving shotguns and pick-axes. Later on he specialised in medical negligence and healthcare law. Did John Grace represent patients who had been harmed? No. Grace represented Top Doctors who were facing disciplinary action and Health Authorities in some of the UK’s highest profile cases in which patients had died or been harmed or who had murdered other people when severely mentally ill and not in receipt of the care that they needed.

John Grace was involved in the case of Christopher Clunis, the mentally ill man who in 1992 killed a complete stranger on Finsbury Park tube station. It transpired that Clunis was extremely ill, had been for a long while, was known to the mental health services in north London and had been scandalously neglected. The Health Authority involved was Camden and Islington Health Authority. Tessa Jowell, Frank Dobson and Jeremy Corbyn have all been involved with the social services and health authorities in Camden and Islington. Any of you like to comment?

John Grace QC was bitten on the bum by the Top Doctors in the same way that Tessa has been – he developed a brain tumour with a poor prognosis. All those years of research fraud and lying to the patients about the excellence of care does have consequences…

Clair Chilvers is also a Trustee of the Barnwood Trust, whose ‘vision is to create the best possible environment in Gloucestershire for disabled people and people with mental health problems to make the most of their lives’. In addition, Clair is a Director of the Churchill Lodge Management Company – and the dear old McPin Foundation. The McPin Foundation is committed to service user led research – except when I and another service user with a PhD and postdoc experience applied for jobs with them they explained that the roles for service users were only very junior and they couldn’t possibly give Real Academics like us jobs with McPin. Probably because we’d have seen straight through Clair Chilvers and might even have known who she was…

The Chilvers Report scandal of course was discussed in the Commons. The aftermath was still rumbling on five years after Chilvers et al had published their paper. Hansard, June 14 1995, records Jean Corston, the Labour MP for Bristol East, becoming very irate.

Corston was uncritically supportive of the Bristol Centre, as were many other MPs. I note that Corston praised the Centre for using massage – whereas nearly everything that the Bristol Centre was doing was benign (although some patients had ended up with malnutrition after taking the dietary advice to extremes), it is now accepted that massaging patients with cancer is most definitely not a good idea because it encourages metastases. Corston reminded the House that in 1985, an agreement was reached that the Imperial Cancer Research Fund and Cancer Research Campaign would finance two research projects on breast cancer, to be conducted under the auspices of the Institute of Cancer Research. The project was set up under the directorship of Clair Chilvers. After two years of a five-year study, the interim findings claimed that the Bristol patients were faring very badly and it was these findings which caused the rumpus.

Corston told the House that a number of people questioned the findings including Professor Karol Sikora ‘a well-respected and internationally renowned oncologist’. Sikora worked at Hammersmith Hospital/Royal Postgraduate Medical School and was there when I was a postgrad there in 1987. He was every bit as unpleasant and dishonest as the rest of them there and was very unpopular. Sikora later fell out with everyone in a major way and latterly Imperial College – the institution with which Hammersmith/RPMS merged – made a point of stressing that Sikora was nothing to do with them when he continued to use the title Professor. Sikora has spent the last few years arguing for the dismantling of the NHS. He is a very rich man who wishes to become even richer and he has big interests in private medicine. Sikora established a group with an enlightening sounding name – Doctors for Reform – but this is a group which has been lobbying hard for the abolition of the NHS.

Corston mentioned the BBC Taking Liberties programme which was screened not long before she spoke in the Commons, which was sympathetic to the Bristol Centre. Corston was critical of Michael Baum and Gordon McVie (of the Cancer Research Campaign) who continued to repeat the allegations that the Bristol patients fared worse than the Royal Marsden patients.

Gordon McVie was the man who spent time with the dying George Carman QC and persuaded Carman to leave a legacy to the CRC. Carman was a violent, totally corrupt barrister who was close friends with crooked police officers and gangsters. He was retained by Jimmy Savile, he knew about the Westminster Paedophile Ring and its link to north Wales and he defended serious offenders whom he knew to be guilty. A lot of Top Doctors cultivated Carman’s company as did many politicians and media figures (see posts ‘No Ordinary Methods’ and ‘ No Ordinary Methods – Supplementary Post’).

Corston called for a review of the data from the Chilvers’ trial by a body such as the GMC. The GMC knew just how widespread medical research was and they’d spent years concealing the serious criminal activities of Dafydd and the paedophiles, so what joy Corston thought that she’d get out of the GMC I don’t know. Furthermore in June 1995 the GMC struck Malcolm Pearce off for his part in the St George’s research fraud, but they took no action against Geoffrey Chamberlain who was very much part of it and whose name was on the paper publishing the account of an operation which had never taken place. Malcom Pearce was struck off days before Corston made these comments in the House – she will have been aware of the case, it received widespread publicity (see posts ‘I Don’t Believe It!’ and ‘Oh Lordy, It’s CR UK’).

Corston mentioned Professor Peter Garland, Chief Executive of the Institute of Cancer Research. Garland was Chief Exec, 1989-99. Garland presided over the Institute when some of the people whom I worked with on a CRC project at the University of Surrey were working at the Institute. I never witnessed them taking part in research fraud, but they admitted to me that the knew that Robert Baldwin at Nottingham was not doing what he claimed to be doing – and I recently discovered that data from work carried out by me whilst I was at Surrey was given to Professor Nicola Curtin at Newcastle-Upon-Tyne Medical School without my knowledge or consent and Curtin subsequently published it under her name (see post ‘Oh Lordy, It’s CR UK’). Nicola Curtin was not one of the collaborators on the project at Surrey and I had never even heard of her until a couple of weeks ago when I found a 1989 paper with my name on it – and Curtin’s.

When Peter Garland retired, the Chairman of the Institute for Cancer Research gave him a warm send-off praising his enormous achievements and the expansion of the Institute under his leadership. Who was that Chairman? None other than Dame Stella Rimington, Director General of MI5, 1992-96.

The Dame was particularly impressed by Garland because it was under him that the Institute for Cancer Research identified the breast cancer gene BRCA2. It is because of that particular discovery that Angelina Jolie decided that a sensible course of action would be to have a double mastectomy and her ovaries removed. She may well have had a few other bits taken out as well. Because Angela was given much publicity for doing this and the media waxed lyrical about her Bravery in the face of Risk, many other women Got Tested, found that they too had the BRCA2 gene and had a great many organs removed lest they developed cancer. It has now been admitted that the chances of people with the BRCA2 gene developing cancer are less than feared and even if they do, the sort of drastic surgery pioneered by Angelina is not necessary.

Stella – the reason why somebody made you Chairman of that Institute is that they will have been very concerned as to what was going on in there. You were supposed to put a stop to it. But then as the security services are known to have concealed organised sexual abuse by Westminster and Whitehall figures and bugged, burgled and harassed the victims and witnesses rather than the criminals involved (see post ‘Oh Lordy, It’s CR UK’), perhaps I shouldn’t be surprised that the research fraud continued.

Stella studied archive administration at the University of Liverpool in the late 1950s. Which was just about when Dafydd was finishing his medical degree there. Lucille Hughes also studied at Liverpool University in the late 1950s. Perhaps they all spent many happy hours getting pissed together which was why MI5 was so helpful to Dafydd and Lucille when they ran the paedophile and sex trafficking ring.

Stella has since been a non-executive Director of M&S. They still aren’t capable of producing any worthwhile clothes.

 

Corston told the Commons that a group of irate patients from the Bristol Centre took the Imperial Cancer Research Fund and the Cancer Research Campaign to the Charity Commissioners and that the two charities were censured by the Commissioners in January 1994 for inadequate supervision of the research and that the Commissioners recommended guidelines on the responsibilities of charities that fund medical research.

So that’s why Chilvers is now leading a mental health research charity.

Whilst making reference to the Taking Liberties TV programme screened in May 1993, ‘Cancer Wars’, Corston spoke of the ‘barons’ of cancer research and treatment from the medical establishment and how this was a David and Goliath struggle. It wasn’t – it was a punch-up between two Goliaths and the patients were damaged by the battle.

Lady Olga Maitland – a ludicrous figure from a past era, then the Tory MP for Sutton and Cheam – chipped in to defend the cancer research establishment. The Royal Marsden and Institute for Cancer Research were in her constituency, so she wasn’t going to upset them. My post ‘Doris Karloff – Honest About Her Expenses But Not Much Else’ describes how Ann Widdecombe and Olga Maitland obtained covert funding, free labour and support for their insane campaigning group ‘Woman and Families for Defence’ from London University in the 1980s.

A junior Health Minister Tom Sackville also joined in the Commons debate. He didn’t say anything very original or enlightening, but I’m interested in Tom by dint of him being a junior health Minister at this time – June 1995. In June 1995 the world was told that the North Wales Hospital Denbigh and its dungeon had been virtually closed down and was told later that summer that the institution was shut and that the patients had all been transferred elsewhere. We now know that this was not true. Part of that hospital was still open and remained open for some time – but again, no-one has ever been transparent about for how long for and why. Someone e mailed me recently telling me that they had put in an FoI request about this and had received a rather cryptic answer that wasn’t very informative.

We know why that hospital couldn’t be closed down as planned – it was because people were illegally imprisoned out there, some of them had been there for years and questions would be asked if those people materialised. I have explained in previous posts how records at the North Wales Hospital – like the records of the kids in care in north Wales – were unlawfully amended, forged, written after the events that it was alleged they were documenting or simply disappeared. So there will have been people in that institution who perhaps – like the Queen’s cousins who were discovered in a long stay institution in Surrey in the 1980s – had been declared dead. (I have received an e mail from someone who told me that there were actually five children of that generation in the Royal Family who were locked up and written out of history.) There was the dungeon at Denbigh and whoever was still locked up in there. And then there were the bodies that are in the grounds or possibly concealed within the building.

People died out there Sackville and that’s why they couldn’t shut the place down and then had to tell a pack of lies.

Tom Sackville was the Tory MP for Bolton West, 1983-97. His first career was as a merchant banker. Between 1992-95 he was a junior Health Minister and then between 1995-97, a Home Office Minister. So Tom was in the Dept of Health throughout the chaos and the dirty dealing which preceded Dafydd’s retirement (see post ‘The Evolution of a Drugs Baron’) as well as when the public were lied to about the closure of Denbigh. Sackville will also have known about the paedophile ring and drug offences that were facilitated by St George’s Hospital Medical School whilst he was in the DoH (see post ‘A Galaxy Of Talent’). Sackville’s time in the Home Office will have meant that he was party to information regarding the investigation into the north Wales paedophile ring and events in the run up to the Waterhouse Inquiry. Which William Hague only agreed to hold once Sir Peter Morrison was found safely dead in July 1995. Sackville was transferred to the Home Office some time in 1995 after June.

Have you anything to declare Tom?

Tom is the CEO of the International Federation of Health Plans. The International Federation of Health Plans was founded in 1968 by a group of health insurance industry leaders. With 80 member companies in 25 countries, it is the ‘leading global network of the industry’. It states that it’s  aim is to ‘assist in the maintenance of high ethical and professional standards throughout the industry’. Then Tom’s your man!

Tom’s older brother is William Herbrand Sackville, 11th Earl De La Warr. William’s younger son Ed is married to Sophie – they are good mates with Prince William and Kate and their daughter Viola was born pretty much at the same time as Prince George.

I wonder how William and Kate’s mental health campaigning is going?

 

There are two big mental health stories on Guardian Online today. One reports that a Guardian investigation found that 271 ‘highly vulnerable’ patients died between 2012 and 2017 after 706 failings by NHS bodies. Coroners have been so alarmed at the lapses in care that emerged during inquests that they issued legal warnings to 136 NHS bodies, mainly providers of care, between 2012 and 2017. They included mental health trusts, acute hospitals, ambulance services and GP surgeries. From what I can work out, the figures apply to England only. Paul Farmer, the CEO of MIND, has dispensed his pearls of wisdom about every death being a ‘tragedy’. Farmer has led MIND for years whilst they closed their eyes very firmly in the face of patient abuse and harm and before he was CEO of MIND Farmer led Rethink – where he ignored exactly the same problems. I know because I wrote to Farmer whilst he was at Rethink supplying him with details of the serious criminality on the part of the mental health services in north Wales and I did not receive a response. Farmer sat on the Westminster Gov’ts Mental Health Task Force and has recently been met with protests following his involvement with the Westminster Gov’ts plan to coerce people with mental health problems into work that many of them are too unwell to undertake. Farmer is very much part of the problem – and nets a very big salary indeed in return for colluding with this holocaust.

