R.I.P. Fenella Fielding

Yesterday many media outlets provided obituaries of the actress Fenella Fielding, who recently died at the age of 90.

 

Fenella Fielding: the velvet-tongued marvel trapped in a camp cul-de-sac

 

Fenella Fielding is best remembered for starring as Valeria, the camp vamp in ‘Carry On Screaming’, alongside the dysfunctional regulars of the Carry On films – the foibles of the Carry On actors were not made public when those films were made – but Fielding was in fact a serious actress.

The BBC told us that ‘Fenella Fielding survived a violent upbringing to play Ibsen, Shakespeare and Euripides on stage. As an artist, her sheer versatility captivated both Federico Fellini and Noel Coward. This was a woman of wit and wisdom who kept a copy of Plato beside the bed.’

After ‘Carry On Screaming’, Fielding turned down all future Carry On work but the die was cast. In the public mind, she was the quintessential 60s femme fatale, delivering double entendres with lashings of false innocence. Her career slowly drifted into obscurity almost as soon as she uttered her most immortal line.

Fenella Marion Feldman was born in Hackney in 1927, the youngest child of a Romanian mother and a Lithuanian father. The relationship with her parents was never easy, often strained and occasionally violent. As a toddler, she seemed to speak in gibberish. Her mother and father worried she was failing to develop normal language skills until they chanced upon her in animated conversation with a doll. ‘I suppose,’ Fenella later wrote, ‘I just didn’t want to speak to my parents.’

The young Fenella took ballet lessons and gave her youthful talent for comedy free rein in the annual end of year show – once memorably cavorting around the stage to the tune of Nobody Loves A Fairy When She’s Forty. Other mums and dads, she bitterly noted, showered their children with fresh flowers after each performance; her own parents merely offered up the same basket of artificial blooms, year after year.

As she entered her teens, Fenella’s life at home became darker. Her father – who could be charming in public – was a ‘street angel, house devil’, she recalled who ‘used to knock me about with his fists’. To make matters worse, her mother would actually ‘egg him on’. Fenella thought the violence would pass, but it didn’t – at least until she threatened to go to the police.

Fielding left school at 16 and spent a year at St Martin’s School of Art. Her parents were appalled that she might see naked men – or even worse, naked women – in class, which was bound to result in pregnancy and drug addiction. There were rows every morning. Eventually, they forced her to leave.

Still wanting to act, Fielding would hang around stage doors in the West End in the hope of brushing against Alec Guinness or Laurence Olivier. She won a two-year scholarship to the RADA – which pleased her mother and father greatly until it dawned on them she might actually become an actress. Her mother began turning up at RADA at lunchtime, making a scene and insisting Fielding leave. ‘Really, darling’, she would say, ‘these common people!’ After a while, the school quietly withdrew her funding.

Fenella considered going to university but her father told her he’d ‘rather see her dead at his feet.’ Instead, she was dispatched to learn shorthand and typing, which she found soul destroying. Fielding ingested 70 aspirin in a suicide attempt but changed her mind at the last minute. She swallowed pints of mustard water to induce vomiting after calling an all-night Boots to ask how to reverse the effects.

Fleeing home, Fenella found digs in Mayfair run by ‘friendly prostitutes’. In 1952, she appeared in an amateur production at the LSE alongside Ron Moody – then a mature student – who later found fame as Fagin, in the film version of ‘Oliver!’

Ron Moody supported Fenella’s ambition to become an actress, persuading her not to pack it in. She changed her name from Feldman to Fielding, pretended to be seven years younger in order to compensate for her late start in show business and began appearing in comedy revues.

By the end of the 1950s, Fenella had made a name for herself in the musical ‘Valmouth’. It was quirky and, for the time, rather lurid – but Fielding’s rave reviews led to an awkward reconciliation with her parents. Her mother turned up at the Lyric Theatre bearing a peace offering of sorts: a whole, fried chicken.

Next was ‘Pieces of Eight’, a live comedy revue written by Peter Cook and Harold Pinter. Starring alongside her was Kenneth Williams – already firmly established as a household name – who harboured a brittle ego under the thinnest of skins. When one review called Fielding a ‘beautiful butterfly of comedy’, Williams exploded. Encouraging her to ad lib, he ruthlessly stole her best lines. He became threatening and bluntly warned her not to steal his limelight. When Fielding extemporised the end of one sketch with the line ‘the last one dead’s a sissy’, there were hysterics. Williams went white and shrieked that she’d ‘called me a homosexual in front of the whole audience’. ‘It was awful,’ she later recalled. ‘I’d never been so frightened in all my life.’

Worse was to come as Fenella branched out into film and television. In 1959, she appeared in ‘Follow A Star’ alongside Norman Wisdom – who she came to loathe. ‘Not a very pleasant man,’ she later said. ‘Hand up your skirt first thing in the morning. Not exactly a lovely way to start a day’s filming.’

During the 1960s, Vidal Sassoon, personally, did Fenella’s hair and the bohemian journalist Jeffrey Bernard took her on riotous club nights. She would sit and talk long into the night with the flamboyant artist Francis Bacon and the rest of that decade’s rakish beau monde.

Professionally, there were small parts on television in ‘The Avengers’ and regular appearances on the cutting-edge satire, ‘That Was The Week That Was’. Her film appearances included working alongside Dirk Bogarde in ‘Doctor in Love’ and Tony Curtis in ‘Arrivederci, Baby!’

On stage, Fielding pursued her love for drama. ‘The Times’ described her performance as Hedda Gabler as ‘one of the experiences of a lifetime’. The Italian film director Federico Fellini took her to Claridge’s and offered to make a film where she starred as six or seven different incarnations of male desire. Unfortunately, she was already booked to do a season on stage in Chichester so she turned him down – to the great disappointment of her agent.

Then came ‘Carry On Screaming’, which reunited Fielding with with her old nemesis, Kenneth Williams. The filming took three weeks, made her hugely famous and her career never recovered. She played Valeria – a thinly disguised Morticia Addams – with every ounce of camp vamp she could muster. Her wig was huge, her eyelashes incredible and her red dress was so tight she was completely unable to bend in the middle. Every scene was done in a single take and, of course, she is remembered for just one. Reclining on a chaise longue, Fielding entices Harry H Corbett towards her. The eyes flutter and the voice purrs. ‘Do you mind if I smoke?’ she inquires seductively – before vast quantities of dry ice envelope them both.

Fenella politely declined all invitations to appear in other Carry On films – including the lead in ‘Carry On Cleopatra’ – partly in an attempt to avoid being typecast by the success of the first. For the rest of her life, she struggled to escape Valeria.

