Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Caste & the Equality Act 2010


THURSDAY 1 MAY 6PM-8.30PM                                                   

MMU BUSINESS SCHOOL, ROOM G.35 [drinks beforehand in the Business School Atrium]:   

Manchester Law School is delighted to be hosting a panel of high profile discrimination and employment experts to debate caste and the Equality Act 2010.  They will be joined by two experts on caste. The panel will be discussing the implications of Tirkey v Chandok and we hope that you will join us for what should prove to be a lively, informative and interesting panel discussion. Attendees will be entitled to two hours SRA or BSB CPD as appropriate.

Caste has risen to the top of the discrimination agenda for lawyers and non-lawyers alike since the Equality Act 2010 provided for the possibility of adding caste to the definition of race in the Act. In 2013 Parliament inserted a provision in the Enterprise & Regulatory Reform Act requiring the addition of caste to the Equality Act 2010. Caste legislation will be introduced only after extensive public consultation and this is unlikely to happen before October 2015. However, claimants in two employment tribunal cases have argued that caste is already covered by the Equality Act 2010 under the existing definitions of race and religion or belief.

In 2012 in Naveed v Aslam the ET held that on the facts of the case, caste was not covered by ethnic origins, one of the existing subsets of race.  In contrast, in December 2013 in Tirkey v Chandok the ET concluded that in the context of that case, race in the Equality Act 2010 can and should be construed to cover caste.  

Our panel of experts includes: 
Chris Milsom, Barrister at Cloisters Chambers, London and Counsel for the claimant in Tirkey.
Nessa Sharkett, Senior Lecturer in Employment Law at Manchester Metropolitan University and part-time Employment Judge of the North West Region.

Professor David Mosse, Professor of Social Anthropology at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London, and Head of the Department of Anthropology and Sociology at SOAS, expert on India, Dalits, Adivasis, caste and religion. 

Dr Annapurna Waughray, Senior Lecturer in International Law, Human Rights Law and EU Law at Manchester Metropolitan University, expert on caste discrimination and the law in India, the UK, and in international human rights law. 

Dr Meena Dhanda, Reader in Philosophy and Cultural Politics at the University of Wolverhampton, expert on caste, identity and caste discrimination in the UK and the diaspora.

Barry Harwood-Gray, employment law specialist Barrister and Head of Employment Law at Kenworthys Chambers, Manchester.  

We look forward to seeing you on Thursday 1st May and hope that you will join us for refreshments in the Business School atrium from 6.00pm prior to the panel event in room G.35.  
6pm                                      Drinks in the Business School Atrium
6.30pm                              Weclome - Professor Ruth Ashford, Dean, MMU Business & Law
6.35pm                              Introduction to the Panel and the event - Barry Harwood Gray
6.40pm                              Caste: A Very Brief Legal Overview – Dr Annapurna Waughray
6.50pm                              Caste in the UK - Professor David Mosse & Dr Meena Dhanda
7.10pm                              Tirkey v Chandok - Chris Milsom
7.20pm                              Questions from the perspective of an ET judge - Nessa Sharkett
7.30pm                              Questions and discussion
8.30pm                              Summing up and close.  

Tuesday, 29 April 2014

Victim of Cyril Smith Interviewed on Breakfast TV

TODAY on Breakfast TV Eddie Shorrock, a victim of Cyril Smith's special fake medicals in the 1960s at Rochdale's Cambridge House Hostel for boys, was interviewed about his experiences of Mr Smith.  Mr. Shorrock, who was one of the witnesses discovered by Northern Voices in the Autumn of 2012 before the Smith scandal broke, gave a dignified and restrained account on one episode with the dominant Rochdale politician standing over him and asking him to take his pants down and to bend over while Smith examined him.  Eddie also said that when he left the Hostel about six months later, Smith threatened him and told him not to relate what had happened to him while at Cambridge House.  Eddie was 17-years-old at the time, and last night he told Northern Voices that he was concerned that the family of Cyril Smith continued to deny what had happened to lads at Cambridge House.

Matthew Baker, who has with Simon Danczuk MP for Rochdale written at book about Cyril Smith's abuse of boys, also took part in the interview.  Mr. Baker was at pains to criticise Rochdale Council for failing to act and for its overall handling of the issues surrounding the Smith scandal.  He was particularly dismissive of Rochdale Council's decision yesterday to continue to 'investigate itself': he said the investigation should be conducted by the police.

Curiously Mr. Baker replaced Martin Digan who was set to appear on the program, and who had been a whistle-blower at Knowl View residential school in Rochdale, where more cases of sexual abuse by Smith had taken place in the 1980s and 1990s.  He appears to have been dropped at the last minute for editorial reasons. 

Monday, 28 April 2014

GMP Chief Stonewalls at Press Conference

AT the press conference today in Rochdale Town Hall, Sir Peter Fahy, Chief Constable of Greater Manchester Police (GMP), managed to block questions about the details of the progress in the police force's investigation into sexual abuse and the late Sir Cyril Smith.  On the platform with Colin Lambert, leader of Rochdale MBC, he made it clear that they had both been prompted into making new efforts owing to recent revelations in a book by a local MP and the consequent increased media interest.

Sir Peter said that because of the book they will now be looking into the possibility of a cover-up, and GMP will be liaising with the new QC, Neil Garnham appointed by Rochdale Council.  And yet, though he said the wider review would lead to the investigation of new suspects and that new witnesses would be identified; under heavy questioning from journalists he suggested there were 11 suspects that the GMP had in its focus, but no arrests are taking place as yet. 

He couldn't go into why it has taken so long for the police to get going on this case; only that the culture has changed.  After all, it was pointed out, hadn't the Rochdale Council commissioned an enquiry into the scandal at Knowl View residential school for boys as long ago as 1992 - 22 years ago - and to what result? 

