News Round Up, August 24 2017

Recently the Morning Star ran a critique of the notion of ‘Mental Health First Aid’ courses. I was greatly pleased to read it, because I’ve long been of the opinion that ‘Mental Health First Aid’ is dangerous simplistic nonsense and as the Morning Star argued, it is being used to absolve the Gov’t of their responsibilities to people with mental health problems. ‘Mental Health First Aid’ is never going to address the problems of seriously ill people but it could lead to a false level of confidence among the folk who have been ‘trained’ with regard to their ability to solve the problems of people in serious distress and lead to the First Aiders being in danger of seriously screwing up. The Morning Star introduced the old chestnut of ‘more money for mental health services’ – there’s not a lot of point in giving the mental health services more money at the moment, it will just be metaphorically pissed up against the wall along with the rest of the money that they’ve already swallowed. There is no point giving them more money to do more of what doesn’t work. The Morning Star however did make the salient point that the Gov’t would be better off concentrating on matters like suitable housing for people with mental health problems, with which I would completely agree. People are subjected to expensive ‘treatment’ which is frequently ineffective or even abusive, yet their basic needs such as accommodation and income is being ignored.

The Daily Post Online has been brimming over with stories of serious problems regarding homelessness in north east Wales. It was reported that Flintshire Council have put a load of homeless people up in the Pontins Holiday Camp at Prestatyn. Flintshire Council have stated that their homeless service is at ‘breaking point’ – in Sept 2016 there were 1,600 people on the waiting list. Flintshire Council may be at breaking point, but Wrexham County Borough Council has actually broken. An ‘encampment’ of homeless people has been established on the site of the old Grove School in Wrexham – there’s a lot of people there and they’re living in tents. The Council has delivered some portaloos to the site, but Nigel Lewis, the Chairman of Wrexham Town Centre Forum, maintains that the facilities at the encampment are insufficient. He points out that the Third sector and the Council have failed to solve this problem and that a different approach is needed. Mr Lewis wants Wrexham to take a leaf out of Bristol’s book and house the tent-dwellers in shipping containers once winter arrives. Mr Lewis seems to have suggested this because he knows that there’s no chance of houses for any of them. What have we come to when moving into a shipping container is a step up? I know that a creative artist could, with time and a bit of money, probably work on a shipping container and convert it into a unique and interesting home, but I don’t think anyone’s going to do that for the people living on the site of Grove School. I suspect that what will happen is that a job lot of shipping containers – probably acquired on the cheap – will be unceremoniously parked on a brownfield site somewhere and that will be the ‘housing’. Furthermore, it will probably then be argued that anyone living in a shipping container is now ‘housed’ and they’ll never be offered anything else. If they move out of the shipping container, they’ll be deemed to have voluntarily made themselves homeless and they’ll never be allowed on a housing waiting list again.

It’s particularly ironic that these stories have emerged, because earlier on I was browsing through Hansard and I came across the account of the Commons Welsh Affairs sitting of 28 Feb 1984, the annual ‘Welsh Day’. Lord Crickhowell aka Nicholas Edwardes, the then Secretary of State for Wales – star of posts ‘I Want Serious Money Now Please’ and ‘Corruption Bay Special’ – was speaking and being questioned by a number of Welsh MPs. Dafydd Elis-Thomas and other MPs were doing all that they could to tell Edwardes that if the Conservative Gov’t did not start investing in a bigger council house building programme, there would be a crisis in future years. Edwardes, in true Minister-of-Thatcher’s style, was having none of it and boasted about the Tories’ successful housing policies. If you’d built those houses Edwardes, there wouldn’t be people living in tents looking forward to moving into a shipping container when the inclement weather arrives.

Edwardes was also challenged by furious Welsh MPs who were quoting the figures relating to the problems that Wales had encountered since Edwardes became Secretary of State in 1979 in terms of the thousands of people who were unemployed, the number of major employers who had shut shop etc. Edwardes responded by using the discourse of ‘change’, that some businesses would die, some would grow, that failing firms would collapse but nonetheless the economy was growing, that ‘failure and closure go hand in hand with success and growth’ and that Wales had to ‘adapt to change’. Furthermore, under the Tories new technology based businesses would soon be erupting into life all over Wales, just like Silicon Valley. I’m still waiting Nicholas – they haven’t arrived yet. Edwardes’ warned everyone that there would be closures in the south Wales coalfield but they were of course necessary. He was however delighted to announce a huge new investment in the steel works at Port Talbot – although they’re about to go tits-up down there thirty years later under another Tory Gov’t.

Edwardes’ pride and glory though, the enormous ‘investment’ that he banged on about at length to explain how much Thatcher’s Gov’t was doing for Wales, was something that he called the ‘south Cardiff initiative’ – yes, Edwardes was hailing the arrival of Corruption Bay, the massive scam that I have detailed previously on this blog, from which Nicholas Edwardes and some of his friends made a mint because they were directors of the businesses and quangos who were central to the development. My interest in Corruption Bay was aroused by the Welsh blogger Jac O The North who provides full details on his blog – Jac has always argued that Edwardes and his mates had the whole thing planned out years before they joined the contracted companies as Directors and raked in the profits from the publicly funded bonanza themselves. In the light of the comments that Edwardes made in the Commons on Feb 28 1984, it rather looks as though Jac is spot on. All the proposed ingredients are mentioned by Edwardes – the millions and millions of Gov’t dosh that would be available for the ‘initiative’, the availability of dosh from the ‘urban development grant’ and the names of the companies chosen by ABP and LAW to carry out the work. Edwardes trumpets the central theme of the ‘initiative’ as being a ‘collaboration between the public and private sectors’. That’s right Edwardes, you planned the ‘collaboration’ whilst you were in office, you gave the green light to the huge amount of public money that was given to the quangos involved – quangos on which your friends and business partners were sitting – then once work was underway, you resigned from office, shuffled off into the Lords and then joined the Boards of the companies that your mates on the quangos had contracted to do the work.

Edwardes mentions that the famously corrupt WDA would be building the first centre for advanced technology at Deeside Industrial Park. The plan was for this centre to house Newtech, ‘an organisation for technical research, development and innovation formed jointly by Clwyd County Council and NEWI’. Edwardes stated that Newtech had recently received urban programme backing from the Gov’t. This all sounds very familiar. My post ‘A Vampire At Glyndwr University!’ detailed the backgrounds of the Chancellor and some of the governors at Glyndwr University (previously NEWI). There are multiple conflicts of interest in evidence – there is obviously an extensive game of musical chairs going on in north east Wales, with a network of people log jamming all the positions in the County Councils, the Boards of local companies, the Council of Glyndwr University, the Magistrates Bench etc. The people in those positions today have been circulating around for decades – some of them will have benefited from the investment in Deeside that Edwardes announced in 1984.

