18 Lords on 18th May 1978: The Protection of Children Bill, NCCL and PIE

Monday 8th March 1978

The Open University in the Press Office had taken advice from a barrister over their decision to sack Tom O’Carroll. The NCCL Gay Rights Committee meets and discuss what help and support they can offer.

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“Complete support of GRC was unanimously offered through the Chair. Tom O’Carrol pointed out that already a great amount of representation had been made by many organisations. He thanked the GRC, and asked that he could keep the offer in mind, but allowed the position to be resolved by the other organisations if possible, still being able to return to the GRC for help if it became necessary.” Nikki Henriques was the chair for that meeting.

A month earlier news had reached the House of Commons that Tom O’Carroll had been sacked, mentioned in the second reading of the Child Protection Bill on 10th February:

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House of Commons, second reading of the Child Protection Bill 10th February 1978

 

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“The Bill was available for perusal and also discussion. After much deliberation, it was decided that the matter was important enough to call another meeting, especially to deal with this Bill. A letter from David Offenbach, who as a lawyer saw many faults in the Bill was read out. John Saunders mentioned that he had information of persons recently having action taken against them under the existing laws in connection with Child Pornography cases. These cases seemed to be being dealt with quite adequately. It did seem the Bill was a panic measure. Although the committee agreed that children needed protection, this Bill would in fact put children at greater risk, also innocent people. It would bring the ruthless child exploiter to the fore.

To prevent a situation arising that would give ‘The Powers that be’ an open ended Bill, allowing limitless power, invasion of privacy, and maybe even causing Educational material to be at risk, also putting the children at GREATER risk, it was decided that the GRC should discuss the Bill at length, and make representation to NCCL to request that the Bill be reconsidered, and at least dealt with in a proper [??], not in panic, and not as a political manoeuvre to give certain Members of Parliament the chance to use the Bill for other reasons than that which it was reputed to be designed for.”

NCCL Gay Rights Committee schedule a special meeting for the Wednesday 15th March to peruse and discuss the Child Protection Bill at more length with Bill Forrester coordinating.

April 1978: ‘That Booklet’ is published & Antony Grey re-joins NCCL

‘That Booklet’ referred to below in Magpie April 1978, was Paedophilia: Some Questions & Answers [see further blog post: Who was ‘John’ the Albany Trust representative on the PIE co-drafting committee?]. Despite apparently not having collected enough money from the membership [only 31 members donated £156 in total – £847.16 in today’s money]  to go to print, PIE’s Executive Committee decided to fund the balance themselves. Perhaps going cap in hand to the Albany Society Ltd (the Trust’s grant-giving arm) was out of the question, although its unclear as to whether Antony Grey also resigned from the Society when he resigned from the Trust in mid-1977, instead taking up an Executive Committee position at the NCCL at Nettie Pollard’s invitation on 3rd April 1978 [see further blog post: Antony Grey meets and corresponds with Parker Rossman]. Those who had donated to the fundraising were able to receive ‘complimentary’ copies, others would have to pay 35 pence [£1.90]

 

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Magpie No 10, April 1978

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Magpie No 10, April 1978

 

 

 

 

Magpie No 11, May 1978

Magpie No 11, May 1978

“All members of the House of Commons and some Lords have been sent a copy of PIE’s new booklet Paedophilia – Some Questions and Answers. This distribution was timed to coincide with a Press Release announcing the publication of the booklet. 180 newspapers and periodicals in the UK received this Press Release.”

It would be interesting to know if the ‘some Lords’ selected by PIE to receive a complimentary copy of ‘That Booklet’ overlapped much, if at all, with the list of ’18 Members of the Upper House’ Harriet Harman is all set to follow up with to lobby for the NCCL proposed amendments to the Bill [see below]. Why did Harriet Harman or the NCCL GCR think the 18 would be amenable to NCCL’s proposed amendments? How had they been identified by the NCCL? The ‘regrettable’ situation was that, while the Chairman of PIE Tom O’Carroll and PIE member Nettie Pollard were steering hard on the NCCL Gay Rights Committee, PIE’s proposed amendments to the Protection of Children Bill didn’t need to be lobbied for under PIE’s name. By pushing on with publishing ‘that booklet’ (much unchanged from the final draft presented to the Albany Trust in March 1977 although NCCL and Albany Trust addresses had been removed) at the right time, PIE was able to support the NCCL’s lobbying more effectively and, on the surface, separately. Antony Grey’s return to the NCCL Executive Committee at Nettie Pollard’s invitation the day after his attendance at the NCCL AGM was particularly helpful.

May 1978: NCCL GCR Child Protection Bill lobbying in the House of Lords

Wednesday 10 May, 7.30 pm Nettie Pollard, Alan Deighton, Robert Palmer, Tom O’Carroll, Richard Fowler, Roland Jeffery gather at the NCCL offices at 186 Kings Cross Road

By May the Child Protection Bill is being debated in the House of Lords.

