In Bed With the Devil: David Cameron and Saudi Arabia


IRAN is mistrusted by the UK and America. North Korea is the world’s bête noir, ruled by a vicious Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un. And the barbaric terrorist acts of Isis, (Daesh) constantly shock the world.

But top of this list of evil should be Saudi Arabia – degenerate, malignant, pitiless, powerful and as dangerous as any of those listed above.

Yet strangely this super oil rich state – currently in negotiations to buy nuclear weapons from Pakistan – is a close friend to David Cameron and his Conservative government.


This strange friendship needs to be examined more closely.

As I revealed in my blog last year: Saudi Arabia is one end of an axis of evil in the Middle East with its clandestine friend in terror, Israel.

Saudi Arabia systematically transmits its sick form of Islam across the globe, instigates and funds hatreds, while crushing human freedoms and aspiration.

Meanwhile, Western Governments, including the UK, France and the USA bow to its rulers under the smokescreen that they are our most important “friend” in the region.

Yet Saudi Arabia executes one person every two days.

Ali Mohammed al-Nimr was set to be beheaded then crucified for taking part in pro-democracy protests during the Arab Spring. He was a teenager then. The crucifixion was set aside last October amid world-wide pressure, but the young man still face the prospect of execution or countless years in jail.

Raif Badawi, a blogger who dared to call for democracy, was sentenced to 10 years and 1,000 lashes.

Just three weeks ago as the world celebrated a New Year, Saudi Arabia’s interior ministry said it has executed 47 so-called “terrorists”, including Shia religious leader Nimr al-Nimr in one day.

The executions led to protests in dozens of countries.

But here in the UK our prime minister was almost silent over the mass executions by the Sunni kingdom.

His Number 10 spokeswoman simply read out a statement, which said: “The Government has set out its position clearly that we’re opposed to the use of the death penalty under any circumstances.”

The Labour Party, under Jeremy Corbyn, was increasingly critical of Britain’s links with Saudi Arabia.

The shadow human rights minister, Andy Slaughter, condemned the relationship and wrote to the justice secretary, Michael Gove, asking him to confirm that discussions of judicial cooperation were continuing with the Saudis and calling for them to “cease immediately”.

“It is not right that the UK should be actively cooperating with a justice system that shows such flagrant disregard for the most basic human rights and the rule of law,” he said.

But, the pernicious Saudi influence is spreading fast and freely.

Late last year, King Salman offered to build 200 mosques in Germany for recently arrived refugees, many of whom are Muslims. He offered no money for resettlement or basic needs, but Wahhabi mosques, the Trojan horses of the secret Saudi crusade which turns Muslim against Muslim, and undermines modernists.

The late Laurent Murawiec, a French neocon, wrote: “The Saudis are active at every level of the terror chain, from planners to financiers, from cadres to foot soldiers, from ideologists to cheerleaders.”

Remember that most of the 9/11 killers were Saudi; so was the al-Qaeda hierarchy.

In the 14 years that have followed 9/11, the Saudis have become more aggressive, more determined to win the culture wars.

They pour money into Islamist organisations and operations, promote punishing doctrines that subjugate women and children, and damn liberal values and democracy.

Recently is was revealed that Saudi Arabia and Israel have been giving unquantifiable aid to ISIS in their bigger war against Iran.

For the past yea,r the Saudis have also been pursuing a cruel bombing campaign in Yemen, that has left thousands of innocent civilians dead.

And all the while David Cameron has been aiding and abetting this slaughter.

Yesterday it was revealed that UK sold Saudi Arabia more than £1 billion of bombs in three months.

Government figures show that the UK sold Saudi Arabia £1,066,216,510 of weapons, including bombs and air-to-air missiles, between July and September 2015.

The arms were sold to Saudi at a time when the kingdom was heavily bombing Yemen, where Riyadh is leading an Arab coalition aimed at pushing back perceived Iran-backed Houthi rebels in order to reinstall the exiled government of President Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi.

The UN says more than 7,000 people have been killed in Yemen’s war, including nearly 3,000 civilians.

The international body has reported that more than 80 percent of the country’s 24 million people require some form of humanitarian assistance.

Saudi Arabia has been accused of bombing multiple hospitals in its raids, including several clinics supported by the international charity Medecins Sans Frontieres.

But Mr Cameron has defended the UK arms sales to Saudi Arabia, describing the kingdom as a key ally in the fight against terrorism.

“Our relationship with Saudi Arabia is important for our own security,” he said. “They are opponents of Daesh and the extremism and terror it spreads.

“In terms of our arms exports I think we have some of the most stringent controls anywhere in the world and I’ll always make sure they are properly operated.

“We’re trying to do everything we can to make sure that the work done by Saudi Arabia is properly targeted and it’s right that we should do that. We’re working with them and others on behalf of the legitimate government of Yemen.”

Angus Robertson, the Scottish National Party’s leader at Westminster, said Mr Cameron should admit to British involvement in Saudi Arabia’s invasion of Yemen – where the UK is also providing arms, training and advice.

“Thousands of civilians have been killed in Yemen, including a large number by the Saudi air force and they’ve done that using British-built planes, with pilots who are trained by British instructors, dropping British-made bombs, who are coordinated by the Saudis in the presence of British military advisors,” Mr Robertson said during Prime Minister’s Questions.

“Isn’t it time for the Prime Minister to admit that Britain is effectively taking part in a war in Yemen that is costing thousands of civilians lives and he has not sought parliamentary approval to do this?”

Mr Cameron rejected the suggestion that the UK was taking part in the conflict, but admitted that British advisors had a role in Saudi Arabia.

“Just to be absolutely clear about our role: we’re not a member of the Saudi-led coalition, British military personnel are not directly involved in the Saudi-led coalition’s operations, personnel are not  involved in carrying out strikes, directing or conducting operations in Yemen or selecting targets and we’re not involved in the Saudi targeting decision making process,” he said.

“But yes – do we provide advice, help and training in order to make sure that countries actually do obey the norms of humanitarian law? Yes we do.”

Meanwhile, international criticism of Saudi Arabia is starting to be heard.

In late December UN human rights chief Zeid Raad al-Hussein said that a “disproportionate” number of attacks of civilians in Yemen had come from the Saudi-led invasion force.

“I have observed with extreme concern the continuation of heavy shelling from the ground and the air in areas with high a concentration of civilians as well as the perpetuation of the destruction of civilian infrastructure – in particular hospitals and schools – by all parties to the conflict, although a disproportionate amount appeared to be the result of airstrikes carried out by Coalition Forces,” he said.

Human rights group Amnesty International UK has also accused the Government of ignoring “overwhelming evidence” of civilian targeting by the Saudi Arabian air force.

“Angus Robertson has raised an important point about the UK’s involvement in Saudi Arabia’s indiscriminate bombing campaign in Yemen, a campaign we’re told involves British advisers actually located in the Saudi ‘control room’,” said Allan Hogarth, the group’s head of Policy and Government Affairs.

“Thousands of Yemeni civilians have already been killed in a barrage of indiscriminate Saudi airstrikes in the country and whatever advice Britain has been giving to the Saudis has apparently done little to prevent this appalling death toll.

“Meanwhile, the UK is selling billions of pounds worth of weapons to the Saudis in the full knowledge of the grave risk that they’ll be used to kill Yemeni civilians.