Keith Raffan, the Tory MP for Delyn, paid tribute to Edwardes and his colleagues at the Welsh Office regarding the setting up of the Delyn enterprise zone in Flint – there had been over £8.2 million in land reclamation. They had also received an urban programme grant of more than £1 million – much more than the local borough had expected. Raffan felt that this was  confirmation of the ‘excellent management’ of the borough.

But guess what else is recorded in Hansard? That there is a serious financial crisis in Clwyd County Council. They were flat broke and had to dip into their reserves. The situation is so dire that the Council planned an enormous rise in the rates, so high that it caused a row in Parliament. Nonetheless the Chief Executive’s office alone employs 34 staff and redundancies are not suggested. The Chief Exec in 1984 was Mervyn Phillips. Who was in charge of the Clwyd County Council that were running the dreadful mental health services and the children’s homes where children were being abused and trafficked into prostitution. Clwyd County Council were not spending their money on health or the social services. So where was it going? I have previously provided examples on this blog of occasions when funds from Clwyd Council had been embezzled and of Chief Execs of Clwyd who somehow managed to liberate huge sums of money to prop up the charities with which they were involved – which resulted in some of them receiving gongs. For the full details see post ‘Ain’t Nothing Clean – Not Even The Welsh Calvinistic Methodists’. In this post though I will confine myself to mentioning that one of the most serious offenders, Mervyn Phillips, was a Director of Bodelwyddan Castle Trust. Hansard 28 Feb 1984 records angry MPs raising questions about the ‘extravagant amount’ that was spent on Bodelwyddan Castle to transform it into a tourist attraction.

The Welsh Office knew about the paedophile gang that was operating in Clwyd, the wider Tory Party openly discussed the fact that Sir Peter Morrison the MP for Chester was sexually abusing boys and was visiting children’s homes in Clwyd. The Welsh Office were concealing both the abuse of children in north Wales and the abuses of the mental health services who were facilitating the paedophile ring. So Edwardes was faced with a bankrupt Council who ran the children’s homes that were trafficking children into prostitution – to other MPs as well as Morrison. At the same time he was giving huge quantities of public money to businesses on Deeside and in Flint – which were run by some of the same people who ran the Council, the Social Services and the Health Authority that facilitated the paedophile gang. People who also packed the benches of the local Magistrates Courts – no wonder so few of the members of the paedophile gang were convicted but so many of their victims were.

One doesn’t have to be a genius to conclude that the financial mismanagement of the Council and indeed overt theft by people in Clwyd County Council was being overlooked by a Welsh Office who rewarded them with millions in ‘grant aid’ – as long as the criminals in that Council’s ‘children’s services’ continued to supply the fresh meat to the Westminster Paedophile Ring…

One of the names mentioned in Hansard was that of the Under-Secretary of State for Wales, Wyn Roberts. Wyn told the Commons how good the prospects of a child born in 1979 would be, such a babe being born under the reign of Queen Maggie. Unless of course they were taken into care Wyn or found themselves in need of a mental health service… In Feb 1984 Wyn Roberts was plain old Mr. He soon became Sir and eventually became Lord. No-one in north Wales ever understood why Wyn Roberts was thought so highly of that he ended up in the Lords – particularly as he never made it to Secretary of State. It’s not as if he ever addressed the problems of the mental health services that constituents like me took to him. He never even raised concerns about the paedophile gang! Ah – I think I understand…

Another name that I recognised popped up in Hansard as well. Edwardes told the House that the Kidney Research Unit for Wales Foundation and the private sector had been invited to submit tenders alongside NHS proposals for the NHS to operate two proposed dialysis units, one in Carmarthen and one at Ysbyty Gwynedd in Bangor. The schemes for these units were to be evaluated by one Professor William Asscher, Professor of Renal Medicine at the University of Cardiff Medical School. William Asscher approved the unit for Ysbyty Gwynedd and shortly afterwards landed a senior position in St George’s Hospital Medical School – where I was hounded out of a job in 1991 at the same time as psychiatrists from St George’s Hospital Medical School colluded with psychiatrists in north Wales to have me labelled as ‘dangerous’, although the St George’s psychiatrists were aware that psychiatrists in north Wales were sexually exploiting patients and were involved in criminal activities. One source of information regarding my dangerousness was Lucille Hughes, the Director of Gwynedd Social Services who was later named in the Waterhouse Report as knowing that a paedophile ring was operating in the social services but not acting on that knowledge. Lucille was the mistress of Dr Dafydd Alun Jones – one of the psychiatrists who was sexually exploiting patients, breaking the law and telling St George’s that I was dangerous! The other psychiatrist from north Wales who told St George’s how dangerous I was, was Dr Tony Francis (Dr X). He was a graduate of Cardiff Medical School, had spent a number of years working there post-qualification and worked at Ysbyty Gwynedd whilst William Asscher gave the go-ahead for the renal unit. My post ‘Running The Country – And All That Jazz’ explains how St George’s Hospital was a foundation that had originally been established by a donation from the Duke of Westminster. In the 1980s, the then Duke of Westminster was the president of the City of Chester Conservative Association. The fact that their MP Peter Morrison was molesting children was openly gossiped about among members of the Association (see post ‘It’s The Sun Wot Won It’). It’s a small world – especially if there’s a paedophile ring which is part of an organised criminal gang with international connections supplying children to Westminster figures that needs concealing…

It is noticeable that the areas of Wales that were suffering so much under Edwardes – represented by some of the angry MPs who were trying to make him understand the damage that his Gov’t was doing – are the areas of Wales that remain wrecked today and are still the subject of regular political discussions regarding the disadvantage found in the communities within them.

