by Atul Hatwal
Another day, another front page from the Daily Mail on the links between the National Council for Civil Liberties (NCCL) and the Paedophile Information Exchange (PIE) at a time when Harriet Harman, Patricia Hewitt and Jack Dromey held senior positions in the NCCL.
When the Daily Mail attacks Labour politicians there is a tendency to simply shrug the shoulders and move on. It’s in the nature of the beast, the Mail attacks the party because that’s what the Mail does. So what?
But that doesn’t mean everything it says is wrong.
In this case, the tone might be vituperative and the events almost faded into distant memory, but the Mail’s reports are backed up by hard evidence. Evidence that is difficult to ignore.
The most pointed allegations date from 1976 when Jack Dromey was a member of the NCCL executive and Patricia Hewitt was general secretary (Harriet Harman didn’t start working at the NCCL until 1978.)
In 1976 the NCCL made a submission to parliament on the Sexual Offences Act. In this paper are some extraordinary and inexplicable recommendations,
“(i) A person aged 14 or over should be legally capable of giving consent
(ii) A person aged under 10 should be presumed legally incapable of giving consent
(iii) Where both partners are aged 10 or over but under 14, a consenting sexual act should not be an offence.
(iv) Where one partner is aged 10 or over, the law should presume that consent was not present, unless it is demonstrated that it was genuinely given and the child understood the nature of the act.
(v) As the age of consent is arbitrary, we propose a an overlap of two years on either side of 14, so that, where the participants are 12 or over but under 16, a consenting sexual act will not be an offence.”
It might be that the NCCL’s parliamentary submissions were signed-off without recourse to the general secretary or the executive.
It might be that this particular paper was submitted without going through the proper processes, and Patricia Hewitt and Jack Dromey had no knowledge of it.
It might be any one of a range of reasons that could explain why they had nothing to do with the recommendations made in the NCCL’s parliamentary brief.