One of the Trusts named and shamed by the Guardian was Camden and Islington – who have been destroying the lives of vulnerable people for decades now. Another one was the Cheshire and Wirral Partnership NHS Foundation Trust. Camden, Islington, Cheshire, Wirral – all the locations of the vicious paedophile gangs in the 1980s and 90s who were operating through the Social Services and mental health services. As in north Wales, a legacy has been left.

The Guardian article goes into some detail regarding the ‘NHS failings’ and attempts to unpick the problem using a breakdown of the ‘reasons why things are going wrong’. It’s simple – many of the staff really do not care if their patients remain alive or not and are dripping with contempt for them anyway. If the Guardian actually reported what was going on instead of using phrases like ‘staff underestimated the risk that patients posed of suicide’ they would admit that scenes in which Top Doctors and other staff snap at suicidal patients ‘well we can’t stop you if that’s what you want to do’ or ‘you’ve felt like this before and never done it’ or have distressed psychotic patients arrested for shouting or swearing are routine in some units. The other old favourite is to make the environment as distressing as possible for voluntary patients and then tell them that if they don’t like it they can leave. What is happening to patients is simply not encapsulated by the sanitised language that is used in these reports – it does not begin to capture the brutality and inhumanity with which patients are often met.

The whole process of mental health care for many years has been diabolical. The diagnoses don’t make sense and are frequently changed at psychiatrists’ convenience anyway and many people find that many of the treatments simply don’t help them. For people in serious distress the care is woefully inadequate. Mental health professionals often simply view their patients as ‘just being like that’, with no understanding that they might have once been very different – it’s called being seriously ill. I have recently been reading about the actress Emily Lloyd who went through years of a very bad time and had the usual spectrum of meaningless diagnoses applied to her – from what I read Emily showed all the signs of someone who had been subjected to the usual years of fuckwittery and had been written off. She’s made a comeback, has had a baby and seems to be having a much better time. I wonder whether she’ll ever look back and actually remember any of the ‘expertise’ as having been in the least bit helpful. After Emily Lloyd starred in ‘Wish You Were Here’, it was predicted that she’d be the next biggest actress on a global level. It wouldn’t actually surprise me if some of those treating her didn’t even know who she was.

The punk singer Poly Styrene really had her life wrecked by mental health professionals whilst she was still young as well. She was diagnosed with schizophrenia, dosed up and whoops, 15 years later they realised that they’d got it wrong…

Jeremy Hunt banged on about record spending, zero suicide rates and parity of esteem. Jeremy, nothing is going to change until staff are employed who actually take an interest in their patients and those who abuse them – or who send whistleblowers death threats – are led out of hospitals in handcuffs and charged with criminal offences. NHS managers who have presided over units where patient after patient after patient has died despite warnings concerning safety failures need to be prosecuted and dismissed as well.

The other mental health article in Guardian Online concerns an incident at St James’s University Hospital in Leeds in which an elderly mentally ill man murdered two other elderly frail patients in 2015. This has only come to light after someone went public on this incident and explained that there had been a major cover-up. Staff at St James’s allege more than 40 incidents of violent and aggressive behaviour on the same ward between April 2014 and March 2015. They included nurses being punched, a patient throwing a table across the room and another slamming a medicine cabinet lid on a staff member’s fingers. Much has been made of the ‘paranoid’ ‘aggressive’ mentally ill patients.

The ward in question seems to be an EMI ward – elderly mentally ill patients can be aggressive and violent, far more so than one might imagine someone of 80 to be. The staff at St James’s are placing much emphasis on patients not being given anti-psychotics as being the cause of some of the incidents – could this possibly be a backlash against the dreadful publicity that there has been recently regarding elderly patients being drugged up to the eye-balls in EMI units? EMI patients can be cared for without coshing them chemically – it just takes a bit more effort and it involves sometimes going along with foibles and seemingly irrational behaviour until the elderly person’s anxiety levels and distress have decreased. Every ‘violent incident’ that I have witnessed with EMI patients has resulted from staff rigidly demanding that a confused elderly person does something NOW when the elderly person is, basically, freaking out. People with much more experience than me have observed exactly the same phenomenon – wards with EMI patients cannot be run for the benefit of the ward staff adhering firmly to ward routine. If you’re caring for someone who has lost a few million neurones, life doesn’t work like that.

As for covering matters up, St James’s has a long and fine tradition of that. For years they allowed one Jimmy Savile free reign and he sexually assaulted child patients as well and, it is alleged, did dreadful things with corpses in the mortuary. None of that was the fault of violent mental health patients who weren’t sufficiently dosed up.

 

The Independent Inquiry Into Child Sexual Abuse continues and the Church of England is under fire from the Chair of the Inquiry, Professor of Social Work Alexis Jay. Alexis has given the Church a grade A bollocking, claiming that it was an ‘enabler of child abuse’ and that nothing could be more oppressive than an institution saying that it had the power of God behind it abusing children. Actually Alexis, I reckon that a whole group of Social Services Depts linked up together run by paedophile gangs declaring people who complained about them insane and illegally imprisoning them in a dungeon in an isolated building in the middle of a range of hills in north Wales must come a pretty close second. Alexis presided over the Orkney Child Abuse Scandal. Children from the Orkneys were removed in dawn raids by social workers and flown to the mainland where they were placed with foster families whom they had never met before. Social workers refused to believe the children when the children explained that they really had not been Satanically abused. Some of the kids were not returned to their homes for years. It was later admitted that ‘mistakes had been made’. See post ‘The Most Dangerous Man In The World – The Scottish Play’ for details of the havoc wreaked by Alexis on Orkney.

My post ‘Oh, No! It’s The Pathetic Sharks…’ featured Tal Michael, son of Alun Michael, the man whom in May 1999 Blair insisted must be Wales’s First Secretary, although no-one but Blair wanted him in the post. Alun Michael resigned as First Secretary as soon as the Waterhouse Report was handed in, having done the job required of him by Blair (see post ‘News From Sicily’). I mentioned how Tal arrived in north Wales without good reason a few years ago, at the time when the paedophiles’ friends were in need of reinforcements. Tal bagged himself a job as the Chief Executive of the North Wales Police Authority, then resigned to stand for election as North Wales Police and Crime Commissioner as soon as it was announced that Police Authorities would be dissolved and replaced with Commissioners. Tal was unsuccessful so consoled himself with trying to get elected as the Labour MP for Ynys Mon. He didn’t pull that off either.

I commented that Tal was no doubt seeking other opportunities in which he could assist the paedophiles and their friends in north Wales. Tal beat me to it – by the time that I wrote that, Tal was in post as Chief Exec of Gwynedd CAB. I only discovered this because Tal has appeared in Daily Post Online in the wake of a cash crisis at the Gwynedd CAB. The CAB in Wales is best known for being a refuge for the paedophiles’ friends – Lucille Hughes, Dafydd’s mistress who was named in the Waterhouse Report as knowing that a paedophile ring was operating in the social services in north Wales whilst she was Director of Gwynedd Social Services but failing to act, is one of the managers of CAB in Wales. So does Lucille employ Tal or does Tal employ Lucille? The loathed Fran Tate, another paedophiles’ friend, is also involved with the CAB in north west Wales (see posts ‘Disability Support’ and ‘Just A Language Divide?’)

 

Yesterday the ‘Today’ programme broadcast a report on the subject of serious organised crime in prisons – the Gov’t have set up a new unit to deal with this as it is considered such a problem. The Lord Chancellor David Gauke was interviewed but the one thing that was not mentioned by either Gauke or John Humphrys was that the criminal justice system is endemically corrupt which is why this problem has occurred. Gauke and Humphrys discussed matters such as drones flying across walls with goodies for the inmates. A quaint picture of old lags in stripey jumpers stringing the bed sheets together to climb the walls was conjured up. The real problem is corrupt Governors, corrupt prison officers, corrupt Top Doctors providing the medical opinions/care and bodies such as the Parole Board and Criminal Justice Review Commission being packed with corrupt people. Just take a look at how many such people have been named on this blog. The whole system has for years been run by dishonest members of the professional classes and indeed they are positively selected for. If the priority when making such appointments is to identify safe pairs of hands who have followed careers during which they have concealed serious crime if Important People were involved, this will be the result.

David Gauke stated that he wanted prisons to be ‘places of hope’. So that’s why they are bursting at the seams with seriously mentally ill people, people with drug problems, homeless people or indeed anyone who just can’t cope in our rather dysfunctional society. There was one prisoner who did find prison a place of hope though – Vicky Pryce, the Gov’t economist who some five years ago went to prison (but only for a short while) after she, her husband the Lib Dem MP Chris Huhne and their mate barrister and judge Constance Briscoe all lied their arses off on oath. Vicky constructed herself as a female victim of her husband, wrote a prison memoir and returned to her job as a Gov’t economist as soon as she came out, after dispensing a few words of advice about gender factors regarding the prison system. How about a volume on the social class factors then Vicky?

David Gauke is a lawyer who graduated from Chester College of Law in 1995. Where he was at the heart of the rotten to the core Chester and Wales Circuit which had spent years concealing the paedophile ring that operated in the area and whilst David was there was going into overdrive lest anyone announce a public inquiry into the matter.

 

The Westminster Gov’t are going to order food companies to reduce the calorie content of their grub and reduce the size of the portions. No doubt seconds will be outlawed as the next step. It’s really great to watch a load of affluent middle class people lecturing the plebs regarding what they eat.

In Llanberis in north Wales, the old quarry hospital has been turned into a museum. It’s well worth a visit as they used to say on Blue Peter and the records provide an interesting read. There’s a list of the patients in the hospital, what happened to them and what the outcome was – there’s quite a few accounts of ‘quarrymen’ of 14 or 15 yrs old who had accidents where the outcome listed was ‘died’ two or three days later. There is also information on the quarrymen’s diet. The Top Doctor at the quarry hospital used to get very angry that those ignorant buggers lived on a diet of strong stewed tea with much sugar, bread and jam and thin stew with lumps of fat rather than meat in it. It is otherwise known as ‘being very poor’. The present day version is someone on benefits – or of course very badly paid workers on less than full time hours – and with not very good kitchen facilities, trying to keep themselves and a couple of kids going if they live in a place without local shops selling fruit and veg at a good price. Multi-packs of crisps and pizza packs from Iceland start to look like a good option. Those sitting in Westminster will have faced problems as have the rest of the human race, but very few of them have actually had to survive the mum’s gone to Iceland experience to eke out the inadequate benefits for any great length of time.

There has been a bit of progress regarding the lecturing of the lower orders though. The dreadful Jamie Oliver has at least stopped calling women on low incomes ‘stupid cows’ and ‘daft bitches’ because he disapproves of the way in which they feed their kids – I wonder if any of the stupid cows have given their kids names as ridiculous as Jamie n Jules have? Jamie has finally made some sympathetic noises about healthy eating on a low income. The next step Jamie is that when you present a programme about eating on a budget, don’t helpfully recommend meals which need the sort of expensive kitchen equipment that you but hardly anybody else owns to prepare them. If you want street cred, take a leaf out of Jack Munroe’s book and invent some recipes which really can be made by people with very little money. Jack Munroe didn’t flog expensive coffee table books either, she took steps to ensure that many of her recipes could be accessed completely free of charge. Of course Jamie n Jules might not want to do that because it won’t provide them with enough dosh to send Buddy Bear et al to elite private schools.

 

There is much embarrassment over allegations that Bradley Wiggins, hero of Team Sky, might have indulged in a bit of doping when he won his medals. Bradley is robustly denying any wrongdoing, which if it did happen involved the co-operation of a helpful Top Doctor. The manager of Team Sky was Dave Brailsford who became Sir Dave Brailsford as a result of the success of Bradley and others. If Team Sky ends up disgraced, north west Wales is going to have to rename a lot of things – Dave Brailsford comes from Deiniolen near Llanberis and cycle paths, sports halls and all sorts have been named after him since the Team Sky success. Dave Brailsford’s dad was a lecturer at Bangor University during the era when that institution was crawling with paedophiles’ friends. I never heard any such allegations about Dave Brailsford’s dad but I have been told by at least three people that he was very hostile to women in sport – a climber whose ‘banter’ would send Harriet Harman into a 24 hour hissy fit described Brailsford senior as ‘the most sexist man that I have ever met’. When Dave was interviewed on the radio about hostility to women in sport a few months ago, Dave absolutely reassured the listeners that it didn’t exist. You just don’t notice it Dave because  you grew up with it – it was everyday practice for your dad.

 

Finally this blog’s friend Jane Hutt has ensured that Wales has another first. BBC News Wales reported that Wales has erected the UK’s ‘first purple plaque to mark notable women’. The purple plaque has been erected to one of Jane’s friends! The notable woman in question was Val Feld, Labour AM for Swansea East, 1999-01.

