The latest scandal to hit Britain concerns Sir Jimmy Savile, DJ, TV personality, indefatigable charity worker, and it now appears prolific paedophile. The controversy centres around why the BBC, Savile’s employer, ditched an expose of the sex offender in favour of a laudatory tribute. Media attention is focused on this aspect of the scandal for obvious reasons; the BBC in order to defend itself, other media outlets in order to point the finger at the BBC.

Sir Jimmy Savile

There are, however, other aspects to be exposed. With the breaking scandal we have a flood of media types who acknowledge awareness that something was going on but who did not raise the matter. This raises two questions: Just how many in positions of power at the BBC, then and today, were aware of Savile’s activities and tolerated them? Also, instead of exposing them to public gaze to what extent does the culture of celebrity serve as a shield for the activities of those in the limelight?

These questions are beginning to be raised, but we are still not asking the fundamental question. To what extent did the cult of sexual permissiveness in the 60’s and 70’s prepare us for the acceptance that any and all types of sexual activity was acceptable?

Today we view paedophilia with horror. Not so in the permissive progressive 70’s. PIE (Paedophile Information Exchange) was at the forefront of a campaign to lower and even abolish the age of consent. From 1978, until eventually excluded in 1983, it  was affiliated to, and supported by, the National Council for Civil Liberties, now known as Liberty.

At the urging of MIND the mental health charity PIE submitted a report to the Home Office Criminal Law Revision Committee on the age of consent. Their 17-page report proposed that there should be no age of consent, and that the criminal law should concern itself only with sexual activities to which consent is not given, or which continue after prohibition by a civil court.

When the Albany Trust, which developed into a counselling organisation for homosexual men, lesbians and sexual minorities, asked PIE to take part in production of a booklet on paedophilia to be produced by the Trust they were opposed by morality campaigner, and one of 20th century Britain’s greatest and bravest women, Mary Whitehouse.

Mary Whitehouse

Mrs Whitehouse and her supporters were of course excoriated by the self-anointed progressive elite . ‘Bigot,’ ‘prude,’ ‘prig,’ ‘repressed,’ these were just a few of the more printable terms used by those who today hold up their hands in horror at what they themselves have brought about.

PIE produced a bulletin Contact Page in which members placed advertisements which included details of their sexual preferences. In a survey conducted in 1978-9 PIE found that its members preferred girls aged 8-11 and boys aged 11-15.  Contact Page  eventually resulted in a prosecution for a “conspiracy to corrupt public morals.”

Officially disbanded in 1984 the last of PIE’s members was arrested on child pornography charges in 2006. Its then leader David Joy was warned by the judge that given his beliefs he may never be released from prison.

Patricia Hewitt

PIE proposed banning the concept of child pornography, in this they were supported by the NCCL whose General Secretary for nine years from 1974 was Patricia Hewitt, later a Labour MP and Secretary for Health in the Blair government.

NCCL’s Legal Officer at the time was Harriet Harman. Harman who also became a Labour MP was interim leader of the Labour Party following Gordon Brown’s resignation and is at present Deputy Leader of the Opposition.

Harriet Harman

Although she now considers Savile’s activities a “stain” on the BBC Harman was not always so opposed to the sexual exploitation of children. In a parliamentary submission in 1978 Harman argued that “childhood sexual experiences willingly engaged in with an adult result in no identifiable damage.” She also argued that the Protection of Children Bill would lead to “damaging and absurd prosecutions.” Today, as well as being Labour’s shadow Secretary for Culture, Harman sits on a Cabinet committee on child welfare.

In the time of Hewitt and Harman, whilst PIE was affiliated with the NCCL, it argued for incest to be decriminalised. It further argued that sexually explicit photographs of children should be legal unless it could be proven that the child had suffered harm or that it could be reasonably inferred that harm might have been caused. In support Harman argued that opposing proposal this would “increase censorship”

If Harman and other progressives have been shocked into recognising their errors let us be grateful. Those proponents of the 60’s and 70’s moral devastation should, however, beware of holding up their hands in horror at what has occurred. The cultural devastation they have caused goes beyond one sexual scandal.

