News Round Up, 13 October 2017

A case from Wales has been in the London-based media this week. A gay father from south Wales – Matthew Scully-Hicks – is standing trial at Cardiff Crown Court charged with the murder of the baby girl Elsie whom he and his partner had adopted just a few weeks before she died. The Court has heard how Scully-Hicks was completely unable to cope with looking after the baby, described her as ‘Satan in a baby gro’ and screamed and shouted in frustration at her. Scully-Hicks’s partner however claimed that their house ‘was full of love’ – I think that perhaps the Vale of Glamorgan Social Services who allowed Scully-Hicks to adopt Elsie might have some explaining to do.

 

Politicians and child sexual abuse have taken up much news time over the past few days, particularly as the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse has been hearing evidence about former Liberal MP for Rochdale Cyril Smith. It was reported that for many years prosecutors were lying when they made public statements maintaining that they didn’t know about the allegations of sex offences against children involving Cyril Smith – prosecutors knew that there had been numerous complaints against Smith and he was even arrested on at least one occasion but was allowed to quietly walk away without charge. The Inquiry heard that Smith used his ‘respectability’ to protect himself from prosecution or public exposure. The DPP Alison Saunders popped up on Radio 4’s Today programme to reassure us all that nothing like this could ever happen these days – of course Smith would be prosecuted today because the ‘systems’ have improved so much. That explains why not only was Lord Greville Janner never prosecuted despite many allegations that he sexually abused children, but that Alison Saunders herself admitted that he should have been charged back in the 1990s. She was unable to explain why he wasn’t. Janner famously was eventually ordered to face a ‘trial of the facts’ – he could not actually be tried for the alleged offences because his lawyers submitted medical evidence that he was suffering from dementia. This evidence was challenged, but the CPS accepted it. Janner never did face a trial of the facts because the whole process took so long that he died before anyone got within a whiff of a trial of the facts. Alison Saunders was DPP at the time. For further background on Alison and her dedication to improving systems, see post ‘Sisters Are Indeed Doing It For Themselves…’.

Just to reinforce how much systems have changed, following the release of Operation Conifer’s report into the allegations that Ted Heath abused male children, supporters of Ted are demanding a judicial review of Operation Conifer as well as the blood of Mike Veale – the Chief Constable of Wiltshire Police who led Operation Conifer – for supposedly besmirching Heath’s reputation. Heath’s fan club are fuming because one of the men who claimed that Ted Heath raped him as a child is ‘a paedophile serving a prison sentence for a sex offence who confessed to a murder that he hadn’t committed’. He is therefore an ‘evil’ ‘fantasist’ who cannot be believed, whereas Ted Heath was a respectable politician.

No-one has felt able to mention that not only does being sexually assaulted as a child often lead to huge confusion and distress in adult life, but some – although by no means all – kids who are molested go on to sexually abuse other children. What leaps out at me however is that the man making the allegations against Heath confessed to a murder that he hadn’t committed – what if he also confessed to a sexual assault on a child that he hadn’t committed and that’s why he’s sitting in prison at the moment? Furthermore, we know nothing about the circumstances in which he confessed to a murder that he hadn’t committed – was he, like the Birmingham Six, beaten to a pulp by the police until he confessed? Was he being ironic after being accused of committing a very serious offence that he obviously hadn’t committed? Did he even confess to the POLICE to this murder? He could have been larking around with his mates in terms of ‘ooh there’s been a murder’ – ‘yeh, I know, I done it’ sort of thing. We have so little information about the man who alleges that Heath raped him that no conclusions can be drawn at all, let along a conclusion that he is an ‘evil fantasist’. I can only remind Heath’s supporters that one problem noted during the various investigations into the abuse of children in care in north Wales was that by the time that anyone began investigating, the former children had grown up and many had led very troubled lives. They weren’t Peter Pan – at the time that they gave evidence they were adult men and many of them had criminal convictions, drug and alcohol problems. (They had complained whilst they were children but had been ignored by everyone but the whistle blowing social worker Alison Taylor who was sacked.) Which is what tends to happen to teenaged boys who spend years in places like Bryn Estyn where they are beaten and buggered daily. It results in no-one believing them, which is particularly convenient when the whole of north Wales wants to delude themselves that the ‘children’s services’ really weren’t as bad as some people are making out and no-one knew  anything anyway.

 

Mail Online reported that 15 year old Robyn Lewis Ellson from north Wales died after Alder Hey Children’s Hospital gave her a toxic combination of medication during treatment for leukaemia. The Top Doctors admitted that it should never have happened and apologised to Robyn’s family. It won’t happen again they have reassured everyone. Toxic combinations of drugs are actually quite a common occurrence in the NHS – I was prescribed such a combination myself by Dr Richard Tranter at the Hergest Unit, but I didn’t take it which probably saved my life. Tranter is a psychopharmacologist. If he’s prescribing lethal combinations of drugs in the face of warnings published about those combinations, the problem will be widespread – but the patients are not usually in a position to know that it’s happening.

Radio 4 reported that the  CQC have blamed the now undeniable NHS crisis on the rising number of elderly patients and levels of obesity. So as with most things NHS, it’s the patients fault – they’re all too fat and old. A CQC spokesman arrived on the Today programme talking cobblers. He stated that because people are living so much longer, the cost of the NHS caring for them throughout their older years was enormous. Older people do not actually drain the NHS of resources in the way suggested. People are now experiencing much better health in their older years than a couple of generations ago. The huge cost is usually encountered only in the final 18-24 months of someone’s life, when multiple health problems frequently occur. That can happen when someone is in their 90s or, if they are less fortunate, in their early 70s. People don’t hit retirement age and then spend 30 years utterly decrepit, occupying a hospital bed on life support. Furthermore of course, in the case of many elderly people who are very frail, the final nail in the coffin is often an admission to hospital for a routine problem which is then dealt with appallingly.

The man from the CQC did stress that most NHS care is still ‘excellent’. Of course – there’d be no problem at all if it weren’t for all these fat old gits demanding a service from the Top Doctors and Angels.

 

There has been widespread derision from those on the left at Theresa May’s plan to train one million volunteers in ‘mental health first aid’ – although the likes of MIND have been vigorously promoting these ‘courses’ for ages. The Gov’t has stated that they will probably be online courses and the estimated cost is £15 million. Public Health England will consult on how the courses will be run and taught – that’s the Public Health England that is part of the system that has led to the current dire state of affairs. Theresa has of course used the stigma discourse – the mental health first aiders will be ‘fighting the stigma’. Theresa has been accused of wanting to replace mental health professionals with members of the general public after spending 15 quid on training each of them. I have always been very rude about the idea of ‘mental health first aid’ because it cannot possibly address the problems of people with severe and enduring mental illness – it’s the sort of thing that people might find useful to reassure a friend who is anxious or mildly stressed. If you’ve been clobbered with a psychotic illness or are so clinically depressed that you can’t talk or get out of bed, ‘mental health first aid’ is not going to do much for you. It will also possibly decrease understanding of seriously ill people and increase the levels of dear old stigma – if someone’s had mental health first aid applied and they’re still not back in full-time work or have topped themselves, it just goes to show that it was their fault and that there was probably something wrong with them.

On the other hand, mental health professionals are doing such a bad job that I’m not surprised that Theresa May has decided that she doesn’t want to waste anymore money on training and employing the sort of ones that we have at the moment. As I have mentioned many times, it is mental health professionals who have the most stigmatising attitudes to people with mental health problems -members of the general public are often very understanding, unless of course an Angel or a Top Doctor has been whispering sweet nothings in their ear about Dangerous Mental Patients.

After yet more ‘fighting stigma’ talk, I was interested to note the fulfilment of a prediction that I made on the blog a few days ago in my comments section, regarding the ‘research’ that Radio Five Live had ‘carried out’ among ‘nurses’, which ‘proved’ that the level of attacks on Angels by mental health patients were rocketing as a result of The Cuts. Radio Five Live did not mention their methodology, the way in which they analysed their results or even how many Angels that they interviewed, let alone how they selected those Angels. Neither did they explain the statistics behind the % increase in assaults that the Angels claimed was occurring or from which date they had calculated the alleged % increase – it was so obviously a figure plucked out of thin air.

As if on cue, the next day a Labour MP – an MP with a remit for disability as well – spoke up in Parliament about the ‘research’ that ‘proved’ that attacks on ‘staff’ by ‘psychiatric patients’ were increasing. Anyone for fighting stigma? Ironically on the same day in Parliament, Chris Bryant – a Labour MP for one of the constituencies in the south Wales valleys – very effectively ripped apart Theresa May’s laughable website of unanalysed statistics which she believes will help fight injustice against ethnic minority groups. Bryant made the point that there is a difference between correlation and causation – he quipped that when Thatcher was voted out, Marathon bars were renamed Snickers, but it probably wasn’t that which was responsible for Thatcher’s comeuppance. I am hoping that Mr Bryant will have a word with whichever dickwit Jezza has appointed disability spokesperson – even if ‘attacks’ on Angels by psychiatric patients are increasing (and I very much doubt that they are and Radio Five Live has certainly proved no such thing), it cannot be assumed that it is a result of The Cuts. Particularly as there haven’t been any Cuts – the Tories haven’t dared implement The Cuts much as they’d like to, because of the wailing and the gnashing of teeth that they know will follow. What has happened is that the dosh that has been given to the NHS for mental health services has been spent on other things. It is the NHS that has done this, not the Tories. The NHS really is not very nice to mental health patients, it certainly doesn’t spend money on them. The NHS spends money on PFI agreements, on expensive carpets for executives offices, on management consultants as well as on enormous salaries for its own managers, on machines that go ping, on expensive lawyers to fight patients whom the NHS has maimed or damaged, on away days and training, but it definitely doesn’t spend money on mental health patients.

The fuckwittery has been taken up by the Angels employed by the Betsi – who’s mental health services are so bad that they have landed the Health Board in special measures. The Daily Post Online ran a huge feature about an Angel who works as a psychiatric nurse for the Betsi. The unidentified Angel maintains that ‘every nurse’ whom she knows ‘has been attacked’. Well as the Betsi believe that a distressed or psychotic patient swearing in the presence of an Angel – not even AT an Angel – constitutes an ‘attack’ (it counts as a ‘verbal assault’) it is hardly surprising that ‘every’ Angel has been attacked. I can absolutely guarantee that very few Angels have been physically assaulted by a mental health patient – despite the crude stereotypes that the NHS likes to promote when it is asking the Gov’t for more money, physical assaults on staff by patients are unusual and when they do happen are more likely to come from drunks than mental health patients. However certainly at the Hergest Unit there have been a number of complaints from patients of assaults on them by Angels – I was assaulted myself by four Angels in the Hergest Unit. My complaint was not investigated by the Hergest let alone the police – and evidence was destroyed. I know of other patients who were assaulted by staff in the Hergest or who witnessed other patients being assaulted by staff. One male patient told me that he witnessed male Angels in the Hergest employing every excuse possible to ‘restrain’ one particular female patient and using this as an excuse to grope her.

The Angel interviewed by the Daily Post Online talks about the dreadful standard of the mental health services at the Betsi and how it is all the managers’ fault. She mentions that she has worked there for a long time and refers to the Tawel Fan scandal to illustrate her points regarding the dreadful service. The mental health service in north Wales is dreadful, it has been dreadful for decades – so that particular Angel has been part of the problem. The managers are indeed shite – many of those managers are promoted Angels themselves and they too have been there decades. The buck stops with this lot. They cannot blame anyone but themselves for the mess, the deaths, the litigation and the Ombudsman’s damning reports. The Top Doctors and Angels hounded out Mary Burrows, the CEO from outside of the region, who tried very hard to improve matters. The current Chair of the Betsi, Dr Peter Higson, is a former clinical psychologist who grew up in north Wales, who trained in north Wales, who worked as a psychologist in north Wales and who then managed the mental health services in north Wales. Higson’s sister Ruth Hussey was until recently Chief Medical Officer for Wales – she ignored what was going on as well. Martin Jones, the Director of Workforce for the Betsi, comes from Anglesey, went to school on Anglesey, went to Bangor University and then began his working life as an office boy in Ysbyty Gwynedd. (It is rumoured that he failed accountancy exams at some point, but I haven’t seen concrete evidence of that.) Craig Barton, the Director of Ysbyty Glan Clwyd, came from north Wales, went to Bangor University, became an NHS manager in north Wales and was previously a manager of the Hergest Unit. You couldn’t get much more local than this collection of local talent. And what a mess they have made. To quote from the mad mother in the horror film ‘Carrie’ – ‘the Devil has come to his own’.

As for Tawel Fan – no Angel was attacked by anyone. That ward was shut down because the Angels were abusing the patients. The only Angel who was disciplined was the real Angel who recorded what was going on in that ward and blew the whistle – she was arrested, received death threats, faced disciplinary action from the NMC and lost her job. The other Angels were transferred to another mental health unit. Where there was another scandal involving the abuse of patients shortly after they arrived. To my knowledge, no-one has been sacked, although the Angels concerned were refusing to co-operate with an external investigation.

The Angel in the Daily Post mentions that UNISON is supporting their campaign. UNISON and its predecessor COHSE have a long and glorious history of concealing misconduct and malpractice on the part of their members and of conjuring up images of violent nutters attempting to murder Angels when they’re about to submit a pay claim. The former General Secretary of COHSE was David Williams, an Angel from north Wales who trained and worked at the North Wales Hospital when patients died after being lobotomised, when they were physically and sexually abused by staff and when the staff of that hospital concealed organised child sexual abuse (see post ‘A Very COHSE Relationship With Some Very Nasty People’).

The abusive Angels of the Betsi have the full support of the North Wales Community Health Council – the Chief Exec of the CHC has spoken to the Post himself and backed up the Angels. This is the CHC that ignored at least two very serious complaints about abuse and neglect in the north Wales mental health services. The CHC that numbers among its past and present members Top Doctors from north Wales, including a retired psychiatrist from the Hergest Unit, Dr Sadie Francis and a retired surgeon from Ysbyty Glan Clwyd, Christine Evans. One member of the CHC is married to a member of the Betsi Board and another former member is Glanville Owen. Glanville was the Deputy Director of Gwynedd Social Services responsible for children’s homes whilst a paedophile ring raged in those children’s homes (see post ‘I Know Nuzzing…’).The highest profile member of the North Wales CHC however is one Eleanor Burnham.

Eleanor was a Lib Dem AM for North Wales, 2001-2011, before the electorate decided that they’d had a bellyful of her and voted her out. Eleanor was born in Wrexham and her early career was in social services management. She sat as a Wrexham Magistrate and also on Mental Health Review Tribunals for the North Wales Hospital Denbigh. She competed in and won prizes at the International Eisteddfod Llangollen.

The children’s homes in north Wales where children were abused were run by the social services. The homes with the biggest problem of sexual abuse were near Wrexham. The abuse of children in those homes went back decades. The abuse was so extensive that the homes were functioning as child brothels. Boys who complained of being abused were stitched up for crimes in the local Magistrates Courts. The North Wales Hospital detained patients unlawfully and also detained people who complained of being abused by psychiatrists, social workers or in the children’s homes. A number of people involved with concealing the abuse in the children’s homes were involved with the International Eisteddfod. Sir Ronnie Waterhouse, the judge who carried out the biggest cover-up, was President of the International Eisteddfod.

Eleanor’s biography has disappeared from the Lib Dems website. I cannot imagine why.

Some years ago I attended a meeting of the Court at Bangor University when Eleanor Burnham was in the audience. I don’t know what precipitated it, but during the meeting Eleanor Burnham became very angry, stood up and started shouting and yelling at the Vice Chancellor and the Chancellor. She hurled comments about everyone being MEN and shrieked ‘do you have any women on the University Council?’ Instead of replying ‘we’ve got loads you dipstick, take a look at the list of members’, they simply commented ‘yes there are women on the Council’. It wasn’t enough for Eleanor – she continued yelling and eventually the Vice Chancellor quipped that he’d attended the first Women’s Liberation conference in Oxford (which was true – I don’t think that Eleanor was there though, she’d have been far too busy assisting the paedophiles of north Wales). At which point Eleanor screamed ‘and look what happened to you’ and stormed out of the room.

Christ almighty Eleanor, look what happened to YOU – you’ve got what must be the most shameful CV in Wales and you ended up in the Senedd and now you’re on the CHC, no wonder there’s problems, you shouldn’t even be walking the streets a free woman.

Eleanor lists one of her interests as being ‘social inclusion’.

