This is interesting on the Cyril Smith stuff

The correction stated: “Lord Steel has asked us to point out that he received no complaint against Mr Smith’s activities when a Liberal MP.

“He was aware from an article in 1979 of allegations against Cyril Smith of unusual behaviour with boys from the first half of the 1960s.

“He questioned Mr Smith about those allegations. Mr Smith denied any wrongdoing and said (as it turned out correctly) that the matter had already been investigated by the police who had closed their file.”

I have absolutely no idea what is the truth here. But we do have something interesting here.

So, multiple allegations of child noncery. OK.

Police investigate, a number of times, and no further action taken. OK.

So, what’s the correct answer?

That the police investigated and there was nothing to prosecute? Or that there was a cover up because the prosecution didn’t happen?

Either answer is possibly correct. But everyone seems to be insisting that the first couldn’t possibly be true and that the second must be true. The very fact that there wasn’t a prosecution is proof perfect that there was a cover up, no one at all seeming to think that it might mean that a prosecution wasn’t justified.

Weird.

22 comments on “This is interesting on the Cyril Smith stuff

  1. My thoughts exactly Gary.

    I agree it is weird. It sounds like a cover-up but how could Cyril Smith have wielded enough influence? If they were prepared to cover up/not investigate industrial scale child abuse, what else did they ignore? Time for Wrap Film Systems to go public!

  2. Don’t have any background on this one–yet. Can’t say what the truth might be –yet. Unlike Saville–where all the allegations that have reached the public domain are pure shite. The allegations need to be properly investigated this time–as if Smith was still alive. No more Yewtree “gather up unsubstantiated fairy-tales and publish them while endorsing their supposed truth” crap.

  3. It sounds like a cover-up but how could Cyril Smith have wielded enough influence?

    At a local level, an MP can wield quite a lot of influence. They are likely to be on local committees of the great and the good, possibly even the police authority. He was also quite well known nationally, especially for the time.

    None of that, of course, speaks materially (or otherwise) to the truth or falsehood of the allegations.

  4. I smell bullshit and PR for selling a book.

    If there was any hint of truth in the allegations, then how come the only allegations are those in the book and none have appeared elsewhere. If he was as prolific as it is suggested, then the victims would be going to all and sundry for compensation and getting paid by the papers for their story’s. Especially after the Saville case shows how easy it is to do so.

  5. Being completely unaware of almost everything is absolutely the number one skill required of any aspiring Liberal Party leader.

  6. “It sounds like a cover-up but how could Cyril Smith have wielded enough influence?”
    Cover-up is the natural state of affairs. Remember Nixon?
    No-one said there shouldn’t be one?
    There’s was absolutely no-one going to benefit from pursuing allegations about Fat Cyril. Apart from the victims. And they’re so insignificant as to be not worth considering.

  7. “The allegations need to be properly investigated this time–as if Smith was still alive. No more Yewtree “gather up unsubstantiated fairy-tales and publish them while endorsing their supposed truth” crap.”

    Except of course that’s EXACTLY what is already happening. Wonder what Nigel Evans’ eventual death will ‘turn up’..?

  8. @ Gary
    Perhaps they are pointing us in the direction of the late Cyril Smith being a *Labour* Councillor in Rochdale at the time of the alleged offences?

  9. There is a third alternative – that he was investigated and when judged by the social mores of the day nothing criminal was found, however investigators doing the same 40 years later might take a different view. Great Britain in 2014 is not the same place as it was in 1974.

  10. It certainly sounds like he was a wrong ‘un, but as with Savile, it’s a bit off that everyone’s waited until he’s good and dead before sticking the boot in.

    Doubtless we’ll hear the same idiots asking for him to be ‘posthumously stripped of his knighthood’ like that’s a thing.

  11. Whether or not there is any truth in the allegations, I was astonished that Cleggy thought he could claim that he and never heard of them.

    As a schoolboy in Manchester we gossiped about him, despite not knowing anyone even remotely involved; surely it was also a subject of jokes or innuendo in LibDem circles?

  12. @SadButMadLad

    “If there was any hint of truth in the allegations, then how come the only allegations are those in the book and none have appeared elsewhere.”

    There were allegations printed long ago while he was alive. I think Private Eye were the first to print in around 1979 (?). Cyril Smith never sued them.

    Which is a bit strange, considering Private Eye has often been use as useful source of income by its subjects… but nowt from Cyril.

  13. From the recent accounts published by the DM, it does appear that there were several investigations initiated during the course of Cyril Smith’s career, but all were stonewalled. The inference being that high ranking establishment figures had something to fear from a prosecution.

  14. @ Monty
    Cyril Smith was a Labour Councillor, then an Independent throughout the 1960s; Harold Wilson was Prime Minister when the allegations against Cyril Smith were first made: it has been widely reported and not (that I have seen) denied that he told the Daily Mirror not to defend a libel suit from Lord Boothby because he was worried that Tom Driberg, MP and Chairman of the Labour Party, would be exposed as both a homosexual and a KGB agent.
    A lot depends on your definition of “establishment”.

  15. @SE “At a local level, an MP can wield quite a lot of influence”

    True, but they also have to stand for election (so why would his opponents not investigate?) and they make a lot of enemies in their own parties and elsewhere, too. Not saying it’s impossible, just that it sounds odd.

  16. Thank you so much, BohB. I had almost forgotten Thorpe and Norman ‘pillow biter’ Scott, and now you’ve reminded me.

    Remarkably, the old bugger’s still alive.

  17. Here‘s the 1979 Eye story. Regarding a possible cover-up, the story says “At the time of the police enquiry, Cyril Smith had just joined the Liberal Party and was expected to become Liberal candidate in a town with substantial Liberal traditions.”

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