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.

 

 

Dr Death

Readers noticing the title of this post could be forgiven for wondering who exactly it is referring to as a number of Top Doctors featured on this blog are worthy of the name. I am however making reference to the Dr Death whose adventures so entertained ‘Private Eye’ readers in the 1980s, Dr David Owen, now Lord Owen.

I am of the generation who particularly loathed Dr Death and I was very glad to see the back of him when he finally admitted defeat after the SDP polled fewer votes than the Official Monster Raving Loony Party at the Bootle by-election in 1990. Dr Death had a well-established reputation as a complete bastard and he wrecked every organisation that he became involved with. When Dr Death was doing his best to become Prime Minister or should I say to ‘break the mould of politics’, I was just on the cusp of being seriously screwed over by the other Top Doctors who are the stars of this blog, Dr D.G.E. Wood and Dr Tony Francis (Dr X). Documents now in my possession demonstrate that these two used to engage me in conversation back in the mid 80s in order to acquire information regarding my network of friends and my activities because they were more than a little worried about what I might be saying to whom about the mental health services in north Wales. One thing that I was interested in was politics and I certainly chatted about that at length with Wood and Francis and the one thing that I remember was that they were both paid up members of the SDP and they idolised Dr Death. Brown observed at the time that they were ‘defending another shit in their own profession again’ – they had already done their best to get Gwynne the lobotomist off the hook by then but I was unaware of the extremes to which they were prepared to go to do this. Brown’s comment proved to be prescient.

Last week somebody suggested to me that either Francis or Wood knew Dr Death personally and that he may well have been part of the network protecting them as they protected the north Wales paedophile ring. I’d never previously suspected this, but it wouldn’t be completely beyond the bounds of possibility – some very high profile people indeed from the fields of both politics and medicine were concealing what was happening in north Wales and Dr Death was well-connected in both of these fields. Dr Death also had connections to Wales.

Like so many named in previous posts who concealed the criminal conduct of Wood, Francis, Dafydd Alun Jones, Gwynne the lobotomist et al, Dr Death began his career as a psychiatrist. Dr Death was born in Devon to Welsh parents and qualified as a doctor from St Thomas’s Hospital in 1962. He then worked as a neurologist and psychiatrist at Tommy’s for two years. Now Dr Death and his supporters always made much of Dr Death ‘being a doctor’ and took that as evidence that not only was he ethical, compassionate and intelligent, but that he had an insight into matters of mental health, psychology, personal motivation and of course the right way to run a health service. ‘Private Eye’ cartoons at the time used to frequently feature Dr Death as Dracula saying things like ‘but I’m a nice young doctor’, whilst someone else in the frame would be saying ‘no you’re not you’re a vampire’. So was Dr Death a nice young doctor?

Dr Death’s early career at Tommy’s is not actually detailed that often and there might be a good reason for that. Dr Death was the assistant – for two years – to a psychiatrist called William Sargant, whose track record is so grim that psychiatry really would rather that he had not ever existed. Contemporary psychiatry text books rarely cite him so discredited is he. Sargant was a very big name in his day and was what we would now call a media psychiatrist. Even at the time there were people gravely concerned about Sargant’s activities but as ever in psychiatry their concerns were ignored. When Dr Death worked for him, Sargant’s work was described as ‘research into Parkinsonian trauma and neuropharmacology’. William Sargant was wildly enthusiastic about every dangerous, completely discredited psychiatric treatment – psychosurgery, deep sleep therapy, ECT in massive bursts very frequently and insulin shock therapy. Lest readers just presume that he was a man of his time, Sargant was bad even by the standards of mid-twentieth century psychiatry, in much the same way that the north Wales contingent were bad by anyone’s standards.

Sargant did not begin his career as a psychiatrist, he wanted to be a physician. He conducted some research into pernicious anaemia which involved giving patients huge doses of iron and history simply tells us that this research was ‘not well received’, indeed it was ‘disasterous’, which led to Sargant suffering a mental breakdown and being institutionalised himself. He was unable to continue his career as a physician and embarked upon a career in psychiatry instead. Sargant is by no means the only doctor who has been diverted into psychiatry because no-one else will have them, that characteristic is very obviously written into the biographies of many of those we know and love. I also wonder what the gory details of the ‘research’ were. Sargant was not a sensitive flower, for the research to have been so disasterous that he had a breakdown, ended up hospitalised and was unable to continue in his chosen field, I suspect that a few patients may have died – as they did on a regular basis when Sargant worked a psychiatrist. But because they were psychiatric patients it was tolerated.

Sargant did his psychiatric training at the Maudsley of course. In 1945 he became Director of Psychological Medicine at Tommy’s, where he stayed until his retirement in 1972 and indeed after that as well. Like Dr Dafydd Alun Jones, Sargant held a part-time NHS contract, which meant that whilst he slaughtered NHS patients he was able to build up an enormous private practice, in Sargant’s case at Harley Street. Sargant held a distaste for all types of psychotherapy. He took amphetamines himself whilst he was studying for his Diploma in Psychological Medicine – he took a number of drugs for depression throughout his life. Whilst he was at the Maudsley, insulin shock therapy was introduced. Sargant enthusiastically embraced this and it became a staple of his at Tommy’s. In the late 1930s whilst he was in America, Sargant met the notorious Walter Freeman and saw the results of Freeman’s psychosurgery on three patients. The patients had suffered huge damage but nonetheless Sargant then introduced psychosurgery to Britain.

At one point after the war London County Council tried to curb Sargant’s experiments with ECT and psychosurgery, but Sargant boasted that ‘we generally got our own way in the end’. London County Council insisted that advisors were needed to approve every psychosurgery case. If the advisors opposed, Sargant simply sent the patient to Wylie McKissock at St George’s and he lobotomised the patient. Sargant described this as ‘doing good by stealth’. Sargant selected neurotic patients, especially those with neurotic ruminations, for psychosurgery. The ‘operation’ often  left them with severely impaired functioning, serious memory loss and/or incontinent. A number of them died. Sargant also experimented with ‘abreaction techniques’ using barbiturates, in military psychiatric casualties. More experiments of his involved methedrine injections and ‘deep sleep’ treatments. Indeed so ‘experimental’ was Sargant’s work that he combined all these treatments. He subjected patients to up to three months of combined ECT, continuous narcosis, insulin coma and drugs. Sargant found narcosis a particular blessing, because as he explained himself he often found that patients ‘dreaded’ further treatment after the first two or three sessions, but if they were treated whilst they were in an induced sleep, ECT could be administered without their knowledge. Sargant also found another way of treating patients who didn’t want to be treated as well – he increased the frequency of ECT for ‘resistant obsessional patients’ to produce ‘therapeutic confusion’ which had the magical effect of ‘removing the power of refusal’. In other words they were shocked into oblivion and didn’t know whether they were coming or going.

