The latest target for the legendarily foul mouthed Paul Dacre and his obedient hackery at the Daily Mail is, by sheer coincidence you understand, long dead: Cyril Smith was MP for Rochdale from 1972 to 1992. He died in 2010. But only now has the Mail opened up with a barrage of invective about his past. In this, it is so far behind the curve as to be laughably deficient.
“Cyril Smith victims may sue LibDems as a powerful book reveals how paedophile politician's crimes were covered up by political allies who bullied police” thunders one headline, showing that not only are the Dacre doggies waiting until their target is long dead, but are also sheltering behind accusations already published, in this case by Rochdale’s current MP, Labour’s Simon Danczuk.
This minimises the risk of those still alive consulting m’learned friend over the Mail’s coverage, and there is plenty of it today, including one piece credited to Danczuk: “The boy he abused in his Commons office: Victim of Cyril Smith speaks of how he was groomed and ruthlessly abused - but politicians who knew did nothing”. As Sir Sean nearly said, I think we got the point.
Then there is another credit for the Labour MP, with the headline crafted as only Dacre’s flock know how: “Police files on Cyril Smith show high-ranking Lib-Dems bullied detectives into not prosecuting him for child abuse”. The first name pitched, Henry Howarth, former Mayor of Rochdale, leaned on the Police in the late 60s – many years before there was a Liberal Democrat Party.
What the press knew about Cyril Smith in 1979 (click for larger image)
And readers are finally told that Danczuk’s book is being serialised by the Mail, which is a clear example of selective principle: normally, Dacre would not have his paper go near Labour MPs, but he despises the Lib Dems with a vengeance, and wants to show that he still has power to influence events. But the use of Daily Mail Comment shows where he and his hacks sell the pass.
“But could the Liberals alone have organised such a comprehensive and protracted cover-up? To hush up Smith’s crimes so comprehensively over four decades would surely have needed the collusion of senior politicians of all parties, Whitehall mandarins and law enforcement chiefs” it asserts. But one pillar of the establishment is missing from the alleged conspiracy.
And that pillar is our supposedly free and fearless press. Rochdale Alternative Press accused Smith back in 1979. Private Eye led an issue on those accusations, and the full text can be read above. But the mainstream press did nothing, despite Smith making no effort to take action against either publication. Only after 35 more years had elapsed did Paul Dacre suddenly decide this was his latest moral crusade.
Yes, the Daily Mail knows all about the Cyril Smith cover-up. It was a part of it.
It looks as though staff at the Mail have been hard at work deleting old stories about Smith from the papers on-line archive. If you do a search the oldest story on the site dates back to September of last year.
Is this, like an earlier set of smears, a precautionary attack as there is a lot of static about a prominent Tory with similar accusations? He of course is still alive and presumably liable to sue the Mail for much of what they're worth.
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