Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Now Rochdale Observer Exposes Cyril Smith!

After being constipated for over three decades
WHAT a relief the Rochdale Observer after 34 years of constipated agony can now reveal the 'horrors faced by children and young teenages at the hands of former MP Cyril Smith.'   We learn that the paper is about to make this heroic move in fearless modern journalism in a front page leader in tomorrow's issue of the Rochdale Observer entitled 'NOW THE WHOLE WORLD KNOWS'
It's boldness knows no bounds as tomorrow's story goes even further to claim  in a subheading that the 'Observer investigation hits TV screens'.  Here by implication claiming credit for 'A Channel 4 TV documentary broadcast (that) broadcast the horrific story last week.'  That would be the Channel 4 Dispatches program we have reviewed below, no doubt.  The Rochdale Ob can now reveal that it was 'Our investigation (by, would you believe it the Rochdale Observer) revealed the full extent of sexual abuse at Smith's hands at two children's homes, both now closed - Cambridge House and Knowl View, a residential special school.'
 But what did the Rochdale Observer do in May 1979 when the story first broke in the Rochdale Alternative Paper (RAP)?  In RAP's June 1979 (No. 79) issue the RAP editors comment on the press then was:
'RAP’s revelations concerning Cyril Smith published in our last issue was a story in which the national press have been interested for a long time. What prevented them from publishing previously was the laws of libel – which still prevent them from publishing it now. RAP has not received a libel writ from Smith.'
At that time we know that the Rochdale Observer had the full story because the Rochdale Ob. is mentioned in dispatches in RAP's editorial comment at the time:
'Once the story was out the media interest continued. Several taxis from Manchester offices of newspapers arrived at Rochdale newsagents to buy a dozen copies each. The People sent its representative, Harold Holborn, accompanied by a Rochdale Observer reporter!  John Derricot of the Mail, Bill Jenkins of the Sun, Mike Nally of the Sunday Observer, Chris Bryer of Granada, Chris House the crime correspondent of the Sunday Telegraph, and the news editor of the Star have all had conversations with us about the story.'

All those years digesting the story of Cyril and now the Rochdale Ob. claims credit for the recent exposure? 

An unsigned article in tomorrow's Rochdale Ob. quotes Andy Rhodes, Assistant Chief Constable of Lancashire Constabulary, as telling a child exploitation conference:
'The reason Cyril Smith, Jimmy Savile and Stuart Hall got away with what they got away with, which was serious, seriously prolonged sexual exploitation of young people, was because leaders who had responsibility to do something, did not do it.'

What did the great British media do about it when they had chance in 1979?  What indeed did the Rochdale Observer do all those years ago?

The one national paper with enough courage to carry the story was Private Eye. It’s edition of May 9th, 1979 ran a summary of the RAP story as its lead article.  It repeated the allegations RAP had made and included the extracts from sworn affidavits made by the young men concerned.  Private Eye has frequently received libel writs from politicians. It was not to received one in the case of Cyril Smith.

The editors of RAP in 1979 stated
'Libel of course remains the problem, as of course it has been ours.  Clearly what we have said about Smith is defamatory.  The only defence therefore against libel is that what we have said is true.  Our London lawyer’s advice was simple:  if you know it to be true, print it.  We did.'

At that time RAP concluded:
'But we must again repeat, most disturbing is not what Smith did.  It is the fact that he never had to answer for himself through the normal processes of law or face the publicity that would have involved.'

The British media failed to put the finger on Smith and to expose him, just as much as the police fell down in their efforts.

The current printed issue of NORTHERN VOICES No.14, is now available for sale - see below. This issue N.V.14 has an in-depth and exclusive report by John Walker, a former editor of the Rochdale Alternative Paper (RAP) on the full history of Cyril Smith's antics with young lads. RAP was the first publication to go public on this in May 1979. You can obtain a copy by writing or contacting the people whose details are below:
Postal subscription: £5 for the next two issues (post included). Cheques made payable to 'Northern Voices' should be sent c/o 52, Todmorden Road, Burnley, Lancashire BB10 4AH.
Tel.: 0161 793 5122.
email: northernvoices@hotmail.com

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