Ted Heath is the latest and most senior Tory to be named in paedophilia claims. But how do you prove a negative?

Growing up in the 1960s with a precocious interest in politics, the main UK party leaders Harold Wilson and Ted Heath were among my role models. The new term  “meritocrat” might have been invented for them . Both of them came from modest backgrounds and made it to the top.  Politically I admired Heath’s decisiveness compared to Wilson’s waffle and to some extent I still do.  At the time, entering Europe and introducing  power sharing in Northern Ireland required bold leadership, however mixed the results . But whereas Wilson paraded his ordinariness as a political virtue, Heath was the odder but more interesting character. Plummy voiced, clearly driven, a bachelor and  apparently socially dyslexic, he was nonetheless perfectly happy to share his personal enthusiasms of music and ocean- going yachting which he tackled with the same commitment as his politics. If there were passions below the surface, they appeared to be sublimated in classical music .

In a 1972 Omnibus programme I ’ve just been watching as part of Heath Time on BBC Parliament to mark the fiftieth anniversary of his ascent to the Tory leadership, the serious music fan, organ scholar and conductor comes across as human and  even a little vulnerable. In our era of spin that kind of spontaneity is all but impossible.

One evening in 1965 shortly after he became Conservative leader, I and my mates got of school to hear him address the Londonderry Chamber of Commerce. For Derry in the 1960s, here was a a very rare star turn. But Ted was a terrible disappointment. He bored us witless with a lecture on how businessmen should keep tidy accounts. To be fair in those days, discussing Northern Ireland in any detail was taboo. His friend the local MP Robin Chichester Clarke ( still alive) told how he covered Ted with a blanket in the back seat when they drove across the border.

In the Troubles Heath’s local associations were very different, as the prime minster who authorised internment and set up the Widgery tribunal but who also forced through the first power sharing agreement at Sunningdale where he gave a formal and unmemorable interview.

In 2003 I watched as the 87 year old Heath swatted away Michael Lavery QC’s aggressive questioning at the Saville tribunal. Whatever you thought of how he handled our affairs, you could see even at that great age how formidable he could be.

So what are we to make of the allegations of paedophilia and cover up? If you’re private life is not on the surface so to speak, you’re vulnerable. Even after death, Heath remains isolated and unpopular. It’s hard to imagine the pro-Tory Daily Telegraph writing up the gossip about any other Conservative leader without adding a polite disavowal.

Paedophilia  has been exposed as  a world-wide scourge, often practiced by people with power. But it is also today’s equivalent of the Red Scare.There is now a tidy dossier of overhanging allegations naming not only Heath but the very much alive Ken Clarke and the late Leon Brittan. If you google you’ll come across plenty of defamatory material of the safely dead. Some questions must be answered but with others the innuendo will cling on for ever. This is inevitable when our world has been so shaken by the extent of child abuse which seemed to have been treated on a par with prostitution but with more  forgiveness, or else written off. True allegations can have a distorted echo in imaginings and exhibitionism as in the McAlpine affair which was as damaging to the BBC as was the original exposure of Saville.

For what it’s worth, I’m sceptical about the Heath claims.  He was under  close security from 1970 to the end of his life ten years ago and surely someone would have coughed. I don’t want to believe them but then, what  do I know?  The police must follow where the evidence leads, as they say. There’ll be plenty to urge them, not all with decent motives.

Update Since I wrote this post, four police forces are now reported to be  investigating separate claims against Sir Edward  and the Daily Telegraph names a Filipino woman in Heath’s retirement home city of Salisbury who was jailed  twice for  running a brothel using young teenagers. Her claims she  procured for him were allegedly suppressed.  Scotland Yard has also reportedly been investigating claims against Heath for several months as part of Operation Midland, which was set up to examine allegations of murder by a Westminster paedophile ring that systematically abused children allegedly located in Dolphin Square complex of flats near the Houses of Parliament. Details were covered by the Exaro investigative news website .

