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Cartoon: Cyril Smith and the others

Cartoon - Cyril Smith and the others © Matthew Buck hack Cartoons for tribunecartoons.com

© Matthew Buck Hack Cartoons for tribunecartoons.com

The former Labour Rochdale town councillor and later Liberal MP for Rochdale, Sir Cyril Smith, has been accused of persistent child abuse at public authority run children’s homes in the town. The accusations are made by the current MP in Rochdale Simon Danczuk in a  new book which has been serialised in The Daily Mail.

Smith died in 2010 (you cannot libel the dead in law) but there are also many stories, some under legal suppression, concerning people in all of the major political parties.

This is what prompted an excruciatingly awkward interview for Sir David Steel, former leader of the Liberal party, on today’s BBC World at One. You can listen to that again here.

The broad spread of such stories and its associated legal restraint is what inspired the cartoon above and its reference to a very old and rather terrible football chant, below. Apologies seem due for both.

Updated: 27th September 2014: Another long running case is also getting a long overdue airing at Exaro News, just ahead of this year’s Conservative Party Conference.

Updated: 30th November 2014: The long running and increasingly well sourced stories in public have now reached the royal household.

More happily, John Allen owner of the businesses that ran the notorious Bryn Alyn Children’s Homes in North Wales has finally been convicted and sent to jail for a large number of offences. In the wake of this, the Sunday Times reports the homes also acted as procurement hubs from which children were exchanged and supplied to customers in Westminster and Amsterdam.

The Daily Post newspaper which covers the area has a particularly useful piece explaining the context to how this appalling state of affairs became normal.

There’s a also piece of contemporary reporting from the Independent in January 1997 that also traces the long and miserable history of the North Wales inquiries – there have been made, some suppressed and some heavily redacted.

Updated: 8th March 2015: The Mail on Sunday newspaper has published some-eye-catching allegations about the scale of the cover-up over the activities of Cyril Smith.

Updated: 20th March 2015: Newsnight report on Sir Cyril Smith, the others, and a Metropolitan Police investigation that was stopped. Sadly, it appears to have been one of many in the case of Smith and his associates.

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