Paul Gambaccini, Jimmy Savile, Newscorp, Jeremy Hunt, the Met Police, Alistair McAlpine & Grant Shapps: how one BBC mistake allowed the Establishment to evade guilt

gotcha1finalgotcha3finalNow that the openly gay Paul Gambaccini has been arrested and questioned relating to charges of “past sexual offences” I think it’s time to nail some colours to the mast on this one.

I have felt for nearly a year now that – whatever one might feel about the BBC one way or the other – the attack on its alleged sexual depravity is nothing less than dirty Establishment tricks. The last time I spoke to a valued source about this was over six months ago, but the remark made at the time turns out to have been hugely prescient: Gambaccini was one of the names mentioned as being “outspoken in private” about what was really going on. (As it happens, Jeremy Paxman was another: but he’s probably far too erudite for the Met to dare having a go at.)

Gambaccini’s big mistake was to join in a Radio Five broadcast on November 12th 2012, just as the news was breaking. He made two crucial points which have since been totally ignored by the MSM….but were (it is alleged) immediately spotted by those keen to destroy the BBC. The points made by the DJ were:

1. None of the alleged offences now being use to slur the BBC took place on BBC premises, so it is difficult to see what the BBC has to apologise about.

2. Savile’s particular predilection was for mentally sub-normal minors. This is so far out of the mainstream of paedophilia as to be almost homeoaepathic in its incidence. If you read the data (which pols and hacks never do) you will see that over 80% of all recorded cases take place entirely within private families. Surely there is more of a case for damning the mental care sector rather than the BBC in the Savile case…and a strong case for the cops to follow up domestic incidence rather than just looking away. There’s a relevant reason for the last observation: Savile I am now convinced was abused by his father as a minor. Join up the dots.

Paul Gambiccini has been fitted up here, and there’s a reasonable chance that, at long last, some of the less rabidly Conservative-supporting press might actually get off the celebrity phone line and look into it. Rather than mumbling complete denials and then walking off, Paul has already had this to say:

“On Monday night, 28 October, I attended an excellent production of the Kander and Ebb musical, the Scottsboro Boys, at the Young Vic theatre. It concerned a group of black men in Alabama in the 1930s who were falsely accused of sexual offences. Within hours, I was arrested by Operation Yewtree. Nothing had changed, except this time there was no music.”

Perhaps Plod has chosen a bridge too far this time. The Gay Community, for example, will be all over this incident like a rash. But what we have to do here is look at a straightforward sequence of events going back to the accusations made against Lord McAlpine, then at what happened immediately before that….and since. Case histories tend to be long and bitter, but public memories are short and sweet. Somebody somewhere high up in the Met Police and the Conservative Party is gambling on that always being the case.

On 2nd November 2012, McAlpine was mistakenly implicated in the North Wales child abuse scandal, after the BBC Newsnight TV programme accused an unnamed “senior Conservative” of abuse. McAlpine was widely rumoured on Twitter and other social media to be the person in question. The damage was caused in part by the publication on Twitter of material which linked him to the unidentified individual mentioned in the broadcast.  Lord McAlpine was entitled to have his reputation restored. But he chose to sue the BBC, not Twitter…even though he then made great play of successfully suing prominent Labour supporter and Speaker’s wife Sally Bercow about her actions on Twitter.

McAlpine duly got a grovelling apology from the BBC on 10 November 2012. In addition, he was entitled to substantial damages to compensate him for the damage to his reputation, his distress at the accusation and to provide him with “vindication”.  The BBC agreed to pay him £185,000 – a sum which a legal/media specialist website at the time described as “well in excess of the ‘going rate’ that would be awarded by a court”. But this wasn’t enough for Chemical Ali: he pursued ITV “for £500,000″, and claimed he would bring claims against “10,000 Twitter users“.

