The stream of people appearing in the media to pledge their loyalty to Top Doctors who tell them that they have cancer when they might well not continues. This supply of eager folk seems to have been given an extra boost since I wrote my post about the massive scams at the heart of cancer research (see post ‘Oh Lordy, It’s CR UK’). The latest person to share his troubles re prostate cancer is a man called Bill Turnbull. He’s someone who is on the TV, but I don’t have a TV and when I have access to one I don’t watch the programmes starring Bill Turnbull, so I only have a rather hazy grasp of who he is. Bill has announced that not only does he have prostate cancer but it has spread to his bones and how he wishes that he’d consulted his Top Doctor four years ago. I do not envy Bill having cancer which has metastasised and I am genuinely sympathetic to his plight, but the harsh reality is that even if he had taken medical advice four years ago, that cancer might well have been missed – as it was in the case of Jade Goody. There is nothing that the Top Doctors like more than a celeb who has developed cancer because they are ruthlessly used to Send A Message.
Bill has been supported by his colleague Fiona Phillips. Now I DO know who Fiona Phillips is – she is a self-centred narcissist who used to be on breakfast TV and she also wrote a column in one of the tabloids. Fiona was a laugh a minute – she took a hard right wing line on everything, was utterly unsympathetic to anyone and was sufficiently bothered by people who wore Birkenstock shoes that she devoted a whole column to the subject. Not that Fiona managed to explain why Birkenstock shoes were so offensive, her column simply repeated ‘they’re not fashionable, they’re ugly. Ugly, ugly, ugly’. A photo of the offending shoes were supplied. Another one of Fiona’s high points was her appearance on TV with Philip Schofield when they rolled around laughing at parents who did not smack their children and Philip proffered the opinion that fings ain’t been the same since they banned the cane in schools.
There is however one cause close to Fiona’s heart – Alzheimers. Although Fiona only became concerned about this when her mother developed the condition and it dawned on Fiona that her mum was soon going to need looking after. So Fiona started campaigning…
So in the face of all those who maintain that ‘Sally Baker is a nutter who is talking crap again’, I would like to remind everyone of the Chilvers Report which caused ructions in medicine in Sept 1990. The Chilvers Report was a paper which was published in The Lancet by Clair Chilvers and others who claimed to have demonstrated that cancer patients receiving ‘treatment’ at the Bristol Cancer Help Centre were very much more likely to develop secondary cancer and to die prematurely than patients receiving conventional treatment at the Royal Marsden. The Bristol Cancer Help Centre was an ‘holistic’ centre which ‘treated’ cancer patients through the use of diets, meditation, relaxation, ‘visualisation’ etc. When the Chilvers paper was published I was a little confused because although I am someone who takes the view that cancer cannot be cured by altering one’s diet or listening to whale songs, I didn’t believe that such things are so detrimental that they finish you off within months. I took the view that they were ineffective rather than actively dangerous.
The Bristol Cancer Help Centre originated in 1979 after Penny Brohn, a cancer sufferer herself, took an interest in what she felt was a deficit in cancer treatment. Brohn initially worked as a child care officer in Bristol in the late 1960s – so she was another person who will have known what was happening to kids in care – then became a lecturer at Bristol Poly and then trained as an acupuncturist and in Chinese medicine. Penny Brohn was married to David Brohn, a civil engineering lecturer at Bristol Poly. Penny Brohn had no medical or scientific education – and her husband managed to acquire a PhD in engineering without having a first degree in engineering, which can be done but is unusual. Penny pooled her resources with Pat Pilkington and her husband Canon Chris Pilkington who were already running a healing clinic in Bristol and they established the Bristol Cancer Help Centre.
The Brohns and Pilkingtons seemed very successful at drumming up positive PR for their Centre. Penny Brohn’s obituary in the Indie in 1999 stated that a journalist was dispatched to ‘expose the flaws’ in complementary medicine, but was ‘so inspired’ by the Bristol Centre that a six part BBC TV series resulted showcasing the work of the Centre, entitled ‘The Gentle Way’. This led to an ‘overwhelming’ public response and the subsequent recruitment of paid staff and a newly acquired building for the Centre, Grove House, which was formally opened by Prince Charles in 1983. Charles really loved the Bristol Centre and Penny’s obituary tells us that in the wake of the Chilvers Report, Penny ‘took great comfort’ from Charles. In fact articles about Penny and the Bristol Centre read a little like Private Eye’s spoof stories penned by Silvie Krin about Charles – Penny ‘provided hope and inspiration to cancer sufferers the world over’. Sadly for Penny, after the Chilvers Report row, her ‘personal healing journey’ involved her cancer returning with a vengeance and after conventional surgery she retired to Crete and ‘spent several blissful years renovating a mountainside cottage under the comforting rays of the Greek sunshine’.
There seems to be much regarding the establishment and initial success of the Bristol Centre that has gone unmentioned. It is not an easy thing to persuade the BBC to give one one’s own TV series to publicise one’s healing centre before it has even has its own building or paid staff. It doesn’t matter how inspirational one is or how much energy or passion or commitment one has, the BBC don’t usually turn up on one’s doorstep offering one a six part free advert. Penny or one of her mates will have known someone at the BBC.
As for The Gentle Way, there was nothing gentle about the way in which Prince Charles’s Private Secretary Sir Michael Peat pressurised Exeter University to destroy Professor Edzard Ernst’s career and dept after Edzard refused to collude with lies regarding the effectiveness or otherwise of various complementary/alternative therapies (see post ‘Tuppence And His Fragrant Wife’). As Prince Charles would have said had he not been behind it, ‘it really was appalling’.
Penny’s close friend Chris Pilkington was a member of the Pilkington Glass dynasty and for many years was Rector of the City Parish of St Stephen’s in Bristol.
Readers of this blog who follow my comments section might remember that recently someone posted a you tube link in a comment which referred to the alleged involvement of a former Chairman of Pilkington Glass in child abuse. I had never heard this allegation before and have seen no evidence at all to support it. Pilkington Glass was based at St Helen’s on Merseyside and for many years was the biggest employer in the town. Sir Alastair Pilkington was Chairman of Pilkington, 1973-80 and Sir Antony Pilkington – a distant cousin of Sir Alastair – was Chairman, 1980-95. Sir Antony’s uncle, Sir Richard Pilkington, was Tory MP for Widnes, 1935-45 and then Poole, 1951-64. Sir Richard was born on Merseyside and his father Arthur Pilkington was Chairman of Pilkington.
Sir Antony told an interviewe in 1990 that he wanted Pilkington’s to be ‘a good company in the best sense’, ‘not just a money machine’. His concern was reciprocated in much local support for Pilkington’s when it became the target in 1986 of a hostile takeover bid by BTR, an industrial conglomerate known for its ruthless approach to cost-cutting.
In response to the industrial recession of the early 1980s, Pilkington’s had reduced its workforce from 11,500 to 6,700. But they did so on generous terms and much effort – through the pioneering community of St Helen’s Trust, of which Antony Pilkington was founder Chairman in 1978 – to create small-business opportunities for those made redundant.
BTR was rumoured to have abruptly sacked many workers at Dunlop – one of its recent acquisitions – in the week before Christmas. Politicians and local Councillors joined the Pilkington’s workforce in rallying to the Pilkington Board’s support and after a nine week battle BTR was forced to withdraw.
Antony Pilkington was a very effective moderniser. He reformed Pilkington’s hierarchical management structure, reduced the size of its Board and placed new emphasis on salesmanship.
