And the bandwagon sweeps on

A former Liberal Democrat MP has been accused of abusing young boys in the 1960s and ‘70s.

Sir Cyril Smith, who died two years ago, is at the centre of allegations he administered indecent punishments to vulnerable children in his care at the Cambridge House hostel, in Rochdale, where he is said to have held a “disciplinarian role”.

He\’s accused, in the 60s, of beating boys on their naked bottoms.

There are indeed those out there who insist that corporal punishment is child abuse. They\’ve been telling us so for decades now. They might even be right: although that most certainly wasn\’t the general view in the 1960s.

However, I think we might all agree that this is a difference in kind, not just one of degree, from raping and buggering boys in North Wales? Or the statutory rape of underaged girls?

Or has that bandwagon already gone past being able to make such obvious distinctions?

23 comments on “And the bandwagon sweeps on

  1. I think he’s also accused of behaviour that would by any modern standards be classified as indecent assault

  2. There were two kiddy-fiddling teachers at my Prep school. One had an old convertible Bentley and would take favoured boys for drives. They tended to be boarders (it was mixed, day boys and boarders). He was the worse of the two, I think. The other liked to give unnecessary spankings and beatings. Both were, at different times, discreetly ‘disappeared’ from the school. Both were abusers, obviously. I can’t see any reason to split that particular hair.

  3. There were two kiddy-fiddling teachers at my Prep school.

    You need to be careful about judging by the standards of the time, though. Certainly, there is sexual abuse. But there was an unmarried teacher at my prep school who was in charge of corporal punishment and also watched boys shower after games. But I’m as certain as I can be that he was a) old fashioned and b) keen on hygiene. Certainly in a 30-year career there were never any complaints and he was pretty well respected by pupils and colleagues alike.

    But if you tell people this today they shout “PAEDO!”

  4. Don’t know if I ha ve mentioned this before. My kids used to play in the school team at 12 years old. The local Footy federation used to send referees (youngsters learning the ropes and retired refs who want to keep in touch). One in particular was great. A short stocky character who had no hesitiation putting abusive parents in their place (on one occasion justifiably calling the police). He also stopped the game if somebody threw in badly and made them do it again (not strictly in line with the rules but) and always stopped the game if any kid didn’t get up immediately after a tackle.

    He was solicitous, courteous and used to pat the boys on the head after helping them up.

    I had a bust up with several parents (all friends) because they started insinuating that he was a paedo.

    One or two were actually serious. There was nothing in his behaviour over 2 seasons that I saw him referee (around 10 or 12 times) that even remotely suggested such a thing other than ‘Are you alright lad?’ and a pat on the head.

    Just goes to show…

  5. Has anyone told the police about the Spartans yet? They seemed to go in for sexual relations with 12 year olds.

    Because really, it’s about as important as investigating a dead bloke who did things in the 1960s.

  6. But unfortunately he isn’t able to defend himself.

    no, funny that. Because the ones that are (like, say, Lord Macalpine) have all been vindicated as innocent and are now sueing.

    This is a massive moral panic on the scale of Satanic Ritual Abuse. I kind of thought Paedogeddon had put paid to this sort of thing.

    (all together now: “you’re a slot badger…you’re a two pin din plug…you’re a bush dodger…you’re a small bean regarder…you’re an unabummer…”)

  7. I went to a secondary school in 1989-90 where the PE teacher used to take a shower with the boys (me included) after a rugby match. It seemed perfectly normal at the time, and I have no reason to think he was doing anything other than having a shower after a rugby match. But I bet he quit doing it at some point.

    On the other hand, I knew of two cases of suspected kiddy-fiddling in schools when I was growing up. One was a 26 year old music teacher who had a “relationship” with a 13 or 14 year old girl in his school: he was shuffled off to another school with everyone making sure it was kept quiet to avoid a fuss. The second was a guy in my boarding school who made inappropriate advances on several boys, who subsequently complained. He was shuffled off to another school with everyone making sure it was kept quiet to avoid a fuss. Only in the latter case, he had a history of such behaviour and indeed had been shuffled off to us under much the same cloud.

