Sunday, 27 January 2013

Sunday People: Hotel Vacancy

The Sunday People used to be quite a good tabloid, as British tabloids go.
A sister paper to the Mirror, it used to do old-fashioned things like investigative journalism.
Not just silly kiss-and-tell and MP-caught-with-his-pants-down stories, but regularly exposing crooks and villains in business great and small.
Now it's mainly football, babes and showbiz gossip, and all done badly.
Today we are promised an "exclusive" - though the story comes from website Exaro; Paedo Brothel Advertised In Tory Leaflet: Party's gay link to guest house.
In fine, a gay-friendly small hotel in London once advertised in a tiny newsletter published by the Conservative Group For Homosexual Equality. 
In 1982, the owners of Elm Guest House in south London were convicted of running a "disorderly house" - meaning male prostitutes had worked there, basically.
A cynic might ask if there is a hotel in London not regularly visited by prostitutes.
Now, "Operation Fernbridge is investigating claims that boys who were in council care were brought to the Elm to be sexually abused by bigwigs and VIPs.
"It was launched after Labour MP Tom Watson claimed a paedophile ring used top-level connections to dodge justice..."
Such allegations have been doing the rounds via conspiracy theorists, Westminster village gossips and the wilder shores of the internet for decades.
Big names are invariably dropped - and are also invariably dead; Blunt, Heath, Cyril Smith, your funny uncle Tom Cobley and all...
The People teases readers with a blind list; "Among the names are two former Conservative Cabinet ministers and four other senior Tories.
"There is also a Labour MP, a prominent Irish republican and a leading National Front member.
"Others on the handwritten note are two members of the royal household – one a former Buckingham Palace employee – plus the owner of a multinational company and two pop stars."
They are terrible accusations - and they are only accusations at the moment - though tragically it wouldn't be surprising if it turns out children from a care home were being systematically sexually abused, and the establishment drew ranks to look after their own.
But this advert is hardly a smoking gun. 

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