Tom Watson on His Latest Campaign to Uncover Child Abuse at Heart of Goverment

by Tom Watson

It’s ten days since I raised a question about intelligence suggesting a paedophile ring that touched the very heart of a previous government. I’d done so because a very credible retired child protection professional had lived with a gnawing suspicion of a cover up for many years.

These people are the rarest of human beings. They’re the people who labour in anonymity, day in day out, trying to make the world a better place. They have always been the foundations of our public services. Yet this retired public servant had, through a quirk of fate, stumbled on something that appeared so huge, that almost everyone he’d ever raised his concerns with had baulked at the challenge.

Since then though, many more ordinary people have contacted me about suspicions they have had of a wider wrongdoing – in some cases so heinous it made me cry.

They have talked of psychopaths marking children with Stanley knifes to show “ownership”. They tell of parties where children were “passed around” the men. They speak of golf course car parks being the scenes for child abuse after an 18 hole round.

And they have named powerful people – some of them household names – who abused children with impunity.

Two former police officers have raised their concerns of cover-ups. Child protection specialists have raised their fears that the network of convicted paedophile Peter Righton, the nexus of the group, was wider than at first thought. Others have identified a former cabinet minister who regularly abused young boys.

Some have raised mysterious early deaths, disappeared children, suspicious fires, intimidation and threats.

It’s bewildering.

These allegations go way beyond the claims made on BBC Newsnight yesterday. Newsnight failed to name the paedophile mentioned by a North Wales survivor. I can understand why. A career can be destroyed by an allegation of such magnitude. There needs to be a high bar of proof.

Yet the thing I learnt most from the hacking scandal, and for that matter, the Savile case, is that the intelligence was staring the police in the face. These people were hiding in daylight. So powerful, so brazen in their actions, those who had an inkling of what was happening turned a blind eye.

Or maybe none of this happened. Maybe the 50 plus emails and numerous phone calls and letters I have received were all from fantasists. Maybe the allegations of the victims – made for many years, consistently to anyone that would listen, maybe they’re bogus.

One thing is for certain: someone has to join the dots. And that should be the police. There are a few hardy child protection specialists who for many years, have been burrowing away, trying to uncover the truth. Their work and insight should be taken more seriously. The police should work with them.

The hacking scandal was about the police failing to follow clear leads of wrongdoing by powerful people. They could do this because politicians turned a blind eye.

This is potentially worse. Some of those powerful people involved in a cover up may well have been – and could still be – powerful politicians.

I’m not going to let this drop despite warnings from people who should know that my personal safety is imperilled if I dig any deeper. It’s spooked me so much that I’ve kept a detailed log of all the allegations should anything happen.

As I type this blog post, I’m half-smiling about how insane all this appears. It sounds like I’ve taken leave of my senses – just like they said I had during the early days of the hacking scandal. Maybe I have. Yet with a properly resourced investigation, with the voice of victims being heard in public and with the political will we can get to the facts.

I wish I could fight the case of everybody who has been abused by a paedophile who has so far got away with it, but I can’t. That is a job for the police. Up and down the country private grief is being stirred by these stories. I cannot help in each individual case, but the police and support services can, must and will. If you were abused a long time ago and want justice now, go to the police. It is not too late.

What I am going to do personally is to speak out on this extreme case of organised abuse in the highest places. At the core of all child abuse is the abuse of power. The fundamental power of the adult over the child. Wherever this occurs it is an abomination. But these extreme cases are abuse of power by some of the most powerful people. Abuse of trust by some of the most trusted. It is a sickening story, but one which – like the truth about Jimmy Savile – is now going to be told.

