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Saturday, 2 April 2016

John Whittingdale And The Dominatrix

The UK’s press, we are routinely told, is free and fearless. No-one and nothing is off limits to its investigative skills. It is an industry of the highest principle, giving no fear or favour to the great and the good.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

The larger part of the Fourth Estate is venal, self-serving, and utterly corrupt. Nothing illustrates this moral vacuum better than the revelation last night that John Whittingdale, the Culture Secretary, enjoyed a more than year-long relationship with a well-known dominatrix, which became an open secret in the Westminster village.
John Whittingdale

The press, to put it directly, turned a blind eye to the relationship - and they did so because of Whittingdale’s usefulness to their cause, both in holding back the tide of press regulation reform, and taking the wrecking ball to the hated BBC.

That the story was well-known was hinted at on Zelo Street back in December, showing the mounting frustration of Natalie Rowe, who took the story to the Independent, only to see it spiked on the personal order of editor Amol Rajan with no reason given. It is believed that Rajan was leaned on to kill the article.

Now, thanks to Byline Media, and the good efforts of Nick Mutch, we can see just what the press was covering up. Whittingdale’s relationship with “Olivia King, a well known escort who specializes in domination and sado-masochistic practices” meant “Whittingdale was accompanied by her at locations including the MTV Awards in Amsterdam in November 2013, the SportBall, attended by Kate Middleton, also in December 2013 and a New Years Eve party at the House of Commons in 2014/15”.

How significant is this? Mutch spells it out for us: “while she was involved with Whittingdale, Ms. King was also involved in a relationship with a member of the London underworld, who has a previous firearms conviction”. More prosaically, Whittingdale failed to disclose the hospitality from MTV in the Register of Members’ Interests on the occasion when Ms King accompanied him to Amsterdam.

There is more: “Whittingdale’s relationships with prostitutes are said to be well known in the London underworld and could potentially leave him exposed to blackmail considering his senior position in the Government … In particular, information about her visits to Parliament and the Royal Sports Ball, which raises serious questions event security and Whittingdale’s judgment in bringing Ms. King to highly secure locations and events, and also with entrusting her with sensitive information”.

And yet more: “A senior Labour MP confirmed that he had seen Whittingdale with a prostitute at the House of Commons, although was unaware if it was Ms. King. When pressed on how he was aware of this, he told Byline that she was giving out business cards to other MPs”.

Yet, while the press knew all about Whittingdale’s propensity to dalliance with The World’s Oldest Profession - the extent of that knowledge will come clear as Mutch expounds further on the scandal - they did nothing.

Why this should be is touched upon in Mutch’s article; these are the relevant passages.

Amol Rajan decided in Octotber that he had made the decision to not run the story on ‘editorial grounds’. However, the previous day, Rajan had met with Whittingdale and Daily Mail editor Paul Dacre at the Society of Editors Conference in October 2015”. Dacre appears to be the one who leant on Rajan to spike the story.

When [Whittingdale] delivered the keynote address, he stated that he was minded not to implement a major recommendation of the Leveson inquiry and passed by Parliament as part of the Courts and Crimes Act”.

Section 40 of the Crime and Courts Act 2013 is the legislation that provides for publishers who decline to allow complaints to be taken to a recognised press regulator’s low-cost arbitration system - thereby forcing a complainant to risk going to law in order to gain redress - to pay both their costs and those of the complainant, even if they win.

Publishers could avoid having to pay both sets of costs by joining a press regulator recognised under the provisions of the Royal Charter. But such a regulator would by definition be independent of political, proprietorial and editorial interference, and this most newspapers will not accept. Rather, they want the situation as it is now, with IPSO, a sham regulator that they can, as and when required, bend to their will.

The press knows about Whittingdale’s little secret. But, as he has declined to implement Section 40 of the Crime and Courts Act 2013, they leave him alone.

That is the venal, self-serving and corrupt nature of the beast in a nutshell.

There is also the matter of the BBC, which those same press players who are covering for Whittingdale would like to see emasculated: the Corporation declines to serve up news in a way which meets with their approval. The BBC is trusted to a far greater extent than most of the press. But rather than raise their game to the Corporation’s level, the Fourth Estate would much rather drag it down to theirs.

