The Canary Attempts Inept Edward Heath “Paedophile Information Exchange” Smear

From a certain Tom Coburg, at the left-wing website The Canary:

What is not generally known is that the government possessed a file on Heath’s interest in PIE [the Paedophile Informantion Exchange]. The file forms part of the notorious 114 ‘missing’ files on child sex abuse. That list can now be seen in full and provides an insight into the range of alleged child sex abuse cases the authorities were aware of.

Heath’s entry on the list is number 77. The metadata (heading) for the file shows his interest in PIE and that the file is “presumed destroyed”:

…Heath reportedly attended several PIE meetings at Westminster, though the precise nature of his interest in that organisation is unknown.

Is Coburg a complete idiot, or does he just think his readers are? This is all so stupid that’s tempting to dismiss it as unworthy of attention (much like this comparable item from a far-left source), but given the Canary‘s prominence as an alleged source of information (apparently it’s a “top-100 UK news website”) there ought to be some corrective.

The list is an annex to the 2014 Wanless-Whittam review, which was tasked with reviewing how the Home Office had handled allegations of child sex abuse during the 1970s to 1990s, and which published its findings in 2014. On the 114 “missing” files, the review found (square brackets in original):

Based on titles alone, 18 are files started specifically in relation to an individual Parliamentary Question [2 year retention], and 67 are files about a specific piece of correspondence, almost always written by an MP on behalf of a constituent [2 year retention]… But destruction after 2 years for all such files was the practice so, in that sense, they are not missing.

These files are marked “PQ/MC” in the list, meaning “Parliamentary Question” or “Minister’s Case”. Others are categorised in terms such as “Policy” or “Research”. The Heath item is a Minister’s Case file, and it is “presumed destroyed” because that would have been in line with retention practices.

There is absolutely no reason to suppose that the document would have exposed Heath as being involved with or showing sympathy for PIE, much less that it was destroyed to prevent this becoming known. Instead, the item would have been a piece of routine correspondence relating to Heath’s duties as a Member of Parliament, apparently in 1985. The date is significant: PIE was abolished in that year, following some high-profile trials of members for sex offences, and so the subject would have been current.

Several other MPs (and the Archbishop of York) are also listed as having written something about PIE, and numerous MPs as having authored documents that relate to child sex abuse more generally. It is beyond witless to interpret this as demonstrative of “the range of alleged child sex abuse cases the authorities were aware of”, and implicitly as a suspect list.

But what of the claim that Heath “reportedly attended several PIE meetings at Westminster”? There is just one third-hand source for this: a journalist named Don Hale, who says that a dossier on VIP child sex abuse was given to him by the Labour MP Barbara Castle in the 1980s, but that it was seized by police before he could make use of it. Hale first recalled its existence in July 2014, when he said that it named the late politicians Keith Joseph and Rhodes Boyson. He added Leon Brittan’s name shortly after Brittan’s death in January 2015, and then Heath in August 2015, just after the police probe into Heath was announced.

This is the most tenuous hearsay: someone supposedly provided Castle with “minutes” of the meetings, but these are not now available for verification and there does not appear to have been any attempt to confirm from anyone else that Castle (who died in 2002) indeed ever held such a dossier – certainly, she does not appear to have mentioned it anywhere. We only have Hale’s word that it ever existed, and his manner of disclosure has been opportunistic. Hale’s stories appeared during a climate in which any unsubstantiated claim about “VIP abuse” would generate headlines in tabloids and broadsheets. Further, PIE activists are still living, and they would have no reason to deny Heath’s involvement – yet Tom O’Carroll mocked the claim on his blog.

And when exactly were there “PIE meetings at Westminster”? Surely, with all the negative coverage of PIE in the 1980s, such meetings would have received some attention, even without the attendance of a former Prime Minister? This claim has perhaps grown from a boast by a former chairman of PIE who worked as an electrical contractor inside the Home Office – he was apparently given an office but very few duties, and as such was able to devote most of his working day, and the office resources at his disposal, to discreetly running the group. Another source for the rumour may have been PIE’s notorious affiliation with the National Council for Civil Liberties in the 1970s, given that NCCL leaders later became Labour Party MPs.

Wiltshire Police has just spent £1.5 million trawling for allegations against Heath, and the Summary Closure Report into its “Operation Conifer” (discussed here) includes the intrusive detail that “two witnesses, who have not disclosed abuse, provided evidence that he was sexually active with consenting adults during parts of his life.” Had there been any association with PIE, we can be very sure that Chief Constable Mike Veale would have made it central to his justification for the investigation. Yet PIE is not mentioned anywhere.