Antony Grey wasn’t able to attend (being the first meeting after re-joining NCCL Executive Committee having attended the NCCL AGM and seeing Tom O’Carroll there) although he is tasked with an action in his absence – to follow up whether NUPE’s Assistant had replied to Patricia Hewitt’s approach re Tom O’Carroll’s appearances at Swansea’s Love & Attraction Conference

 

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Agenda Item #4: Child Protection Bill House of Lords’ Proposed Amendments

“Bill now due for Committee of the Whole House in the Lords on Thursday 18th May. Hattie Harman’s briefing had gone to 18 Members of the Upper House, and she would be in touch with interested Lords before 18th. Nettie and Roland had met Hattie, and it was decided to arrange for two additional amendments,

one to redefine concept of ‘production’ as used in the Bill and

the other to exclude sex education material from its ambit

especially since the amendment redefining Indecency as set out in the Bill was likely to fail.

Hattie was arranging for members of the EC Sub-Committee set up to put amendment proposals to be at House on 18th if possible, and Nettie and Roland would also be available if required.”

Who served on the NCCL Executive Committee Sub-Committee that were attending the House of Lords prior to the debate as to be arranged via Harriet Harman?

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18 Lords approached for 18th May Debate on Child Protection Bill

The House of Lords debate started at 6pm that Thursday evening of 18th May and ran until shortly after 7.45pm

http://hansard.millbanksystems.com/lords/1978/may/18/protection-of-children-bill

The Lords and Ladies debating were: Baroness Faithfull, Baroness Wootton, Lord Wigoder, Earl Longford, Lord Scarman, Lord Redesdale, Baroness Elliot, Lord Harris, Lord Somers, Lord Monson, Lord Northfield, Lord Hale, Viscount Hanworth, Lord De Clifford, Lord Robertson, The Earl of Halsbury and former Albany Trust Chairman and Liberal Peer Lord Beaumont of Whitley.

Baroness Faithfull does not have much faith in Lord Beaumont of Whitley’s proposed Amendment to Lord Harris, Minister for Home Office’s Amendment. Neither does Lord Somers have much time for Lord Widoger’s suggestions.

Lord BEAUMONT of WHITLEY

“I am most grateful for the way in which the Committee has received and discussed this Amendment, and I freely admit that there are major flaws in it. The point about material from abroad, I entirely accept; the point about the effects on the child of the matter having to be tested in court, I grant to be an overwhelming reason against the Amendment as it is drafted. I entirely accept the point made by the noble Lord who spoke from the Benches opposite about the effect on the child, not only of the making of the film but also of the showing and the publishing of it, and it is an absolutely worthy part of the Bill that it is trying to stop that harm.

Nevertheless, I still have my doubts in two areas. One of them is in what I might call “the David Hamilton syndrome”, which the noble Lord, Lord Northfield, raised. I am still not at all clear what the situation would be there, for, as I say, there is no doubt that in the products of a number of respectable artists and respectable photographers there is a sensuality which a great many people, particularly those who repress their own sexuality, find intensely disturbing—not disgusting or depraved but disturbing. I do not know whether the products of such people, such professional photographers, are covered by  this Bill. Nor, I suspect, does anyone else. I think this is a very bad situation. It could he decided only by a jury. We could only make an intelligent guess as to what a jury would decide. I do not know in these circumstances what juries would decide. But I think we ought to be fairly clear in our own minds as to what we are actually saying and doing and whether some of these cases come within the ambit or not. This is quite apart from the peculiar anomaly that, for instance, some of Graham Ovenden’s paintings could not possibly be subject to prosecution under this Bill because they are paintings; but if someone photographed them, they could be. That seems a weird situation to find ourselves in, and one which is difficult to deal with.

Artist Graham Ovenden jailed for two years for sexual abuse of children [The Guardian 9 October 2013]

Child abuse artist Graham Ovenden jailed for two years after ‘unduly lenient’ sentence is reviewed [The Independent, 9 October 2013]

Perhaps with his Defence of Literature & Arts sponsor hat on Lord Beaumont continues: (1) David Hamilton; (2) Lewis Carroll; (3) Henry Tukes

“The second aspect with which the Amendment tries to deal is the area of artists—painting, depicting or photographing—and there is no real borderline here, as we all now know in the realms of art, but it is quite obvious in this case. Pubescent or pre-pubescent children are, in a way which they think, right for their art without doing the children much harm, it would seem to me. There are today in this country in a great many shops which sell postcard—I refer to the respectable ones and the highly respectable ones as well as the others—photographs by David Hamilton. As noble Lords no doubt know, David Hamiltion is a very well-known photographer of young girls, probably many of whom fall into the category of 14 to 16 about whom we are particularly talking. No obscenity of any kind comes into it, but that there is a real sensuality, a real eroticism, nobody can possibly doubt; nor, frankly, can their sales be ascribed to anything else.