This concerns more than the Savile issue. When sexual activity is considered mainly as a recreational pastime and a ‘right’ no matter what form it takes there are bound to be harmful results. That those at risk are to be found amongst the weakest and most vulnerable appear to have been of little concern to the anointed. More important was that they, their friends, and any fellow ‘boundary pusher’ should be able to express themselves.

Savile did, and was protected. Expressions of horror from the anointed ring hollow today.


7 thoughts on “WHAT YOU SOW …

  1. Care needed with your facts here, Campbell. You say ‘In a parliamentary submission in 1978 Harman argued that “childhood sexual experiences willingly engaged in with an adult result in no identifiable damage.”’ But according to Damian Thompson in the Telegraph this was a NCCL submission from 1976, two years before Harman took up a position with the organisation. Wouldn’t want to see you getting into trouble!

    Whether Harman should have taken a job with this outfit is of course another matter…

  2. Thank you Mr Grumpy for the heads up. I took the quotation from the Wikipedia entry for PIE which includes it as a direct quote from Harman. Whether Damian Thomson or Wikipedia is correct will no doubt emerge in the wash.

    If I have misquoted Harman then I apologise. However, as you point out when Harman took up her post at the NCCL she did not seem to have any trouble with the PIE affiliation. Further, according to a report in the Telegraph of March 2009, Harman signed the NCCL’s submission on the Child Protection Bill. This submssion, in April 1978, claimed that the new law could lead to “damaging and absurd prosecutions” and “increase censorship”.

    The submission suggested that a pornographic photo or film of a child should not be considered indecent unless it could be shown that the subject had suffered harm. Thus child poronography, according to the Harman approved submission, is not wrong in and of itself, but only if it can be legally demonstrated that the child suffered harm.

  3. The church has been host to many paedophile priests and bishops over the years, and yet one could hardly call the church sexually permissive. One might as well turn the questions about celebrity to the church: “Just how many in positions of power in the church, then and today, were aware of these activities and tolerated them? Also, instead of exposing them to public gaze to what extent does the church serve as a shield for the activities of those in the limelight?”

    From what I’ve seen, the vast majority of those who believe that sexual permissiveness is acceptable and even healthy (and by that I mean such activities as pre-marital sex and homosexuality) maintain that such behaviour should only be carried out between consenting adults, and are just as horrified at paedophilia as their religious / less permissive counterparts.

    Being part of a Christian community does not protect you from paedophilia from within that community. In fact, it may even be harder for the victims in a Christian community to speak out against their abusers, as the subject is more taboo and carries more of a sense of shame with it.

    1. To defend sexual permissiveness and its consequences by pointing out the reprehensible activities of others is irrelevant. Paedophilia in the Catholic Church is horrific, it was covered up and is now being relentlessly exposed. It was however an aberration. To make your point you would have to demonstrate a causal connection between the teaching of the church and paedophile priests. There is no Christian theologian, church leader or representative Christian who has been campaigning for the age of consent to be lowered or abolished.

      Part of the disgust felt by most people concerning paedophile priests is that we rightly expect better of the church than we do of progressives. Shall we witness a campaign of outrage in the Guardian, Independent and Observer asking for the ousting of those who campaigned for the lowering and abolition of the age of consent?

      You say that many progressives believe in sexual permissiveness as long as it is between consenting adults. My argument is that Harriet Harman, and others in the progressive movement, campaigned and argued in public forums for the lowering of the age of consent, some for its abolition altogether. What is the nature of the informed consent given by an eleven or twelve year old being groomed by a predatory adult? That some progressives retain a sense of revulsion at paedophilia is gratifying, that their leaders are constantly pushing the boundaries of acceptable behaviour is reprehensible.

      I know of no one who has argued that “being part of a Christian community” does protect you from paedophilia. As it sometimes took forty years for some of Savile’s victims to speak out I fail to see how celebrity paedophilia is somehow less oppressive than priestly paedophilia.

  4. Start with a thorough investigation of the masons in both the Jimmy Savile and Frank Beck cases. See if you can find sufficient police officers, solicitors, barristers and a judge who are not tainted.

  5. Another organisation that should be investigated is St John International head office in London. St John International in London are currently pulling out all the stops in order to present awards to two known members of the St John New Zealand paedophile gang. The awards are to be presented by the Queen’s representative in NZ, the Governor General.

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