Jan 1977: Lord Winstanley, Cyril Smith’s Westminster roommate & Liberal Peer joins Albany Trust

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By January 1977 the Albany Trust under Haywood’s chairmanship had moved offices from the less upmarket 31 Clapham Road, adjacent to Stockwell tube station, to Strutton Ground, moments from Victoria Station and its relentless flow of young runaways, close to national landmarks Buckingham Palace and Westminster Abbey. Victoria, like all major railway stations in London, was already a major venue for ‘chickenhawks’ like Leslie Alfred Goddard, Adam Ant’s father who lived locally.

The Trust hadn’t met since 24th November when Antony Grey had been alerted to Mary Whitehouse’s allegations against Ric Rogers (Albany Trust Youth Worker) and the work of the Trust as the ‘normalisation’ of paedophilia. On 19th January Albany  Trustees Sue Barnet, Lil Butler, Michael Butler, Harold Haywood (Chairman), and Antony Grey (Director) met with apologies for their absence from Rodney Bennett-England,  Sidney Bunt, and Lord Winstanley. Haywood announced that he would be leaving the Trust as Chairman on 1 September 1977 and Lil Butler was decided upon as Deputy Chairman to support Haywood until his departure. The Queen’s Silver Jubilee celebrations were due to begin in February with church services leading up to beacons being set aflame across hilltops during summer but the pomp and pageantry would be sufficiently over by September for Haywood to take over the funds raised by the Jubilee Trusts and work on consolidating them into the Prince’s Trust for Young People from autumn.

Grey had invited Michael Rubinstein (1920 – 2001) to attend the January meeting, a lawyer from the firm Rubinstein & Nash at 5-6 Raymond’s Building’s, Gray’s Inn, where Lord Arnold Goodman had been articled when qualifying as a solicitor during the 1930s. Rubinstein’s uncle was publisher Victor Gollancz, leading to his specialisation in publishing matters and his defence of the publication of DH Lawrence’s Lady Chatterley’s Lover which Dr John Robinson (Albany Trustee, Bishop of Woolwich) had been called by Rubinstein to give testimony in defence of. Rubinstein would also later advise another of his clients Anthony Blunt against suing for defamation on the basis that he had lost his reputation.

September 1979: “In theory, Rubinstein was a well-chosen solicitor for Anthony: the present menace was a forthcoming book and, as he had fought for half a dozen major publishers in libel cases, and for Penguin when, for issuing an unexpurgated text of Lady Chatterley’s Lover, the company was prosecuted for obscenity in 1960, there could be nothing that he did not know about counteracting literary accusations.

It was not so: he was far too eager to take the battle to the foe without quite knowing the complex nature of the enemy — a doggedly inquiring writer who could not quite prove what he supposed; a press informed by rumour, innuendo and the malice of all sorts of minor figures anxious to pull Anthony down in revenge for imagined slights; an MI5 and MI6 thrilling to the renewal of a long-frustrated chase; and a naive Prime Minister inspired, not by spite, but by such aggressive provincial patriotism that she could neither ask nor answer the question, “Why?”

These forces were far beyond Rubinstein’s power to control and, once unleashed, they swept him aside. It was he who, as a preliminary to quashing it, asked the publishers of Boyle’s book to let him see the text. Because Anthony was not named in it, Rubinstein’s asking to see it was promptly interpreted as an admission of sorts (had he been fool enough to name Anthony as his client?) and the publishers leaked the request to Private Eye; on September 28 the tumbrils of the press prepared to roll. With the publication of extracts from Boyle’s book in The Observer on Sunday, November 4, I had the first telephone calls — from Stewart Tendler at The Times and Chris White at the Daily Mail — but all that I, an unknown nobody wondering, alarmed, how the hell these journalists knew of our connection, could say was that I knew nothing. I was in genuine ignorance of the situation, for I had not heard from Anthony for days and he had not answered the telephone when, troubled by his silence, I had called him.” [Brian Sewell, The art of espionage: Antony Blunt & Me, 15 December 2012, The Australian ]

And in 1978 the following year Gray’s Inn, one of the four Inns of Court for barristers, would employ Canon Eric James as their Preacher, a man who also happened to be a close friend of Peter Righton, Bishop of Stepney Father Trevor Huddleston and Dr John Robinson and would also become Chaplain to the Queen less than a decade later.

