There has been a flurry of revelation concerning the late Cyril Smith, formerly Lib Dem MP for Rochdale, who has over many years been accused of being a paedophile, and abusing his positions at a school in the town, and at a boys’ hostel which he helped to set up. The sad conclusion is that those who could, and should, have acted at the time turned a blind eye.
Dead Paedos, Guv? Just make it up, innit?!?
Over at the Daily Mail, the legendarily foul mouthed Paul Dacre clearly concluded that he could not allow Channel 4’s Dispatches to hog all the limelight on what was the kind of why-oh-why story that his paper revels in running, and so his unfunny and tedious churnalist Richard Littlejohn was summoned from his Vero Beach poolside to lay into the Police, MI5, and anyone else he could kick.
“Who gave Cyril Smith the keys to the sweet shop?” demands Littlejohn today, making a connection with Jimmy Savile – easy to do, as both are dead, and so won’t sue – and generally churning over the content already broadcast, while asking why the authorities didn’t do something at the time. And, as he churns away, Dicky Windbag lets slip that he hasn’t done his homework.
“Now it’s claimed that the Funny People covered up for Cyril Smith, who was heavily involved in the negotiations to prop up Jim Callaghan’s Labour government with Liberal support ... Someone must have given the orders, maybe a senior politician still sitting in the House of Lords today”, he asserts, and, as Jon Stewart might have said, two things here.
One, it is entirely possible that one former MP is right now considering whether to consult his lawyers, given Littlejohn and his editor can’t stand up the “maybe” part of that quote. And two, what was known as the “Lib-Lab Pact” had in fact run its course when the Cyril Smith accusations were first aired at a national level by Private Eye magazine – in May 1979.
In fact, not only had the Liberals pulled the plug on their pact with Jim Callaghan’s by then minority Labour Government, but by the time the Eye published, it was a week after the 1979 General Election, by which time Labour had been defeated by Margaret Thatcher and the Tories. Littlejohn has, in his haste to cobble together a suitably righteous rant, got his timeline totally wrong.
Private Eye issue 454 (click for larger image)
As for the allegations that were aired by the Eye at the time, here they are again for you to peruse (you can read my previous post on the affair HERE). Cyril Smith may well have had friends covering his tracks, notably his fellow politicians in Rochdale, and enough in the Police and security services to sweep the whole business under the carpet. But Littlejohn’s suggestion of Westminster politicians is speculation.
That is made to look even more clumsy by his timeline goof. Same old Littlejohn.