One of the silliest non-stories in the British media this week concerns the alleged support of a young Harriet Harman for an acknowledged paedophile organisation. The facts behind this tabloid sensationalism and scandal-mongering are not only uncontroversial but have been in the public domain for more than three decades, so this affair is hardly news. That being said...
Before she became an MP, Miss Harman was active in the National Council for Civil Liberties – now known usually as simply Liberty.
According to the Daily Mail, she and the NCCL had “links” with the Paedophile Information Exchange back in the 1970s. The word links is what might be called a Gable-eque smear; used in this context it can mean almost anything. So what does it mean here?
The Paedophile Information Exchange was founded in October 1974, and was active for about ten years before it was disbanded. Although its very title is suspect, it is conceivable that some people may have thought it was some sort of think tank rather than an organisation that advocated the lowering of the age of consent so that its predominantly homosexual membership could corrupt underage boys – boys rather than teens being the operative word.
The March 1977 issue of its journal, Magpie, boasted that it had affiliated with the NCCL, but what does this mean? Organisations may and often do affiliate with other organisations, as do individuals; there is nothing sinister about the term, and it is not reasonable to expect an organisation to carry out in-depth background checks on individuals who affiliate with them, although it may be argued that the NCCL should have taken more care over this particular organisation.
P.I.E. received quite a lot of publicity at the time, and indeed the NCCL was far from the only organisation that gave it the time of day. In its Survey of Members published in August 1976, it was stated “...the organisation was started by male homosexual paedophiles from within the gay movement” adding “our only regular form of advertising is still a mention every two weeks in the guide section of Gay News”.
Lest anyone be in any doubt about its agenda, the following is presented.
In its 1978 publication PAEDOPHILIA: Some questions and answers, it defines paedophila as “Sexual love directed towards children”. It continues: “It is not desirable to destroy a paedophile’s love for children. What is desirable is to change paedophiles from outcasts into useful members of a society which will accept non-parental love for children.”
On page 4 it argues that “indecent assault” is a misnomer, ie if a child consents, then it is okay. In English law a child cannot consent, hence the campaign to reduce or abolish altogether the age of consent.
Finally, in CHILDHOOD RIGHTS, edited by David Grove for P.I.E., it is argued that murder and child abuse have nothing to do with paedophilia because “Nearly always the paedophile limits himself to fondling and cuddling the child he loves, or to masturbation...”
There is a lot more where this came from, but we can skip the reference to anal sex.
Clearly this was an insidious organisation, but when its members attempted to put their beliefs into practice, they were met with the full force of the law.
More remarkable by far than P.I.E.’s affilliation with the NCCL was the fact that one of its leading members was employed as a press officer by the Open University after his views became public knowledge. Curiously, the Daily Mail has not picked up on this. In 1980, Tom O’Carroll published Paedophilia: The Radical Case. The following year he was convicted of conspiracy to corrupt public morals, and sent to gaol.
Although that may sound a well-deserved sentence, the law under which he was convicted is like so many similar laws, vaguely drafted and a catch-all which literally does catch all. In November 1995, the newscaster Julia Somerville was arrested after some photographs of her young daughter in the bath were reported to the police when they were taken to a branch of Boots for developing. (Nowadays of course, photographs and films are developed instantaneously).
The Julia Someville affair fizzled out, but parents frequently take photographs of their babies and young children naked or semi-naked. Indeed, such photographs and films are sometimes used to advertise products on television, toilet tissue for example. Run the term “naked babies” through your image search, and you will be surprised what comes up.
The NCCL and other lobbying organisations are right to oppose Draconian laws that criminalise ordinary people while doing little or nothing to protect the public - adults as well as children - from sexual and other predators.
If the Daily Mail or any publication wants to attack Miss Harman, there are plenty of bona fide reasons and ways to do so, by highlighting her creative use of statistics, for example. Furthermore, before the Daily Mail attacks Miss Harman over her nebulous links with organised paedophiles, it should consider its own position, because more than once over the years it has given over its pages to a notorious homosexual activist who openly advocates lowering the age of consent.
[The above article was published originally February 26, 2014. I have corrected a number of minor errors in this new version. The original version can be found archived here. The notorious homosexual activist alluded to in the last sentence is Peter Tatchell].
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