An attempt to diversify into spectacle and contact lenses through the takeover in 1987 of the American firm Visioncare was problematic, but Antony Pilkington continued to search for ways to reshape the group in response to market conditions. In 1992 – once again faced with a sharp recessionary fall in demand for glass – he was forced into another round of cost-cutting at St Helen’s and a rationalisation of its operations in Europe. Recovery was slow, but Pilkington’s remained a world leader in glass technology.
Antony Pilkington was also a Director of GKN, National Westminster Bank and ICI. He was a Governor of Liverpool John Moores University, a member of the Court of Manchester University, a Deputy Lieutenant for Merseyside and High Sheriff of Cheshire in 1996-97.
So Sir Antony was in the midst of many of those previously named on this blog as being involved with or concealing the paedophile ring in north Wales and the north west of England. He was Chairing a company facing serious difficulties on Merseyside in the 1980s. Sir Antony had the disastrous effects of Thatcher’s policies on Merseyside – and then the aftermath – to contend with and he was at the centre of the Liverpool branch of the empire of Dr Dafydd Alun Jones and the paedophiles’ friends. He was a Governor of Liverpool John Moores – another Governor was John Hamilton, a very close friend of the paedophiles indeed. Cherie Booth was Chancellor of Liverpool John Moores. Then there was Eric Heffer, Derek Hatton and others on Sir Antony’s doorstep. The whole lot of them were at each others throats and concealing the serious criminality of Dafydd and co (see post ‘These Sharks Are Crap As Well’).
Sir Antony would have been in a very difficult position indeed.
A senior manager who spent many years with Pilkington’s optronics subsidiary in north Wales, Pilkington PE – which later became Thales Optics Ltd and was then divested from Thales in 2005 as Qioptiq Ltd – knew a great deal about serious organised crime and the abuse of children in north Wales. That is Trevor Jones, the Chancellor of Glyndwr University. Trevor Jones has alighted at every notorious stop during his journey as a paedophiles’ friend – including membership of Clwyd Health Authority whilst Dafydd illegally imprisoned the victims of the paedophile gang in the dungeon there. For full details of Trevor and his criminal associates, see post ‘A Vampire At Glyndwr University!’)
After the Chilvers Report was published the Bristol Centre received such bad publicity that it lost huge quantities of funding and nearly closed.
The work which resulted in the Chilvers Report was funded by the Imperial Cancer Research Fund and the Cancer Research Campaign. I had worked for the CRC by 1990 and had witnessed exactly how much fraud there was in cancer research, but I was also acutely aware that some of the claims of people providing ‘complementary’ or ‘alternative’ treatments were just as dishonest and misleading. What I desperately wanted was good science carried out by honest people – sadly there was and still is not much of that about.
Following the publication of the article by Chilvers et al, a group of patients and supporters of the Bristol Centre expressed disbelief regarding the results claimed by Chilvers et al and a review of the work was undertaken.
Then came the bombshell. Some major fundamental errors in terms of sampling and analysis had been made by Chilvers et al. Their conclusions were invalid because – as well as for a number of other reasons – the group of patients receiving treatment at Bristol whose progress was compared with those receiving treatment at the Royal Marsden all had cancers at a far more advanced stage and that was the most likely reason why the Bristol patients died so much more quickly than the Royal Marsden patients. Nothing to do with the lethal consequences of The Gentle Way. It was confirmed that where the outcomes of the Bristol patients were concerned, ‘reports of death were greatly exaggerated’.
Chilvers et al fessed up that they had got this badly wrong and Sir Walter Bodmer, the Director General of the Imperial Cancer Research Fund, issued an apology and published a near total retraction.
Now Walter Bodmer is worth taking a closer look at. Walter’s wiki entry describes him as a ‘German-born British human geneticist’. Walter’s web page on the Oxford University site tells us that ‘In 1996, Sir Walter Bodmer assumed his current position at the Weatherall Institute of Molecular Medicine as Head of the Cancer and Immunogenetics laboratory and more recently within the Department of Oncology. After obtaining a PhD in Genetics from Cambridge University, he moved to Stanford University in California where he rose to the position of Professor. In 1970, he returned to the UK as the first Professor of Genetics at Oxford University. He subsequently became the Director of Research, and finally the Director General, of the Imperial Cancer Research Fund in London. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society and was knighted in 1986.’
Walter’s wiki states that Walter studied the Mathematical Tripos as a student of Clare College, Cambridge and was awarded his PhD in 1959 from Cambridge for research on population genetics in the house mouse and Primula vulgaris (primrose). So Walter began life as a population geneticist – so he will probably have known Prof Greig-Smith, the Cambridge-educated quantitative ecologist who dominated the School of Plant Biology at Bangor University for many years whilst Dafydd and the paedophiles’ friends ran Bangor University. Prof Greig-Smith was a colleague of Dr Chris Wood, the wife of the corrupt GP Dr DGE Wood who was playing a key role in facilitating the sex abuse ring. If Walter didn’t personally know Greig-Smith, he will definitely have known people in Greig-Smith’s circle. Greig-Smith was a colleague of Cambridge botanist Edred Henry Corner, who was the uncle of Douglas Hurd. Hurd was Home Secretary, 1985-89, whilst the Home Office ignored and concealed the criminality of Dafydd and the paedophiles and framed victims and witnesses for serious crimes if they made complaint. For further details of this sordid network and their skulduggery, see post ‘Additional Security Measures’.
After I wrote ‘Additional Security Measures’ Brown observed ‘a whole load of posh people who weren’t very bright and didn’t work too hard all getting jobs for their mates’. That’s just about the sum of it and it wasn’t only happening among natural scientists at Cambridge and Bangor Universities.
In 1985 Walter Chaired the Royal Society Committee which resulted in The Bodmer Report, credited with starting the movement for the public understanding of science. If the public really understood science, Walter would be out of a job and no-one would be running a marathon dressed in a pink bra to raise money for cancer research.
Bodmer was one of the first to suggest the idea of the Human Genome Project. He was the Director of Research (1979–1991) and then Director General (1991–1996) of the Imperial Cancer Research Fund. So Walter was Director of Research whilst the deeply flawed comparative study involving the Bristol patients was carried out. Looks like that ball was firmly in Walter’s court.
Not that it held Walter back. He was Chancellor of the University of Salford, 1995-2005 and Principal of Hertford College, Oxford, 1996-05.
Whilst Walter was Chancellor of Salford, that institution hosted a rather troubled social work dept. Walter was succeeded as Chancellor of Salford by Sir Martin Harris, upon whose watch a Professor of Social Work Research was appointed, whose incompetence and dishonesty would have made Water proud. I and two colleagues at Bangor encountered the fuckwittery of this man over a period of months and at first we wondered if he was having some sort of breakdown in the light of his chaos, crazy e mails and outright lies. Then a colleague of mine met someone from Salford University who told him that an utterly mad Professor of Social Work had been appointed because Salford wanted to pretend that it was hot stuff in the research arena, but this Professor knew nothing about research, lied through his teeth to everyone about his experience and pompoused around the university in an expensive suit smarming to visitors. It all caused much resentment at Salford.
Martin Harris was born in Ruabon – at the heart of the north Wales paedophile gang. Harris’s father William Harris was appointed City Librarian of Plymouth – so he’ll have known Michael Foot’s family who were lawyers in Plymouth and undoubtedly knew Michael Foot, Labour MP for Plymouth Sutton, 1945-52 and later leader of the Labour Party who spent years concealing sexual abuse in politics and other high places (see post ‘Oh, No! It’s The Pathetic Sharks…’). Martin Harris will have also known the MP for Plymouth Devonport, 1966-92 – Dr Death! Dr Death knew some of the Top Doctors who were involved in criminal activities in Wales (see post ‘Dr Death’).