 

 

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  • Sharon Hughes

    Not a chance that anyone would have outed him as a paedophile… they all cover it up… how Nieve are you. About time people got a grip, its pandemic and institutionally supported throughout the UK with big organisations violating victims into silence. Its in your street, your town and your county, supported by your local authority, your police force and your politicians. And the populations children are its TARGET.

  • MalikHills

    Heath was a deeply conflicted man, and not just with regard to his sexuality, about which I have as much knowledge as the next man.

    He was a leader of the Conservative Party but gave the impression of not particularly liking Tories very much or Tory values and a prime minister of Britain but who seemed to be much more comfortable with Europe and the continental style of government rather than the raucous nature of Westminster.

    On a related issue and as he was PM during Bloody Sunday I think it fair to point out, again, how apparently police have no difficulty charging aging pop singers and other celebrities for groping teenage fans back in the 1970s and who are now engaged in several major investigations into sex scandals from the same period and yet they seem to be completely at a loss, despite having volumes of ballistic, forensic, video, photographic and other evidence (all quite apart from Saville), as to how to prosecute men who in broad daylight, in full view of tens of thousands of bystanders including lawyers, doctors, policemen, journalists and priests and the world’s media, shot dead thirteen unarmed civilians.

    Baffling, truly baffling.

  • Granni Trixie

    Different rule/law for the establishment explains it all. But as we’ve seen with bankers – the tide is turning!

  • Turgon

    Difficult to know on this one. I was too young to remember Heath as PM but have little time for the decisions he made and he did seem a bit pompous and arrogant. Furthermore as Sharon Hughes notes there does seem to have been a lot of cover up. Actually almost more than that. It seems that in the 1970s paedophilia was almost seen as a harmless vice rather than the wicked crime it is seen as today. The idea of groups like the Paedophile Information Exchange being open and even publicly supported, is not only utterly revolting, but also completely baffling to us today.

    That said the other problem is that Heath was unmarried and not known to be in a relationship. Nowadays especially, that seems (totally unfairly) to be seen as pretty good grounds for assuming he must have been a pervert. One only need look at the treatment of Chris Jeffries to see that if someone especially a man is unmarried / has no partner and yet is not openly homosexual he “must” by definition be a pervert of some sort or other.

    The concept of an ordinary decent person (man especially) not being in a sexual relationship yet being wholly normal and blameless seems to have been lost. That this sort of idea is prevalent is itself actually perverted.

  • raymond o’kane

    The problem is Malikhills, is that you must get the evidence, people have to be interviewed, those who watched and saw what happened have to give a statement, as the one they gave to Savlie can’t be used. Many wild allegations were given to Savile, not all of them true and those people won’t now come forward, as such statements would be perjury in a court. Indeed the PSNI have had to take out large adverts asking for witnesses to come forward. Of course, those who were killed were breaking the law that day as the march was banned and many would say if they’d been law abiding they’d probably still be alive. As to Heath, he was a pompous bore, who couldn’t get over the fact that a Woman replaced him.

  • raymond o’kane

    A bit like the Roman Catholic church then Sharon?

  • Sharon Hughes

    Absolutely. Don’t know where all these politicians, child protection agencies and LA’s get off with the high and mighty attitude that it is all historic and not much of it. Fact is that if they are not challenging it then they are supporting it.

  • MalikHills

    As I said there are simply volumes of evidence, including statements made by witnesses and indeed the perpetrators themselves, as well as reams of photographic and video evidence, none of which is related to Saville, and much of which can be accessed simply by clicking on your computer mouse, and none of which requires any great detective skills, to put together enough evidence in about, oh 5 minutes flat, to bring a prima facie charge of murder against at least half a dozen Paras.

    Here’s a challenge; go into a city centre in front of thousands of people including army officers, policemen, journalists, lawyers, doctors and members of the clergy, invite TV reporters and news photographers to record the event and then start shooting unarmed civilians, most of whom are running away from you, posing no threat whatsoever and many of whom are clearly visible with their hands up or waving white flags. See how long it takes for the police to bring charges against you.

    Perhaps in the annals of British legal history only the murderers of Lee Rigby made it easier for police to bring a prosecution than the men who opened fire on Bloody Sunday.