Well, there are many reasons for the delay!  There are many difficulties with these kind of investigations with victims of sexual abuse, there is the problem of getting the evidence and then getting corroboration, and so forth.  But, Sir Peter assured us that the police are determined to do a full investigation to see if there is anything further that can be done.  He appealed, yet again, for any new victims to come forward. 

Rochdale Council Switch Horses in Mid-Stream!

TODAY, Rochdale Council announced it had appointed a new barrister to replace Andrew Warnoch QC, to 'head an expanded review' into the sexual abuse of young lads at Knowl View residential school for boys.  Mr. Warnoch had been investigating these allegations of abuse in the 1980s and 1990s since January this year, but his remit had been confined to Knowl View.  

Now Colin Lambert, leader of Rochdale Council, has just told a press conference that Neil Garnham Q.C. is to 'head an expanded review' which will investigate all of the information about sexual and physical abuse in Rochdale between 1961 and 1995; both with regard to Cyril Smith and others in the frame.    Mr. Garnham is a 'leading silk in public inquiry law, (who) acted as Counsel to the Victoria Climbie Inquiry & sits as a deputy High Court Judge.' 

Rochdale MBC has also decided 'In the light of the enlarged review, .... to instruct external solicitors Hempsons and to second one of the Council's Principal Solicitors to assist the review team.'  

The Council's Press Statement further states:
'Due to his other commitments Mr. Warnock is unavailable for the timescale which this new widened investigation will require.' This follows the 'serious allegations made in the last few weeks, (which has led the Council) to widen the scope of the review beyond the Council's decision making.'

The Council statement also says:
'It is clear that to ensure there is public confidence in the thoroughness of the review we must widen its scope to include a review of all information available to the Council.'

Mr Garnham's intention is to provide his report by the end of July 2014:
'The report may be final or interim depending on the conclusions he is able to reach. We have asked Mr Garnham to liaise with Greater Manchester Police to ensure that his review does not compromise any element of the current investigations being pursued by the police. Council will publish Mr Garnham's report as soon as possible after he delivers it to us.'

This new review will consider the sexual abuse over the longer period from 1961 up to 1995, and look at if any council officers, council employees or councillors were responsible for what took place.  It will examine if there any patterns to the activities, whether the sexual abuse of children was tolerated, facilitated or promoted by the Council or its officers or staff, and if there was a culture operating in the institutions to inhibit the proper investigation, exposure and prevention of such abuse.  This review will include allegations that are now the subject of existing civil claims against the Council, but it will not seek to determine any issue of civil liability, and if the investigation should show evidence of criminal acts which has not yet led to convictions, Mr. Garnham QC will make no determination on this matter, but will hand his evidence over to the Greater Manchester Police, who are conducting their own separate investigation.  The review will, however, look at the Council's knowledge of, and response to, such evidence, regardless of whether criminal convictions take place or not.  And if such evidence shows the potential commission of disciplinary (rather than criminal) offences, the review will include this in its report. 

Paedo Probe Q.C. to speak to ex-Councillor

See Simon Danczuk MP, on left at 2.11, cheerfully applauding unveiling of plaque to Cyril Smith in Oct. 2011

PAUL Flowers, a former Rochdale councillor and now discredited chairman of the Co-op Bank, is to be questioned over what he knew about a file of documents in a hard hitting report written about the Rochdale residential school Knowl View in 1992.   This move follows on from allegations that Cyril Smith and a former Rochdale councillor Harry Wild sexually abused lads at Knowl View in the 1980s and 1990s.

Rochdale MBC has engaged the London based barrister, Andrew Warnoch, to do an independent investigation that will now include an interview with Mr. Flowers who represented Smallbridge and Wardleworth ward on Rochdale council between 1988 and 1992.  There is no suggestion that Mr. Flowers was in any way involved in the abuse.

The whistleblower, Martin Diggan, claims this damning report was was delivered to the council but was later lost or otherwise disappeared.  This weekend a spokesperson for Rochdale MBC has criticised the local MP, Simon Danczuk, saying:
'We don't see why the MP is attempting to discredit this review (by Andrew Warnoch Q.C.).  As will be proven, it is totally independent.  To suggest that this inquiry is a white-wash is ridiculous - this administration is treating these allegations very seriously.' 

Northern Voices has spoken to the Press Office of Rochdale council and been told that Mr. Danczuk M.P. (who was at the blue plaque unveiling for Cyril Smith at Rochdale Town Hall in October 2011) never contacted the Council to exchange information before producing his recent book on Cyril Smith.

Friday, 25 April 2014

Easter Monday's Times' Editorial on Cyril Smith!

Clegg must explain the Lib Dems’failure to act against the paedophile Cyril Smith


When Sir Cyril Smith, the 29-stone Liberal and then Liberal Democrat MP for Rochdale, died in 2010, Nick Clegg described him as “one of the most likeable politicians of his day”. That depended on where you sat. Vulnerable children whom Smith sexually abused over 40 years at hostels and residential schools are unlikely to have shared Mr Clegg’s judgment. What the Liberal Democrats knew and when they knew it about Smith’s assaults is a matter of urgent public interest and a gathering scandal. Mr Clegg’s answers have so far been legalistic and unconvincing.

Smith’s covert life as a paedophile has emerged into the public spotlight in the past week owing to a new book co-authored by Simon Danczuk, the current Labour MP for Rochdale. It expands upon allegations that Mr Danczuk made in the House of Commons in 2012. Yet it is literally incredible that the party in which Smith was a huge figure should have been uniformly unaware of them.