Hutt described her mate as ‘a passionate advocate of devolution, equalities and social justice’ and ‘a powerful force for women and minority groups’ and that ‘it is only right that her legacy of integrity, passion and commitment is permanently remembered as a ‘Champion of Equality’ with this plaque on the walls of the Senedd’.

Val was born in Bangor in 1947 and grew up in Caernarfon. Not that woman of the people Val went to school in Caernarfon – Val was the daughter of a dentist who went to boarding school in Malvern. Which by the standards of Caernarfon in the 1950s made Val pretty posh. Just like her mate Jane Hutt.

In 1967, Val started work in London as a production secretary at the BBC World Service and then become a researcher/secretary at ITN and a copywriter at the Radio and Television News Agency. In 1979, Val moved from to Chorley in Lancashire to work as a housing rights worker and then co-ordinator of the Chorley Rights Centre. After the breakdown of her marriage she became ‘increasingly involved in local community and self-help groups’. In Chorley, she was elected to the local council.

At the beginning of the 1980s, Val returned to Wales. In 1981 Val founded Shelter Cymru and was the Director of the EOC (Equal Opportunities Commission) for Wales, 1989-99. She was then elected as an AM.

Here’s the translation:

Val was a privileged woman who came from what was very much an elite in north Wales whilst she was growing up. She had a cushy job in journalism until she decided to Help The Poor. I have absolutely no problem with any of that – what I have a really big problem with is that like those other wimmin who Helped The Poor, Hutt and Julie Morgan, the Champion of Equality that was Val ignored the plight of some truly desperate people – the victims of the sex trafficking gang in north Wales. Of whom some were girls and women, so even if Val decided that male suffering didn’t matter, there was no excuse for her ignoring what Dafydd et al were up to. And she did ignore it – it would not have been possible to have led Shelter Cymru and the EOC in Wales without knowing what was going on. Psych patients in north Wales were dossing in empty buildings and living rough because they had been wilfully abandoned by the ‘services’ – where was Shelter? Did they publish a word about this or raise concerns about it? Everyone knew that it was happening – just as everyone knew that even if the psych patients and former kids in care actually had somewhere to live, the housing was terrible. Neither did the EOC mention a thing about the serious criminal activities in north Wales which led to such iniquity.

After achieving nothing but a comfortable life for herself, in 1999 Val did what many members of this cadre did – she bagged herself a seat in the newly created Welsh Assembly. Just in time for the publication of the Waterhouse Report – about which none of them asked ANY searching questions. They sat in the Bay of Plenty in the full knowledge that numerous people – including some of their friends and colleagues – had facilitated that paedophile gang.

In Val’s obituaries much was made of her challenging macho attitudes in Wales and how she was such a freedom fighter that she became seriously fed up with the ‘bastion of male chauvinism’ which was the Cardiff and County Club – a men only establishment where, it is widely believed, the great and the good from the media, business, academia and politics get together to discuss matters mutually advantageous. So Val ‘was instrumental in establishing a coalition of women’s organisations to interface with the Assembly’.

I am sure that the Cardiff and County Club does contain some dreadful old farts – but I know for a fact that the wimmins organisations that Val was involved with are just as excluding as the Cardiff and County Club. They are a female version of the Cardiff and County Club – a bunch of well connected privileged women who only let their mates join and then pull strings in the Assembly to ensure that matters go their way. I knew women who tried to get involved with Val and Jane’s wimmins organisations, as well as some of the ‘minority ethnic organisations’ with which Val was involved. They walked away in despair – everybody had the same experience of being told what to do or frozen out by Hutt and her clique. People who didn’t run away screaming were simply oppressed and explained that they couldn’t disagree because if they did ‘their funding’ would dry up.

Wales has had decades of Hutt and the gang log jamming every organisation and every committee concerned with wimmin, minorities and people generally having a hard time. Those people continue to have a hard time. Whilst Jane and the revolutionaries who were the daughters of the affluent middle classes of post-war Britain continue to dine at the trough.

You are a total embarrassment Hutt – and thanks to you someone who ignored a vicious paedophile gang who killed their victims is now honoured on the wall of the Senedd. What an insult to the dead and of course to the AMs who are not paedophiles’ friends.

Jane’s wimmins organisations keep wondering why young women don’t join them. I have witnessed them do this at various events at which I was present. Unusually for me, I didn’t bother to comment – some mountains are just far too big to climb. It was summed up by the comments of another woman whom I met who like so many had had the Jane Hutt/Julie Morgan/Breched Piette/Meri Huws experience – she pissed herself laughing at her memories of ‘the dinosaurs’. Paleontologists famously assumed that the Brontosaurus was very slow to react because of the structure of their nervous system – it was speculated that if they felt pain in one part of their body, it took a dangerously long while for the nerve signal to be transmitted, which is why the Brontosaurus had two brain-like structures. But Jane does not have the two brains – she just has the ultra-slow transmission system…

I’m wondering why Val Feld’s plaque is purple. Is it because this is considered to be a women’s suffrage colour? The thing that most people know about purple is that it’s a bishop’s colour. There is an impressive bishop in Wales – the new Bishop of St David’s. She’s doing a PhD in particle physics in her spare time because she likes that sort of thing. When she was ordained she was met with a group of people protesting about the fact that she is female. I don’t remember Hutt saying a word.

 

 

More Summer Reading!

I’ve been digging around in book shops recently and I managed to pick up a second hand book which might be of interest to readers of this blog.

‘NHS plc’ was published in 2004 and was written by Allyson Pollock. I read quite a lot of Pollock’s work some years ago and what always struck me was that although Pollock undoubtedly knows exactly what goes on in the NHS, she was rather mealy mouthed when it came to admitting the full horror of it all. I always attributed this to Pollock being a policy advisor and therefore maintaining a discreet silence regarding patients’ being maimed and killed – I also was under the impression that Pollock had a background in social policy and such researchers very often do have trouble admitting just how much blood there is on the carpet. But I discovered yesterday that Pollock is actually a Top Doctor – she’s a Consultant in Public Health Medicine and has been since 1986. Since Jan 2017, Pollock has been Director of the Institute of Health and Society at Newcastle University. Prior to that she was Head of the Public Health Policy Unit at UCL and Director of Research and Development at UCL Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. Pollock set up and directed the Centre for International Public Health Policy at Edinburgh University (2005-11). Before then she was Professor of Public Health Research and Policy at Barts and London School of Medicine and Dentistry, Queen Mary, University of London. Her earlier career is not mentioned on her wiki entry – but guess what can be discovered if one reads ‘NHS plc’? That Allyson previously worked at Sin City – St George’s Hospital Medical School! She mentions that she worked there ‘before’ New Labour’s 1997 election victory. As she has been a consultant since 1986, presumably she was a consultant at St George’s. So she was there at some point in the 90s then – when the madness and malpractice that I have detailed on this blog prevailed there (see post ‘St George’s Hospital Medical School, 1989/1990’), under the ‘leadership’ of the dreadful Sir William Asscher…

Allyson Pollock is best known for her work on the gradual privatisation of the NHS with the associated imposition of a ‘business culture’ and the introduction of ‘new public management’ techniques. Her work on this is very, very good. I have never been able to fault her analysis of what this process has resulted in or her historical detail of the steps by which it has taken place. But reading ‘NHS plc’, it is clear why Pollock’s work never details the chaos and tragedy that is happening in the NHS, although she obviously loathes the privatisation agenda and could add considerable weight to her argument if she was prepared to go public on the excesses of the NHS. It is because Pollock is only telling half the story. The bit that Allyson Pollock just won’t mention is the contribution of the Top Doctors themselves to the mess.

Throughout ‘NHS plc’, Pollock paints a picture of a medical establishment that always does and has always done the best for NHS patients and which has been forced off course by the privatisation agenda – an agenda which Pollock suggests that nearly all Top Doctors have fought against for noble reasons. She does name the occasional sinner, the odd Top Doctor who has encouraged and personally benefited from privatisation, such as the odious Dr Chai Patel. Pollock describes Patel as a ‘millionaire doctor’. He is far from the only one Allyson as you well know. Patel of course notoriously ran a huge chain of private ‘care homes’ which were eventually exposed as being riddled with the most dreadful abuse and neglect of patients – it was this that forced him to step down from his role as a Dept of Health advisor on the care of the elderly. Among Patel’s business interests was his acquisition and expansion of the ‘Priory Group’. That is the Priory Group that currently employs two of Allyson’s former colleagues from St George’s and the associated psychiatric unit Springfield Hospital, Dr Robin Jacobson and Dr Adrienne Key! Likewise Allyson names a few of the biggest scandals that there have been in the NHS – scandals so big that she can’t avoid naming them, such as the Bristol Children’s Heart Surgery Scandal or Harold Shipman. There is not a mention of the fact that actually the NHS for a very long time has been dogged by scandals in which patients suffered greatly and were known to be suffering but no-one acted. According to ‘NHS plc’ the problems only began when Thatcher’s administration began privatising the NHS, a process which escalated under New Labour. It is New Labour into whom Allyson really puts the boot – she hates them.

Whilst Allyson highlights the idiocies that that Tories imposed upon the NHS in the name of the ‘internal market’, she makes no mention of why they were able to convince voters at the time that this might be a good idea. It was actually because there was a great deal of dissatisfaction with the NHS. I can remember the debates very well – the allegations made again and again were of Top Doctors who were so fucking arrogant that they would not listen to patients or respond to their needs. It wasn’t simply a case of affluent patients wanting a private room or special treatment, although that was indeed Margaret Thatcher’s personal interpretation. There had been for example massive dissatisfaction among women concerning the way in which many of them had been treated whilst giving birth, which led to practitioners like Michele Odent establishing private practices to which middle class women swarmed. There was the emergence of ME and the Top Doctors’ complete refusal to accept that this might have a physical cause – seriously ill people were dismissed as suffering from ‘Yuppie Flu’. People with an interest in alternative medicine also fumed at the way in which they were mocked and belittled by Top Doctors. I’m of the opinion that much ‘alternative medicine’ is indeed ineffective, but if one is a Top Doctor faced with anxious patients enquiring about such matters, taking the piss out of them to their faces is not the best way to proceed. The London surgeon Michael Baum was interviewed on TV regarding alternative medicine and he explained that patients enquiring about this were usually middle aged women wearing ethnic weave clothes who read the ‘Guardian’. That’s the sort of observation that is best made to one’s friends in private, not made on prime time TV – it caused massive offence and actually did him a lot of damage (which was unfortunate, because some of Baum’s opinions are worth listening to). I remember an episode of ‘Any Questions’ in which the biggest cheer from the audience was given to a Tory MP who when talking about the Tories reforms of the NHS, had robustly said of hospital consultants ‘they’re not God, they’re just guys doing a job’. People had really had a bellyful of the Top Doctors by the mid to late 1980s and that feeling was exactly what the Tories utilised to sell the voters their agenda for the NHS. Allyson mentions that ‘some’ hospital consultants were ‘downright arrogant’, that they were not ‘directly accountable to anyone’ and that team working was ‘often poor’, but she does not get anywhere near to admitting the extend of the greed, the bullying, the autocracy, the abuse of their positions and the overall preservation of their own vested interests that did – and still does – go on.

The attitude of the Top Doctors to patients was exemplified by the ‘reviews’ that the Top Doctors who fancied themselves as thespians used to put on themselves in medical schools at Christmas. Those stage shows were essentially a series of sketches in which the Top Doctors patted themselves on the back and sneered at patients for all being a bit ignorant or neurotic. I attended two such Christmas Reviews whilst I worked at St Georges – they were virtually identical and basically served to consolidate what someone the other day termed the ‘professional superglue’ that causes NHS staff to close ranks in the face of malpractice or patient harm.

Allyson mentions the concession to accept ‘pay beds’ that Bevan made when establishing the NHS. Bevan of course admitted that he was forced into doing this in order to get the Top Doctors to accept the idea of the NHS. (The Top Doctors REALLY objected to the idea of the NHS.) Pollock I note doesn’t quote Bevan’s most famous words – that in order to overcome the Top Doctors’ objections to the NHS he would ‘stuff their mouths with gold’. Allyson tactfully states that Bevan had accepted the existence of pay beds ‘in order to secure consultants’ participation in the new free health care system’. Pollock mentions that in 1975 Barbara Castle abolished pay beds – and my God wasn’t that one of her biggest battles – but her decision was later reversed and ‘by the 1980s pay beds were justified as an income earner for hospitals’. I don’t remember the Top Doctors objecting to their re-introduction Allyson – in fact when you and I were working at St George’s there was plenty of private practice going on. To be fair, some of the Top Doctors doing it were re-investing their earnings into their research programmes and of course there was a limit placed on the amount that medical academics were allowed to earn through private practice. Which was why so many Top Doctors didn’t want academic posts… Some of Allyson’s non-academic colleagues at St George’s were known to be very rich indeed as a result of their private practices.