There are other artists who I will not name but who are dealing with the same situation, and I will take two examples from the past because the Victorian age, and the most respectable parts of that age, were absolutely rampant with this awareness of the sexuality and eroticism of children. If one looks at photographs by Lewis Carroll, the Reverend Charles Dodgson, of small girls, whom he preferred photographing naked, there can be absolutely no doubt whatever that, whether or not he realised it, they were strongly erotic actions. There is no evidence, so far as I know, that it ever did any of the children any harm, although one or two mammas got alarmed and suggested that the children were getting a little old for that, but that was all right because, when they got too old for that, Lewis Carroll thought they had got too old for that, too. Then Henry Tuke, a noted RA, who painted and exhibited in the Royal Academy every year; he painted naked boys bathing in practically every one of his pictures, and again they contain a strong eroticism.”

Agenda Item #7: Patricia Hewitt’s approach to NUPE over Tom O’Carroll’s Liverpool visit and Swansea Conference

Antony Grey and Roland Jeffery had together met with Patricia Hewitt (General Secretary of NCCL for the past 3.5 years) to ask her to contact the NUPE regarding action against venues where Tom O’Carroll had been invited to speak at (Oxford and Liverpool Student Unions) and at the September 1977 Swansea Love & Attraction Conference. Hewitt had obliged, writing to the NUPE Assistant General Secretary but no reply had been received.

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Magpie No 10 March 1978

 

Magpie No 11, April 1978

Magpie No 11, April 1978

 

 

 

 

 

The April AGM of NCCL had passed Bill Forrester and Nettie Pollard’s motion to condemn attacks on PIE’s freedom of expression – but not without a telling amendment suggesting PIE’s influence at NCCL AGMs was finding some resistance:

 “Accordingly, whilst reaffirming the NCCL policy on the age of consent and the right of children; particularly the need to protect those of prepubertal age…”

NCCL 1978 AGM & Ballot Booklet

NCCL 1978 AGM & Ballot Booklet

 

 

 

 

 

 

Roland Jeffery, who approached Patricia Hewitt with Grey on NUPE, had been working with Harold Haywood OBE, Lucilla Butler and PIE treasurer Charles Napier in the group Haywood assembled at Earl’s Court, during the time Napier had been asked to go on holiday when revealed as PIE Treasurer mid-1977. Jeffrey had also been the CHE group convenor at Oxford University according to his ballot biography below standing for election at April 1978 NCCL AGM for the Executive Committee as proposed by Geoffrey Robertson and seconded by Nettie Pollard.

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Tom O’Carroll had written to Antony Grey 3 weeks prior to the NCCL meeting minuted here (10 May 1978) to thank him “in relation to NUPE etc.”

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30th July 1979: Letter from paedophile group links Harriet Harman and Patricia Hewitt to it AFTER they said it had been marginalised [Martin Robinson, Daily Mail, 7 March 2014]

PIE Controversy: Harriet Harman has got this one wrong [The Independent, Joan Smith, 1 March 2014]

Pensioner backed Paedophile Information Exchange and may hold key to links with left wing groups [Mirror, Keir Mudie, Nick Dorman, 8 March 2014]

Labour Trio can’t stay silent on this pedophile claim [The Guardian, Barbara Ellen, 23 February 2014]

 

Tuesday 13th June 1978 – July 1978: PIE Raids with warrants issued under the Obscene Publications Act

Keith Hose, Nettie Pollard, Antony Grey, Roland Jeffery all attend

“PIE and Police Harassment

The committee was informed of a number of raids which have taken place in the last few days with warrants issued under the Obscene Publications Act. It was thought that this was a cover for access to gain information on PIE and its membership files.”

An ironic echo of Judge Hamilton-King’s words in R v Thorne (1977) considering Nettie Pollard’s efforts to object at the time? [See further blog post: April 1977 Penthouse funding to NCCL for PIE’s Nettie Pollard falters]

Conference Report

“Patricia was most unwilling to accept Tom O’Carroll’s report for inclusion in the conference report because it might further the less informed public’s identification of gays with child molesters (though we fully accept that pedophiles are not necessarily child molesters either). It was decided to refer this matter to the full Executive who would be circulated in advance. The consensus of the committee was a demand for its inclusion with a suitable introduction.”

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NCCL GCR 13 June 1978

 

 

Unfortunately Magpie Issue no 11 of April 1978 had already gone to print so had announced that he article would be included. Tom O’Carroll had given a speech on Chemical Castration at a conference NCCL had convened in May 1977 on Gay Rights. Will be interesting to see if Patricia Hewitt’s view was overruled by the Executive Committee after considering the matter of a ‘suitable introduction’ and whether the article was eventually published in the NCCL’s 1977/78 AGM Conference Report or the Booklet produced for the Gay Rights Conference?

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U Magpie No 11, April 1978

 

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