Friday, 16 May 2014

Jim Dobbin gives backing to Council Enquiry

LABOUR MP Jim Dobbin has given his support to the joint enquiry of Greater Manchester Police (GMP) and Rochdale Council into the claims of a cover up over Cyril Smith's links at the former Knowl View Children's Home in the 1980s an 1990s.  This comes amid recent suggestions by another local Labour MP that the Rochdale Council will be investigating itself.

A letter in tomorrow's Rochdale Observer from Les May entitled 'CYRIL BOOK BEEFED UP', and suggesting that the authors of the Simon Danczuk book 'effectively draw on only three sources' and 'conflate two issues which really need to be kept separate':  these are 'the contents of the reports sent to council officials regarding sexual activity between boys and youths at Knowl View School, who received the reports and what action they took...' and so on; and the 'second quite separate issue [as to] whether there is any evidence that Cyril Smith engaged in sexual activity with a pupil at Knowl View or any other school'.

This suggestion that Simon Danczuk and his colleague Matthew Baker, have carelessly extrapolated on of the solid evidence produced  in the publication Rochdale Alternative Paper (RAP) in their research of the inappropriate behaviour of Cyril Smith at Cambridge House Hostel for lads and published in May 1979, to go onto build a bigger story that has yet to substantiated by the facts is quite serious.  There is expected to be a parliamentary Home Affairs Select Committee enquiry next month, and already some reviewers in the media have suggested that the book 'Smile for the Camera:  The Double Life of Cyril Smith' by Simon Danczuk and Matthew Baker is a rush job, poorly researched using few identifiable sources, badly written and uneven.

None of this is helped by the fact that there appears to be a struggle within the Rochdale Labour Party for dominance between different factions.  This seems to have been the case for some time.  What is important here is to establish the facts and to separate what is known from gossip and speculation, and to avoid the serious issues of child abuse becoming a political football in a smelly little faction fight within the Labour Party.

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