Again and again Allyson portrays these very wealthy people with interests in private practice who ignored the wrongdoing of their colleagues as selfless barefoot doctors. She maintains that when ‘concerned NHS staff’ critiqued public-private partnerships they were dismissed by Gov’t as ‘self-interested’. However did anyone come to that conclusion? So who were the concerned NHS staff that Allyson was talking about? The cleaners? The canteen staff or the porters? The Angels perhaps? No, it was the BMA and the NHS Consultants’ Association.

There are plenty of clues in Allyson’s book as to what the beef of the Top Doctors really was. It was not that the Top Doctors were taking a principled stand against privatisation. It was a power battle. The Tories wanted to flatten the BMA in the way that they had flattened the NUM because the BMA were causing havoc behind the scenes and that’s what much of the obsession with imposing a business culture and managerialist practices on the NHS was all about. Unfortunately the Tories tried to fight the Top Doctors by giving huge power to an equally toxic group of people – NHS senior managers. The Tories were well aware of the damage that the likes of Dr Dafydd Alun Jones and Gwynne the lobotomist were inflicting upon the NHS and it’s patients, but their solution was to give as much power to the likes of Alun Davies and Martin Jones. It was not a good idea and for years now a full-on battle has raged between these two groups who are substantially made up of shites. Top Doctors who do have integrity are not going to be told what to do by Martin which is why so many of them are now leaving the NHS and good managers aren’t attracted to working in the NHS because most of the other managers there are like Martin. A few years ago I was friends with a newly qualified law graduate who landed himself a job in the management offices of Ysbyty Gwynedd. He memorably described Martin and co as ‘corrupt as fuck and thick as shit’. Of course, when the Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board was first established, they had an excellent CEO, Mary Burrows, who was very bright and genuinely committed to improving the dire state of the NHS in north Wales. Mary was effectively hounded out by the Top Doctors and Martin et al. The last thing that a bunch of unscrupulous, abusive Top Doctors lining their own pockets want is a high calibre senior manager. Which is why you don’t tend to find such creatures in the NHS.

Allyson writes of the battle that the BMA had with Ken Clarke regarding GP fundholding and describes how the BMA were ‘defeated’ and ‘would never again challenge the Gov’t on matters of principle’. Allyson is being somewhat economical with the truth here. The BMA continued to fight Gov’ts tooth and nail, but they adopted a new tactic. Instead of presenting themselves as Top Doctors Who Knew Best overtly confronting the Gov’t, they constructed themselves as People Who Cared About The Disadvantaged – which is exactly the way in which Allyson presents herself! ‘NHS plc’ is full of warm words for the BMA – except towards the end of the book, in which Allyson accuses them of selling out, upon the appointment of a particular Chief Exec. Allyson wrote that book in 2004. In 2007 the BMA famously screwed the Gov’t over regarding the negotiation of the GP out of hours contract which was so favourable to the Top Doctors that one of the BMA negotiators described it as ‘a bit of a laugh’. It was this that led to enormous problems concerning GP out of hours provision. But Allyson’s heart must have melted at some point because in 2014 she was appointed as a Member of the BMA’s Council! She is still there.

Pollock’s own attempts to categorise herself as a barefoot doctor are interesting. She mentions going to dinner with a merchant banker before the election of New Labour to discuss PFIs (I wonder why Allyson was doing that?) and describes how the dinner was held in the ‘bank’s private dining room’ with ‘black coated waiters’ who ‘served lunch that lasted almost three hours’. Allyson compares that dining room with the ‘hospital canteen’ at St Georges and how she ‘could not help thinking of the rows of terraced houses in the impoverished community of Tooting from which St George’s mainly female, mainly black ancillary workforce was drawn’.

I remember those rows of terraces in Tooting as well – I lived in one of them. As indeed did many of the female, black workers of St Georges. So what did the Top Doctors of St Georges think about those workers and the other people who lived in those terraces? Well, one Top Doctor described the midwives as being ‘really thick especially the black ones’. Another Top Doctor told one of the researchers about a ‘really scummy family who live in Garrett Lane’ (Garrett Lane was one of the most deprived parts of Tooting.) A medical student was ostracised because he lived in a shared house in Garrett Lane. It wasn’t only living in Garrett Lane that made one persona non-grata – I attended a departmental meal in a restaurant in Wimbledon during which the wife of a senior registrar refused to speak to a junior doctor after she was told that the junior doctor lived in Brixton. Many of the Top Doctors at St Georges lived in Wimbledon or Clapham or further afield in affluent areas. I only knew of one Top Doctor who lived in Tooting who, as a result of having a number of young children from a series of broken relationships, didn’t have the sort of disposable income that his colleagues had and could only afford to buy in Tooting. He resented living there – although his house was a good deal better than everyone else’s – and he complained at length about the lifestyle enjoyed by another Top Doctor from Kings, who was sufficiently loaded that she was having a house built to her own specifications with a matching bathroom for each bedroom. That was Professor Linda Cardosa – I didn’t ever see her house which caused so much envy, but if any readers did do e mail me and tell me all about it. Should anyone ever see Prof Cardosa on a BMA protest supporting a pay claim I suggest that they ignore her.

As for merchant bankers – the brother of one of the researchers in the dept in which I worked at St Georges was a merchant banker. One of his bonuses was bigger than the annual salary of his sister’s boss. This caused much gnashing of teeth, but no-one used it as evidence that merchant bankers should be paid less – they used it as evidence that they should be paid as much as merchant bankers. As for the merchant banker’s sister – she grumbled at length about her own salary although it later emerged that some sort of ‘special arrangement’ had been made for her so she was earning much more than all the other researchers anyway. Not that she needed a higher salary than everyone else – she drove a Mercedes, but ‘only an old one’ which her father had given her and when she had enough of living in the inner city her parents allowed her to live rent free in the cottage on their estate in Surrey which had previously been inhabited by the gardener. I’m only surprised that mum and dad didn’t supply her with a butler as well.

Not all of my former colleagues at St Georges were as spoiled, as fuckwitted, as snobbish and as shallow as this, but one didn’t have to work too hard to find people who were. There were a lot of them cluttering up the place. The source of their discontent was the fact that so many of them did come privileged backgrounds and they had friends and family who were earning even more than Top Doctors did. So many Top Doctors, despite being among the most highly paid people in the UK, managed to convince themselves that they were very hard done by indeed. It is this phenomenon that propels the BMA and it’s campaigns. The notion of ‘public service’ does not enter into the equation.

In ‘NHS plc’ Pollock is also very critical of NHS organisations selling off buildings and land – the ‘NHS estate’ – to raise money. Such sales are often a very bad deal for the NHS and are effectively fleecing the tax-payer, but the example which Pollock provides is yet another reflection of Pollock’s sleight of hand. She refers to the proposed sale of Springfield Hospital and the accompanying proposed deal with a private care company. Springfield Hospital was an appalling place, in a dreadful state of repair with completely inadequate facilities. It was in no way suitable to be housing mental health patients in the late 20th century. The care was dreadful, abuses of patients were rampant (see post ‘Some Very Eminent Psychiatrists From London…’) and eventually there was a public inquiry after a series of murders there. I do not know what the facilities and care standards at the establishment where it was proposed to transfer the patents to were like, but no-one could defend Springfield Hospital. This example reminded me of the articles that ‘New Statesman’ ran back in the 80s concerning the closure of institutions like the North Wales Hospital Denbigh. Those articles accused Thatcher of selling off the ‘homes’ of patients – I really don’t think that the readers of the ‘New Statesman’ would have wanted a home like Denbigh. Of course, the first Health Minister to propose closing the asylums was Enoch Powell – after visiting Denbigh, which appalled him. Pollock compliments Powell for his ‘political inspiration’ behind the 1962 Hospital Building Plan, but she doesn’t mention a word about him wanting to close institutions like Denbigh and Springfield.

Again and again Pollock lays the blame for notorious NHS shortcomings on privatisation. She rightly mocks the deals that were done with celebrities like Lloyd Grossman which resulted in private companies being contracted to provide hospital food that turned out to be awful. But hospital food was known to be awful before privatisation – it was, like British Rail sandwiches, a byword for dreadful food. Whilst I was imprisoned in the North Wales Hospital Denbigh by Dafydd Alun Jones Brown worried about my diet – because he knew how bad the food was in institutions like that. In Denbigh most patients lived on chips – the fare was so grim that chips were usually the most edible thing on the ‘menu’. One patient at Denbigh who was actually receiving regular visitors – unlike most people who had simply been illegally imprisoned and abandoned in there – got her daughter to bring her meals in. Things were no better in Springfield in 1991 where Pollock’s fellow Top Doctors worked. One inpatient was a young South Asian woman who, for religious reasons, was being given meals that differed from everyone else’s (they certainly couldn’t have managed that at Denbigh). So Springfield could therefore tick the ‘catering for a multicultural community’ box – but this young woman was delivered a meal each day which no choice offered or no say in what it was. On one occasion a meal was delivered which for dietary reasons she could not eat (one of the ingredients upset her stomach). She explained this to the vile abusive ward manager – an Australian called Stephanie whose standard method of communication was to shout and swear at patients – and was simply told ‘you’ve got to have it, these meals are costing us a fortune’. The young Asian woman went without dinner that day. This was before there had been any implementation of the idea of privatising NHS catering.

Pollock writes some scathing passages about the dreadful neglect of the elderly in the private sector – again this is endemic and she is quite right to draw attention to what is going on. But this was happening before NHS privatisation was on the agenda. As far back as the 1970s I knew of a notorious nursing home in the Somerset town in which I went to school. It was owned and run by a nurse who had been sacked from Taunton hospital and it employed schoolgirls as ‘nurses’ (my friend worked there – at 15 years of age she was passed off as a ‘nurse’). Every Top Doctor in Bridgwater knew about that home – they’d have never allowed their own relatives to end up there but no-one put a stop to it. When I went to university in Bangor in 1981 I found out about a very similar establishment in Menai Bridge. The man who owned the nursing home was a drunk and the ‘matron’ in charge was a nurse who had been sacked by the C&A Hospital in Bangor – after she was found having sex with a male patient in his bed on the ward. This was common knowledge, as was the neglect to which the residents were subjected – Dr D.G.E. Wood had some patients there and visited regularly. No-one had the place closed down. Furthermore Chai Patel is not to the only Top Doctor who owned care homes with questionable standards. Brig-y-Nant in Bethesda was owned by Top Doctor Dr K. Shah, a mate of Dafydd’s (see post ‘Hippocratic Oath or Hypocritic Oaf?’ for details of my encounter with Shah). Shah’s wife ‘managed’ Brig y Nant and I heard allegations from one former care assistant that not only were ‘difficult’ elderly residents dumped in baths of cold water, but when injuries were sustained, one doctor would always be called to deal with the problem – a Dr K. Shah.

Something else that Allyson attributes to NHS privatisation is the silencing of whistleblowers and the appearance of dodgy publications in the BMJ. I can kill two birds with one stone here. Back in the 1980s I remember reading an article that a particularly courageous doctor had penned for the BMJ. He was a GP from Devon and he wrote an account of how he had been called out to visit a patient in a nursing home and had arrived to find residents tied to their chairs with pairs of nylon tights and what he described as a ‘sloppy’ young woman on duty. He attended to his patient and as he prepared to leave he was stopped by an old lady who asked him if he was a doctor. When he said yes, the old lady pulled her skirt up and showed him severe, extensive scalding over her thighs. The old lady told him that someone had poured a kettle of hot water over her legs. This nursing home was owned by a local Top Doctor. A few days later the GP heard that the old lady who had been scalded had died. He was so worried about standards at this home that he contacted the coroner regarding his concerns. The coroner told him that there were no concerns at all regarding the home. The GP discovered that the coroner was a business partner of the Top Doctor who owned the home. The GP contacted the GMC and was told to take a running jump. So he penned an article for the BMJ to let the world now exactly what was possible on Planet Care Home. Was this caring and diligent GP supported in his efforts to expose this scandal? Not at all. In the next issue of the BMJ there were a number of letters published from other Top Doctors, all pompously declaring that the BMJ was not the place to air allegations about one’s colleagues. But that was not the worst thing that appeared in the BMJ in the 80s. On one occasion they debated Homosexuality. One old bigot wrote in and stated quite categorically that homosexuality does not exist ‘in the animal kingdom’ and that it is most definitely a perversion of Man. I’ve got news for that particular high-flier – homosexuality DOES exist in the animal kingdom as any zoologist will confirm. Such was the shite that the BMJ felt able to publish in days gone by.