The Times today publishes disturbing testimony by John Walker, who broke the story of Smith’s crimes 35 years ago. Mr Walker, a college lecturer, was co-editor of a magazine called Rochdale’s Alternative Paper. The magazine published in 1979 an account, based on sworn statements, of how Smith had repeatedly administered spankings on teenage boys and fondled their genitals during bogus“medical examinations” at Cambridge House boys’ hostel in Rochdale.

Mr Clegg said last week that his party had been unaware of this appalling history, and added: “Many of the actions, the repugnant actions, which we now learn about took place well before the party I now lead even existed — in fact, took place before I even existed.”

That is a casuistical distinction between the Liberal Democrats and the old Liberal party. Nor is the claim of ignorance plausible. Smith had been chief whip of the Liberals’ very small parliamentary presence in the 1970s. As part of the original article, Mr Walker had contacted the office of David Steel, then Liberal leader. A spokesman had replied: “All [Smith] seems to have done is spanked a few bare bottoms.”

Mr Walker’s findings were reported by Francis Wheen in the New Statesman and Paul Foot in Private Eye. Despite a mass of corroborating evidence, these did not curtail Smith’s public prominence. He was knighted in 1988 and retired as an MP in 1992. He continued to abuse children at a school in Rochdale as late as the 1990s. Since Smith’s death, the Crown Prosecution Service has admitted culpability in failing to prosecute him.

Mr Clegg correctly says that the police will need to investigate what happened. He and his colleagues also need to exercise historical accountability, however, and explain how Smith got away with a catalogue of depravity.

There is a terrible parallel with the activities of Jimmy Savile, the television entertainer now known to have been a prolific child abuser. In both cases, a populist personality created a public image of concern for disadvantaged children, which provided the perfect cover and opportunity to perpetrate grotesque crimes against them.

Savile and Smith operated in, respectively, the BBC and the Liberal Democrats, which celebrated their fame till their deaths and afterwards. Mr Clegg must account for how this happened. It is not good enough, for it is demonstrably not true, to maintain that nobody knew.

'How I exposed Smith Scandal 35-years-ago!'

THE college lecturer who first exposed Sir Cyril Smith as a serial child abuser has said that he would be 'astounded' if senior party figures were unaware of his behaviour.
John Walker and a fellow teacher unmasked the Liberal MP in what he describes as their 'small and rather obscure publication' in 1979.  In a two-page exposé, Rochdale’s Alternative Paper set out the testimonies of boys subjected to 'medical inspection' by the local MP. It also showed that police were aware but failed to investigate. The report was almost entirely ignored by the national media and Smith remained a public figure until he died in 2010 at 82.  It was only after his death that the Crown Prosecution Service admitted its failings in refusing to prosecute.
A new book by Simon Danczuk, the Labour MP, has refocused attention on his abuse, and presented evidence that the police, CPS, security services and politicians were complicit in covering up allegations against him.
The Liberal Democrats, the successor party to the Liberals, have sought to distance themselves from the claims but Mr Walker said that it was inconceivable that senior figures in the Liberal party, which had only 11 MPs after the 1979 election, were unaware of the accusations against Smith. 'This wasn’t the Chinese army with a million people and a general at the top with no idea what was going on,' he said.  'He [Smith] was a prominent member of the party. He had been chief whip.'
As part of the original article, Mr Walker contacted the office of David Steel, then the Liberal party leader. A spokesman told them: 'It’s not a very friendly gesture, publishing that. All he seems to have done is spanked a few bare bottoms.'  Lord Steel of Aikwood has refused to comment.
Mr Walker said that the allegations fell on “blind eyes and deaf ears” because it was an “inconvenient truth” for his party. “Smith for the Liberals was extremely good news. He was a jolly, working-class lad in a party that was removed and middle-class and struggling in working-class areas.”
The story was exposed after Mr Walker and his co-editor, David Bartlett, heard rumours and began a six-month investigation, gathering testimonies from victims as well as senior police and staff at a children’s home where abuse took place.
With the help of lawyers to protect them against libel, they got the claims on to their front page, which was mocked up to mimic the MP’s campaign posters. The publication was given to “at least a dozen” national media reporters, but all except Private Eye were cowed in the face of threats.
Days after the story was published in Rochdale’s Alternative Paper, voters went to the polls and returned Smith as MP with an increased majority.
The result was “a major kick in the teeth”, Mr Walker said.  He was so disillusioned that he left Rochdale and the paper folded. Smith continued as if nothing had happened.  'Smith spent his life bullying and blustering through most things,' Mr Walker said.  'He continued to blunder through until his death.'
A turning point came after the death of Jimmy Savile, when revelations about his child abuse became a national scandal.  It prompted Mr Walker to give Smith’s story “one last prod”.  After receiving help from Paul Waugh, the political blogger, the story was picked up by Mr Danczuk, who is MP for Rochdale.  He raised the allegations in the Commons, and they snowballed.
Mr Walker, 66, now runs an education charity in Gambia and said that it was “really very good indeed” that it was finally receiving so much attention.
He said “extremely salutary lessons” had been learnt from the case of Savile, not least by the CPS and the police.
'I think we are in different territory now. I would never say that there is not a[nother] Smith out there getting away with it today, but I think the chance of them being picked up or charged is much greater post-Savile.'
He is damning about the media’s failure to pursue the claims. 'I’m not trying to be sanctimonious about this,' he said.  'But 35 years ago two college lecturers heard the stories, put in the legwork and wrote the story.  We put our jobs, mortgages and god knows what else on the line.'
From The Times, Monday 21st, April 2014.  John Walker is now an author on Northern Voices.

Daily Mail unearths ancient story!