    By the way, when did it become a capital offence in the United Kingdom to attend an illegal march?

  • Redstar2014

    Exactly Raymond be it RC church or Royal family there have been pedos in very high places

  • Janos Bingham

    Like the vast majority of other people I have no knowledge about Ted Heath’s private life. But him having been an unattached “strange” man will no doubt convict him in the eyes of many.

    Raising the treatment of Chris Jeffries, principally by the media, you highlight an interesting point. To be an unattached, perhaps slightly eccentric, male in today’s climate can potentially be an uncomfortable place.

    I have an elderly relative who lives on his own in a smallish English town. His wife died some thirty or so years ago (she was the love of his life and he grieves for her everyday). He never remarried and has no children.

    By some people’s standards he is perhaps a little ‘odd’. Maybe it’s just as a result of living on his own for such a long time together with his singular passion: reading. His house has books shelved floor to ceiling in most rooms.

    It was the books that brought him into a degree of conflict with some in his local community. He’s retired and most days finds him walking into the town centre to visit the library and a secondhand bookshop. About four or five years ago the local council built a children’s playground on his route into town through the local park.

    Before the playground was built he had the habit of sitting on a park bench to catch his breath on his daily ‘commute’ – he is in his late sixties.

    One day, after the playground had been opened, he was sitting on ‘his’ bench, which now had a view into the playground. He was challenged by, he assumed a parent, about ‘watching the children play’. The implication that he had an unhealthy interest in the children was not subtle.

    On a couple of further occasions he got unfriendly looks from other adults supervising children in the playground. The incidents upset him greatly. As a result he no longer feels comfortable walking anywhere in the park and now takes a circuitous route to visit the town centre.

    God only knows what was being said about him by ‘concerned’ people. I suspect he was just labeled as the ‘old perv with the books’ in that casual way some people do.

  • chrisjones2

    “to put together enough evidence in about, oh 5 minutes flat, to bring a prima facie charge of murder against at least half a dozen Paras”

    Great . Can we see it please Just the web links will do

  • chrisjones2

    Or the Dail?

  • Brian O’Neill

    The late great Gerry Anderson used to say the only way for a man to take a walk these days is to have a dog. Walking on your own people think you are up to no good.

  • Redstar2014

    Yip, Dáil,Britisharliament, Stormont, Crown Forces, Buck House. Kiddy fiddlers abound

  • MalikHills

    “Great . Can we see it please Just the web links will do”

    Sure, give me a while, I am at work at the moment.

    But if you are really desperate you can do simple google searches to find clear photographic evidence of unarmed, innocent men being shot dead while running away, or while crawling on their bellies, waving a white hanky trying to give aid to a dying man. They aren’t hard to find.

    Then add the known facts about which Para fired which shot, their statements given to their officers and policemen stating unequivocally that they fired “aimed shots”, the forensic and ballistic evidence and bingo! you have enough evidence for any copper with two functioning brain synapses to launch a murder prosecution.

    Like I say, try firing aimed shots at a man lying on his belly waving a white flag and get a photographer to take a picture of him before and after you have blown his head off and see how long you stay out of prison, with or without a single witness statement or gazillion pound ten year inquiry.

  • MalikHills

    Hang on, “latest and most senior Tory“. Not “politician” or “prominent official” but “Tory”?

    Is Brian implying, as one must assume given the fact that he only cites Tories, that only Tories are being investigated in this matter?

    Is he unaware of Greville Janner, Cyril Smyth or Jeremy Thorpe? Not exactly minor characters and the last time I checked not Tories.

  • Brian Walker

    Fair small point Malikhills ( btw, are you related o former PM of Iraq?) but Thorpe was acquitted on attempted murder charge which exposed gay activity with men not children, the Tories cited are front line figures unlike Smith and Janner

  • Jag

    Has Ted Heath ever been linked to Kincora or the Elm Guest House?

  • Mister_Joe

    It’s nothing short of amazing that these allegations, if found to be true, that a PM who is closely guarded day and night could engage in such behaviour without many people knowing about it.