The offers dried up and her on-screen career quietly slid away. She did Morecambe & Wise Christmas specials and some voice work for both the cult hit series, ‘The Prisoner’, and a ‘Magic Roundabout’ project – ‘Dougal and The Blue Cat’. But she didn’t make another film for almost 15 years.

Fielding was rarely completely out of work. She continued on stage – with a string of well-reviewed provincial shows – in which she didn’t have to play ‘either a Lady or a Tart’. But, eventually, she struggled for money and was forced to go to the social security office to claim benefits.

She never married, despite a string of male admirers. One possible future husband died, another couldn’t get over his alcoholism and had to be abandoned. For 20 years, she maintained two separate lovers and managed to prevent them ever meeting. ‘I loved them both,’ she wrote but decided on ‘never committing; never having a marriage that could have gone awful’.

Politically, she was on the left – despising Margaret Thatcher in the 1980s and refusing to help her older brother Bas when he stood for election under the Conservative banner. But they remained close and she was proud of him when, without her help, he became an important figure in the Conservative Party and eventually entered the Lords.

Latterly, there was work with Rik Mayall and Adrian Edmondson in ‘Guest House Paradiso’ and a role as an eccentric granny in the gritty teenage drama, ‘Skins’. But, for Fenella Fielding, her best work always took place on stage. At the age of nearly 90, the ‘Financial Times’ described her performance in Euripides’ The Trojan Women as ‘unbearably moving… at the extreme limits of pathos’.

Fielding was resigned to her professional fate after ‘Carry On Screaming’. The autobiography she published in 2017 – entitled ‘Do You Mind If I Smoke?’ – has little shred of bitterness or regret. The only thing that rankled was when she met fellow actors – and there were many – who’d been asked to do adverts with a ‘Fenella Fielding-like’ voice. ‘Bloody cheek,’ she would say. ‘Why didn’t they ask me?’

 

Throughout her long life, Fenella worked with and knew about the activities of many unpleasant people, including many of those named on this blog who colluded with, or were even responsible for, the organised abuse of vulnerable people and children. Previous posts have discussed Dafydd’s celebrity contacts, a network which was boosted by his mate and umbrella Professor Linford Rees at Barts being the father of 1970s ‘Poldark’ sweetheart Angharad Rees, who was married to Christopher Cazenove; Cazenove hit it big in Hollywood and starred in ‘Dynasty’…. (see post ‘A Galaxy Of Talent’).

 

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I mentioned that the lives of unpleasant actors in the Carry On films were sanitised by the media at the time. Kenneth Williams was quite nuts: misogynistic, gay but hated the rest of humanity so was solitary, had a Jimmy Savile-esque relationship with his mother and was so obsessive that he wouldn’t allow visitors into his house lest they used his bog and left their germs behind. When Kenneth Williams was found dead, many questions about his death which should have been asked weren’t. Sid James was a ferocious wife-beater and Babs Windsor was married to a gangster and friends with many other gangsters, including the Krays. This was known but was packaged as Babs’s ‘glamorous’ life. Those targeted by the scumbags with whom Babs and Dafydd were mates didn’t perceive them to be glamorous, we thought that they were dangerous and unhinged.

Norman Wisdom gave an interview when he was an elderly tax exile living on the Isle of Man and he came over as a deeply unpleasant man, not just a cheery chappy who shouted ‘Mr Grimsdale’ and fell over a great deal. Norman waxed lyrical about the joys of flogging and hanging people and the necessity of hanging onto every penny of his substantial wealth.

Francis Bacon was openly gay and for a while was the partner of George Dyer. Bacon’s wiki entry tells us that he:

met George Dyer in 1963 at a pub, although a much-repeated myth claims their acquaintance started during the younger man’s burglary into the artist’s apartment. Dyer was about 30 years old, from London’s East End. He came from a family steeped in crime, and had till then spent his life drifting between theft, detention and jail. Bacon’s earlier relationships had been with older and tumultuous men. His first lover, Peter Lacy, tore up the artist’s paintings, beat him in drunken rages, at times leaving him on streets half-conscious. Bacon was now the dominating personality; attracted to Dyer’s vulnerability and trusting nature. Dyer was impressed by Bacon’s self-confidence and artistic success, and Bacon acted as a protector and father figure to the insecure younger man…

Dyer abandoned crime but soon descended into alcoholism. Bacon’s money attracted hangers-on for massive benders around London’s Soho. Withdrawn and reserved when sober, Dyer was highly animated and aggressive when drunk, and often attempted to “pull a Bacon” by buying large rounds and paying for expensive dinners for his wide circle. Dyer’s erratic behaviour inevitably wore thin – with his cronies, with Bacon, and with Bacon’s friends. Most of Bacon’s art world associates regarded Dyer as a nuisance – an intrusion into the world of high culture to which their Bacon belonged. Dyer reacted by becoming increasingly needy and dependent. By 1971, he was drinking alone and only in occasional contact with his former lover.

In October 1971, Dyer joined Bacon in Paris for the opening of the artist’s retrospective at the Grand Palais. The show was the high point of Bacon’s career to date and he was now described as Britain’s “greatest living painter”. Dyer was a desperate man, and although he was “allowed” to attend, he was well aware that he was slipping out of the picture. To draw Bacon’s attention, he planted cannabis in his flat and phoned the police and attempted suicide on a number of occasions. On the eve of the Paris exhibition, Bacon and Dyer shared a hotel room, but Bacon was forced escape in disgust to the room of gallery employee Terry Danziger-Miles, as Dyer was entertaining an Arab rent boy with “smelly feet”. When Bacon returned to his room the next morning, together with Danziger-Miles and Valerie Beston, they discovered Dyer in the bathroom dead, sat on the toilet. With the agreement of the hotel manager, the party agreed not to announce the death for two days.

Bacon spent the following day surrounded by people eager to meet him. In mid-evening of the following day he was “informed” that Dyer had taken an overdose of barbiturates and was dead. Bacon continued with the retrospective and displayed powers of self-control “to which few of us could aspire”, according to Russell. Bacon was deeply affected by the loss of Dyer, and had recently lost four other friends and his nanny. From this point, death haunted his life and work. Though outwardly stoic at the time, he was inwardly broken. He did not express his feelings to critics, but later admitted to friends that “daemons, disaster and loss” now stalked him as if his own version of the Eumenides (Greek for The Furies). Bacon spent the remainder of his stay in Paris attending to promotional activities and funeral arrangements. He returned to London later that week to comfort Dyer’s family.

During the funeral, many of Dyer’s friends, including hardened East End criminals, broke down in tears. As the coffin was lowered into the grave one friend was overcome and screamed “you bloody fool!” Bacon remained stoic during the proceedings, but in the following months suffered an emotional and physical breakdown. Deeply affected, over the following two years he painted a number of single canvas portraits of Dyer, and the three highly regarded ‘Black Triptychs’, each of which details moments immediately before and after Dyer’s suicide.’