Strange Case:  Cyril Smith Blackmail Beatings & Medical Exams

Here's a transcript of the Rochdale Alternative Paper's (RAP) follow up in June 1979 of their original exposure of Cyril Smith's antics at Cambridge House Hostel for boys in May 1979 - 35 years later with Smith long dead the Daily Mail has serialised the story:

From the Rochdale Alternative Paper
June 1979 (Number 79):
RAP’s revelations concerning Cyril Smith published in our last issue of RAP (May 1979) 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.

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.

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.
The one national paper with enough courage to carry the story so far was Private Eye. It’s edition of May 9th 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 received one in this instance.
None of which stops Smith from continuing to condemn others. As recently as his Ob ‘Letter from Parliament’ of 26th, May (1979) he commented on the actions of Labour Councillor Bob Crossland ['who had the effrontary to attend the Mayor making ceremony without a tie, and to sit and read throughout the ceremony....'].  He (Smith) found that behaviour to be ‘disgusting’ unlike, apparently, holding young men’s testicles and beating their bare bottoms, as he has done.
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.  There is still every reason to doubt that the police file even got as far as the D.P.P. – in spite of a statutory requirement for it to do so.  Until it is clear that he is subject to the same justice as the rest of us he should keep his mouth shut.


Saturday, 19 April 2014

Book Reviews & Networking

THE media is thoroughly imbricated in these elite networks. Journalists, politicians and lobbyists inhabit the same world and mix at the same parties, while PR companies groom, collude with and recruit journalists, turning hacks into flacks with depressing regularity. Businesses use the media to reach policymakers, place stories, conscript third-party advocates and noisily reframe debates on their terms. The use of third-party front-groups is rife: corporations fund academics, scientists, protesters, think tanks, charities, supportive allies, professional bodies, fake institutes, campaign groups – anyone that will take the money and say the right things. Where necessary, companies keep a low profile, suppressing damaging stories while lobbying in private; “for every story fed to the media,” studies find, “there is one being carefully kept out.” Often PR firms work alongside corporate lawyers, using the threat of litigation to snuff out damaging stories quickly and discreetly, while applying extra pressure through “astroturf” (fake grassroots) campaigns on Twitter or via email. The internet poses challenges, but PR firms are moving in, monitoring opponents and even offering a round-the-clock service whitewashing Wikipedia and Google on clients’ behalf.
The result is a well-oiled machine, constantly at work getting monied interests what they want. “We’re in it for money” lobbyist Peter Gummer (Lord Chadlington) admits – and lobbying can prove a very lucrative investment indeed. One study estimates a return of $90bn on an initial spend of $3.5bn; another of between $6 and $21 per dollar spent; another still of $100. “It seems remarkable,” the Economist notes, “that companies would do anything but lobby”. 
From Trevor Hoyle

Trade Councils: blacklist, fracking & Cyril Smith

GREATER Manchester Association of Trade Union Councils today discussed the anti-fracking campaign in Salford,  the Park Cakes dispute in Oldham, the problems of care-workers in Rochdale and Doncaster, blacklisting in the local building trade, and the antics of Cyril Smith in Rochdale.

Plans are taking place for the production of a booklet on the history of blacklisting and its special significance to the Greater Manchester area where the campaign was first initiated in 2003.  Later this year there are expected to be cases of blacklisted workers being taken to the Court, and the proposed forthcoming publication or publications will be of much interest.  Also, the book launches in Manchester and Rochdale of  'Smile for the Camera: The Double Life of Cyril Smith' by Simon Danzcuk MP and Matthew Baker, were reported as being successful this week with over 60 copies sold at the Rochdale event. 

There was much discussion of the behaviour of the police at the ant-fracking protest at Barton Moss in Swinton, Salford.  One Salford delegate having asked the Police Commissioner, Tony Lloyd, if the tactical police unit was 'fit for purpose'?  She had been told by Mr Lloyd:  'It's at the top of my list of priorities!'.

Meanwhile, a report in the minutes of Manchester TUC noted there had been  'On going correspondence between Manchester Trade Union Council and Manchester City Council on Bedroom Tax, Blacklisting and social housing provision.   Over the blacklist correspondence has been received that umpteen companies that had previously been involved in the blacklisting of trade unionists had written to the City Council to reassure everyone that they no-longer operated any blacklists.

Well, there's a surprise! 

Dangerous Driving & George Tapp case

THE police case against the man who drove into the picket of Manchester electricians outside the Manchester City ground in May last year, is set to take place on the 18th, June 2014.  It will be held at Manchester Crown Court.  A man has been charged with dangerous driving.

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Construction worker dies as building collapses!

1. Blacklisting safety reps costs lives

Yesterday 14th April 2014, Dainius Rupsys from Lithuania aged 33 died after a floor collapse at the former US naval building in Grosvenor Square, At least one other person has been treated for minor injuries. A spokesman for the Metropolitan Police confirmed that the man fell after a floor in the six-storey building gave way. A spokesman from the London Fire Brigade said a mini-digger on the second floor fell to the floor below, as did the two workmen. This is an appalling situation when this is the forth death in London in just a few weeks. 

Silent Vigil (flyer attached)
Thursday 17th April 2014
Grosevenor Square 

Don't forget International Workers Memorial Day 28th April 
There will be events across the country. 
Construction Safety Campaign will hand in a letter to the Qatar Embassy protesting the deaths and injuries on Qatar building sites, as it prepares for World Cup, and demanding workers' rights.
Assemble 8.30 am -9am, 1 Audley Street, W1K 1NB

Court orders ICO to give workers' personal details to blacklisting firms!

 We are publishing below the latest briefing from the Blacklist Support Group (BSG).