“Instead of brushing aside Mr Robertson’s questions, the prime minister should immediately suspend export licences for all further UK arms bound for Saudi Arabia and allow a full investigation into allegations of serious breaches of international humanitarian law by Saudi Arabia in Yemen.

In December 2015 Saferworld and Amnesty International accused the British government of breaking international law in its arms sales.

A legal opinion commissioned by the two groups concluded: “Any authorisation by the UK of the transfer of weapons and related items to Saudi Arabia… in circumstances where such weapons are capable of being used in the conflict in Yemen, including to support its blockade of Yemeni territory, and in circumstances where their end-use is not restricted, would constitute a breach by the UK of its obligations under domestic, European and international law.”

So why does our ruling establishment acquiesce to the evil that is Saudi Arabia?

We know it is up to no good, but too often evidence is suppressed.

This week, my long time journalist friend Felicity Arbuthnot detailed some of this acquiescence in a detailed expose titled: UK Advisors Working Actively Alongside Bomb Targeters.

She wrote: “According to the Daily Telegraph: “British military advisers are in control rooms assisting the Saudi-led coalition staging bombing raids across Yemen that have killed thousands of civilians, the Saudi Foreign Minister and the Ministry of Defence have confirmed.”

Briefing the Telegraph and other journalists the Saudi Foreign Minister, Adel al-Jubeir, said that the UK and other countries in the control centre: ” … are aware of the target lists.”

The “target list” would seem to have included five attacks on schools, disrupting the remaining shreds of normality for 6,500 children. “In some cases the schools were struck more than once, suggesting the strikes were deliberately targeted”, states a report by Amnesty International.

“In October 2015 the Science and Faith School in Beni Hushayash, Sana’a was attacked on four separate occasions within the space of a few weeks. The third strike killed three civilians and wounded more than 10 people.” The only school in the village, it provided education for 1,200 students.

In the village of Hadhran, the Kheir School: “also suffered multiple air strikescausing extensive damage, rendering it unusable.” In the same village two civilian homes and a mosque were bombed, two children were killed, their mother injured, with one man killed and another injured whilst praying in the mosque.

“The director of another school in Hodeidah city, the al-Shaymeh Education Complex for Girls, which catered for some 3,200 students described her horror after the school came under attack twice within a matter of days in August 2015 killing two people. No students were present at the school during the attack, but a man and woman were killed.

“I felt that humanity has ended. I mean, a place of learning, to be hit in this way, without warning… where is humanity … ” she asked.

The al-Asma school in Mansouriya, was destroyed in a bombing in August. However, these horrors barely scrape the surface of the criminal and humanitarian outrage.

Yemen’s Ministry of Education showed Amnesty data revealing more than 1,000 schools inoperable, 254 completely destroyed, 608 partially damaged and 421 being used as shelter by those displaced by the Saudi led, UK assisted onslaught.

The UK is subject to the Arms Trade Treaty which entered in to force on the 24 December 2014 and which Britain has both signed and ratified (2 April 2014) which prohibits arms transfers: ” … if they have knowledge that the arms would be used to commit attacks against civilians, civilian objects or other violations of international humanitarian law.”

Britain “have knowledge that … arms would be used … against civilians or civilian objects” – it is seemingly also helping to plan them, with the US also providing arms and “intelligence.”

The targets for which the UK surely share responsibility also include three medical facilities supported by Medecins Sans Frontieres, the latest on 10 January, a hospital in Saada in the north of the country resulting in six deaths by the 17 January, in which eight were also injured, two critically.

“This is the third severe incident affecting an MSF health facility in Yemen in the last three months. On 27 October, Haydan hospital was destroyed by an airstrike … and on 3 December a health centre in Taiz was also hit”, with nine people wounded.

The exact co-ordinates of the facilities had been given to the Saudi led, British advised coalition, as they had when the US bombed the MSF hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan on 3 October 2015.

It seems giving details of humanitarian facilities to trained killers is interpreted as an invitation to become target practice.

Other potential war crimes have included destruction of the Al-Sham water bottling factory, killing 13 workers about to head home from the night shift and: “markets, apartment buildings and refugee camps … eleven people in a mosque.”

Also destroyed last September was formerly one of the country’s largest employers, the ceramics factory, where Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch stated they had found definitive proof a UK made Marconi Cruise Missile used in the destruction.

Amnesty also stated that they had: “found evidence of apparent war crimes in connection with 13 airstrikes around the north-eastern Saada region, which killed about one hundred civilians including fifty nine women and twenty two children.”

Some population centres are so comprehensively decimated that survivors wonder if they are finally safe, since there is nothing left to bomb. 

Justice for so much in the region has been long delayed.”

Maybe, just maybe, this axis of evil is starting to unravel… but while the terror, beheadings and bombings continue, the blood of the innocents is on David Cameron’s hands.


Do you want to publish your very own book?

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Goodnight Legends, Goodnight

YOU know that feeling of a sudden realisation of something that had previously passed you by.

That flash of light, the road to Damascus experience, that “OMG how did I miss that?” feeling.

Well, one of those happened to me early this morning.

I was lying in bed, sipping a cup of tea, and ruminating on the death of David Bowie and the other famous artists who have passed away in the last few weeks. Lemmy, Alan Rickman, Dale (Buffin) Griffin and Glenn Frey all came to mind.

Then flash!

David Bowie passed from his Kether to his heavenly Malkuth just 10 short days ago…. and in that moment so passed one of the last musicians responsible for one of the most ground breaking musical albums of all time: Lou Reed’s 1972 release: Transformer.

To this day, Transformer is probably the most universally loved collection of songs Lou Reed recorded as a solo artist.

As with many classic albums, the stars were aligned for this one.

Unlike the tracks that made up his patchy self-titled debut, he didn’t have any material left over from the Velvet Underground days. This forced him to get to work writing.

And what songs these are.

The supposed ode to his drug habit, Perfect Day, only works because, no matter who the song is dedicated to, it is a beautiful ballad.

Then there is the epic, neon-drenched goodbye to his association with Andy Warhol and his factory acolytes, Walk on the Wild Side.  The proto punk swagger of Vicious, the gorgeous Satellite of Love, the snarky brass parp of New York Telephone Conversation and the quirky Goodnight Ladies: every track is a classic.

Of course, having his number one fan David Bowie, along with his guitarist Mick Ronson, trying out new production techniques didn’t hurt.

Forty-four years on, Transformer still sounds startlingly fresh, free from many of the clichés that taint other similarly minded records of the period. Their production work was so loaded that, were it not for the incredibly focused songs beneath, it might have been overbearing.

But with a solid base, the ornate arrangements help bring these songs to life, lending Reed’s music a broader palette.

Lou himself, by contrast, sounds as intimate as ever on the record’s more sedate tracks, crooning in a sensitive lilt that maintains his blissful, effortless cool.

But now the legends of that album have all gone.

The singer, guitarist and the man himself Lou Reed died from liver disease, aged 71, in 2013.

Former Spiders from Mars bassist and trumpet player, Trevor Bolder died from pancreatic cancer the same year, aged 62.

Guitarist, pianist and the album’s chief producer and arranger Mick Ronson died far too young from liver cancer, aged just 46, in 1993.

Sax player Ronnie Ross died in London in 1991 aged 58.

Drummer Barry De Souza also died in London in 2009.