Francis Bacon’s wiki admits that as a young man, Bacon was a rent boy and involved in petty crime, but states that in middle age Bacon was charismatic, friendly and engaging and spent most of his time ‘eating, drinking and gambling’ with his friends in Soho. I used to know someone who knew Francis Bacon and that is not what I was told. I was told that Francis Bacon was an absolute bastard, that he was drunk, aggressive, angry and a prolific user of young men for sex. The person who knew Francis Bacon was a Hergest Unit patient. As with so many of his other adventures in his younger days, this man chatted away to the Hergest Unit staff about Francis Bacon and his circle… See post ‘The Killing Floor – I Know Cos I Was There!’

Francis Bacon’s circle of friends included Tom Baker of ‘Dr Who’ fame and of course Lucian Freud.

 

Fenella provided voice-overs for ‘The Prisoner’. That series was famously filmed at Portmeirion, the Italianate village in Gwynedd built by Sir Clough Williams-Ellis, who lived at Llanfrothen just down the road.

 

 

Sir Clough married Amabel Strachey, one of the Bloomsbury set and throughout the middle years of the 20th century, Clough and Amabel’s bohemian friends spent their summers in the Llanfrothen/Croesor area. Their friends included Bloomsbury originals, as well as a whole variety of intellectuals, artists, internationalists and radicals. Among them lived the locals, some of whom had their lives wrecked by Gwynne the lobotomist, Dafydd and the gang. See my post ‘The Village’ for details.

 

 

In later life, Bertrand Russell lived near to Clough and was a friend of his. Russell was sexually predatory, callous and abusive to his nearest and dearest and is suspected of having sexually used/abused his granddaughter Lucy, who burnt herself to death when still young. Russell employed an expensive dodgy solicitor who, along with Top Doctors, obligingly declared Russell’s relatives/victims mad and banged them up/had them disinherited at Russell’s request. See post ‘So Who Was Angry About What?’

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Russell’s son Conrad – his son by Russell’s third wife Patricia – became the 5th Earl Russell, after Russell’s eldest son John Conrad, the 4th Earl Russell, who pretty much had his life ruined by his father, died. Conrad Russell was an historian who specialised in 17th century British history and wrote and lectured extensively on the origins of the English Civil War. His major works include Crisis of Parliaments: English history 1509–1660 (1971), Origins of the English Civil War (edited, 1973), Parliaments and English politics, 1621–1629 (1979), Unrevolutionary England, 1603–1642 (1990), and Fall of the British monarchies, 1637–1642 (1991).

Conrad Russell stood as a Labour candidate in the 1966 General Election but was not elected. He later became active in the Liberal Party and sat in the Lords as a Lib Dem.

 

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Harold Pinter married Lady Antonia Fraser, the daughter of the Labour peer Lord Longford who, along with many members of his family, knew about organised abuse, including the contribution to it made by Dafydd and the gang (see post ‘Comedies Of Menace’). Lady Antonia is, like Conrad Russell, an Oxford-educated historian. Her works include Cromwell, Our Chief of Men (1973) and The Weaker Vessel (1984), a study of women’s lives in 17th century England.

 

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Fenella Fielding’s brother is Basil Samuel Feldman, Baron Feldman and sat in the Lords as a Conservative from 1996 until his retirement in 2017. Basil Feldman is a former member of Lloyd’s of London and was the director of The Young Entrepreneurs Fund, 1985-94. He has been described as a former plastic-toy magnate whose business interests reportedly included ‘Sindy dolls, aircraft kits and yo-yos’. Feldman married his wife Gita Julius in 1952. He has two sons and a daughter. One of his sons is Nick Feldman, bass guitarist of the band Wang Chung. Feldman is a member of the Garrick and Carlton Clubs. As were/are many of those who protected Dafydd et al.

Feldman was knighted in 1982 – as Mary Wynch began her legal struggle against Dafydd and the gang. On 15 January 1996 Feldman was made a life peer. His sponsors were Thatch and Parkinson.

By Jan 1996, Sir Peter Morrison and Dafydd’s mate, the corrupt Home Office Drugs branch mandarin Bing Spear (see post ‘Little Things Hitting each Other’), were both safely dead, having died within four days of each other in July 1995. Sir Ronnie Waterhouse knew that he would be Chairing the Waterhouse Inquiry that William Hague ‘didn’t know’ that he would be announcing in six months time and Ronnie had already spent 1995 conducting a tour of Wales, where he supped and dined with many of those who should have asked questions about the abuse of children in care in north Wales but didn’t (see post ‘Heart Of Darkness’).

 

So Fenella ‘refused to help’ her brother with his political career. When one considers whom she had hung out with, it is fairly clear that she didn’t need to help him…

 

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So Who Was Angry About What?

The recent flurry of media allegations and counter-allegations concerning Ted Heath have quietened down over the past two weeks or so. I have mentioned previously that although I have never received information suggesting that Heath did abuse children, some of the people whom he appointed to senior positions did some pretty appalling things and were involved in concealing the abuse of children and/or mental health patients. Some of those responsible for the unlawful arrest and imprisonment of Mary Wynch were appointed by Heath (see posts ‘The Mary Wynch Case – Details’, ‘Those Lawyers And Judges Involved In The Mary Wynch Case’ and ‘A Few Of The Relevant Politicians Re Mary Wynch’s Case’). Willie Whitelaw, Heath’s friend, was a key figure in concealing the wrongdoing in north Wales (see posts ‘The Cradle Of Filth’ and ‘A Bit More Paleontology’) and it was whilst Willie was banging on about giving young offenders a ‘short sharp shock’ that youngsters in Bryn Estyn – which until 1973 was an approved school under the direct control of the Home Office – were beaten, buggered, injured and used to provide sex to various bigwigs.

I’ve been reading a bit more about Heath’s advisors and confidents. Of course the brilliant thing about the suppression of political scandals is that because civil servants and advisors usually work for successive Prime Ministers, the scandals can continue to be very effectively concealed in the event of a change of Gov’t.

One person who worked for successive administrations was Sir Tom McCaffrey, a civil servant who served under both Labour and Tory Gov’ts and who eventually became Jim Callaghan’s Chief of Staff.

In 1966 McCaffrey was appointed Chief Information Officer for the Home Office under Home Secretary Roy Jenkins. In 1971 McCaffrey was appointed deputy to Heath’s spokesman in Number 10, Sir Donald Maitland. By 1972, Heath’s Home Secretary Robert Carr had secured McCaffrey’s return to the Home Office as Director of Information Services. In 1974, Jim Callaghan, Wilson’s Foreign Secretary, asked Sir Tom to lead the Foreign Office news department. Jim Callaghan appointed him to a Committee to examine the presentation of Gov’t policies in 1975.