 

Yesterday the Daily Post Online ran a feature on a local hero – a Top Doctor from Denbighshire, Professor Bim Bhowmick. Bim was described as being 77 years old with a ‘long and successful career behind him’. It was mentioned that Bim was a geriatrician and former Medical Director of Ysbyty Glan Clwyd. Not only is Ysbyty Glan Clwyd as mismanaged and as riddled with corruption as Ysbyty Gwynedd, but the wards for the elderly have been notorious for years. They are so bad that staff working at YGC warn friends not to allow their relatives to be admitted there. It was the ‘institutional abuse’ of elderly mentally ill patients in Tawel Fan ward in YGC that caused the Welsh Gov’t to place the Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board in special measures. Patients were crawling around naked on floors covered in urine and faeces whilst staff swore at them and discussed their sex lives. One patient was found to have a broken arm. It transpired that a nurse had previously raised concerns about conditions on the ward, but had been confronted by a doctor saying that he ‘didn’t want any more complaints’. The case of Tawel Fan was the biggest scandal involving care of the elderly that there has been for many years and the ward has been shut down. The nurse who eventually blew the whistle was sacked. No member of staff involved in abusing the patients has been disciplined or prosecuted.

Perhaps standards of elderly care at YGC have simply slipped since Bim was put out to grass? Not really. My post ‘How Much Do Staff Surveys Really Tell Us?’ details how some years ago a retired professor from Bangor University, Clare Wenger, was so horrified at what she witnessed when she was admitted to a ward for the elderly at YGC that she wrote a detailed report noting every incident of abuse and neglect and sent it to over 100 academic contacts and NHS officials. Clare Wenger was denounced as a stuck up cow doing down our wonderful NHS. Clare Wenger’s specialism was the care  and support of elderly people. Unlike Bim she didn’t work at YGC so didn’t need to lie about conditions there. Furthermore Clare Wenger actually has a track record of high calibre academic research which Bim, for all his ‘long and successful career’, doesn’t seem to have.

In spite of being Medical Director of the worst geriatric services in north Wales – and probably in the whole of Wales – Bim tells a good story and has managed to do alright for himself.

Bim came from a wealthy family in Bengal but left during the troubled time of partition in India. Bim’s family were targeted because they were wealthy and Bim left India before the rest of his family. Bim’s father’s parting words to him were – when Bim was 6 years old – ‘be a good doctor’. When Bim grew up he lived his father’s dream and studied medicine – Bim had to ‘beg’ a friend of his father’s to pay his fees. Bim triumphed and qualified. In 1969 Bim arrived in the UK. A BBC News Online report from July 2006 tells us that in 1974 Bim decided to settle in north Wales and worked as a consultant at HM Stanley Hospital St Asaph. Somehow, although Bim’s a geriatrician, ‘as a young doctor he developed a special interest in stroke care and progressed to become one of Britain’s foremost experts’ and ‘in 1989 he established a stroke rehab unit as YGC’. This is as puzzling as Bim’s expertise in gerontology. Stroke care in Wales as a whole was so bad that some years ago the Welsh Assembly Gov’t imported some stroke specialists from England in order to build a service for Wales. Stroke care in north Wales was the worst of the lot – there was no specialist service. One of the English imports got into a spat with someone because he was unable to deliver a service in Welsh and in his defence commented that ‘at present a service in Japanese would be an improvement because there is no service’. Stroke patients in north Wales had some of the worst outcomes in the UK – they were dropping like flies because they weren’t getting treatment soon enough. In a lot of cases no-one had even diagnosed them correctly.

I am wondering if Bim is rather like Dr Dafydd Alun Jones who told the local newspapers that he was ‘Europe’s leading forensic psychiatrist’ when he wasn’t even a forensic psychiatrist.

For some reason, after excelling in north Wales, in 2006 Bim departed for Gwent Healthcare NHS Trust where he became Clinical Director of Torfaen Intermediate Care Services. Bim retired in 2009.

Bim really did reach the dizziest of heights however. In 2003 Cardiff University offered him a Chair and a Fellowship. He was also offered a Fellowship by Glyndwr University. In 2009 he was given a Lifetime Achievement award from NHS Wales. He was a runner up for the Bevan Prize for his outstanding contribution to the health and wellbeing of the elderly. In 2000 he was awarded an OBE for his contribution to elderly care services in Wales. Bim won the Founder’s Medal from the British Geriatrics Society in 2005.

Bim is now Emeritus Consultant Physician for the elderly in YGC as well as Clinical Director of Medicine and Associate Postgraduate Dean, Wales. He helped initiate and Chairs the Equality and Diversity Committee of the Royal College of Physicians.

Bim is a Board Member of the Bevan Commission, which is dedicated to ‘promoting health and health services in Wales’. The Bevan Commission informs us that he has been ‘delivering excellence and innovation in geriatric medicine within the NHS for over 48 years’. So that’s why geriatric care is usually so shite and why geriatrics is the least desirable speciality among medical graduates.

Bim has even invented a model of care – and has called it after himself. It’s the BIM – the Bhowmick Innovative Model, bringing acute medical care to elderly patients in their own homes. It reduces bed blocking and introduces significant savings. It’s also a very well-kept secret, because the last I heard there was a crisis in the care of elderly people at home. Nonetheless Bim won the UK BUPA ‘charity’ medical research prize and was a finalist in the BMJ awards.

In Oct 2015 Bim gave a public lecture as part of a programme organised by Bangor University, Grwp Llandrillo Menai and supported by Public Health Service Wales: ‘The Elderly In Illness: Hospital Or Home Treatment With Dignity’. Well they certainly got that in Tawel Fan – as did Clare Wenger when she was given an enema on an open ward in Ysbyty Glan Clwyd whilst she was on the receiving end of a bit of Bim’s excellence.

Bim is of course a governor of Glyndwr University and a former Deputy Lieutenant of Clwyd. Bim wrote his autobiography a few years ago, ‘You Can’t Climb A Ladder With Your Hands In Your Pockets’. He seems to have climbed one by telling a lot of tall stories and relied on no-one daring to expose him because that would involve admitting the dreadful truth about standards of care at Ysbyty Glan Clwyd.

 

I came across another interesting document today. It dated from 2004 and was a list of the most senior Freemasons in the UK. There have been of course constant allegations that the North Wales Child Abuse Scandal was connected with Masonic activity, although this was denied in the Waterhouse Report and then denied again by Secretary of State for Wales Stephen Crabb after the Macur Review. The rumours persist though – I was told by somebody in MIND in 1987 that the problems caused by Dafydd and co in the mental health services involved Freemasonry and it was admitted that Gordon Anglesea was a Freemason as were a number of the judges and lawyers who have been involved in the inquiries, investigations and trials connected with the North Wales Child Abuse Scandal. St George’s Hospital was known to be dominated by Freemasons. Bangor University had it’s own lodge. The lodge in the town of Bangor had a number of police officers and lawyers as members.