Martin Harris was educated at Devonport High School for Boys, Queen’s College, Cambridge and at SOAS (School of Oriental and African Studies). He began his academic career at the University of Leicester in 1967 – where a great many people were concealing the paedophile gang of which Greville Janner and Frank Beck were part of (see post ‘Radical Leicester And Some Other Free Radicals’). Harris spent 15 years at the University of Salford as a Senior Lecturer, Professor of Linguistics, Dean and later, Pro-Vice-Chancellor. From 1984 to 1987 he was a member of the UGC (University Grants Committee). In 1984 the UGC and its hatchet man Sir Peter Swinnerton-Dyer imposed such a severe grant cut on Salford that the University very nearly didn’t survive. So Harris gave his own institution a real kicking.
As a member of the UGC, Martin Harris will have known how Alwyn Roberts, a PVC at UCNW (Bangor University) persuaded the UGC and Swinnerton-Dyer not to close Bangor down, which was what Swinnerton-Dyer planned to do. The negotiating had a great deal to do with so many staff at Bangor being involved with, concealing or at least knowing about the paedophile ring in north Wales of which a member was Sir Peter Morrison, Thatcher’s aide and friend. Morrison’s sister was Lady-in-Waiting to HM Lilibet – at the time Prince Charles was Chancellor of the University of Wales (until relatively recently, Bangor and most of the other Welsh colleges were constituent members of the University of Wales).
Harris’s first appointment as Vice-Chancellor was at the University of Essex in 1987. He was VC of the Victoria University of Manchester from 1992 until its dissolution and reformation as the University of Manchester in 2004. So Harris knew about Dafydd’s mates at Manchester who really pushed the boat out to conceal the paedophile gang in north Wales/Cheshire as well as the havoc that they caused in the mental health services in Manchester (see post ‘The Mentor’).
Martin Harris was a member of the CHI (Commission for Health Improvement) whilst it gave a glowing review of the mental health services in north west Wales at a time when so many patients committed suicide that it showed up as a statistical outlier and when a number of patients were framed for criminal offences after complaining about staff violence. At least two members of staff met the CHI and told them in no uncertain terms that the Hergest Unit was very troubled and unsafe for patients, but that glowing inspection report from Harris et al arrived a few weeks later nonetheless (see post ‘Discussions On The Minibus – And A Revealing Letter’).
Martin Harris’s appointments since retirement from the University of Manchester include that of Deputy Chairman of the North West Development Agency, 2002-2008 and Director of Fair Access at OFFA, 2004-2012. Harris was President of Clare Hall, Cambridge, 2008-13.
Martin will be awaiting his peerage at the moment.
To return to Walter. In 2005, Bodmer was appointed to lead a £2.3 million project by the Wellcome Trust at Oxford University to examine the genetic makeup of the UK , the People of the British Isles project.
The research interests of the Cancer and Immunogenetics Laboratory at Oxford of which Walter is currently head include the fundamental genetics and biology of colorectal cancer. So if older readers are wondering why cancer testing kits are arriving unsolicited through their letter boxes with a letter demanding that they send a sample of their turds by return of post, blame Walter. That cancer screening initiative – as with the PSA test for prostate cancer – has a high rate of false positives.
Walter has quite a fitting name for someone involved in cancer screening cons. I remember a 1970s TV sitcom in which most of the humour centred around an elderly man called Walter of whom people constantly enquired ‘have you been Walter?’, the implication being that Walter need to pee on quite a regular basis. Because of course he suffered from benign prostatic hypertrophy – as do nearly all older men – so needed to go for a widdle fairly frequently. As I bet does Walter Bodmer and I very much doubt that Bodmer will have his own prostate removed on the basis of a PSA test result, because he will have heard about the concerns over the accuracy of that test.
The deeply flawed study concerning the clinical outcomes of the Bristol patients began in 1985. Walter was given his knighthood in 1986.
Walter’s wife Lady Julia Bodmer was a Distinguished Geneticist as well, although she didn’t have a science degree. What she did have was a husband.
The Royal College of Physicians ‘Lives of the Fellows Online’ tells us that Lady Julia ‘played an important role in discovering and defining the human leukocyte antigen (HLA) system, the system of inherited differences which accounts for graft rejection and for susceptibility to autoimmune diseases’. Lady Julia was born Julia Pilkington (whether she was any relation of the Pilkington’s mentioned above I do not know) but the Royal College reminds us that at school she was Head Prefect. Julia then went to Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford, PPE – just like David Cameron and so many other politicians! Immediately after graduating, Julia tied the knot with Walter. She followed him to Cambridge and worked as an assistant economist.
Julia moved to Stanford University with Walter and began her family. She began working with Walter on tissue typing. In her first projects, she identified two new tissue types and laid the basis of the first two genes of the HLA system. She went on to find many new types and analyse their distribution in populations. David Cameron never did that with his PPE degree, but then he wasn’t married to Walter.
In 1970, Julia moved back to Oxford, to the new genetics laboratory – guess who had just been appointed Professor of Genetics there? This enabled the genius which was Julia to expand her work to include associations between HLA types and disease. She highlighted the association between HLA type and juvenile rheumatoid arthritis and ankylosing spondylitis, helping to establish the immunological basis of these diseases.
In 1979, Julia transferred to the Imperial Cancer Research Fund in London – when her husband was appointed Research Director there. She extended her work to include analyses of Hodgkin’s disease, Burkitt’s lymphoma and testicular cancer. Through her analysis and collection of families with a history of testicular cancer, she was able to identify the first testicular cancer susceptibility gene.
When Walter became Principal of Hertford College, Julia moved back to Oxford to establish – with Walter – a new laboratory, working on genetic variation in human populations.
Julia helped found the European Federation for Immunogenetics and was President in 1999. She was an honorary Fellow of Hertford College and a fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences. She was awarded a DSc by Oxford University. Well as Julia still didn’t have a science degree, it must have been getting a bit embarrassing and the postdocs were probably fuming at the way in which Walter’s missus was parachuted into senior positions whenever he bagged a new job, so Oxford gave her a science degree to tidy it up.
Walter and Helen had three children – Mark, Helen and Charles.
A Dr Mark Bodmer is Chief Scientific Officer and President of R&D at Evelo Biosciences, Inc.
A Dr Helen Bodmer is featured on the Cambridge University Centre for Science and Policy website and is described as being ‘Head, MRC and Health Research Team, Research Funding Unit, Department for Business Innovation & Skills’. The website tells us that ‘Helen’s role as Head of the MRC and Health Research Team includes being the Departmental lead for policy on academic medical research and matters relating to the Medical Research Council (MRC) and the Office for Strategic Coordination of Health Research with high level strategic overview of publicly funded medical research in the UK. She also has responsibility for sponsorship and performance management of the MRC. She works closely with colleagues in her unit which covers all areas of scientific research as well as with the Office for Life Sciences in BIS and other Government Departments, especially the Department of Health and the Home Office. In addition to this she is the UK Delegate for the IDEAS programme (FP7) for the European Research Council.’
So Helen decides who’s going to get the dosh. Now I wonder what Helen might prioritise?
Helen’s background is as an immunologist and rheumatologist and she spent four and a half years as an Inspector in the Home Office Animals (Scientific Procedures) Inspectorate. So Helen inherited Walter and Julia’s tendency to be an immunologist – Walter could no doubt draw us a nice diagram explaining the transmission of the gene responsible or indeed build us a model of the DNA involved and can no doubt also trace the trait back to the time when the Bodmers were nitrogen in the atmosphere before they had actually evolved into scientific giants. Helen was also one of those responsible for allowing questionable animal research to continue without letting the general public know what was being permitted.