 

The Daily Post Online also reported that Ernest Marjerison, an elderly man who was admitted to the Wrexham Maelor Hospital with a fractured hip, died after a feeding tube was inserted into his lung. Coroner John Gittins carried out the inquest in Ruthin. No, there was not a verdict of murder returned or manslaughter or even gross negligence…

 

Daily Post Online reported an enormous row over the alleged oppression of Welsh speaking police officers in north Wales. I have no idea whether there is discrimination against them within the North Wales Police, but I was interested to see that Arfon Jones the North Wales Police and Crime Commissioner came to the rescue, pledging to ‘support the language’. When Arfon was a police constable he was the man who chauffeured the senior officer Gordon Anglesea to the venues in which Anglesea molested boys in care. In his capacity as Police and Crime Commissioner Arfon was responsible for an ‘oversight’ that resulted in Anglesea’s widow receiving a police pension, although her husband died in prison a convicted child abuser. Another well-known defender of the Welsh language was former Assistant Chief Constable Elfed Roberts, who later became Chair of the disastrous North West Wales NHS Trust and had me arrested because I had pink hair, had called his car a penismobile and he was fed up of my complaints about the mental health services (see post ‘After The Attempt To Frame Me…’). A friend of mine was told by the dreadful Trystan Pritchard  – a former NHS manager in north Wales and now Chief Exec of St David’s Hospice – that he really admired Elfed because he had ‘done so much for the language’ in the NHS. The former Chief Constable of the North Wales Police Richard Brunstrom was also enthusiastic about the language. He learnt Welsh to a very high standard, became a member of the Gorsedd of the Bards and Wales’s national poet penned a tribute to him. Elfed Roberts really hated Mr Brunstrom, in fact Elfed Roberts fed stories to the Daily Mail about how everyone else hated Mr Brunstrom as well and how important it was that Mr Brunstrom should Go. It was Elfed who coined the description of Richard Brunstrom as ‘the mad mullah of the traffic Taliban’ – not of course that Elfed was at all bigoted, ignorant or held crude stereotypes of people who lived in Foreign Parts. Elfed Roberts left the North Wales Police himself after what was described to me as ‘a conversation about the privileges and perks that Elfed seemed to be enjoying’. Other people told me that Mr Brunstrom ‘kicked Elfed out for corruption’. The Daily Mail didn’t report that.

Arfon Jones recently signed a document of solidarity with the protesters in Catalonia.

 

A well-known and popular homeless man of Llandudno was found dead after going missing for days. He was being ‘supported’ by ARC – an organisation previously featured on this blog after winning an award from the paedophiles’ friend Arfon Jones. Nicola Jones the Coroner stressed that his death had ‘nothing to do’ with his homelessness – it could have happened to any of us. Except that it didn’t, it happened to the homeless man, in the same way that so many deaths in north Wales that Coroners rule to be completely unrelated to the appalling neglect of the local mental health services keep happening to people with mental health problems.

Police in North Wales tasered and nearly killed a man whom was ‘thought’ to be carrying a knife. The incident ie. near murder, was referred to the IPCC who have now cleared the North Wales Police. I note that it was not confirmed that the man who was nearly killed HAD been carrying a knife – just that it was ‘reported’ that he ‘had been seen’ with a large knife. Had the man actually been carrying the knife as reported, I’m fairly sure that this would have been stressed. So the police very nearly killed an innocent man and have now been given a clean bill of health by the IPCC. Years ago in England police shot dead man after a member of the public reported seeing him walking down the street carrying a shotgun- the shotgun that was spotted had actually been a chair leg…

 

The  crisis of austerity is really beginning to bite in Wales. Councils in Wales have been told by Carwyn Jones that the Welsh Gov’t is so short of money after limited settlements from Westminster that if the NHS in Wales receives yet more money the Councils will have to make drastic cuts. The Councils are squealing loudly about the prospect of closing down all non-essential services and still not having enough money to run schools. One Council leader has entertainingly lectured the NHS and told them that they could learn good money management from Councils, because of course Councils never spend their money in the manner of a drunken sailor themselves and the Councillors have never fiddled their expenses or indulged in misconduct. Not even those on Anglesey, one of whom inexplicably became very rich indeed and then went to prison.

I think that the NHS must be following a plan to give the Councillors ammunition, because days after the Councillors declared war on the NHS – the scammers in these ‘services’ had previously enjoyed very cosy relationships, particularly where screwing money out of the Welsh Gov’t for causes like CAIS had been concerned – a report stated that the Betsi doesn’t know what to do with itself because it had planned a £25 million overspend but now it realises that the overspend will be £50 million instead.

How exactly does one ‘plan’ for an overspend of 25 million and expect to be taken seriously???

Days later, a local people held a protest outside of a meeting of the Betsi Board about the lack of GP services in Wrexham.

 

Both the London-based media and the Welsh media have reported so many NHS cock-ups leading to fatalities that I haven’t got the scope to cover them all on the blog. A teenaged boy in south Wales hung himself after being refused help for mental health problems and scores of Top Doctors from England have ended up in hot water for various matters, including domestic violence as well as the standard catalogue of neglect and misconduct.

 

This morning Guardian Online has published an article by Gaby Hinsliffe praising Baroness Jean Trumpington on feminist grounds. The article maintains that Trumpers would have known how to deal with Harvey Weinstein. One of the many comments that follows my post ‘Wheels Within Wheels Or Flies Drawn To The Same Incestuously Corrupt Shithouse?’ outlines how Trumpers also knew a great deal about the abuse of children and mental health patients by the state, but Trumpers said nothing. Trumpers was also a big supporter of Jeremy Thorpe – although ironically she hated poofs. The high spot of Trumpers’ career came when she was Under-Secretary of State at the DHSS in 1987 – it was Trumpers who appointed Jimmy Savile to the Management Board of Broadmoor. Somehow Trumpers’ name has been completely kept out of the Savile business – Edwina Currie and Ken Clarke took the flack, but dear old Trumpers  was the one who did the dirty deed.

Trumpers et al ‘not knowing’ about Savile and all the associated shit is a pretty similar phenomenon to the current denouncing of Harvey Weinstein. It was explained on the radio that although Angela Jolie ‘knew about Weinstein’ (as indeed did everyone who worked with him), she couldn’t speak out because of the ‘stage of her career’ and the ‘place where she was’ when she found out what he was up to. Could that stage in her career and place where she was possibly have been realising that if one had sex with Weinstein, one’s career would go a very long way indeed? And that one could even end up as a Professor of Practice at the LSE without needing any qualifications at all? Or as an Ambassador for Women with the UN?

 

 

A Very COHSE Relationship With Some Very Nasty People

Rodney Bickerstaffe, the former General Secretary of UNISON, died a few days ago. Although Bickerstaffe was a trade union leader during the Winter of Discontent he didn’t seem to attract the opprobrium that other trade union leaders of that era did. Indeed even the Daily Telegraph was nice about him in the obituary that they published the other day. I always knew that as a leader of a trade union with many members who worked in the NHS that Bickerstaffe would have concealed a great deal of crap, but it was only today that I realised just how much.

Following Bickerstaffe’s death the tributes flowed. The Indie described him as a ‘champion of the low paid’ and Dave Prentis, the current General Secretary of UNISON, stated that ‘thanks to his work the lives of countless people have been changed for the better’. Jeremy Corbyn called Bickerstaffe ‘a great friend’, mentioned that he had worked with Bickerstaffe in the 1970s at NUPE and that Bickerstaffe had ‘provided guidance to me as an MP’. Bickerstaffe had been General Secretary of NUPE before NUPE merged with COHSE and NALGO to form UNISON. The identities of the leaders of those unions which no longer exist whom Bickerstaffe would have known provide a clue to how Bickerstaffe became so influential – and why everyone maintained that this hard-nosed union leader was ‘lovable’. Blair famously joked at the Labour Party conference in 2004 that no-one ever booed Rodney Bickerstaffe – we shall soon see why they didn’t.

Bickerstaffe was born in the East End to an unmarried nurse who had been abandoned by Bickerstaffe’s biological father. When Bickerstaffe was about two, he and his mother returned to his mother’s family in Doncaster to live, which was where he grew up. Bickerstaffe’s mother was an enthusiastic trade unionist as were other members of his family.

In 1966 Bickerstaffe became an organiser for NUPE in Yorkshire and subsequently the divisional officer of the northern division of NUPE. NUPE (the Nation Union of Public Employees) contained numerous people who worked in local government. So many of those council officials and others who kept quiet about – and indeed even facilitated – the organised sexual abuse of children in Yorkshire and in other paedophile hotspots will have been members of NUPE. Bickerstaffe subsequently became the national officer for membership in local government, universities and the water industry and in 1981 became General Secretary of NUPE. Paedophiles’ friends across the UK working in local government unite…

In July 1993 NUPE, COHSE and NALGO merged to form UNISON and Bickerstaffe became the Associate General Secretary. In Nov 1995 he was elected General Secretary and took office in Feb 1996.

At one point Bickerstaffe became President of the TUC.

NALGO – the National Association of Local Government Officers – was mentioned in the Waterhouse Report. Some of the staff who abused children in care in north Wales were members of NALGO and a few of them were even NALGO reps. Some of those who were convicted of abuse in Court had deals with their employers negotiated for them by NALGO. If this was happening in north Wales it will have been happening elsewhere. Presumably with NUPE as well. There was of course a paedophile ring operating in Islington children’s homes when Jeremy Corbyn et al ran Islington Council. And we know that Jeremy was involved with NUPE and worked with Bickerstaffe in that capacity…

But it is with COHSE (Confederation of Health Service Employees) that things become really terrifying from my perspective. My post ‘Those Who Care Are Concerned’ explains how the forerunner of COHSE was the National Asylum Workers Union. COHSE represented some of the most brutal ‘nurses’ employed in the UK – who constantly flagged up the ‘danger’ presented by their patients in the event of pay claims. As ‘Those Who Care Are Concerned’ detailed, there is plenty of evidence that it was COHSE members who presented the danger – places like the North Wales Hospital Denbigh were staffed by COHSE members.

Well guess what I have discovered? That it was actually a ‘nurse’ from the North Wales Hospital, David Williams, who was General Secretary of COHSE between 1983-87.

David Williams was born in 1926 and ‘trained’ at the North Wales Hospital in the mid-twentieth century. So David worked there whilst Gwynne the lobotomist was inflicting serious disability – and no doubt in some cases death – on awkward customers and he worked alongside those ‘nurses’ who physically, sexually and financially abused patients, who watched and assisted Dr Dafydd Alun Jones whilst he did this as well, who stood by silently as people were unlawfully imprisoned, who witnessed innocent people being framed for serious offences and who knew that a sizeable chunk of their patient population were people who had been victims of a paedophile ring that had been in operation in the region for many years. As a Denbigh nurse of that vintage David Williams will not have been a nice man. David may well have ‘trained’ alongside an older nurse who worked at Denbigh when I was there in the winter of 1986/87 who cheerfully explained to me that before the patients were forcibly drugged into oblivion, the only way of dealing with them was to ‘make them more frightened of you than they were of their hallucinations’. Except Denbigh being what it was, not all of those patients will have been having hallucinations – they will have simply insisted on talking about what had happened to them and it was the job of Bob et al to shut them up.

COHSE did not only sign up the abusive Angels in Denbigh as members – ambulance men were also members of COHSE as well. So the former north Wales ambulance man who was married to someone I knew in Gwynedd about 15 years ago could well have been a member – and even if he wasn’t, his colleagues will have been. The ambulance man in question was a violent wife-beater and also abused his wife’s daughter from her previous marriage – a young woman with mental health problems – on the grounds that he hated psychiatric patients. In fact he hated psychiatric patients so much that when he was called upon to take a man with a diagnosis of schizophrenia to Ysbyty Gwynedd because he was having breathing difficulties the ambulance man shouted and swore at him all the way to the hospital. After the man had recovered, the ambulance man told his stepson that if he ever had breathing difficulties again he’d refuse to take the man concerned to hospital. Even more worryingly, before this abusive git married the lady whom I knew well, he had been married before – his first wife had been admitted to the North Wales Hospital Denbigh. The ambulance man who really hated nutters collected her when she was discharged. She was found drowned on the Denbigh moors a few hours later, having ‘committed suicide’. The violent ambulance man had been the last person to see her alive. His story was that she ‘went mad’ on the way home, escaped from the car and ‘ran away’. Unbelievably this load of tripe was taken at face value and there was no investigation into the death. Well she was a Denbigh patient, they were often found dead after killing themselves in extraordinary ways. Sometimes on the premises of the North Wales Hospital.

The ambulance men in north Wales were also called upon to transport patients to Denbigh. Including those like me who had been unlawfully arrested and then imprisoned there.  I have previously mentioned that nearly all patients were taken to Denbigh in the middle of the night under cover of darkness (as I was). The ambulance men didn’t ever wonder what was going on then.

The good old days!

There is a lovely photo online of David Williams with Nye Bevan at a COHSE conference in 1953.

Although David Williams trained at the knee of Gwynne the lobotomist in Denbigh whilst it was at its glorious brutal best, churning out the Angels who were to spend the next forty years facilitating the paedophile ring in north Wales, David moved onto pastures new. In 1955 he began working for COHSE full time as a regional officer – in Yorkshire! So he joined old Bickerstaffe in Savile-country then. In 1962 Williams joined COHSE Head Office as national officer, then became senior national officer and was then appointed Assistant General Secretary. In 1983 he became General Secretary…

David Williams Chaired the Whitley Council in 1977. The Whitley Council decided upon pay levels for staff in the NHS and it was truly loathed. It was the Whitley Council which was responsible for keeping pay in the NHS so low – nurses managed to escape the clutches of the Whitley Council eventually which was why their pay became so much better in the late 80s compared to the pay of other NHS staff who were not doctors. It was the excesses of the Whitley Council which led to the empty laboratories in NHS hospitals in the 80s and 90s. Fancy being a histopathologist in the NHS? Well you’ll have needed postgrad qualifications but the dear old Whitley Council dictated that you would be paid £6k pa.

David Williams was active in the Labour Party and served on the Labour Party’s NEC 1981-83. In 1983 he was elected to the General Council of the TUC. After he retired as General Secretary of COHSE in 1987 Williams became an occasional advisor to WHO (World Health Organisation).

A COHSE website mentioned that David Williams was ‘still campaigning for the NHS in 2016’.

So David Williams is probably still alive. In which case I think that he ought to be asked if he can shed any light on the Cleveland Child Abuse Scandal. I mentioned in previous posts (such as ‘The Newcastle-Upon-Tyne Connection’) that the Cleveland Child Abuse Scandal blew up and muddied the waters where abuse of children in care was concerned just after Alison Taylor, Mary Wynch and I started writing to Ministers, MPs and others about the abuses in the children’s services and mental health services in north Wales. I have been wondering if someone sparked off the chaos in Cleveland deliberately, for fear that the North Wales Paedophile Ring and it’s connection to the Westminster Paedophile Ring was in danger of becoming public knowledge. I have mentioned that Dr Neil Davies and Professor Bob Woods who were working in the north Wales mental health services had previously worked in Newcastle. But I didn’t know about dear old David Williams and his national position on a powerful NHS trade union until today…

David Williams was General Secretary of COHSE right at the time that Alison, Mary and me were piping up. He continued to have great influence after he stood down in 1987 – and he will have been very well-networked. What if he was yet another person who had seen the distress flare sent up by his old mates in north Wales?

Come on then David, if you’re still alive and kicking, cough…

COHSE sponsored a number of MPs including Dale Campbell-Savours, Michael Meacher, Mo Mowlam, Allan Rogers, Bill Molloy, Dennis Canavan and Joan Walley. Angela Eagle worked for COHSE in the mid-80s – when David Williams was General Secretary! Anything to declare Angela? What with you being such a sensitive flower and getting offended over the alleged sexism of Owen Smith a few months ago, I would have thought that you really ought to be denouncing the patient-battering child-abusing bastards whom you used to work for. Or is it yet another case of I Know Nuzzing?

Former north Wales COHSE National Executive Committee Members certainly seem to do OK for themselves. In 1987 the National Exec Committee Member from Gwynedd was a Glyn Graham. He now seems to run a business based in Nottingham which provides medical and First Aid ‘training’, as well as security guards no less. Between 1982-90, John Vidal was a National Exec Committee Member from Gwynedd. There is a John Vidal who works as the Guardian’s environmental editor who previously worked for the North Wales Weekly News. I wonder if it is the same person.