In 1976 when Wilson resigned, McCaffrey moved to Number 10 with Callaghan. McCaffrey’s ‘official’ biography tells us that he became Callaghan’s Chief of Staff when Thatcher was elected, but Jon Snow in his book ‘Shooting History, A Personal Journey’ mentions meeting Sir Tom McCaffrey, ‘Jim Callaghan’s Chief of Staff’ in 1977. When Michael Foot became leader of the Labour Party, Sir Tom stayed on as his Chief Assistant. Sir Tom stood down in 1983 with Kinnock’s arrival as Labour leader, on the grounds that he was fed up with the battles between the Bennite left and the leadership.

However McCaffrey was clearly not really a man who wanted a quiet life. He then accepted a job from Robert Maxwell to head the office at Cap’n Bob’s British Printing and Communication Corporation. The official remit was that of ‘interior reorganisation’, but in reality McCaffrey served as someone whose excellent Labour contacts were useful to Cap’n Bob. No doubt the Labour Party also hoped to benefit from Sir Tom’s close association with Maxwell. Sir Tom resigned after six months of industrial disputes and Cap’n Bob’s attempts to take over football clubs and the Observer. Sir Tom was obviously a glutton for punishment – he returned to work for Cap’n Bob as Public Affairs Advisor when Maxwell took over the Mirror Group, but resigned six months later.

McCaffrey died in 2016. One of his sons followed him into the Gov’t Information Services.

McCaffrey will have known about Bryn Estyn and he’ll have known that the abuse of boys there continued throughout different Gov’t administrations. This knowledge and McCaffrey’s ability to control it will have been invaluable. He’ll have known a lot about Maxwell as well – he might even have known that he was dipping into the pension fund. McCaffrey was obviously highly valued which was why Robert Carr wanted him back at the Home Office in 1972.

I mentioned that Tom McCaffrey was briefly deputy to Sir Donald Maitland, Heath’s spokesman in Number 10.

Sir Donald Maitland was a diplomat and Heath’s Chief Press Secretary, 1970-73. In Maitland’s obituary in the Daily Telegraph Maitland was described as one of Heath’s ‘most trusted advisors’, especially in relation to N Ireland and industrial relations. It was noted in his obituary that Maitland briefed and misled journalists and that he was also very successful on securing Heath appearances on current affairs programmes – this was a great frustration to the Labour Party because they had no right of reply to such broadcasts.

Maitland was an Arab specialist who joined the Foreign Office in 1947. He became Private Secretary to Minister of State Lord Reading at some point prior to 1956 (please see post ’95 Glorious Years!’ for information on Lord Reading, one of the old Imperialists whom Trumpers’ and her parents were friends with). Maitland won Heath’s confidence when he worked in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s news dept and was seconded to work as Heath’s Press Officer, 1960-61, whilst Heath was Lord Privy Seal in Harold Macmillan’s Gov’t. Between 1965-67 Maitland worked as Head of News for the Foreign Office, first under Foreign Secretary Michael Stewart, then under Foreign Secretary George Brown. Maitland headed George Brown’s Private Office, but was known to dislike Brown intensely – but then a lot of people did. Maitland was appointed as Ambassador to Libya just as Colonel Gadaffi seized power in 1969.

In the early 1970s Donald Maitland had a key role in the propaganda campaign that the British security services operated in relation to the IRA. In a letter to the PM (Heath) dated 4 Nov 1971, Maitland confirms that he’d Chaired a meeting with Clifford Hill and had decided, along with Sir Dick White and Norman Reddaway, to place anti-IRA propaganda in the British press and media, the first task being to counter the effects of the Compton Report. The Compton Report was the result of the Inquiry into the physical abuse of IRA suspects held under the policy of internment. Hill, White and Reddaway were all members of the security services who are known to have been involved in spreading propaganda and misinformation for various purposes. Maitland confirms in his letter that the machinery for the propaganda campaign was already in place. Maitland was Heath’s spokesman in Number 10 in 1971.

In March 1974 Maitland was recalled from his post with the UN as Britain’s Permanent Representative – a post to which he had been appointed in March 1973 – after Ivor Richard’s shock defeat in the previously safe Labour seat of Blythe and Wilson’s unexpected return to power. Ivor Richard lost the seat to Eddie Milne, who had stood as the Independent Labour candidate. Eddie Milne had been the sitting Labour MP but had dared raise concerns about the corruption in north east England including the Poulson Affair, which had involved a number of big Labour figures and resulted in a number of prison sentences as well as the resignation of Reginald Maudling, the Conservative Home  Secretary. Milne had been deselected by the Labour Party but won the election nonetheless. Not that anyone need have worried – a vendetta against him ensued, the political careers of Milne and his supporters were destroyed and at the Oct 1974 General Election Milne lost the seat to Labour’s John Ryman, a con man who swindled wealthy women. Maitland  was obviously recalled for some purpose, although there was no job for him – so a post was created especially for Maitland, that of Deputy Under-Secretary at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. In 1975 Maitland became Britain’s Permanent Representative to the EEC in Brussels.

At the end of 1979 Maitland was appointed Deputy to Sir Michael Palliser, the Permanent Under-Secretary in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and Head of the Diplomatic Service. Palliser later became Thatcher’s Special Advisor in the Cabinet Office, April-July 1982, during the Falklands campaign.

Between June 1980 and his retirement from the civil service in Dec 1982, Maitland was Permanent Secretary at the Dept of Energy, under Secretary of State Nigel Lawson – he who does not accept that climate change is happening. Maitland’s role at the Dept of Energy was described as strengthening relations with the Arab members of OPEC. I note that Dr David Owen was Shadow Secretary of State for Energy for the year preceding the time that Maitland was Permanent Secretary and for the first six months of his incumbency. Which might explain why Dr Death was Chair of Yukos International UK BV, a division of the former Russian petroleum company Yukos, 2002-05 and was a Director of the Texas-based Hyperdynamics Corporation, ‘an oil concern with an exclusive lease to an offshore area of the Republic of Guinea’, 2009-14.

Donald Maitland didn’t put his feet up when he retired. He was a Director of Britoil; Deputy Chair of the IBA; Chair of the Independent Commission On the Worldwide Telecommunications Dept.

