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Thursday 13 December 2012

Tom Watson Vindicated – Nobody Apologises

Back in October, Labour MP Tom Watson used Parliamentary privilege to allege that a child sexual abuse ring had links to a former aide to a Prime Minister. He urged the reopening of the files on notorious paedophile Peter Righton, but did not say which PM the aide worked for, and nor did he specify any timeframe for his service. Watson did not even suggest which party was in power at the time.

The following week, it was reported by the deeply subversive Guardian that Met commissioner Bernard Hogan-Howe had confirmed that Watson’s claims would be taken seriously. And now the Independent has confirmed that five officers are working on what has been christened Operation Fairbank. But in the meantime, a torrent of misinformation about Watson’s intervention has spread.

Much of that misinformation has been directed to suggesting that Watson had tried to connect a former PM to the North Wales care home scandal. He had not. It was claimed by Express man Patrick “Lunchtime” O’Flynn that the PM in question was either Sailor Heath or Margaret Thatcher, but Watson did not give so much as a hint of a pointer in their direction.

That didn’t stop the usual suspects. On November 9, the Daily Mail’s unfunny and tedious churnalist Richard Littlejohn wrongly assertedthe Labour MP Tom Watson claimed in the Commons that a prominent Conservative had been involved in the North Wales child abuse case” and thereby scored two whoppers at once. Tory MP Rob Wilson, always keen for a session of stir’n’leak, followed up.

Wilson’s letter to Watson, tactlessly and deliberately leaked to the rabble at the Guido Fawkes blog, loftily instructed the latter to take his claims to the Police. This had already been done, and had Wilson bothered to do a few minutes’ research, he would have easily found the Guardian report confirming this. Watson’s reply once again stresses that he’s unaware of any North Wales connection.

But the phony association between Watson and North Wales was off and running, with the Spectator’s Isabel Hardman gleefully recycling the Wilson letter, stating “Watson has adopted these allegations about ‘Tory paedophiles’ as his next crusade following the phone hacking scandal”. Once more, fact finding and checking was absent: no party had been mentioned by Watson.

And, now that the fog of misinformation has started to clear, none of those slinging mud at Tom Watson is showing any sign of contrition. Neither Isabel Hardman, nor Rob Wilson, and certainly not the Fawkes crowd, have so much as mentioned the Indy revelation, and of course Littlejohn won’t even consider rowing back on his smear unless the Mail gets threatened with legal action.

As with Phonehackgate, Watson has been proved right. For some, that’s a sin.


Anonymous said...

According to the article you cite it appears that it is The Independent who has made the link to Mrs Thatcher's government since it states that Scotland Yard is looking into cases of "abused children in the 1980s". Or have they got it wrong, too?

Tim Fenton said...

That the cases being examined refer to the 1980s does not automatically mean that the "Aide to a former PM" was an aide to them at that time.