  • Slater

    Ted Heath’s accusers:

    ‘Very senior’ retired police officer

    So why did he do and say nothing when employed?

    Brothel keeper

    Convicted paedophile

    (I did think the evidence against Greville Janner has always been quite strong and different from the uncorroborated stories retailed by conspiracy buffs.)

    When the police finally make their decisions on those deceased now accused of child abuse they should publish a full account of their decision and the investigation so that those wrongly
    accused and exonerated have a chance of regaining their reputations.

  • eireanne

    @ Turgon who wrote “It seems that in the 1970s paedophilia was almost seen as a harmless vice rather than the wicked crime it is seen as today.”

    The Kincora scandal in NI was/is hardly a bit of a dust-up over a “harmless vice”.

    Paedophilia has been a crime in the UK since 1885. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Age_of_consent

    It was wicked in the 1880s, the 1970s and the 2000s. In recent years the only thing that has made a difference is more widespread reporting about it, particularly since the demise of Jimmy Saville, as victims have gathered the courage to speak out.

  • eireanne

    Can’t answer you off-hand jag. You might find the answer to that question on the exaro news site. It has done extraordinary work in unveiling paedophilia in British society. Or you might like to have a look at this post and some of the reference links https://eurofree3.wordpress.com/2014/12/22/rape-and-murder-of-british-children-1979-1999/

  • chrisjones2

    No I am happy to wait the 5 minutes. You said its all there so show me it

  • chrisjones2

    This sounds odd as the alleged brothel keeper seems to have provided services to straight men but the allegation is Heath liked little boys. It has to be investigated but lets see what emerges

  • chrisjones2

    Someone somewhere will try to link him and to Area 51 as well

    Last week i saw a site that had a picture of him with Jimmy Saville at a charity function together and a “Know what i mean squire wink wink” argument

  • Mirrorballman

    Actually several women have also come forward claiming they were abused by TH as children…

  • David Crookes

    THANKS, Chris. As soon as I hear that Some Great Witness is a brothel-keeper, I lose interest in his or her testimony.

    Area 51 is severely relevant here. The Chief Witness for most of the Roswell stuff is a convicted brothel-keeper called Bob Lazar.

  • Turgon

    I agree it was and is a wicked, hideous crime. Unfortunately in the 1970s there were those who wanted to have paedophilia decriminalised. Some of those were and even now are in high places in the country though they have tethered their sails to the prevailing wind (of utterly appropriate disgust): some may even believe they were wrong in the 1970s.

  • Paddy Reilly

    Not only was he guarded, but he had the telescopic lenses of no end of reporters trained on him throughout his Prime Ministership. But I think the allegations are that he misbehaved before he became Prime Minister and after he ceased to be a M.P.

  • Korhomme

    And don’t even think about walking around with a camera trying to do “street photography”—or even trying to take pics of your own children in a public place.

  • John Collins

    Sounds like the early defences used by the RC Church

  • murdockp

    Why waste already scarce resources on some one who is dead? I don’t get it. There are plenty of live criminals out there that need rounded up and put in jail.

  • Zeno

    A few year ago a Senior Paediatrician was attacked because they got a it mixed up. Says it all really.

  • chrisjones2

    Its been 4 days now. Still waiting for all that evidence

  • chrisjones2

    Great…..lets investigate that but again i am confused.,The main allegations seem to be little boys now you allege he assualted young women. Its very unusual to have a bi sexual predatory paedophile ….so immediately i am concerned about the quality of all this stuff

    Then we learn that Tom Watson (currently running for Labour Deputy Leader) has ‘referred’ a number of these allegations to police. Great ….but when did he get them? Why now? Why go to him not the cops?

    Then when the prosecution barrister debunks the ‘prosecution dropped’ story the emphasis switches on a sixpence to alleged ‘witness interference’

    I want to see pedophilia investigated and those alive prosecuted. Victims should be listened to but their evidence needs to be tested too. So far I have to say that these allegations stink to high heaven

  • chrisjones2

    Great

    Can we have an inquiry into Roger Casements self confessed use of under age rent boys?