 

Bickerstaffe, who succeeded the git that was David Williams as the General Secretary for the union that represented a bunch of lying criminals, retired from UNISON in 2001. He then became President of the National Pensioners Convention – Bickerstaffe took over from his close friend the trade unionist Jack Jones – and fought for improved health services for pensioners. Well Rodney, one reason why vulnerable people such as pensioners are neglected so badly by the NHS is because abusive staff are never sacked as a result of always receiving full backing from their unions. But you’d know all about that. In 2005 Bickerstaffe ‘focused on his international commitments’ – he Chaired the Global Network and was President of War On Want. Bickerstaffe also Chaired the Ken Gill Memorial Fund.

Ken Gill was General Secretary of MSF (Manufacturing, Science, Finance)between 1988-92. MSF had many members who worked in the NHS.

It was the MSF rep who was instrumental in hounding me out of my job at St George’s Hospital Medical School in 1991 and he knew what had happened to me at the hands of the paedophiles’ friends in north Wales. MSF seemed to wield a lot of influence in that institution and the rep whom I had the misfortune to be on the receiving end of, a man called David Hole, seemed to use his position to gather sensitive information on staff and even medical students in order to use against them. He also collected a great deal of shit on the wrongdoing of the Top Doctors – he didn’t dare use it directly against them in public but I suspect that he fed it back to other more senior people in MSF who will have used it for their own ends. One thing that it won’t have been used for is to protect patients from the madmen that populated that place. Hole was also active in the SDP in the Wandsworth area.

Like UNISON, MSF had been formed from the merger of other trade unions, namely TASS (the Technical, Administration and Supervisory Section) and ASTMS (the Association of Scientific, Technical and Managerial Staff). Before becoming General Secretary of MSF, Ken Gill had been the General Secretary of TASS.

Ken Livingstone helped form a branch of the ASTMS when he worked at the Chester Beatty Cancer Research laboratories. Ken worked at the Chester Beatty between 1962-70. His duties involved looking after the animals that were being kept for experimentation. Did Ken form the ASTMS branch to blow the whistle on unnecessary animal experimentation or to improve the lives of lab animals? Of course not, Ken formed the branch in opposition to plans to make some of the staff redundant. But then Ken was a leading light on Lambeth Borough Council and the GLC when children in the care of those organisations were being abused by paedophiles both in care settings in London and when they were sent to ‘placements’ in north Wales. Ken never said a thing about it – although he did sign the Early Day Motion to oppose the closure of Garth Angharad near Dolgellau, a ‘hospital for mentally abnormal criminals’ which in reality was yet another prison where the victims of the north Wales paedophile ring were banged up without trial (see post ‘More On Those Who Signed That Early Day Motion’).

ASTMS itself had previously gobbled up a number of other trade unions, including the Medical Practitioners Union, a Top Doctors union which was in opposition to the BMA.

All these unions had a lot of NHS members and they will have known about malpractice in the NHS. None of them spoke about it. The Medical Practitioners Union didn’t like the BMA, but the fight to which the Medical Practitioners Union was committed was expanding state healthcare. People adopting that position usually find it very difficult to admit the scale of wrongdoing and abuse that has permeated the NHS for decades. The reps of these very powerful unions were often in other influential positions involving decisions over other less powerful people. For example Sheila McKechnie, the Health and Safety Director of ASTMS, became Chief Exec of Shelter. Ken Gill was a member of the CRE 1981-87.

In 2000 MSF merged with AEEU to form AMICUS. in 2007 AMICUS and the TGWU merged to form UNITE. Is this why we never hear anything from Len McCluskey about patient harm in the NHS?

 

I have explained before on this blog how many of the people who knew about the sexual abuse of children by ‘VIPs’ and the concealment of it by psychiatry have threatened and blackmailed each other in order to gain personal advancement. No political party has ever been able to bring their opponents down or grass them up over this matter because so many people from across the political spectrum were involved. The obituaries of the union leaders like Bickerstaffe and Ken Gill are dripping with references to ‘comrades’ and how they were ‘committed socialists’ or ‘committed communists’. The reality was that they were fighting only for their own ‘comrades’, not for the people whom were being very badly abused (sometimes leading to their deaths) by their ‘comrades’ who were actually paid to care for the people whom they were abusing. The comrades weren’t even that loyal to each other when the chips were down. Ken Clarke described how when there was a protracted strike in the NHS in 1982 by members of NUPE and COHSE, the Tories divided COHSE by offering the members who were nurses higher pay offer than their comrades. It worked – the Fallen Angels accepted the offer and the strike was broken. Presumably the Angels then returned to their duties mistreating the mentally ill and keeping schtum that a high proportion of their patients had been sexually molested whilst in the care of the state.

One thing that all Bickerstaffe’s obituaries mentioned was how marvellous he was to have fought against vested interests in all the unions for the introduction of the minimum wage (the unions didn’t want the minimum wage introduced because they feared that it would bring down the pay of their more highly paid members). No-one actually explained how Bickerstaffe managed to get so many people who had been united in their opposition to a minimum wage to support it. I think that I can guess. Bickerstaffe knew about some terrible things that had been going on – involving some people in high places. Things that a lot of other people knew were going on but who had kept silent. If any of it had ever emerged into the public domain a lot of people from all walks of life would have gone to prison. NUPE, NALGO and COHSE merged to form UNISON in 1993 – Bickerstaffe is credited with organising that merger and he emerged from it as Associate General Secretary. In 1993, North Wales Police had held investigations into the allegations of child abuse in north Wales, accusations of police corruption and collusion had been made, the Jillings investigation had been ordered and a number of former residents from north Wales children’s homes had appeared in the media talking about having been abused whilst they were in care – and witnesses were being found dead. In Nov 1995 when Bickerstaffe was elected General Secretary of UNISON, the North Wales Hospital had just closed, Dafydd had ‘retired’ but walked away with the contract to provide ‘substance abuse services’ for north Wales and people were demanding a Public Inquiry into organised child abuse and the possible existence of a paedophile ring in north Wales. It was in 1995 that Mary Wynch was spat out, ruined, by the Home Office and was never heard of again.

No doubt Bickerstaffe found it relatively easy to convince everyone that accepting a minimum wage in return for keeping victims of state abuse themselves in prison or in the mental hospitals in which the union members worked was quite a good deal.

Arthur Scargill wrote a tribute to Rodney Bickerstaffe just a few days ago on the Socialist Labour Party’s website, entitled ‘Working Class Leader’. A leader who sadly represented a section of the ‘working class’ who were kicking some very vulnerable people at the very bottom of the heap in the teeth constantly. People died at the hands of the North Wales Paedophile Ring Arthur. They DIED.

I saw Arthur Scargill speak in Bangor about five years ago. I was absolutely gobsmacked because I recognised the man who seemed to be playing a central role in Arthur’s visit to Bangor, who was setting up the speaker system, making sure Arthur had everything he needed etc. Then I found out that the man concerned had fairly recently married the woman who was sharing the platform with Arthur – she had been a Socialist Labour candidate in the previous General Election. The reason that I was so gobsmacked was that the man married to Arthur’s comrade had fathered a previous family and had abused his own children. His adult son went on to sexually assault a number of young boys and his daughter violently assaulted and injured her own children. The abuse was reported to Gwynedd Social Services by the new partner of his former wife – no action was taken by Gwynedd Social Services but the man who reported the abuse and the woman whom he later married were threatened. Some months after this the father of one of the babies who had been injured by their mother (ie. Arthur’s comrade’s daughter) was run over and killed by a lorry – after he had gained custody of the baby when the baby’s mother abandoned her. There was no investigation into his death. Full details of this whole sorry saga and the names of the Top Doctors, Councillor and police officer who concealed the web of abuse that Arthur’s mate and his family perpetuated can be read in my post ‘It’s All About Protecting Children’.

Michael Mansfield, one of the many radical lawyers who ignored the activities of the north Wales mental health services when they were brought to his attention, established the Socialist Labour Party with Arthur Scargill. They were good mates at the time.

 

A couple of days ago someone sent me an old newspaper cutting about Ted Heath. The cutting reported that Heath had paid a visit to Leeds Royal Infirmary where he had been ‘barracked’ by 50 ancillary workers demonstrating. A man called Jimmy Savile who worked as a voluntary porter at the LRI was among the demonstrators. Savile was dressed as a doctor and offered to act as Heath’s personal physician. Heath had replied that he hoped that would never be necessary. I presume that the events that the cutting referred to were taking place at some point when Heath was Prime Minister, 1970-74.

Savile will have known members of the unions discussed in this post. In 1970 Savile wasn’t yet managing high security hospitals or dining with Prime Ministers – he was just considered an idiot who worked for the BBC who farted around pretending to be a porter in Leeds. Whilst dressed as a doctor. We know from Edwina Currie’s admission that Savile was given the job of managing Broadmoor after he reassured Currie et al that he had so much dirt on the POA (Prison Officers Association) that he would blackmail them into submission. I wonder if Savile used his time portering at Leeds to gather dirt from members of COHSE etc? By that time David Williams who knew all about the north Wales paedophile ring had been working in Yorkshire for COHSE for years. Savile and his gangster friends virtually ran Yorkshire – which was also Bickerstaffe’s home turf.

Whilst Ted Heath was PM, Bryn Estyn, the children’s home near Wrexham where the most excessive abuse of boys took place, was managed directly by the Home Office. Sir Peter Morrison, the Tory MP for Chester, abused boys from Bryn Estyn and the boys themselves alleged that many other high profile people did as well. The use of Bryn Estyn as a child brothel allegedly went back years.

I wonder if old Savile found out about that from the likes of Williams and Bickerstaffe and used it to blackmail – or ingratiate himself to – the Tories during Heath’s time as PM? COHSE and the other NHS unions were notoriously hard left in the Seventies – Savile ended up as a close mate of Thatcher’s and a fully paid up Tory. Of course, if the rumours about Heath himself and under-aged boys were true and Savile had found out about that, Savile would certainly be in a position to wield a great deal of power – as would those lovable union leaders if they knew about it.

Comrades, working for the greater good of the citizens!

Running The Country – And All That Jazz

I mentioned in a recent post that I was reading Ken Clarke’s autobiography ‘Kind of Blue’ and that it was revealing a few gems. Ken Clarke has been in a senior figure in the Conservative Party for many decades now and has spent much of that time in very senior roles (‘the great offices of state’ as politicians like to describe those positions). I have always felt that Ken Clarke was very much more palatable than many of his colleagues – he wasn’t unhinged, he didn’t want to imprison the lower orders for great lengths of time for minor transgressions and as regular readers know, I did admire him for taking on the BMA when nobody else would. But his book is probably rather more revealing than he realised.

Clarke went to Cambridge and became involved in the Cambridge University Conservative Union (CUCU). A number of his contemporaries there also became big names in the Tory Party under Margaret Thatcher, which led to them being described as the ‘Cambridge Mafia’. One thing that is obvious from Clarke’s book is his loyalty – at least in public – to colleagues in the Conservative Party. Ken Clarke is a famous ‘One Nation wet’ which actually put him at loggerheads with many others in the Party, but he unfailingly describes people who hated him (and whom he must have hated in return) as good friends and reassures readers that the screaming political rows with them that at times tore the Party apart didn’t affect their ‘friendships’.

It is clear from his autobiography that Ken Clarke is very gregarious, very matey and – although he believes that he is a ‘workaholic’ – spent a lot of time socialising, chatting, exchanging political gossip and drinking quite a lot. He enjoys going to curry houses with his mates, hanging out at jazz clubs, watching football matches and he was a member of a number of dining clubs in the Commons. Indeed he enjoyed the dining clubs so much that when promotion meant that he was no longer eligible for membership of his favourite dining club, he established a new one with his mates. None of this detracts from his character – I imagine that he’s good fun to have around if you’re a friend of his – but it did mean, as he admits early on in his book, that he knew pretty much everything about everyone in the Commons. ‘Are you thinking what I’m thinking?’ as his successor as Home Secretary Michael Howard used to ask – did Ken know what some of his colleagues were up to in terms of bad or even criminal behaviour? He keeps a discreet silence on the subject of Sir Peter Morrison – Ken simply states that he didn’t know him that well, although he seemed an ‘amiable fellow’ who did ‘little work’. Which is odd, because in the 1980s other Tory MPs were openly joking about Morrison’s ‘sexual preferences’, Thatcher was told that he was attending sex parties with under-aged boys and the citizens in his Chester constituency were scandalised by his conduct. Gyles Brandreth, who became the MP for Chester after Morrison stepped down, mentions in his own autobiography that he was told by people in Chester that it was known that Morrison had been caught by the police on a number of occasions in the late 80s in compromising positions with boys in their mid-teens in public places. But an arrangement was made between the police and the upper echelons which resulted in Morrison not being prosecuted and the incidents not appearing in the media. How did Ken, as he got bladdered with other Tories into the small hours, manage not to hear about all this?

Before entering politics Clarke was a barrister and practised at the Birmingham Bar. He seems to have kept in contact with folk in the legal world. In fact after he left Gov’t his old chambers asked him to come back and work as a barrister again, although he turned down this opportunity. I have mentioned previously on the blog that I know from experience that lawyers have a brilliant jungle drums system. Ken, as a wining, dining barrister in Birmingham, will no doubt have heard all about the notorious West Midlands Serious Crime Squad who fitted scores of people up – including the Birmingham Six – using time-honoured techniques such as beating up the suspect and drafting their statement for them. The West Midlands Serious Crime Squad who had connections to north Wales and fitted up a man from Caernarfon who was later awarded compensation. Who then, after winning his case against the West Midlands Serious Crime Squad, found himself arrested and imprisoned again – which he maintains was a punishment for daring to win against the West Midlands Serious Crime Squad…

Clarke’s first ministerial position was in 1982 when he was appointed Minister of State for Health. At that time Norman Fowler was Secretary of State for Health and Social Security and Tony Newton was the Minister in the DHSS working on welfare reforms. Clarke was considered the safe pair of hands needed to deal with the NHS and health unions. He describes himself as being effectively responsible for the day to day running of the NHS. In 1982 there was an NHS strike over pay which was only resolved after many months. The BMA and RCN didn’t join the strike – the strikers were from NUPE and COHSE. There were a number of nurses who were members of COHSE rather than the RCN – Ken describes how nurses had the strongest appeal to the public, so the Gov’t made a higher pay offer to the nurses in COHSE, dividing the union and undermining it’s appearance of reasonableness.

The civil servants didn’t want a confrontation with the NHS – the civil servants always advised Gov’t to concede to the BMA at least once a year with a deal to improve pay, terms and conditions. Well you don’t want the Top Doctors screaming and screaming until they’re sick do you. Ken also discovered that there was a longstanding agreement with the BMA that at every meeting with civil servants, one of the Dept of Health’s medical officers had to be present. Ken was frank that this was so that the medical officer could ‘act as the eyes and ears’ for the BMA and keep them informed of the Minister’s intentions. The first Chief Medical Officer with whom Ken had to work was Sir Henry Yellowlees. Ken describes him as useless and pompous whose main concern was exerting his patronage to decide which medics would be awarded knighthoods and other honours. Yellowlees retired in 1984 and Sir Donald Acheson took over as CMO.

Ken describes Acheson as ‘splendid’ and an absolutely dedicated public servant. Acheson was highly effective at keeping the lid on the most dreadful barrel of shit in the NHS in north Wales (see post ‘Professor Prestigious And His Associates’). Like a few others, Ken marvels at how Norman Fowler – Secretary of State at the DHSS at the time – was able to persuade a puritanical Thatcher and a few others in the Gov’t to agree to the fairly frank health education programme that was launched in the wake of HIV/AIDS. It was of course Donald Acheson who was instrumental in securing the agreement of the Gov’t where running that campaign was concerned (see post ‘Professor Prestigious And His Associates’). I think that you will find Ken that he was able to achieve this because some key figures in your party, along with Peter Morrison, were known to be promiscuously using rent boys in a very big way and they were told by Acheson in no uncertain terms how serious the fears of an HIV epidemic were. Should any readers accuse me of a flight of fancy here, as just one example, Thomas Tyrell-Kenyon, the son of Lord Lloyd Tyrell-Kenyon, was known to be sexually exploiting boys from children’s homes in north Wales. Tyrell-Kenyon even called the police himself on one occasion after he’d spent the night in a hotel with a boy in the care of Clwyd County Council and woke up to find that the boy had made off with his wallet and personal possessions. The boy involved was sent to a detention centre. His social worker had recorded on his records that he was known to be having sex with Tyrell-Kenyon. Tyrell-Kenyon never faced any charges himself. Tyrell-Kenyon died of AIDS in 1993. His father, Lord Lloyd Tyrell-Kenyon, was a member of the North Wales Police Authority.