As for whistleblowing – Allyson’s off in fairyland regarding this: ‘formerly doctors could and did speak out in the interests of their patients’ and ‘in the past doctors were free to speak out – in fact they were under a moral obligation to do so – if they felt it was in the interests of their patients’. Of course Allyson – that is why, for many, many years pre-NHS privatisation, Dr Dafydd Alun Jones et al were able to break the law, sexually exploit patients, sell drugs to addicts, lie on oath, illegally imprison people in Denbigh, conceal a paedophile ring and threaten and bribe people with many, many people knowing and no-one blew the whistle on any of it. In fact your own colleagues at St Georges and Springfield knew of at least some of what was going on and documented it – but told each other that I was ‘extremely dangerous’ and should be referred to the forensic services ‘for containment’ after I spoke to them about it. Other people who knew what Dafydd and co were up to included Dr James Earp from Leicester (see post ‘An Expert From England’), Professor Robert Bluglass (see post ‘Enter Professor Robert Bluglass CBE…’), The Medical Ombudsman for Wales Professor Robert Owen, Dr Chris Mawson (see post ‘Doctors Who Disappeared From The Medical Register’) and Dr Chris Hunter (see post ‘The Night of the (Dr Chris) Hunter’). Dr Mawson and Dr Earp did not, unlike the others, suggest that I should be banged up without trial in a secure hospital, but not one of them raised the alarm regarding what was going on.

‘NHS plc’ also takes aim at the various inspection regimes that have been introduced in recent years, such as the CHI (Commission for Health Improvement). Pollock describes such inspectorates as ‘ineffectual’ and mentions that the review teams are ‘inevitably less qualified and less experienced than the hospital staff they were inspecting’. Which is true and it is insulting to good hospital staff. But those inspectorates have been a Godsend to Top Doctors who aren’t doing what they should be doing – such as in Mid-Staffs. Or indeed in north Wales. Dangerous troubled services have passed inspections with flying colours. But it has always been thus – the Mental Health Act Commission were actively colluding with Dafydd and Dr Tony Francis (Dr X) in north Wales to conceal their criminal activity before privatisation was underway.

There is a glaring contradiction in Pollock’s writing, in that among her attempts to portray Top Doctors as helpless pawns in the face of power-crazed Gov’ts there are actually plenty of indications that she knows just how powerful swathes of the medical establishment are, including her own colleagues and the institutions in which she herself has spent her career as a senior member of staff. She clearly explains how the London teaching hospitals and medical schools are invested with prestige and status enabling them to attract high calibre staff, which in turn gives them huge influence even over Gov’t policy – just like Allyson and her Public Policy Units based in those medical schools have sometimes enjoyed.

Allyson mentions the idea to close Guys and St Tommy’s that was put forward some years ago – but she admits that the notion pretty soon died a death because of course Tommy’s is the hospital that serves Parliament. No, no-one’s going to shut down the most elite joint in town with plenty of friends in the Palace of Westminster. Allyson also mentions the enormous power and influence that Great Ormond Street Hospital has, due it’s legacy from J.M. Barrie and it’s very successful fundraising arm. She explains that in 2000, Camden and Islington Health Authority along with the Medical Director at UCL Hospitals Trust, planned to integrate all paediatric services across the area, but that GOSH disagreed with this plan, ‘was in a powerful position to put it’s own priorities before patients needs or planning’ and was successful in ‘silencing debate’.

Yet elsewhere in her book, Pollock holds up GOSH and it’s satellite hospital Queen Elizabeth Hospital for Children as being all that is best about the NHS. Queen Elizabeth Hospital was linked to GOSH and a number of consultants at GOSH had shared appointments with Queen Elizabeth. Allyson explains how Queen Elizabeth served the severely disadvantaged area of Hackney where some of the poorest children in the UK lived. She states that Queen Elizabeth was a ‘model of how a hospital in a severely deprived inner city area should be run’, that it was ‘accessible, open and caring with exceptional expertise’ providing a ‘superb service to needy children’. My post ‘Ian Brockington’s Mischief’ mentions that Dr Robin Skynner, who had links with Top Doctors who were concealing child sexual abuse, was the Physician in Charge of the Dept of Psychiatry at Queen Elizabeth between 1965-70.

As for GOSH – that was the hospital that employed the negligent doctor who contributed to the death of Peter Connelly in the ‘Baby P’ case a few years. GOSH has also just been at the centre of the Charlie Gard storm. And I doubt that either of those cases had much to do with privatisation.

Another inconsistency in Pollock’s book concerns Richard Smith, the former editor of the BMJ. He’s mentioned in Pollock’s acknowledgements section as one of the people who have ‘inspired’ her. Yet Smith is named elsewhere in the book as a baddie who jumped ship in 2004 and joined United Healthcare as CEO.

There are clues in the text as to what irks Pollock so much about New Labour as well as the root of some of her inconsistencies. Pollock seems to get to meet some very grand people. Not only did she dine with a merchant banker whilst her heart remained with the St Georges canteen in downtown Tooting, but she had an audience with Geoffrey Robinson in his capacity as Blair’s Paymaster General who afterwards invited her for a drink on the terrace of the House of Commons – although obviously she really wished that she was having a cup of char at a cleaner’s house in Garrett Lane – and she even met Gordon Brown when he was Chancellor. She described them as being on a ‘charm offensive’ and wanted to be ‘seen to be listening’. Pollock also thought very highly of Blair’s first Secretary of State for Health (1997-99) Frank Dobson – ‘a well-liked and competent Minister’. Not many other people shared that opinion – Dobson was widely perceived to be well-meaning but a bit gullible and dim (‘Private Eye’ named him ‘Dobbo’). The NHS continued to go pear-shaped and Dobbo’s scalp was demanded. There was another perceived problem with Dobbo as well – he rolled over for the Top Doctors…

Now although the Top Doctors are a very conservative bunch, they really didn’t like Thatcher and she didn’t like them. Thatcher loathed the professions (as well as academics) and very much saw them as being conspiracies against the layman. So the Top Doctors were most glad to see the back of Thatcher – I remember loud cheering breaking out in St George’s when she resigned. But the Top Doctors are not a bunch of lefties no matter what the Daily Mail says about them. However I suspect that when Blair was elected, Allyson and her fellow Public Policy/Public Health specialists may well have thought that their boat had come in. A Labour Gov’t that wasn’t socialist, with an authoritarian streak, wedded to the notion that Policy Experts should tell the plebs how to live. Which is probably why Allyson broke a leg in her efforts to meet Blair’s Ministers. A similar phenomenon occurred among HE specialists committed to widening participation – Blair maintained that he was going to pursue this policy and educational sociologists all got very excited, but of course he didn’t listen to any of them and a lot of them ended up very miffed. I suspect that Allyson fell into the same trap. Indeed, she makes it clear in her book that she feels that New Labour discredited and intimidated it’s critics, including her. Which they probably did – but then the Top Doctors discredited and intimidated those of us who discovered that their colleagues in north Wales were concealing a paedophile ring. At least Blair didn’t try to frame Allyson for serious crimes or state that she would end up in an institution for the ‘criminally insane’ as dear old Dafydd and Bluglass did with respect to me.

For all her griping though, Allyson knows that the Top Doctors can pack a punch if they are able to successfully construct themselves as the defenders of the NHS in the face of Bastards In Government. She reminds us of the lesson that no politician has ever forgotten – the election of Top Doctor Dr Richard Taylor in Kidderminster, who unseated the Labour MP David Locke. Taylor of course did this by running on a ticket of opposing hospital closures. Pollock mentions another similar event as well – the election of retired Top Doctor Dr Jean Turner in Glasgow in the wake of plans to close Stobhill Hospital. Pollock states that the Gov’ts announcement in 2003 that there would be no closures of smaller local hospitals after the election of Taylor and Turner was ‘a notable acknowledgement of the power of popular mobilisation’.

No Allyson, it was an acknowledgement of how bloody-minded the BMA are – they were fighting ALL hospital closures, including hospitals which were unsafe and harming or killing patients. They didn’t admit that any hospitals were doing this and they didn’t even work behind the scenes to raise standards – they did what they have always done and told the Gov’t ‘touch us and we’ll brain you’. Which indeed they did.

As all good Top Doctors do when they wish to ram home their arguments, Allyson makes references to popular media images of Top Doctors. We are told that the ‘frantic atmosphere in ‘Holby City’ is quite typical of the acute hospital today’. Which is rather like saying that the ‘Carry On’ films with Hattie Jacques giving terrified weedy men bed-baths and Barbara Windsor wearing an Anne Summers style nurse’s uniform whilst her bra flies off were an accurate depiction of life in an NHS hospital in the 60s. There is one big difference between Holby City and ‘an acute hospital today’ – in Holby City the staff never make mistakes and the complex cutting edge surgery is always successful, unless it’s an utterly hopeless case and the patient’s chance of life was unfathomably slim anyway. And from the episodes that I’ve seen, a lot of the surgeons are proud of their upwardly mobile journey from their disadvantaged childhoods – in one episode a female surgeon called Jac even revealed that she’d grown up in care and had been sexually abused. Er, no, as we know from the fate of the kids who grew up in care in north Wales, Jac would not be a heart surgeon, she’d be banged up in Denbigh with everyone calling her a dangerous liar. That is if she hadn’t actually been found dead in suspicious circumstances after having given evidence against the paedophiles that were employed in her children’s home.

Pollock also makes reference to a film called ‘As Good As It Gets’, which she appreciates because it makes some barbed points about US privatised healthcare. It stars Jack Nicholson. As of course did ‘One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest’. Which was a film that one of Pollock’s colleagues at St George’s, the occupational health physician Nicky Mitchell-Heggs, had a real problem with. Mitchell-Heggs had previously been a psychiatrist and maintained that ‘One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest’ set out to deceive because it was modelled on an asylum from the 50s but pretended that such places were still in existence. Which of course they weren’t. Indeed not Nicky – at Denbigh the patients didn’t wear uniforms and there was no piped music. But all the other ingredients were there – a lobotomist, Nurse Rached aka Janice Davies, sane people imprisoned and drugged up because they had dared challenge corrupt Top Doctors and staff terrorising and blackmailing vulnerable people by threatening to release confidential info about them. Except that Denbigh also had a psychopathic psychiatrist sexually abusing the patients who was also concealing the paedophile ring that his mistress facilitated. And those were the two people from whom Mitchell-Heggs and her colleagues were taking evidence regarding my ‘dangerousness’ so she must have known that they were there…. Mitchell-Heggs’s online profile describes her interests as theatre, opera and ski-ing! It’s those self-sacrificing Top Doctors again who fight tooth and nail for the NHS. I also seem to remember reading that both Mitchell-Heggs and her husband now run private practices.

In the initial pages of ‘NHS plc’ Pollock explains that she isn’t able to cover everything in a volume of that length, so there are some areas that she hasn’t commented upon. Such as mental health and learning disability services. Which is just as well considering how bloody shameful these ‘services’ are and were when she wrote that book. She also mentions that she doesn’t cover groups of staff such as cleaners, canteen workers, security officers and porters. In other words those staff who are treated and paid appallingly, whose presence is generally ignored by the Top Doctors and who are actually the very staff who have suffered most as a result of NHS privatisation.

At the beginning of her book, Pollock gives a long list of acknowledgments and names the people who have ‘inspired’ her. They include Dr Richard Taylor, ‘all members of the NHS Consultants Association’, ‘members of the Medical Practitioners Union’, ‘Brian Potter formerly of the Scottish BMA’, ‘Sir Sandy Macara at the BMA’ and Richard Horton of the ‘Lancet’. She mentions ‘many others’ to have come ‘to the aid’ of the Public Policy Unit which she was directing when she wrote ‘NHS plc’. Pollock pays tribute to the ‘special stalwarts of the NHS including Charles Webster, the former official historian of the NHS’. I mention on the front page of this blog that a number of people have written ‘histories’ of psychiatry in north Wales. These histories are at their best highly sanitised and at their worst have about as much historical accuracy as a Barbara Cartland novel. One of those ‘histories’ was written by a Bangor University lecturer called David Hirst and I’m fairly sure that it was his book that was co-authored or assisted in some way by an ‘NHS historian’ called Charles someone. I’m fairly sure that it was Charles Webster. I’ve been googling to try and clarify this but all traces of that book have vanished from the internet. I wonder why – after all it was proudly on display in Bangor University for years, so it definitely exists….However I note that David has co-authored with a number of the Top Doctors from the Hergest Unit! He arrived in Bangor to begin his work in ‘social policy’ in 1973 – Christ almighty, Gwynne and Dafydd were in full swing then, they will have been lobotomising and subjecting people to ‘aversion therapy’ if they dared to be gay til the cows came home. And of course Bryn Estyn was still under the direct management of the Home Office and the systematic sexual abuse of the boys there will have been well-embedded by then. Fancy publishing anything about that lot then David?