So when I found the list of Masons today, I paid close attention to see if I recognised any names from north Wales lodges. I did. An R. Hefin Davies MBE was listed – that is the former Chair of the North West Wales NHS Trust. Out of interest I then searched the Company Director’s register for Hefin Davies’s interests. He has been a director of a number of companies, three of them involved with the slate trade in north Wales. Being a director of companies involved with the slate industry might at first seem a little incompatible with being the Chair of an NHS Trust. But it’s interesting in the light of something that I was told some years ago when I lived near Bethesda. The Penrhyn Slate Quarry is situated near Bethesda and a lot of my former neighbours used to work there or have friends who worked there. There were always a lot of allegations that massive fiddles were being conducted on the part of some of the senior people in the quarry. Eventually I think it was three people who were put on trial for offences like fraud and theft. It wasn’t just a bit of pilfering that had gone on, the people involved were fleecing the quarry in a major way. There was one man who was caught and arrested however who was never charged. This was widely discussed in the village in terms of ‘how the hell has he got away with it when the others are in court’. The man concerned had been driving lorry loads of slate out of the quarry without going over the weigh bridge, he’d been stealing tons of the stuff. After everyone marvelled at no prosecution ever being brought, I was told by someone ‘not only that but he’s now just been given a seat on the Board of the North West Wales NHS Trust’. Hefin was Chairman at the time. Hefin was also Chairman when Ysbyty Gwynedd were slaughtering mental health patients and the staff were perjuring themselves in order to secure criminal convictions against patients who made complaint.

Another name on the list of senior Freemasons in north Wales was that of the Rev Canon Trevor Davies of Colwyn Bay. Another name was Gareth Lloyd Jones, a funeral director in Llanwrst. The Masons obviously do put a bit of business each others way, because Gareth Lloyd Jones organised the funeral of the Provincial Grand Master of North Wales 1990-2004, one Ian Lawrie Mackeson-Sandbach, who died in 2012. When Ian died, donations to the King Edward VII Hospital were requested. I presume that this is the same King Edward VII Hospital mentioned in my post ‘Update On Tainted Blood Scandal – The Culprit’, the hospital with Lord Simon Glenarthur as governor (who is also the Director of the MDU), the Conservative peer who was responsible for the tainted blood scandal which has resulted in the deaths of thousands of people. Ian’s mother Geraldine – who died in 2001 – was a descendant of the 2nd Baron Penrhyn. Geraldine inherited a Jamaican plantation of 4000 acres and two sizeable estates in north Wales. Geraldine was President of the Denbigh branch of the Royal College of Midwives 1955-75; a member of the governing body of the Church in Wales 1957-67; President of the Royal British Legion Women’s Section; a Magistrate on the Llanwrst Bench 1942-79 and was President of the Juvenile Bench.

So Geraldine and Ian seem to have some medical connections then, as well as a few other connections. The family estate is in the Conwy Valley near Llanwrst. So the Mackeson-Sandbachs could well know Peter Higson, Chair of the Betsi Board – he comes from Llanwrst and his sister is Ruth Hussey, the former Chief Medical Officer for Wales! Geraldine could well have known Dafydd and Gwynne the lobotomist too, with that medical connection to Denbigh – of course Peter Higson worked with Dafydd and Gwynne himself when he was a psychologist and then the manager at the North Wales Hospital Denbigh, throughout the years when Dafydd was banging up people who’d complained about the paedophiles’ friends. One of Dafydd’s roles at Denbigh was to ‘assess’ pregnant women who had requested terminations on mental health grounds. The North Wales Hospital was an institution in which female patients were sexually exploited by Dafydd himself, in which unmarried mothers were still incarcerated in the 1980s and in which whilst I was there in 1987 was unlawfully detaining a young woman who had been abducted by three men, held in an attic and sexually assaulted (see post ‘The Distressed Young Woman Who Vanished’). They would have needed a colluding midwife on quite a regular basis wouldn’t they.

Geraldine’s granddaughter – Ian’s daughter – is famous! She’s Antoinette Sandbach, the former Conservative AM for north Wales. Antoinette always used to describe herself as being a ‘farmer’s daughter’. I didn’t quite believe her at the time. The farmer’s daughter always stressed how committed she was to north Wales, particularly of course to the farmers in the region. So imagine my surprise when in 2015 she stood for the safe Tory seat of Eddisbury in Cheshire. She won as well and the next day resigned her seat in the Assembly and now she’s buggered off to Cheshire.

In July 2013 Cheshire Life interviewed Antoinette. It transpires that the farmer’s daughter spent 12 years in London working as a ‘successful criminal barrister’. Cheshire Life asked her why she would ever want to leave such a career for the ‘country roads’ of north Wales and then ‘head for the Assembly’. Antoinette explained that after she gave a speech at a Save the Rhino fundraiser in 2007, a number of people suggested that she entered politics (I don’t quite follow, but never mind). So Antoinette rang the Conservative Office in Colwyn Bay – that’s the office of a former star of this blog, David Jones MP, who was Secretary of State for Wales for a while under Cameron – and within three months Antoinette found herself standing for the Assembly in Delyn! She didn’t win that seat, so she then ‘worked on the family farm for a low wage’ whilst at the same time working part-time for David Jones, putting her legal skills to good use (Jones is a solicitor). Then Antoinette’s name was added to the regional list and she was subsequently elected!

My post ‘The Right Honourable David Jones MP’ details the many connections that David Jones has to the paedophiles’ friends. Like Antoinette, Jones initially entered politics via a seat in the Welsh Assembly – like Antoinette, he then legged it to Westminster at the first opportunity. David Cameron appointed David Jones to the position of Secretary of State for Wales in the months before Cameron announced that there was to be a review of the Waterhouse Inquiry in the aftermath of the constant allegations that Waterhouse was a huge cover-up. So Jones was Secretary of State whilst the discussions as to how to respond to the accusations of a massive, high level cover up of a paedophile ring involving Westminster figures were happening among Cameron’s inner circle. Jones was removed from the post once the Macur Review was well underway. Like Antoinette’s dad, David Jones is a Freemason.