This is what Sargant said about the beneficial effects of narcosis treatment: ‘all sorts of treatment can be given whilst the patient is kept sleeping, including a variety of drugs and ECT together, generally induce considerable memory loss for period under narcosis…patient does not know how long he has been asleep, or what treatment…he has been given’. Sargant inspired the psychiatrist Harry Bailey in Australia, whose deep sleep treatment resulted in the death of 26 patients. Bailey and Sargant’s correspondence show that they were in competition with each other to see who could keep a patient in the deepest coma. Sargant’s patients died as well and it has been suggested that the only reason that his death rate wasn’t as high as Bailey’s was the attention that the Tommy’s nurses paid to the patients once Sargant had got his hands on them. The nurses were waking the patients up every fifteen minutes, taking them to the loo and feeding them, which it is assumed kept a few of them alive. Sargant wasn’t put off when his patients did die in his ‘care’. He attributed the poor outcomes to the lack of a ‘good previous personality’. Now where have we heard that before???

Critics of Sargant maintained that he had extreme views, was irresponsible, cruel and ignored advice. It was said that he relied ‘upon dogma rather than clinical evidence’, was autocratic, a danger, a disaster and some spoke of ‘the damage he did’. So a combination of Dr T. Gwynne Williams, Dr Dafydd Alun Jones and Dr Tony Roberts then.

In 2009 a Radio 4 documentary interviewed patients whose lives had been ruined by William Sargant. There was discussion of his routine violation of patient’s rights regarding consent and his admission to an Australian lawyer that patients had died under deep sleep. The records of patients treated by Sargant at Tommy’s and associated Health Authorities have been destroyed which prevented patients seeking redress through the Courts.

It has been revealed that William Sargant worked as a consultant for MI5.

So what was Dr Death’s opinion of this lethal maniac who shocked, drugged and lobotomised patients without their knowledge let alone consent? After all Dr Death assisted him for two years. Dr Death stated that Sargant was ‘a dominating personality with the therapeutic courage of a lion’ and ‘the sort of person of whom legends are made’.

In March 1974 Dr Death was appointed Parliamentary Under Secretary for Health. In July 1974 he became Minister of State for Health and Social Security and remained in that post until Sept 1976.

Between 1977-1979 Dr Death was Foreign Secretary. I remember many allegations at the time that Dr Death was rude and arrogant, offended foreign statesmen and couldn’t get on with people. Dr Death has since stated that whilst he was Foreign Secretary he considered having Idi Amin assassinated. Like a troublesome psychiatric patient perhaps. In 1981 Dr Death left the Labour Party and with the infamous Gang of Four formed the SDP. He led the SDP between 1983-87 but when the SDP membership voted to merge with the Liberal Party Dr Death threw a hissy fit and announced that he would lead the ‘continuing SDP’. Dr Death is of course quite a one for hissy fits, his political career has been a sequence of resignations. He led the continuing SDP until 1990 when even he couldn’t pretend that it existed any longer. It was at this time that Dr Death made public statements about having wished that he’d stuck with a career in psychiatry. Presumably because lobotomised patients can’t vote for someone else. Dr Death wasn’t in the wilderness for long, in 1992 he became a member of the Lords. He sat as a cross bencher until 2014, but he now sits as an ‘independent social democrat’, after giving more than £7000 to the Labour Party when Ed Miliband announced his intentions to ‘reform’ the relationship between the Labour Party and the Trade Unions.

Many people have suspected that Dr Death is actually a Tory and did his best to inflict serious damage upon the Labour Party.  Thatcher was certainly very complimentary about his talents and a lot of people looked forward to him joining the Conservative Party and then destroying them. He never did though, despite John Major nominating him for a peerage and wanting him in his Cabinet. Blair also approached Dr Death, as did Gordon Brown, but he declined offers from both of them.

Dr Death has of course been back in the news over the past few days. He has been speaking a lot about the contaminated blood scandal and once more is exploiting his position as a nice doctor who wants the best. As a man who was once William Sargant’s assistant of course he does. Dr Death is not only telling anyone who’ll listen that he was demanding that Britain should become self-sufficient in blood products in the mid 70s rather than reply on imported products derived from the US, but he is also maintaining that the archived files of his containing all the documents that would shed light on who suggested and did what regarding blood products for use in the NHS in the 70s and 80s has been destroyed by an unidentified person. Dr Death is alleging a Civil Service cover up. I too believe that there has undoubtedly been a cover up at Gov’t level regarding the contaminated blood scandal and I’ve previously blogged about this. Substantial blame rests with Thatcher’s Gov’t who were told that patients would die because US blood was not screened, but who then shut down the UK MRC lab, ensuring that the NHS was completely dependent upon US imported products.

But it is becoming clear that blame does not just lie with Thatcher’s administrations. There is now information that administrations before Thatcher’s were being told of the grave dangers posed to NHS patients by the use of contaminated blood – although the threat in the 70s was considered to be Hepatitis C rather than HIV which only became a serious problem subsequently. I have found out that in 1974 the Dept of Health were explicitly warned by a specialist in the field that the products that they were using at that time could infect NHS patients. The Secretary of State for Health and Social Security was Dr Death. He had of course been a Minister in the same dept before that. Furthermore, Anita Roddick’s daughter Sam has now revealed that her mum – who died from complications arising from Hep C in 2007 – contracted Hep C from an infected blood transfusion at the time of Sam’s birth in 1971. Neither did anyone actually tell Anita Roddick that she was infected with Hep C until she had developed cirrhosis and it was too late for effective treatment. Of course no-one will have told Anita, because it was the NHS who had caused the damage and the NHS never informs people when it has harmed them. So by the time that Dr Death was making hay by making public statement in 1976 regarding the need for the NHS to become self-sufficient in blood products, people had already been infected and for a number of years as well. But no-one will ever find out exactly how much Dr Death knew and when and what his responses were because his files have been destroyed. By someone naughty in the Civil Service. Who did Dr Death a very big favour because he can now claim to be only relying on his memory when asked about the whole sorry business. This blog has previously described the rare variant of dementia which affects Top Doctors when they are faced with difficult questions regarding their role in patient harm – other sufferers include Dafydd, Robert Bluglass and Peter Higson. I suspect that Dr Death will be clobbered by a particularly serious form any day now.

Dr Death has spent his political career reminding everyone of his commitment to the NHS and has done this again very recently. So that is obviously why he was a member of the Board of the Abbott Laboratories, an American drug company between 1996-2011. In 2012 Abbott Labs were charged with a $500 million fine and $198.5 million forfeiture for illegal marketing, the second biggest fine in US history for a drug company. This was as a result of Abbott Labs unlawfully promoting the anti-psychotic Depakote for uses not approved by the FDA, including it’s use in children. Abbott Labs were also given a five year term of probation and court supervision. Which is more than William Sargant and his assistant ever got. Dr Death was Chairman of the Board of Yukos International UK BV, a division of a former Russian petroleum company, between 2002-2005. He was non-executive Chairman of European Steel until 2015. Between 2009-2014 Dr Death was on the Board of Texas-based Hyperdynamics Corporation, an oil concern.

Latterly Dr Death has expressed deep concern about ‘hubris syndrome’ among politicians. He became so worried about this that he established the Daedalus Trust. The Daedalus Trust exists to ‘promote and provide funds for the interdisciplinary study of how the intoxication of power in all walks of life affects personality and decision making’. Dr Death is Chair of the Trust. Well he would be wouldn’t he. He no doubt will remember this quote from his mentor William Sargant: ‘men…should humbly remember how much they resemble dogs in brain function and not boast themselves as demigods’. Other men that is, not Dr Death or William Sargant obviously.