A Dr Charles Bodmer is an endocrinologist at Colchester General Hospital. He has some rave online reviews from his patients who compliment him on listening to them, having a sense of humour and also supporting them in their decisions to try alternative therapies. So if he is Walter’s son, he’s obviously learnt something from his father’s mistakes. Dr Charles Bodmer has an interest in diabetes. Perhaps he could do something about all the scaremongering over the allegations that fat bastards with diabetes have brought the NHS to its knees, because he will know that it is more complicated than that.
The ensuing row after Walter Bodmer’s apology re the Bristol study was enormous. The Bristol Cancer Help Centre and their supporters declared that this was all a dirty tricks attack from the Top Doctors – it might have been, I wouldn’t have put it past them, but it might just have been more shite, sloppy, dishonest research of the sort that I had witnessed so often. At the time there was a huge war taking place between alternative practitioners and Top Doctors and lies and misinformation were being spread by both sides. Patients’ interests were completely lost in the face of all this and they were left confused and in a very vulnerable position.
The supporters of alternative therapy at the time particularly hated Professor Michael Baum, because he made comments about people who use alternative therapy being middle aged female Guardian readers in ethnic weave clothes. Baum should have acknowledged that the reason why so many people were consulting alternative therapists was because they were having such bad experiences with Top Doctors. However Baum did write an interesting article not so long ago about the obsession with prostate screening and what a waste of time it all is, which culminated in the words ‘keep your fingers out of my anus’. I feel very much the same way myself – indeed it was my resistance to the groping suggestions of the sex traffickers of north Wales which brought the venom of the Top Doctors down upon my head for the next 35 years – but Michael Baum theorised that the obsession with other people’s prostates was an attempt to ‘turn men into women’. I think it is more complex than that – it is certainly an attempt to render men as docile and as obedient as many women have been rendered as they are terrified by horror stories of the many cancers from which they will suffer if they do not Get Screened, but it is also part of growing state authoritarianism in the style of Foucault’s ‘Birth of the Clinic’, ‘Discipline and Punish’ etc. It is of course substantially fuelled by the great Top Doctors’ medical research con. Michael Baum knows as well as I do that bad practice and research fraud have been endemic in medicine for many years and have never been tackled.
Following the confessions that the Chilvers Report was deeply flawed, in Nov 1990 one of the co-authors of the Chilvers paper – Prof Tim McElwain – was found dead. It was assumed that he had committed suicide. Everyone sobered up and it finally dawned on the world exactly how very nasty all this was. Tim McElwain trained at Barts, then worked at Hammersmith Hospital and Great Ormond Street. He became a Consultant at the Royal Marsden in 1972 and was appointed CRC Professor of Medical Oncology at the Royal Marsden and Institute of Cancer Research in 1983. Tim McElwain will have known that research fraud in medicine was extensive.
I was still working in biomedical research when all this happened and I can remember it well, but when I was searching the internet earlier for some of the crucial details about the matter, I notice that certain things seem to have disappeared. I can’t find details of the circumstances under which Prof Tim McElwain died – although ‘pressure of work’ was blamed – so I can’t even do what I usually do and try and work out if there was anything suspicious about his death. Tim McElwain wasn’t the leading author of the paper but he was described as being ‘the most outspoken’ – I have no idea why he felt so bad about it all that he ended up killing himself. Although the Chilvers article was absolutely panned, patients of the Bristol Centre were subsequently very critical of the Bristol Centre as well. In 1993 one angry patient spoke to the Indie claiming that the Bristol Centre had made claims that they could not substantiate and had abandoned patients.
Who could ever tell what had happened behind the scenes.
I also cannot find the original paper by Chilvers et al – I don’t have access to a university library at the moment, so I haven’t been able to search very extensively – but I suspect that like the paper which resulted from the research fraud perpetrated by my old bosses Malcolm Pearce and Geoffrey Chamberlain at St George’s Hospital Medical School (see posts ‘I Don’t Believe It!’ and ‘Oh Lordy, It’s CR UK’), The Lancet has ensured that the testament to the wrongdoing of the Top Doctors can no longer be accessed. After all, the show must go on – there are celebs queuing up to appear on TV telling us that they have cancer and how they wished that they had consulted the Top Doctors and Got Tested, there are highly paid CEOs of cancer research charities and all those fundraisers whose bread and butter (or rather truffles and lobster) is dependent upon anxious people being convinced that they’re about to drop dead if they don’t Get Tested and then there are the thousands of women who need to be encouraged to participate in fun runs whilst wearing pink bras to raise money for the often fraudulent research upon which some Top Doctors have built their reputation. Furthermore where would the nation’s politicians be if they could not take part in photocalls with Top Doctors whilst wearing coloured ribbons and Pledging Their Support? It detracts attention from the abuse of the Parliamentary expenses system, the round the clock troughing and the lucrative company directorships.
The Chilvers affair did not bring an end to the merry-go-round – not only did the Pearce-Chamberlain scandal occur three years later, but Mark Williams and his Mindfulness scam (see post ‘The Biggest Expert Of The Lot’) conquered the world and the people whom I knew thirty years ago who were behaving appallingly started landing knighthoods and peerages for their ‘pioneering work’. Photos of their grinning mugs litter the websites of the charities asking people on modest incomes who have no idea of the scale of the con to hand over dosh.
Clair Chilvers, the leader of the team which carried out the flawed research and who was the lead author of the article didn’t seem to suffer many negative consequences at all.
At the time of the research, Chilvers was Professor of Epidemiology working in cancer research at the Queen’s Medical Centre, University of Nottingham. So Clair was was one of those people who worked in the building just over the footbridge from the international disgrace which was Robert Baldwin’s Cancer Research Campaign Laboratories. Clair will have definitely heard about Baldwin’s chamber of horrors (see post ‘Oh Lordy, It’s CR UK’), Queen’s Medical Centre knew about Baldwin.
So what did Clair do after the shit hit the fan and Tim was found dead? She went to work for the Department of Health of course. Clair was subsequently Chair of Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust and Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.
Clair is now Chair of the charity that she founded in 2008 – Mental Health Research UK! A nice photo of Clair can be found on the MIRCYL (Mental Illness Research In Children And Young Lives) website explaining that her organisation ‘has made grants for PhDs to a number of different universities in the UK. Her research background is in breast cancer research and so she is very well versed in best practice when commissioning new research’.
Clair is fighting stigma and is committed to achieving equality.
Er – OK. Clair – lest you have forgotten, a member of your research team died as a result of a huge scandal of which you were the key mover and shaker. Do you think that the world of mental health research actually needs you? Or has it got you because cancer research wouldn’t have you back?
Others involved with Mental Health Research UK include: Lord David Neuberger, former President of the Supreme Court – David is well connected with the paedophiles’ friends (see post ‘The Most Dangerous Man In The World – The Scottish Play’); Professor Nick Rawlins, Pro-Vice-Chancellor, University of Oxford and Professorial Fellow of Wolfson College. Rawlins is Professor of Behavioural Neuroscience and has worked on schizophrenia. He became Associate Head of Oxford’s Medical Sciences Division in 2008. Rawlins is responsible for leading the development of the University’s external fundraising strategy. His most cited paper is ‘Place navigation impaired in rats with hippocampal lesions’, published in Nature in 1982. That’ll knock ’em dead when it comes to fighting stigma. Chilvers’ co-founder of Mental Health Research UK was the late John Grace QC. Early in his career, Grace defended a group of Hell’s Angels in a ‘turf war’ involving shotguns and pick-axes. Later on he specialised in medical negligence and healthcare law. Did John Grace represent patients who had been harmed? No. Grace represented Top Doctors who were facing disciplinary action and Health Authorities in some of the UK’s highest profile cases in which patients had died or been harmed or who had murdered other people when severely mentally ill and not in receipt of the care that they needed.