Looking at the ITV/Twitter and of this:

1. His claim that viewers could see his name on the list handed to David Cameron by Philip Schofield on an ITV Breakfast programme was nothing short of risible, and legal opinion I consulted at the time told me, “It is ridiculous to suggest that any viewer beyond Superman could see Alistair’s name on the list….there really is no case to answer here”. This was from my own in-house freebie legal advisor; he has never been wrong in three years of working with him.

2. McAlpine’s claim for damages against half a million Twitter users was silly and impractical, and in the end came to naught…but not before some mugs had coughed up money to McAlpine’s solicitor Reid, whose threats quite clearly defied every rule given by the Law Society in such cases. His Lordship did, however, win against Bercow, a result another legal contact (a judge, as it happens) called “a potion of ineptitude and incompetence accompanied by a strong odour of interference”. Almost the entire population of left-wing tweeters nevertheless headed for the hills, leaving a trail of erasure behind them.

My opinion – and that’s all it is – would be that this was a turning point for members of the Conservative Party’s Sh*t wing. At was a moment when they finally became convinced they could get away with anything. For example, given an open opportunity to confess to how the BBC’s mistake had occurred, Lord McAlpine answered on Radio 4, “I’ve really no idea…well, I have some idea, but I don’t want to go into that”.

jimmac  It’s not hard to see why Alistair didn’t want to, one could suggest: the gentleman to your left there is McAlpine’s distant cousin Jimmy, a man whose infamy when it comes to child sodomy was and is well known in both Wrexham and Chester. At the time, I rang the Beeb twice begging them not to run with the Newsnight piece, because the mistake was obvious to anyone closely acquainted with the case. But that’s the dark side of the BBC, I’m afraid: once the liberal morons get the scent in the nostrils, there’s no dissuading them.

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Let’s stay with the timeline. In September and October 2012, almost a year after his death, claims were widely publicised that Jimmy Savile had committed sexual abuse, his alleged victims ranging from prepubescent girls and boys to adults. By 11 October 2012 allegations had been made to 13 British police forces, and this led to the setting-up of inquiries into practices at the BBC and within the National Health Service. (You will note that nowt, zilch and diddly-squat has emerged from the NHS ‘enquiries’. But then, the NHS isn’t an allegedly hostile broadcaster, merely a victim).

Unlike Gambaccini, Savile’s mistake was to be dead. His other problem, I feel on balance, was that he was almost certainly guilty of at least some of the things of which he was accused.The point is, he was a large and famous target. As for the ‘wide publication’ of claims against him, an ITV documentary, Exposure: The Other Side of Jimmy Savile, researched and presented by Mark Williams Thomas, a police investigator on the 2001 Jonathan King child-sex prosecution, was broadcast on 3 October 2012. ITV is, of course, a competitor of the BBC. But anyway, following the broadcast of the ITV documentary, the real rush began, as hundreds of self-assigned ‘victims’ came forward to make allegations.

Many bloggers (most notably Anna Raccoon) have since used extremely well-researched posts to prove beyond much doubt that a huge proportion of these latter claimants were what the cops are wont to call ‘bounty hunters’. But curiously enough, this wasn’t the way the UK press pack played it.

Equally odd is that they didn’t at first want to know about it. Miles Goslett was the first journalist to air allegations of child abuse involving Savile in a piece for The Oldie magazine in February 2012. All seven Fleet Street majors rebuffed his story.

But back then, the landscape wasn’t what it had become by October of that year. Barely a month after the Goslett piece, Rebekah Brooks was arrested on charges of conspiracy to pervert Justice. Then during April, James Murdoch gave some damning testimony about Jeremy Hunt, QC Peter Jay at one point asserting, ““It’s pretty clear you were receiving information on the lines the UK government on the whole would be supportive of News Corp.” Murdoch Jr then admitted Hunt had told him he “personally had no issues” with the bid, an entirely improper thing for a Minister of the Crown to admit to a senior executive involved in a takeover under his personal review.

In May, I reported how Plod was now going into overdrive on Hackgate. Murdoch was clearly feeling cornered, and shareholders in the US were beginning to question whether Big M’s family were the fit and proper sort. Finally, on 31st May Andy Coulson was arrested, and the link between Newscorp and the Prime Minister was thus made even more obvious.