Fellow drummer on the album Ritchie Dharma died in 2003.

And, of course, producer, backing vocalist, keyboards and acoustic guitarist David Bowie joined the ethereal band after succumbing to cancer on 10 January this year, aged 69.

Only ageing British bassist Herbie Flowers, 77, and engineer Ken Scott, 68, still survive from the original album line-up.

A good man can be measured by his friends, and Lou Reed certainly had some good ones on Transformer.

Goodnight legends, goodnight.


Suppression of the Truth – Part 3: The Hidden Power of the Freemasons

I FIRST met Bill Hodgson in February 1991, just four months after taking up my initial newspaper editorship at the Argyllshire Advertiser on the west coast of Scotland.

Bill, a former farmer and wine importer, had been selected in September 1989, as the Conservative parliamentary candidate in the Tory/Lib Dem marginal seat of Argyll and Bute.

In 1979, he had achieved the largest Conservative swing in Scotland in the safe Labour seat of East Kilbride. Eight years later he came within 916 votes of ousting Labour in Carlisle, after what supporters called “the best political campaign the city has ever seen”.

Bill was now touted to do well in Argyll against the incumbent MP Rae Michie.

He had already moved his family to a spacious detached villa in Campbeltown – at the southern end of this vast rural constituency which took in Oban, Lochgilphead, Inveraray, Dunoon and Bute and the Inner Hebridian islands of Islay, Jura, Mull and Gigha.

Although I admit to being a Tory activist as a teenager, my personal politics at the time were well to the left of Bill and I had no natural affinity for a Thatcherite Conservative government which had ruined Britain over the previous 12 years.

But Bill, 54, and his politically astute wife Eelan, were gregarious, self-effacing and above all, seemingly honest – rare in any politician.

After an initial meeting, both the Hodgsons were regular visitors to my newspaper office, usually sharing a newsworthy story or a tip-off over a cup of tea.

It soon became obvious that Bill was a bit of a maverick – a go-getting politician who was not afraid to speak his mind.

And I quickly became aware of his track record.

Within two months of his selection, Bill became involved in a bitter row with one of Argyll’s biggest landowners, Douglas Campbell, who had flouted planning orders and felled a forest of trees in order to build 40 luxury holiday chalets.

In the local weekly newspaper the Dunoon Observer, Bill was reported as saying the tree felling was the “misconduct of a barbaric Philistine”.

Mr Campbell was one of 13 applicants who had stood against Bill for the Conservative nomination for Argyll.

Douglas Campbell was also a prominent Freemason and close friend of Ian Campbell, the 12th Duke of Argyll, first cousin to the Queen and a Master Freemason in Scotland.

Bill’s words were ones which Douglas Campbell did not forget and they would soon come back to haunt him.

Just before my own arrival in Argyll, Bill had also fallen out with the Conservative Party’s constituency secretary Noel Facenda.

Facenda had placed Christmas adverts in the local press (including my own paper) which were a clear breach of electoral law and potentially threaten Bill’s candidacy.

Bill was livid with what he regarded as incompetence.

Then soon after my first meeting with the Hodgsons, Bill attacked Argyll and Bute District Council – in which the Tories shared power – for overspending and called for the council’s chief executive to be replaced.

This ruffled the feathers of some prominent Tories and a shadowy campaign to “get Bill out” began.

On 25 May, the simmering row began to spill into open warfare with the resignation of constituency chairwoman – and close friend of Douglas Campbell – Margaret Forrest, who claimed she had been subjected to “verbal assaults” from Mr Hodgson.

It was at this point Bill became a personal confidante and began briefing me weekly about the shenanigans and moves to unseat him by some of his own party officials.

This was despite the fact that among party members in Argyll and voters at large, Bill was seen as being popular and positively electable… a Tory closer to the people than to the landowners who dominated the power plays in Argyll.

Then on 16 August 1991, Bill suffered a minor heart attack. But he was quickly assured by his doctors that a simple heart-by-pass operation would ensure a return to perfect health.

But, while he awaited the operation, rumours about his status as a candidate began to circulate.

His Labour opponent Des Browne (later to become Secretary of State for Scotland) went on the record saying: “Bill Hodgson won’t last long, his own party are out to get him.”

At a small dinner party at his home, Bill told me he had taken enough and was going to fight back.

On 9 September, as the rumours of a coup against him began to harden, Bill told 40 supporters at a meeting in Campbeltown that there was an inside plot to oust him as candidate.

He said the perpetrators were using his health as a smokescreen. “There has been an energetic commitment to apathy, disloyalty and the worship of incompetence,” he said.

It was true, but it was also pouring oil onto the smouldering fire.

His statement was discussed at a constituency meeting called the very next day. Tempers were roused.

But Campbeltown councillor Archie McCallum, who had replaced Margaret Forrest as chairman, denied there was any plot to oust Bill as their candidate.

“We are only interested in his health,” said Mr McCallum, who along with Mr Facenda were also active Freemasons.

But on 23 September, three days after Bill’s heart by-pass operation in Glasgow, the local party executive held an emergency meeting to discuss his future.

The Duke of Argyll – prompted by Douglas Campbell – proposed a motion calling for Bill’s resignation. It was passed by 27 to 17, despite the fact that many members who were entitled to vote were given late notice of the meeting and had been unable to attend.

I rang Bill the next day, and from his hospital bed he issued a press statement in which he said: “What has really annoyed me has been the sneaky, chicken-livered way in which the plotters have behaved. Now they have been rumbled, no doubt they will try to blame someone else.”

The local party was now about to split sharply down the middle.

At the executive meeting, Michael MacRoberts, chairman of the Colintraive branch of the party, demanded that no-one should speak to the press about what had been discussed.

But within 24 hours, more than half a dozen of those present had breached the ruling.

The gloves were now off and the fight was about to escalate to the highest echelons of British politics.

Bill was rarely off the phone to me with updates or advice and it was here that for the first time in my career as a journalist that my telephone was bugged and my calls with Bill were intercepted.

I have never found by whom, but the machinations which I am now about to tell may give powerful clues.

The first to show his true colours was Archie McCallum.

In a private letter dated 1 November to a party member, McCallum detailed the case against Bill.

“The whole blame lies with Bill,” he wrote.

At another executive meeting on 9 November, it was decided to try and take some heat out of the situation which was by now being reported by Scotland’s national press.

The decision of 23 September was rescinded and members decided to ask Bill to account for himself at the next meeting on 7 December.

But McCallum was quick to up the ante.

He claimed that at a private meeting in late November Lord Willie Whitelaw, former Conservative Party Chairman and Home Secretary, and leading Freemason, had recommended the constituency “ditch Bill Hodgson”, claiming he had run into problem in Carlisle in 1987.

It was a lie, but given the word of Lord Whitelaw the lie became fact.

McCallum was later coy about the meeting with Whitelaw and refused to repeat the words used in the meeting.

Later it was established that the private meeting was at Inveraray Castle – home of the Duke of Argyll – with the duke and Douglas Campbell also present.

The Masonic plot against Bill Hodgson was almost complete with a cousin of the Queen and a former Home Secretary at the hub.

(Ironically, last year it was revealed that detectives are now investigating claims of another Masonic conspiracy in which Lord Whitelaw ordered police to drop an investigation into a VIP paedophile ring.