John Grace was involved in the case of Christopher Clunis, the mentally ill man who in 1992 killed a complete stranger on Finsbury Park tube station. It transpired that Clunis was extremely ill, had been for a long while, was known to the mental health services in north London and had been scandalously neglected. The Health Authority involved was Camden and Islington Health Authority. Tessa Jowell, Frank Dobson and Jeremy Corbyn have all been involved with the social services and health authorities in Camden and Islington. Any of you like to comment?
John Grace QC was bitten on the bum by the Top Doctors in the same way that Tessa has been – he developed a brain tumour with a poor prognosis. All those years of research fraud and lying to the patients about the excellence of care does have consequences…
Clair Chilvers is also a Trustee of the Barnwood Trust, whose ‘vision is to create the best possible environment in Gloucestershire for disabled people and people with mental health problems to make the most of their lives’. In addition, Clair is a Director of the Churchill Lodge Management Company – and the dear old McPin Foundation. The McPin Foundation is committed to service user led research – except when I and another service user with a PhD and postdoc experience applied for jobs with them they explained that the roles for service users were only very junior and they couldn’t possibly give Real Academics like us jobs with McPin. Probably because we’d have seen straight through Clair Chilvers and might even have known who she was…
The Chilvers Report scandal of course was discussed in the Commons. The aftermath was still rumbling on five years after Chilvers et al had published their paper. Hansard, June 14 1995, records Jean Corston, the Labour MP for Bristol East, becoming very irate.
Corston was uncritically supportive of the Bristol Centre, as were many other MPs. I note that Corston praised the Centre for using massage – whereas nearly everything that the Bristol Centre was doing was benign (although some patients had ended up with malnutrition after taking the dietary advice to extremes), it is now accepted that massaging patients with cancer is most definitely not a good idea because it encourages metastases. Corston reminded the House that in 1985, an agreement was reached that the Imperial Cancer Research Fund and Cancer Research Campaign would finance two research projects on breast cancer, to be conducted under the auspices of the Institute of Cancer Research. The project was set up under the directorship of Clair Chilvers. After two years of a five-year study, the interim findings claimed that the Bristol patients were faring very badly and it was these findings which caused the rumpus.
Corston told the House that a number of people questioned the findings including Professor Karol Sikora ‘a well-respected and internationally renowned oncologist’. Sikora worked at Hammersmith Hospital/Royal Postgraduate Medical School and was there when I was a postgrad there in 1987. He was every bit as unpleasant and dishonest as the rest of them there and was very unpopular. Sikora later fell out with everyone in a major way and latterly Imperial College – the institution with which Hammersmith/RPMS merged – made a point of stressing that Sikora was nothing to do with them when he continued to use the title Professor. Sikora has spent the last few years arguing for the dismantling of the NHS. He is a very rich man who wishes to become even richer and he has big interests in private medicine. Sikora established a group with an enlightening sounding name – Doctors for Reform – but this is a group which has been lobbying hard for the abolition of the NHS.
Corston mentioned the BBC Taking Liberties programme which was screened not long before she spoke in the Commons, which was sympathetic to the Bristol Centre. Corston was critical of Michael Baum and Gordon McVie (of the Cancer Research Campaign) who continued to repeat the allegations that the Bristol patients fared worse than the Royal Marsden patients.
Gordon McVie was the man who spent time with the dying George Carman QC and persuaded Carman to leave a legacy to the CRC. Carman was a violent, totally corrupt barrister who was close friends with crooked police officers and gangsters. He was retained by Jimmy Savile, he knew about the Westminster Paedophile Ring and its link to north Wales and he defended serious offenders whom he knew to be guilty. A lot of Top Doctors cultivated Carman’s company as did many politicians and media figures (see posts ‘No Ordinary Methods’ and ‘ No Ordinary Methods – Supplementary Post’).
Corston called for a review of the data from the Chilvers’ trial by a body such as the GMC. The GMC knew just how widespread medical research was and they’d spent years concealing the serious criminal activities of Dafydd and the paedophiles, so what joy Corston thought that she’d get out of the GMC I don’t know. Furthermore in June 1995 the GMC struck Malcolm Pearce off for his part in the St George’s research fraud, but they took no action against Geoffrey Chamberlain who was very much part of it and whose name was on the paper publishing the account of an operation which had never taken place. Malcom Pearce was struck off days before Corston made these comments in the House – she will have been aware of the case, it received widespread publicity (see posts ‘I Don’t Believe It!’ and ‘Oh Lordy, It’s CR UK’).
Corston mentioned Professor Peter Garland, Chief Executive of the Institute of Cancer Research. Garland was Chief Exec, 1989-99. Garland presided over the Institute when some of the people whom I worked with on a CRC project at the University of Surrey were working at the Institute. I never witnessed them taking part in research fraud, but they admitted to me that the knew that Robert Baldwin at Nottingham was not doing what he claimed to be doing – and I recently discovered that data from work carried out by me whilst I was at Surrey was given to Professor Nicola Curtin at Newcastle-Upon-Tyne Medical School without my knowledge or consent and Curtin subsequently published it under her name (see post ‘Oh Lordy, It’s CR UK’). Nicola Curtin was not one of the collaborators on the project at Surrey and I had never even heard of her until a couple of weeks ago when I found a 1989 paper with my name on it – and Curtin’s.
When Peter Garland retired, the Chairman of the Institute for Cancer Research gave him a warm send-off praising his enormous achievements and the expansion of the Institute under his leadership. Who was that Chairman? None other than Dame Stella Rimington, Director General of MI5, 1992-96.
The Dame was particularly impressed by Garland because it was under him that the Institute for Cancer Research identified the breast cancer gene BRCA2. It is because of that particular discovery that Angelina Jolie decided that a sensible course of action would be to have a double mastectomy and her ovaries removed. She may well have had a few other bits taken out as well. Because Angela was given much publicity for doing this and the media waxed lyrical about her Bravery in the face of Risk, many other women Got Tested, found that they too had the BRCA2 gene and had a great many organs removed lest they developed cancer. It has now been admitted that the chances of people with the BRCA2 gene developing cancer are less than feared and even if they do, the sort of drastic surgery pioneered by Angelina is not necessary.
Stella – the reason why somebody made you Chairman of that Institute is that they will have been very concerned as to what was going on in there. You were supposed to put a stop to it. But then as the security services are known to have concealed organised sexual abuse by Westminster and Whitehall figures and bugged, burgled and harassed the victims and witnesses rather than the criminals involved (see post ‘Oh Lordy, It’s CR UK’), perhaps I shouldn’t be surprised that the research fraud continued.
Stella studied archive administration at the University of Liverpool in the late 1950s. Which was just about when Dafydd was finishing his medical degree there. Lucille Hughes also studied at Liverpool University in the late 1950s. Perhaps they all spent many happy hours getting pissed together which was why MI5 was so helpful to Dafydd and Lucille when they ran the paedophile and sex trafficking ring.
Stella has since been a non-executive Director of M&S. They still aren’t capable of producing any worthwhile clothes.
Corston told the Commons that a group of irate patients from the Bristol Centre took the Imperial Cancer Research Fund and the Cancer Research Campaign to the Charity Commissioners and that the two charities were censured by the Commissioners in January 1994 for inadequate supervision of the research and that the Commissioners recommended guidelines on the responsibilities of charities that fund medical research.
So that’s why Chilvers is now leading a mental health research charity.