Rupert Murdoch had already lost the News of the World and the BSkyB bid. Now he saw his political influence close to the point of extinction. Things were looking very dark indeed for two organisations that had been (and still were) corruptly involved with one another: Newscorp and the Conservative Party. By 12th June, Cameron had to defend Hunt against widespread MP outcry on the BSkyB issue, with their Coalition LibDem allies withdrawing their support from the Culture Secretary. Cameron himself was branded a liar for persistently evading questions about his Boxing Day lunch the previous year with senior Newscorp executives.

But in many ways, things were looking even worse for the senior bods in the Metropolitan Police. By mid 2012, so many Met Officers had obvious links to Newscorp, it was blatantly clear that at the very least there was a conflict of interest involved.

Andy Hayman – A former Chief Constable of Norfolk Constabulary and Assistant Commissioner for Specialist Operations at London’s Metropolitan Police, resigned in December 2007 following allegations about expense claims and alleged improper conduct with a female member of the Independent Police Complaints Commission. During Operation Caryatid, the investigation into the interception of phone messages at Clarence House by journalists from the News of the World, the officer in charge of the investigation reported to Andy Hayman.  Hayman told the Home Affairs Select Committee in July 2011 that he had met with News International executives during the investigation, something he considered as not unusual as it would have been odd if he had cancelled the dinner. Andy Hayman went on to work for News International as a columnist for The Times.

