Saturday, 7 March 2015

Harvey Proctor: Fly Swatting

Needless to say the media had been tipped off. The BBC bulletin that morning said: “Police investigating allegations of an establishment paedophile ring have searched the home of former Conservative MP Harvey Proctor... fined in 1987 for gross indecency.” As it happens that was Alan Turing’s crime in 1952.

Mr Proctor’s comment may not surprise you: “I do not think I’ve been oversensitive in thinking that there is an element of guilt by association in your report.” In fact the police haven’t even suggested Proctor is a suspect, but he has now been cornered into denying what nobody has alleged — triggering a new round of media headlines “Harvey Proctor denies . . .” etc. Kafkaesque is precisely the word.

I watched the BBC’s footage (some of it filmed from a helicopter) when Cliff Richard’s place was raided in his absence and without his knowledge, after an exclusivity deal had been done between the police and the BBC: footage the corporation then had the impertinence to enter for a Royal Television Society award. I’ve never met Cliff Richard — but heaven knows some astonishing unlikelihoods have turned out to be true in other cases — so I said nothing.

I followed the year’s hell the broadcaster Paul Gambaccini went through after his arrest on suspicion of historical sex offences as part of Operation Yewtree (dropping him as my guest on my Great Lives radio series) until, finally, no charges were brought. I do know Mr Gambaccini slightly and seriously doubted there’d be anything in this — but, heaven knows, etc — so I said nothing.
I was a friend of Harvey Proctor during his ordeals; and if Harvey (a very private man who never talked about his homosexuality even to me as a fellow-gay, fellow-Tory MP, but has had, so far as I know, not the remotest interest in children) was ever involved in a “ring of top people”, then I’ll eat my hat. But, heaven knows, etc . . .

Or, rather, no: this time I’ll say something. I think the story’s absolute b****cks. The comment about Mr Proctor from the MP-turned-witchfinder-general John Mann, that “the police have said they will go where the evidence takes them and that’s exactly what they should do” is disgraceful. What evidence? Does Mr Mann know of any here? I very much doubt the police do. This is nothing to do with evidence: it’s the police canteen culture talking: “He’s gay, he’s got a conviction, a loner and he was an MP, hey — let’s check him out. And tell the media. Who knows — maybe someone will ring in.”...
A rightly and righteously impassioned piece by Matthew Parris in The Times.

It was well-known while he was alive that Cyril Smith was guilty of the most heinous crimes against boys,  and he was allowed to get away with it, but the Dolphin Square story sounds like complete fantasy.

Or, as Mr Parris so eloquently puts it, 'absolute bollocks'.

1 comment:

  1. Couldn't agree more. In what other area are the police allowed to say - 'we've had an unsubstantiated accusation made against this guy. If you feel he might've committed an offence against you too then we'd like to hear from you. No hurry, just whenever. Don't worry about not having any evidence either, we'll sort that.'? None - in no other area can they get away with fishing for accusations like this.