Whitelaw told a senior Metropolitan Police boss to quash a year-long investigation into a gang accused of abusing 40 children, the youngest of whom was six.

The intervention came in 1980, after a newspaper revealed the country’s chief prosecutor was considering 350 offences against the gang, including allegations it ‘obtained young boys for politicians, prominent lawyers and film stars’.)

So with the power brokers stacked against him, Bill appeared before the constituency executive on 7 December 1991. He was voted down by 36 votes to 33 and his resignation demanded forthwith or they would pursue his deselection.

McCallum defended the move saying: “Bill wanted everything done yesterday, and in an area where tomorrow is good enough, it was not good enough for him. I’m afraid that Bill has shot his bolt.”

But, Bill’s supporters claimed the meeting had been rigged to exclude delegates who supported him.

In a letter to Scottish Conservative Party Chairman Lord Sanderson, John Maclean, an executive member, claimed that branches likely to have backed Bill had been excluded from the vote.

Asking Sanderson to conduct a secret postal ballot, Maclean also alleged that other pro-Hodgson party members had been excluded on “various flimsy grounds”. Had those branches and individuals been allowed to attend, there would have been an eight vote majority in favour of Bill.

A week later, during a meeting with Lord Sanderson – another leading Scottish Freemason – and Michael Hirst, President of the Scottish Conservative Association, Bill refused to resign.

He had public opinion with him and was backed by four branches and hundreds of members who threatened to leave the party if he was forced to step down.

Two weeks later 205 party members signed a petition demanding a general meeting of the constituency party to discuss Bill’s candidacy. It was clear that they would win the day.

But always expect the unexpected.

Less than 24 hours after the demand for the meeting was tabled; with orders from Central Office, the Scottish Conservative Association stepped in and dissolved the entire constituency association in Argyll. Thus they deselected Bill as parliamentary candidate and excommunicated hundreds of Tory party members in one blow.

Michael Hirst said that the decision to disaffiliate the Argyll association was made with “considerable reluctance”.

“Not in living memory of those here has this ever happened before,” he added.

Donald Nicholson, chairman of the Ardchattan branch said what many were thinking: “What happened to Bill is a travesty. These things will never be forgotten as long as Argyll is a constituency.”

Argyll constituency vice chairwoman Sheena Dixon said: “Bill was a professional and worked incredibly hard in the two years he was here. It seemed he worked too hard for some and upset others whose power will not be upset.”

Another party executive member added: “Bill’s future was decided by a cabal of powerful people within our party. The one thing that unites them, other than being Conservatives, is they all belong to one secret society.”

Such is the power of the Freemasons, which I would come to witness many other times in my career as a journalist.

The final words I will leave to Bill: “I am saddened by the damage to the party. My abiding memory of the last four months is the callous and uncaring announcement of my dismissal while I was lying in hospital.

“I have a feeling of sickness for those who have campaigned so venomously for my deselection using lies, libels and vile innuendo as their weapons.”


Footnote 1: Bill’s successor as Conservative candidate for Argyll and Bute, John Corrie, failed to unseat Lib Dem MP Rae Michie in the 1992 General Election taking just 27% of the vote. By 2015, the Tory vote in the constituency had fallen to just 15%.


Footnote 2: Bill sadly died in October 2010. He left me with many happy memories of wine-fuelled chats by his fireside and his wonderful sense of humour.

He also left me a letter with the immortal words: “A man is known by his friends and not his enemies, I am grateful to count you as a friend.”

Lord Whitelaw died of natural causes at his home near Penrith, aged 81, in 1999,

Ian Campbell, the 12th Duke of Argyll died of heart failure during surgery at a London hospital in 2001, aged 63.

Douglas Campbell died in May 2015 aged 79. Ironically his obituary said he was: “One of the most innovative farmers of his generation, who diversified into tourism with holiday parks and leisure facilities.

“He and his family built up a considerable business from his base in Lochgoilhead, with hotels, shops and eight holiday parks.”


Broken Man Blues

The day you held my dick in your hand

Abused so hard I could not stand

A broken man

The day I made my great mistake

A blight from which I cannot awake

A broken man


The day the scalpel cut so deep

Nightmares have filled my deepest sleep

A broken man

The day you stole sweet Andrea’s life

And left behind pain, chaos and strife

A broken man


Meet me at the bottom, don’t lag behind

Bring me my boots and shoes

I sit blindly in your doorway

Playing my guitar slowly

And sing for you these broken man blues


The day you swallowed pills of disdain

And your stepfather shot out his own brain

A broken man

The day you cheated in our marriage bed

Then denied everything I had ever said

A broken man


The day you stole our daughters away

My life it faded to a deeper grey

A broken man

The day you lied with a poison tongue

More years of agony had just begun

A broken man


Meet me at the bottom, don’t lag behind

Bring me my boots and shoes

I sit blindly in your doorway

Playing my guitar slowly

And sing for you these broken man blues



The day you ran off with a married man

And left me homeless without a plan

A broken man

The day the plate cracked open my skull

The grey in my life then all turned dull

A broken man


The day the nervous breakdown came

Nothing would ever be the same

A broken man

The day I lost a lifetime career

I drowned the shame in wine and beer

A broken man


Meet me at the bottom, don’t lag behind

Bring me my boots and shoes

I sit blindly in your doorway

Playing my guitar slowly

And sing for you these broken man blues


The day my eldest wed his bride

It left me with no place to hide

A broken man

The day I collapsed in a forgotten heap

The drugs numbed me in a zombie sleep

A broken man


The day my last child went far away

Nothing in life was left to betray

A broken man

The day I left the town of lost souls

I stumbled into a welcome of city scrolls

A broken man


Meet me at the bottom, don’t lag behind

Bring me my boots and shoes

I sit blindly in your doorway

Playing my guitar slowly

And sing for you these broken man blues


The day you told me to go away and die

No-one was left to hear me cry

A broken man

The day I walked into the swirling sea

I hoped in vain you would hear my plea

A broken man


The day my sweet granddaughter was born

My life was then fully ripped and torn

A broken man

So I tremble shaking to hold onto a dream

That nothing is quite as it may seem

A broken man


Meet me at the bottom, don’t lag behind

Bring me my boots and shoes

I sit blindly in your doorway

Playing my guitar slowly

And sing for you these broken man blues

Only 300 copies left of: The Hill – Songs and Poems of Darkness and Light

WP Hill

ONLY 300 copies of the First Edition of my book The Hill – Songs and Poems of Darkness and Light are still available.

The Hill – Songs and Poems of Darkness and Light is 100 pages of angst, joy, reflection on subjects as diverse as child abuse, cancer, depression, bereavement, love and joy. The full story behind the book can be listened to here:

The Hill – Songs and Poems of Darkness and Light is available for order directly through Paypal with full details at:

Order your copy now for just £3.99 plus £1.80 P&P (Europe: £3.70 P&P, Australia: £5.05 P&P and USA: £4.75 P&P with discounts on postage for multiple orders).

There are also options to order by post with full details on the website.

Alternatively you can buy the book (postage free) through Ebay at:

I will personally sign your copy upon request, and your book will be dispatched immediately upon cleared payment.

Meanwhile my second book Another Hill – Songs and Poems of Love and Theft is set for publication in April this year.