The latest licence fee settlement imposed on the BBC by Whittingdale will mean cuts to the Corporation’s services. This agenda has been urged for some time by … the same part of the Fourth Estate that has been so shamelessly covering up for him.

Once again, the venal, self-serving and corrupt behaviour is all too obvious.

But the worst aspect of the saga is that the corruption appears to have spread from the press to Government itself. Nick Mutch draws a parallel with the Profumo affair, where War Minister John Profumo was found to have been in a relationship with Christine Keeler, who was also involved with Yevgeny Ivanov, a Soviet naval attaché. The potential for a Government minister to be blackmailed by the Russians was palpable.

With Whittingdale, though, the situation is already worse, much worse: the blackmail is already taking place.

The press holds their own Sword of Damocles above Whittingdale’s head, ready to let it cut him to pieces should he fail to do their bidding. Moreover, this leverage can also be used to have him beat up on the BBC. And still there is the potential for a minister’s relationship with a known prostitute to leave him open to yet more corruption.

Those who thought that the press was ever-ready to seek out and expose corruption and other malpractice should by now be able to see that this is, and to some extent always has been, largely a myth. In a world of declining newspaper sales, advertising revenues and perhaps even influence, the Fourth Estate is there to promote and preserve itself.

And, as Nick Mutch points out, there is more to come on this scandal. A lot more.

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

And it's people like Whittingdale who run the country in Parliament and the civil service. That's when they're not molesting a Bullingdon pig's head.

They and their "Victorian values" have made Britain the laughing stock of the world. Sooner or later the whole house of cards will collapse around them.

So much for Britain's "free press and media." A more cowardly, cringing bunch has scarcely existed. No wonder they are held in such contempt.

Anonymous said...

Amol Rajan doesn't come out of this smelling of roses - "independent"? Didn't the Independent's Russian proprietor tell Rajan that his paper was going to back the Tories in GE2015? Much to the consternation of the hacks there.

Gweedo Fawkes said...

Chabliiissddd!

Borderline, feels like I'm goung to lose my mind.
You just keep on pushing my love , over the borderline.

I love you Chabliiisss!

I think I might love you too much. I did the splits this morning and couldn't get back up.

Anonymous said...

So Whittingdale might know someone who's on the game. It might be a friendship, it might be an affair, it might be a sign that he's a habitual punter. Whatever it is, I wouldn't rely on the testimony of Natalie Rowe, who spends her leisure time exchanging Tweets with some of the maddest and nastiest conspiracy theorists around. The Independent plainly couldn't stand up the story. Are you going to try?

swissfrank43 said...

For God's sake, Tim!
"It is believed that Rajan was leaned on to kill the article." As you yourself are fond of pointing out when the boot is on the other foot, "it is believed that" means that you have no evidence to back up your assertion.
Possibly, just possibly, Rajan was too principled or too professional to touch a sleazy kiss'n'tell (or whip'n'tell) story from someone who gives the impression of being a bit flaky.
And the parallel with Profumo is a good one. There a spurious "risk of blackmail" was used by hypocrites as an excuse for airing a juicy sex scandal. And it was also used as an excuse for hounding gay men out of government employment.
Finally, can I point out that knowing someone who knows a criminal is not a criminal offence?

Anonymous said...

"Amol Rajan decided in Octotber that he had made the decision to not run the story on ‘editorial grounds’." -- so the editor decided that the editor had decided not to run it? Great excuse!

Anonymous said...

"So Whittingdale might know someone who's on the game."

'Might' ? He knows her well enough to have been photographed with her on multiple occasions, and taken her to numerous functions he has attended in his official capacity.

Neil said...

A quick google shows that none of the papers are going for this story, not even the Sunday Mirror or Observer.

Ann Kelly said...

If Whittingdale took this lady to an event attended by the Duchess of Cambridge, he would have had to inform the organisers in advance of her full name. She would then have been vetted. As she was allowed to attend this event, we must assume she isn't a security threat?

Anonymous said...

One of the biggest shocks about this story was that a Tory actually uses the Tube...

Julues said...

Where is CAMERON GOING TO SACK HIM. Anyway its not as bad a big

Paulm696 said...

Funny how this story breaks as dodgy Dave is under the cosh for evading tax, obviously Islamic state weren't playing out at the time. As for none of the other newspapers publishing this story, that's because it's the tip of the iceberg, just like all the paedophiles that have been exposed recently