Wednesday, 28 November 2012

On Sir Cyril Smith

So the Crown Prosecution Service have said that a dead, former Lib Dem MP, Sir Cyril Smith OBE, should have been charged with abusing children while he was still alive. The reason he wasn't charged, apparently, was because police at the time effectively assumed that an MP couldn't possibly have done anything wrong
and that the alleged victims making the allegations were liars.

And of course this has kicked up a big mess for Liberal Democrats (and the police and the CPS) given that, if the alleged victims are telling the truth, this was a prominent MP who was allowed to get away with horrific crimes which obviously and deservedly reflects terribly on everyone involved.

It's not really revealing much to say that there are plenty of Lib Dems wondering how all of this is going to play out and all the rest of it. So here's my take on it:

At the end of the day everyone is innocent until proven guilty and in this case it will never be possible to prove if Sir Cyril Smith was guilty. On the other hand, there are apparently plenty of witnesses whose evidence would nowadays be considered sufficient for prosecution which means it's at least somewhat likely that Cyril Smith was in fact a paedophile who abused children.

So all we (we being Lib Dems) can do is keep an open mind, extend our sympathy to both Smith's family and his alleged victims while trying not to condemn Smith when he's unable to defend himself and trying not to handwave away what might have happened to his alleged victims just because he was once of our MPs.

But above all it should all act as a good reminder to everyone that paedophiles and rapist don't have to be creepy looking weirdoes - they can be, apparently, good people whom we know and respect. You can't spot one by the way they look or by any other stereotypes.

And if everyone could remember that particular lesson about the fact that just because someone appears respectable and good doesn't mean they can't have committed evil crimes then the state of justice in this country would probably be greatly improved and we wouldn't have anywhere near the amount of victim blaming that we so often see in rape and paedophilia cases.


  1. "The reason he wasn't charged, apparently, was because police at the time effectively assumed that an MP couldn't possibly have done anything wrong and that the alleged victims making the allegations were liars."

    It was the DPP's office that advised against prosecution. The police appear to be making it rather clear that they aren't happy about the way the case was handled.

  2. As with all these kind of recent allegations proof is required, unlike trial by newspaper,in a court of law.I doubt that Cyril Smith would have been convicted if he had been brought to court.
    Remember homosexuality was a crime 50 years ago.
    So now we "convict" dead people who were never charged in their lifetimes and say others, now dead, who were convicted are innocent.

  3. I think we need to strike a balance,were children are not afraid to come forward and be heard,but the need to protect teachers from malicious allegations,that can,and has happened.

    But to the poster referring to Homosexuality.A crime against a child is a completely different thing,committed by people that are subhuman.

    I hope the age of consent is never lowered,because if say it become 14,someone would say well 13 is nearly 14.

    The debate on paedophiles needs to be brought out into the open,out of the darkness were none dare speak of it.Keeping it a dark secret only assists paedophiles.

    1. Remeber that an unproved allegetion does not make anybody "subhuman". You are forgetting about the fundamentals of our law.

  4. According to Private Eye, it came to light at the time when Ted Heath was considering some sort of electoral pact with the Liberals under Mr Thorpe.

    The security services seem to have been involved, I imagine, because Mr Smith was a senior MP.

    Presumably it would not have done Mr Heath's pact much good if it had come out, so he seems to have told them to lay off.

    When the prime minister speaks... the security services probably have to do what they are told, as do the police.

    I'm making no judgement at all on Mr Smith. I know nothing of him. All I'll say is that in this situation, just as now, I have no doubt, there are many crimes that are swept under the carpet, because it would be politically injudicious to allow the light of day into them.

    Power corrupts...

  5. I think Anon, that you have to be careful not to conflate homosexuality and paedophilia.

    They are very different things.

    1. Those making the allegations are the ones conflating these two things.

  6. Homosexuality and paedophilia are not connected in any way.A Gay Person is no more likely to be a paedophile than a Straight Person.

    Homosexuality,and its legality,is something to be applauded.Having sex with children is not.

    A abused child may be damaged for life,that is why that crime against children is a unforgivable crime.If I had thoughts about children,like paedophiles do,if I thought I could not control them thoughts,I would do something drastic rather than hurt a child.


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