Tony Grist (poliphilo) wrote,
Tony Grist


I know what the Seventies were like. I was there. The Seventies were an age of sexual liberation and excess. Do what thouu wilt was the whole of the law. Only in the Seventies could a bunch of predatory paedophiles have concocted a cute acronym for themselves (PIE) and got their organisation affiliated to the National Council for Civil Liberties. This shocks us now; back then it was simply the sort of thing that was going on. I don't hanker after that state of affairs but I'll say this in its defence that the surest way to find out where the boundaries of morality lie is to push them.

In the brou-ha-ha over whether three current Labour bigwigs approved of PIE no-one is being completely honest. The people arguing the case for the prosecution are willfully forgetting what the 70s were like and the bigwigs under attack are saying that they always hated paedophilia with a 21st century righteous fury when there's no evidence that they ever did anything other than let it be.

Letting it be was what everyone did- and not just trendy persons on the left. Back in the '80s David Steel- leader of the Liberal party- recommended that national treasure and child abuser Cyril Smith be given a knighthood. When a newspaper (the Star) recently applied to see  documents that would confirm this the current government (which has Liberals in it) tried (but failed) to block access. Also in the '80s  a bunch of well known public figures- entertainers as well as politicians- including Smith and a Thatcher era cabinet minister who is still alive and kicking- were habitues of a London brothel that was stocked with kids from care homes. Back in the day the Conservative maverick Geoffrey Dickens presented a dossier on the case to Home Secretary Leon Brittan- and it went missing and still can't be found. The police have been investigating for decades now- on and off- and nothing ever happens.

The later decades of the 20th century saw a revolution in sexual attitudes- and revolutions are never just about cheering and waving flags. In the general moral confusion paedophilia almost- very briefly- achieved respectability. If you had a colleague who was into kids you didn't call the police, you shrugged and said, "whatever turns you on." This mood prevailed in all three political parties, and all three now have some cupboard cleaning to do.
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