The Enemy Within – the 28 Labour MPs who Oppose Mr Corbyn

“The time has come,” the Walrus said, “To talk of many things: of shoes, and ships and sealing-wax, of cabbages and kings… and Jeremy Corbyn’s enemies.”

RIGHTLY or wrongly our print and broadcast media have been tied into knots over Jeremy Corbyn’s so-called ‘Revenge Reshuffle’ and the ensuing sackings and resignations from Labour’s front bench team.

Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell accuses many of the rebels involved in these shenanigans of being linked to the Blairite campaign group Progress.

“We have had a few junior members resign and of course that’s their right but they do all come from a sort of a narrow right-wing clique within the Labour Party based around the organisation Progress.

“I don’t think they’ve really ever accepted Jeremy’s mandate. I’m afraid they have to recognise that Jeremy got elected with the largest mandate of any political leader from any political party in our history.

“I’m afraid they haven’t respected that leadership election result.”

But this watershed for Mr Corbyn’s Parliamentary Labour Party was always a matter of time.

Those right wingers who have taken the fight to their leader believe they were right to do so. But they can hardly complain when he fights back.

Which leaves them with a simple choice: follow the leader and the refreshing new direction the Labour Party is following – supported by half a million paid up members – or resign from the front bench and other positions of responsibility.

Such actions would produce clear red water between Mr Corbyn and his Westminster detractors and neutralise the betrayal narrative.

Take Rochdale MP Simon Danczuk for example, who courted media attention by suggesting that the floods in the north of England would have been preventable if the government were not so generous with foreign aid, particularly to Bangladesh.

Views that would not be out of place in UKIP or the Conservative Party.

Mr Danczuk has certainly been the most vocal opponent of Mr Corbyn.

In the House of Commons he voted for bombing Syria and was one of 20 rebels who did not oppose George Osborne’s law banning the government from borrowing to fund infrastructure during normal times.

He even suggested he would stand as a stalking horse candidate later this year in a leadership election bid to oust Mr Corbyn.

But poor Mr Danczuk was suddenly discredited and had the Labour Party whip withdrawn over sexual predator allegations after it was revealed he sent sexually explicit text messages to a teenage girl.

Former London Mayor Ken Livingstone says that Labour MPs rebelling against Mr Corbyn need to get behind the leader and has defended his earlier calls for disciplinary procedures against them.

“If Labour looks divided it undermines our chances of defeating the Tories,” he said.

“These MPs like Danczuk, who at least does it honestly on the record unlike some others who are doing nasty snidey things anonymously.”

“They have to decide, ‘do you want another five years of a Tory government or do you actually want to get in behind Jeremy.”

Mr Livingstone, who has been a close ally of Mr Corbyn for three decades, said: “If your local MP is undermining Jeremy Corbyn, opposing the anti-austerity measures that we want, people should have a right to say: ‘I’d like to have an MP who reflects my view.’ It shouldn’t be a job for life.”

He reiterated his support for automatic reselection, saying it was one of the things he disagrees with Mr Corbyn on.

“The Parliamentary Labour Party does not represent the party outside,” he added.

The remarks by Mr Livingstone fuel suspicions among Labour MPs who oppose Mr Corbyn’s leadership that their time in Westminster may be numbered.

The redrawing the parliamentary boundaries, as part of plans to shrink the size of the Commons from 650 MPs to 600, will provide the opportunity to move against some right wing Labour MPs.

Under the Labour rules for boundary changes, existing MPs have the right to be reselected for a new seat if they can claim a “substantial territorial interest” of at least 40% in the new seat.

But reselection battles could be triggered under the current rules in many of the 206 Labour-held seats in England.

Just 36 will remain unchanged while in 54 of the seats the proposed boundary changes will be larger than 40% of the territory of the constituency, potentially opening them up to new candidates.

However, although the voices of dissent within the Parliamentary Labour Party are amplified by the right wing media, an investigation has found that out of 231 MPs, only 28 of them could be regarded as a real threat to Mr Corbyn’s leadership.

Who are they?

For the first time we can name the so-called ‘Enemy Within’… the Labour MPs that Mr Corbyn has most to fear:

Adrian Bailey (West Bromwich West – Majority: 5,651)

Voted for bombing Syria and was one of 20 rebels who did not oppose George Osborne’s law banning the government from borrowing to fund infrastructure during normal times.

Alan Johnson (Kingston upon Hull West and Hessle – Majority: 9,333)

A Blairite and vehement opponent of Mr Corbyn, but he is set to retire before the 2020 General Election.

Alison McGovern (Wirral South – Majority: 4,599)

A Blairite and chair of the Progress group. Voted for bombing Syria. Resigned last week from Mr Corbyn’s front bench team.

Ann Coffey (Stockport – Majority: 10,061)

Brownite. Voted for bombing Syria and was one of 20 rebels who did not oppose George Osborne’s law banning the government from borrowing to fund infrastructure during normal times

Ben Bradshaw (Exeter – Majority: 7,183)

Blairite and vocal right winger. Voted for bombing Syria and was one of 20 rebels who did not oppose George Osborne’s law banning the government from borrowing to fund infrastructure during normal times.

Caroline Flint (Don Valley – Majority: 8,885)

Blairite. Touted as a possible future leadership contender. Voted for bombing Syria.

Catherine McKinnell (Newcastle North – Majority: 10,153)

Did not vote to bomb Syria but resigned from Labour Shadow Cabinet last week citing division among Labour MPs

Chris Leslie (Nottingham East – Majority: 11,894)

Brownite. Voted for bombing Syria and was one of 20 rebels who did not oppose George Osborne’s law banning the government from borrowing to fund infrastructure during normal times

Chuka Umunna (Streatham – Majority: 13,934)

A Blairite and former leadership contender. Voted for bombing Syria.

Dan Jarvis (Barnsley Central – Majority: 12,435)

Blairite. A vice chair of the Progress group. Voted for bombing Syria.

Frank Field (Birkenhead – Majority: 20,652)

A Blairite with a huge parliamentary majority. Voted for bombing Syria and was one of 20 rebels who did not oppose George Osborne’s law banning the government from borrowing to fund infrastructure during normal times. A vocal critic of Mr Corbyn.

Gisela Stuart (Birmingham, Edgbaston – Majority: 2,706)

Blairite. Voted for bombing Syria and was one of 20 rebels who did not oppose George Osborne’s law banning the government from borrowing to fund infrastructure during normal times.

Graham Jones (Hyndburn – Majority: 4,400)

Voted for bombing Syria and was one of 20 rebels who did not oppose George Osborne’s law banning the government from borrowing to fund infrastructure during normal times.

Heidi Alexander (Lewisham East – Majority: 14,333)

Voted for bombing Syria. Although in the Shadow Cabinet, a leaked email reveals her private fears that Mr Corbyn’s “hard-Left agenda” is out of touch with the views of voters. She earlier told activists in her constituency that Mr Corbyn would cause ‘division within the party’, and make Labour unelectable.

Helen Jones (Warrington North – Majority: 6,771)

Voted for bombing Syria and was one of 20 rebels who did not oppose George Osborne’s law banning the government from borrowing to fund infrastructure during normal times.

Ian Austin (Dudley North – Majority: 4,181)

Brownite. Voted for bombing Syria and was one of 20 rebels who did not oppose George Osborne’s law banning the government from borrowing to fund infrastructure during normal times.