22 comments on “Tom Watson on His Latest Campaign to Uncover Child Abuse at Heart of Goverment

  1. This whole paedophile hunt business is becoming increasingly irrational and blown out of proportion. I suppose it sells newspapers and takes peoples mind off the attacks on our living standards. And it gives the masses an acceptable target we can all hate.Of course child sex abuse is no joke but you have to ask why it is being highlighted so much at the present. One nation united against Jimmy Saville- we are all in this together etc. What about the increase in child poverty for working class families being promoted by this government. Dont think the media will promote a campaign against that- too close to reality


  2. You are throwing the baby out with the bathwater there Sandy.

    Tom Watson is being a very brave lad here, and brave is an epithet I don’t throw about lightly.

    “What I am going to do personally is to speak out on this extreme case of organised abuse in the highest places.” Says Tom Watson.

    That takes you to places most politicians and journo’s don’t want to go not just Jersey and north Wales but Kincora too.

    I wish him well and have no doubt there are many powerful people including some on his own side who wish he would hold his gob.

    Its not the time to say hold on and look over here instead.

  3. Thomas Kingham on said:

    I couldn’t agree more that victims of abuse need to be heard. And although much is wrong with this world, I do hope and believe that times have and are changing, and that attitudes of the 1960s, 70s are no longer acceptable or tolerated by society.

    That said, we do also need to be mindful of ensuring that the campaign for justice doesn’t turn into a witch-hunt based on nothing more than internet innuendo.

    The allegations found online relate to Governments of all colours, and allegations can be found relating to almost any politician you care to name – including three former Prime Ministers!

    So it is important that where there is evidence, and evidence not based on content from websites, that this is passed quickly to the authorities so they can act quickly and preserve evidence. I do not feel the right place for this trial to take place is on blogs and in the media.

    We owe it to the victims for this to be dealt with properly and quickly, and that this speculation doesn’t get out of control. Because if it does it will be quickly used as a smokescreen to suggest a conspiracy. If that happens it will not serve the victims, only those who have deeds to cover.

    I don’t doubt for a minute Tom’s passion to do the right thing, his honest and his integrity. I have concerns though that the way in which this plays out. Will dragging in many innocent people in order to expose one guilty person be a price worth paying – I suspect many here will say so.

  4. prianikoff on said:

    I think Tom Watson is right and don’t agree the issue is being blown out of proportion.

    In the past, child sexual abuse wasn’t treated seriously.
    Consequently its victims were usually too intimidated to complain.
    Historically there is widespread under-reporting of incidents.
    So it’s important to correct this and protect children in the future-
    even if, sometimes, false allegations can be made, or the issue is misused politically .

    I’ve personally witnessed an example that was never officially reported.
    A friend and I were queuing to watch a cricket match at Lords.
    A respectable-looking elder gent, in blazer and MCC tie, latched onto us.
    He paid for our tickets to the ground, then spent the morning fondling my friend’s balls.
    We were so naive that we even went back to the same seats after the lunch-break!.
    We never discussed it again afterwards, but in later years, I mentioned the incident to his wife.
    Apparently he’d forgotten all about it.

    I hadn’t though.
    Luckily he didn’t touch me and I think I would have reacted agressively if he had.
    When I got home, I told my parents, but it wasn’t treated as a big issue.
    Neither of us were particularly traumatised and what could they do anyway?

    He probably regularly drank in the MCC members club and, no doubt, his behaviour was habitual.
    Of course, we should have reported the bloke to the groundstaff immediately.
    But, even if we had, in those days, I doubt much would have happened.

  5. Peter Hine on said:

    Prianikoff, did it occur to you that your friend may have had a good reason for not wanting to mention the incident to his wife or wanting to forget it?
    I remember when I was a young teenager and played in a football team with local kids. There was a man who always asked us to ‘go for a ride’ in his car. He was a referee in the league we played in. I never went with him and all the kids knew what he was up to. But I think we were too embarrassed to tell our parents or anyone else about him.
    But I find it hard to believe that none of the adults got a whiff of what was going on.
    And if you make an allegation, does a kid really want to put him/herself in the public eye over this kind of thing?
    Back then was not so much of an outlet to talk about such things.
    I have a friend who was one of the first to sue the Catholic Church for the sexual abuse he received by a priest. He was an alter boy, and the priest was a very close friend of his mother. How could he have said what was going with this man who had such ‘high standing’ in the community, and his mothers close friend? Who would have believed him?
    It took years for him to expose what was going on, the scars will live forever.