Antoinette’s dad was Provincial Grand Master of North Wales throughout the police inquiries into child abuse in the region – which were alleged to have been hampered by Freemasonry – throughout the Jillings investigation into child abuse (which the police refused to co-operate with) and throughout the Waterhouse Inquiry. Whilst Antoinette’s dad was Provincial Grand Master, witnesses to the activities of the paedophile gang were found dead, the arson attack which killed five people connected to the North Wales Paedophile Ring happened and Gordon Anglesea won his libel case and the young man who gave evidence against him was subsequently found dead. Oh and I and two of my friends who knew what had happened to me at the hands of Dafydd et al were subjected to constant harassment and threats, unlawfully dismissed from various jobs, one of us was subjected to a violent assault and there were two attempts to set fire to my house.

When Cheshire Life interviewed Antoinette she explained that she became a barrister because she wanted to ‘represent those whose voices would otherwise be lost, whether a victim of crime or a wrongly accused defendant’. As a result of the activities of a number of people that your dad knew Antoinette, very many people were victims of crime and wrongly accused defendants. So would you like to explain to us why the ‘farmer’s daughter’ suddenly decided to enter politics in 2007  – because I don’t for one minute believe that it was anything to do with your outstanding performance at the Save the Rhino Society, or your desire to ‘learn about farming’. You had decided that you needed to be in Westminster and your network of Freemasons, lawyers and paedophiles’ friends swung into action immediately.

In 2009 Antoinette’s young baby died. She has talked extensively about how distressing it was, how she was treated as a suspect by the police and how little support there is for parents of babies who die. She made speeches about it in both the Senedd and the Commons and wept buckets as she spoke, invoking applause on both occasions. She now campaigns on that issue. Yet she has never spoken a word about the dreadful state of the NHS in north Wales, even about the maternity services at Ysbyty Glan Clwyd which were so dysfunctional that Bangor University removed their students from midwifery placements there and a hit squad was sent in from the Welsh Gov’t with the aim of ‘achieving normality’. Numerous women had the most distressing experiences there and some lost their babies.

My post ‘A Vampire At Glyndwr University!’ explains how in 2008 a substantial number of the paedophiles’ friends – in their attempt to have Edwina Hart removed from her post as Health Minister as she tried to clean up the NHS in north Wales – submitted ‘evidence’ to the Welsh Affairs Committee in the Commons. When I wrote that post I was wondering who was on that Committee because I suspected that the paedophiles’ friends were appealing to a sympathiser. I found out today that David Jones was on that Committee. The paedophiles’ friends sent up their distress flare just at the time that the farmer’s daughter decided that a lucrative career at the Criminal Bar (so to speak) was not for her and what she really wanted out of life was a ‘low paid job’ learning how to muck out the stock. Which is why she also bagged a job with a friend of the paedophiles’ friends, moved to Cheshire and has a seat in Westminster.

 

Two more pieces of news from BBC News Wales Online. David Boswell, 56, the Mayor of Pembroke and a Conservative County Councillor, has been charged with historical sex offences – six counts of indecent assault and one count of rape on two different victims who were both aged under 13 at the time. Mr Boswell was in the Army for more than twelve years and is a Marshall for the Royal British Legion.

It has also been reported that the long running saga of the Chief Exec of Community Health Councils in Wales who was suspended on full pay (£90k pa) for many months without anyone knowing the reason (see post ‘High-Level Shenanigans At The Community Health Councils’) is over. He has now been sacked without anyone knowing the reason. When he was appointed to the post he indicated that he wanted to shake up the CHCs and ensure that they represented a strong voice on the part of patients. Which they certainly didn’t before – in the north Wales CHC most of the members were retired or even still working Top Doctors or the paedophiles’ friends. The day after the sacking without reason of the Chief Exec was reported, there was a bad news story of dissatisfied patients of the Kinmel Bay Medical Practice having to queue up outside the surgery at 8am in order to book an appointment. Geoff Ryall-Harvey the Chief Officer of the North Wales CHC said that it was ‘totally unacceptable’, a ‘longstanding problem’ and that ‘we’d be happy to take on anyone’s complaint concerning this matter’. If it’s a longstanding problem the CHC obviously haven’t been very successful at dealing with it. But then they failed to deal with a genocidal mental health service and an unhinged dangerous maternity service and as a result the Betsi Board virtually collapsed and is in long-term special measures. At least they’ve now sacked the man who wanted to effect change.

 

 

 

The Great And The Good

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Yet the mental health services are such a mess…

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

Ieuan Stands Down – and Other Updates

No sadly he hasn’t given up trying to get elected as the Plaid MP for Ynys Mon – although considering what he has done in the past he should (please see posts ‘Further Information On Garth Angharad Hospital’ and ‘More On Those Who Signed That Early Day Motion’) – but Ieuan Wyn Jones has stood down from his ‘leadership’ role in the Menai Science Park, a Bangor University led venture, and has announced that he will not be taking it back up again even if he fails to win Ynys Mon. Someone has e mailed me and commented that it rather looks as though Ieuan has been pushed and they are wondering whether it has anything to do with recent revelations on my blog. I have no idea – but if Ieuan’s decision to stand down from the Science Park project is related to any exposes on this blog, what does this say about Westminster, because he clearly knows that he’ll feel at home if he’s elected…

Now for another update on a previous blog post. My post ‘Eve Was Framed – As Were A Lot Of Other People’ mentioned the case of Emma Humphreys. I mentioned that Emma was born in Dolgellau – and this was yet another case of someone who’d grown up in care ending up involved with sex work, drug problems, a controversial criminal trial and a suspicious death. I wondered whether Emma had ever passed through the ‘care’ of the glorious Gwynedd Social Services. My co-researcher has helpfully done a bit of digging and discovered that no she hadn’t – Emma left north Wales when she was a toddler and spent her childhood and adolescence variously in Nottingham, Canada and then Nottingham again, so it seems that for once Gwynedd Social Services did not seemingly play a role in this grim story, although systems of ‘care’ in other places did. My co-researcher has however discovered a detailed account of Emma’s life up until the point at which she killed Trevor Armitage. As with the case of Sara Thornton who murdered her abusive husband Malcolm, although these were undoubtedly distressed women with serious mental health problems, there are many features of Emma’s case and conduct which one would expect to make her very culpable indeed regarding the murder of Trevor Armitage. The pictures drawn by Women For Justice of both these cases have been robustly disputed. After reading the details of Emma’s life and the circumstances in which she killed Armitage, exactly the same questions occurred to me as occurred when I read the details of the judgement in the Sara Thornton case (please see blog posts ‘Eve Was Framed – As Were A Lot Of Other People’ and ‘Update On Cases Of Susan Brooke and Sara Thornton’). How on earth was it that the very same characteristics of someone diagnosed with a ‘borderline personality disorder’ resulted in Emma’s conviction for murder being overturned and her release from prison, yet has resulted in huge numbers of other people being denied all care and treatment and indeed has been used as a reason to imprison them, frequently for laughable ‘offences’? There is no consistency in the psychiatry behind this and there isn’t even consistency in the particular ‘experts’ giving psychiatric opinions or in the decisions of the judges presiding over the cases. There is something else involved that I am missing…