Jamie Reed (Copeland – Majority: 3,833)

Blairite. Voted for bombing Syria and was one of 20 rebels who did not oppose George Osborne’s law banning the government from borrowing to fund infrastructure during normal times.

Jenny Chapman (Darlington – Majority: 3,158)

Blairite. A vice chair of the Progress group.Voted for bombing Syria.

John Woodcock (Barrow and Furness – Majority: 795)

Blairite. Former chair of the Progress group. Small parliamentary majority. Voted for bombing Syria. Last week resigned in protest at Jeremy Corbyn’s so called ‘purge’ of right wing MPs from his front page team. Has previously openly mocked Mr Corbyn.

Kevan Jones (North Durham – Majority: 12,076)

Brownite. Quit the Labour front bench last week and was described by John McDonnell as being “part of a narrow right wing clique”. He also voted for bombing Syria.

Liz Kendall (Leicester West – Majority: 7,203)

Leadership contender. Blairite. A vice chair of the Progress group.

Voted for bombing Syria and was one of 20 rebels who did not oppose George Osborne’s law banning the government from borrowing to fund infrastructure during normal times.

Margaret Hodge (Barking – Majority: 16,555)

Blairite. Voted for bombing Syria and was one of 20 rebels who did not oppose George Osborne’s law banning the government from borrowing to fund infrastructure during normal times.

Mary Creagh (Wakefield – Majority: 2,613)

Voted for bombing Syria and a high profile vocal critic of Mr Corbyn.

Michael Dugher (Barnsley East – Majority: 12,034)

Voted for bombing Syria. A vocal critic of Mr Corbyn and was sacked from his front bench team last week.

Pat McFadden (Wolverhampton South East – Majority: 10,767)

Sacked from Labour Front Bench last week for briefing against Mr Corbyn. Voted for bombing Syria.

Siobhain McDonagh (Mitcham and Morden – Majority: 16,922)

A Blairite who voted for bombing Syria.

Stephen Doughty (Cardiff South and Penarth – Majority: 7,453)

Publicly quit the Labour front bench on live TV last week and described by John McDonnell as being “part of a narrow right wing clique”. Also voted for bombing Syria.

Tristram Hunt (Stoke-on-Trent Central – Majority: 5,179)

Blairite. A vice chair of the Progress group. Touted as a possible future leadership contender. Voted for bombing Syria and was one of 20 rebels who did not oppose George Osborne’s law banning the government from borrowing to fund infrastructure during normal times.

In addition the following senior Labour MPs have sharp ideological differences with Mr Corbyn, but for reasons of party loyalty are not seen as a threat:

Angela Eagle (Wallasey), Maria Eagle (Garston and Halewood), and Gloria De Piero (Ashfield) are all Blairites and each voted for bombing Syria but are reportedly happy in the Shadow Cabinet

The same is true of former Cabinet ministers Blairite Margaret Beckett (Derby South) and Brownite Yvette Cooper (Normanton, Pontefract and Castleford) who both voted for bombing Syria.

Liam Byrne (Birmingham Hodge Hill) the founder of the Progress group, who was once bracketed with Tristram Hunt as an opponent of Mr Corbyn, has yet to rebel against his leader.

Footnote: For a good background to the reshuffle and the Labour rebels, read this from Evolve Politics:



The Lasting Legacy of Childhood Sexual Abuse

I WROTE the attached blog piece two years ago, following my nervous breakdown in June 2013. At the time of writing I was trying to make sense of events in my life which had led to the breakdown.

abused child

THE breakdown was a long time coming… 43 years to be precise. Yes, that really is a long time to keep a secret and many events along the way could have been my undoing much sooner. So I marvel that it took so long.

Two massive battles with cancer; the loss of most of my right lung and shoulder; the ruination of a much loved career by my own stupidity; the death of my best friend and later my father; divorces and more failed relationships than you care to shake a stick at; bankruptcy; the suicide of a family member; denial of access to two of my children for 12 years; the repossession of my home; discovering my wife was enjoying sex with another man; becoming a single parent at the age of 50 and an unprovoked assault that almost took my life anyway.

Set against that backdrop there is a star-spangled career in journalism with a raft of awards and recognition at the highest level, the chance to meet and talk with some stellar people, five wonderful kids plus a host of amazing and loyal friends.

These are just snippits of my life so far and more than enough to form the framework of a powerful autobiography.

But casting a huge shadow over every move I have made, every tear, every relationship, every job and every sick joke was something much more sinister.

Wednesday 12 June 2013 was the day the elastic band finally broke and my life unravelled before my eyes, and those of my wife and precious son, who could only watch with me.

It all began in another time and another place…

I was, a young 14-year-old boy standing in darkness in open woodland, with my trousers around my ankles, being sexually abused by a 38-year-old man – a man trusted by my parents to care for me.

It was 1970.

He was the district commissioner for Scouts in my home town and over many months had encouraged me to attend camps, orienteering, patrol leader weekends and wide games to help me ‘get the most out of Scouting’.

I was a bright, gentle and slightly quirky kid who had enjoyed being in the Cubs and Scouts since the age of seven.

But not anymore.

The abuse had begun some months earlier, soon after my 14th birthday, at a so-called winter camping weekend at the Scout-owned woodland campsite – some three miles from my home, and five from the centre of town.

Over the course of 15 months, it had become regular, routine and progressively invasive.

I had been sworn to secrecy by my abuser. After all, I was the one he had caught ‘playing with’ himself and I would be totally humiliated if anyone found out.

I felt dirty and terrified and above all convinced I must be a ‘queer’ (gay) to allow this to happen. But the over-riding feeling was a need to escape this darkness, this nightmare.

I tried all manner of excuses not to attend Scouts and these frequent camps. When eventually my loving parents questioned my ongoing reluctance, I lied that I was being bullied. Their answer was simple: ‘stand up to the bullies’. Followed by: ‘If you leave the Scouts they will know they have beaten you’!

How I wish I had told them the truth. But I was sure my mother would not have believed me and accuse me of exaggerating. Equally, my father was a strong-minded man and I felt he would humiliate me further, if I told him, with jibes about me being a ‘poof’ or something. Sadly in adult hindsight he would probably have hugged me close and physically attacked my abuser had he known.

I don’t blame my parents, they were the most loving and caring I could have wished for. But times were different then and there were many things in life that were taboo.

Anyway, the abuse continued unabated as I turned 15 and as I turned more introspective and aloof to friends.

I was in my abuser’s control and I could not break free.

But I did eventually escape in the June of 1971.

My abuser had arranged a patrol leaders’ meeting at his house on the other side of town. It was a ‘must attend’ gathering.

I had met a lad called Brian from another troop and we had agreed to go together. Brian’s dad would take us there and my dad would pick us both up at 9pm.

We arrived at this spacious bungalow in a quiet middle-class cul-de-sac at about 7pm and were ushered inside by my abuser. Others were arriving and by the time we were all assembled, there were about 10 boys aged between 13 and 15 in the semi-lit dining room.

The meeting was a blur. My mind was already in the dark woods.  And in what seemed no time at all, parents were arriving to pick up their kids. Soon just Brian and I remained silently while the clock ticked.

My abuser said he would make a cup of tea for us both and asked if we would like a biscuit too. Brian said ‘Yes’ for both of us.