"High Court latest:

The blacklisting High Court claim was meant to be in court this week but because of the early retirement of the judge on the case it was postponed. We expect to be back in court in June - July. 

In another appalling twist it has been revealed that the ICO has handed over the complete list of names, addresses and national insurance numbers directly to the blacklisting firms after a court order was issued - giving them a ready made blacklist database that was supposedly going to be put out of business.  

GMB is currently taking out a High Court injunction to find out what this secret court order is all about. GMB statement reads:

"Both Pinsents Masons (firms lawyers) and the ICO have refused to give us a copy of the order claiming it is bound a practise direction of secrecy. Yesterday our lawyers attended the High Court, and Master Leslie told our lawyers that we should be allowed to see the order. Overnight the administration office of the court has refused to give us the order on the basis that it is a secret order. We have been told that the order restrict the persons or classes of persons who may obtain a copy of the order."

We didn't think this scandal could get any more murkier - it now appears that a government department has handed the blacklisting firms the most up to date contacts details of all the workers they blacklisted. And all done in secret. Literally lost for words. 

3. Compensation Scheme latest

The blacklisting firms have let it slip that they intend to unilaterally launch their own compensation scheme without the support of the unions, Blacklist Support Group or Guney Clark & Ryan solicitors. Since they first announced their scheme last year the firms have completely failed to grasp the fact that their evil conspiracy has actually affected peoples lives. They treat us now with the exact same disdain they treated us when they denied us work. 

Under the firms blacklist compensation scheme, the vast majority of workers would be entitled to £3,000 and not a single blacklisted worker will be offered a job. This is an insult to the workers whose lives they have ruined over decades. 

Blacklisting is a major human rights conspiracy that is likely to result in the firms being banned from future publicly funded contracts until such time that they come clean. If Labour wins the Election, they will be facing a big hit on their profits. But the firms, their expensive lawyers and spin doctors still think they have done nothing wrong. It is the business ethics of Don Corleone. Until they wise up, their misnamed compensation scheme is a non-starter. If the firms intend to unilaterally launch their ten bob scheme it will be without the endorsement of the Blacklist Support Group and the blacklisted workers that we represent. Any compensation scheme agreed solely by the perpetrators is not justice. BSG suggest that everyone avoids this PR stunt like the plague. 

BSG slogan is: "No talks about us - without us" 

4. Blacklist Support Group met with Christian Khan solicitors again last week after we were contacted by Operation Herne - the police investigation into undercover police spying on the Lawrence family and other activists. BSG reiterate our position that we will have nothing to do with the police investigation themselves - the interim Herne report is a total whitewash and exonerates the police of every single allegation made against them in relation to blacklisting and is in complete opposition to the information that has already been disclosed to the BSG and our lawyers by the IPCC and the ICO. 

5. Call for public Inquiry continues
The only way to get this scandal fully exposed is by a public inquiry - BSG urge all our supporters to raise the issue within their networks and with their MPs. 

6. Art against Blacklisting
BSG Artist in Residence, Thatch Mi-ous has set up a FB page for artists using blacklisting as an inspiration - any artist whether a graphic artist, painter, photographer or musician is welcome to post their work on the page. (an example attached) 

7. Agency workers walk outs
Last two weeks have seen a number of walk outs and disputes on building sites by agency workers demanding to be taken on the cards after the recent tax changes. 

8. Blacklisting is a global phenomenon 
International Union Rights magazine - Special Edition on blacklisting out now
Global union magazine read by unions, lawyers & academics - article includes blacklisting articles from Australia, Colombia, Turkey, France, the North Sea and the UK. 

Mexican migrant workers blacklisted by Canadian authorities when they joined a union:

9. Caroline Murphy - head of Murphys resignation - statement on blacklisting 

Have a good break everyone 
Keep the faith



Sins of Sir Cyril Smith!

as told in the June 2013 issue of NorthernVoices No.14: 

Printed version of Northern Voices 14 still available.