There has been much criticism of Women For Justice and allegations that they are a man-hating bunch of lesbians who are busy using ‘soft’ Courts to free women who have murdered men. I don’t subscribe to this, I happen to believe that even when women like Sara and Emma have killed abusive men the cases should not be simply regarded as ‘murder pure and simple’. Living with severe long term mental health problems is difficult and living in a volatile violent relationship is even more difficult and people in these situations are very rarely helped no matter what the official narrative of the UK welfare services states. But there is definitely something very odd happening in the Courts with people diagnosed with ‘borderline personality disorder’ –  although I think that I might have discovered the answer to another puzzle. My post ‘Eve Was Framed – As Were A Lot Of Other People’ notes that at no point in her long and glorious career ‘giving a voice to the powerless’ has Helena Kennedy ever mentioned the gross abuses which pervade the mental health services, abuses which will have impacted on many of the people that Kennedy has represented. Kennedy will definitely know what happens to women in the mental health system, particularly in special hospitals. There was a brief flurry of activity in the late 80s/early 90s on the part of people like WISH (Women In Special Hospitals) in an attempt to draw attention to what was going on – that women were ending up in places like Broadmoor and Ashworth not because they were violent criminals but because they had simply become so distressed as the result of being exposed to sexual violence that they repeatedly harmed or tried to kill themselves. And then they were abused all over again – often sexually – in the special hospitals. At one point it looked as though the lid was really going to be blown off this – but then it all went very quiet and it never reared its ugly head again. I kept wondering what about all those radical groups like Women For Justice, the various campaigners for women in prisons, the feminist groups, that were so busy in the 80s and early 90s, where were they? Some of these people have become very well-known and would now be in a position to stop the scandalous abuse of women who often had a biography of being abused as children in the care system, then being transferred into the mental health system only to be abused all over again and to have every complaint that they ever made dismissed on the grounds of their ‘mental illness’ or ‘personality disorder’. Whilst browsing around a bit of vintage material produced by these groups the other day, something suddenly hit me – the vast majority of these radical political groups were based in London, had connections to the ‘loony left’ and were funded by the GLC. That’s the GLC that was run by Red Ken and co – who where councillors in London boroughs where the children’s homes had been completely infiltrated by gangs of organised paedophiles, as described in my post ‘The London Connection’. The same London boroughs that were sending children to children’s homes in north Wales which had also been infiltrated by paedophile gangs. As I explained in the post ‘The London Connection’ some of those councillors became members of the New Labour Government and are now in the House of Lords. No wonder the GLC never funded anyone who looked as though they might dig into what had happened to all those very distressed psychiatric patients…

One more little link that I should mention re London/north Wales. My posts regarding what passed for ‘service user involvement’ and ‘advocacy’ in north Wales described the lame, colluding organisations ‘representing users’ who remained silent as patients died and who admitted that they wouldn’t handle serious complaints because they were funded by the NHS. I have mentioned that on the occasions when someone who actually knew how to represent people joined these organisations they either left in despair or were forced out. One of the key figures in the ‘Independent Advocacy Association’ ‘speaking’ for ‘service users’ back in the mid 90s was a woman called Marilyn – Marilyn was responsible for the particularly laughable ‘training’ of the Independent Advocates as well as the selection. She certainly did a good job there – she carefully failed to select any of the more capable volunteers, systematically selecting only profoundly vulnerable people who were completely dependent upon the mental health services themselves and who were in awe of professionals. Marilyn was quite unpopular with other ‘service users’ who alleged that she was rigging everything for herself – and of course Marilyn certainly didn’t ever present a challenge to the grossly abusive mental health services in north Wales, no matter how many patients were harmed or died. At one point I was told that Marilyn had experienced a severe breakdown, I think because her partner had committed suicide (exactly the same fate befell another ‘service user representative’ in north Wales – they certainly weren’t treated any better than other patients no matter how much shit they were concealing as a favour to the mental health services). Marilyn disappeared from Bangor and a couple of years later I asked someone what had happened to her. I was told that Marilyn had landed a job – as an Independent Advocate for women at Broadmoor! That was when Savile was active down there. I bet that they could hardly believe their luck when Marilyn applied for the job. Or did a few helpful people point Marilyn in the direction of that job perhaps?

I mentioned in yesterday’s post ‘The London Connection’ how Professor Oliver Brooke, prof of paediatrics at St Georges Hospital Medical School was imprisoned in 1986 for possession of child pornography, only to be released on appeal a few months later by a sympathetic judge, Lord Lane, who likened Brookes’ collection of child porn to a collection of cigarette cards. (There are now allegations that far from being a mere collector of mementoes given away with fags in a previous era, Brooke was actually a major figure in a pan-European child porn ring.) A quick search regarding Lord Lane reveals that he was a most controversial man, who became such an embarrassment that at one point scores of MPs were clamouring for his resignation. He seems to have particularly disgraced himself over an appeal of the Birmingham Six, which he disallowed on the grounds that police officers were never corrupt and that was that. Of course Lord Denning famously followed a similar logic, maintaining that if the appeal of the Birmingham Six was allowed it would have to be accepted that the police, the forensic science service and the prison service were completely corrupt – which indeed they were – and that this would be such an ‘appalling vista’ that the appeal simply could not be permitted. Sadly I have news for Lord Denning, ie. that this blog is demonstrating beyond doubt that there is a vista even more appalling than he feared – a vista concerning the concealment of criminal activity within the child care and mental health services that is so dreadful that the word ‘appalling’ doesn’t begin to describe it. Which might explain why Lord Lane kept the Birmingham Six banged up but released a Top Doctor who doubled up as a Top Paedophile on the grounds that he was the equivalent of a stamp collector. Lord Lane eventually became one of the most senior judges in the UK.

Now onto the latest news: I have read this morning that a policeman from Waunfawr, a James Burns, is facing charges of assault and actual bodily harm at Caernarfon Crown Court. A previous report mentioned that he was being investigated regarding perverting the course of justice as well. In a previous incarnation PC James Burns was one Jimmy Burns, a nursing assistant at the Hergest Unit.