    Where do we stop?

  • chrisjones2

    Ah…a conspiracy by the International Association of Brothel Keepers!!!

  • chrisjones2

    Do you mean the blessed Acting Leader of the Labour Party?

    She says she never supported it or the activities of PIE although when she was at NCCL as its Legal Advisor it was NCCL policy to lower the age of consent to 9 or 10. But she never supported that. Oh no. Small cog big wheel etc. She was agin it

  • chrisjones2

    What big organisations?

  • John Collins

    Chris. Many married men have abused their own children. Just because you are a heterosexual male does not mean you cannot be a paedophile.

  • Catcher in the Rye

    Not sure about any of these premises.

    Everyone was pro-Europe back in those days. Including Thatcher. Further, I’d say you could get little more than a cigarette paper between Heath and people like Ken Clarke, Douglas Hurd or John Major. That trio held three out of the four great offices of state and led the Conservative Party in 1992 to the greatest election victory in UK history in terms of the number of votes won.

    Secondly, the reason why soldiers (in general) don’t get prosecuted is fairly straightforward. A government can’t be seen to be prosecuting men who attested to lay down their life for the country. That may suck, but it’s reality and it’s the same in any country.

  • Catcher in the Rye

    So why did he do and say nothing when employed?
    Because if he did so he’d lose his job ?

  • MalikHills

    Sorry only just picking this up now on my email.

    Seriously?

    You weren’t able to follow my instructions and use the simple google-images, function on your browser?

    Let me help, write “Bloody Sunday Derry”, add the terms “Bernard McGuigan”, “Hugh Gilmour”, “Patrick Doherty”. You will be met with an avalanche of photos very clearly showing obviously unarmed men being shot. The Paras (you can often find photos of the grinning little bastards too) who shot these men gave unequivocal statements to their officers and policemen that all the shots they fired were “aimed”, a pretty open and shut case so far m’lud.

    Do you need to be Hercule Poirot to make this, and a veritable tsunami of other evidence, into a case worthy of investigation?

    You could also search YouTube for video evidence including a statement made to TV cameras within minutes of the shooting in the back of an unarmed teenaged boy by a respected parish priest who later became a bishop and a fierce critic of the IRA that the boy was shot in the back and was unarmed and running away. Compare this to the lies also made on camera by the Para officer who insists that only three men were shot and they were all gunmen.

    Who was lying and who was telling the truth that day has now been established beyond doubt and has even been accepted by the remarkably slow-on-the uptake British government.

    If, with all this evidence at their fingerprints, Inspector Kipper of the Yard can’t even mount a case to collar at least half a dozen suspects, well perhaps he should consider another line of work.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    It is not for the dead perpetrators, but for the very much alive survivors who have been scoffed at and ignored for decades, and are still scoffed at and ignored by those who would find their cosy world eroded by the realisation that those they have admired have used power to indulge their particular perversions under the cloak of “public interest” orders cover despite the permanent damage to young lives.

    I admired Heath’s principled stand for older Tory principals against the crude populism of the Thatcher years, but even then was beginning to hear the stories that Private Eye (I worked for a while on the floor above them) could not print without risk. The reason that the survivors of such abuse by the highly placed are only able to look for some redress after the death of the perpetrator is pretty obvious to anyone familiar with how defamation actions can be deployed. Recently, discussing with the consultant psychologist for a programme soon to come out on these issues, he asked me “what do you think is most important for the recovery of those who have been abused, to be loved or to be believed?” It was the latter by a long chalk.

