…but doesn’t consider the charges credible. What?

Jennifer James seemed for a while to have disappeared off the blogosphere radar, but she was back with a bang three days ago – having received a reply to her FOI request from the Home Office. The May or May not response (to an enquiry about HO personnel involved in child sex abuse cases) bears the genuine hallmarks of a class-act illusionist trapeze routine involving obfuscation, double-talk, smoke, mirrors, and odd conclusions. These are the highlights:

* In April 2013 the Independent Investigator produced an Interim Report on contacts [about] child abuse between the late Geoffrey Dickens MP and the Home Office. This Final Report addresses the remaining terms of reference of the Review and covers all relevant material held by the Home Office for the period 1979 to 1999. The Review has not identified any additional material relating to matters covered in the Interim Report. (For a period of time during the earlier part of this era, Leon Brittan was the Home Secretary.)

* The April report identified 4 cases of child sex abuse involving Home Office staff. None of the staff were “directly” involved in the abuse, but all four were dismissed as a result of the incidents, and the police were not informed. And get this: the investigator “considers that the remaining 4 items of information are likely to be of limited value, as they are either of doubtful credibility or involve the use of a single profile indicator to identify a potential offender.” Er….the charges are of doubtful credibility, but the miscreants were fired – and the police were kept out of it. Perhaps this is standard procedure at the Home Office, but it strikes me as odd. And what does ‘not directly’ involved mean – they were pimping?

* The Review identified 11 centrally recorded files from the 1980s relating to the Paedophile Information Exchange, all of which had been destroyed. But there’s absolutely nothing to worry about here, because “the Investigator has concluded that their destruction was consistent with applicable record retention policies”. What might these be, we wonder. Classic stuff.

* It seems that the Independent Investigator is satisfied that the Home Office did pass on to the appropriate authorities any information received about child abuse in the period 1979 to 1999 “which was credible and which had any realistic potential for further investigation”. But, um, not Geoffrey Dickens’ dossier…which turned out to be about Elm House, and (let’s not beat about the bush here) true. However, elsewhere in this liberal use of one-coat-cover Dulux brilliant white, we read that “The Review identified one file containing copies of details of allegations relating to a previous Police investigation into alleged child sex abuse. It is clear that the documents were considered by both Police and Prosecutors at the time but they may have some relevance to an ongoing Police investigation into historic cases of abuse”.

So: this one case was considered but not acted upon….even though the latest investigation recommends in the April report that “material from one file containing details of allegations previously investigated by Police is referred to a current Police investigation into allegations of historic child sex abuse”. It is in fact the same file. It would be good to know (a) the period to which it relates (b) whether it involved Elm House and (c) whether the name Leon Brittan crops up or (d) whether Mr Brittan read the file and recommended a particular course of action.

Jennifer James is smart. I’d love to know what her analysis of all this is. Apart from that, I guess the only thing I wonder is whether Theresa May knows which way Tuesday opens a boiled egg, and whether Marble Arch is made of cream cheese or pigeon sh*t.

Might it be time for Ms James, I wonder, to ask Tom Watson whether another PMQ might be in order? Or perhaps someone else, because Tom is a bit distracted by his Aussie Digger duties at the minute. The Australian (Murdoch-owned) had a blast at Tom two days ago, but was forced to dredge the bottom of the barrel by turning to the Mail’s Simon ’49 and look 103′ Heffer. I’m on the record many times as saying that Mr Watson is indeed very tribalist and sometimes has double standards, but we are most of us curate’s eggs…as opposed to a 100 year-old Chinese rotten egg a la Rupprecht Murder.

Anyway, The Aussie rips into Watson, thus proving in full what Merdeschlock testified to the CM&S Committee last year: “I have never used my papers to further my interests”. You remember that day: it was the where Roop slammed his open palm on the table several times, and then bellowed, “THIS IS THE MOST HUMBLE DAY O’ MOIY LOIFE!”