Mail online continues to dig up mountains of dirt in their undercover investigation of fertility clinics and I see that today they also have utterly damning coverage of the state of post-natal care. Numerous women are alleging that although they were well cared for during delivery, it seems that all resources are being put into that, to the very great detriment of post-natal care. There are anecdotes of exhausted new mothers not being given anything to eat or drink, of not being given pain relief, of not being supported in breastfeeding etc. As with other NHS revelations, I’m not sure how the lid has been kept on all this for so long – I have heard first hand accounts from women for years of these sorts of practices, from north Wales and elsewhere. One story that I have heard consistently is that if the woman has already had one baby, there is very little care offered at all, on the grounds that she ‘knows the ropes’. One woman told me how at Ysbyty Gwynedd the newly delivered baby was placed on her abdomen and the midwife literally walked off telling her that she knew what to do because the midwife had read on the notes that this was her second baby… Cathy Warwick, a leading light from the Royal College of Midwives, is quoted talking about good practice. This is the Cathy Warwick who was so rude and hostile to James Titcombe, the man whose baby died as a result of negligence at Morecombe Bay NHS Trust and who subsequently exposed the scandal there, that he resigned from his post at the Care Quality Commission. If Cathy had been a little more honest many years ago about the state of NHS maternity services, she would not now be having to give comments to the Mail online…

There seems to be huge coverage of matters mental health in the media at the moment, on Radio 4 it’s very nearly wall to wall mental health (well I suppose Prince Harry has Bravely Spoken Out recently). This morning it was mental health problems in footballers and eating disorders in men. As ever, someone from the Royal College of Psychiatrists was wheeled out telling everyone that they ‘needed to talk about it’ and ‘ask for help’. I don’t know what is actually going to happen if the nation starts following this advice – all they’re going to find is a bunch of completely mad negligent psychiatrists, who if they are like Rob Poole won’t turn up to the appointment, or if they are like David Healy will demand that they are arrested rather than treated or if they are Tony Roberts will order everyone to DO NOTHING, even in the face of severe suicidal depression. Oh well there’s always Dafydd. I look forward to the Today programme soon reporting on the experiences of all those people who ‘asked for help’…

Lastly, Buck House has announced that Prince Philip is standing down from public duties. So he’ll have no more opportunities to hurl racist abuse at Johnny Foreigner only to hear it repackaged by the BBC as a ‘gaffe’. (I’ve never quite understood Prince Philip’s problem with foreigners – he’s mostly Greek with a dash of a few other nationalities thrown in and his wife’s family are German.) The World At One gave a brief resume of his glorious years of service to the British State and mentioned how he sustained the Royals through the ‘difficult years’ of the 80s and 90s. You know, that business with someone called Diana. That ended in a car crash. Which precipitated so many allegations of murder that one Lord Thomas Scott Baker had to be summoned to hold the inquest to Shut Everybody Up. As someone who had learnt his trade at the knee of the Chester and Wales Circuit where he had inexplicably imprisoned a distressed disorientated woman who had passed through the hands of the North Wales Hospital yet a year later released a rather less disorientated woman who had murdered someone, he was obviously the ideal man for the job.

Main Online Follows Up On Story Featured On Blog

Mail Online today has further coverage of the deaths of mothers and babies at Shrewsbury and Telford Hospitals NHS Trust – there was also a big feature on this scandal in the Daily Mirror. Since my posts ‘The BMA And It’s Ethics’ and ‘News From The Betsi’ detailed some of the dreadful practices in UK obstetrics over the past thirty years and how deaths and malpractice are concealed, I am glad to say that the mainstream media is finally showing an interest. I see that the Mail are also quoting James Titcombe – James is the father of a baby who died in the Morecombe Bay scandal, another Trust where serious problems were known about but covered up. James also felt obliged to resign from his Care Quality Commission position on the National Maternity Review because of the hostility and aggression that he was subjected to by Cathy Warwick, Chief Exec of the Royal College of Midwives.

What the Mail does not mention is who one of the most senior figures was at Morecombe Bay NHS Trust when deaths of babies were covered up – it was none other than William Bingley, who was legal director of MIND when I very first started raising concerns about Dr Dafydd Alun Jones and the North Wales Hospital Denbigh. I met William in person in 1987. William admitted that he knew all about Dafydd, he described him as a ‘charming psychopath’, he told me that complaints were flooding in to the General Medical Council about Dafydd and that my complaint was ‘trivial’ in comparison with others (God knows what the other complaints involved because mine concerned criminal activity on the part of Dafydd and other staff, false imprisonment and assault). A few weeks after this, Dafydd tried to threaten and then bribe me into dropping my complaint about him – I approached William Bingley again and received a very strange letter from him. It simply advised me never to visit north Wales again. William and MIND never took any action on the basis of the evidence that I had given them and William Bingley then obtained a position as Chief Exec of the Mental Health Act Commission. That was the Mental Health Act Commission who until it was abolished some years ago concealed criminal activity in the north Wales mental health services, as demonstrated by documents now in my possession. Bingley’s career did not come to an end along with the Mental Health Act Commission – it was then that he was appointed a non-executive director of the Morecombe Bay NHS Trust. By the time that the shit hit the fan over the baby deaths scandal it was revealed that Bingley had become Chair of a neighbouring Trust but after some serious financial conflicts of interest were revealed he resigned. Did he retire quietly after this career of shame? No bloody way – he continued in a post that he had been offered a while before, the Chair in Mental Health Law and Ethics would you believe, at the University of Central Lancashire. Bingley died in a fell walking accident a few years ago. His obituaries stated that he loved ‘socialising’ and was famous for his wonderful parties where all sorts of influential people were invited! But this is how careers are made in healthcare – through a combination of ruthless self-interest and nepotism and open doors between the Third Sector, the NHS and private business. But then William had a considerable boost at the very beginning of his career anyway – his mother was Lady Juliet Bingley, National Chair of MIND. As William climbed higher and higher, mental health patients continued to die in north Wales and mothers and babies pegged out in Morecombe Bay. But William continued to host those wonderful parties… For further information about the skulduggery in MIND, please see previous posts… Ooh, nearly forget – Bingley made his reputation as a brave defender of oppressed mental health patients by writing the Code of Practice for the 1983 Mental Health Act. That was the Mental Health Act that Dafydd Alun Jones breached when he unlawfully imprisoned me at Denbigh. And who actually wrote the 1983 Mental Health Act? None other than Professor Robert Bluglass – who was appointed to investigate my complaint about Dafydd and did bugger all! (For the full details of the huge whitewashing exercise, please see post ‘Enter Professor Robert Bluglass CBE…’)