Ken mentions that the leaders of the BMA that he had to deal with were the ‘left wing’ Dr John Marks and Dr Tony Grabham. Grabham was a consultant from Northampton and Ken was told that Grabham was so obnoxious that he’d managed to make Barbara Castle cry. Ken states that ‘the BMA was the most ruthless and determined opponent I ever faced in my whole career’. I absolutely believe him. But do you know how you could have dealt with the BMA Ken? Your colleagues could have actually responded to the communications that they were receiving from Mary Wynch, Alison Taylor and me telling them that terrible things were happening in the NHS and social services in north Wales and that doctors and social workers were involved in serious criminal activity. An investigation could have been held and it would have been revealed that what was happening in north Wales was an arm of organised crime involving an international trade in under-aged prostitutes, child porn and drugs, which the likes of Dr Dafydd Alun Jones and Dr Tony Francis (Dr X) et al were concealing, whilst they used the BMA to advise them on how to ‘deal with’ me. If you had blown that open and arrests of Top Doctors had followed, you can take it from me that you’d have never been troubled by the BMA again. Your colleague David Hunt in the Welsh Office knew that something dreadful was happening, because he’d had to send a hit squad into the bankrupt and dysfunctional Gwynedd Health Authority. Your colleague Tony Newton had been told by Alison Taylor that children in care in north Wales were being abused – as had Margaret Thatcher. And Dr John Marks of the BMA knew what was going on as well – because at that time I was employed in a research team led by his brother Professor Vincent Marks and they all knew what had happened to me in north Wales (see post ‘The BMA At The Root Of Another Mystery?’). It was the Welsh Office itself, by using the corrupt Medical Ombudsman Professor Robert Owen and the corrupt Professor Robert Bluglass (who was from Birmingham Ken, your neck of the woods), who whitewashed it all (see post ‘Enter Professor Robert Bluglass CBE’). The reason why no-one actually had that lot arrested was that leading figures in your party were using the services of the rent boys who had been trafficked from north Wales children’s homes. The BMA knew and they effectively blackmailed your Gov’t. Ken uses the phrase ‘self-interested clinicians’ in his book. They certainly are – and if they’d seen a few of their number prosecuted and imprisoned, they might have been less willing to protect unscrupulous practitioners.

It was grim Ken. I don’t know how much you knew, but you certainly knew something.

There’s another really big clue as to an understanding between the most senior figures in the Tory Party and those we know and love in Ken’s account of his time as Minister for Health in the 80s. It involves St Georges Hospital! Ken explains that the old St Georges Hospital at Hyde Park Corner (a new hospital and medical school was built at Tooting) was built on land originally owned by the Grosvenor family (they had donated it hundreds of years previously) and was a highly valuable piece of real estate. Ken decided to close the Hyde Park Corner building and flog the land. Readers may remember from my post ‘It’s The Sun Wot Won It’ that the President of the City of Chester Conservative Association whilst Sir Peter Morrison was their MP was one Gerald Cavendish Grosvenor, the Duke of Westminster. When the Duke of Westminster got wind that Ken was going to sell off the Hyde Park Corner site, he approached Thatcher and asked for the land donated by his ancestors to be returned to him. Ken refused to give the land over to the Duke gratis but wanted to sell it to him at the market rate. Thatcher ordered Ken to hand the land over to the Grosvenor estate for nothing. A row ensued. Ken just couldn’t work out why Thatch, who as we all know was the ultimate housewife and knew how to keep the pennies in her purse, was prepared to hand over millions of quids worth of land which was now part of the NHS estate to a very rich man when the NHS could use the dosh. Ken maintains that he was completely puzzled by this and perhaps Thatcher didn’t want to offend the aristocracy. Actually Ken, Thatcher was famously nouveau riche, she had no respect for the aristocracy at all and I suspect that her desire to give a few million to Gerald Grosvenor when he asked for it had an awful lot to do with the fact that her PPS Morrison was molesting children and Gerald and co were providing a massive gold-plated umbrella for him. Intriguingly, Ken tells us that he stuck to his guns and Thatcher gave in. WOW. So how did Ken et al get her out of that mess then? Come on Ken, write another book and explain how the Duke of Westminster was persuaded to back off. Whatever techniques were used, I guess they will have contributed to the blood on the carpet in north Wales. Or even to the death toll of the witnesses to the sordid crimes that Morrison and his mates were carrying out.

In the way that Ken never explains how he managed to persuade Thatcher not to give into the Duke of Westminster’s demands for dosh, he fails to explain something else that must have involved some fancy footwork. Whilst he was Minister of State for Health, one of his battles with the BMA was over prescribing policy. Ken wanted to prohibit certain items from being available on prescription and the BMA were objecting. For a man who somehow missed the nature of Peter Morrison and who couldn’t work out why Thatcher wasn’t prepared to stand up to the man who was instrumental in protecting Morrison, Ken is pretty sharp. He knows how business is done in the world and he was acutely aware that in the 1980s Top Doctors – and their families – were enjoying much hospitality from the pharmaceutical industry, hospitality which sometimes stretched as far as free holidays for Top Doctors and their spouses. Ken also knew that the BMA were trying to win the propaganda war against him by reconstructing themselves as a responsible caring organisation who only had the best interests of society at heart, rather than a stuffy, greedy, pompous union for doctors. I remember seeing this in action – the BMA started launching campaigns in the realm of health and safety. The one that I always remember was their attempt to ban boxing, which they very nearly succeeded in doing. I’d be very interested in why the BMA backed off on that one – boxing has made a comeback and is now promoted as a healthy ’empowering’ sport for young men and even young women. BMA spokespeople don’t often say things which are true, but I remember one of them at one point stating that ‘there is no safe level for being hit on the head’ when boxing promoters were trying to maintain that boxing is fine if you don’t get bashed that often. Yet the BMA have melted away over the one worthwhile issue that they pursued. During Ken’s battle with them over prescribing, a group of CEOs from Big Pharma met Thatcher and reminded her that they were major donors to the Tories. Thatcher responded by telling them that their donations were taken to be a gesture of ‘general support’ for her ‘reforming’ Gov’t. Ken subsequently implemented his prohibited prescribing list. So what deal was done to keep the donors sweet then? Big Pharma weren’t donating to the Tories out of the goodness of their hearts no matter what delusions about them Thatcher held.

After his stint at the DHSS Ken moved to the Dept of Employment. The Secretary of State was Lord David Young, but Thatcher needed a Cabinet Minister from the Commons in place as well, so Ken was given that remit. At that time, unemployment was rocketing and the Gov’t devised a number of much derided ‘job creation’ and training schemes, many of which were notorious for leading nowhere but back to the dole queue after they’d finished. In Ken’s book, he talks a lot about the Manpower Services Commission (MSC) programmes and how good they were for young people because they inducted the youngsters into habits of work – they had to be in work by 9 am and there was no going home before 5 pm. Who was the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State in the Dept of Employment at the time? None other than the dreadful Alan Clark, who Ken notes was ‘incredibly lazy, rarely coming into the department’. Well Clark had Saltwood Castle to live in and the fortune that his father left to sustain him, unlike the youths on the MSC scenes. Ken observes that Clark was so useless that they were actually quite happy for him not to show up. He knows why it was though – it was because poor old Clark was really after the job as Minister of Defence and couldn’t be arsed with the chores at the Dept of Employment. The Tories’ attitude to Clark was always very forgiving. He was a man who was frequently too pissed to perform his duties in Parliament – even when they gave him what he wanted ie. a job in the Ministry of Defence – and he rowed with and insulted colleagues on a regular basis. But of course it was the relentless shagging that Clark was notorious for. Had Clark confined his attentions to consenting adults, I’d agree that it would be no-one’s business but his, Jane Clarks and the third party, but Clark was never that concerned about the age of consent or indeed consent per se. He hit the media when it was revealed that at one stage he was having an affair with the wife of one of his friends and both of her daughters at the same time. Then one of the daughters let on that the affair with her had occurred when she was fifteen. There was a bit of a fuss – although one of the harpies in one of the right wing tabloids was kind enough to dismiss the women involved as ‘three old trollops’ – and a TV reporter asked Clark if he was going to deny having sex with a 15 year old. Clark smirked and responded by saying that he ‘had’ to deny it because it was illegal. Yes, as illegal as Peter Morrison’s activities with boys of the same age (and younger) were. Some years later Clark published his diaries which became a best seller. Alan Clark’s ‘Diaries’ are choc full of accounts of him not going into work because he couldn’t be arsed so instead he goes off to shag someone, of him wowing the teenage daughters of friends by telling them that he was now a Real Minister – and of him basically sexually harassing young women on a grand scale. He exposes himself to teenagers and follows young lone women around London whom he’s spotted on public transport and likes the look of. Naturally at no point does he even consider that the young women involved might not be that interested in glimpsing the genitals of a crazed old man or that they might be a bit anxious at being trailed all around London by a pervert. I wouldn’t expect Clark to ever question his conduct – but thousands of people read that book. It received glowing reviews in the press – and the conclusion was ‘one helluva guy’. No, an ageing, unscrupulous sexual harasser. Who was given a Ministerial position in the MoD because he didn’t turn up to work in the Dept of Employment.

Ken also provides an account of the Westland Crisis. He states that Leon Brittan, then Trade and Industry Secretary, was persuaded by Thatcher to leak the legal opinion of the Solicitor-General Patrick Mayhew regarding a letter that Heseltine had written and leaked himself about the consequences of an American take-over of the company. The Attorney General Michael Havers was greatly upset about the leaking of legal advice and said that he would resign if no-one was held to account. Brittan told Ken that he’d take the blame without exposing Thatcher, because the exposure of her role in this would have forced her from office. So Brittan resigned from his post and never sat in the Cabinet again. Thatcher had promised to bring him back, but broke her word. As a consolation prize he was given a job as a European Commissioner.

Leon Brittan in recent years has of course become well-known for another matter ie. numerous allegations that he was a paedophile himself. One man has made a statement claiming that he was abused by Brittan when he was a teenager. Brittan is alleged to have been a visitor to the Elm Guest House in London, a brothel staffed by children from children’s homes. One of the men who was in Bryn Estyn as a boy maintains that he was taken to the Elm Guest House to have sex with unidentified men. Supporters of Brittan have dismissed such allegations as wholly untrue. What is not in dispute however is that in the 1980s Geoffrey Dickens MP gave Leon Brittan – who was at the time Home Secretary – a dossier containing the names and details of political figures who Dickens’ maintained were involved in the abuse of children. Before he died, Brittan admitted receiving the dossier but claimed to have lost it. It has also been admitted that a huge number of files were ‘lost’ by the Home Office in the 80s – files containing details of politicians alleged to be sexually abusing children.

Ken mentions that Leon was a close friend of his – they’d been at Cambridge together.

Ken was appointed Minister for Trade and Industry as well as Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster. He became Inner Cities Minister. Once more Ken demonstrates a good knowledge of some of the problems that he was charged with tackling. He mentions that there was massive corruption within some councils and that the boroughs were dominated by criminal gangs. He gives Lambeth and Southwark as examples. That’s right Ken, one of the biggest businesses of those criminal gangs was the trafficking of young people in care into prostitution. This was often achieved by sending the kids in care on ‘placements’ to children’s homes in north Wales, such as the Bryn Alyn Community. Your Gov’t knew all about it.

In July 1988 Thatcher split the DHSS up. The previous Secretary of State, John Moore, according to Ken, ‘couldn’t cope’ with running the DHSS and became quite ill with the strain. Moore was moved to the newly created Dept of Social Security (DSS) and Ken was appointed Secretary of State for Health. Ken informs us that Thatcher did want to get rid of the NHS and introduce a U.S. style insurance system but Ken himself wanted to introduce an ‘internal market’ system in the NHS. I always wondered where on earth the Tories acquired this idea from – it was from Ken, who had read an article in The Economist by a fringe thinker at Stanford University, Prof Alain Enthoven. Ken was hooked and knew that this was the way forward. That was how the enormous quantity of meaningless administration that led to no improvement in the NHS at all arose. However it did provide promotions and power for the likes of Martin Jones and Alun Davies in Gwynedd Health Authority.

Whilst he was Secretary of State for Health, Ken’s Permanent Secretary was Christopher France and his Private Secretary was Andy McKean. Ken also utilised the services of Duncan Nichol, the former General Manager of Merseyside Regional Health Authority, who Ken tells us had been recommended to him by Don Wilson, Merseyside Regional Health Authority’s Chairman. So Ken somehow had a link with Merseyside. That’s the location of Liverpool University – the employer of Professor Robert Owen who organised the cover-up of the criminal activities of Dr Dafydd Alun Jones and Dr Tony Francis (Dr X) after I made complaint in 1987. Of course Dafydd himself was an alumnus of Liverpool and when he tried to bribe me into dropping my complaint about him in 1987, he made reference to a friend of his who was a Professor at Liverpool Medical School who would get me a place there if only I’d drop my complaint about him. Dafydd resorted to trying to bribe me because his threat to have me ‘detained in Risley Remand Centre’ if I didn’t drop my complaint about him hadn’t worked. When Dafydd tried to bribe me he stated that ‘some of my colleagues would rap me on the knuckles for this’. No they wouldn’t Dafydd, they knew that you were illegally imprisoning people, selling drugs, perjuring yourself and facilitating a paedophile ring and they didn’t even rap you on the knuckles for that. Instead they covered up for you and tried to frame me.

It was when Ken was Secretary of State for Health that he acquired a useful little helper called Tessa Keswick. I don’t know what she did for Ken, but they really got on well – he took Tessa with him when he was appointed to successive roles in the years that followed. He also had a Minister of State on his team, a David Mellor. Ken wanted someone in the Lords who would defend his reforms – that was to be a lawyer called Gloria Hooper who had been given a peerage in 1985. Ken’s Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State was Edwina Currie. The Edwina Currie who whilst she was in that role gave Jimmy Savile a job running Broadmoor. Edwina got herself into a public spat – not over a sexual abuser running a special hospital obviously, but because she damaged the business interests of some very wealthy factory farmers with some ill-advised comments about eggs and salmonella. After Edwina departed, Ken’s PUSS was a Roger Freeman.

Ken wasn’t exactly Alan Clark, he did actually make it into work and had some firm ideas concerning the management of the NHS, but throughout his book he displays a worryingly laissez faire attitude to the running of huge Gov’t Depts. He repeatedly tells us that he trusted people to get on with the job and that he didn’t really expect to be bothered by the people to whom he’d delegated work. Which is fine if you’ve delegated work to reliable people who know what they’re doing, but I’m not convinced that Ken did that. He was particularly impressed by a Minister of his called Virginia Bottomley – Ken gave her the responsibility for implementing community care once the big psychiatric hospitals began to be closed and Virginia was really brilliant because she didn’t ‘trouble’ Ken with anything. That was whilst people were discharged from long stay hospitals when there was no care in the community facilities in place – I remember it well, it was chaos. People became destitute and some of them died. It was on the back of these tragedies that the dreadful Marjorie Wallace was able to sell her desire to keep innocent people locked up in dreadful conditions at the mercy of Dafydd and his ilk (see post ‘One Dangerous Fucker’). Esther joined in as well. Presumably Ken didn’t notice that Virginia hadn’t actually organised any community care – never mind, she didn’t trouble him, so he could carry on eating curries, boozing with his mates and going to Ronnie Scotts. Virginia of course had in a previous life been a psychiatric social worker – so she knew exactly what the human cost of her failure to effectively carry out her ‘policy’ was. Although she probably didn’t give a stuff and the fact that after this disaster she became Secretary of State for Health suggests that no-one else gave a stuff either.

It was this merry crew who were responsible for the NHS when the madness in north Wales was at it’s zenith.

Again, as Ken details his battles with the BMA et al, there are plenty of indications that he knows what a sorry state everything is in. He talks about seriously dysfunctional Health Authorities and how many of these there were (I know Ken, I and many others were suffering at the hands of Gwynedd and Clwyd in north Wales). He mentions terrible problems in Solihull in Birmingham – where a leading figure was none other than one Professor Robert Bluglass. So that’s why they used Bluglass to head so many inquiries into disasters in the psychiatric services then! Being a man whose own area was in meltdown and being someone who blamed the patients and exonerated the Top Doctors – even when they were facilitating a paedophile gang – he was obviously the safest pair of hands that the Dept of Health had.