Whilst making reference to the Taking Liberties TV programme screened in May 1993, ‘Cancer Wars’, Corston spoke of the ‘barons’ of cancer research and treatment from the medical establishment and how this was a David and Goliath struggle. It wasn’t – it was a punch-up between two Goliaths and the patients were damaged by the battle.
Lady Olga Maitland – a ludicrous figure from a past era, then the Tory MP for Sutton and Cheam – chipped in to defend the cancer research establishment. The Royal Marsden and Institute for Cancer Research were in her constituency, so she wasn’t going to upset them. My post ‘Doris Karloff – Honest About Her Expenses But Not Much Else’ describes how Ann Widdecombe and Olga Maitland obtained covert funding, free labour and support for their insane campaigning group ‘Woman and Families for Defence’ from London University in the 1980s.
A junior Health Minister Tom Sackville also joined in the Commons debate. He didn’t say anything very original or enlightening, but I’m interested in Tom by dint of him being a junior health Minister at this time – June 1995. In June 1995 the world was told that the North Wales Hospital Denbigh and its dungeon had been virtually closed down and was told later that summer that the institution was shut and that the patients had all been transferred elsewhere. We now know that this was not true. Part of that hospital was still open and remained open for some time – but again, no-one has ever been transparent about for how long for and why. Someone e mailed me recently telling me that they had put in an FoI request about this and had received a rather cryptic answer that wasn’t very informative.
We know why that hospital couldn’t be closed down as planned – it was because people were illegally imprisoned out there, some of them had been there for years and questions would be asked if those people materialised. I have explained in previous posts how records at the North Wales Hospital – like the records of the kids in care in north Wales – were unlawfully amended, forged, written after the events that it was alleged they were documenting or simply disappeared. So there will have been people in that institution who perhaps – like the Queen’s cousins who were discovered in a long stay institution in Surrey in the 1980s – had been declared dead. (I have received an e mail from someone who told me that there were actually five children of that generation in the Royal Family who were locked up and written out of history.) There was the dungeon at Denbigh and whoever was still locked up in there. And then there were the bodies that are in the grounds or possibly concealed within the building.
People died out there Sackville and that’s why they couldn’t shut the place down and then had to tell a pack of lies.
Tom Sackville was the Tory MP for Bolton West, 1983-97. His first career was as a merchant banker. Between 1992-95 he was a junior Health Minister and then between 1995-97, a Home Office Minister. So Tom was in the Dept of Health throughout the chaos and the dirty dealing which preceded Dafydd’s retirement (see post ‘The Evolution of a Drugs Baron’) as well as when the public were lied to about the closure of Denbigh. Sackville will also have known about the paedophile ring and drug offences that were facilitated by St George’s Hospital Medical School whilst he was in the DoH (see post ‘A Galaxy Of Talent’). Sackville’s time in the Home Office will have meant that he was party to information regarding the investigation into the north Wales paedophile ring and events in the run up to the Waterhouse Inquiry. Which William Hague only agreed to hold once Sir Peter Morrison was found safely dead in July 1995. Sackville was transferred to the Home Office some time in 1995 after June.
Have you anything to declare Tom?
Tom is the CEO of the International Federation of Health Plans. The International Federation of Health Plans was founded in 1968 by a group of health insurance industry leaders. With 80 member companies in 25 countries, it is the ‘leading global network of the industry’. It states that it’s aim is to ‘assist in the maintenance of high ethical and professional standards throughout the industry’. Then Tom’s your man!
Tom’s older brother is William Herbrand Sackville, 11th Earl De La Warr. William’s younger son Ed is married to Sophie – they are good mates with Prince William and Kate and their daughter Viola was born pretty much at the same time as Prince George.
I wonder how William and Kate’s mental health campaigning is going?
There are two big mental health stories on Guardian Online today. One reports that a Guardian investigation found that 271 ‘highly vulnerable’ patients died between 2012 and 2017 after 706 failings by NHS bodies. Coroners have been so alarmed at the lapses in care that emerged during inquests that they issued legal warnings to 136 NHS bodies, mainly providers of care, between 2012 and 2017. They included mental health trusts, acute hospitals, ambulance services and GP surgeries. From what I can work out, the figures apply to England only. Paul Farmer, the CEO of MIND, has dispensed his pearls of wisdom about every death being a ‘tragedy’. Farmer has led MIND for years whilst they closed their eyes very firmly in the face of patient abuse and harm and before he was CEO of MIND Farmer led Rethink – where he ignored exactly the same problems. I know because I wrote to Farmer whilst he was at Rethink supplying him with details of the serious criminality on the part of the mental health services in north Wales and I did not receive a response. Farmer sat on the Westminster Gov’ts Mental Health Task Force and has recently been met with protests following his involvement with the Westminster Gov’ts plan to coerce people with mental health problems into work that many of them are too unwell to undertake. Farmer is very much part of the problem – and nets a very big salary indeed in return for colluding with this holocaust.
One of the Trusts named and shamed by the Guardian was Camden and Islington – who have been destroying the lives of vulnerable people for decades now. Another one was the Cheshire and Wirral Partnership NHS Foundation Trust. Camden, Islington, Cheshire, Wirral – all the locations of the vicious paedophile gangs in the 1980s and 90s who were operating through the Social Services and mental health services. As in north Wales, a legacy has been left.
The Guardian article goes into some detail regarding the ‘NHS failings’ and attempts to unpick the problem using a breakdown of the ‘reasons why things are going wrong’. It’s simple – many of the staff really do not care if their patients remain alive or not and are dripping with contempt for them anyway. If the Guardian actually reported what was going on instead of using phrases like ‘staff underestimated the risk that patients posed of suicide’ they would admit that scenes in which Top Doctors and other staff snap at suicidal patients ‘well we can’t stop you if that’s what you want to do’ or ‘you’ve felt like this before and never done it’ or have distressed psychotic patients arrested for shouting or swearing are routine in some units. The other old favourite is to make the environment as distressing as possible for voluntary patients and then tell them that if they don’t like it they can leave. What is happening to patients is simply not encapsulated by the sanitised language that is used in these reports – it does not begin to capture the brutality and inhumanity with which patients are often met.
The whole process of mental health care for many years has been diabolical. The diagnoses don’t make sense and are frequently changed at psychiatrists’ convenience anyway and many people find that many of the treatments simply don’t help them. For people in serious distress the care is woefully inadequate. Mental health professionals often simply view their patients as ‘just being like that’, with no understanding that they might have once been very different – it’s called being seriously ill. I have recently been reading about the actress Emily Lloyd who went through years of a very bad time and had the usual spectrum of meaningless diagnoses applied to her – from what I read Emily showed all the signs of someone who had been subjected to the usual years of fuckwittery and had been written off. She’s made a comeback, has had a baby and seems to be having a much better time. I wonder whether she’ll ever look back and actually remember any of the ‘expertise’ as having been in the least bit helpful. After Emily Lloyd starred in ‘Wish You Were Here’, it was predicted that she’d be the next biggest actress on a global level. It wouldn’t actually surprise me if some of those treating her didn’t even know who she was.
The punk singer Poly Styrene really had her life wrecked by mental health professionals whilst she was still young as well. She was diagnosed with schizophrenia, dosed up and whoops, 15 years later they realised that they’d got it wrong…
Jeremy Hunt banged on about record spending, zero suicide rates and parity of esteem. Jeremy, nothing is going to change until staff are employed who actually take an interest in their patients and those who abuse them – or who send whistleblowers death threats – are led out of hospitals in handcuffs and charged with criminal offences. NHS managers who have presided over units where patient after patient after patient has died despite warnings concerning safety failures need to be prosecuted and dismissed as well.