I, Cyril Smith, was born illegitimate and into poverty in Rochdale, in 1928. By my early thirties I had, via a combination of hard work and political cunning, established myself as a significant figure on the town council. It was from this base that I embarked on a series of sexual assaults on young men, over at least 30 years, in a variety of public institutions.  I used political guile and bullying to cover my tracks and evade prosecution for my crimes, and died with my public reputation largely unsullied in 2010.  
There are many parallels with the Jimmy Savile who came from Leeds. We were both ‘larger than life’ northerners with unusually strong attachments to our mothers, who were ‘too busy’ to have time for an established relationship with an adult companion, or lover.  But beneath these superficial similarities there are darker likenesses:   our attraction to pubescent youngsters; preying on those in ‘care’ institutions, and our ability to duck and dive around institutions in order to satisfy our illicit sexual desires, and abuse of the very disadvantaged youngsters we publicly professed to support.  
One significant difference between us, however, is that once ‘discovered’ in the autumn of 2012, the Savile affair led to the establishment of five separate enquiries – most notably ‘Operation Yewtree’ - to determine how the man had been able to escape prosecution for over half a century.  In my case, no such enquiry has been established.  My crimes fleetingly passed through the gaze of the press in November and December last year and have now disappeared from view, with my accomplices and protectors largely unsullied.  
Savile's crimes are now publicly laid bare; institutional failures have been identified and remedial action taken to ensure similar failings cannot recur. This has not happened in the my case:  failing bodies remain unaccountable, covers-up remain in place, negligent authorities and persons have yet to be held fully responsible for their shortcomings.  Their inactions almost certainly led to further undetected abuse and suffering and yet there has been no public apology and rectification for the incompetence/negligence and the abuses of public power that enables the weak to be preyed upon.  
What follows is a record of my exploits over my years in public life:  
This article attempts to address the Smith vacuum.The chronology below identifies Smith’s known crimes, and exposing those guilty of covering up, or preventing, the prosecution of them.  
1952:  I became Rochdale’s youngest councillor, aged 23. I became a member of the education committee, on which he sat until the mid 1970’s (chairman 1966 – 1971).  
1962:  I was by now a senior figure on Rochdale Council.   I persuaded the local Rotary Club and Round Table to co-fund the establishment of a hostel for boys and young men in the town – Cambridge House. I was supported in this by the townfs senior probation officer, and the project received a grant from the local authority.  The hostel accommodated up to 20 young males; most of whom were apprentices from a local engineering works.Smith left these boys alone.  A smaller number were teenagers who had troubled backgrounds, for whom the hostel offered a refuge, often from domestic abuse or neglect.  I, systematically, physically and sexually abused these younger boys, under the guise of administering corporal punishments and undertaking medicals.  
1964:  At the AGM of the Cambridge House  hostel, I announced:
‘We earnestly hope that we have found for the boys a home in which they can find the right moral and character-building influence'.  
1969   Lyndon Price, a relatively junior social worker with Rochdale Council reported claims that I was abusing young men at Cambridge House to the Rochdale police (the borough had its own force at the time).  I was told by Pat Ross, the then Chief Constable, that ‘it has been decided’ not to prosecute. I was a powerful politician on a council that comprised one third of the then local controlling committee of the police (the “Watch Committee”). 
(Rochdale Observer 10 February 2013).  Price later progressed to be Rochdale’s Director of Social Services, but never enjoyed good professional relations with Smith, after this police report. Cambridge House closed later that year, as funds ran out and the council refused an application for an increased grant, following Price and colleagues’ concerns about the welfare of the residents of the hostel.
1970   Cyril Smith became Mayor of Rochdale and MBE (for services to the community).  
1971   Current Rossendale Councillor, Ronald Allan Neil, complained to the Rochdale police that he had been physically assaulted by Smith in Cambridge House in 1964, when aged 11.  Nothing happened as a result: ‘everyone made the same comment that (he) was a very important, powerful man’, he told the BBC on 15 November 2012.  
1972   A former resident, who wishes to remain anonymous, told the authorities, while he was in Risley Remand Home, of my sexual abuse of Cambridge House residents.  This provoked a police enquiry into my activities there.  The enquiry lasted six months, taking evidence from a large number of witnesses, including eight former Cambridge House residents, whocomplained of being victims of physical and sexual abuse by me, together with seniorlocal politicians and council officials.  
At this time, I was an Alderman and chairman of the local education committee.  Although he had recently defected from the labour party to join the liberals (and become their candidate at the 1970 election), he called upon friend and sitting Labour MP, Jack McCann, to intervene in the inquiry and have it stopped.  McCann was a Labour whip, in the House of Commons, and politically close to the then Home Secretary, Jim Callaghan. McCann said he contacted the then Lancashire Chief Constable William Palfrey.  
The Rochdale-based policeman who conducted the enquiry, Derek Wheater, complained that his attempts to bring Smith to justice had been blocked at every turn by local politicians. (Manchester Evening News 29 November 2012).  As a result, a Whitefield-based policeman, who wishes to remain anonymous, was drafted in to help.  He told the Evening News that Smith had admitted spanking boys and felt that he would have pleaded guilty had he been brought to trial.He told the Evening News that Smith was clearly frightened and claimed felt that a trial would kill my mother. 
The Lancashire police felt there was a case to answer and the 80-page report was sent to the Director of Public Prosecutions, with recommendations for prosecution. The DPP's office has spent much of the period between then and 2012, when asked, refusing to confirm or deny whether they had received such a report. It was, however, turned around, by the then DPP, Sir Norman Skelhorn, in the remarkably quick period of eight days, marked  'No further action'. Not in the public interesth on 19 March 1970 (Guardian 16 November 2012).According to the Daily Mail, 24 November 2012, within that short period, the DPP's office was advised by a prominent external barrister that there were grounds for prosecution.
Skelhorn, himself, was an interesting and accident-prone DPP. In the course of his 12 year tenure, he gave immunity from prosecution to Britain's first super-grass, Bertie Small, in a decision the Law Lords later called a less than unholy deal While addressing the Harvard Law Society he made the rather strange statement for a law officer that when dealing with Irish terrorists any methods were justified; and he was duped by the then- apartheid security forces of South Africa into prosecuting liberal activist and later labour cabinet minister, Peter Hain, for holding up a branch of Barclays bank.  