As for Dr Death’s Welsh connections, I didn’t know about these until I heard him interviewed by Peter Hennesey on the radio in 2015. Dr Death explained that he grew up in Plymouth but was raised ‘in the Welsh radical tradition’. He spent his summers living with his grandparents in Tenby or Aberporth. Dr Death explained that his grandpa was a ‘clergyman’ ‘in the Welsh Church but was basically a Methodist’. Which is a bit confusing because historically Welsh chapels have been very keen to distinguish themselves from the Anglican Church in Wales and the Church in Wales doesn’t have a radical tradition. And Methodists call their Ministers Ministers rather than clergymen. The mystery deepened when Dr Death maintained that as a boy ‘I went to the local school everyday with him [his grandfather]…I learnt Welsh but I’ve forgotten every word of it’. Apart from a few specific locations which are noted for being bastions of Welsh speaking Welsh isn’t very widely spoken in south Wales, certainly by kids from Devon on their summer holidays. Dr Death is getting on a bit, when he was a schoolboy there won’t have been any Welsh medium schools in south Wales. The fight for Welsh medium education took place whilst Dr Death was an adult – when he was a boy Wales was still suffering from the notion that teaching kids through the medium of Welsh was not a good idea. Welsh was the language at home of many children in the north, but not where Dr Death was holidaying. Furthermore if Dr Death had learnt Welsh, how could his memory have become wiped clean completely? One’s second language can certainly become very rusty if one doesn’t stay immersed in it, but it’s not forgotten. Surely Dr Death could manage a ‘bore da’ or a ‘diolch’?

However Dr Death DOES have some Welsh connections via his extended family. In fact Dr Death is considered to be a bit of a celeb by some in south Wales, so much so that when the building that used to house a shop owned and run by one of his forebears was converted into a museum, Dr Death was invited to open it. Dr Death has also always clung to his identity as a Top Doctor and I bet Dr Death still networks with other Top Doctors as well – including Top Doctors in Wales. Both D.G.E. Wood and Tony Francis had good connections with other Top Doctors in south Wales. Wood worked for the Royal College of General Practitioners which took him to south Wales frequently and was also involved in training doctors, which again will have involved working with doctors in south Wales. Francis studied at Cardiff medical school and also spent a number of years working there. Furthermore when Francis wanted to have me declared dangerous and banged up, it was Dr Chris Hunter, his mate from south Wales, that he enlisted to help him (please see post ‘The Night of the (Dr Chris) Hunter’). Dafydd and a number of the other Top Doctors involved in wrongdoing in north Wales trained at Liverpool medical school. Dr Death was Chancellor of the University of Liverpool between 1996-2009. The Waterhouse Inquiry was announced in 1996.

I have blogged about a number of politicians involved in the cover-ups relating to child abuse and the associated wrongdoing in the mental health services, but I haven’t mentioned any figures whom I know to be politically close to Dr Death. There was an SDP MP who ended up in hot water after sexual impropriety, Mike Hancock, but that case involved him indecently assaulting an adult constituent with mental health problems. Hancock checked himself into the Priory after the constituent complained, where he probably received rather more care and attention that the woman that he assaulted did at the hands of the NHS.

There is of course one party which has been plagued by actual sex abuse scandals, rather than simply alleged sex abuse scandals and that is the party that Dr Death formed an alliance with, the Liberal Party. There was the Jeremy Thorpe business, although of course that involved adults rather than the abuse of under-aged children. But recently it has been admitted that two Liberal MPs were known to have abused children – Cyril Smith and Clement Freud.

The track record of Cyril Smith, who died in 2010, was appalling – as was the track record of the Liberals/Lib Dems in failing to deal with him In 2012 the Greater Manchester Police admitted that Smith should have been charged with sex offences against children. In April 2014 it was revealed that there had been 144 complaints against Smith, involving children as young as eight and that attempts to prosecute him had actively been blocked. Rochdale Council, the police and the social services were all implicated. In 2015 it was revealed that Smith had been arrested in the early 80s, but a high level cover up resulted in his release within hours. The investigating officers were bound by the Official Secrets Act. There were investigations into Smith in 1970, 1998 and 1999. He was a friend of Jimmy Savile and appeared on one of Savile’s TV shows in the early 70s. In 2012 a former Special Branch officer with the Lancashire Police stated that a dossier of sex abuse allegations against Smith which police claimed was lost had actually been seized by MI5. The Special Branch officer had been asked by MI5 to send this dossier, which was ‘thick’ with allegations that Smith had abused boys, to London.

Smith was alleged to have abused boys at the Knowl View residential school – there were allegations of a paedophile ring. Greater Manchester Police stated that there were 21 suspects, 14 of whom had been identified, one of these being Smith. In July 2014 Rochdale Council’s inquiry into child abuse at Knowl View was stopped at the request of the Greater Manchester Police, whilst detectives investigated a possible institutional cover up.

It is known that Smith put pressure on the BBC in 1976, asking them not to investigate the ‘private lives of certain MPs’ – the National Archives reveal that Smith wrote to the Director General Sir Charles Curran, ‘deeply concerned about the investigative activities of the BBC’.

In July 2014 the CPS admitted that in 1970 a police detective investigating Smith presented evidence to a superior concerning Smith’s abuse of boys at a care home in Rochdale but no action was taken. In Nov 2014 the former editor of the ‘Bury Messenger’, Don Hale, stated that he had been served with a D notice in the 80s the day after Cyril Smith had been ‘aggressive’ and threatened him with a D notice from the police.

In 2015 a retired police officer had said that he had been threatened with the Official Secrets Act after he found Smith in the home of a known sex offender with two drunk teenaged boys and a police sergeant in civilian clothes. The retired officer stated that he was then summoned to a meeting with a senior officer at Stockport Police Station and told ‘in no uncertain terms’ not to say anything. The alleged incident was in 1988 at a house in Stockport after a complaint that the occupier was committing a lewd act in the window in front of a newspaper boy.

BBC Newsnight has broadcast claims that Smith was arrested in the early 80s regarding his participation in a paedophile ring, but that there was a cover up using the Official Secrets Act. There were also reports of his arrest by Northamptonshire Police and his subsequent release in mysterious circumstances.

In 2013 a spokesman for the Met confirmed that Smith had visited the Elm Guest House, a brothel near Barnes Common in south west London where children in care alleged that they were abused by politicians and other high profile figures. Savile was alleged to have visited and some parties there were organised by Sydney Cooke, a paedophile who was imprisoned for the murder of Jason Swift. At least one former resident of a north Wales children’s home has alleged that he was taken there and molested. One man alleged that he had been raped at the Elm Guest House when he was 14 by Sir Peter Morrison, Conservative MP for Chester, who was also known to have visited children’s homes in north Wales. The manager of the Elm Guest House, Carole Kasir, was found dead in 1990 at the age of 47, from an insulin overdose. The death was categorised as suicide, although people who knew Carole at that time have disputed this.