  8. This is a massive moral panic on the scale of Satanic Ritual Abuse. I kind of thought Paedogeddon had put paid to this sort of thing.

    It is SRA, part II, a continuation. They just rebranded it by stripping out the “Satanic” that didn’t play so well outside the USA in less religious climes.

  9. Hmmm doesn’t seem anything like a witch hunt to me. The BBC got busted in a bad way.

    Now the Left/BBC/Labour/Guardian alliance is trying anything it can to deflect the publics attention from their mouthpiece .

    Who made the allegations at this guy? a labour MP. Who made the allegations against Alf McAlpine? The Beeb

    Pathetic really and I don’t think people are dumb enough to buy it

  10. That “shuffling off” of a teacher to another school is a product of the unions and lefties and right one people who have made it near impossible to sack teachers. I don’t know the figures, but they are very very low, like in the single digits for the whole of the last few decades. They are the ones who are guilty of allowing such teachers to carry on abusing. Why aren’t they up in the dock too? Oh, that’s right they’re on the ‘good’ progressive side.

  11. That “shuffling off” of a teacher to another school is a product of the unions and lefties and right one people who have made it near impossible to sack teachers.

    Not really. We’re into paedoconspiracy theory again. People thought differently, and we have forgotten that. Most significantly, in the past young people were considered to have some agency and responsibility for their actions, an aspect which has since been entirely stifled and forgotten.

    Okay, here’s an anecdote. My sister went for a while to a respectable private school. At one time, a devastatingly handsome young Italian teacher was hired, and fancied by all. In due course, one of the older (but still underage, and a pupil of course) had her way with him; or he with her, or each with the other. And when discovered, he of course had to leave instantly and was never seen again.

    But, no court case, no hysteria, no therapists and counsellors, no expose on the BBC. It was a matter of rule breaking, not “abuse”. It was the 1970s. Nobody had heard of the abuse ideology, let alone the word “paedophile”, nor were they crazy enough to think it a matter of psychological abnormality.

    Times really have changed more than, it seems, most people remember.

  12. My sister went for a while to a respectable private school.

    What? No such thing, surely? They only exist for the preservation of privilege, buggery, the pupation of future Bullingdon Club members and, in very limited cases, the education of the children of those Commissars charged with the extermination of privilege in education?

  13. That “shuffling off” of a teacher to another school is a product of the unions and lefties and right one people who have made it near impossible to sack teachers.

    That’s not quite true: announce you’re a member of the BNP and see how long you last in a teaching job. But yeah, that’s only for major offences like being a member of an unapproved political party. For lesser offences, like inappropriate behaviour towards a minor in your care, they are impossible to sack.

  14. hey only exist for the preservation of privilege, buggery, the pupation of future Bullingdon Club members

    not at gels’ schools, old chap. They go in more for sapphic experimentation and pillow fights in their underclothes.

    I think.

  15. The one time I was visiting a gels’ school (not that IanB said his sister was at one of those) they seemed mostly to go in for vomiting …

    However, I’ll grant you the massively lower buggery rate and B-Club members’ girlfriends rather than members …

  16. @IanB, sure there should be some distinction between consensual relationships involving people old enough to know better but not old enough to be legal, and abusive relationships. Still, a teacher unable to control themselves when faced with a pupil with a crush on them, which must be a minimum of once-per-career event for the vast majority of teachers, has no place in the profession in my view.

    I suspect the useful distinction between paedophile and normal is that the former would be unable to start a relationship with a legally underage partner and see it through into that partner’s adulthood. A paedophile would be more interested in serial sexual relationships with kids, indeed probably only capable of such. As such I’m at ease with it being defined as a mental disorder, and not at ease with all people caught screwing underage people (again, must be a sizeable proportion of the population) being labelled as mentally-ill paedophiles.

    But as we all know, age limits are as magically correct as speed limits, equally valid in all times and places.

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