Welcome To Zelo Street!

This is a blog of liberal stance and independent mind

Thursday 29 October 2015

Simon Danczuk And That Book - 2


Just how keen was Rochdale’s nominally Labour MP Simon Danczuk to take John Walker up on his idea of a book about Cyril Smith? Zelo Street can now show exactly how, as the email correspondence between the two men - suitably redacted - is exclusively revealed in this post. The thread begins just before Christmas 2012, and ends just before the end of the year. Walker and Danczuk met twice during this period.
Walker kicks things off on December 19, telling “Just a quick e.mail to say thanks for seeing me last night. Most enjoyable, and plenty of food for thought … There is certainly plenty of scope for pursuing things in the Smith case, and not letting the various threads of it drop through the cracks of other stories - mainly Savile”.
Danczuk replies “Hi John, it was good to meet last night, I thoroughly enjoyed the chat, very useful … Don't hesitate to contact me at any time if there's something I should be aware of”. And there it rests until after Christmas.
Now it gets rather more serious, as Walker sets out his stall. “I've had a chat with a few people and think a book on the Smith story looks on.  I've got a small independent publisher lined up who is very keen … I’ve put together a document - a bit long, but I'd appreciate you having a look.  It spells out: why a book, what its contents could look like and a pretty ambitious (but doable) publications schedule … I assumed from our chat that you would be very supportive of a publishing project and believe that with your active co-operation it could be a considerable success …

As you'll see, I'm suggesting that you write a foreword to the book (which I am happy to ghost for you); which would paint you very clearly as the good guy in all of this, lifting Rochdale's reputation from the mire and helping the town move on positively and constructively, from the bad publicity it has received over child abuse, over the last few years” [My emphases].
From this point, Danczuk is clearly more interested. “That looks really interesting. Yes, let's meet up. I'm in London tomorrow afternoon until 1st January - more than happy to meet up during this time. You're welcome to come to our flat, it's in [redacted] ([redacted] from [redacted] stations). Is there a good day/time for you? You're right about the need to move quickly on this”.
Walker duly steps up to the plate. “I could be free any time on Sunday 30 Dec, [redacted], or anywhere in central London.  If that's ok for you.  Sorry it's a Sunday, but if you can make it, I'd be very pleased to pop over”.
Despite the short notice and it being a Sunday, Danczuk readily agrees. “Sunday 30th Dec is good for me. How about you come to our flat at 10am or soon after? The address is [redacted] (please keep this address confidential). If you confirm I can get it in the diary. We can have a thoroughly good chat about it all - sounds very exciting” [My emphasis].
Walker confirms that the meeting has gone satisfactorily later that day. “Glad that we agree the book has legs, and needs to be published as quickly as poss (preferably on eve of Lib Dems conf in Sept). As I said this a.m., I'm more than happy to have it ‘co-authored’ with you, and me doing bulk of research and writing, and letting you take the spotlight on publication” [My emphases].
Danczuk agrees the following day that the meeting went well, and proposes Walker visit Rochdale. He also reveals that he is working to find an agent, reinforcing the idea that he is both serious and supportive. “Yes, a really good meeting … let's make arrangements to meet up, are there good days for you to visit Rochdale?

Yet John Walker’s presence in this saga was about to come to an end, but not until he had done a considerable amount of work on Simon Danczuk’s behalf. Just how much work was entailed will be revealed very soon - exclusively on Zelo Street.


Anonymous said...

From what I've read about Simon Dazcuk he comes across as a typical "rent a quote" MP, ironically not unlike Cyril Smith of old with his reactionary views lauded by the right wing press.

However, these emails don't put John Walker in a good light either. That is a shame for John was seen as a bit of a folk hero because of Rochdale's Alternative Paper. The 1979 RAP was excellent but had its faults and had little traction for a number of reasons. The biggest elephant in the room was that the edition exposing Cyril Smith's sex abuse came just before the 1979 general election.

What people forget, or possibly choose to forget, is that that edition of RAP had a full page paid advertisement for the Labour Party parliamentary candidate on the back cover.

It was easy for Cyril Smith to say that this was a political smear campaign timed by a motivated opportunist. The popular opinion at the time thought so given that Smith was returned to Parliament for Rochdale with an increased majority.

Unfortunately John Walker's reputation is tarnished with these emails. He appears desperate to offer his services as a "ghost writer". But his advice on timing any book to coincide with the Lib Dem conference is the most damning. It smacks of political mischief rather than unbiased, principled investigative journalism. That was the fatal flaw with the 1979 RAP exposee.

But a writer's ego should not be that important. The real losers are Smith's victims.

Anonymous said...

Walker certainly doesn't come out of it as pristine clean. There is indeed an aura of revenge in this. Where criticism is due, let the chips fall where they may. Let Walker answer for himself.

But he has at least brought to light what was and is going on where Danksuck is concerned. Which is perfectly acceptable since said Danksuck is in elected public life and therefore notionally to be held to account for his actions. Once these facts are out there can be no excuse for anybody to vote for him. The fellow is as trustworthy as, say, Blair, Cameron, Gove, Hammond or IDS: that is, not at all.

Much more important than either party are the victims of abuse. So far we have heard next to nothing from them. God knows what affect this sordid muck has had on them.