Sexual abuse and grooming at the Elm Guest House was the focus of Operation Fairbank. Operation Fernbridge resulted from the Operation Fairbank allegations and Peter McKelvie, a retired child protection team manager, claimed that evidence of a powerful paedophile ring was covered up in 1991. 1991 – I remember it well. I was bullied out of my job at St George’s Hospital Medical School, told by psychiatrists there who knew about the criminal activities of their colleagues in north Wales to ‘go back to north Wales’, taken to Court on the basis of a statement in which Dr Tony Francis perjured himself to find that one Sir Robert Francis QC was requesting my imprisonment for ‘harassment’, the harassment being me writing letters maintaining that psychiatrists in north Wales were breaking the law (see post ‘The Sordid Role Of Sir Robert Francis QC’). In 1991 my friend who was interested in making a documentary about what had happened to me in north Wales was bullied out of her job at the Royal Television Society. We should count ourselves lucky, a number of people who were victims of the north Wales paedophile ring were found dead at that time.

Cabinet Office papers released in March 2015 confirmed that Margaret Thatcher was aware of the allegations concerning Smith before he was knighted in 1988.

Other members of the Liberal Party have not really come up smelling of roses with regard to Cyril Smith’s conduct. David Steel, the leader of the Liberal Party between 1976-1988 and Dr Death’s political partner during the years that the Liberals and SDP were in the Alliance together, recommended Smith for a knighthood. In 1979 ‘Private Eye’ published an article which was based on an investigation carried out by the ‘Rochdale Alternative Paper’ into Smith, which revealed that Smith was known to have spanked boys on their bare bums. After the publication of this, Smith admitted to David Steel that he’d carried out (presumably bogus because he wasn’t a Top Doctor) intimate medical examinations on boys at a residential establishment. Steel famously commented that all Smith had done was ‘spank a few bare bottoms’. Steel became very angry when he was reminded of this response after the extent of Smith’s abuse was revealed – however it is also known that after the ‘Rochdale Alternative Paper’ published their article, Steel’s Press Office commented to them that ‘it was not a very friendly gesture, publishing that’. In 2014 Steel stated that he confronted Smith about his ‘unusual’ behaviour with boys after the 1979 allegations. Steel has also commented that it was a ‘different era’ and that ‘corporal punishment was permitted’. Which does not really adequately explain what the local MP was doing administering the punishment in question. It may have been a different era but molesting children wasn’t acceptable in that era either which is probably why so many people were working so hard to ensure that the allegations about Smith didn’t find their way into the public domain.

In 2014 the Liberal leader Nick Clegg refused to hold an inquiry into Smith – Clegg maintained that the Party did not know about Smith’s actions.

Just to add to the Liberal Parties woes, in 2016 it was alleged that former Liberal MP Clement Freud, who died in 2009, had been a paedophile who had spent a lifetime molesting and harassing young women, including girls as young as ten. A number of people came forward with tales of Freud’s lechery and unusually in such situations, there was no attempt by anyone to deny the allegations. Freud’s widow made a public apology to his victims, although she hadn’t actually done the molesting. Freud had shared an office with Cyril Smith. Freud too was knighted, in 1987. Mourners at Freud’s funeral included David Steel, George Osborne and Gordon Brown. But then Cyril Smith had a good turn out and I think that Clegg even made a speech at his funeral. Freud was someone who was in a very good position where suppressing stories that he didn’t want to appear in the media was concerned. Freud had many media connections as he was himself a food and drink journalist and later a favourite on Radio 4. His daughter Emma is also a journalist and a regular star of Radio 4 – she is married to the producer/script writer Richard Curtis. But it is Freud’s son Matthew who truly excels in this arena. Matthew Freud has his own PR company which he established in 1985. He was formerly married to the second wife of Earl Spencer and after that married Elisabeth Murdoch, daughter of Rupert. A quick look at the website of Freud Communications revealed a photo of Sadiq Khan – presumably a client – and the logos of BBC Worldwide and Public Health England.

The Liberal Party, SDP and Lib Dems have often become excited in the face of notions that they are in situations whereby they can affect the balance of power and at such times there have been allegations that they have been very demanding of other parties. I can imagine a lot of wriggling if they not only had someone like Cyril Smith on their team but knew that there were people getting up to similar things with under-aged children in other parties. If Dr Death were to be introduced into those machinations – the Chair of the Daedalus Trust suffering from a very severe case of hubris himself at all times and under all circumstances – I can only imagine what might have gone on. Particularly if a few Top Doctors from Wales involved in the chain of supply of fresh meat for the Westminster Paedophile Ring had sent out a mayday call.

 

 

News Round Up, June 8 2017

I’ve written a lot recently on this blog regarding the con that is CAIS, the Third sector organisation providing ‘substance misuse’ services. Previous posts have detailed the dodgy commissioning processes by which CAIS have received millions in funding from the Welsh Gov’t to provide services, including ‘service user involvement’ (see post ‘The Story Behind £1.5 Million’), the huge contracts that they have been handed by the DWP despite their very limited success regarding ‘outcomes’, the scam that they seem to have operated to persuade George Osborne to cough up a lot of money (please see post ‘George Osborne Enters The Picture’) and the very questionable histories of many of the CAIS Trustees. I’ve also documented the burgeoning drug problem in parts of north Wales which suggests that CAIS are failing spectacularly in providing ‘services’. CAIS have now moved into the homelessness business, eg. providing ‘supported accommodation’. Again, a quick walk around Wrexham would suggest that CAIS are having bugger all effect in this domain. So I was certainly interested to read in the Daily Post online that a very angry lawyer in Wrexham has demanded that Wrexham Council should ‘get a grip’ on the drugs and homelessness problem – that’s the Wrexham Council that seems to have been tying itself in knots to ensure that the contracts for the ‘services’ to address drugs and homelessness are given to CAIS. The lawyer concerned, Mark Davies, has a client, Craig Nikolic, who has just been imprisoned. Mr Nikolic was imprisoned after he was found ‘asleep in Lord Street with his sleeping bag next to him’. Lord Street is the street in Wrexham where the homeless have been hanging out because it’s near the bus station, so they can go in there out of the rain (although it doesn’t provide much in terms of shelter, it’s usually freezing cold in there and the rain does get in), go to the loo, have a wash etc. Because they don’t have a home in which to do that. Mr Nikolic is a heroin addict and after being released from prison on an early release scheme he was ordered not to enter Wrexham town centre. But as his lawyer pointed out, he was homeless, so if he didn’t enter the town centre he had nowhere to wash etc. So he risked it and has been caught and returned to prison. The account of Mr Nikolic’s recent encounters with the Courts and law is fascinating because it makes it clear that this man is repeatedly ending up in prison because he doesn’t have anywhere to live. He is being punished far more harshly for his destitution than he has been for possession of illegal drugs. But then simply being very poor does now lead to people being criminalised. As if to rub in the dismal performance of CAIS where ‘tackling drugs’ is concerned, there have also been media reports of a recent major drugs bust in Llandudno with a number of dealers being arrested and the North Wales Police issuing a statement saying that they expected to make more arrests very soon – this has come hot on the heels of accounts of turf wars between drug dealers in the region, some of which have resulted in murders.