It isn’t clear whether Skelhorn’s suspect judgment in the Smith case came about after having been leant on by politicians to drop the case or not. This was not an uncommon practice in the 1970’s, as former labour Attorney General, Sam Silkin, told the Daily Mirror on 29 September 1979.  
1969:   While council officials and senior local politicians knew of allegations of abuse by Smith to young men, Rochdale Council established Knowl View school, under Smith’s leadership, as chairman of the education committee. Knowl View was a residential school for up to 48 emotionally and behaviourally disturbed boys, and was to be the centre of allegations of sexual abuse for its 25 years of existence.Smith was a governor of the school for much of this time. Precisely how long is difficult to establish, as a Freedom of Information inquiry to Rochdale Council, from Chris Paul, discovered in 2009. He wished to know precisely this, and the council refused to provide an answer over a period of seven months, involving 11 pieces of correspondence.  
June 1970 Smith was defeated, by McCann, in general election, as MP for Rochdale.  
1970 Michael Steed became a 12-year old resident of Knowl View, where he stayed for five years. He later became a senior Roman Catholic cleric and confident to Tony Blair. In his autobiography Nobodyfs Child, published in 2008, he made several very explicit references to the sexual abuse of boys at Knowl View, and the fact that some of them were ensnared in a rent boy racket. Only one conviction ever transpired, of former teacher David Higgins, in 2002, some 30 years after his crimes there.  
October 1972:   Smith elected in by-election, MP for Rochdale for the first time, following death of McCann. 
'The early 1970’s' A referral to the DPP relating to Smith 'over an allegation or allegations relating to indecent obscene publications'. Evidence of this emerged in a statement by the CPS on 6 December 2012. In what was an unintended, heavily ironic statement the CPS said that they were making public this referral 'in the interests of openness and transparency'. With barely a gasp for breath the office maintained 'there are no files in our possession that relate to (this)...we are therefore unable to determine ... if any action was taken.'  
February 1974:   Inconclusive result to general election.Both conservative and labour parties in discussions with liberals over forming possible coalition/pact.  A copy of the Smith child abuse file was taken by Special Branch officers to London, as part of security clearance of any MPs likely to be involved in the formation of the new government, and not returned to Preston. The later leader of the liberal party, David Steel, denied knowledge of this in January2013 Private Eye.  
1976 Paul Foulston, detective constable from Thames Valley police, while working on a routine murder investigation, went to a remand centre to interview a suspect (who was later eliminated from enquiries) when he was intercepted by two special branch officers, who told him not to proceed with his interview as they were 'working on an enquiry relating to an MP'. Foulston ignored their instruction and interviewed the young man, who told him in graphic detail how Smith preferred sex with young men and discarded them when their physiology changed. 'It was totally revolting', Foulston told the Guardian on 16 November 2012, 'he must have mentioned it to the prison authorities, and they must have told special branch.'  
1976:  Liberal party leader, Jeremy Thorpe is embroiled in a bizarre story regarding a jilted gay lover, a shot dog and attempted murder.Thorpe was hounded by the press and Smith at the time was his chief whip.He was less than supportive to Thorpe, despite his own past, and provided the press with unhelpful gossip about Thorpe.  
1977: By now Steel was leader of the liberal party and there were renewed discussion between the labour government and the liberals over the formation of a mutual assistance pact. Lancashire special branch officer, Tony Robinson, received a call from MI5, asking him to send a copy of their Smith file to London, because, according to Robinson he “was being investigated for a position at the top table”. (Manchester Evening News 29 November 2012). David Steel denied all knowledge of this, to Private Eye in January 2013.
1977 Smith’s ghosted autobiography, Big Cyril, inexplicably, mentions none of the above.  
1978/79:  Rochdale’s Alternative Paper (RAP), a small community magazine in the town decided to investigate what lay behind the rumours of the “Smith story” that had circulated in political circles in the town for a decade. In the course of the six month investigation, the paper interviewed more than 30 people, including seven former residents of Cambridge House, senior local politicians and police officers and council officials, all on an “off the record” basis, about my activities at the hostel.  
Having had every word of the story they published libel-read by three independent sets of lawyers, each on a pro-bono basis, RAP published a 2,000 word account of Smith’s sexual and physical abuse of teenage boys at Cambridge House. This included quotes from some of the victims – anonymously- taken from the affidavits they had sworn, for the paper. The magazine had sought a response from Smith prior to publication, but he offered none. It sought the views of the then leader of the liberal party, David Steel, to the article, and published the answer they received from his press secretary:  'It is not a very friendly gesture, publishing that.All he seems to have done is spanked a few bare bottoms.'  
Smith slapped a gagging writ on the magazine, which he never pursued. Almost all major news organisations in the country purchased copies of the magazine, but Smith threatened all who approached him about the story with libel.  
Private Eye was the only national publication to cover, and repeat the allegation (Eye 454). Smith took no action. He increased his majority in the general election a week after the RAP story appeared, and the matter faded away from the public view.  
1979:  Chris Marshall, an eight-year old resident at Knowl View was forced to perform a sex act on me (Independent 28 November 2012).  
1980:  Smith took a 16 year-old youth, with an unhappy family background, under his wing and groomed him.The young man was a young liberal and Smith encouraged his political activity, impressed him with his contacts and implied that he could help the boy further his political career.He also began to sexually molest the youngster, including on one occasion in his office in parliament, while senior politicians, including then leader of the labour party, Michael Foot passed by on the other side of the closed door. In the course of the abusive relationship, Smith bragged to the young man that he had evaded conviction over the Cambridge House assaults, which the man took to imply that it would be a waste of his time if ever he complained about Smith. (Guardian 30 November 2012). The abuse was not reported, or acted upon, at the time, although the man in question, now a Greater Manchester businessman with four children, has now given statements about it to the Greater Manchester police and Rochdale MP, Simon Danczuk.  
Dr Alison Fraser, child psychologist at Rochdale’s Birch Hill hospital raised concerns of “inappropriate sexual behaviour” at Knowl View school, and found it difficult to believe that staff there were not aware of it.