Pollock makes several mentions in her book of a man who has acquired superhero status in the eyes of any Top Doctor who wants to pledge their commitment to the NHS – Julian Tudor Hart. Tudor Hart is very elderly now, but he is one of the few Top Doctors still practising who was practising before the establishment of the NHS. He has written about just how grim things were in those days – Tudor Hart worked in south Wales among people experiencing very great poverty and hardship. I am interested in Tudor Hart, because although I do completely accept his account of how dreadful it was to fall ill or have an accident before the establishment of the NHS, he does seem somewhat blind to some of what goes on in the NHS. He is an intelligent man and a keen scholar, so like Allyson Pollock he will know. And being a man of his age from Wales, he will know what Gwynne the lobotomist and Dafydd got up to as well. Tudor Hart has been very rude about Ivan Illich and sees Illich as someone who simply plays to an audience of privileged middle class rebels, which is pretty much what the psychiatric establishment used to say about Thomas Szasz. There is truth in that argument – one had to be affluent to afford sessions with Thomas Szasz – but it ignores why the work of people like Illich and Szasz caught the imagination of so many. It was because of what folk like Gwynne the lobotomist and Dafydd were actually doing to them – people didn’t find it very helpful. There is also another factor about Tudor Hart that I cannot forget. He worked in the same practice as Dr Brian Gibbons, the former Health Minister for Wales. Who when I told him that I had evidence of the Top Doctors and managers in the Hergest Unit participating in criminal activities wrote me a letter saying ‘this correspondence is closed’. At the time the Hergest Unit had the second highest suicide rate for women in England and Wales.

I can only conclude that Allyson Pollock is one of the most articulate, useful PR mouthpieces that the Top Doctors possess and that she, along with the rest of the Top Doctors, are not very happy that Gov’ts are no longer commissioning their ‘research’ and seeking their ‘opinion’ on which to base policy.

As Corporal Jones of ‘Dad’s Army’ fame might have said – ‘It’s the Top Doctors. They don’t like it up ’em’.

 

There is one Top Doctor in particular who certainly doesn’t like it up ‘im – David Healy. I’ve been interested to note that since I reviewed his appearance on ‘Panorama’ the other day and observed that the voices of patients were noticeably absent from that programme and that whilst the Top Doctors scrap amongst themselves global capitalism continues to screw up healthcare, Healy has retweeted a couple of things. One was from a patient claiming to have ‘lived experience’ – the use of that phrase alone suggests that he falls into the category of a ‘professional service user’ (my neighbours don’t talk about ‘lived experience’ when they discuss their the local health services). Another retweet was from someone whom I have corresponded with, Finola Moss. Finola is a blogger who is doing some brilliant work exposing just how much money the Top Doctors who are involved with private psychiatric provision are now making. One company very much in Finola’s sight is Cygnet Healthcare and it was info relating to the billions that Cygnet is now raking in that Healy retweeted. The Medical Director of Cygnet is Robert Kehoe. Kehoe was the ‘expert witness’ who lied in a report about me, Brown, my PhD supervisor and even my lawyer after we had all made representation regarding the criminal activities and negligence of the Hergest Unit. David Healy was one of those named on the documents submitted to Kehoe in evidence. I later discovered that Kehoe’s business partner had a personal connection to Healy’s colleague at the Hergest, Dr Tony Roberts.

A Few More Who Might Be Able To Answer Questions

I mentioned in a post a couple of days ago that I was about to begin reading Jack Straw’s autobiography, ‘Last Man Standing’. I finished it this morning and it was very much a case of the Ghost of Private Eyes Past – Straw talks about all the things that provided Eye readers with so much entertainment throughout the Blair and Brown years. Lord Levy, the Millennium Dome, Prezza assaulting a member of the public, Hans Blix searching for Saddam’s WMD down the back of the sofa, Lord Derry Irvine of the very expensive wallpaper, Charlie Falconer, the Hutton Report, it’s all there. Jack talks a lot about his friend Condi Rice and mentions many things that will remind everyone of why so many people cancelled their Labour Party membership during the Blair years. Jack seems to think that he’s dealing with these matters in a way that constructs them as positive, but he doesn’t manage that very successfully.

Jack’s interpretation of history is rather different than that of many other people. ASBOs ‘were a success’ – no Jack, ASBOs criminalised thousands of vulnerable people including children with mental health problems, autism and Tourettes, they were a disaster which is why they were abandoned. The return of Mandelson to Gov’t was a ‘positive’ move – no, that was the final straw (so to speak) for many of us – and best of all, Alistair Campbell was a man of ‘integrity’. Er, OK Jack, whatever you say. So what does Jack have to say about that rather difficult business involving the death of Dr David Kelly? Well, Dr Kelly ‘tragically died in July 2003’ but Jack doesn’t mention the circumstances. I seem to remember it had something to do with a dodgy dossier, the most enormous row with the BBC and the hounding and scapegoating of Dr Kelly – the root of all this being Alistair Campbell.

Jack is very scathing in his book about someone who stood for election against him on one occasion, even more scathing than he is about the BNP. Who was this candidate who pissed Jack off so much? It was Craig Murray, the former Ambassador for Uzbekistan. I went to listen to Craig Murray speak when he came to Bangor a few years ago and it was fascinating. Craig was of course famously withdrawn from his post in Uzbekistan and was subjected to much Gov’t criticism because he drank, partied and had some relationships with local women. But Craig did something else which was probably what really bothered the Foreign Office – he refused to shut up about the appalling human rights abuses happening in Uzbekistan, which included people being boiled alive. Craig was told that he was ‘over-focussed on human rights’ and was transported back to England where he ended up in a psychiatric hospital. During his lecture, Craig described how he was interrogated and subjected to extreme pressure by British officials and at one point he was told that all this was being done on the personal orders of Jack Straw, who was at the time Foreign Secretary….

There are plenty of pointers in Jack’s book to his slipperiness – for example whenever a scandal broke, whether it was on his watch as Home Secretary or later as Foreign Secretary, he always seemed to be conveniently due to leave the UK that very night and thus was at the airport or on the plane, so it was inevitably a case of ‘I know nuzzing…’ At the very beginning of his book, Jack revels in the fact that even as a young man who had done little more than work for the NUS he had already gained a reputation as a duplicitous git – he boasts that Barbara Castle gave him a job as her political advisor because of his ‘low down cunning’. People who read the comments section of my blog might have noticed that one of my correspondents has been mentioning that Barbara Castle, Jack Straw and Norman Warner were covering up terrible things happening to disabled people in the mid-70s – Jack speaks admiringly of Norman Warner in his book and obviously really rated him. Jack mentions that Norman became Lord Warner – it’s becoming a familiar scenario isn’t it…

Jack did of course cause a bit of a stir at one point by going public on his habit of asking fully veiled women visiting his surgery in Blackburn to remove their veils before they spoke to him. At the time that Straw did this, The Veil was becoming an issue, seemingly because people believed that the country was teaming with Muslim women concealing bombs beneath their burkas. Straw represents Blackburn, a constituency with a high proportion of Muslims and I suspect that he has sufficient knowledge to know that Daily Mail columnists’ prejudices rarely reflect reality. He’d represented Blackburn for decades, had a home there and no-one had ever tried to blow him up with weaponry concealed in Islamic dress. He also will have known that for some fully veiled women at least, asking them to remove their veil is like someone asking him to remove his trousers. Jack spoke out about another sensitive subject in his part of the world as well – the sexual grooming of young white girls by some Pakistani men. Fearless Jack asks ‘what’s the point of being in politics and not saying what you think about the difficult issues…’

So was Jack always frank about difficult issues?

One massively difficult issue that landed on Jack’s desk when he was Home Secretary was that of Thatcher’s friend General Pinochet. Pinochet had arrived in England, had tea with Thatcher and a few other old mates and then found himself under arrest because the Spanish Gov’t wanted him extradited to face trial for torture. Jack stressed that he really did think long and hard about this, it took him months and he wasn’t going to be swayed by anyone else’s opinion – indeed he refused to discuss the matter of the murdering old bastard with anyone else at all. Readers may remember that Pinochet wasn’t extradited because some Top Doctors came to his rescue and presented ‘expert’ evidence that Pinochet was incredibly frail and far too ill to stand trial. Pinochet flew home and was famously filmed landing in Chile, immediately getting up out of his wheelchair, happily walking towards his supporters and greeting them enthusiastically.  Jack was horrified! Pinochet had tricked the ‘system’! He was another Ernest Saunders, just when Jack had assured everyone that no way would he allow another scam like that! So whose advice had Jack relied upon – whilst he was refusing to discuss Pinochet’s case with anyone of course? For a start, that of the Chief Medical Officer, Liam Donaldson.

Liam Donaldson wasn’t quite as successful as other Chief Medical Officers had been at pulling the wool over everybody’s eyes – although he did keep bollocking on about successfully achieving ‘patient empowerment’ – and he ended up resigning as a result of the ‘modernising medical careers’ disaster, which screwed up the job application process for thousands of junior doctors. Liam was of course no rebel – indeed when Liam was CMO Mid-Staffs was quietly brewing away and he didn’t put a stop to it, Harold Shipman was brewing away and he didn’t manage to catch that in time either and of course the Top Doctors in north Wales were doing the most appalling things (I note that Donaldson studied at Bristol Medical School at the same time as Dr D.G.E. Wood…). However Top Doctors do get very angry if their paths are crossed in even a minor way and the BMA turned on their own and went after Liam’s blood. One Dr Richard Marks, Head of Policy at the BMA, very obviously wanted Donaldson’s head on a plate and was greatly pleased when he got it. I am wondering if Richard Marks is a member of the high profile Marks medical family, which includes the former Chair of the BMA Dr John Marks and Professor Vincent Marks, whom I worked for at the University of Surrey – both of whom kept quiet about the wrongdoing of the Top Doctors in north Wales (see post ‘The BMA At The Root Of Another Mystery’). I bet he is, being a Top Doctor who reaches the highest echelons of the medical establishment does run in families. Obviously the superior genes…

Liam ‘oversaw’ the medical assessment of Pinochet. I have long wondered who actually provided the dishonest expert report which enabled a vicious dictator to return home and die peacefully of old age in luxury when the bodies of many of his victims had not yet been recovered. It is very difficult to access such info, because a lot of secrecy surrounds Top Doctors’ expert reports to Courts. Of course, Court cases are (usually) public and the expert reports can decide whether someone is imprisoned, banged up for life in a special hospital or allowed to go free immediately, but not any old Tom, Dick or Harry can read those reports or even find out the identity of the Top Doctors giving evidence. I had always intended to publish the packs of lies that Dr Dafydd Alun Jones, Dr James Earp and Dr Robert Kehoe wrote about me in their capacity as ‘expert witnesses’ to demonstrate what the Top Doctors are actually capable of, but before I began this blog I took legal advice and was told ‘sorry, you are not allowed to ‘reproduce’ their reports in any way’. But they can lie about me… So I have just provided as many details about them as I am legally allowed on the blog. My friends have of course all read the reports and were suitably wowed by the lack of integrity of the Top Doctors who put their names to those documents.

However Jack’s book reveals the name of the Top Doctor who was so helpful to Pinochet! It was Sir John Grimley Evans, who is now Emeritus Professor at Oxford University. After Pinochet made his spectacular recovery as soon as he touched Chilean soil and the shit hit the fan, John Grimley Evans tried to shoulder the blame onto Straw, quibbling over the use of one word in his report. The uproar didn’t harm the long term prospects of dear old Sir John though – in 2005 Parliament still thought highly enough of him to receive written evidence from him for the Select Committee On Science and Technology regarding quality of life in old age. He is a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences and between 1999-2014 was listed as a Director of St Luke’s Hospital Oxford, which seems to be a care home. But there’s also a passing reference in Straw’s book to the ‘team’ of medical officers working for the Home Office who were employed on the Pinochet case! So there was Jack, John Grimley Evans and a team of Top Doctors – how did they all manage to get it so wrong?

I remember the case of Pinochet like it was yesterday, because by that time I had discovered how dishonest Dr Dafydd Alun Jones regularly was in his Court reports and I had shared this information with another Hergest patient who had also been stung by Dafydd. This patient entertained himself by ringing Dafydd whilst pretending to be calling from the Spanish embassy to ask Dafydd if he’d certify Pinochet fit for trial. Little did I know that that they might as well have asked Dafydd, his opinion would have been worth about as much as that of Straw, Evans and the Home Office medical officers.