    I would hope that today there are avenues in the UK for kids to expose those who abuse them.
    We should also recognize there is also a lot of abuse in the kids own home, so access to help is needed in schools and other such safe places.
    And before all these politicians get outraged over this abuse, they should get it that bombing children (or anybody) in other countries is abuse.

  6. Can I just mention in passing that child abuse pre dates the Sixties etc – its goes back absolutely donkeys years … because there was the PIE peado initiative which became publicly overt that was not in any way the start of such behaviours. Anyway I just mention this because sometimes comments could be mistakenly giving an incorrect timescale impression. Also the PIE initiative for instance barely touched cases like IAN BRADEY etc.. etc..

  7. I think Watson deserves a lot of credit. This issue could cause a major political crisis, and i’m sure that there are powerful people who would much rather be talking about the economy than this.

    The whole issue needs to be examined. It’s a hard issue to discuss and it’s not going to be a comfortable investigation. I daresay Watson will be obstructed routinely by vested interests, but he is doing the right thing, and for that reason he deserves our support.

  8. redscribe on said:

    Agree with SA on this. Could say more but my original contribution seems to have disappeared into the spam filter or something. Can someone fish it out?

  9. I first got wind of the whole sexual abuse at the highest levels of UK society on the Max Keisler show some months back when a US female journalist claimed she had been turned back at the airport when trying to investigate some of the abuses at the Jersey care homes. She claimed this was to protect some very high level people. I tended to dismiss it has conspiratorial but I am now thinking the care system in this country is being used by the elite for their sexual satisfaction. I am not even sure this would surprise me.

    It is interesting that the celebrity obsessed tabloid press never managed to dig up anything on someone like Saville, yet now scores of victims are coming forward to claim compensation. How could the press miss this, doesn’t make sense?

    I think there is some great scandal here, we have only scratched the surface. Powerful forces will ensure this all stays under the carpet, so we should keep up the pressure and see where it takes us. I smell something fishy.

  10. If the investigations go as far as Northern Ireland then the Kincora boys home scandal will implicate the security services, and who knew what when at the heart of government

  11. Andy that’s right and Tom Watson’s letter to the PM makes it clear that an inclusive enquiry is needed.

    Of course the security services would be well informed of the activities of prominent individuals in and around Government its part of their standing remit.

    It will be interesting to see how the Welsh Government deals with the issue in terms of the remit set for any inquiry. The possibility of more than one enquiry with more than one line of reporting adds to to the pressure that Watson is exerting and makes a new cover up less likely.

    I think Tom Watson is doing great service for the people and he deserves everyones support.

  12. brokenwindow on said:

    Where were the LEft and the labour movement while working class children in care were being gang-raped by the rich and powerful?

  13. That’s right, ‘brokenwindow’ – the real problem is, WHERE WERE THE TINY FORCES OF THE LEFT? WHY DIDN’T THE UNION MOVEMENT EXPOSE THESE MONSTERS?

    Do you even think before you write this nonsense? Do you think that the left somehow knew Bad Things Were Happening but did nothing?

    If I remember right, you’re the guy who always has something to say about how bad the left is, but never once has anything to say about how we can improve.

  14. Tom Brns on said:

    Tom Watson was always more interested in destroying the Tories than he was about exposing child abuse.So what will he say now that the person he wanted to “expose”is not guilty of the accusations he made
    Ger back in the gutter where you belong

  15. brokenwindow on said:


    Wales is Labour stronghold;the Labour party were in power for THIRTEEN years and had ample opportunity to look closely,with political muscle,at what was happening and had been happening in the care home system. They failed to do this and the children being abused. The first children’s Minister in 2004,hodge,in Islington had opportunities to look back at the
    abundant stories and testimonies of one Tory shaker and fixer but she decided to obfuscate instead. In Dunblane, documents were buried for 100 years regarding,partly, Hamilton’s dealings with among others Roberston,who was rntected from fully having to account the fuller extent of his involvemnent with Hamilton. A law Lord at the time said there had been a cover-up,quoted in a sunday newspaper,to protect a high-level paedophile ring.