1988:  Smith was knighted for political services. Always a member of the awkward, but vain, squad, his nomination by liberal leader David Steel, ensured that he did not rock the boat during the delicate merger talkers between the liberal and social democrat parties, that led to the creation of today’s liberal democrat party.
The Political Honours Scrutiny Committee was established following corrupt practices by Lloyd George in relation to the award of “political” honours, in the 1920s. Its explicit purpose is to ensure that they are only awarded to fit and proper people, after an appropriate investigation. Serious questions must be laid at their door.  Did they conduct an inquiry into Smith, before his knighthood was awarded? If so, did it not uncover the various police complaints and security service investigations about the man? If it did, how were they still satisfied that he was a fit and proper person to receive a knighthood? Etc.  
September 1990:  An adult male intruder had sexual contact with a number of boys at Knowl View school, and their cries for help went unheard. One pupil claimed to have been raped and another forced to perform oral sex. (Independent 10 September 1995).
1991:  Phil Sheppard, a Rochdale council HIV worker, reported concerns of male prostitution at Knowl View school to the education authorities and was told to stop circulating his report on the matter. (Independent 11 September 1993).
1992:  Rochdale’s director of education, Diana Cavanagh, conducted an inquiry into Knowl View. Her report included the redacted name of an adult implicated. No prosecution followed.
1992 Smith retired as MP and was given Freedom of the Borough of Rochdale
1993 Rochdale liberal councillor, John Heyworth, was convicted of indecently assaulting a 14-year old girl. He refused to resign from the council’s children’s sub- committee, and Smith publicly defended his right to remain on it (Eye 817).
1994 Martin Digan, head of care at Knowl View, became suspicious when he established that Smith had keys made, giving him 24-hour access to the school (as he had done previously at Cambridge House and as Savile had done in a number of institutions). Digan handed a dossier alleging sexual abuse of about a quarter of the school’s residents to education and police officials. No apparent action was taken, although Dignan was made redundant the following year.
1995 Knowl View school partially burned down in a fire apparently caused by some of the pupils (Seed’s Nobody’s Child), and school finally closed shortly afterwards.
1998 During the course of a police investigation into allegations of child sex abuse in a home in Wales, a Cambridge House victim rang a helpline number and complained once again of his treatment at the hands of Smith, at Cambridge House,in the 1960s. The police referred the matter to the CPS. They took no action, despite the fact that one of their records of the referral, or the outcome to it. They did not, however, say that the DPP does not have any such records.
“1980’s”  According to the Independent on Sunday (27 January 2013), two boys, under the age of 16 identified Smith as a user of rent boys at the Elm Guest House, in Barnes, London.  The boys were in local authority care. Detectives, in 2013, were re-examining what they believe their lawyers said there was a case for a prosecution, on the grounds that there was nothing new in the complaint and that Smith had been told in 1970 that he would not be prosecuted.
1999 Police referred another file to the CPS about Smith’s behaviour at Cambridge House, this time including statements of two new witnesses and victims. Despite the fact that this clearly was new evidence, the CPS once more refused to act. Serious questions must be asked about the efficacy of this decision.  Was it negligence, incompetence, or continued evidence of a cover up?
The revelations about the 1998 and 1999 police references to the CPS emerged from a rapidly released statement in November last year. The Manchester Evening News noted ‘dug out damning evidence of abuse as well as testimony from officers recommending prosecutions.’ (28 November 2012). 
2002 Only known prosecution for any of the abuse, outlined above, when former Knowl View teacher, David Higgins jailed for 12 month, on 11 counts of sexual abuse of boys at Knowl View, in the 1970s. 
September 2010 Smith died.  
November 2012:  Following revelations in the Savile scandal, Private Eye republished details of the 1979 Cambridge House story. Some of the hostel’s victims spoke to Paul Waugh, of,  publicly for the first time.  Barry Fitton repeated, on the record, almost verbatim, what he told RAP in 1979. Eddie Sharrock, whom RAP had identified, but not contacted in 1979, spoke out for the first time, about abuse in the home. Rochdale MP, Simon Danczuk raised the issue in  Parliament. New witnesses emerged, statements were made by Greater Manchester police and the CPS, attempting to explain past deficiencies.  
Sources close to the current Greater Manchester Police inquiry ... said that the CPS statement had been released as a face-saving exercise because of the intense pressure from former detectives who worked on the case ... (they) had.  But serious questions remain – to a number of major public institutions - that this article has sought to contextualise and pose.
Most culpable of all is Rochdale Council. Although Smith had been a senior member, they ignored rumours and accusations of his conduct at both Cambridge House hostel and Knowl View school for over 40 years, during which time, they gave him the freedom of the borough. They are still dragging their feet over child abuse.  In December 2012 Ofsted described their child protection services as being “troubled” and “inadequate”, and a month later Simon Danczuk hit out at their dithering over the publication of a report concerning the child-sex grooming activities in the borough, which resulted in eight convictions in June 2012. (Community Care, 30 January 2013).
Next, the Director of Public Prosecutions. Their office has evaded questions on Smith’s activities for over 30 years.  They have failed to give an adequate explanation of what lay behind the decision not to prosecute in 1970, nor have they accounted for their inability to deal with the Cambridge House allegations in 1998 and 1999, despite the fact that new evidence had been submitted to them. They have rather pathetically shielded behind the CPS in failing to explain why they did not act against the obscene publications and bribery allegations brought against Smith in the 1970s and 1980s.
The Political Honours Scrutiny Committee has questions to ask about its lack of scrutiny over the award of a knighthood to Smith in 1988. 
Both the Labour Party and Liberal Party have questions to answer about attempted covers-up of Smiths crimes, and turning a blind eye to them for political advantage.
Both the Lancashire and Greater Manchester police, together with the independent press emerge with some credit, over these 40 plus years.  The police have been dogged in their enquiries and pursuit of Smith, on at least five occasions.  On each one, interventions from above, or from the DPP’s office has prevented prosecution.  It has been the efforts of the minority press: RAP, Private Eye and PoliticsHome, together with a small north-west magazine, Northern Voices that has kept this story alive for 40 years.
Smith is dead and cannot be prosecuted, but his victims deserve public apologies from the authorities who ignored his abuses. Their abuse will continue to be ridiculed and marginalised by national and local political establishments for as long as Smith remains a knight of the realm, and a freeman of Rochdale.