In 1989 Maitland was appointed Chair of the Public Health Education Authority. My post ‘Socio-Political Context Of The North Wales Mental Health Services In The 1980s’ explains how at this time, the very highest echelons in the Dept of Health were concealing the abuse of patients in special hospitals – including that carried out by Jimmy Savile who had by then been appointed general manager of Broadmoor by Jean Trumpington (see post ’95 Glorious Years!’), as well as the criminal activities of Dr Dafydd Alun Jones and Dr Tony Francis (Dr X) in north Wales as they facilitated and concealed the paedophile ring in north Wales which was supplying children to the Westminster Paedophile Ring. A new problem facing those who participated in promiscuous gay sex, particularly with intravenous drug users had emerged – HIV AIDS. My post ‘Professor Prestigious And His Associates’ describes how dear old Dr Donald Acheson the Chief Medical Officer really pushed the boat out at this time, when he and others realised that public figures – including those in Westminster – were at very great risk indeed if they were having sex with rent boys. The threat was real and was demonstrated by the death from AIDS in 1993 of Thomas Tyrell-Kenyon, son of Lord Lloyd Tyrell-Kenyon. Thomas Tyrell-Kenyon was known to be sexually using boys in care in north Wales. The social services knew about it and had even documented it. The North Wales Police knew about it and even managed to have one of Tyrell-Kenyon’s under-aged sexual partners convicted of theft – after he had spent the night with Tyrell-Kenyon in the Crest Hotel in Wrexham – and sent to a detention centre whereas Tyrell-Kenyon faced no charges himself. Lord Lloyd Tyrell-Kenyon was a Conservative peer, a member of the North Wales Police Authority, Chairman of Clwyd Health Authority, a Councillor for Flintshire County Council, a magistrate and the Master Of The North Wales Province Of Freemasonry.

One of Donald Acheson’s biggest problems regarding the public education campaign concerning AIDS was persuading Thatcher and some of her Ministers that it was necessary to talk frankly about gay sex. Acheson eventually overcame their resistance – presumably by explaining that a few of their number stood to die unpleasant and drawn out deaths if they didn’t change their behaviour. However it seems that Maitland was part of the resistance, or if he wasn’t, he was taking orders from them – it was Maitland who ordered the suspension of the HEA’s programme on HIV and sexual health in 1992 after the newly appointed Health Minister, Dr Brian Mawhinney, banned a ‘smutty’ pocket guide produced by the HEA . Mawhinney is rather more well-known for his role as Chairman of the Conservative Party, 1995-97. Mawhinney’s brother is married to barrister Patricia Scotland. Scotland acted for the Welsh Office at the Waterhouse Inquiry, the cover-up orchestrated by Secretary of State for Wales William Hague under John Major’s Gov’t, whilst Patsy’s brother-in-law was Party Chairman – the Welsh Office which had completely failed to protect children in care in north Wales from the paedophile gang. The Welsh Office which had failed to respond to complaints of child abuse or even convictions of social workers in north Wales for assaults on children and which had concealed the criminal activities of Dr Dafydd Alun Jones, Tony Francis and Gwynedd Social Services by using their own corrupt lawyer Andrew Park and their corrupt Medical Ombudsman, Professor Robert Owen. Patricia Scotland was given a peerage shortly after the Waterhouse Inquiry opened, at . Readers can find details of Patricia’s interesting networks and activities in my posts ‘Baroness Patricia Scotland QC Was On Board As Well!’, ‘More On Baroness Patricia Scotland QC – And Her Very Sleazy Friends’ and ‘Even More About Baroness Patricia Scotland QC’.

Donald Maitland’s term at the HEA ended in 1994. By which time scores of witnesses to the North Wales Child Abuse Scandal had been found dead – including five who had died when a petrol bomb had been thrown into the building in which they were attending a party (see post ‘The Silence Of The Welsh Lambs’) – and the careers of a number of my friends who knew what had happened to me in north Wales as well as my own career had been wrecked. By the time that Maitland had finished his stint at the HEA, Gordon Anglesea, a senior police officer in north Wales, had either won – or was well on the way to winning – his libel case against media outlets who had named him as abusing children in care in north Wales (see posts ‘Y Gwir Yn Erbyn Y Byd’ and ‘Y Gwir Yn Erbyn Y Byd – A Few Additional Comments’). One of the people who gave evidence that Anglesea had molested him when he was in Bryn Estyn was found dead a few weeks later. Last year Gordon Anglesea  was imprisoned for the historical abuse of boys in care in north Wales. As Maitland departed from the HEA, the deal which allowed Dr Dafydd Alun Jones to ‘retire’ without any of the many serious complaints about him being investigated and which allowed Dafydd to walk away clutching the contract to provide ‘substance abuse services’ for north Wales (see post ‘The Evolution Of A Drugs Baron?’) was virtually in place…

Maitland was Pro-Chancellor of Bath University, 1997-2000.

Maitland’s obituaries all commented on how intimidating he was for such a small posh man. The Guardian observed that ‘he was sometimes thought to be too ruthless in pursuit of his goals’ and that ‘his goals were…[the] public interest…it was patriotism that inspired him’.

The public interest would never have been served if it had been revealed that some politicians and Whitehall figures had been molesting children, that children who complained and other witnesses were illegally banged up in mental hospitals, framed for serious offences, denied NHS treatment, unlawfully dismissed from their jobs and if they still wouldn’t shut up would be found dead. Neither would the public interest have been served if it had been demonstrated that numerous Top Doctors, lawyers, judges, civil servants, police officers, politicians and members of the security services colluded with all of this and that the media wasn’t reporting it.

Maitland won’t only have known about the wrongdoing in north Wales. He’ll have known about the abuse of boys in the Kincora Boys Home in Belfast by civil servants and members of the British Army and he’ll have known about his fellow diplomat Sir Peter Hayman who was known to be a paedophile, was a founding member of PIE but wasn’t prosecuted even after he left a package containing child porn and other indecent material on a bus (see post ‘Close Your Eyes And Make A WISH’).

I don’t know where we’d be without patriots who act in the public interest. Long before I knew that a whole army of people like Donald Maitland existed, in 2005 I had the public interest defence pulled on me by Adam Peat, the Ombudsman for Wales. I had written to Peat to tell him that I had evidence that staff in the Hergest Unit at Ysbyty Gwynedd had perjured themselves in an attempt to have me convicted of serious offences and that I and other patients had been assaulted by staff and then denied NHS treatment when we had made complaint. Peat’s sidekick threatened me on the phone – as did someone from the NMC after I had made a complaint about Sian Ruth Lloyd, one of the lying, assaultive nurses – and I then received a letter from Peat telling me that it would not be in the public interest to investigate my complaint (see post ‘Yet More Crime And Punishment’). At the time, the catchment area for the Hergest Unit had the highest suicide rate for women in Wales and the second highest suicide rate for women in the whole of England and Wales. There were also a high number of patients prosecuted for ‘attacking staff’. My complaint about Dr Tony Roberts, the particularly unhinged Top Doctor who was behind the co-ordinated attempt to frame me, went uninvestigated by the GMC and last year my lawyer forwarded me the documents relating to my complaint. One of those documents was a copy of a forged letter purporting to be from me concerning my complaint about Tony Roberts that had been found in the possession of the GMC (see post ‘The General Medical Council – And Yet Another Forged Document’).