28 Responses

  1. Regarding Hale’s claim of a ‘dossier’, there was this exchange from a couple of years ago:

    Q: “Did you write a biography of Barbara Castle? Can you confirm if she give a dossier on child abuse to Don Hale, a Bury editor?”

    A: “Yes I did, but I never came across any evidence of that dossier.”

    https://mobile.twitter.com/colinwforster/status/654789830690238464

    [A journalist is similarly challenged regarding the veracity of Hale’s ‘recollections’ and raises a laugh with his reply:

    “All checkable facts check out. And Mr Hale is a respected journalist who is not obviously mad or malign.”

    Can only be a matter of time before Hale pens a story claiming that the non-existent ‘dossier’ was stolen by the Yorkshire Ripper – perhaps to protect his friend Jimmy Savile! An absolute fraud of a man.

    https://mobile.twitter.com/colinwforster/status/653560490023587840 ]

  2. Hale is now tweeting about himself in the third person, it appears.

    https://twitter.com/perryscope21/status/917771623654191104

  3. Could someone with an active Twitter account search Hale’s tweets with the word ‘sailing’ and the phrase ‘sailing trips’ please?

    • @ tdf There appears to be only one tweet.

      Don Hale OBE‏ @perryscope21 1 Feb 2015

      Replying to @SurelySmMistake
      @SurelySmMistake @StuartSyvret @ciabaudo A note about Ted Heath’s Jersey sailing trips for boys was in Magpie magazine ringed by Mrs Castle.

    • No account needed to search, TDF – you never did get the hang of Twitter, did you?!?
      Anyway, you’ll enjoy this: Roydes Boyston’s paedo paper-round (©Don Hale):
      https://twitter.com/pennygeer/status/547372621546131456

      • On Anna Raccoon (RIP)’s old blog, in the comments section, I asked Tom O’Carroll about this mysterious note about Ted Heath’s sailing trips for boys that Hale claims to recall and he found the notion preposterous. Of course, many would not put credence on anything O’Carroll has to say but I see no particular reason for him to tell porkies about this matter.

        Bandini, yes it seems that Hale has rather a lot to say about dead politicians who are not around to defend themselves (or in Castle’s case, to vouchsafe his claims).

  4. Don Hale seems to have very close links to The Mirror, as does Mark Watts. The Mirror was behind the “11 out 10 back” tale, told by Linda Corby who, on 9/3/2014, posted on her Twitter feed: “Jersey: Children loaned to rich paedophile yachtsmen wp.me/P2gE9F-gif via @wordpressdotcom Police and Political
    Friends told me this” … no mention of having SEEN it or the later embellishment that not only did Ted Heath take kids on board, but that he was accompanied on that trip in 72/73 by none other than Jimmy Savile and a Jersey Senator, plus A.N. Other. N.B. Heath never visited Jersey in any of his yachts and he didn’t visit the island as Prime Minister, so this is pure fabrication.

    The Mirror also started the rumour that Heath was a close friend of Savile. They met, briefly, when Heath visited Leeds as PM and then again in ‘75 when Heath’s constituent composed a piece of music and asked him to conduct, via Jim’ll Fix It.

    The Mirror also reported on Heath’s links to P.I.E. … the next name on the list of those who asked questions about P.I.E. was the Archbishop of Canterbury, but that entry was conveniently left out. is Hale implying that he, too, was a paedophile?

    Moving on, the Mirror ‘exclusively’ revealed in another article, which again featured Linda Corby, that Heath had spent six months in a secret flat in Jersey in the early 70s ….. when he was Prime Minister or Leader of the Opposition? Seriously? You only have to wade through dear old Ted’s contributions in Hansard to realise that this is total fiction.

    And then we have the Barbara Cartland dossier – that she did not mention in her diaries or her autobiography and, strangely, her biographers have failed to mention. The only person who can testify to their existence is
    Don Hale, who claims that they were snatched from his fingers by Special Branch at the request of Cyril Smith. It should be noted that whilst dear Babs made some barbed comments regarding Ted’s interest in interior design at Chequers she was otherwise quite complimentary about him, as one socialist to another.

    Either Don Hale was desperate to sell more copies of his book about steam engines, or he is engaged in the sinister world of disinformation and muck-spreading for socialist gain, because there is no factual basis or evidence for any of his claims.

    No need to worry, because everything that Linda, Don and their little coterie of character assassins have ever produced has been carefully archived.