The thing about poor old Jack and his claimed ignorance regarding the wrongdoing of the Top Doctors is that it doesn’t quite add up, whether it’s his Gov’ts lack of nous concerning the growing shit-storm at Mid-Staffs – or Top Docs concealing paedophile rings – or Pinochet’s health assessment. For a start Jack’s daughter Charlotte was a medical student and is now a Top Doctor herself. (Charlotte raised money for Cancer Research UK recently and requested donations to enable the noble scientists and Top Doctors at Cancer Research UK to find a ‘cure’. For  snapshot of what goes on at Cancer Research UK, see post ‘A Cause Close To Our Hearts’.) But Jack was very close indeed to someone who really will have known all about the Top Doctors and could have also found him a reliable expert witness to give an opinion on Pinochet – his wife Alice. Alice was a mandarin in the Dept of Health! Furthermore, Jack reveals that in 1997-8 Alice was a senior civil servant in the Treasury working for Gordon Brown, but shortly afterwards was appointed Director General in the DoH! Pinochet was flown back home in in 2000. Come on Alice – why didn’t you tell Jack? Ooh and why didn’t you explain to Jack that where grooming young people in care is concerned it really is not only Pakistani men up to no good – it wasn’t Pakistani men ‘grooming’ (ie. raping and trafficking) the kids in north Wales, it was the social services who were being assisted by the Top Doctors! And once those kids had been beaten into submission and were agreeing to have sex with anyone who asked, they were taken off down to London to have sex with folk in Westminster! Jack claimed to be clamping down on people trafficking in 2000…

Alice is not the only person who might have been able to enlighten Jack re child abuse/the use of psychiatry to conceal such abuse – that is if he didn’t already know something about it from his time working with Barbara Castle and Norman Warner in the DHSS between 1974-76. Jack’s early forays into politics were as a Councillor in Islington – which had a serious problem with a paedophile ring in it’s children’s homes. Jack was also a member of the notorious ILEA between 1971-74 and was Deputy Leader of ILEA 1973-74. Jack is not afraid to level criticism at ILEA in his book – he tells us that he knew that standards in inner London schools were often unacceptably low. There were close links between ILEA, the GLC and the London Councils – those Councils whose children’s services had been infiltrated by paedophiles.

Jack’s work on London Councils and with ILEA resulted in him rubbing noses with an awful lot of people who will have known about the paedophiles running riot in the children’s homes – because those buddies of Jack’s were running those Councils. Jack makes reference in his book to someone whom he admires greatly, the ‘inestimable’ Valerie Amos. Valerie is now Baroness Amos, but long ago at the dawn of time Valerie worked for Lambeth Borough Council – which had a child abuse problem among it’s children in care as big as that in Islington or in north Wales. Indeed, children from Lambeth were also sent up to homes in north Wales where they were molested. The Shirley Oaks Survivors Association from Lambeth are publishing their own accounts of the abuse to which they were subjected, so fed up are they of Gov’t investigations going nowhere. Lambeth Council has paid out millions in compensation to children who were abused in it’s care and it accepts that it will be paying out much more. As in Islington and north Wales, the Council was told what was happening to those kids but the Council let it continue. Amos describes her work with Lambeth as one of her ‘career achievements’ – others include her work with Camden Council and Hackney. Camden – she’ll know this blog’s old friends Tessa Jowell (see posts ‘The London Connection’ and ‘Tower Hamlets, Paul Boateng and Tessa Jowell’) and John Mills (see post ‘One Dangerous Fucker’) then! Like so many people who worked for or ran those London Councils in the 70s and 80s whilst paedophiles ran riot in the children’s services, Valerie used her ‘work’ on ‘equality and diversity’ with those councils as a springboard into a career in ‘equalities and diversity’ boosted by New Labour.

Between 1989-94 Valerie was Chief Exec of the Equal Opportunities Commission. In 1995 she formed Amos Fraser Bernard and was an advisor to the South African Gov’t on public service reform, human rights and employment equity. In August 1997 she was made a life peer and became the Secretary for International Development in Blair’s Cabinet. Amos acquired this position after Clare Short resigned. (Straw is incredibly rude about Clare Short in his book – did she have a few too many principles for you then Jack? Clare Short was not one for turning a blind eye as the shit that gathered under Blair mounted up.) In 2003 Amos took over as Leader of the Lords when the previous Leader, Lord Williams Of Mostyn, died. Jack liked him. Lord Williams of Mostyn featured in my post ‘Y Gwir Yn Erbyn Y Byd’ – he defended Gordon Anglesea after Gordon Anglesea sued Private Eye after the Eye accused him of molesting boys in children’s homes in north Wales. Anglesea won the case and shortly after the trial Mark Humphreys, the young man whom had given evidence that Anglesea had abused him, was found dead. Last year Gordon Anglesea was convicted of abusing boys in north Wales children’s homes and imprisoned. Valerie – standing on the shoulders of greats! Indeed, it was onwards and upwards.

Although Valerie left the Cabinet when Gordon Brown became PM, her stellar career didn’t stop. In 2007 she became a Director of Travant Capital Partners, a Nigerian private equity firm. Poor old Valerie ended up mired in allegations of corruption when it was revealed that Travant Capital had received £15 million from DFID, the Gov’t Dept that she used to lead.  In his book ‘Catholic Orangemen of Tongo’, Straw’s nemesis Craig Murray claims that he was told by a Director of Travant that the company ‘had access to DFID funds because Baroness Amos was a Director’.

In 2007 Amos also became the EU’s representative to the African Union. In 2010 she was appointed Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Co-Ordination.

In addition to these plum appointments, Valerie has had numerous others – she was the British High Commissioner to Australia and in 2015 she was appointed Director of SOAS (University of London). She was the Deputy Chair of the Runnymede Trust 1990-98, a Trustee of the IPPR, was involved with project Hope (an NGO promoting healthcare), was a Trustee of VSO and was a Director of Hampstead Theatre. Guess what else? In Sept 2008 Amos Chaired the GMC’s Equality and Diversity Forum! She has also been a non-executive director of University College London Hospitals Trust and between 1994-98 she was Chair of the Board of Governors at the Royal College of Nursing Institute.

So like so many who have been closely associated with organisations in which children were sexually abused and exploited, Valerie Amos is a good friend of the Top Doctors and Angels. A number of people have noticed that throughout her career in the higher echelons of public life, Valerie Amos has not been democratically elected to one position, they were all ‘appointments’. Well considering that Lambeth Borough Council oversaw the worst excesses of child abuse and ended up in such a financial mess that many of it’s Councillors were banned from office, I very much doubt that anybody would vote for anyone who had played a key role in that Council.

 

Jack’s book mentions a close colleague of his who also knew all about the shortcomings of Lambeth Borough Council who has starred on this blog recently – Paul Boateng (see post ‘Tower Hamlets, Paul Boateng And Tessa Jowell’). I have mentioned before that Paul’s wife Janet is a former Lambeth social worker. I have now read a bit more about the Tyra Henry case and Janet was involved up to her eye-balls. Tyra was a 22 month old girl who was murdered by her father Andrew in 1984. The case gained massive publicity because of the severe cruelty involved and the gross failings of Lambeth Borough Council. Tyra died two days after she had been left at a London hospital under a false name. She had suffered extreme physical abuse and there were 52 bite marks on her body. It transpired that her injuries had been inflicted by her father – Tyra had been allowed to live with him after he was released from prison, although there had previously been a decision not to allow this to happen. Before Tyra’s birth, her father had already assaulted her six month old brother, who was left blind and permanently brain damaged as a result of the attack – he was in care.  The Inquiry into Tyra’s death was led by Stephen Sedley QC – a colleague of Michael Mansfield and one of that generation of radical lawyers who did take on cases against the British state but who never seemed to be as outspoken as one would have expected about cases of abuse of children in care or the abuse of people in the mental health system.

In 1984 the Chair of Lambeth’s Social Services Committee was Janet Boateng. The Vice-Chair was Stephen Bubb. The aftermath of Tyra’s murder caused a massive rift between the Lambeth Councillors and the social workers employed by the Council (Janet of course had been in both positions.)  The Councillors and social workers both blamed each other for the dreadful state of the children’s services in Lambeth. It is reflective of the concerns of Lambeth Council at the time that the blame game wasn’t played out in terms of allegations of incompetence – it involved allegations of racism. Black Councillors maintained that white social workers were unable to work appropriately with black families and the white social workers made counter-allegations of not receiving ‘training’ and ‘support’ to work with black families. Where this left Janet Boateng who was black, a Councillor, Chairman of the Social Services Committee but had also worked as a social worker in the same Borough I do not know. I do know that it is ironic that the chaos and tragedy that presided in this Borough launched the careers of a group of people like Boateng and Amos, who were then lauded and honoured for their ‘services’ to equality and diversity. Amos’s biography is littered with references to her ‘firsts’ – the first black woman Cabinet Minister, the first black woman to become head of a UK university, one of the most influential black people in the UK etc. Whilst Amos and co played identity politics a little black girl was murdered – Tyra is not mentioned anywhere in the extensive guff about Lady Boateng or Lady Amos that is so readily available.

What was the fate of Boateng’s Vice-Chair, Stephen Bubb – a white man? Like the Ladies of Lambeth, Bubb has thrived. He is now Sir Stephen Bubb, Director of ‘Charity Futures’. His knighthood was awarded in 2011 for ‘services to the voluntary sector’.

Bubb describes himself as ‘influential in both the Labour and Conservative Parties’ with his ‘longstanding advocacy of charities replacing public services chiming with both parties’ policy of promoting competition and choice in areas such as healthcare’. Bubb has a website, ‘Bubb’s Blog’, and a recent post sees Bubb fuming angrily that the present Gov’t is ignoring the charity sector. I think that’s because of the embarrassment that was ‘Kid’s Company’ Stephen, it was a rather disillusioning process for those who promoted the idea of the ‘Big Society’. Bubb’s determined to ram his message home though, he’s very busy indeed working hard lobbying for the Third Sector. ‘Bubb’s Blog’ is currently hosting a ‘guest post’ by Henry Brook who is on ‘work experience’ with Bubb. Henry waxes lyrical about the global possibilities for the Third Sector and mentions that there’s a lot of wealthy people in China although Africa is still a bit too poor to participate in the jamboree.

Bubb is certainly a man who’s been on a political journey and who’ll work with anyone. In 1976 he was a research officer for the TGWU’s Jack Jones. In 1980 he was a negotiations officer for the NUT. Then there were his glorious achievements at Lambeth – Labour Party Member for Lambeth Borough Council from 1982 and Chief Whip to the Labour Group. In 1987 he was Lead Advisor concerning pay negotiations to the Association of Metropolitan Authorities (both Tessa Jowell and John Mills had positions on this body as well). In 1995 Stephen was Director of Personnel for the National Lottery Charity Board. Between 2000-06 he was Chief Exec for  ACEVO, the Association of Chief Execs of Voluntary Organisations. Since 2006 Stephen has been Chairman of the Adventure Capital Fund, a ‘social enterprise’ now administering ‘Communitybuilders’. He was Chairman of ‘Futurebuilders England’ in 2008. He founded ‘Charity Futures’ to ‘investigate the challenges to and provide support for the Third Sector for the next generation’ (does that translate as ‘my kids need a job now as well?’). In 2011 he was seconded to the Dept of Health as part of Andrew Lansley’s NHS ‘listening exercise’.

I haven’t actually researched all these different Third Sector organisations that Bubb has created – I know that’s remiss of me, but I suspect that I know what I will find. A very big gravy train, the passengers upon which will be other folk like Bubb, former Councillors from disastrous 80s Councils who did really well for themselves once Blair became PM and are still prospering as no-one dares mention the phrase ‘The King’s New Clothes’ now that they have been given gongs and been put in charge of so many things. Bubb became notorious for defending big salaries in the charity sector – he was paid in excess of £100k pa at ACEVO. ‘Bubb’s Blog’ tells us that he is ‘globally recognised’ and provides ‘strategic advice to Governments and businesses usually at Prime Minister, Minister, Mayor and Chairman level’. Bubb is Secretary General of the ‘European Third Sector Leaders Network’, which was ‘founded through his passion and drive’.

So what brought this globally-recognised-advisor-to-Prime Ministers’ career in local government to an end back in the 80s then? Lambeth Borough Council was one of the councils that refused to set a rate during the rate capping row with Margaret Thatcher’s Gov’t. Therefore the Councillors were surcharged for causing the Council financial loss through wilful misconduct. They were sacked and disqualified from office in 1986. Not that it held Stephen back from sitting in judgement on others – between 1980 and 2000 he served as a Youth Court Magistrate in Inner London.

