Monday, 4 January 2016

Simon Danczuk: A Reputation Built on Sand?

by Les May
THE myth of Simon Danczuk the heroic martyr persecuted by the 'Corbinistas' in his party seems to be coming to an end at the hands of the very newspapers which allowed him to promote it.  How long will it be before the myths that he is especially knowledgeable about historic abuse and that he 'outed' Cyril Smith go the same way?

Danczuk has rightly been praised for his efforts of draw attention to the contemporary phenomenon of 'grooming' of teenage girls for sexual purposes by gangs.  But his reputation as an expert on historic abuse is built entirely upon the book 'Smile for the Camera' published in April 2014 and which supposedly details the activities of the late Cyril Smith. 

Careful study of this book fails to reveal any indication either of a systematic methodology having been followed in collecting 'evidence' or of transcripts of interviews being made.  There is no time-line or chronology in the book.  Supposedly verbatim accounts of the words of two of men assaulted by Smith in the 1960s are given which bear a remarkable similarity to three accounts published in 1979 by journalists David Bartlett and John Walker.  At no time are we told how many 'victims' the authors interviewed whilst writing the book and when questioned Mr Danczuk has resolutely refused to tell us.  One of his most extravagant claims, that Smith was stopped by Northamptonshire police in the 1980s and found to have child pornography in the boot of his car but was released following a 'phone call' to London, has been shown to be without foundation.  Commenting on this, the Police and Crime Commissioner Alan Simmonds said his force had been maligned and should expect an apology.

Perhaps after the latest revelations about what Danczuk is really like, journalists in the mainstream press will start to look a little closer at the accuracy of the claims made in 'Smile for the Camera' instead if taking it for granted.  I'm not holding my breath.  Since the book was published I've contacted Steve Richards of the Independent, Daniel Finkelstein of The Times, Randeep Ramesh of the Guardian and Francis Wheen of Private Eye to suggest they take a closer look at the book.  None have shown any interest which is a bit surprising since they are all well respected journalists.

They could start with something simple like 'How many men who claimed to have been abused by Smith did you interview before writing your book Mr Danczuk?' 

I've been asking him this for years and still can't get an answer. 


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