The other mental health article in Guardian Online concerns an incident at St James’s University Hospital in Leeds in which an elderly mentally ill man murdered two other elderly frail patients in 2015. This has only come to light after someone went public on this incident and explained that there had been a major cover-up. Staff at St James’s allege more than 40 incidents of violent and aggressive behaviour on the same ward between April 2014 and March 2015. They included nurses being punched, a patient throwing a table across the room and another slamming a medicine cabinet lid on a staff member’s fingers. Much has been made of the ‘paranoid’ ‘aggressive’ mentally ill patients.
The ward in question seems to be an EMI ward – elderly mentally ill patients can be aggressive and violent, far more so than one might imagine someone of 80 to be. The staff at St James’s are placing much emphasis on patients not being given anti-psychotics as being the cause of some of the incidents – could this possibly be a backlash against the dreadful publicity that there has been recently regarding elderly patients being drugged up to the eye-balls in EMI units? EMI patients can be cared for without coshing them chemically – it just takes a bit more effort and it involves sometimes going along with foibles and seemingly irrational behaviour until the elderly person’s anxiety levels and distress have decreased. Every ‘violent incident’ that I have witnessed with EMI patients has resulted from staff rigidly demanding that a confused elderly person does something NOW when the elderly person is, basically, freaking out. People with much more experience than me have observed exactly the same phenomenon – wards with EMI patients cannot be run for the benefit of the ward staff adhering firmly to ward routine. If you’re caring for someone who has lost a few million neurones, life doesn’t work like that.
As for covering matters up, St James’s has a long and fine tradition of that. For years they allowed one Jimmy Savile free reign and he sexually assaulted child patients as well and, it is alleged, did dreadful things with corpses in the mortuary. None of that was the fault of violent mental health patients who weren’t sufficiently dosed up.
The Independent Inquiry Into Child Sexual Abuse continues and the Church of England is under fire from the Chair of the Inquiry, Professor of Social Work Alexis Jay. Alexis has given the Church a grade A bollocking, claiming that it was an ‘enabler of child abuse’ and that nothing could be more oppressive than an institution saying that it had the power of God behind it abusing children. Actually Alexis, I reckon that a whole group of Social Services Depts linked up together run by paedophile gangs declaring people who complained about them insane and illegally imprisoning them in a dungeon in an isolated building in the middle of a range of hills in north Wales must come a pretty close second. Alexis presided over the Orkney Child Abuse Scandal. Children from the Orkneys were removed in dawn raids by social workers and flown to the mainland where they were placed with foster families whom they had never met before. Social workers refused to believe the children when the children explained that they really had not been Satanically abused. Some of the kids were not returned to their homes for years. It was later admitted that ‘mistakes had been made’. See post ‘The Most Dangerous Man In The World – The Scottish Play’ for details of the havoc wreaked by Alexis on Orkney.
My post ‘Oh, No! It’s The Pathetic Sharks…’ featured Tal Michael, son of Alun Michael, the man whom in May 1999 Blair insisted must be Wales’s First Secretary, although no-one but Blair wanted him in the post. Alun Michael resigned as First Secretary as soon as the Waterhouse Report was handed in, having done the job required of him by Blair (see post ‘News From Sicily’). I mentioned how Tal arrived in north Wales without good reason a few years ago, at the time when the paedophiles’ friends were in need of reinforcements. Tal bagged himself a job as the Chief Executive of the North Wales Police Authority, then resigned to stand for election as North Wales Police and Crime Commissioner as soon as it was announced that Police Authorities would be dissolved and replaced with Commissioners. Tal was unsuccessful so consoled himself with trying to get elected as the Labour MP for Ynys Mon. He didn’t pull that off either.
I commented that Tal was no doubt seeking other opportunities in which he could assist the paedophiles and their friends in north Wales. Tal beat me to it – by the time that I wrote that, Tal was in post as Chief Exec of Gwynedd CAB. I only discovered this because Tal has appeared in Daily Post Online in the wake of a cash crisis at the Gwynedd CAB. The CAB in Wales is best known for being a refuge for the paedophiles’ friends – Lucille Hughes, Dafydd’s mistress who was named in the Waterhouse Report as knowing that a paedophile ring was operating in the social services in north Wales whilst she was Director of Gwynedd Social Services but failing to act, is one of the managers of CAB in Wales. So does Lucille employ Tal or does Tal employ Lucille? The loathed Fran Tate, another paedophiles’ friend, is also involved with the CAB in north west Wales (see posts ‘Disability Support’ and ‘Just A Language Divide?’)
Yesterday the ‘Today’ programme broadcast a report on the subject of serious organised crime in prisons – the Gov’t have set up a new unit to deal with this as it is considered such a problem. The Lord Chancellor David Gauke was interviewed but the one thing that was not mentioned by either Gauke or John Humphrys was that the criminal justice system is endemically corrupt which is why this problem has occurred. Gauke and Humphrys discussed matters such as drones flying across walls with goodies for the inmates. A quaint picture of old lags in stripey jumpers stringing the bed sheets together to climb the walls was conjured up. The real problem is corrupt Governors, corrupt prison officers, corrupt Top Doctors providing the medical opinions/care and bodies such as the Parole Board and Criminal Justice Review Commission being packed with corrupt people. Just take a look at how many such people have been named on this blog. The whole system has for years been run by dishonest members of the professional classes and indeed they are positively selected for. If the priority when making such appointments is to identify safe pairs of hands who have followed careers during which they have concealed serious crime if Important People were involved, this will be the result.
David Gauke stated that he wanted prisons to be ‘places of hope’. So that’s why they are bursting at the seams with seriously mentally ill people, people with drug problems, homeless people or indeed anyone who just can’t cope in our rather dysfunctional society. There was one prisoner who did find prison a place of hope though – Vicky Pryce, the Gov’t economist who some five years ago went to prison (but only for a short while) after she, her husband the Lib Dem MP Chris Huhne and their mate barrister and judge Constance Briscoe all lied their arses off on oath. Vicky constructed herself as a female victim of her husband, wrote a prison memoir and returned to her job as a Gov’t economist as soon as she came out, after dispensing a few words of advice about gender factors regarding the prison system. How about a volume on the social class factors then Vicky?
David Gauke is a lawyer who graduated from Chester College of Law in 1995. Where he was at the heart of the rotten to the core Chester and Wales Circuit which had spent years concealing the paedophile ring that operated in the area and whilst David was there was going into overdrive lest anyone announce a public inquiry into the matter.
The Westminster Gov’t are going to order food companies to reduce the calorie content of their grub and reduce the size of the portions. No doubt seconds will be outlawed as the next step. It’s really great to watch a load of affluent middle class people lecturing the plebs regarding what they eat.
In Llanberis in north Wales, the old quarry hospital has been turned into a museum. It’s well worth a visit as they used to say on Blue Peter and the records provide an interesting read. There’s a list of the patients in the hospital, what happened to them and what the outcome was – there’s quite a few accounts of ‘quarrymen’ of 14 or 15 yrs old who had accidents where the outcome listed was ‘died’ two or three days later. There is also information on the quarrymen’s diet. The Top Doctor at the quarry hospital used to get very angry that those ignorant buggers lived on a diet of strong stewed tea with much sugar, bread and jam and thin stew with lumps of fat rather than meat in it. It is otherwise known as ‘being very poor’. The present day version is someone on benefits – or of course very badly paid workers on less than full time hours – and with not very good kitchen facilities, trying to keep themselves and a couple of kids going if they live in a place without local shops selling fruit and veg at a good price. Multi-packs of crisps and pizza packs from Iceland start to look like a good option. Those sitting in Westminster will have faced problems as have the rest of the human race, but very few of them have actually had to survive the mum’s gone to Iceland experience to eke out the inadequate benefits for any great length of time.