Bubb has also dabbled with the Top Doctors – he was a member of the Local Health Boards of Guy’s Hospital and St Tommy’s Hospital.

Bubb found himself in the spotlight in 2013 when he held his 60th birthday party. I wouldn’t have thought that a birthday party could cause a diplomatic incident, but Bubb held a bash at the House of Lords with a number of cabinet ministers, Baronesses, media folk and charity leaders. They all had a great time and went back to Stephen’s place afterwards for champagne and fireworks. Stephen was particularly chuffed to receive a birthday card from Tony and Cherie. It was subsequently revealed that Stephen’s party had cost a great deal of money and that the bill had been footed not entirely by Stephen – although he is a very well-paid man – but partly by ACEVO. When questioned, ACEVO maintained that it was money well-spent because the party was ‘part of it’s [ACEVO’s] on-going work in building stakeholder relationships’.

The guest who made the welcoming speech at Stephen’s party – that was partly funded by people who were duped into believing that they were supporting charitable work – was Baroness Hayter. Dianne Hayter is the Deputy Leader of the Lords and is described as a ‘powerful advocate’ for the Third Sector. She is an old friend of Stephen’s from their Young Fabians days and was a founder member of ACEVO herself, whilst she was Director of ‘Alcohol Concern’. Bet she’s a mate of Tony and Cherie’s as well. Dianne is married to Professor David Caplin who works at Imperial College. David Caplin is a physicist – perhaps they have a bit more integrity than the Top Doctors at Imperial.

Whilst trumpeting the wonders of the Third Sector, Stephen tells us on his blog that ‘state provision often neglects the consumer or beneficiary’. That Stephen is because it was so often run by people like you and Janet Boateng – you neglected the beneficiary to such an extent that a little girl was murdered and even then you tried to tart it up as a race relations problem. The charity sector is now blighted with exactly the same problems as the state sector – because you lot have now moved in and colonised that. Stephen mentions on his blog that ‘more than a third of mental health services are provided by charities’. Yes and the leading story on all the news programmes today has been the scandalous state of the nation’s mental health services. This morning it was revealed that thousands of mental health patients are spending YEARS in hospital after they have been deemed to be fit for discharge because there is no accommodation for them and at lunchtime it was reported that Sir James Munby, the head of the Family Court, has been unable to find suitable psychiatric care for a suicidal teenaged girl. Munby has sated that if care for her cannot be found ‘society will have blood on it’s hands’. You obviously haven’t noticed Sir James – society has been awash with the blood of the mentally ill for decades. And you’ve only just woken up to it. No doubt Paul Farmer and Marjorie Wallace will pop up on the ‘Today’ programme tomorrow to give us all a lecture about the horrors of people remaining in hospital for years because of a lack of accommodation. Well why haven’t they mentioned it before? The rest of us knew that it was happening – in fact I e mailed a number of politicians about this some three years ago….

 

Many years ago a book was published called something like ‘The Court of The Blairs’ which was an account of some of the rather shallow, dysfunctional people lining their own nests who surrounded Tony and Cherie. Valerie Amos, Janet Boateng and Stephen Bubb are pretty good examples of the outer circle. (Blair’s inner circle was comprised of the likes of Silvio of course…)

 

Somebody else who might be able to enlighten us all regarding what was going on in Lambeth at the time of Tyra’s murder is a man whose name crops up in reports of the case from that time – the Chair of the British Association of Social Workers Southwark, John Wheeler. John Wheeler is now based in the north east of England – I suspect like some others who were previously associated with Lambeth, he’s air-brushed that bit out of his CV – and doubles up as ‘John Wheeler Solutions Ltd’. He has a website that bangs on about him having experience in ‘solution focussed’ practice and expertise in ‘training and development’. The site mentions his ‘thirty years experience as a social worker/family therapist’ and tells us that he has ‘co-developed a model for complex child protection issues’. Wheeler is a visiting lecturer in solution focussed practice, systemic practice and narrative therapy at the following Universities: Northumbria, Newcastle, Durham, Sunderland, Teeside. He teaches on the following courses: social work, psychology nursing, systemic practice and child protection.

John has published too – in ‘Clinical Child Psychology and Psychiatry’, on brief solution focussed therapy. The Hergest Unit used to offer that – Brown observed that it will certainly be brief but there won’t be many solutions. There weren’t many solutions for the therapist either. He was a nurse with a PhD who had been told by the North West Wales NHS Trust to pass himself off as a clinical psychologist. One of the many patients whom the Hergest Unit tried to frame for a crime that she didn’t commit found out about this and complained. The therapist was subsequently sacked – not for false representation, because the Trust had forced him into that, but for allegedly having a relationship with a patient. The therapist knew a friend of mine and his story was that he had actually only begun a relationship with the patient a year after she had been discharged after meeting her again at a party. But Ysbyty Gwynedd were smarting with embarrassment that they’d been caught misrepresenting the status and qualifications of their staff, so he was the scapegoat.

Like the esteemed Professors Poole and Robinson of Bangor University, John Wheeler has been paying visits to India to dispense his pearls of wisdom. He’s also been popping over to Poland to show them how it’s done. John’s website is advertising an ‘online certificate of competence’. He has helpfully provided diagrams and instructions concerning how to fold and read your certificate of competence if you’re too incompetent to work out how to do it.

I really do recommend a visit to John’s website. It can be summed up by one phrase – ‘Clare In The Community’.

John’s website doesn’t only detail his expertise regarding focussing on solutions. He plays in a ceilidh band and also recommends singing as a way to deal with stress and to bond with other people.

One has to be careful if one’s a service user and one does a bit of singing though. Some years ago there was a young man who was a patient at the Hergest Unit – he suffered from bouts of severe depression – who had two young children. His first baby was a girl and he was delighted – a couple of years later his wife became pregnant again and this time he thought that it would be really great if they could have a boy, one of each. His wife gave birth to a little boy and the day after the birth, this young man took his little girl for a walk in Snowdonia. He was so happy about the birth of his second child that he was singing. He was stopped by a policeman and interrogated regarding who the little girl with him was – on the grounds that he might not be suitable to be responsible for a little girl, what with him being a singing service user. The incident caused quite a furore, because his fuming wife contacted the local media. Both she and her husband gave interviews regarding the idiocy of a young father being stopped by the police because he was singing in the woods. About ten years after this incident, the young man sadly became ill with depression again and killed himself. I knew his wife – she told me that it was heartbreaking, both she and he knew that he was becoming very depressed again but they didn’t know why. There was no help forthcoming from the Hergest Unit – by this time the day centre had been closed and Alun Davies et al had just about destroyed ‘the service’ completely. But at least north Wales was crawling with those experts in suicide prevention that I have previously blogged about and dear old David Healy was making regular media appearances.

Someone else whom Jack Straw will know who has knowledge of the insanity at Lambeth is Lord Herman Ouseley, the former Chair and Chief Exec of the Commission for Racial Equality 1993-2000.  Before he made his career in ‘equality and diversity’, Herman was Chief Exec of ILEA and Chief Exec of Lambeth! (Herman has removed all references to Lambeth from his wiki entry, but he was very much there.) Herman has been at the ‘forefront of challenging institutional racism in organisations’. Like so many of his contemporaries who were involved in running the car crash at Lambeth, Herman is now a management consultant advising on equality and diversity issues. It was Herman who introduced Paul Boateng, husband of Janet, to the Lords when Boateng was given a peerage.

Following hot on the heels of Herman as the Chairman of the Commission for Racial Equality was Gurbux Singh. Sing hadn’t worked for Lambeth but he had been just about everywhere else that managed to disgrace itself in the 1980s – the GLC, Hackney, Brent and Haringey. Gurbux ended up as Chief Exec of Haringey Council and he was there at the time that Dr Dafydd Alun Jones rang them up to have a word with them about me when Dafydd discovered that I would be living there after I left the North Wales Hospital Denbigh! Gurbux – how did you know a crazed old bugger in north Wales who was concealing a paedophile ring? Gurbux was a member of Jack Straw’s Race Relations Forum when Straw was Home Secretary and was also an advisor to the Association of London Government and a member of our old friend the Association of Metropolitan Authorities. No doubt Gurbux would have been elevated to the Lords by Blair as well if only he hadn’t come unstuck at a cricket match in 2002 by getting pissed, threatening a policeman and getting himself arrested. The incident caused him to resign from the CRE. This wasn’t because of the drunkenness or the arrest, it was because Singh told the policeman that he (Singh) knew Ian Blair the Deputy Commissioner of the Met – now Lord Blair, a big mate of another man called Blair – and would have the policeman sacked.

Yet another old lag who made a career out of her ‘expertise’ in equality and diversity was Judith Hunt. Judith used to edit the GLC magazine ‘Equalities’. Judith is now Judith Hunt OBE and runs an outfit called ‘Judith Hunt Associates Ltd’. She is of course an ‘executive coach’ and ‘consultant’ ‘working across the sectors’ dispensing advice on ‘diversity and equalities’. She is a Board Member for Transport for London and a Member of the Audit Committee there.

Judith’s previous positions include: National Officer and Assistant General Secretary of ‘a national trade union’ (she doesn’t say which one, so presumably there’s been a bit of trouble there); Director of Personnel at the GLC; Chief Exec at London Borough of Ealing for 7 years; Chief Exec of Local Gov’t Management Board 1993-99; Chair of Camden and Islington Health Authority 2000-02; Chair, London Health Observatory 2002-06.

Come on Judith, with a CV like that you’ll have known something about the abuse of children and the associated cover-up by the Top Doctors.

Judith was a Board Member of the CPS, 2002-05. The CPS that could not explain why it did not prosecute Greville Janner and numerous other high profile child abusers – including the dozens in north Wales against whom there was substantial evidence. Judith is now a non-executive director of the CPS and the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal. She has contributed to the delivery of the CPS Diversities strategy.

Judith has also contributed to the Civil Service Commission and the ESRC Research Priorities Board – so that’s why the ESRC does what it’s told by the Gov’t, even when the agenda is obviously so lame!

People actually pay Judith for her advice – including the NHS and Dept of Health.

The website of ‘Judith Hunt Associates Ltd’ is well worth a visit as they used to say on ‘Blue Peter’, because one can click on the various people who assist in her consultancy. They are all as equally vacuous as Judith and use very similar phrases to describe their work, phrases which are actually meaningless. Judith curiously claims to carry out ‘health checks’. Which is seriously weird, because I don’t think that she’s a Top Doctor, even if the NHS and DoH are wasting good money on her ‘advice’.

Another former leader of Lambeth (1986-88) who could answer a few questions is Linda Bellos – she too is now a management consultant, ‘Linda Bellos Associates’ – in equalities and diversity, although Linda specialises in LGBT issues. Linda was one of the Lambeth Councillors who resigned over the rate capping saga – and I think that she was the leader when the Council finally imploded. Linda has advised the British Army, the Met, the CPS and the Association of Chief Police Officers!

 

So there we have it, a bunch of people who ran the most dangerous, chaotic Councils in England – whose children’s services were pervaded by paedophiles – many of whom ended up being disqualified from office and who effectively bankrupted their authorities. Who better for Blair to elevate to the Lords and appoint to lead Gov’t Commissions, advise the NHS, the police, the CPS etc on ‘equality’? It was after all only the most disadvantaged children in the country who suffered and died in the ‘services’ that they ran.

There are two other people who might be able to answer questions as well, although they are not friends of Tony and Cherie. One is Ted Knight, who was leader of Lambeth Borough Council from 1978. Ted was disqualified from office but for many years remained active in Unite. However, when Jeremy Corbyn was elected leader of the Labour Party, Ted announced his re-entry into politics and he’s now busy in Lambeth once more. The other is a man called John McDonnell, who was involved in the GLC and hung around a lot with Ted and co. This John McDonnell will know something. I wonder where he is now…

 

NB. I heard on the news earlier that Rogue Top Doctor Ian Paterson has had his prison sentence increased. The judge who increased it made a speech about a shocking breach of trust, how could any Top Doctor ever behave in such a way etc etc. I’ve got news for Lady Justice Hallett – plenty of them are capable of doing so. After all I’ve got 10,000 documents showing that scores of them concealed a paedophile ring and tried to have me imprisoned by perjuring themselves. No doubt when Paterson is eventually released, the GMC will put him back on the register and double his pension pot to compensate for his lost earnings whilst he was inside. There has also been a GP in east London arrested for numerous sexual assaults on patients. Is that the sound of loud snoring that I can still hear coming from the direction of north Wales?