Ken discusses just how vulnerable politicians are in the face of Top Doctors’ campaigns. His perception was that the only medical body supportive of him was the newly formed Royal College of General Practitioners. Which is particularly interesting, because I know of a very deceitful obscure GP of no great ability from Bangor who nevertheless rose to high rank in that organisation very quickly and I never understood why. The GP in question was Dr D.G.E. Wood, a friend of Dr Tony Francis and Dafydd, who spent a number of years cultivating my company and extracting info about the jobs that Brown and me were applying for, where we were living etc etc. I now have documentation demonstrating that Wood was passing all this info onto Dafydd et al and how helpful it was for them that I trusted Wood. Wood also made it his business to communicate with Professor Robert Owen about me using Owen’s home address in Colwyn Bay whilst Owen was setting up the ‘investigation’ into my complaint about Dafydd. I had no idea that Wood was doing this and he was no longer my GP. Neither was he the subject of any part of my complaint. Wood was just providing a useful service for Dafydd et al in the way that he provided a useful service for Gwynne the lobotomist every time that Gwynne elicited a disaster.

In 1989 a by-election was held in the Vale of Glamorgan after the sitting MP Raymond Gower died. The Labour candidate John Smith (not the John Smith  who later became leader of the Labour Party) was elected, after forming a collaboration with the Top Doctors. Whilst the Top Doctors were completely screwing Wales…

Ken remembers that Thatcher lived in fear of the Top Doctors after Charles Haughey  told her that she wouldn’t win an election if she upset the Top Doctors. If the stupid old bat hadn’t have been employing a child molester she’d never have had that worry.

Ken makes a lot of references to the help of someone who also featured prominently in Gyles Brandreth’s book (see post ‘It’s The Sun Wot Won It’) – the Whip Tristan Garel-Jones. Political biographies of that time constantly refer to the ruthlessness of the Whips, of how they’d use any information against anyone in order to achieve what they wanted. Whips also boasted of accumulating dirt on MPs for this purpose – they also boasted of getting MPs out of trouble. Sometimes with regard to very serious trouble with the law – a hypothetical example given to Gyles Brandreth by a Whip was of an MP who had been misbehaving with ‘little boys’. Tristan Garel-Jones is now of course in the Lords. It is rumoured that Tristan Garel-Jones was the model for the character Francis Urquhart in the TV drama ‘House of Cards’. I never watched that, but I used to share a house with two people who were very big fans of that programme. One of my house-mates explained that Francis Urquhart was a total psychopath and a highlight of the series was the death of someone who could have damaged Urquhart in circumstances that could have been a murder but no-one was quite sure.

As opposed to the arson attack in April 1992 in which five people with connections to the North Wales Child Abuse Scandal died – which definitely was murder. Even the inquest was obliged to return a verdict of ‘unlawful killing’.

Ken’s battles with the Top Doctors eventually became too much and Thatcher moved him to the Dept of Education where he was again Secretary of State. It was Ken who abolished the binary divide in HE and converted all the polytechnics into universities. Which many former staff of polytechnics maintain did them a great deal of harm – they lost their previous status as institutions with industrial links which specialised in vocational technical degrees and just came to be seen as second class universities. Ken has no regrets. According to him, like everything else that he oversaw – or with regard to community care that he never oversaw – it was a rip-roaring success.

Ken then reaches the heights of Home Secretary. He takes his trusty side-kick Tessa Keswick with him to the Home Office. He has a major problem on his hands – the Prison Service, which had been wrecked by the POA. Edwina’s idea of dealing with the criminal activities of the POA members at Broadmoor had been to put Jimmy Savile in charge of the institution after he told her that he would use his media contacts to blackmail them. Edwina thought that was a great idea. It didn’t occur to her to investigate the numerous complaints from patients that they had been violently assaulted or sexually abused by members of the POA. She just recruited Savile who joined in the party.

Ken was glad to find another old mate of his from the CUCU  in place as Minister of State – Peter Lloyd, who had been Chairman of the CUCU whilst Ken was at Cambridge.

Although Ken was under no illusions about the parlous state of the prison service, once more he stressed his very hands-off style of management. However, he did get a little over-involved in the face of a prison riot and tried to go down to the command centre that was trying to control it to tell them all what to do. Fortunately for everyone Ken’s Private Secretary Colin Walters did his best to keep Ken out of it. As well as the prisons being a flashpoint, there was also massive problems with immigration. So Ken appointed his ‘friend and former PPS’ Charles Wardle to sort it all out. The Permanent Secretary at the time was Clive Whitemore. When Charles Wardle later moved to Australia, he was replaced by Joan MacNaughton.

Now Ken was clearly a man ahead of his time in terms of his manipulation and utilisation of the concept of ‘promoting women because they’re under-represented’. Ken wanted more women on his team, which was most convenient because his Private Secretary Joan – Charles’s replacement – was a ‘determined feminist’. Who I suspect had a determined boss. In Ken’s words ‘Joan assembled around me a very able and very supportive group of intellectual young women who acted as my eyes and ears in the Dept’. A gang of female spies! Thus Ken was the first Secretary of State who had an ‘all female Private Office’.

Ken had another source of intelligence as well – Roy Gibbons, the man who had been his driver since 1979: ‘Like all the experienced Gov’t drivers, he was well up to speed with all the political gossip and intrigue in Whitehall’.

I had that Sir Peter Morrison in the back of the cab once. Amiable fellow.

Ken noticed something whilst he was Home Secretary though, something that seriously pissed him off. His level of security was raised to such  an extent that he now had to have a police driver instead of Ron and had to be escorted by police security all the time. Ken is no fool and although he knows that being Home Secretary does involve tight security, he notices that his police escorts are taking the security to ridiculous lengths. They do not ever leave him and very noticeably ensure that one of them listens to absolutely everything that he says. He tries to escape but they’re having none of it. One downside is that he likes going out for curries but now that the police accompany him everywhere, they insist on him eating in posh restaurants for ‘security purposes’. The police of course have their meals paid for and Ken has enough nous to know that ‘security’ is being used an excuse to get a good dinner. Ken also notices that the police arranged things concerning his official residence in Belgravia that ensured that he was never without them, even when at home with his family.

Ken suspects that all this is being done to ensure that ACPO (Association of Chief Police Officers) and other senior officers are kept well aware of the Home Secretary’s political intentions. After all, Ken is responsible for their pay, conditions of service etc. Ken describes his police protection as ‘very oppressive and extreme’. Ken is not the only one getting fed up of the police. Ken had intentions to reform the police and appointed Pat Sheehy as an advisor. Pat was the head of British Imperial Tobacco and had ‘loaned’ Ken a senior executive, Brian Hutchinson, to advise Ken when he formed his inner-city task force! Pat found that he was actively harassed by the police while he was ‘taking evidence and preparing his report’. Ken felt that he faced serious opposition from the police and that ACPO were a ‘huge club’. Ken did try to get along with them, they invited him to a few of their meetings and even Ken was gobsmacked at the amount of booze that was sunk. He got on much better with Her Majesty’s Inspectors of Constabularies who ‘always impressed’ him. He found the Police Federation a nightmare and they presented serious opposition to him. The Police Federation reps were allowed to retain their full police salaries and were ‘protecting their members against any disciplinary procedure or accountability for their performance’. The Police Federation drank so much that Ken discovered that he had to talk to them in the morning – after lunch they were too bladdered to engage.

Ken had ambitions to abolish the rank of Superintendent. Unsurprisingly, this was strongly opposed by the Superintendents’ Association. The Police Federation organised an enormous rally at Wembley Stadium against Ken. Another desire of Ken’s was to amalgamate forces.

Ken was not able to implement any of his reforms because he was removed from office. Although he and Tessa prepared a White Paper on police reform where they proposed that serious crime should be concentrated on, Ken’s successor as Home Secretary Michael Howard abandoned the proposed reforms.

Ken summarises by saying that he was less effective than he would have liked to have been as Home Secretary. He feels that the British justice system is hopeless at dealing with white collar crime, which is too complicated for the police and he admits is an ‘important part’ of the profitability of the banking and financial services. He admits that London ‘had undoubtedly become the safest and best place for any dictator, oligarch or corrupt political leader to place his or her ill-gotten gains’. Twenty five years later when Ken was Cabinet Minister and Justice Secretary in the Coalition Gov’t he observed that London had a ‘deserved reputation’ as the ‘money laundering capital of the world’.

Ken obviously knew pretty much what was happening in the Prison Service, in Immigration and the Police, although he didn’t make any headway in his attempts to deal with the enormous problems and indeed corruption that pervaded these ‘services’. There was one group of people who’s activities come under the Home Office however that Ken knew nothing about at all and indeed didn’t even try to unravel – the security services. He was simply told by older and wiser folk that ‘you will never know what they are up to at all’. Ken suspects that the security services may be utilising creative and somewhat unorthodox methods, but he asks no questions – probably because they deal with matters terrorism and that does frighten politicians. He had one meeting with someone from the security services whom he referred to as ‘Chief’ – but who knows whom he met…

I don’t doubt Ken’s account of the difficulties that he encountered from the police. They will have been as obstructive as possible – and it rather sounds as though they pressurised someone to remove him from office. I cannot help suspect though that there may have been another reason why the police watched and listened constantly and were as awkward as fuck and I suspect that Ken knows about this possible reason too, but he is never going to say a word about it.

Ken was Home Secretary between 10 April 1992 and 27 May 1993. During this time there was a police investigation into child abuse in children’s homes in north Wales and the existence of a possible paedophile ring in the region. Allegations had appeared in the London-based media that a paedophile ring was in operation in the children’s homes and that political figures were involved. A senior police officer in the North Wales Police, Gordon Anglesea, had been named by two men who claimed to have been abused by him when they were younger. A number of young people who were former residents of the children’s homes had been found dead. Eight days after Ken Clarke was appointed Home Secretary, the arson attack which killed the five people with connections to the North Wales Child Abuse Scandal occurred. The man who allegedly confessed to starting the fire was found dead himself days later. (For the full background on all this, see post ‘The Silence Of The Welsh Lambs’.) The Chief Constable of the North Wales Police refused to let a Chief Constable from another police force lead the investigation, although allegations had been made that officers from the North Wales Police had been abusing the children themselves. Gordon Anglesea was a Superintendent in the North Wales Police. Anglesea sued after being named as a child abuser in the media and won (see posts ‘Y Gwir Yn Erbyn Y Byd’ and ‘Y Gwir Erbyn Yn Y Byd – A Few Additional Comments’). In 2016 he was finally convicted and imprisoned for abusing boys in care in north Wales. The Police Federation supported Anglesea every step of the way and paid his legal costs. After he was convicted, the Police Federation continued to support him. He died in prison a few months after his conviction. The Police Federation turned out en masse at his funeral to give him a good send off.

The police will have been watching your every move Ken and they were never going to let you reform them, you are quite right about that. However your confidence in HM Inspectors of Constabulary was misplaced – they were up to their eyes in it as well (see post ‘Top Of The Cops’). No doubt someone had a word with Thatcher who then had you removed. In north Wales, Alison Taylor was the most vocal person raising concerns about the abuse of children and I was the most vocal person raising concerns about the criminal activities of the psychiatric services who were facilitating and concealing the paedophile ring. I had a close friend who knew what had happened to me in north Wales who worked in the media and who wanted to make a film about it.

I note Ken that you were removed from office in May 1993. By May 1993 Alison Taylor had been sacked and branded a liar. I had been hounded out of a career in medical research and had been dragged through the Courts by the mental health services for offences that I had not committed. My friend who worked in the media was unlawfully dismissed at the very same time that I was bullied out of my job at St George’s Hospital Medical School. By the way Ken, there were also two attempts to set fire to my house at this time.

So did Ken really simply believe that Peter Morrison was an ‘amiable fellow’ who did ‘little work’? Ken’s junior Minister was, as I have noted above, Edwina Currie. Edwina Currie published her memoirs a few years ago, ‘Diaries 1987-1992’. Here’s an extract from that book:

‘One appointment in the recent reshuffle has attracted a lot of gossip and could be very dangerous. Peter Morrison has become the PM’s PPS. Now he’s what they call a ‘noted pederast’, with a liking for young boys; he admitted as much to Norman Tebbit when he became deputy chairman of the party but added ‘However I’m very discreet – and he must be! She [Thatcher] either knows and is taking a chance or doesn’t, either way, it’s a really dumb move. Theresa Gorman told me this evening (in a taxi coming back from a drinks party at the BBC) that she inherited Morrison’s agent, who claimed to have been offered money to keep quiet about his activities. It scares me as all the press know and as we get closer to the election someone is going to make trouble, very close to her indeed’.

Do you know what else Ken? My friend who wanted to make the film and who was unlawfully dismissed from her job in the media was a Labour Party activist. She campaigned at every election. The Tories were aware of her existence as well because before she landed her media job, she worked as a temporary secretary for the Tory Minister Richard Luce and was security checked – she was asked about her Labour party activities. I had another close friend as well, an academic who, with me, wanted to publish what was happening in north Wales. In the early 1990s he received constant harassment at work, attempts were made to dismiss him and then one day he was subjected to an unprovoked attack in the street in the midlands by a man who was known to have serious mental health problems. The man attempted to fracture my friend’s skull. My friend escaped with a broken cheek bone and missing teeth. My friend was later accused of attacking this man himself and also accused of nobbling the witnesses who testified in Court that it was my friend who had been set upon for no reason. Fortunately the Court believed my friend. As for my friend whose career in the media was finished off, she then began working on a self-employed basis as a script-writer for films. She became pregnant with her first baby. The pregnancy had no problems at all and she was told to expect a problem free delivery. Her labour went well too – but by the time her baby daughter was born, the baby was almost dead. The baby died a few hours later. It transpired that my friend’s baby had become distressed in the womb and although my friend had been hooked up to a foetal heart monitor, the midwife hadn’t read the trace. My friend made enquiries about bringing a legal action against the hospital, but was frankly told by an expert witness whom she had hired on a private basis not to even bother to try because somehow he knew that the hospital staff intended to lie on oath. My friend became seriously depressed after her baby’s death and was unable to work for a long time.

But we’re back firing on all cylinders again Ken, all three of us. My only regret is that I wasn’t able to publish all this whilst that monster Thatcher was still alive – but I didn’t have the documentary evidence that I needed. I have now got it.

Ken continues his account of life at the top of Gov’t after his removal as Home Secretary. He gives a detailed account of Black Wednesday, Sept 16 1992, when the economy fell off the cliff. He recites all the names of the financial geniuses who were running the show when this happened – Norman Lamont, Douglas Hurd, Michael Heseltine, Robert Leigh-Pemberton (Governor of the Bank of England), Terry Burns (Permanent Secretary to the Treasury), Sarah Hogg (Head of PM’s Policy Unit), Chief Whip Richard Ryder and of course Ken himself. Ken describes the sheer panic at the Treasury and notes that Sarah Hogg was ‘scathing’ about the lack of overnight preparation by the Treasury and the Bank of England for the market opening in the morning – the run on the Bank had begun the afternoon before. So Sarah didn’t blame herself at all then – she was after all only the Head of the PM’s Policy Unit. So as one of the architects of the disaster, she was obviously in an excellent position to be appointed Deputy Governor of the Bank of England later on in her career. The Deputy Hogg wasn’t the only Name of the Future among that lot – the special advisor to the Chancellor of the Exchequer Norman Lamont was at the time a young toff called David Cameron. Who, judging from Ken’s account, was crapping himself. Ken discusses Black Wednesday and the days afterwards in some depth and the one feature that stands out is that among this bunch of arrogant, pompous people who had proudly forced through their ‘reforms’ and had spent years telling the world that the Labour Party was hopeless with the economy, there was no-one at all who had a clue what to do. They had for years relied entirely on the advice of their ‘economic advisors’ – the likes of Patrick Minford, who’s now at Cardiff Business School and currently mouthing off in the media once more; indeed the other day on Radio 4 Ruth Lea reminded the listeners that over 300 hundred economists disagreed with Minford, but he turned out to be right and they were all wrong. Oh so that’s why Black Wednesday happened then and why these clueless wonders didn’t know what to do. It’s obvious from Ken’s account that he and his colleagues didn’t actually understand what their ‘advisors’ were telling them and they didn’t try to either – most of the politicians involved were lawyers or graduates of disciplines entirely unrelated to economics and they did not know their arses from their elbows. I am reminded of Willie Rushton’s old joke that you cannot run a country like a grocer’s shop no matter how hard Mrs Thatcher tries.