 

So what of Robert Carr, who as Home Secretary under Heath had brought Tom McCaffrey back into the Home Office by 1972 – after McCaffrey had been Maitland’s deputy whilst Maitland was doing his Lord Haw-Haw bit for Heath and the security services in N Ireland in 1971?

Robert Carr was the Tory MP for Mitcham, 1950-74 and then for Carshalton, 1974-76. He had been PPS to Anthony Eden, 1951-55, when Eden was Foreign Secretary and then PM. Carr was Secretary of State for Employment, 1970-72 and for a few months in 1972 was Lord President of the Council and Leader of the Commons. After his time as Home Secretary, 1972-74, when Heath was defeated in the first ballot of the Conservative leadership battle, Carr became the temporary leader of the Tory Party at Heath’s request. Carr received a peerage after the Tories lost office. He was a Director of Cadburys-Schweppes, 1979-87 and Securicor, 1974-85. He was Chairman of Prudential Assurance, 1976-85 and Business in the Community, 1984-97. Carr was President of Surrey Cricket Club, 1985-86.

Carr’s time as Home Secretary was marked by the IRA’s mainland bombing campaign and the problems caused by Idi Amin expelling 40,000 Ugandan Asians and the arrival in the UK of many of them. However the matter which really caused Carr a problem and which prevented him being considered for the leadership of the Conservative Party himself was the saga of the Industrial Relations Act of 1971. This was an Act which had been written by Geoffrey Howe who was then Solicitor General in an attempt to severely curb the power of the unions. It faced massive opposition and also proved to be unworkable. It led to the jailing of a group of dockers from the TGWU – who had to be hastily released from prison by Geoffrey Howe himself.

It was the fall-out from the Industrial Relations Act which led to the one thing involving Carr which still causes interest – the prosecution and imprisonment of a number of members of the Angry Brigade, after they planted a bomb at Carr’s house in Jan 1971 which blew up his kitchen but didn’t result in injury to people.

The Angry Brigade were the epitome of everything that was loathed and feared by the early 1970s petit bourgeoisie. They were a group of young people described as ‘university drop outs’ and ‘Trotskyists’ who were dossing down in a house in north London. The Angry Brigade actually seemed to have been comprised of a variety of people. Although most of them did have a middle class background, one, Jake Prescott, was a heroin addict and burglar who had grown up in care and experienced the sort of disadvantage and abuse that the others had little knowledge of. Years later Jake Prescott claimed to have been ruthlessly used by the other members of the Angry Brigade whom he maintains duped him into sending out envelopes containing explosives. Jake has observed that whereas he really was angry and had a lot to be angry about, the others in the Angry Brigade were ‘mildly cross’ middle class Trots.

People have written about the Angry Brigade but nothing is very clear about them even now. Jake claims to have been conned by a bunch of posers who were playing at being revolutionaries, another member who was imprisoned for planting the bomb at Carr’s house maintains that they were completely innocent and were stitched up by the police and the Courts and yet another woman told of how she was a fairly benign activist who was monstered by the legal system and the press, developed serious mental health problems in prison and was threatened with transfer to a secure hospital without limit of time. It is now decades since the trial of the Stoke Newington Eight as they were known, but most of them have shunned virtually all publicity ever since. A number of them did rebuild their lives but they changed their names and/or emigrated and most of them just won’t discuss the Angry Brigade no matter how many journos try to persuade them to do so.

There were allegations at the time that the bomb squad had planted evidence. The police found the most extraordinary arsenal of explosives, guns and weaponry in the house that was the base of the Angry Brigade – it does seem incredible that such a cache would have been quietly sitting in a house in north London and I haven’t read any explanations as to how the young people concerned would ever have got their hands on such weapons. Some years ago one of the police officers involved in the case was interviewed by the Guardian and he did sound rather like a ham actor off Dixon of Dock Green, explaining that the Angry Brigade were a ‘cunning lot’. So are police officers who frame innocent people, but they don’t claim to be revoltionaries, so people aren’t so rattled by them.

There is one member of the Angry Brigade who has fared very much better than the others though. She wasn’t convicted although she did stand trial for conspiracy to cause explosions, she didn’t have her life destroyed, she didn’t become ill and she didn’t emigrate – she became an advisor to the New Labour Gov’t. She did change her name – although she needn’t have bothered because everyone knows who she is. The person concerned is Angela Mason (formerly Angela Weir).

Angela has one hell of a CV. She has a BA from Bedford College, University of London and an MSc from the LSE. Angela at some point lectured at the LSE and was a lecturer at the Rachel McMillan College of Education, London, 1968-70. She was also: Community Worker, Camden Law Centre, 1970-74; Articled Clerk and Solicitor, Battersea Law Centre and West Hampstead Law Centre, 1975-83; Welfare Rights Advisor, Camden Social Services, 1984-85; Solicitor, Social Services, London Borough of Camden, 1985-86; Executive Director of Stonewall, 1992-2000; Head of the Women and Equalities Unit (now the Gov’t Equalities Office), 2003-07; National Advisor for IDeA (Improvement and Development Agency), a body providing regulations and guidelines on equalities to Local Authorities in England. In 2010 Angela was appointed Chair of the Fawcett Society and in the same year she became a Councillor for Camden. Angela was soon Deputy Leader of Camden Council and Cabinet Member for Sustainability, but was dismissed from these roles in May 2011 – although I haven’t found out why. Angela didn’t spend long in the wilderness though, she was reappointed to Camden Council’s Cabinet the following year, as the Cabinet Member for Children. Angela has also been a member of the Equal Opportunities Commission, was an advisor to Ken Livingstone when he was Mayor of London, picked up an OBE in 1999 and a CBE in 2007.

Angela’s rise has not been without controversy. There was quite a row when she was appointed Director of Stonewall. Angela was appointed by Michael Cashman, the founder of Stonewall and former EastEnders actor (ie. ‘Colin’, who participated in TV’s first gay kiss). Cashman was a Labour MEP, 1999-2014 and in 2014 was given a peerage. (Cashman’s late partner Paul Cottingham worked for Cashman as a researcher and Cashman became embroiled in a scandal regarding the amount of money that he was claiming on expenses and paying Cottingham. Cottingham also worked as a High-Value fundraiser for the Labour Party.) A group of horrified people confronted Cashman who asked him if he realised who Angela actually was and the damage that Stonewall could sustain if Angela was at the helm, but Cashman explained to the Guardian some years later that he told one of the protestors that he knew for a fact that one of them ‘had just travelled to Berlin for a good flogging and they soon shut up about Angela’. Cashman wasn’t able to blackmail everyone into silence however – people continued to bellyache, with some claiming that Stonewall no longer represented grassroots activists and had aligned itself far too closely with New Labour. People were angered when Angela in her capacity as Director of Stonewall urged everyone to vote for Frank Dobson when he stood for election as Labour’s candidate for London Mayor in 2000, shortly after Dobbo had made it clear that he wasn’t going to taint himself by defending gays. It was pointed out that by 2000, Blair’s Gov’t had actually vetoed gay equality legislation on 15 separate occasions. There was further criticism of Angela in 2002 when it was felt that she didn’t give enough support to senior police officer Brian Paddick when he was removed from his position as Commander for the London Borough of Lambeth in 2002 after libellous allegations were published about him.