There has been a bit of progress regarding the lecturing of the lower orders though. The dreadful Jamie Oliver has at least stopped calling women on low incomes ‘stupid cows’ and ‘daft bitches’ because he disapproves of the way in which they feed their kids – I wonder if any of the stupid cows have given their kids names as ridiculous as Jamie n Jules have? Jamie has finally made some sympathetic noises about healthy eating on a low income. The next step Jamie is that when you present a programme about eating on a budget, don’t helpfully recommend meals which need the sort of expensive kitchen equipment that you but hardly anybody else owns to prepare them. If you want street cred, take a leaf out of Jack Munroe’s book and invent some recipes which really can be made by people with very little money. Jack Munroe didn’t flog expensive coffee table books either, she took steps to ensure that many of her recipes could be accessed completely free of charge. Of course Jamie n Jules might not want to do that because it won’t provide them with enough dosh to send Buddy Bear et al to elite private schools.
There is much embarrassment over allegations that Bradley Wiggins, hero of Team Sky, might have indulged in a bit of doping when he won his medals. Bradley is robustly denying any wrongdoing, which if it did happen involved the co-operation of a helpful Top Doctor. The manager of Team Sky was Dave Brailsford who became Sir Dave Brailsford as a result of the success of Bradley and others. If Team Sky ends up disgraced, north west Wales is going to have to rename a lot of things – Dave Brailsford comes from Deiniolen near Llanberis and cycle paths, sports halls and all sorts have been named after him since the Team Sky success. Dave Brailsford’s dad was a lecturer at Bangor University during the era when that institution was crawling with paedophiles’ friends. I never heard any such allegations about Dave Brailsford’s dad but I have been told by at least three people that he was very hostile to women in sport – a climber whose ‘banter’ would send Harriet Harman into a 24 hour hissy fit described Brailsford senior as ‘the most sexist man that I have ever met’. When Dave was interviewed on the radio about hostility to women in sport a few months ago, Dave absolutely reassured the listeners that it didn’t exist. You just don’t notice it Dave because you grew up with it – it was everyday practice for your dad.
Finally this blog’s friend Jane Hutt has ensured that Wales has another first. BBC News Wales reported that Wales has erected the UK’s ‘first purple plaque to mark notable women’. The purple plaque has been erected to one of Jane’s friends! The notable woman in question was Val Feld, Labour AM for Swansea East, 1999-01.
Hutt described her mate as ‘a passionate advocate of devolution, equalities and social justice’ and ‘a powerful force for women and minority groups’ and that ‘it is only right that her legacy of integrity, passion and commitment is permanently remembered as a ‘Champion of Equality’ with this plaque on the walls of the Senedd’.
Val was born in Bangor in 1947 and grew up in Caernarfon. Not that woman of the people Val went to school in Caernarfon – Val was the daughter of a dentist who went to boarding school in Malvern. Which by the standards of Caernarfon in the 1950s made Val pretty posh. Just like her mate Jane Hutt.
In 1967, Val started work in London as a production secretary at the BBC World Service and then become a researcher/secretary at ITN and a copywriter at the Radio and Television News Agency. In 1979, Val moved from to Chorley in Lancashire to work as a housing rights worker and then co-ordinator of the Chorley Rights Centre. After the breakdown of her marriage she became ‘increasingly involved in local community and self-help groups’. In Chorley, she was elected to the local council.
At the beginning of the 1980s, Val returned to Wales. In 1981 Val founded Shelter Cymru and was the Director of the EOC (Equal Opportunities Commission) for Wales, 1989-99. She was then elected as an AM.
Here’s the translation:
Val was a privileged woman who came from what was very much an elite in north Wales whilst she was growing up. She had a cushy job in journalism until she decided to Help The Poor. I have absolutely no problem with any of that – what I have a really big problem with is that like those other wimmin who Helped The Poor, Hutt and Julie Morgan, the Champion of Equality that was Val ignored the plight of some truly desperate people – the victims of the sex trafficking gang in north Wales. Of whom some were girls and women, so even if Val decided that male suffering didn’t matter, there was no excuse for her ignoring what Dafydd et al were up to. And she did ignore it – it would not have been possible to have led Shelter Cymru and the EOC in Wales without knowing what was going on. Psych patients in north Wales were dossing in empty buildings and living rough because they had been wilfully abandoned by the ‘services’ – where was Shelter? Did they publish a word about this or raise concerns about it? Everyone knew that it was happening – just as everyone knew that even if the psych patients and former kids in care actually had somewhere to live, the housing was terrible. Neither did the EOC mention a thing about the serious criminal activities in north Wales which led to such iniquity.
After achieving nothing but a comfortable life for herself, in 1999 Val did what many members of this cadre did – she bagged herself a seat in the newly created Welsh Assembly. Just in time for the publication of the Waterhouse Report – about which none of them asked ANY searching questions. They sat in the Bay of Plenty in the full knowledge that numerous people – including some of their friends and colleagues – had facilitated that paedophile gang.
In Val’s obituaries much was made of her challenging macho attitudes in Wales and how she was such a freedom fighter that she became seriously fed up with the ‘bastion of male chauvinism’ which was the Cardiff and County Club – a men only establishment where, it is widely believed, the great and the good from the media, business, academia and politics get together to discuss matters mutually advantageous. So Val ‘was instrumental in establishing a coalition of women’s organisations to interface with the Assembly’.
I am sure that the Cardiff and County Club does contain some dreadful old farts – but I know for a fact that the wimmins organisations that Val was involved with are just as excluding as the Cardiff and County Club. They are a female version of the Cardiff and County Club – a bunch of well connected privileged women who only let their mates join and then pull strings in the Assembly to ensure that matters go their way. I knew women who tried to get involved with Val and Jane’s wimmins organisations, as well as some of the ‘minority ethnic organisations’ with which Val was involved. They walked away in despair – everybody had the same experience of being told what to do or frozen out by Hutt and her clique. People who didn’t run away screaming were simply oppressed and explained that they couldn’t disagree because if they did ‘their funding’ would dry up.
Wales has had decades of Hutt and the gang log jamming every organisation and every committee concerned with wimmin, minorities and people generally having a hard time. Those people continue to have a hard time. Whilst Jane and the revolutionaries who were the daughters of the affluent middle classes of post-war Britain continue to dine at the trough.
You are a total embarrassment Hutt – and thanks to you someone who ignored a vicious paedophile gang who killed their victims is now honoured on the wall of the Senedd. What an insult to the dead and of course to the AMs who are not paedophiles’ friends.
Jane’s wimmins organisations keep wondering why young women don’t join them. I have witnessed them do this at various events at which I was present. Unusually for me, I didn’t bother to comment – some mountains are just far too big to climb. It was summed up by the comments of another woman whom I met who like so many had had the Jane Hutt/Julie Morgan/Breched Piette/Meri Huws experience – she pissed herself laughing at her memories of ‘the dinosaurs’. Paleontologists famously assumed that the Brontosaurus was very slow to react because of the structure of their nervous system – it was speculated that if they felt pain in one part of their body, it took a dangerously long while for the nerve signal to be transmitted, which is why the Brontosaurus had two brain-like structures. But Jane does not have the two brains – she just has the ultra-slow transmission system…
I’m wondering why Val Feld’s plaque is purple. Is it because this is considered to be a women’s suffrage colour? The thing that most people know about purple is that it’s a bishop’s colour. There is an impressive bishop in Wales – the new Bishop of St David’s. She’s doing a PhD in particle physics in her spare time because she likes that sort of thing. When she was ordained she was met with a group of people protesting about the fact that she is female. I don’t remember Hutt saying a word.