Then as he walked down the hallway to his kitchen, Brian whispered to me: “Scarper!”

Without hesitation we ran to the front door, fumbled at the latch and tore down the driveway to the cul-de-sac. No sign of my fecking dad! Where the hell was he?

We could hear my abuser call out our names from his front doorway, and we ran as fast and as far away as we could.

We didn’t stop until we reached a red phone box on the outskirts of the town centre, about a mile away. We then stared at each other. At that moment, I knew Brian was a victim too.

Shaking, I rang my home phone number. Mum answered. But before I could say much, she berated me for being ‘so rude’ as to run away from the nice man’s house. She also chastised me for leaving her and my dad terrified for my safety. She told me to stay at the phone box and when dad returned home she would send him out again to pick us up.

He did and when I eventually got home to the safety of my bedroom, I broke down and cried into my pillow all night long.

That night was a watershed for so many reasons.

I had begun to face this demon, by knowing that in Brian I was not alone.

From that day I used every excuse I could find to avoid my abuser and never went back to Scouts or camping again. Even when my own troop leader called at our house to ask if I was okay, I managed to lie and stay safe.

My passion for football and hard school work helped mask the real reasons.

But the events of 1970-71 were just the beginning of the nightmare for me. My abuser’s smirking face and the smell of his stale sweat never leaves me.

I lived and grew through my mid-teens convinced I must be gay to have allowed a man to do the things my abuser did to me. I also lived in terror that either my parents, sisters, or worse still my school friends, would find out and I would become an object of ridicule.

Resultant behaviour patterns started to emerge: a need to control every aspect of my life and the social environment around me, outbursts of vocal anger, walking away from any situation which threatened my control, and as I turned 18, progressively heavy drinking.

The control aspect was – and still is – vital. For without it I feel vulnerable and frightened and unable to function normally. At home my behaviour sometimes borders on OCD.

Once away at university in the far flung environs of Yorkshire I also had a need to prove I was ‘normal’ or straight! Whereas a lot of young men ‘sow their oats’ at uni’, I sowed more than most. I am not proud in any measure, but I bedded as many girls who would say yes as I could, proving to myself I was ‘straight’!

I also needed female company, as a fear of being unsafe and alone was constantly with me. By the time I was 22-years-old I was engaged to a girl who promised to always care for me.

By the age of 24, we were wed. It was a sadly inappropriate marriage of two polar opposites and lasted just eight years. My outbursts of vocal temper, deep introspection and a need to control my own life, plus an affair, did not help!

But I survived my first divorce – and an 18 month battle with cancer – and tried to start over.

In 1990, aged 34, I moved to Scotland and found a geographical escape from my past. It involved burying myself in my job. Often working 16 hour days, prolonged success at work allowed me to control my life at last.

One year after moving north I met a young woman who told me of the sexual abuse she had suffered as a 14-year-old, adding that I was the first person she had confided in. I could not share my abuse with her… but this was an epiphany and I saw a possible way out.

A colleague at work was married to a police officer and I used him to help me lodge a formal complaint against my abuser via the Inspector at the local police station. He, in turn, passed on the complaint to the police force in the area of southern England where I had lived as a young teenager.

It was November 1991.

I waited in trepidation, wondering what might happen next and preparing to come clean with my parents if a court case was involved.

Two weeks passed before I was asked to attend the local police station to talk with the Inspector again. He invited me into an interview room at the back of the station, where he told me something I was not ready for… my abuser was dead!

I walked zombie-like back to my office, barely able to talk with anybody.

How could my abuser be dead! How could he not face justice for what he had done? How could I carry on?

The anger inside me was immense.

The next few months were hard as I tried to keep a lid on my emotions. But rages came, tears and gloom overwhelmed and eventually in the summer of 1992, I walked out and left that part of Scotland for good.

The next 20 years were much like the previous 20 with black moods, multiple broken relationships and a growing need to drink to forget.

Only success at work allowed me to be my real self.

By 2003 I recognised I was fast becoming an alcoholic. Alcoholics Anonymous was a refuge and it allowed me to share my past in confidence with complete strangers.

But life happens and the sudden need to care as a single parent for my youngest child reinforced the desire to take control of life and at last start to live it with purpose as a sober dad.

In January 2006 I moved to Wales to begin again, both at work and at home.

Work had a purpose as I edited a small but successful weekly newspaper. I had already edited other similar local papers years earlier and had twice taken them to win newspaper of the year awards. This time it was treading water, but enjoyable all the same and allowed stability for a full seven years.

Stories came and went and along the way and I worked with and befriended some wonderful people. I also wasted no opportunity to expose convicted child sex offenders whenever their cases came to light. Ironically the so-called ‘paedo files’ in North Wales seemed more expansive than anywhere else I had lived or worked. It was like unsolicited cathartic therapy.

My empathy with the victims was immense. But still I could not share what remained buried for so long.

Last year fate suddenly dealt me straight and I met my soul mate and now my darling wife. I shared everything with her and I found love and stability for the first time since I turned 14. Life was starting to have a meaning.

But just when life breathes fresh air something unexpected takes the breath away and leaves it stale.

Four months ago that something happened and sent my life into a complete tailspin. And to mix metaphors, the tailspin became a train crash.

While researching on-line for more information about a North Wales’ child sex abuse case we were carrying in the paper, I decided to look for any lasting details about my own abuser.

It didn’t take long and the moment will stay with me forever.

I discovered that my abuser was indeed dead. But he had died in 1996, aged 64… some five years AFTER the police told me he was already dead! I double and triple checked my facts.

I still cannot comprehend what happened.

Had the police in 1991 cocked up? Had they identified the wrong man? Or worse still was it a conspiracy to protect someone of importance in the local community? I guess I will never know, but I had been denied the justice and closure I had wanted all those years earlier.

The rages and tears came again as I struggled to take back control.

Work was corrosive and I felt undermined at every turn by junior bosses whose experience did not hold a candle to my own. I felt managed out of my job and was losing control of my own newspaper and my life.

On Wednesday 12 June 2013 I walked into my office to find that one of these junior charge hands had changed my front page – after I had gone to press – without any reference to me. I flipped and with it my whole life lay on its back kicking into a nothingness.

But now as I write this I am, for the very first time, receiving professional help to deal with my demon. And it is my abuser who is the demon, not some bungling police officer.

The demon will never go away, but I have a loving wife, a courageous and wonderful mother, a gorgeous youngest son and some amazing close friends, who all now know of my dark secret. And by sharing with them, I am slowly losing the need to control my life. It is liberating. I am recovering.

And it is for them that I need to live and share my inner self. The abuser has not won… I am fighting back.

This blog is the means to that end.


The UK Paedo Files: a Can of Worms that Only Opens from the Inside

JIMMY Savile, Gary Glitter, Max Clifford, Leon Brittan, Cyril Smith, Greville Janner, Rolf Harris, Stuart Hall, Jonathan King, Oliver Reed and Chris Denning are just a few of the UK’s high profile child sex offenders to have been convicted or outed in the past three years.

But there are many more.

A ‘powerful elite’ of at least 20 prominent Establishment figures formed a VIP paedophile ring that abused children for decades, one whistleblower has now claimed.

Meanwhile the Metropolitan Police confirms it is investigating paedophile and sexual abuse claims against 76 British politicians, 178 TV and movie celebrities and seven sports stars.