The Mail’s analysis of the disaster in Shrewsbury and Telford Hospitals NHS Trust is that midwives are ‘obsessed’ with natural births and mothers and babies are being put at risk thus. No, it won’t be that – it’ll be a problem that has grown and grown over time, as a result of inflexible practices and policies, undereducated staff and the concealing of serious problems. Furthermore because no-one knows how much of the ‘research’ that the inflexible practices and policies are based upon is flawed, there’ll be even more confusion. And by now the maternity unit involved will be so dangerous and dysfunctional that good doctors and midwives will have heard about it on the grapevine and won’t be applying for jobs there…

Whilst on the subject of women’s health, I see that BBC News Wales online are running yet another feature on Female Genital Mutilation. There are demands for yet more surveillance and monitoring and a great gnashing of teeth over the fact that although FGM was outlawed in the UK in 1983 there have been no successful prosecutions. Although I’m not sure that ‘successful prosecutions’ are actually what’s needed if one is trying to persuade people who feel marginalised to turn away from a well-embedded cultural practice that has continued for generations, whilst I worked at St George’s Hospital Medical School’s Obs and Gynae Dept between 1989 and 91, I gained a clue as to why FGM was still continuing in the UK (although it was only discussed in feminist and gynaecological circles in those days). It continued because some of the people doing it were practising in Harley Street – everyone knew what they were doing and fully defended their right to do it. I discovered this during a conversation about the rights and wrongs of FGM that was held in the tea room. One senior registrar and a researcher were incandescent that I was daring to suggest that UK medical practitioners should not be involved. Notions of clinical freedom were invoked and the registrar admitted that he knew someone in Harley Street who was doing it – his defence was that if FGM was carried out in Harley Street it was carried out by a competent surgeon under sterile conditions, not by a village elder with a rusty razor blade. The researcher then chipped in with ‘they’re going to do it anyway,  best done by doctors’. Now I accept that both of these people were making relevant points – but what they were ignoring was that it was ILLEGAL to carry out this practice, whether in Harley Street or anywhere else in the UK. But as in so many areas, they were a law unto themselves and no-one was going to grass anyone up.

The researcher who took part in this conversation had a very interesting relationship with the truth at the best of times. Whilst I was working at St George’s, a vivisection scandal blew up – it had been revealed in the press that marmosets were being beheaded in experiments at the London Zoo. The researcher who defended FGM in UK medical practice was involved. In the furore that followed, the London Zoo issued a notice to the media that the research had ‘been stopped’. The defender of FGM smugly told me that it hadn’t stopped at all, ‘we just told the press that to shut them up’. These comments however were nothing compared to the response of this researcher’s PhD supervisor and big buddy Dr Cathy Wilson, when the physiologist Wilhelm Feldberg was exposed by two animal rights activists who had filmed him undercover experimenting on rabbits who were insufficiently anaesthetised (the rabbits were literally trying to get up and walk away whilst Feldberg was experimenting on them). Feldberg was 89 when this happened and it was later admitted that he was known not to be competent in carrying out animal work – but he was a very big name and no-one felt able to challenge him. The day after he had been exposed in the UK media, Cathy Wilson sat in the lab heaping venom upon the animal rights activists screaming ‘how dare they do this to Feldberg, don’t they know who he is?’ (They probably did but weren’t very impressed.) But then there were constant allegations that Cathy Wilson’s own work which involved – to coin the phrase that was always used by the medical students when they complained about her lectures – ‘cutting the heads off rats’ was not leading anywhere…  There was an awful lot of aggro regarding animal work at that time – animal rights activists constantly portrayed medical researchers as sadistic bastards who had only gone into that career to torture and kill animals which was nonsense, but it was true that some researchers were breaking a lot of the rules and no-one stopped them. I was told at the time by someone who had worked at Cambridge along with Colin Blakemore (who has been challenged by anti-vivisectionists throughout his career) that Blakemore’s experiments were ‘very questionable’. But he was Colin Blakemore – now Sir Colin Blakemore – and no-one was going to say that about him in public. I always got the impression that the intransigence over animal work was simply an extension of the thinking that ran through the whole of medicine – ‘we will do exactly what we want and will get very nasty indeed if you try to stop us’. That philosophy seemed to dominate the whole field, whether it was a matter of being challenged over unnecessary animal work, carrying out FGM, lying to patients or lying on oath in one’s capacity as an expert witness…

But to return to FGM. There is an enormous confusion in UK attitudes to FGM. Whilst there are increasingly loud demands for ‘convictions’ of not very well educated Somalis and frightening suggestions of compulsory examination of female children in primary schools (a practice that surely would constitute abuse in itself), the demand for ‘designer vaginas’ in the UK is rocketing and proving to be a very profitable business indeed for some surgeons. A few months ago I watched a short film that was screened on BBC Three, tantalisingly entitled ‘my unusual vagina’. It featured a young woman who kept rather bafflingly comparing her genitals to a burger in a bun surrounded by bits of lettuce and who was explaining that she was undergoing surgery to ‘correct’ her labia majora because they were so long that she thought that they might extend to her mid-thighs. She was then filmed having various bits of her anatomy sliced away by a surgeon who charged her several thousand quid for performing this service. Which was really interesting because a few years ago I remember reading an interview with an East African ‘cutter’ who explained that if FGM isn’t performed on female pre-pubescent children, when they grow up their labia will reach down to their mid-thighs. I had barely had time to get my head around all this when the BBC screened yet another short film – this time explaining why ‘labia stretching’ is a form of sexual abuse and anyone found doing it to under 18s will be Prosecuted. I didn’t realise that this was a major public health problem these days – indeed the only references that I’d ever come across to it were accounts of can-can girls in France in the late 19th century who were alleged to hang weights from their labia to stretch them. So surgeons in private practice in the UK are currently being paid handsomely to do what other people from not very affluent minority communities are going to be banged up for should they ever ‘face justice’. Our society doesn’t seem able to decide what women should be allowed to do to their own bodies (I note that FGM on adult females is also illegal in the UK) – unless it involves paying the medical profession to do it for them.