They knew how to save the day though! One month later Heseltine announced that all the remaining pits would be closed – that was 31 pits, with 30,000 jobs lost. Ken admits that they feared that the Gov’t would collapse, so an emergency Cabinet meeting was held with Peter Lilley, Tristan Garel-Jones, John Gummer, David Hunt, Virginia Bottomley and William Waldegrave and of course with Ken. How many of that lot had concealed the shite involving Peter Morrison then? Presumably the Cabinet felt that the only employment that should be available in Wales was that involving the procuring of teenage boys for sex work.

Ken knows who to blame for Black Wednesday though – it was the fault of Thatcher, Lawson, John Major and Chris Patten. I’m sure that they did have rather a lot to do with it, but I think that smug ignorant tosser who was special advisor to Norman Lamont was involved as well. Ken was then appointed Chancellor of the Exchequer himself. The smug ignorant tosser who had helped crash the economy obviously wanted to do it all again because he went to see Ken to ask him for a job as a special advisor, but sadly Ken was only allowed two of those and he already had Tessa Keswick and David Ruffley, so Ken had to turn little Cameron away. Cameron went to work in the Home Office instead with Michael Howard. (Which meant that Cameron was one of the gofers there when Howard and the Home Office finally shafted Mary Wynch leaving her ruined – see post ‘The Mary Wynch Case – Details’.) Ken knew that Cameron had a bright future though. Yes, he led the country into a EU referendum that he never thought he would lose and when he did, within hours he resigned stating that he wasn’t going to do ‘all the hard shit’. The  Chief Secretary to the Treasury when Ken was Chancellor was Michael Portillo. His new PPS was Jeremy Heyward, who later became Cameron’s Cabinet Secretary. Portillo was succeeded in this role by Jonathan Aitken – who resigned within a year to enter battle after he had been horribly smeared. Except that he hadn’t, but he lied in Court anyway, was caught and ended up in prison.

Tessa Keswick, Ken’s right hand woman for so many years, left his side in 1995 to run a think tank.

Ken mentions a few more highlights, such as Boris Johnson causing no end of problems when he worked as the Daily Telegraph’s European correspondent by fabricating stories. Ken observes that Boris ‘fervently followed the desired policy line of his proprietor, which at that time was Conrad Black. A friend of many senior Tories who also found himself in prison.

Ken mentions Brian Mawhinney, who by now had become Party Chairman. Brian was of course the brother-in-law of Patricia Scotland QC, who acted for the Welsh Office at the Waterhouse Inquiry. Patricia was given a peerage whilst she worked on that Inquiry (please see my three previous posts dedicated to Patricia and her network for details). Ken has the pleasure of meeting the Treasury Secretary of the U.S. at one point, Bob Rubin – Rubin and his wife were ‘old friends’ of Leon Brittan and his wife, they even took annual holidays together!

Christ Almighty no wonder my friends and I all got sacked and attempts were made to set fire to my house, there was an awful lot riding on the Westminster Paedophile Ring remaining under wraps.

Ken doesn’t mention the Waterhouse Inquiry, although he does mention the Tories losing the 1997 general election and William Hague becoming leader. Ken doesn’t seem to be that impressed with Hague. He should have been, because whilst Hague was Secretary of State for Wales he organised the mother of all cover-ups which was Waterhouse and saved a lot of people’s scalps.

After Ken left office, he went in for company directorships in a big way. He became Chair of Unichem (his mate Geoffrey Rippon had already done a stint as Chair) and he became Deputy Chair of British American Tobacco. Ken was Chair of their Corporate Responsibility Committee. He knew that their product was ‘controversial’, so he strove to ‘uphold impeccable business standards’. They were ‘trading in some of the corrupt markets’ and Ken found that  BAT were often told that they could only invest in a country if they paid a bribe. ‘BAT resisted those pressures completely’ – they initially turned down Vietnam because bribes were requested, but Ken was delighted to find that BAT later managed to invest successfully. He had a similar experience in Russia and Nigeria. Ken does not explain how BAT managed to persuade some of the most corrupt regimes in the world to tread a more honest path…

Ken’s wife Gillian was a Trustee of Oxfam and she accompanied him on all his business trips. Oxfam and BAT – strange bedfellows surely? Gillian busied herself with ‘tourism and visiting Oxfam projects’. BAT purchased Formula One and Ken became Chair of the subsidiary, British American Racing. He became good mates with Bernie Ecclestone. Ken also joined the Board of the Independent as a non-executive Director and became good friends with Helena Kennedy and Margaret Jay, who were both on the Board! That’s the Helena who starred on my post ‘Eve Was Framed – As Were A Lot Of Other People’, the Helena who relied upon the courtroom skills of Professor Nigel Eastman for so many of her cases. Nigel also used his talents to remain silent about the criminal activities of Dafydd and Dr Tony Francis when he was faced with them in 1991 (see post ‘Some Very Eminent Psychiatrists From London…’) Well having Ken and Helena on the Board was a smart move by the owner Tony O’ Reilly – the Indie certainly wasn’t going to publish any further allegations that there was a paedophile ring in operation in north Wales and that politicians were involved.

Ken joined an asset management company run by his old friend Christopher Saunders and a hedge fund and he advised the Japanese finance house Daiwa. Ken noted a plus side to his new career: ‘the income, which was on a scale that no politician could ever earn in Government’. He also observed that it taught him a lot about financial matters but ‘unfortunately’ he ‘only acquired this vital experience after I had been Chancellor’. Never mind Ken, it didn’t matter that you didn’t know anything about it – there was always Patrick Minford or Sarah Hogg or even David Cameron to advise you. What could possibly go wrong?

Ken’s skills were still required in politics though. He describes secret visits to Tony Blair, along with Paddy Ashdown, to prepare the UK to enter the single currency -Ken was needed to win over public opinion. Having just been voted OUT by the citizens of the UK I’m not sure that Ken would be a great asset there. Blair wanted all the campaigning on the issue done by Ashdown, Heseltine and Ken, with the support of the CBI and the rest of the business community. But wily old Gordon Brown blew their plans out of the water. Gordon had instructed their Press Officer Charlie Whelan to brief the press that he and Blair had agreed not to join the single currency until the Treasury had studied the project. The civil servants carried out a ‘long and academic study’ – and then fessed up to Ken that they were waiting for Gordon to tell them what to conclude from their study. Mandelson approached Ken in a panic and asked him what to do when he found out that Gordon was about to announce that the UK didn’t pass any of the ‘five tests’ needed to justify entry into the Eurozone. Gordon knew that the UK wouldn’t pass the five tests, because he’d carefully thought them up in a taxi at the start of the whole process. That, according to Ken, is why the UK never entered the single currency. Ken himself hated the ‘save the pound’ national campaign that took place during the 2001 general election campaign, but he didn’t admit this in public – because so many of his ‘friends’ were behind that campaign. He was so anxious not to slip up that he carefully avoided all journos during the campaign – although he did have a hotline to the Indie’s Don McIntyre. Well Ken was on the Board wasn’t he.

Ken helpfully explains that the real achievement of the Blair Gov’t 1997-01 was to ‘cement the Thatcher revolution permanently in place’. Ken’s a big fan of Blair, as of course are David Cameron and Osborne, referring to him as the Master.

Hague resigned as Tory leader after the 2001 general election and there was another leadership battle. Portillo fancied being leader but Ken notes that Portillo was ‘dogged by absurd and malicious media rumours about his private life’. Ken was ‘infuriated by this nonsense which I was sure was untrue and in any case irrelevant’. So which media rumours is Ken talking about? The media rumours that Portillo was gay – which Portillo later admitted were true? Or the media rumours that Portillo was friendly with some of the Tories who were alleged to be abusing under-aged boys? Or the rumours that Portillo was abusing under-aged boys himself? Years before Portillo admitted that he was gay, I knew a young gay man in north Wales who used to go to gay clubs in Manchester. He told me that he had seen Portillo in them. The gay clubs in Manchester were also some of the places where mental health patients in north Wales who were being trafficked into prostitution were taken. The people doing this were part of the same network of people who trafficked the kids in care, so perhaps the kids in care ended up selling sex in gay clubs in Manchester, along with the Empowered Service Users.

Ken reveals that David Cameron had been Michael Howard’s ‘right hand man in Parliament’, his special advisor 1993/94. Mary Wynch was finally paid a  pittance by the Home Office in 1995, after she was robbed of her money and property and illegally detained by Dafydd Alun Jones in the North Wales Hospital. The 1995 ‘settlement’ was ‘final’ with no admission of liability for anything. Mary was by then elderly. She was told to piss off and it was announced that that was the end of the case. It was never mentioned again. So David will have known that little arrangement was on the way then when he left the Home Office in 1994. David left the Home Office to work as a PR man for Carlton TV! He remained there until he won his seat in 2001.

Blair wasn’t the only New Labour bigwig with whom Ken got on famously. He really liked Peter Mandelson as well. In fact Ken met with Mandelson ‘almost weekly’ in Mandelson’s office in the Lords to ‘discuss the important issues he was considering and try to reach agreement’.

After the Coalition Gov’t was formed, Ken became Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice. His new Permanent Secretary was Suma Chakrabarti (see post ‘The Poisonous Tentacles Of The Home Office’) and David Hass moved from George Osborne’s office to Ken’s – Hass was a former BBC man and he became Ken’s media advisor. Kathryn Laing was Ken’s advisor on policy and political matters. His Private Secretary was Darren Tierney, who was succeeded by Mark Sweeney. Again, Ken knows where the problems lie – that prisons are unsuitable places for people with drug problems and mental illnesses and huge numbers of prisoners actually have these. Ken comments that women prisoners almost all had ‘distressing personal problems’. Ken mentions that the Home Office tried to ‘sell’ legal aid cuts to his predecessor Jack Straw – Ken himself reduced legal aid further for civil cases. So if for example one has fallen into the clutches of the social services or mental health services and they have broken the law and abused you in some way – hard luck, you’ll not be getting legal aid. Well, after Mary Wynch demonstrated that Dafydd had illegally banged her up for a year and fleeced her of her wealth and all those people who’d been abused whilst they were in care as kids in north Wales started bellyaching, what else could the Gov’t do…

Ken embarked on a major closure of under-used magistrates courts, but got into a bit of bother when he found that No 10 was objecting to his policy. What Ken hadn’t realised was that Cameron’s mother was a magistrate and her court had been ear-marked for closure! Ken handed the policy over to a junior Minister, Jonathon Djangol, for implementation. Mrs Cameron’s courthouse was saved from closure.

Cameron asked Ken to meet the notorious Rebekah Wade/Brooks, Murdoch’s right hand woman. Ken observed that Rebekah seemed accustomed to meeting Home Secretaries and Justice Secretaries ‘and having her advice taken seriously’. Rebekah wanted Ken to acquire some prison ships and military style boot camps. Ken noted that he had previously been given the same suggestions from No 10. Ken wasn’t impressed with Rebekah and didn’t meet her again. He had some entertaining observations though – that Rebekah was occupying Cameron’s luxury hotel suite, was dressed in riding gear and had a plate of ‘Marie-Antoinette cakes’. That Ken, was because she’s nuts – even though she advises Tory PMs.

Ken noted that Andy Coulson, Cameron’s Director of Communications (and Rebecca’s former bedfellow and the former editor of the News of the Screws) had ‘obviously been appointed as Rupert Murdoch’s representative in No 10’. Coulson later went to prison. Another person whom Ken had to deal with was Patrick Rock, who was Michael Howard’s former special advisor at the Home Office and now Cameron’s Deputy Director of Policy, with responsibility for criminal justice. Rock was subsequently imprisoned for the possession of child porn.

Ken mentions another old friend in a high place, Igor Judge, lately of the Midlands Circuit, now Lord Chief Justice.

Ken wanted to abolish those things much in the news at present, IPPs – indeterminate prison sentences for public protection. Although Blunkett – whose brainwave they had been – admitted that they hadn’t ‘worked’ as he’d hoped (you were warned that they’d result in people imprisoned for years for trivial offences Blunkett, which is exactly what has happened) – Ken was told that it would be too much of a struggle to abolish them. So a deal was done. If Ken introduced some new minimum mandatory sentences under certain conditions, he’d be allowed to abolish IPPs – this deal had to be entered into because Cameron wanted to be seen to be tough on law and order.

Ken also provides an insight into the working of the office of the Mayor of London. When Boris was seeking a second term as Mayor, he dreamt up a ‘sobriety scheme’, which would involve anyone being arrested for drunkenness to be directed into a sentence requiring regular checks to prove that they were remaining sober. It was evident to Ken that Boris was clueless as to how he’d ever run such a scheme and he couldn’t answer even the most basic questions about it. So Boris rang the Met Commissioner on his mobile to answer Ken’s questions, but although the Commissioner was a supporter of the scheme, he couldn’t answer any questions about it either. Ken had a second meeting with Boris, during which Boris put his phone on speaker and asked someone from his office to come and answer the questions.

 

So that’s Ken’s overview of his gloriously long career at the top of Gov’t. Despite the many disasters, Ken reassures himself that all the policies that he pushed through have worked brilliantly and on every occasion that something went tits-up, it was someone else’s fault. He blithely carries on, reassuring everybody that there’s no problems, even when he knows damn well that the problems are horrendous. Such as one (At LEAST) of his colleagues molesting children, which caused the whole of the Gov’t to ignore serious criminal conduct on the part of social services, Top Doctors, the police, accountants and businessmen and to engage with corrupt professionals in the media to keep it all quiet – even when witnesses start being found dead or are killed in a mass murder in an arson attack. Ken knows that organised crime has become so big that the police can’t tackle it and he’s noticed that London has become a magnet for criminals, money-launderers and despots from corrupt regimes. Ever wondered why Ken? Not that he worries about it that much – he’s got lunches to eat, curries to enjoy, jazz clubs to visit and all those lucrative company directorships which involve doing business in, by his own admission, ‘corrupt markets’. It’s not as if he and his colleagues will come unstuck even when catastrophe strikes – the rules are bent for them, whether it’s keeping Mrs Cameron’s courthouse open or ensuring that Peter Morrison never gets caught out, even if that involves murdering some of the witnesses, ruining a few careers and stitching innocent people up in Court.

Well I hope it was worth it Ken. All that to ensure another election victory for Thatcher, so that narrow minded, dim, philistine of a woman could carry on being PM and preach to the rest of us the merits of monetarism, a policy which she obviously didn’t understand. Wales got completely fucked in the process and we were then told that it was all our fault. Oh and my friend’s baby died – but at least Thatcher was spared a film about a gang of paedophiles wreaking havoc, one of which was her PPS and Deputy Party Chairman. Thatcher died alone – but in the Ritz. Carol complained that in her final years with dementia, Thatcher’s ‘friends’ abandoned her. I think that was probably a function of the sort of people whom she chose as friends Carol.

Peter Morrison didn’t last as long as Thatcher, in fact he died suddenly and unexpectedly at only 51 years old. Gyles Brandreth’s autobiography states that Morrison was found dead at home at the bottom of the stairs. Gyles wonders whether he threw himself down the stairs to kill himself. I wouldn’t be surprised Gyles if someone actually pushed him and then whacked him on the head afterwards to ensure that the deed was done. Morrison was found dead on 13 July 1995. By which time a major investigation was underway into the abuse of children in children’s homes in Clwyd and there were demands for a Public Inquiry. The North Wales Hospital Denbigh had virtually closed down and Dr Dafydd Alun Jones had ‘retired’ with the remit to provide ‘substance abuse services’ for north Wales (see post ‘The Evolution Of A Drugs Baron?’). Alison Taylor and I had lost our careers, my friend’s first born had died and another friend who wanted to publish the story had been unlawfully dismissed from his job as well. Presumably disposing of Peter Morrison would bury the matter for ever.

But now I’ve written this blog.