In my post ‘George Osborne Enters The Picture’ I mentioned that a recent initiative of CAIS has been the establishment of a place in Cardiff called the ‘Living Room’. I was puzzled to discover that the Living Room was providing ‘after care’ and ‘sociopsychological support’ to Cardiff GPs and questioned why highly paid Top Doctors were receiving the services of a charity when their own patients usually cannot access such support. I have now been given further information about the Living Room. I have been told that the distressed GPs receiving ‘services’ are actually Top Doctors with addiction problems and are encountering difficulties because, for example, they have lost their driving licences. Now alcohol problems are very common in medical practitioners and drug problems are not unknown, and of course doctors with such problems deserve help and support (although the irony is that certainly in north Wales the Top Doctors loathe people with drug and alcohol problems and usually refuse to treat them; that is how CAIS picked up the remit for providing ‘services’ (please see post ‘The Evolution Of A Drugs Baron’). However CAIS is Chaired by Dr Dafydd Alun Jones and is still very much a reflection of all that he holds dear and follows the model of business that he has followed for decades. And Dafydd has form for ‘helping’ people who have ended up coming unstuck as a result of their addiction problems. This ‘help’ usually simply involves extracting people out of the shit that their addiction has landed them in (at a price of course) rather than tacking the addiction. A nurse who had formerly worked at Dafydd’s ‘nursing home’ for veterans suffering from PTSD, Ty Gwyn, told me that there were very few veterans in Ty Gwyn, but there were a lot of people with addiction problems who had ended up being prosecuted so they had checked into Dafydd’s facility for a few weeks and in return Dafydd would write them a favourable Court report, although he had virtually not seen them at all whilst they had been patients at Ty Gwyn. I was also told by another person that Dafydd’s ‘medical reports’ were equally useful to people who had encountered problems with driving licences and their insurance. Indeed Dafydd is so good at helping people who are in danger of losing their licence as a result of drinking and driving that he attempted to rescue his own son when he appeared in Court on a drink driving charge. The Court were given a real tear-jerker, a story of how Dafydd’s son worked as Dafydd’s chauffeur, enabling Dafydd to pursue his heroic line of work with of course veterans (Dafydd has found that invoking the image of distressed soldiers works wonders), that Dafydd did much of this work free of charge no less and if his son lost his licence the patients would Suffer. The Court didn’t buy it – Dafydd is notorious in north Wales, to be fair to them the more honest local magistrates stopped believing anything that he said years ago – and his son lost his licence. It transpired that this chauffeur who spent his time assisting his dad patch up veterans was actually a student at Aberystwyth University. I seem to remember that it was on this occasion that someone in Court remarked that it was odd that Dafydd had obtained Legal Aid, being a highly paid very wealthy man. But as ever, no-one investigated further. Dafydd bending the rules to selflessly help patients has a long and noble history – sometime in the mid 1990s, a photo of him appeared on the front page of the Daily Post under the headline ‘He Saved A Life – And Got A Fine’. The reality was that Dafydd had been caught exceeding the speed limit somewhere along the north Wales coast – in a big way as well, it was something like 50mph in a 20mph zone – and when he was caught he claimed that he was on his way to rescue a suicidal patient who was standing on the Menai Bridge waiting to jump. It didn’t occur to him to call an ambulance then.

A Story Of Our Time appeared in the media yesterday. Jacqueline Grayson, the manager of ‘Treflys’, a care home in Llandudno, was summoned to a fitness to practice disciplinary hearing by Social Care Wales for sharing Facebook posts that the ‘presenting officer’ for Social Care Wales alleged were ‘anti-Islamic’ and ‘discriminatory’. Social Care Wales seem to have very little understanding of what Islamophobia and discrimination are. Ms Grayson had shared among a group of Facebook friends posts discussing whether the wearing of burkhas should be banned in public areas. Discussions regarding the wearing of full face veils or not are held among many Muslims. Mrs Grayson’s other sin was to share a Facebook post involving a golliwog. Yes, the golliwog originated as an offensive parody of a black person, but most people who were children in the sixties only knew the golly as a toy or a badge that could be acquired by collecting pictures of gollies from Robertsons jam jars. It seems that was the reference that Ms Grayson was making on Facebook. So Social Care Wales doesn’t know the difference between recent cultural history and racism so serious that it questions a social care professional’s fitness to practice. A number of people defended Ms Grayson at the hearing. One was a Romanian colleague who described Ms Grayson as being ‘amazing’ with staff and residents alike. Another one was a Mr Bhusan Ramnath, the proprietor of the care home and Ms’ Grayson’s employer. His wife was a Muslim and he was supporting Ms Grayson. The panel heard that there was no evidence that Ms Grayson had treated any Muslim resident in any way differently to any other resident. The panel concluded that Ms Grayson’s fitness to practice was not impaired but nonetheless her crime was serious that she was reprimanded.

So in a field – the care of elderly people – where bad practice and even abuse is endemic, Social Care Wales have gone to the trouble and effort to haul Ms Grayson up in front of them on the basis of some laughable evidence that did not in any way reflect on her capacity as the manager of a care home. There had been no complaint at all regarding her practice, just a ‘whistleblower’ – who was not identified – who spotted some Facebook posts that she had shared among her Facebook ‘friends’. Llandudno is only a few miles down the road from Ysbyty Glan Clwyd. It was at Ysbyty Glan Clwyd that four years ago elderly patients in Tawel Fan ward were sworn at by staff, barricaded into their beds with items of furniture and left to crawl around naked on a floor that was covered in urine and faeces whilst staff discussed their sex lives. One patient was found to have an untreated fractured arm. No member of staff has been disciplined or prosecuted – except for the nurse who blew the whistle on all this who was suspended, arrested after being the subject of malicious allegations and also received threatening anonymous letters. She now works in England. The two inquiries into Tawel Fan have yet to be completed – one has been hindered by the staff refusing to co-operate. I know there to be much bad practice in privately owned elderly people’s homes, but what the Betsi, an NHS Health Board, continues to get away with is breath-taking.

The flagship prison at Wrexham, HMP Berwyn, which so delighted local politicians – just imagine, a warehouse with nearly 2000 people banged up inside, mostly people with mental health or addiction problems, how exciting! – has run into yet more problems. It is in breach of a number of it’s planning conditions eg. landscaping, the providing  of two bus shelters and producing certain certificates demonstrating that various standards have been met – and Wrexham Council are threatening action.

