This is the man to lead inquiry into child abuse claims
FOR years there have been persistent rumours about a dark conspiracy to conceal child abuse within the political establishment.
Published: Sun, November 2, 2014
In a move to quell these mounting public anxieties, the Home Secretary Theresa May set up an independent inquiry in July this year to examine historic allegations of abuse and cover-up inside our political system going back to 1970.
This panel, we were promised, would shine the searing spotlight of truth into the murkiest corners of the establishment.
Sadly, four months later, the work of the panel remains shrouded in darkness.
The spotlight has not even been switched on.
This is because the Home Office has botched the selection of the panel’s head, exasperating victims’ groups and undermining public faith in the whole process.
The first choice was the retired judge, Baroness Elizabeth Butler-Sloss. Despite her distinguished record, she felt compelled to resign because of complaints about a potential conflict of interest, since her brother Lord Havers had been Attorney-General in the early 1980s when the abuse conspiracy was allegedly at its height.
Lord Havers was involved in the highly controversial decision not to prosecute the British diplomat, child pornographer and paedophile Sir Peter Hayman, while he was also a front bench colleague of the then Home Secretary Leon Brittan, who has been accused of inaction over a comprehensive dossier that he received in 1983 about paedophile rings at Westminster.
The same links finished off the Home Office’s second choice, Mrs Fiona Woolf, a top solicitor and Lord Mayor of London.
As she admitted when she resigned on Friday, public confidence in her role had been shattered by revelations of her social relationship with Leon Brittan, who is not only a neighbour of Woolf’s but also a regular dining companion.
Both these two lawyers took the correct decision to depart.
Whatever their own personal integrity, their selection reeked of the cosy elitist collaboration they were meant to challenge.
The whole point of the inquiry is to examine charges of wrongdoing by the establishment.
Neither campaign groups nor the public can believe that this task will be carried out with sufficient rigour if the privileged elite is investigated by one of their own.
What is needed is a champion for victims rather than a stooge for the authorities.
So now the search is on again.
To misquote Lady Bracknell, to lose one chairman may be regarded as a misfortune; to lose two looks like carelessness.
Courageously oblivious to the interests of his own career, impatient with political euphemisms, and driven by a powerful sense of justice, Danczuk would be the ideal chairman
Some argue that she should appoint a high court judge with farreaching statutory powers to summon witnesses.
But by definition, almost any judge will be a member of the establishment.
Moreover, the recent experience of judicial enquiries – like Leveson’s notorious, longwinded study of the press – is that they tend to be expensive, take far too long and come up with few convincing answers.
Absurdly, the Saville enquiry into Bloody Sunday in Northern Ireland lasted 12 years and cost bill of £195million.
But there is one obvious, non-judicial figure who could head the enquiry with authority and would command the respect of campaigners with his heroic record in exposing abuse.
That is the Labour MP for Rochdale Simon Danczuk.
Courageously oblivious to the interests of his own career, impatient with political euphemisms, and driven by a powerful sense of justice, Danczuk would be the ideal chairman.
It was Danczuk who provided the trigger for the panel’s creation when, in an appearance before the Home Affairs Select Committee in early July, he referred to the abuse dossier which Brittan had received and allegedly ignored.
Danczuk also burnished his anti-abuse credentials with his brilliant recent biography of the Liberal Democrat monster Sir Cyril Smith, one of his predecessor’s as Rochdale’s MP.
In this compelling book, based on extensive research and harrowing interviews with victims, Danczuk revealed how the authorities systematically covered up sickening sexual exploitation of boys by Sir Cyril over decades.
At least 144 accusations of misconduct were made against the obese bully, yet not one resulted in a prosecution.
“Just spanking a few bottoms,” was one description by the Liberal leadership of Sir Cyril’s vile behaviour.
Even when Smith was caught with a stash of child pornography in the boot of his car, nothing happened.
That book showed that Danczuk has the forensic skills and dogged determination to expose the truth about abusers within the establishment.
He is also a man of integrity, never blindly following the party line or the current fashionable orthodoxy.
Unlike many at Westminster, he has wide experience of the real world, having left school at just 16 to work in a factory making gas fires.
Later, he put himself through night classes to gain the qualifications he missed out on at school, going on to set up his own business before entering Parliament.
An MP since 2010, he has shown his independent spirit by speaking out against mass immigration and many of the economic fantasies of the Left.
If appointed, he would have a huge job on his hands, for the tentacles of this alleged political conspiracy reach into the heart of past Governments and extend right across the UK, from Westminster to children’s homes in Leicestershire, North Wales and Belfast.
But, if anyone can uncover the truth, it is Simon Danczuk.