 

 

Those Who Care Are Concerned

Yesterday the Guardian reported that NHS staff were quitting ‘because pay was so poor’ – it was alleged that some NHS staff were using food banks and that some were working stacking shelves in supermarkets. This was attributed to the recent policy of limiting pay awards in the NHS to 1% and it was claimed that this was ‘damaging the NHS’. It was reported that in particular, people with mental health problems were experiencing delays and setbacks. This story emanated from claims made by an organisation called ‘NHS Providers’ which was described as representing almost all of England’s Hospitals, Mental Health Trusts and Ambulance Trusts, their spokesman being the Chief Executive, Chris Hopson. Hopson also turned up on Radio 4’s Today programme with his tale of woe, where again the alleged deleterious effect on mental health care in particular was commented upon. It was said that in recent months, the Medical Royal Colleges, the Health Trade Unions and health charities such as Cancer Research UK have all highlighted the effects on patient care of shortages of doctors, nurses, GPs and paramedics. Various representatives of the Medical Royal Colleges have previously been outed on this blog as having taken part in the neglect and abuse of patients – for example the delightful Professor Rob Poole of the Royal College of Psychiatrists. I have also provided details of very bad behaviour – and research fraud – among leading lights in the Cancer Research Campaign, now known as Cancer Research UK. One of the people who starred was Nicholas Wright, who has picked up a knighthood. Furthermore, if doctors and GPs are either stacking shelves in supermarkets or using food banks they will be doing this for reasons other than being short of money – consultants and GPs all hit about 100k pa and many of them earn an awful lot more. Junior doctors and nurses do not earn as much as that but do not actually fall within the category of the ‘low paid’ – now a lot of them are leaving the NHS but talk to them about their reasons for doing this. It is nothing to do with pay. As I have stated repeatedly on this blog it is nearly always because they have standards which they feel are being compromised by the dysfunction, chaos, bullying and poor patient care that pervades so much of the NHS. The traditional get out clause of junior doctors to avoid the bullying and bullshit that rained down upon them was of course to enter General Practice, where they would in the end be self-employed and have some degree of control over their lives. But there were still hazards to be negotiated – one of the most conscientious medical students that I knew when I was young was sacked from his first post in General Practice. He remarked wryly that the main priority of the senior partner in the practice was the state of the carpet tiles and that medicine was far too much of a conservative profession to allow any trainee to disagree. This man was no firebrand – his ambition at school was to practice medicine for a while and then become a Conservative MP. He is now a hospital consultant and interestingly enough a Conservative Councillor who enjoys writing to the Daily Telegraph and Private Eye. His patients also report that he is a very good doctor – but he managed to get sacked. As for nurses – for years, nurses have been leaving nursing for other jobs if they cannot stomach what they are witnessing at work. They frequently move into teaching or lecturing, but some are so desperate to not remain in nursing that they do take up roles outside of the professions. The first person in this category that I encountered was a nurse who in 1984 was working as a waitress – she preferred to do that than participate in what was happening at Ysbyty Gwynedd which was where she had previously been employed. I have since met many more like her. Not one left nursing because of the pay – indeed if you are a nurse it is quite possible to end up on a very high salary if you go into NHS management and many of them do, particularly those with absolutely no principles at all (I’m thinking of one Grace Lewis-Parry here…). There are some very poorly paid people working in the NHS who may well be using food banks or working in a second job as well, particularly if they are the only wage earner in a family with children, but they are healthcare assistants, porters, cleaners, canteen staff and receptionists. They are treated like dirt although they are often playing a key role and I really don’t think that Mr Hopson the CEO from NHS Providers was thinking of them – he certainly didn’t mention them. Another person contributed to the debate as well, declaring the 1% pay restraint policy ‘stupid’ – that was Norman Lamb, the LibDem MP. Norman Lamb in recent months became well-known for his support for Sara Ryan and her family – Sara is the mother of Connor Sparrowhawk, the young man with learning disabilities and epilepsy who died as a result of neglect, along with hundreds of other patients, whilst in the care of Southern Health. Blame was attributed to Katrina Percy, the CEO, along with the rest of a deceitful dysfunctional Trust Board and a lying psychiatrist who simply moved to Ireland to practice after her cock-ups resulted in Connor’s death. Come on Norman, you know damn well that the death of Connor – and all the other patients – were nothing at all to do with pay restraint. The whole bloody lot of those responsible were on enormous salaries. Connor’s mum was a modestly paid academic and on her twitter feed frequently commented that she would have been sacked long ago if she’d been as bad at her job as Katrina Percy and co were – furthermore Connor’s mum had managed to look after Connor herself for most of his life without him dying. That only happened when she left him in the care of ‘professionals’.

One of the final item’s on the Today programme was another mental health related report, featuring interviews with both the CEO of the Mental Health Foundation and a ‘service user’ called Kerry. The report centred around people sectioned under the Mental Health Act being detained in police cells and Kerry was introduced as someone who had endured that experience. Kerry was actually pretty brilliant, she was very articulate, very frank about the horrors and serious deficiencies of the mental health system – but Nick Robinson the interviewer cut her off mid-flow. Because she’d already spoken and they’d run out of time. But the reason that they’d run out of time was that Nick had allotted so much of the time to the CEO of the Mental Health Foundation – who obviously was going to speak for service users, rather than the one very competent service user being allowed to reveal to the nation just how bad the whole system is. I noticed that in the Mail Online yesterday the Mental Health Foundation was also expressing concern about the Serious Problem of Women Drinking Prosecco At Lunchtime. Now if an elderly male Methodist Minister who was temperance wrote an article expressing similar concerns, he’d be publicly pilloried at worst, a figure of fun at best. But if it’s a ‘mental health charity’ no-one comments on how ridiculous and condescending it is. The Mental Health Foundation also stated that ‘1 in 3’ people will suffer from mental health problems – my God, the figure has gone up, the dreadful Paul Farmer and MIND always claimed it was ‘1 in 4’! We’re all going mad, especially women – the only solution is for the Gov’t to part with millions in the direction of the Mental Health Foundation and MIND, appoint them all to Gov’t Advisory Committees and then give them gongs. Meanwhile they will remain completely silent about the serious neglect and abuse of people who really are mentally ill (far fewer than ‘1 in 4’, which is of course why they can be so shamefully treated without an outcry) by the mental health services themselves – people like Kerry, whose opinions mattered less than those of the CEO of the Mental Health Foundation…. And just to show how effective Radio 4 is at raising awareness and combatting stigma, directly after the Today programme Andrew Marr hosted Start The Week and one of his guests described how he’d written a book about a conman who had swindled him who was a ‘bipolar maniac’ who spent huge quantities of money shamelessly. It’s called acute mania, a serious illness which should not be conflated with criminality and a lot fewer than ‘1 in 4’ or ‘1 in 3’ experience it.

All these dire predictions of the consequences of the UK Gov’t not giving mental health professionals even more money than they get already (God knows what they’re doing with it, one look at the state of the nation’s mental health system makes it quite clear that it certainly isn’t being used to benefit patients) has come at a very opportune time. A few days ago I was sent an excellent PhD thesis written by Dr Vicky Long, completed some years ago whilst she was at the University of Warwick and I have been working my way through it. The thesis is entitled ‘Challenging The Public Representation of Mental Illness, 1870-1970’ and it provides much evidence for a number of things that I’ve noticed myself during my various encounters with the UK’s caring sharing mental health services. Particularly interesting is Chapter Two of Vicky’s thesis, which consists of a detailed analysis of how mental health patients were represented within the literature produced by the National Asylum Workers Union. This is a good deal more relevant to present day concerns than non-historical/sociological geeks might imagine. NAWU later evolved into MHIWU (Mental Hospital and Institutional Workers Union), which in turn evolved into COHSE (Confederation of Health Service Employees), whose successor was UNISON, one of the most powerful players in today’s trade union movement, let alone simply within the NHS arena.

Vicky’s analysis very clearly demonstrates that this Union skilfully controlled how ‘mental patients’ were represented in the wider media, which in turn dictated how they were perceived by the general public and that the union nearly always did this in order to improve the pay and conditions of the ‘attendants’ ie. mental health nurses, rather than to improve the care and treatment of patients. Vicky’s analysis and the material that she presents from the late 1920s onwards is striking – we think of this era as being ancient history where mental health care is concerned, but the attitudes and even some of the language still exists in mental health ‘care’ today. As I read Vicky’s chapter, memories of scenarios and phrases used by staff that I had witnessed and heard at the North Wales Hospital Denbigh and at Ysbyty Gwynedd came back to me.

Vicky analysed in detail the journal of the NAWU as this was the forum for representations of mental illness among asylum attendants. The NAWU was formed in 1910 as a reaction to the poor working conditions of the attendants and it focused on the gulf between the privileges and pay enjoyed by the asylum Medical Superintendents (Gwynne Williams the lobotomist and Dafydd Alun Jones in the case of the North Wales Hospital, although of course they were Medical Superintendents later on in the century) and the very poor pay and conditions of the attendants. Very early on in the NAWU’s history, it seems that the working conditions of the attendants were so bad that they did actually have a lot of fellow feeling for the ‘lunatics’. However this didn’t last. Vicky’s analysis highlights other phenomena that can still be seen among mental health professionals – battles between different unions, the influence of gender and fights over status between nurses and social workers. The NAWU journal was strongly socialist and working class and viewed membership of the rival Asylum Workers Union as an act of class betrayal. The whole thrust of Vicky’s argument is that the living conditions of the patients were only scrutinised when the situation of the staff improved.

The usual strategy of the NAWU to obtain improved pay and conditions was to focus on the unpleasantness of the patients. In 1912 there was a reference to the ‘antics of deluded and degraded ‘mental deficients’ and ‘moral perverts’ and nurses are frequently described as having to ‘manage’ difficult patients. Vicky notes that in the main text used for training asylum attendants, the terms ‘nursing’, ‘management’ and ‘control’ of patients are used interchangeably. (My actions in complaining about the north Wales mental health services are referred to on a number of occasions in my medical records as ‘antics’ and the records are dripping with references to the ‘management’ of me, as well as yes, the occasional reference to the need to ‘control’ me. Because I was writing letters of complaint – about criminal conduct on the part of mental health professionals.) In 1929, as part of the description of the job of a mental nurse, it is stated that ‘patients may be unpleasant, abusive, filthy in habits and language, or ungrateful, suspicious, unwilling and resistive….sympathy, kindliness and tact must be abundant to overflowing for the mental patient…’ Again, I have heard many of these words used by mental health professionals to describe patients. I was constantly viewed as a problem for being ‘suspicious’ and ‘unwilling’ – although the staff using such descriptions for me were detaining me illegally in the North Wales Hospital after Dr Dafydd Alun Jones had concocted a ‘deal’ with a corrupt police officer at Bangor Police Station – the nurses had documented all this in detail on my records and had also stated their unhappiness with being dragged into the ‘deal’. Yet I was pathologised for being suspicious of their motives and not wanting to waste my time in their prison. Again and again I have heard staff complain about patients who swear – indeed, at the ‘hearing’ held by Robert Bluglass into the investigation of my complaint about the North Wales Hospital (which didn’t actually cover most of my complaint or the most serious aspects of it), as part of his rationale for labelling me ‘mentally ill’, Jones maintained that I’d used ‘foul and abusive language’ in front of his young children and that anyone who does this is not mentally normal. (How I managed to swear in front of his children I do not know – I did not at the time know that he had children and had certainly never met them. But Jones was not required to provide evidence of any of it – he said that I did it, so obviously I did.) Bluglass agreed that my language was indeed shocking. Bluglass has a daughter Amanda, who fancies herself as an avant garde artist. A few years ago she took to displaying her creations on the internet. One of them was a sampler of a county cottage, below which was embroidered ‘Happy Fucking Holidays’. Interestingly enough, in his final report in which Bluglass avoided commenting on many of the gross things that had happened to me at the hands of Dafydd et al although there was documentary evidence of these things, Bluglass summed up by stating that ‘doctors and others are caring individuals’ – these were people who had illegally imprisoned me, assaulted me, repeatedly lied about me, threatened me and then when that didn’t work tried to bribe me. Oh and they were concealing the activities of a paedophile ring as well. But their goodwill and patience had no bounds…. Another reference from an early edition of the NAWU journal represents patients as ‘alien, foreign, devious and different from normal people’. The SEN in Denbigh who eventually assaulted me, Stephen Rose, at one point described me as ‘scheming and devious’ (it was never explained why) – and in another reference to my alleged ‘abnormality’, on one occasion Jones lost his temper with me (because I didn’t succumb to the threats and bribery) and he yelled at me ‘any normal woman would have some respect’.

Again and again in the NAWU journal severely ill patients are represented as anti-social and violent and this was repeatedly used to justify better wages and conditions In 1928, the journal dealt with allegations that patients were being brutally treated and abused by attendants by alleging that it was the patients who were violently attacking the staff. Arguments were mounted that attendants deserved better pay and conditions not because they were skilled and professional but because they were managing dangerous violent individuals. Accounts are based on conjecture – a ‘seemingly quiet patient’ may suddenly become ‘violent to themselves or others’, ‘another blow’ from a ‘violent patient’ ‘could well have been fatal’. On one occasion a patient less dishonoured than others – a soldier with shell-shock – published in another journal an account of the violence and abuse that he’d witnessed being dealt out by the staff in an asylum. The NAWU responded by stressing the unreliability of patients accounts. This is all very familiar. At the North Wales Hospital and at Ysbyty Gwynedd, again and again I and other patients made representations about staff assaults on ourselves and other patients that we had witnessed. Throughout the course of thirty years the response from the NHS authorities was the same – either it was the patients who had attacked the staff, or the patients ‘had misunderstood’ the situation, or the patients were all mates and were colluding with each other. On the occasion that staff injured me whilst I was a patient in the Hergest Unit, my injuries were not documented and I was not released from a locked ward until the injuries had healed. When I tried to telephone both the police and a friend to report the assault the telephone was disconnected. The assault upon me was never investigated. Despite all the allegations of ‘violent’ patients made by the north Wales mental health services and the constant stream of scare stories and confected statistics regarding ‘attacks’ on staff that the north Wales mental health services have placed in the local media, I have only ever witnessed one assault upon a member of staff, which was when a very psychotic disorientated man detained on a locked ward threw a book at a psychiatrist. That has been the sum of it. Staff are sometimes assaulted by patients, but it is not a regular occurrence. Furthermore, one of the more robust pieces of research that has been done into assaults on staff by patients in psychiatric units – there has been virtually no research conducted into abuse of patients by staff which is extraordinary really, it can only be that it just doesn’t happen! – concluded that in every case, the assault had been precipitated by staff being extremely aggressive or rude to patients. As for ‘quiet’ patients being suddenly ready to launch into terrifying violence – again, another allegation that was levelled at me. When people outside of the mental health services volubly stated that the lurid allegations made about me by mental health staff were inconsistent with what they knew of me, they were told that they ‘didn’t know’ what I was like, or that I had ‘fooled’ them or best of all that I was ‘charismatic’. Only the mental health services could see my black, black heart. But interestingly enough I have recently obtained documents from my lawyer which include letters from the lawyers that the mental health services were using themselves telling them that there was no evidence that I had ever assaulted anyone and that they had to stop saying this in affidavits. Not that it stopped the ludicrous allegations, the psychiatrists concerned then progressed to stating that they thought that I was going to kill them. No evidence at all, although a lot of evidence that they had repeatedly lied about me, even on oath – but nonetheless I could murder the whole lot of them in their beds, they just knew it.

The journal of the NAWU also contains information very reminiscent of the way that psychiatrists today describe patients who allegedly have ‘personality disorders’: ‘…cannot support themselves…cannot resist criminal impulses…not actively dangerous but are a menace to the community…no idea of…social obligations…a danger to women and children…anti-social tendencies and habits of this kind are not be cured…’ or indeed the ‘social failure’ of an individual. This could have all come from a present day psychiatric textbook.

One Claude Bartlett was elected President of the NAWU in 1926 – and he stayed in that post until 1962 no less. Throughout this time he remained a mental charge nurse and with the exception of his time as Chairman of the TUC in 1959, he restricted his activities to the field of health care. Bartlett was one of the most vocal calling for the amalgamation of the health services trade union into COHSE and he was a member of the Royal Commission whose recommendations were incorporated into the Mental Health Act of 1959. In 1959 Bartlett was stating that he was pleased with the large advances made by the Union regarding the representation of mental nurses as professionals. He commented that ‘I often wonder whether some of my trade union colleagues are not trying to break down barriers which have long since ceased to exist. It is a far cry from the lunatic attendant of less than 50 years ago to the trained and qualified psychiatric nurse of today. I am naturally proud to have played some part, small perhaps, in raising a once lowly occupation into a skilled and honoured vocation’. That was in 1959. During the 1990s a nurse at the Hergest Unit who was one of the best staff there, who really was skilled and professional, was regularly ORDERED by Dr X and Dr David Healy to telephone the police to complain about distressed patients. On one of those occasions, it was because a patient had said that he was so suicidal that he felt like chopping a gas pipe. He ended up in Walton prison on remand, although all charges were eventually dropped against him. None of those grandiose, arrogant psychiatrists saw the nurse’s role as ‘a skilled and honoured vocation’. And that nurse did not feel able to challenge any of them, although she saw the consequences of their actions. Interestingly enough the same nurse, after she retired, told me that she never applied for a position as a lecturer in Bangor University’s School of Healthcare Sciences because in north Wales she witnessed the very nurses who did not have good skills with patients applying for jobs there – her perception was that they didn’t actually like looking after patients and weren’t actually very good at it, so they became nurse tutors instead.