The crisis at Bangor University continues and the Vice-Chancellor has stated that the financial situation is so serious there that there will have to be redundancies and even pay cuts. The unions have hit the roof, have stated that staff will be ‘pushed into poverty’ and one of the union reps has suggested that one way of solving the crisis would be to sell the Vice-Chancellor’s house, which was purchased by the University for him. That house has been a running sore ever since it was purchased – I think people are making a mountain out of a molehill, it’s not THAT posh -and furthermore there was more fuming last year when it was revealed that the Vice-Chancellor’s bedroom had received a makeover and that new furniture purchased from Laura Ashley had been installed. The Daily Post even provided a photo of a Laura Ashley inspired bedroom to feed the readers imaginations, although the photo that they provided was the sort of bedroom that a contemporary Barbara Cartland might have favoured, all in pink. I’m not sure that Professor John Hughes would have exactly the same taste, but you never know. It has not occurred to the union rep that even if John Hughes’s residence was flogged, it would only raise about £1 million, if indeed that. It would last me quite a long time, but it wouldn’t keep Bangor University afloat for long, particularly as they are currently footing the salary bill for great swathes of staff in ‘health and social care research’ or ‘psychology/mental health research’ whose output is very questionable indeed (I have detailed some of this dodgy research in previous posts). There are also a lot of younger modestly paid staff working their butts off whilst more senior people rest on their laurels. Among the senior academics, some are wonderful, supporting students and carrying out first class research – but others should not be in their present jobs and everyone knows it. It is true that there are some very badly paid staff at Bangor – they are the cleaners, the catering staff etc. No-one bothers to fight very hard for them – when I worked at Bangor, the people who consistently made the most noise every time they feared that cuts cometh, were the less productive (in some cases frankly bloody lazy) staff on permanent contracts who had been there years. They didn’t REALLY fear their contracts being terminated either – it is very hard to get rid of academics with permanent contracts no matter how bad they are. In reality, it is the better staff on short-term contracts who get the chop if belts have to be tightened because the useless old farts fight tooth n nail to hang on to their very comfortable existence. This is going on in every university in the UK and it is a very big problem, it’s not just a disease that affects Bangor. However union reps at Bangor do seem to have a history of developing strange obsessions with the way that they imagine Vice-Chancellors are spending money. When I worked there, at one point the UCU rep, one Eileen Tilley, was frothing at the mouth about the money that the VC was alleged to have spent on his office desk – how on earth did she know how much he’d paid for it? I very much doubt that he’d showed her the receipt. When I made comments to this effect, she changed tactic and complained about the style of the desk that he’d purchased. Que??? (It had too much glass in it apparently so it wasn’t suitable.) Tilley continued to make extraordinary allegations – which I suspected were in the realms of fantasy – regarding the VC’s office furniture and I got somewhat pissed off with her, because whilst she was making these allegations she was actually colluding with the truly vile Lyn Meadows, the Director of HR (Meadows is now a member of the Betsi Board), who was breaking employment law regularly and bullying and harassing people. The next allegation was that the VC had hired a chauffeur. No-one actually had any evidence that this had happened and I searched high and low for the said chauffeur and never found him/her. I think that the real story was that discussions were underway regarding the possibility of a chauffeur that would be made available to a number of senior managers – but the backstabbing Tilley was busy making plans for the revolution on the basis of the chauffeur. So I conducted an experiment and told her that I knew all about it, that it wasn’t a real chauffeur, it was a security man dressed up in a special uniform. And a few days later my lie came back to me on the grapevine, so it rather confirmed that none of these people actually knew what they were talking about. The irony was that while the revolutionaries on ‘only’ £40-50k pa grumbled and fumed about glass desks and chauffeurs, me and my ilk were doing their teaching and a good deal more research than them as well for far less. And because we were on short-term contracts we often had no salary at all. I’d have done the sodding chauffeur’s job myself quite happily at that time, at least it would have been a stable income.

Yet another scandal involving the abuse of learning disabled people has hit the London-based media today. An organisation called the ‘Atlas Project Team’ who owned two homes in Devon – which were ‘isolated farmhouses’ has been prosecuted. The founder of the ‘Atlas Project Team’, a Paul Hewitt, has been fined £12,500 with £105,000 costs. Paul Hewitt is described as ‘a well known figure in mental health who helped formulate national policies on caring for people with learning disabilities in the community’. Well that’s pretty much par for the course – this blog has named scores of ‘experts in mental health’ or ‘service user representatives’ who have either colluded with or ignored the most dreadful abuses. It’s how one becomes an expert in those fields. Jolyon Marshall, the Director of Atlas, has been jailed for 28 months for conspiracy to falsely imprison and perverting the course of justice. A number of other managers and staff have received suspended jail terms or other non-custodial sentences. This case has been running for six years, but reporting restrictions have only just been lifted. The fascinating feature of this case is that a number of people have been prosecuted for doing what is almost standard practice in hospitals and ‘homes’ for people with learning disabilities and mental health problems, namely locking people in what are euphemistically called ‘quiet rooms’ but what in reality are bare rooms with no bathroom facilities or furnishings except for a mattress on the floor. I am delighted to see someone prosecuted for this and I look forward to hundreds more prosecutions, because this is going on in just about every facility for the mentally ill/learning disabled across the UK. And the rationale for confining people to such seclusion rooms is also very shaky, as it was with Atlas. The prosecuting barrister Andrew Langdon QC stated that a ‘view was taken that residents had somehow learned to behave badly. That behaviour had to be unlearned. If they were kept in their long enough they would learn their lesson and change their behaviour’. This philosophy underpinned all ‘care’ on Taliesin ward in the Hergest Unit and I heard staff articulate this view constantly. Patients were not distressed, they were not ill, they were bad and locking them in a seclusion room (or of course having them arrested) was the answer. Indeed, now that Jolyon Marshall has gone to prison for conspiracy to falsely imprison and perverting the course of justice I look forward to a few arrests of Hergest staff and NHS managers because that is exactly what they did to me – and to a lot of other people.

Andrea Sutcliffe, Chief Inspector of CQC, admitted that they ‘should have acted earlier’ over Atlas and admits that concerns had been raised. So once more, the CQC stood by whilst people were abused. But what do we expect – Sir Robert Francis QC is a leading light in the CQC. The Robert Francis QC who, whilst working as a barrister for the MDU, tried to have me imprisoned for ‘harassment’ – because I was writing many letters maintaining that people working in the mental health services in north Wales had illegally imprisoned me and had committed perjury (please see post ‘The Sordid Role of Sir Robert Francis QC’).

Perhaps someone would also like to begin mounting prosecutions in the face of another near universal practice in mental health, that of ‘not stimulating’ people who are deemed to be psychotic. This is going on in the Hergest unit and in the Heddfan Unit and in reality it means providing patients with an environment as bare as possible – not even pictures on the walls. Because patients might become ‘stimulated’. (I really don’t think that there’s much chance of that, as they’re parked in front the TV all day and loaded up with anti-psychotics.) In fact Taliesin ward in Hergest was so keen not to stimulate patients that the staff didn’t talk to them – and they told the patient’s families not to talk to them either. I know this because I knew the mother of a teenaged boy who became seriously unwell and spent a long time on Taliesin ward not being talked to, on the orders of the ‘experts’ who ran that place and presided over the constant suicides there. The staff did communicate with me whilst I was a patient in there though – indeed they shouted at me, they swore at me and on one occasion four of them assaulted me. Presumably it’s only talking to people or looking at pictures that causes over-stimulation.