Rubinstein was there to give advice on whether the Albany Trust should sue Mary Whitehouse. Antony Grey had visited him at his offices in mid-December where although the advice had been not to risk costly and risky litigation, Rubenstein had drafted a strongly-worded letter for Haywood to send via recorded delivery on 17 December in the hope of silencing Whitehouse.

 

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Albany Trust Minutes 19th January 1977

However, in June 1977 Rubinstein irritated Harold Haywood by expecting to be paid for his advice.

“Michael Rubinstein had submitted a bill for £83 in addition the £25 paid in advance, for his advice in connection with the Mary Whitehouse attack. The Chairman had written to question the charge, which he had assumed would be nominal because of Mr Rubinstein’s special interest in the Trust. He had replied saying in part “…. I cannot understand why you should have been under the impression that I was offering to advise the Trust on anything other than a normal professional basis.” The Organising Secretary was asked to pay the bill and to bear this information in mind when deciding on whom to turn for legal advice in future.”

(Quaker and pacifist Arlo Tatum – the Organising Secretary mentioned above –  whose involvement in the Albany Trust following his unsuccessful case against the US army for ‘surveillance of lawful citizen activity’ during 1972’s Laird v Tatum is particularly interesting, will be posted about in more detail shortly)

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The previous Friday before the plenary Trustees’ meeting,  the Albany Trust Executive Sub-Committee consisting of Lil Butler, Haywood and Grey had decided against publishing the booklet Paedophilia: Some Questions and Answers.

“Whilst recognising the hard work which had gone into it, it was not felt that the document would advance the understanding and acceptance of pedophiles and it might adversely affect the Albany Trust. The Trustees generally agreed. It was also agreed that the Trust, in consultation with the pedophile group, should produce its own pamphlet on paedophilia in due course, and that an article on the subject should appear during the year in ‘AT’. ” (my underline emphasis)

Why was the Albany Trust so concerned to work for the acceptance of pedophiles in society, a position which went above and beyond either understanding, counselling and was certainly not aimed at rehabilitation since the view was that society needed to change to accommodate child abuse enthusiasts and not vice versa? The Trust’s rejection of the Q&A booklet above acknowledges the charity’s aim as to advance the acceptance of pedophiles, a position not dissimilar to that of the Q&A booklet’s Introduction that the Executive Sub-Committee had apparently just rejected  – that pedophiles, due to the high number in youth services both paid and voluntary, should be celebrated as a positive benefit to society because to do otherwise was to present the country with a substantial unfunded gap in Social Services. It also adds weight to Doreen Cordell’s complaint that as a charity with a self-defined interest in psychosexual counselling across various sexual minorities the Trust seemed to focus almost exclusively on pedophiles during the 1970s to the exclusion of TV/TS and other gender identity issues which as a counsellor she was seeing more of.

 

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Lord Michael Winstanley

In 1977 Lord Winstanley (1918 – 1993) had only recently been created a peer by Harold Wilson during his second term as Labour Prime Minister. For some reason, Harold Haywood and Antony Grey were particularly keen to secure Winstanley’s involvement in the Albany Trust and on 17th March at a Trustees’ meeting:

“The Chairman welcomed Lord Winstanley, who was introduced to fellow Trustees by the Director. Lord Winstanley indicated that he was most happy to be associated with the Trust, and hoped to be able to give more time to it later in the year.” [Albany Trust minutes, 17/03/1977]

Cyril Smith and Michael Winstanley had been friends since the 1950s – a long time prior to Smith entering Parliament for Rochdale as a Liberal MP in 1972. Sir Cyril wrote Winstanley’s obituary for The Independent, 19th July 1993 and credits him with persuading Smith to become a Liberal rather than a Labour MP. Winstanley had played cricket for a local Rochdale cricket team, often participating in celebrity XII matches.

“I shared an office with him at the House of Commons, and I witnessed at first hand his very hard work, his diligence and his total devotion to his constituency of Cheadle as it then was, Hazel Grove as it now is. He polled an absolutely massive vote, winning with it at one time (in 1966 and February 1974), losing with it at another (September 1974). He lost with three times the vote that most MPs win with.” [Independent Obituary by Cyril Smith]

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