Oct/Nov 1976: Grey invites PIE co-founder to be Albany Trustee & meets Dr Rodger (later Thatcher’s Lord Advocate)

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Antony Grey’s Report of his visit to Edinburgh 1-4 October 1976 for November 1976 Trust meeting

The Albany Trustees’ meeting of 24th November was momentous for reasons other than Antony Grey’s enthusiastic reporting of his October visit to the Scottish Minorities Group (SMG) in Edinburgh captured above. Grey had that very morning taken a call reporting allegations against the Trust contained in Mary Whitehouse’s speech to the Christian Lunch & Dinner Club, and  Angela Willans’ Woman’s Own agony aunt had been introduced to the meeting as a new Trustee, setting her eyes on the first circulated draft of Paedophilia: Some Questions and Answers at the same time as making the acquaintance of some of the other Trustees.

[See further – 24th November 1976 Albany Trust meeting: Sir Harold Haywood, the Albany Trust and PIE: Some questions, few answers on ‘Paedophilia: Some Questions and Answers’? ]

Events subsequent to Whitehouse’s allegations overtook Grey, busy as he was spurring on Sir Harold Haywood who was battling to get Whitehouse to even acknowledge delivery of a recorded letter threatening legal action and minimising Angela Willans’ resistance to publishing the Q&A Booklet under the Trust’s name. But in October 1976, he had been hopeful that the co-founder of the Paedophile Information Exchange, Ian Dunn, two years after it had been established, would come onboard as a Scottish Trustee and perhaps a Scottish branch of the Albany Trust would be established.

18th-25th January 1975: Letters regarding the Albany Trust’s links with PIE (The Times)

26th August 1975: Child-lovers win fight for role in Gay Lib (The Guardian)

26th August 1975: Legalise child sex – call (Sheffield Morning Telegraph)

28th August-15th September 1975: Guardian ‘London Letter’ column on PIE and related correspondence (The Guardian)

22nd January 1976: Who really wants a change in the age of consent? (The Times)

Spring 1976: ‘Paedophile Politics’ (Gay Left)

[All of the above had already appeared in the press before Grey’s visit to Edinburgh – see extremely useful post Spotlight on Abuse: The Paedophile Information Exchange: Timeline of Press Cuttings 1974 – 2014]

Concerns over links between the Albany Trust and Paedophile Information Exchange had already started to surface leading Rodney Bennett-England (future Chairman of National Council for Training of Journalists – but in 1974/1975 Chairman of the Trust prior to Sir Harold Haywood taking charge post-Playland Trial No 2) – to refute them publicly in a letter to The Times, barely seven months prior to Grey’s trip to Edinburgh. Grey was undaunted.

“Discussions with SMG lead me to suggest the formation of a Scottish branch of the Albany Trust, and the addition of one or two Scottish Trustees. Counsellor Ian Christie, who is a frequent visitor to London, would be eminently suitable as a Trustee and one or two others from among those I met (notably Ian Dunn) could also be considered. There is obvious potential for local work and also for fund-raising in Scotland.”

Glasgow Herald, 15 August 1975

Ian Christie as mentioned in the Glasgow Herald, 15 August 1975

Grey’s detached observation of Dunn suggests they’d never met before. However in November 1973 Dunn had been invited onto the Council of Management of the Albany Society Ltd with Grey as Secretary and David Kerr former MP for Labour Wandsworth, and had accepted.

 

On 1 October Grey had attended a meeting with SMG at their headquarters (no longer Clyde Street –  address that appears on the earliest Paedophile Information Exchange Newsletters but at new Broughton Street HQ?) on psychosexual counselling, meeting with Ian Dunn (co-founder of the Paedophile Information Exchange), Jim Halcrow and Dr Alan Rodger.

Dr Alan Rodger (1944 – 2011) was then Clerk to the Faculty of Advocates, the English equivalent being the Inns of Court which barristers have to dine at, belong to and be called to the Bar by* – not yet Lord Justice or Baron Rodger of Earlsferry, a Justice of the Supreme Court of England and Wales, nor indeed yet Lord Advocate or any of the senior Scottish judicial posts he held. In 1972 he’d changed career route, leaving academia and his Fellowship of New College Oxford behind to move back to his homeland, Scotland, to qualify as an Advocate. By 1976, when Grey was discussing possibilities of a Scottish branch of the Albany Trust with Ian Dunn and the Scottish Minorities Group, Dr Rodger had just joined the Faculty.

A decade later he would become a junior government minister under Margaret Thatcher responsible for the running of the Scottish prosecution service – a point worth noting alongside Ian Pace’s detailed collations of material relating to:

Colin Tucker, steward to Fiona Woolf, Fettesgate and the Scottish ‘Magic Circle’ Affair, and Wider Networks – Part 1

Colin Tucker, steward to Fiona Woolf, Fettesgate and the Scottish ‘Magic Circle’ Affair, and Wider Networks – Part 2

A leaked police report had alleged that homosexual Judges, advocates, and lawyers may have been involved in a gay conspiracy to interfere with the course of justice.

The inquiry was ordered by the then Lord Advocate, Lord Rodger of Earlsferry, who then investigated the content of the report.

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Judge & Jurist: Essays in memory of Lord Rodger of Earlsferry, OUP

 

*one of which – Gray’s Inn – had Canon Eric James, Peter Righton’s  friend, as its Chaplain

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