Jan Tregalles, the Chief Exec of Mencap, and Vivien Cooper, the Chief Exec of the Challenging Behaviour Foundation, put out a joint statement stating that Atlas offered ‘specialist care’ that cost up to £4000/week per person and that ‘poor commissioning’ from numerous local authorities and ‘weak inspection’ allowed an abusive culture to develop and sustain itself. Have they only just noticed? Bloggers like Mark Neary, Finola Moss and Sara Ryan have been trying to expose this for years. Indeed Sara Ryan seems to feel about Mencap the way that I feel about MIND – she has always termed them ‘Mencrap’. Mark Neary’s adult son Stephen was removed from his care for a year simply due to the fuckwittedness of their local authority and had Mark not been able to engage in a full scale battle through the Courts he would have lost Stephen for ever. Finola Moss had a similar experience with her daughter. Finola has taken a big interest in the huge amounts of money that are now being made by the private ‘care’ sector for housing learning disabled people in unsuitable, frequently abusive facilities, as well as in the constant supply of ‘expert witnesses’ and dishonest health and care professionals who are prepared to lie in Court in the face of carers complaining and simply accuse those carers of abuse themselves. The really great thing about most of these cases is that because they involve the Court of Protection, no-one can even publish what’s happening – until the learning disabled person dies in the ‘care’ of the ‘provider’. Mark Neary’s blog is doing an excellent job of exposing how this naked abuse and cruelty – and sheer idiocy – is disguised by the language of ’empowerment’, ‘independent living’, ‘service user involvement’ and associated hogwash.

 

 

George Osborne Enters The Picture

Yesterday’s post ‘The Evolution of a Drugs Baron’ detailed the extraordinary sequence of events that led to Dr Dafydd Alun Jones and his fellow travellers in CAIS constructing themselves as ‘substance abuse experts’ and consequently being handed the remit for substance abuse ‘services’ over huge swathes of Wales, despite their very questionable track record. I also detailed the ‘oral evidence’ that Clive Wolfendale, the Chief Exec of CAIS, gave to Parliament’s Welsh Affairs Committee in 2012, which very obviously seemed to be a pitch for CAIS to be given the remit for the ‘care’ of military veterans. That was five years ago and naturally I wondered if Clive’s case for the care and rehabilitation of veterans had resulted in money flowing into the coffers of CAIS yet. My co-researcher has now e mailed me the CAIS reports and financial statements for the years 2014/15 and 2015/16, which answers some questions but of course raises many more. He has also sent me a few other useful links.

First, I need to (attempt to) clarify something regarding yesterday’s post. When I was giving the lowdown on the shameful histories of some of the CAIS Trustees, I speculated that Cledwyn Williams was probably one of the people named in the 1996 Jillings Report into the abuse of children whilst in the care of Clwyd Social Services. I’ve been reading the Jillings Report in detail this morning in preparation for a future post and I note that Cledwyn Williams is not the person that I was thinking of. So I am still no wiser as to which social services it was that Cledwyn played a leading role in until 1996, when he was appointed Director of Conwy Social Services. As Cledwyn himself is deliberately vague about this in his biography on the CAIS website, it does suggest that he doesn’t really want to shout too loudly about which organisation it was that he worked for – so I would not be surprised if it was Clwyd, particularly as Clwyd County Council was dissolved in 1996 after the admission of appalling long-standing sexual abuse and cruelty throughout their children’s services. Since yesterday I’ve discovered that Cledwyn is actually Robert Cledwyn Williams, just to add to the confusion. (Of course he may have been named in the Jillings Report nonetheless, because so many names were redacted when that Report was finally released.)

I’ll put the confusion regarding Cledwyn to one side for the present and move on to the purpose of today’s post, that is the discussion of the documents that my co-researcher has sent me. The documents do indeed confirm that since Clive appeared in front of the Welsh Affairs Committee, CAIS have hit the jackpot where funding for the delivery of ‘services’ to veterans and their families are concerned, those services being ‘Change Step’ and ‘Listen In’. As with all ‘services’ provided by CAIS, they are delivered by volunteers, with just a back-up skeleton staff. The CAIS accounts dated 20/4/15 show that they’d secured and begun to receive funding from the Ministry of Defence for ‘Change Step’ and ‘Listen In’ and had begun delivering services. The CAIS report for 2014/15 tells us that ‘Change Step’ was launched on 31 May 2014 by their ‘patron’ Brigadier Gerard Wheeler. It was set up with funding from the Ministry of Defence LIBOR fund which provided funding for two years of pan-Wales peer mentoring. That was the fund that was much publicised by Cameron’s Gov’t, the money coming from the fines that were levied on the banks for attempting to manipulate LIBOR. Nearly £1 million was given to CAIS. The CAIS report tells us that ‘1000 veterans and their families have been supported’ by ‘veteran peer mentors’ in terms of their mental health issues, loneliness, welfare and addiction problems’. Now £1 million quid would buy an awful lot, particularly if the work was being largely carried out by volunteers. Yet CAIS give very scant details of what this £1 million has funded. There is a fleeting reference at one point in the report to people being involved in ‘clearing war graves’ and setting up a website in respect of genealogy, but keeping graves tidy and researching one’s family history can be done at the weekend and needs neither £1 million pounds nor peer guides to do it. So where did that £1 million go? The mystery deepens when one takes a look at the CAIS report for 2015/16. This states that George Osborne, the former Chancellor of the Exchequer, gave ‘Change Step’ another £434,659 from the LIBOR fund in the Budget, ‘to support the families and carers of veterans in north Wales’. This generous donation from Osborne was also featured in a news report by BBC News Wales. The BBC explains that Osborne had ‘saved’ ‘Change Step’ after it had ‘run out of funding’ after having been ‘unsuccessful’ in bidding for further funding and that ’29 jobs were at risk’. The date on that BBC News Wales report is 16 March 2016. But my co-researcher has sent me a link to a list of all the projects whose funding under the Armed Forces Libor Fund Successful Tranche 3 Projects was announced in George Osborne’s Budget – the £434,659 to CAIS is listed there. But George Osborne made this announcement on the 15 October 2013. That was BEFORE the launch of ‘Change Step’ and ‘Listen In’ in May 2014 on the basis of the £1 million from the MoD Armed Forces LIBOR fund. But CAIS didn’t announce this until 2016 and stated that it was successful follow on funding from a project that had run out of money and that it would provide ‘peer support’ for 800 veterans. This is so confusing that I’ll go through it all again. In Oct 2013 George Osborne announced that CAIS would be awarded nearly half a million from the MoD LIBOR fund. At about the same time CAIS received nearly £1 million from – the MoD LIBOR fund, to set up ‘Step Change’ and ‘Listen In’ and launched these in May 2014. So CAIS received TWO lots of funding at the same time, for the same project, but announced one lot of that funding as ‘follow on’ funding more than two years after George Osborne had publicly announced it. Furthermore when the £1 million lot of funding was announced, it was stated to be for a TWO YEAR pan-Wales programme. So why were CAIS claiming to have run out of funds for the project before the end of two years and to have been ‘unsuccessful’ in further bidding? And why did they not only make multiple applications to the LIBOR fund for the same project, but sit on one load of dosh for more than two years, only to then misrepresent it on a BBC News Wales feature? Furthermore, the £1 million was for a pan-Wales project – yet there’s only details of north Wales based ‘support’ given. And how the hell had Dafydd manage to spend a million quid in a year on tidying gravestones and making a website featuring family histories anyway? And what were these 29 jobs allegedly at risk? If ‘Change Step’ utilises ‘peer support’, who were these 29 paid people and what were they doing – particularly if the only outcomes that could be boasted about were the tidy graves and the family histories website. As with everything involving CAIS, NONE of this adds up. Neither was George Osborne doing his homework. Not only did he hand over a huge quantity of money to a charity containing a number of Trustees who were involved in the concealing of a paedophile gang – one had even been named in the Waterhouse Report as having done so – but they were given two lots of money for the same work. If indeed clearing some gravestones and researching family histories can be classified as ‘work’. This was a charity whose Chief Exec in 2012 could not give any figures at all regarding how many veterans that they had among their ‘clients’ or produce any firm evidence regarding the ‘need’ for a support service for veterans. Yet Cameron’s Gov’t gave them the best part of one and a half million quid just over a year later. This is much, much worse than ‘Kid’s Company’.