    Has anyone ever thought that this would make a wonderful movie?

    • “..or he is engaged in the sinister world of disinformation and muck-spreading for socialist gain, because there is no factual basis or evidence for any of his claims.”

      If the ‘qui bono’ question is asked, then I would have thought the right wing benefit much more from any attempt to smear Heath than ‘socialists’.

      The assertion that I have seen on various internet forums and social media that Heath was somehow being blackmailed by nefarious powers to support the EU (or Common Market) seems to me ludicrous. Heath was a true Europhile. There would have been no need for anyone to blackmail him into support for the ‘European project’.

  5. Worth also pointing out that Hale’s naming of Joseph and Boyson only came after Anthony Gilberthorpe had named them in a sensational red top story about underage rent boys. As the alleged events would have implicated Gilberthorpe himself and other living people in criminal acts he was questioned by the police who, however, took no further action. Private Eye soon exposed AG’s history of peddling fake news. He was last heard of palming a Trump story off on the press. A summary of his unusual career here https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/oct/15/trump-allegation-british-witness-anthony-gilberthorpe Boyson and Joseph were controversial right wingers but I’ve never heard a breath of scandal about them before or since.

    • ^ “Boyson and Joseph were controversial right wingers but I’ve never heard a breath of scandal about them before or since.”

      Neither have I, although Boyson’s enthusiasm for corporal punishment in schools would be seen as un-PC in the current era.

    • “Anthony Gilberthorpe, a 54-year-old former Tory activist, antiques dealer and Big Issue seller from Gloucestershire, claims his “photographic memory” …”

      The claim of possessing a ‘photographic memory’ is the seasoned liar’s calling-card.

      • “The claim of possessing a ‘photographic memory’ is the seasoned liar’s calling-card.”

        Indeed.

        Google “alan barrett event elephant” for a similar type in Ireland.

      • Or read the comments section of certain blogs – Pinnochio hio hio!

      • “Or read the comments section of certain blogs – Pinnochio hio hio!”

        I beg your pardon?

      • I’d offer you a link to a very recent example, TDF, but after the clean-up operation necessitated by uncivic fly-tippers emptying their sacks all over the place, spreading virulent weeds which in turn required some vigorous pruning, it’d have to be a Wayback one.

        (It wasn’t a reference to yourself: resist the mist!)

      • Ask Gilberthorpe’s former tenants in his antique market what they think of the man & you are likely to get a punch in the nose for dredging up unwanted memories.

        Pity the Plod didn’t take his false claims of being a rent-boy pimp seriously and charge the ghastly fool.

        Barbara Castle was a family friend who my mother spent many a day with. To think she would have associated with a cheap gutter tabloid hack like Don Hale is quite laughable. Hale is a lying opportunist who demeans the memory of a great Labour Party activist who never indulged in sleazy gossip and would have never had anything to do with passing on information she did not know was true. I doubt he ever met her in his life even in passing.

        # I have been asking Hale for some years to respond and explain how he interviewed, as he claims, a man who had been dead for 2 years. Sadly for Hale he screwed up his timing on that one. It needs greater exposure.

  6. Moor Larkin explains better than I could how Don Hale was able to write-up comments and interviews with a man who had been dead for 2 years.
    http://jimcannotfixthis.blogspot.com.au/2015/04/a-victim-law-ghost-writer.html

    • Cracking comments too, Eric: ‘Barbara Cartland’ – ho ho ho!

      • Ooops, slip of the keyboard … Mind you, Barbara Cartland giving Don Hale a dossier is more credible than Barbara Castle!

      • I wish my mum had know Barbara Cartland.

      • Castle was an intelligent woman who earned the respect of MPs from all parties.
        While she was no wilting flower in a political sense, when I first heard Hale’s claim about a ‘dossier’ my B/S radar lit up.
        Castle was capable of going on the attack but the notion she would hand a dossier of allegations to a tabloid writer is not just bizarre it’s makes no sense. If she had any allegations to make she would make them- but not after first getting conclusive proof- in Parliament where she was legally protected.
        A dossier of the sort of claims Hale insinuates could see the author hauled into a libel court quick smart not just by one person but many.
        If she had such a dossier- which I do not believe ever existed, she would hand it to police which would also protect her.
        Don Hale has spent far too long on tabloids and makes claims he thinks tabloid readers will believe.

      • @eric

        “Don Hale has spent far too long on tabloids and makes claims the tabloid readers will believe.”

        I think Hale is a liar. And I also think that James Reeves is a liar.

  7. And respect to BH.

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