In Nov 2002, when Angela’s appointment as Head of the Women and Equalities Unit was announced, Steve Doughty wrote an article for the Daily Mail identifying Angela as one of Tony’s cronies and revealing that her salary was going to be £80k pa. Doughty observed that ‘the gay lobby has become increasingly influential under Tony Blair’.

Angela is a lesbian and had built up a reputation as a gay rights activist, but I don’t think that it was her gayness or indeed her fighting for gay rights that endeared her to Tony Blair. Indeed a lot of gay activists were very critical of Angela, including Peter Tatchell – who was busy being a gay rights activist long before anyone else was – who denounced Angela as ‘establishment’ and a ‘safe pair of hands’. As children’s comics used to ask when I was young, ‘can you see anything hidden in the picture’? I can – Camden fucking Council. Home of paedophiles’ friend Tessa Jowell (see posts ‘The London Connection’ and ‘Tower Hamlets, Paul Boateng and Tessa Jowell’) and her brother-in-law John Mills – one of the biggest donors to the Labour Party and husband of former DPP Dame Barbara Mills who also did a lot of favours for the paedophiles’ friends and indeed the paedophiles themselves (see posts ‘A Future Leader Of The Labour Party’). I note that Angela was already under the wing of Camden when the trial of the Stoke Newington Eight took place – she was working for Camden Law Centre. Angela was acquitted. It is possible that she was indeed innocent – but there were serious concerns that some of the others had been as well but they were convicted and went to prison for years. Is it possible that her association with Camden Law Centre might have afforded Angela some protection?

Once she’d done that stint with Camden Law Centre, there was no stopping Angela, she went from strength to strength. It is not – as the Daily Mail believes – that it was the ‘gay lobby’ who became so influential under Blair, it was the paedophiles’ friends who were so influential. As for Michael Cashman and the way in which he dealt with people who objected to Angela’s appointment of Director of Stonewall – travelling to Berlin for a good flogging Michael is neither here nor there if everyone involved is a consenting adult. A flogging between friends really is completely irrelevant, but organised child sexual abuse most definitely is not.

Angela’s £80k pa – at 2003 rates – job with the Women and Equalities Unit was with the DTI and involved working with Patricia Hewitt, the Secretary of State for the DTI and President of the Board of Trade. The Patricia Hewitt who was General Secretary of the NCCL when it was affiliated to PIE and championing paedophiles’ rights – the Patricia Hewitt who succeeded the Leicester seat of Greville Janner when Janner was elevated to the Lords. The Greville Janner who was never charged with child molestation because a number of DPPs  – one of which was Dame Barbara Mills – for reasons which they have never explained just didn’t get it together to bring charges against him despite files of evidence being sent to the CPS.

Angela lives in Camden. Along with many others who were leading lights in New Labour.

A 2007 Guardian interview with Angela mentions that she won’t talk about her time with the Angry Brigade, but it is a gushing article which described Angela has having ‘a twinkle in her eye’. My eyes would be twinkling if I’d duped a bunch of idiots who had protected a paedophile gang – I suspect that Angela’s bank account has a twinkle in it as well after that stint with Patricia Hewitt.

An ingratiating article about Angela published in the Guardian in 2002 mentioned that one of her former tutors from Bedford College had ‘forged a strong bond’ with her. The implication seemed to be that this bond had been forged once Angela had developed a name for herself as a gay rights champ, rather than when Angela was an undergrad at Bedford College. The tutor with the late-developing bond remembered how Angela as a student had always seemed so unhappy and he now realised that she was struggling with her sexual orientation. Who was this clairvoyant after the crisis? It was Lib Dem peer the late Conrad Russell.

Conrad Russell doubled up as the 5th Earl Russell, the son of Bertrand Russell and his third wife Patricia, who had been his children’s governess. Conrad’s wiki entry states that he inherited the title after his older half-brother John pre-deceased him. My antennae started twitching when I saw Russell’s name. Bertrand Russell lived at Penrhyndeudraeth in Gwynedd for many years and was a key figure in the hub of a group of intellectuals and peace activists in the area. There are however a few people in the region who maintain that Russell was not quite what many people imagine him to have been. Back in the summer I read an excellent in-depth 2001 biography of Bertrand Russell by Ray Monk.

I had wondered about Bertrand Russell ever since I found out that after T.S Eliot had his wife Viv institutionalised, Russell visited Viv in the asylum over a considerable period of time to have sex with her. I don’t know how consenting the relationship was, but Viv was banged up for many years – mainly it seems because she pissed her husband and his mates off – in the sort of mid-twentieth century asylum in which the sexes were segregated, mass surveillance was constant and in which it would be damn near impossible for a patient to have sex with anyone. Unless of course it was as a result of the staff abusing their positions, as in the case of the North Wales Hospital Denbigh, in which case patients would find it very difficult to avoid have sex with the Dafydd or Gwynne preying on them. I always wondered how Russell managed to get into that asylum and have sex with Viv Eliot on a regular basis.

Monk’s book provides a few clues. Far from being an benign man who only wanted world peace, Russell – at least as far his relationship with his family was concerned – was a total control-freak, if not a tyrant. It is well documented that Russell had many extra-marital relationships, but his letters make it quite clear that when his second wife Dora finally found herself a partner after years of Russell shagging other women and generally neglecting and undermining her, Russell was absolutely livid and became even more difficult. Russell’s eldest son John Conrad Russell was famously diagnosed with schizophrenia. Accounts of the Russell family usually paint John as inexplicably mad and suggest that this must have caused poor old Bertrand a great deal of heart-ache. Perhaps John would have developed serious mental health problems regardless, but what does not get mentioned so often is that from when he was a baby, throughout his childhood, Russell constantly carried out cruel bizarre experiments on John which would not have been a barrel of laughs. As John began to buckle under the stress of his father’s cruelty, Russell simply experimented a bit more. By the time John was a young man he wasn’t functioning well – which resulted in Russell expressing his deep disappointment and confusion as how one so hopeless could have sprung from his loins. Conrad Russell became the 5th Earl Russell because John Conrad died before him, although Monk’s biography of Russell explains how Russell moved heaven and earth in his attempts to prevent John Conrad from inheriting his title, what with John being so inferior and not worthy of bearing the title of the Earl Russell.