    While Brian is sceptical for good objective reasons, he is not taking into account just how well protected such establishment figures have been. So far it has been reasonably easy for the public to accept that “freaks” such as Saville and Cyril Smith The test of the sincere collective wish for this poison to be lanced will really come when major public figures whose charisma has ensured a serious following are outed. Such scepticism as Brian leaps to simply compounds the lifetime damage and alienation of those who know their abuse was real because they were there.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    And would have been the target of ongoing persecution throughout a lifetime, as many of those who raised such issues have been. His position ensured that he would know all too accurately what would happen.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Not at all unusual Chris. And anyone who has experienced these things and reaches middle age without killing themselves frequently make poor witnesses as they are seriously untrusting of authority (I wonder why?) and often, at the very least, suffering from chronic lifelong depression. The real issue is that stories about Heath and others that I’d heard in the 1980s now surface because of a new climate created by the Saville/Smith revelations and media interest. Before this the message was you will not get anywhere in attacking public figure, your word against theirs, except perhaps a heavy fine or a prison sentence for defamation.

  • murdockp

    I don’t disagree with the victims deserving justice, my issue is legal due process cannot be equitable if the alleged perpetrator is dead and cannot defend himself or his legacy.
    Trying the dead is something the Russians have done and we scoffed at them for this.

  • John Collins

    Oh the British did it as well. Cromwell’s body was disinterred and thrown into the Thames.

  • John Collins

    There was one already. The contents of Casement ‘s diaries were spread all over the English newspapers of the day to help justify the execution of a Knighted gentleman.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Perhaps if you actually knew, as I do, some of those whose lives have been, and continue to be, utterly despoiled by those who abused their high positions to silence any attempt by sufferers to gain a hearing while the perpetrators lived, perhaps you would have far less faith in so called “British Justice” which has proved utterly inadequate to even begin to deal with this poison. At least these important issues are being at last aired. Following your logic, we should be pulping all those books finger pointing at the atrocities committed by Stalin, Beria, Yagoda, Dzerzhinsky, or at Himler and Heydrich, who are in no position to defend either their reputations or their “legacies”!

    This comparison in neither facetious or extreme to my mind. In these recent abuse situations the suffers usually had no ability to claim redress while their perpetrators could deploy contacts to stop information coming to light. Many had access to strong legal teams and apparent influence over some police forces, seemingly could claim immunity using the “system”. Often the threat of devastating legal action against such accusations has been sufficient to scare sufferers into silence. Are you seriously claiming there is some virtue in continuing to silence those who have suffered by affirming their abusers “right” to stifle their claims even after death? Manipulation of the processes of enquiry by the perpetrator, and their friends, has often already smothered any possibility that such redress could have taken place in an open legal setting while the perpetrator lived. Is there any real moral argument for this continuing now simply to defend their reputations and “legacy”?

    No-one is seeking to actually try such people in courts after death, but the genuine examination of the evidence of those whose lives have been ruined often shows strong similarities in their stories of grooming, and even in the actual pattern of direct sexual abuse. This is strong evidence of patterns of behaviour by an abuser, who leaves a “signature” through his or her actions and no amount of sophistry can deny this systematic reality taht will begin to appear as evidence is collected. And it is important for us all to know that such things have gone on and may still continue by people whose access to the levers of power stop any report from coming out while they live. Importantly, it may implicate others still active.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    David, it is not the Brothel Keepers deployed by the media for maximum sleaze factor who will be giving the real evidence. It is those once young people whose experiences all to easily fall into patterns that show that the same person has been involved in a number of abuse situations. This is what begins to provide real proof and will permit suffers whose lives have been long dispelled the manna of actually being believed at last.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Cromwell had the luxury of dying in his bed, unlike those at Drogheda and other places whose brains were beaten in after surrender at his orders.

  • David Crookes

    Thanks, Seann, and of course you are right, but a separate kind of abuse is constituted by those newspapers which publish stories on the back of mere allegations.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    And yet, David, without such “alligation” stories opening up the floodgates for many who had been scoffed at when they reported such things to the authorities we would all still be applauding the charity career of Jimmy Saville! The “system” has long been implicated in these coverups, and I am only too glad that those I know personally who have been ignored and even mocked for decades (“just a bad sexual experience, you’ll get over it”) are now begining to feel that there are some people who will listen to and believe their record of shameful treatment both at the hands of abusers and from those they subsequently approached for help.

    “Mere” alligations are how there experiences have been described, sometimes for forty or fifty years.