Saturday, 14 April 2018

The Benefits of 20-20 Hindsight

by Les May

OSTENSIBLY Simon Danczuk’s 2014 bookSmile for the Camera’ is about the sexual peccadillos of his predecessor Cyril Smith.  But a careful reading shows that the intent was to so closely associate Smith’s antics with the Liberal-Democrats that the party became permanently unelectable in Rochdale so securing a safe Labour seat for Danczuk for as long as he wanted it.

It is something of an irony that the major casualty from the fall out from all the hares that Danczuk set running in the book is Richard Farnell, until recently Leader of Rochdale Council and a supporter of Danczuk long after the latter had reached his sell by date’ as an MP.

Perhaps fearing that it will suffer in the May elections from the bad publicity the Labour party has suspended Farnell after the report of the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse said he had lied to the Inquiry.

It should however be pointed out that the report is quite liberal in its criticism of quite a number of the people trying to make decisions about how to deal with what was happening at Knowl View in the years around 1990.  Paul Rowen, who followed Farnell as Leader of the Council after May 1992, Ian Davey, Director of Social Services and Diana Cavanagh, Director of Education, are all criticised to varying degrees, which makes it all the more surprising that at one point the report refers to some of Rochdale Council’s beleaguered officers’.

Twenty-twenty hindsight is wonderful thing especially when viewing events from a distance of a quarter of a century or more.  The sheer volume of detail presented in the Report of the Investigation makes it appear unlikely that any one person could have grasped the complexity of the issues at the time.

No doubt we shall be told lessons will be learned’ and we shall hear even more of the new mantra of safeguarding’, which seems to be a codeword for taking even more children into care when the money might be better spent on supporting their parents in their own home. Some of the children taken into care after the Middleton Satanic Abuse panic ended up at Knowl View for a time.

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