Interested readers – or indeed the fraud squad – might like to ask the CAIS accountants a few questions about all this. The CAIS ‘Independent Auditors’ are listed as Williams Denton Cyf, 13 Trinity Square, Llandudno. The CAIS registered office and principal address is at 12 Trinity Square Llandudno. Someone might need to speak to CAIS’s bankers about this as well. They are Barclays Bank Plc, 84 Mostyn Street, Llandudno. Finally, CAIS employ something called ‘Honorary Solicitors’ that perhaps could shed light on these very dodgy business practices. They are John Owens Solicitors, Unit 13, Ffordd Richard Davies, St Asaph Business Park, St Asaph.

But inexplicably pouring money into CAIS coffers to provide ‘peer support’ for veterans is not the only way that Cameron helped Dafydd et al. I mentioned in yesterday’s post that CAIS are receiving money from the DWP. The CAIS reports explain why. Since October 2012 CAIS have been contracted by the DWP to deliver the Rehab JobFit work programme (the main DWP unemployment scheme) in north west Wales and since 20 April 2015, CAIS have been delivering this in Wrexham. Their record regarding this programme is utterly mediocre. The 2014/15 report tells us that out of the 564 unemployed individuals ‘supported’ by CAIS, only 206 secured employment. For the year 2015/16, CAIS ‘supported’ 345 people, of whom 259 found work. But being crap is no barrier to CAIS. They have established a ‘training’ enterprise, ‘Crew-IT’, after ‘obtaining funds’ of course. Crew-IT claims to offer training for work in hospitality and catering, providing ‘on the job’ training in their very own Porters Coffee Shop and Bistro, Colwyn Bay and Troop Café, Llandudno. (Troop Café was previously known as Caffi CAIS and was a sort of shack that made such a loss that CAIS shut it down and reopened it a few months later as Troop Café. Presumably the new name was a reference to CAIS’s newly acquired expertise in military matters. However CAIS have now reported a ‘poor trading season’ for Troop Café and they are redesigning it as an ‘activity hub’.) In the year 2014/15, out of 24 participants on the ‘training scheme’, 5 secured jobs. In 2015/16, out of 21 participants, there were 11 who secured jobs. So CAIS is not even that successful at training people to work for minimum wage jobs in cafes. But they continue to build on their mediocrity – they have now secured EU funding through the WCVA ‘Active Inclusion Scheme’ and are offering two year training programmes to make people ‘work ready’. One programme, ‘At Your Service’, is directed at the catering and hospitality industry and another, ‘Seeds To Grow’, is directed at horticulture. Out of 413 participants, 45 secured jobs. CAIS have since submitted a pan-Wales application for funding from the EU ‘Out of Work’ scheme to the Welsh Gov’t.

The creativity of CAIS knows no bounds. They are involved in providing ‘support’ for offenders through ‘Jigsaw’ (guess what – Jigsaw is entirely dependent upon volunteers); they provide ‘housing advice’ for the homeless in Wrexham ‘through our partners Shelter’ (although the ‘outcomes’ given simply refer to people having their questions answered rather than people actually securing accommodation); they provide ‘recovery coaching’ enabling people to become ‘work ready’ (out of 668 people, precisely 33 found jobs) and they provide ‘supported accommodation’ in north Wales, Powys and Pembrokeshire (I dread to think what passes for ‘supported accommodation’ with Dafydd’s history of placing mental health patients in run down accommodation where they are neglected and abused). Of course CAIS continue their core business – ‘substance abuse services’ and ‘therapies and interventions’ (please see previous posts regarding CAIS and Parabl for details). CAIS are contracted to provide these by the NHS. CAIS now run something in Cardiff called the Living Room. In one report it states that the Living Room is providing counselling for clergy, ministers of religion and their families and ‘on-going aftercare and psychosocial support’ for GPs in Cardiff no less. So the Top Doctors are securing mental healthcare from this ‘charity’ bankrolled by the taxpayer, whilst their own patients find it nigh-on impossible to obtain care for mental health problems. A number of CAIS initiatives, such as Troop Café, are run as ‘social enterprises’. I am touched to see that although CAIS Social Enterprises Ltd reported a loss in 2014/15, they were nonetheless awarded ‘Conwy Social Enterprise of the Year’ in May 2015.

Readers may be staggered to discover that CAIS, despite having such a hopeless record of delivery, despite such dodgy practices and despite such a lack of expertise, is able to draw down millions in ‘funding’ every year to provide such a plethora of ‘services’. Regular readers will remember how gobsmacked I was when I discovered that CAIS, Chaired by what must be the most abusive, corrupt psychiatrist in the UK, had landed the contract from the Betsi for ‘service user involvement’ (please see posts concerning ‘CANIAD’). But reading the CAIS reports has revealed something even more farcical. CAIS have been running a ‘programme for primary schools’, ‘Don’t Touch – Tell’, to send out ‘keep safe’ messages. Yes, a charity with Trustees who concealed a vicious paedophile gang that operated in north Wales children’s homes for decades causing untold suffering and leading to scores of suspicious deaths, have picked up a contract for ‘safeguarding’ children.

How was any of this ever allowed to happen?

A warning for the future (as if the North Wales Hospital Denbigh and the North Wales Child Abuse Scandal weren’t enough of a warning) – the 2015/16 CAIS report waxes lyrical about the potential for them to pick up more and more contracts and to go into partnership with more and more ‘charities’. They are eyeing up the Royal British Legion and Age Concern, as well as planning on landing more contracts from the DWP. Furthermore I very much doubt that anyone will stop them. The CAIS Trustees have, variously, resigned from previous jobs in the wake of terrible scandals, they’ve been sued, they’ve been named as concealing a paedophile ring – but George Osborne still gave them a million and a half quid. No-one knows what they’ve done with it and there’s bugger all to show for it, but then they weren’t finding anyone jobs yet it didn’t stop the DWP giving them more contracts. I don’t know why Dafydd ever stood as a Plaid candidate. Thatcher’s Gov’t ignored the dreadful abuses that he and Lucille were involved in, Major’s Gov’t covered it all up when the abuses became so public that they couldn’t be ignored any longer and Cameron’s Gov’t covered up the cover up and then gave Dafydd and Lucille millions. What’s Theresa May going to do, give them both peerages? Oh well then they’ll be able to join all the people who were involved in the multiple cover ups who are now in the Lords.

Strong and stable Government anyone?

 

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.