John Yates – A former Assistant Commissioner in the London Metropolitan Police Service, resigned in July 2011 over criticism of a July 2009 review of Operation Caryatid, in which he decided in one 8 hour sessions that there was no fresh material that could lead to convictions. Yates received further criticism when it was revealed that he, Sir Ian Blair, Andy Hayman, and Paul Stephenson had attended a number of meals with representative from various News International newspaper titles around the time of the review.
Then, in May 2012 a report into phone hacking by the House of Commons select committee found that John Yates and Keri Starmer were culpable for failing to properly investigate evidence of phone hacking when it was first brought to their attention during the Operation Caryatid investigation.
Paul Stephenson – The former Metropolitan Police Commissioner, resigned after questions were asked about his relationship with former News International journalist Neil Wallis, who was arrested in July 2011 as part of Operation Weeting. It was revealed that Paul Stephenson had met or dined with Neil Wallis on eight separate occasions between 2006 and 2010, more than any senior executive or journalist on any other newspapers, and that he had accepted £12,000-worth of hospitality at a health spa. Stephenson later resigned.
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On 28th September 2012, the Guardian trailed the ITV documentary about Savile of which I made mention earlier. On 9th October 2012, the Telegraph ran a piece saying ‘Police are investigating claims that Jimmy Savile abused young women on a national scale over a 50 year period’. By the end of the sordid revelations, the police were claiming that Savile ‘had groomed a nation’….and Newscorp took that opportunity to run the line word for word on both its Sun and Times front pages the next day….the only time this has ever happened.
A rash of Tory MPs immediately started asking aggressive questions to both a delighted Prime Minister and reporters elsewhere. By 23rd October, Daily Telegraph columnist Cristina Odone couldn’t resist triumphalism as she wrote ‘The Beeb gloated over Hackgate. It’s trembling now’ as the headline to her piece, which continued, ‘its DG, George Entwistle, is being grilled by the Culture and Media Commons Select Committee, about the corporation’s handling of the Jimmy Savile scandal. The last time the Committee was under the spotlight was during Hackgate, when Rupert Murdoch and his son came under fire for the telephone hacking and bribery carried out by their NewsCorp employees…’
Interesting connection made: job done. Odone concluded, ‘Only if the Corporation truly cleans out its filthy stables will we, the public, forgive it.’ So then, not exactly sitting on the fence as she noted how the stable door was closed, but inside she was sure it was filthy. Columnists of the Right like Odone hate the BBC: those trying to distract attention from the Newscorp-Tory-Bent copper axis were thus pushing at an open door. Probably to the stables.
Here we have three major institutional players, all in deep poo. And bubbling under the Newscorp sleaze was a recurring story alleging a penchant for paedophilia in the Conservative Party. Prominent among these were accusations against two former Cabinet Minister associates of Margaret Thatcher. The Met, Newscorp and the Tory seniors had both a proven means – and obvious motive – to shift attention away from them and towards the BBC.
One or two of the more street-wise BBC management I suspect saw this for what it was….and very probably the Newsnight fiasco was at least in part their attempt to fight back. But the BBC team made a fatal mistake in misidentifying  the accused. Speaking on the phone from my home in Devon at the time to a former Sunday newspaper editor close to the saga, I was not surprised to hear him remark, “The bloody Beeb have f**ked it up for the rest of us”. As indeed they had.
It was time for the student of Machiavelli and master tactician Alistair McAlpine to make the most of the opportunity thrown unexpectedly at his feet. I have written elsewhere (and never received so much as a warning, let alone a writ) about the truly remarkable way in which Alistair McAlpine, in the weeks that followed, played the public and the press with a skill few have ever matched….in precisely the manner her had written about in an earlier book. But be the time my piece (and others of a similar nature) had run, it was as a whisper in the face of a hurricane. The game was over: the BBC had lost, and the guilty had won.
The ridiculous charade of then arresting sad old gits like Stuart Hall, Freddie Starr et al has retained a spotlight firmly on the BBC – even though Starr only rarely worked for the Corporation. Hall strenuously denied the one charge against him of molesting a nine year-old girl, but eventually caved in…after which every single report used a Stepford-wife consistency of words, “some of whom were as young as nine”. Stuart Hall did not molest that girl: he cut a deal, because he had no choice.
But Paul Gambaccini is made of sterner stuff. And we have yet to get at the truth about the Max Clifford arrest, which the publicist pointedly shrugs of the charges to this day by observing “Obviously I am totally innocent of these charges, from seven anonymous ladies.”
This could yet explode like a bomb in an Islamist’s contorted face. I sincerely hope so. Meanwhile, compare and contrast progress on this Operation (Yewtree) with that being overseen by London Mayor and Murdoch ally Boris Johnson on the goings on at Elm House (Fernbridge).
Thus far, we  have established that Cyril Smith attended this paedophile brothel, but then he fits the usual id perfectly as being a LibDem and dead. A couple of minor players who ran the place have been arrested. A list exists alleging that former Cabinet Ministers, Royal Equerries and other notables were regulars. The abuse which quite obviously took place there involved not only MPs, but also the overtly corrupt Tory Richmond Council, who supplied the traumatised flesh for the delectation of the sexually psychotic.
It is clearly a massive and toxic scandal, because the most widely accused player leads directly back to the Tory Party in general, and the Camerlot Cabinet in particular. Well, Mayor Johnson has, after almost a year of investigations, fresh leads, imminent arrests, and spin, declared himself “very satisfied” with progress on the case. Which from his perspective makes entire sense, as there hasn’t been any.
Meanwhile the latest Top Tory to pile into the BBC is…..Grant Shapps. Stay tuned for more on this tow-rag later.
The entire saga looks and feels manipulated to me. Time for some journalists to start earning their money for a change. Time for Tom Watson to start marshalling his forces.
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Postscript, 2016: All charges were dropped against Paul Gambaccini, whom I met several times to offer help. His post-trauma party was a hoot. Grant Shapps left his Tory Party post in disgrace. Tom Watson backed off any further enquiries. Mark Williams-Thomas remains at large, confusing the issues in his standard manner. The BBC remains under sustained attack, and has been invaded by friends at top Conservatives at all levels. Rebekah Brooks returned as CEO of News International. Rupert Murdoch married Jerry Hall. And the Daniel Morgan cover-up continues.

Related to this tale: Full details of Hackgate are contained at The Slog’s dedicated page here.

The complete depth of dirt on Jeremy Hunt can be viewed at Hunt Balls.