Although Russell remained angry and disappointed with John throughout John’s life – unsurprisingly the two of them really did not hit it off – Russell exerted the most extraordinary degree of control over John even when John was well into middle age. Parents with adult children who suffer from serious mental health problems often do end up in controlling mode as a result of witnessing their child not being able to look after themselves. However Russell was controlling in a way in which no-one, even fifty years ago, could ever have interpreted as helpful. As John got older Russell conducted an all out war with John’s mother Dora – who became Russell’s ex-wife. John and Dora did get on well but Russell did all he could to ensure that Dora had little influence on John’s life. Although history has labelled John mad, he managed to go to university, marry and have children before he developed very severe mental health problems. John believed that Russell was having a relationship with his wife. This was used by some people at the time as evidence of just how mad John was. It is now accepted that it was highly probable that Russell did indeed have a sexual relationship with his daughter-in-law. At one point John seemed to have a Top Doctor whom he found very helpful. He expressed the view to the Top Doctor that his mental health had been disastrously effected by his father’s behaviour. The Top Doctor agreed with John’s analysis. At various times, when John and the Top Doctor felt that John was coping very well and recovering, Russell demanded that John be certified. On at least one occasion, it was only the Top Doctor’s very robust defence of John that prevented Russell from having John banged up.

John’s daughter Lucy was very fond of her dad and he of her. Russell took legal steps to ensure that John and Lucy did not see each other and that John lost his parental rights over Lucy. Russell supplied the solution to the loss of Lucy’s father – he should have parental rights over Lucy himself! Indeed Lucy for a long while lived with Russell. When Lucy was a teenager she started telling people that she felt very uneasy about the way that her grandfather kissed her. Wiki entries state that Lucy was Russell’s favourite granddaughter, but sadly she developed schizophrenia, like her father. Russell did something very unpleasant to his favourite granddaughter after she left for university and acquired a boyfriend. Russell told her to break off the relationship, although there are no accounts of the relationship being an abusive or exploitative one – from what I can work out, Russell hardly knew Lucy’s boyfriend anyway. Lucy didn’t dump her boyfriend so Russell cut her off. He also withdrew her allowance, which left Lucy in very severe financial hardship. Lucy entered young adulthood incredibly distressed, ended up in the hands of the Top Doctors and received a diagnosis of schizophrenia. She set fire to herself at the age of 26 and died. Russell told everyone that Lucy set fire to herself whilst protesting about world peace. People who were close to Lucy at the time were very angry about this – they maintained that Lucy was deeply distressed, had been in a bad way for a long time and had committed suicide. Wiki tells us that Lucy died from self-immolation whilst protesting about world peace.

When Bertrand Russell wrote to most people on a formal basis he would sign the letters in the way that most holders of the title ‘Earl’ would, by just writing his name, ie. ‘Russell’. When he was writing letters demanding that John be certified or that he be given power over John’s family, he signed the letters ‘Earl Russell’.

Ray Monk’s book mentions that the solicitors whom Bertrand Russell employed in his efforts to have various members of his family disinherited, certified, prevented from living with their own children or generally shafted were the London solicitors Theodore Goddard. I had only ever heard of this company once before, a very, very long time ago when I was told a story by a farmer’s wife who had lived on an isolated farm in the west country in the early 1960s when she and her husband had encountered serious financial difficulties . She told me that after they had advertised their farm for sale they received a letter from a London solicitor of whom they had never heard and certainly never had any dealings with inviting them to a meeting where they would ‘hear something which would be of benefit’ to them. The farmers didn’t quite know what to do about this, they were very suspicious indeed and decided to ignore the letter. They then received a visit from representatives of the London solicitors who told them that they knew exactly how serious their financial problems were – although the farmers certainly hadn’t told them anything, these men knew an awful lot about them – and that they had ‘clients’ who didn’t want to buy their farm off them, but wanted them to move out of the farm for a number of months, not visit the farm at all, but then return and carry on life as normal. In return for doing this, they would receive the full asking price of the farm. By now the farmers had concluded that they were dealing with crooks and refused the wonderful deal. The representatives arrived in the west country several more times over the next few weeks to tell the farmers what idiots they were in an attempt to persuade them to change their minds. The farmers sold up as planned and days before the sale went through, the men from London arrived with used notes in cases and started yelling at the farmers that they were a pair of fools, all they had to do was lend them their farm for a few months and they’d never have to give up farming. A few months later, after the Great Train Robbery, the farmers had the fright of their lives when it was revealed that the robbers had found a remote farm remarkably similar to theirs to hole up in. The farmers that I knew of course never had any proof that the spivs who had been pressurising them were anything to do with Mr Biggs and co but they never forgot about it. Or the name of the London solicitors who had written to them out of the blue, who knew all about them and turned up in a flash car with cases of used notes. It was a firm called Theodore Goddard.

The wiki entry for Bertrand Russell mentions that many of his family suffered from severe mental illness and that on one occasion John – who did become the 4th Earl Russell despite Bertrand’s best efforts – gave a speech in the Lords that was so ‘outlandish’ that Hansard refused to record it, the only time that this has ever happened. Sounds like those letters that John used to write about his father – alleging that his father was having sex with his wife, was trying to purloin his children and was doing terrible things but no-one would touch him because he was a famous philosopher, mathematician, Nobel laureate and an Earl.

So that is the story of Bertrand Russell and his barking mad relatives who could never be believed on any matter. I have been trying to find out whether Bertrand Russell had any connections to anyone at the North Wales Hospital Denbigh but so far I have drawn a blank. Perhaps Dafydd would like to enlighten us.

It has occurred to me – a highly promiscuous man who wasn’t too concerned about other people’s welfare and who felt able to use anyone including members of his family in any way that he wanted subsequently finds himself surrounded by family members who suffer from unfathomable serious health and mental health problems which worsen with time. Anyone heard of neurosyphilis?

Conrad Russell, supporter of Angela, fared somewhat better than his elder brother, although Conrad did admit to becoming so depressed when younger that he attempted suicide twice. After Conrad died, his son Nicholas became the 6th Earl Russell. Nicholas was a Labour politician. He was a member of CND, active in the Co-Operative Party, campaigns officer for the RNIB and Chair of Disability Labour, the representative on the NEC’s equalities sub-committee. In 2010 Nicholas was elected a Labour Councillor for Waltham Forest Borough Council. He died in 2014 and his son John Francis Russell became the 7th Earl. John Francis Russell was a Lib Dem Councillor for Lewisham Borough Council, 2006-10. He is the Chair of Trustees for the charity Wide Horizons.