In 1959 and the early 1960s, COHSE’s allegedly patient centred view was undermined, suggesting that once more, the main concern of psychiatric nurses was their working conditions. At the 1959 conference, the new Mental Health Bill was debated and a conference resolution expressed concerns that there was inadequate funding for the proposed measures and the hope that mental nurses skills would be utilised in the new community care system. Psychiatric nurses were well aware that other professions might usurp their roles and threaten their careers. COHSE tried to protect nurses by framing themselves as crusaders for the users of the mental health services and leaders of public opinion. Theresa May has of course announced that a new Mental Health Act is to be passed, which will lead to far fewer people being detained against their will and will also enable them to refuse ‘treatment’. This has of course come hot on the heels of scandal after scandal in the UK mental health services, of numerous accounts of neglect and abuse and of course deaths of patients in the care of the mental health services. Have perhaps the mental health professions realised that they are about to be cut out of the picture and made redundant – because patients certainly aren’t going to agree to the shite abusive treatment that is forced upon them at present if they are given a choice – and is that why they are all busy reminding us at the moment of how they only have the concerns of patients at heart? And that the patients are Suffering because mental health professionals aren’t being paid enough? Oh, by the way, in the late 50s/60s when COHSE were worried about their jobs and pay, they organised demonstrations and pickets. Stand by Theresa, there’ll be a March through central London to show us all how much they Care – all the usual culprits will be there, the BMA, the RCN, the Royal Colleges, MIND and Paul bloody Farmer, Peter Beresford and Rachel Perkins and poor old Jeremy Corbyn will be completely taken in by the whole lot of them and will join in, thinking that he’s helping people who Care. Meanwhile psychiatric patients will continue to be tasered whilst sectioned in hospital, suffocated to death whilst being ‘restrained’, prescribed ‘medication’ that harms or even kills them etc etc. In fact I think I heard on the Today programme that a National Health Action Party has been established to field candidates in the forthcoming election. The Top Doctors must be in trouble then, is there a scandal on the way? Has one of them been arrested for doing something that they shouldn’t have, perhaps removing perfectly healthy bits of the body after telling the unsuspecting patient that they had cancer a la Dr Ian Paterson? Or has another Harold Shipman been discovered?

As for Claude Bartlett’s claims in 1959 that asylums and the mental nursing profession had been transformed, well I think that needs to be taken with a very big pinch of salt. After a visit to the North Wales Hospital Denbigh, the Health Minister Enoch Powell was so appalled by what he saw that he is reputed to have told the assembled ‘professionals’ that he would not allow them to do this to people – Powell returned to London and announced the proposed closure of 75,000 psychiatric hospital beds over the next 15 years. (Of course when Powell witnessed something terrible, Gwynne the lobotomist was Medical Superintendent at Denbigh. Presumably Gwynne was so used to imprisoning, neglecting, abusing and indeed killing people that he had become complete immune to the idea that some people would not appreciate what was going on, hence he felt able to proudly throw open the doors of Denbigh to the Health Minster. Obviously the result of years of cap-doffing and toadying from small town society who could rely on the hideous Gwynne to deal with anyone who was a bit of a nuisance to them. COHSE really freaked out at Powell’s proposals and resurrected the spectre of the dangerous patient (they forgot their user-friendly bit) and wanted nurses paid danger money. COHSE were particularly irked with Powell’s proposals to only place psychiatric patients in Rampton, Broadmoor and Moss Side as a last resort. They also maintained that Powell’s policy of discharging patients on prescription would lead to a nation of drug addicts. Once more psychiatric patients were represented as violent criminals and Vicky Long suggests that this stemmed more out of the fear of the threat to the jobs, future and status of the mental nursing profession than any concern over more outpatient care. Again, I saw something similar when I was a patient at the North Wales Hospital in 1986/87. At the time the UK Gov’t were making much noise regarding closing down places like Denbigh and transferring patients into community care. All the nurses at Denbigh were raging about this, stating that the facilities in the community weren’t there (which was to be fair completely true) and that some of the very vulnerable patients would never cope (which again they didn’t). But the same nurses were concealing and colluding with the most appalling wrongdoing on the part of Dafydd Alun Jones et al – they KNEW that patients were in there illegally banged up, never having been assessed by anyone but had simply been arrested because they’d crossed the path of Jones or one of his mates. They KNEW that some of those patients were not ‘schizophrenic’ or ‘deluded’ as was being diligently documented. And one of those nurses, Iola Edwards – who was one of those who expressed such concern regarding the fate of the patients once Denbigh had shut down – actively stopped a young woman from telling me any more, when she heard the young woman begging me to help her and claiming that she had been abducted, held in an attic ‘by a doctor’ with a group of other men and molested. (Would you know anything about this perchance Dafydd, after all your mistress was named in the Waterhouse Report as having colluded with a paedophile ring whilst she was Director of Gwynedd Social Services). That young woman disappeared within hours – Iola Edwards obviously knew what had happened to her and must have been instrumental in flagging up to someone in authority that the young woman had told me what had happened to her, so they got her out of there quick. I bet they didn’t let her go though, or take her to the police. And of course the community care provided after Denbigh eventually shut was dreadful – because it was managed and staffed by the same people who ran and staffed Denbigh. Did anybody really imagine that their values and standards would suddenly change just because someone gave them offices and clinics in a different building?

The NAWU dwelt on some other familiar themes as well. In the 1930s their journal carried reports on the experimental use of leucotomies and ECT and the Government’s Athlone Report stated that ‘medical staff now require highly skilled mental health nurses to assist’. Although the historian of nursing Peter Nolan argues that physical treatments threatened to erode nursing skills by reducing nurses to doctors assistants, COHSE’s predecessor was enthusiastic about the ‘new therapies’. During the 1940s and 50s there was a reconceptualization of the image of the psychiatric patient as that of a client or guest. By 1961 glossy photos showing the luxurious aspects of public hospitals were displayed monthly in the journal and hospitals were described as if they were hotels. But when the Hergest Unit was built at Ysbyty Gwynedd there was much excitement and boasting about the new facilities – of course they were very much better than what had been on offer at Denbigh, but huge cracks soon appeared in the service, which still contained the former staff and managers from Denbigh.

The NAWU also reflected two other ideas concerning psychiatric patients that were expressed by some professionals – that either sterilisation or euthanasia would be a good idea. In 1929 the Gov’t considered sterilising ‘mental defectives’ and they were depicted as an economic threat to sane ratepayers. In 1934 Prof JA Berry, Director of Medical Services at Stoke Colney, Bristol, argued that some in his care should be killed, a ‘kindly euthanasia’ being the ‘only really kindly treatment’. A Dr EGL Goffe, a Kingston physician, suggested no other alternative for ‘idiots’ than the ‘lethal chamber’ as ‘such people should not be a drag on the community…a waste of money and energy keeping them alive…’ Many doctors wrote in favour of sterilisation – however one Dr Neil Montgomery showed an acute awareness of class power abuse issuing from doctor to patient, commenting that it tended to be the poor who should be recommended for sterilisation and at the same time expressed sentiments of duty to the patients which were not expressed by the working class members of the NAWU. (Remind anyone of the current Tory Govt’s new policy that people claiming tax credits for a third child can only do so if they can demonstrate that the child resulted from rape?) In July 1935, the cartoonist for the MHIWU journal (as it had then become) depicted the Board of Control Chairman’s view – a full page image of a physically deformed figure whose featureless ‘shadow’ fell menacingly over Britain. The figure was represented with palms outstretched, recalling the belief expressed in the journal by doctors, judges, Poor Law guardians and the Board of Control that ‘mental defectives’ were socially inefficient and an economic drain on the resources of the ‘normal’ population. Obviously a bunch of shirkers and skivers like all those people that George Osborne seemed to know of…

In 1963 an editorial in the journal commented that if the Lord Chancellor and Lunacy Commissioners were anxious for the welfare of the patients, the very first thing that they should turn their attention to is the conditions of asylum services to attract and retain the best types of men and women. Sounds familiar – here comes a nurses pay claim, just after revelations that patients were being treated dreadfully. By the end of the ‘60s, the situation of the patients had not improved. Barbara Robb’s famous expose of the appalling treatment of the mentally ill in hospitals, ‘Sans Everything: A Case To Answer’, elicited personal attacks on Robb and COHSE complained of a ‘witch-hunt’ atmosphere and parodied Robb’s expose as ‘Knock Everything’. COHSE was not the only body representing psychiatric nurses – the RCN did as well and in 1970 their conference attacked psychiatric nurses conditions of work. The Chairman of their Psychiatric Committee suggested the patients posed the main limitation to nurses work. Once more a dire representation of your average psychiatric patient was constructed, with it being claimed that being spat at, kicked, scratched and bitten was all in a day’s work and that nurses spent much of their times separating patients who were fighting or warding off assaults on themselves.

The journal of the NAWU also reflected the gender battle that took place within it’s own ranks. From the 1920s onwards there was much opposition from male asylum attendants to women nurses working on male wards. Sick patients were portrayed as violent anti-social misfits whose violent and sexually depraved behaviour would only increase at the hands of kindly female nurses – a similar argument was used at the Hergest Unit as the rationale for their callous treatment of those whom they labelled ‘personality disordered’. Indeed, a suicide attempt by one such patient was constructed by Dr Dafydd Alun Jones as being the result of ‘ire’ of all things. Yet Nursing Times, a journal dominated by women, opposed the NAWU, pointing out that ‘not a single complaint of any kind has been made by the female nurses’ – furthermore, a female nurse was quoted as commenting that constructing all ‘mental cases’ as ‘depraved’ was an ‘insult’ to many patients. This depiction of patients as violent and sexually perverted diminished when it was no longer in accordance with the image that the Union was trying to establish. This turnaround confused members – there is written evidence from one male nurse demonstrating that he was puzzled as to how the Union could have ‘forgotten’ what patients were like.

Throughout the twentieth century, the journal of the NAWU repeatedly published articles on themes that are still pursued at present. An article in the 1940s written by a patient, ‘David’, was the first time that the journal has offered any degree of respect to a patient’s account. David was completely uncritical of his treatment and maintained that it could only have been bettered if the asylum staff were paid more. This is startlingly reminiscent of much discourse from present day ‘service user involvement’. Two of the biggest figures in the UK in this field are Peter Beresford and Rachel Perkins. Beresford is a former social worker and this is very obviously still a major part of his identity and Perkins is the former clinical director of Springfield Hospital. Perkins oversaw a disaster, including a number of murders, and Springfield was subjected to damning comments at a subsequent public inquiry. Neither Beresford or Perkins have ever spoken out about serious abuse and neglect in the mental health services, criminal activity on the part of the ‘professionals’ or the problems of dishonest expert witnesses in psychiatry. Their concerns tend to revolve around ‘discrimination’, ‘stigma’ and the need for more funding and higher staff pay. Some years ago I received a series of very angry e mails from someone who had completed a PhD with Beresford, demanding to know why I would not ‘come out’ as an academic who was a ‘service user’, telling me that Peter Beresford could ‘help’ me. I have made it clear in my publications that I do not hide my involvement with the mental health services but I find the ‘service users movement’ for the most part strangely deradicalised, denatured and institutionalised and I explained this to the person who e mailed me. They became angrier and angrier and made it clear that I was some sort of traitor by not joining the merry band who remain silent about serious wrongdoing but who campaign for higher pay for the people involved in this.

Another article in the NAWU journal from the early middle years of the twentieth century concerned the activities of a charity dedicated to the after care of discharged asylum patients, supposedly committed to their economic and social reintegration. The charity’s President had commented that the work of the charity assisted the state by producing good citizens. Does this sound familiar to you Paul Farmer?

Another article published in the 20s stressed the important of asylum attendants completing the Certificate of the Medico-Psychological Association, in order that the work would be seen as highly skilled and professional. Nurses these days are encouraged to go for postgrad education, because nursing is ‘highly skilled’ and ‘professional’. Some years ago I was forwarded an e mail from a ward manager at the Hergest Unit which frankly declared that he didn’t want to do an Masters because he’d found completing a Bachelor’s degree very difficult, but his boss, the nursing manager Lena Henry, had told him that it would make the Hergest Unit look good if he did enrol for a Masters. Meanwhile patients died.

Again, as far back as the 1920s, the NAWU’s journal was maintaining that the general public only saw the worst side of mental hospitals and that if the public were allowed to enter such hospitals they would receive enlightenment. I witnessed two such Tours of North Korea myself, one in the North Wales Hospital Denbigh and one at the newly opened Hergest Unit. Local dignitaries were guided around the best parts of the building by the nicest members of staff. At Denbigh it occurred on Christmas morning when the Mayor and his entourage paid a visit. They were all very friendly, but of course patients clamoured to desperately tell the Mayor et al what was actually happening to them in there. The accompanying nurses used obviously tried and tested techniques to deflect the conversation onto other matters, such as the Christmas presents that the staff had given us that morning – they did give us thoughtful presents and they gave us a good spirited Christmas dinner as well – but a lot of the patients that the Mayor met had been detained illegally, although he wasn’t told that. The nurses did tell me that the Mayor visited the hospital every Christmas morning – ah, so they knew that he would be coming then! When the doors of the newly opened Hergest Unit were thrown open to some local councillors I took the opportunity to tell them that one of the psychiatrists there was having sex with the patients. A sharp-witted nurse interjected with ‘that man does not have any beds in this hospital’. No, but they let him in every Tuesday to hold outpatient’s clinics…

In 1969 COHSE’s journal concerned itself with the struggle for status between psychiatric nurses and psychiatric social workers. The social work profession made it very clear that they considered themselves superior and expressed concern that nurses would ‘muscle in’ on community work. Interestingly enough, I know a psychiatric nurse who trained in the 70s who considers that social work training is too political, concentrates too much on the identity and place in the world of the social worker and does not pay enough attention to the concept of duty to one’s clients. This nurse believed that this was what lay behind so many of the problems that patients experienced with the Arfon Community Mental Health Team – whether she knew that some members of that team were doing the bidding of people who were facilitating a paedophile gang I do not know. I note that Chapter Three of Dr Long’s thesis is concerned with the development of psychiatric social work. I look forward to reading her account of the evolution of the profession of which Hywel Williams was such a proud member.

Reading Chapter Two of Dr Long’s thesis one can only conclude that very little has changed – unions representing mental health staff in the UK have been very much more concerned with the pay and conditions of their members and have been prepared to denigrate the people that they are paid to care for to achieve this, ruthlessly manipulating public opinion. Was it really All A Very Long Time Ago and that Things Are Different Now? Well when I was in Denbigh a nurse called Bob reminisced about how he used to ‘manage’ the patients in his earlier years – he told me that the nurses had to make the patients more frightened of them than they were of their hallucinations. Bob told me that in 1987 – he may still be alive. As many of the older Denbigh nurses are. It is indeed informative to go on the website of the grandly titled North Wales Hospital Historical Society, which is actually a forum for former staff. There are a number of threads where staff have been chatting to each other – those poorly paid nurses who were constantly in danger from patients are certainly enjoying retirement. They discuss their exotic foreign holidays and one of them has a yacht that he talks about. Whilst I was in the Heddfan Unit a former Denbigh nurse who used to pop in there to do a bit of agency work told me that he owned a property in Florida and he spends his time between there and his place in north Wales. By the way, as mental health workers, all these people were entitled to retire at 55 yrs old with a full pension. Tory Cuts anyone? I know of someone else in north Wales who is both a psychiatric nurse and a psychiatric social worker. This man told me years ago that as a student, he was one of those who exposed the Ely Hospital Scandal – he claimed to have punched a nurse whom he saw assault an elderly man before he mobilised the students. Yet this man sectioned people in Denbigh, he knew about the horrors of Prestwood homes, he knows exactly how bad the mental health services are and he watched highly inappropriate people qualify as social workers when he worked in social work education at Coleg Menai. He has never spoken out about any of it. He now has a leading role in MIND in north Wales. Do you fancy punching a few other people Geoff? Starting with your senior colleagues at MIND who pay your salary and are doing such damage…

Bring on the protests then. Of those who are only protesting because they Care.