Peter McKelvie – a former child protection officer who first raised the alarm about high profile individuals engaged in child sex abuse – said senior politicians, military figures and even people linked to the Royal Family are among the alleged abusers.

Mr McKelvie said that their campaign of abuse may have been going on for as long as 65 years, but ‘there has always been the block and the cover-up and the collusion to prevent an investigation.’

Mr McKelvie, whose claims led to Scotland Yard’s 2012 Operation Fernbridge investigation into allegations of a paedophile network linked to Downing Street, said the alleged VIP child abuse ring may at last face justice, although several members are now dead.

“For the last 30 years and longer than that, there have been a number of allegations made by survivors that people at the top of very powerful institutions in this country – which include politicians, judges, senior military figures and even people that have links with the Royal Family – have been involved in the abuse of children,” said Mr McKelvie.

“At the most serious level, we’re talking about the brutal rape of young boys,” he added.

Describing the child abusers as making up a ‘small percentage’ of the British Establishment at the time, Mr McKelvie admitted there was ‘a slightly larger percentage’ of people who knew about the abuse but did not report it to the police.

He said these people ‘felt that in terms of their own self-interest and self-preservation and for political party reasons, it has been safer for them to cover it up than deal with it.’

Meanwhile, a former Metropolitan Police officer says he was told a member of the Queen’s family and an MP had both been identified as part of a major child abuse inquiry.

But the operation was shut down by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) for ‘national security reasons’.

The ex-officer explained how a named detective sergeant based at London’s Marylebone Police Station in the late 1980s, spoke to him about the investigation and the fact it had been axed.

The former officer said: “I was in a car with two other vice squad officers. They were discussing a madam who had provided a girl of about 15 to the film actor Oliver Reed.

“The detective sergeant said he had just had a major child abuse investigation shut down by the CPS regarding a royal and an MP.

“He said the CPS had said it was not in the public’s interest because it ‘could destabilise national security’.”

The former officer added: “What I was told has stayed with me to this day.”

Reed was never prosecuted over underage sex.

The Metropolitan Police now insists it is pursuing claims of abuse, no matter who was said to be involved.

Deputy Assistant Commissioner Steve Rodhouse said: “We have seen lots of allegations of cover-ups, and I think it’s helpful that people are coming forward. We will go where the evidence takes us, without fear or favour, I think that is what the public expect.”

Earlier this year it was announced the Independent Police Complaints Commission is investigating 14 separate referrals spanning four decades, amid cover-up claims.

The claims – referred to the IPCC by the Met – allege the force suppressed evidence, hindered or halted investigations and covered up offences because of the involvement of MPs and police officers.

Former Met Deputy Commissioner Albert Laugharne said that, while head of Lancashire police, he had been asked by a DPP officer to lie about allegations involving the late Lib Dem MP Cyril Smith, later unmasked as a paedophile.

A surveillance operation that unmasked Leon Brittan’s links to child sex abuse is also said to have been shut down by Met detectives.

The Sunday Mirror revealed last year how the former Home Secretary was snapped by officers during a 1986 investigation into rent boy orgies run in North London buildings.

But the day before swoops on alleged suspects were due to be carried out, officers on Operation Orchid were told it had been disbanded.

Smith and top judges were also believed to have been photographed entering the underage sex dens. Sources claim up to 16 high profile figures were due to be arrested.

Leon Brittan was under investigation by the Met over sex abuse allegations at the time of his death in January this year. However, in October, the CPS said they had not found enough evidence to prosecute.

In 2013, police investigating allegations of a child paedophile network seized a list naming top politicians, members of the Royal household and a world-renowned pop star.

They were allegedly visitors to a bed and breakfast guest house which operated as a brothel where youngsters were abused at gay sex parties.

The names were recorded on a handwritten note found by police at the North London home of child protection worker Mary Moss during a raid.

She had initially declined to co-operate with the investigation.

Documents and a laptop were seized and Ms Moss later handed over other 19 files she had put in a neighbour’s shed.

The papers include a list of men who went to sex parties in the 1980s at the Elm Guest House, in Barnes, south west London.

Among them were two former Conservative Cabinet ministers, four other senior Tories, a Labour MP, a prominent Irish republican and a leading National Front member.

The note also allegedly names two members of the royal household – one a former Buckingham Palace employee – plus the owner of a multinational company and two pop stars.

In Government documents released in July this year, Leon Brittan was one of four senior Westminster figures named in connection to child sexual abuse.

Along with Brittan, the former British diplomat Sir Peter Hayman, and former ministers William van Straubenzee and Peter Morrison were named in the secret government files.

It was reported that Brittan and Hayman were among the suspects who were involved in an alleged Westminster paedophile ring operating in the 1980s, according to an investigation by the Australian current affairs programme 60 Minutes entitled Spies, Lords and Predators.

One victim accused Brittan of regularly abusing children at the Dolphin Square apartment block in Pimlico.

The victim told 60 Minutes that Brittan liked boys to dress in women’s underwear before abusing them.

The fact that a paedophile ring had been operating within the British Establishment first emerged in an investigation by campaigning Tory politician Geoffrey Dickens.

In November 1983, the MP for Littleborough and Saddleworth sent a 40-page document to then Home Secretary Leon Brittan detailing alleged VIP child abusers, including Cyril Smith and other senior politicians.

In a newspaper interview at the time, Mr Dickens claimed his dossier contained the names of eight ‘really important public figures’ that he planned to expose, and whose crimes are believed to have stretched back to the 1960s.

But in March 1984 Home Secretary Brittan told Mr Dickens that his dossier has been assessed by prosecutors and passed on to the police, but no further action is taken.

In 1989, Brittan was suddenly made European Commissioner for Competition at the European Commission, resigning as an MP to take the position. He accepted the post as European Commissioner reluctantly, as it meant giving up his British parliamentary ambitions.

(In late 1990, while I was working as the editor of a weekly newspaper in Argyll, I was told by a leading Scottish Conservative politician that Brittan had been moved to Europe, because “he has an unnatural fascination for young boys”.)

In May 1995, Geoffrey Dickens died. A short time later his wife destroyed his copy of the paedophile dossier.

The only other copies – one received by Mr Brittan and another allegedly sent to the Director of Public Prosecutions – are believed to have been lost or destroyed.

In September 2010 Cyril Smith died aged 82 without ever being charged with sex offences.

In October 2012 during Prime Minister’s Questions, Labour MP (and now Deputy Leader) Tom Watson claimed there is ‘clear intelligence suggesting a powerful paedophile network linked to Parliament and No10’.

A month later the CPS admitted that Smith should have been charged with crimes of abuse more than 40 years earlier.

The CPS also admitted Smith had been investigated in 1970, 1974, 1998, and 1999, but rejected every opportunity to prosecute him.

A former special branch officer, Tony Robinson, said a historic dossier ‘packed’ with information about Smith’s sex crimes was actually in the hands of MI5 – despite officially having been ‘lost’ decades earlier.

Then in June 2014, Labour MP Simon Danczuk called on Leon Brittan to say what he knew about the Dickens dossier.

A month later Home Office permanent secretary Mark Sedwill revealed that 114 files relating to historic allegations of child sex abuse, from between 1979 and 1999, have disappeared from the Home Office.

It is clear that this nasty can of worms only opens from the inside.

To be continued…