    Thank heavens for Tom Watson,a lone figure. You’d be like Blair,Tony,wouldn’t you,’don’t rock the boat,tom,best leave it alone’. Gutless.

  16. Ah, so you know me that well do you? This is really ridiculous.

    My beef is with your caricature of the left. And with your posts, which uniformly tell us how bad we are.

    And then when someone points out how destructive your posts are, you say “you’d be like Blair, ‘don’t rock the boat'” – with no evidence at all.

    If anyone here is gutless, it’s the person who hides behind his keyboard doing nothing at all while criticising everyone else.

    Are you even part of the left? In which case, what did you do?

    Why are you conflating “the left” and “the labour movement” with “a labour government”? Sort of moving the goalposts aren’t you?

  17. “The BBC’s director general, George Entwistle, resigns in the wake of Newsnight’s child abuse broadcast.”

    an indication of a small victory for the right over the left with-in the establishment and the british state. A small boost for the Tories. Also it has to be said that the standard of production at Newsnight shows a decline both due to the failure to broadcast the J savile investigation and then the poorly judged and researched North Wales sex abuse broadcast. That being said- it about the best news show on TV along with channel 4 news
    There is a right wing who dont like the BBC and are on the offensive to remove critical and intelligent voices within the media. It is part and parcel of the austerity offensive on our living standards. The democratic “space” is being narrowed and dumbed down or at least the attempted is being made to narrow it and dumb it down. They have to do this considering the crazy and anti human policy the ruling class is promoting with its austerity offensive. Critical voices within the ruling class or the media or academia have to be marginalised. But for how long will this suceed. Progressive Mass working class movements are already arising in parts of mainland Europe. When will Britain see a new mass movement that links up with the Greeks, Spanish, Portuguese etc and puts socialism back on the political map

  18. Please can everyone focus not on the right or left but on the law which is supposed to protect all from abuse. In this case the Kids. The police have a duty to uncover crime wherever it exists. If they didn’t then how sad is that. the inquiry needed is why did they not do that. that is what Mr Watson should focus on as he and his colleagues are responsible for governance on this issue.

    Instead he chose to focus on the political party politics of this. Mr Watson is disingenuous and is just playing games.

    we need specific police investigations not twitter, internet or media witch hunts. The politicians are responsible for the systematic failure of the police. Until they stop playing games to get votes and accept their responsibility to ensure full and correct police investigations take place they will not be doing their duty. the sad truth is they try to deflect responsibility to the opposing party.

    We need an inquiry into politicians if they want an overarching investigation. Tom has plenty of egg on his face following the latest disclosure from the person on Newsnight. In his parliamentary letter he clearly indicated his belief that the BBC should have named the suspects. this clearly shows now that Tom Watson would have quite happily have named people mistakenly with no investigation done.

    Tom Watson is not a credible politician he is Just the loose cannon the labor party uses.

    Any and all people committing abuse need investigating and putting behind bars. But for gods sake lets have some adherence to the process of law. Government is responsible for changing the legal framework not investigating crimes. its our constitution.

  19. Simon: Instead he chose to focus on the political party politics of this. Mr Watson is disingenuous and is just playing games.

    Utter nonsense child abuse knows no political boundaries and Watson knows it.

    Simon: Tom Watson is not a credible politician he is Just the loose cannon the labor party uses.

    Says you, no doubt you would have said the same about Chris Mullen.

    What is required is a public enquiry and experience tells us that it will not happen in the short term as it will doubtless raise the spectre of a ‘horrible vista’.

    You may have confused your countries with regard to the’constitution’.