I’d like to nominate myself as Britain’s Paedofinder-General

14 July 2014

Now that Elizabeth Butler-Sloss has stood down as head of the inquiry into historic sex abuse, I’d like to nominate myself as Britain’s new paedofinder-general.

If I got the job, I would use the latest scientific techniques to track down every single sexual wrongdoer in Britain, alive or dead. Firstly I would type into Google the names of every person involved in the entertainment industry or politics between 1965 and 1990, followed by a ‘p’; if the word ‘paedophile’, ‘paedo’ or ‘pedo’ comes up in the top ten suggestions then the chances are that the person in question probably is one, so the CSI crime squads can turn up at their house looking for any forensic evidence of alleged sexual assaults from the 1970s.

To make it more rigorous we could then have a public vote, showing a snapshot of the suspect, asking readers of tabloid newspapers whether or not they think he messes with the kiddies; because most of the time paedophiles do look like paedophiles, in my experience. If you wanted extra rigorous checks you could have a committee of celebrities like Phillip Schofield or Sally Bercow to search the internet to make sure the allegations have been verified by more than one random blog.


I suppose I’m slightly sceptical about the whole paedogeddon thing, and the idea that child abuse is as widespread as some of the newspapers believe. I’m not alone; Rod Liddle is writing about the hysteria in this week’s magazine, and now Stephen Fry has spoken out.

They’re right, in my opinion, although I may be proven wrong when vast numbers of politicians are found to have abused children, or covered it up. But I’m prepared to bet otherwise, and the British as a people simply have a slightly weird obsession with paedophilia. Every once in a while the British, or at least British journalists, become hysterical about the subject, and now we’re either about to open up a scandal that will bring down the establishment or see a massive deluded witch-hunt by modern-day village idiots.

Historians will surely find it strange that Jimmy Savile, who when it came down to it wasn’t an especially talented individual, has caused the country to lose its collective marbles like this. Pressured by a newspaper industry that is financially struggling and therefore more vicious than ever (and riven by internecine feuds), the government and the police seem happy, as Fry points out, to abandon the very idea that people are innocent until proven guilty.

Where will it end? I’ll be interesting to see whether the hunt extends to the music industry. It is rumoured (it goes without saying that nothing has been proved) that some of the rock gods of the ‘60s and ‘70s had sex with underage groupies; as with their drug-taking, this was overlooked by an establishment keen to capture some rock glamour and promote brand Britain, a brand that will surely need some PR work after this is all over.

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  • Jenny Ellis

    Were you a councillor for Rotherham?..your attitude is much the
    same,young children were systematically abused,and you seem to think
    it’s all a fuss about nothing.
    I find it hard to believe your reasoning, or is this simply a Londoncentric opinion?Pray it never happens to a member of your family.
    Your article was in the worst possible taste,no I am not hysterical…. I care about young vulnerable children who are prey

  • Chet Carter

    The police are now investigating the late Lord Tonypandy for the sexual abuse of a nine year old child. Would it not be better if they focussed on the politicians who are still alive?

  • Pedro Skidmark

    I think the bigger problem is the level of corruption and deceit that’s present in modern day politics. Democracy is more like an oligarchy that protects the richest people in society. The fact that a dossier can simply vanish is ridiculous, considering the insane levels of bureaucracy present in the UK. That only leaves one explanation; it was destroyed to protect certain people. If these people had been average Joes there’s no way it would’ve been destroyed.

  • Roger Hudson

    It is mainly a job for the police. One problem, true in many areas of British life, is that todays ‘force’ is not trusted by the public. Actually they were worse in the past when it comes to vulnerable children, children in care, rent-boys and underage prostitutes. At least there are less special handshakes and more women in higher ranks.

  • Ordinaryman

    West, Liddle and even Fry are entitled to their opinions, what matters is how much importance we attach to them. From what I read here, far too much importance is given to them from those on both sides of the argument. It should be remembered that these people earn their living by keeping their name in the spotlight – one way or the other. Therefore, what they have to say should have very little relevance in the matter.

  • wudyermucuss

    I’m not alone; Rod Liddle is writing about the hysteria in this week’s magazine, and now Stephen Fry has spoken out. –
    You,Liddle AND Fry?
    Case closed obviously.

  • Liz

    Ah yes groupies. Whenever I see that word, turns out it was written by a man.

  • keith

    forget looking for people who used their position to abuse and destroy the lives of young children, the all knowing Ed West has spoken, what a pathetic article, you ought to be ashamed of yourself, sit down with some of the people who have been treated like liars for years, because people like you belittle their pain and the shame they have lived with for years, tell me Ed, Kincora boys home Northern Island, Bryn Estyn In Wales, Henshaws school for the blind in Leeds, Duncroft Children’s Home in Surrey, and what about Haut de la Garenne in Jersey, was that all a myth and lots lots more, but stop the inquiries don’t prosecute the guilty, Ed says its not worth the trouble, you don’t deserve to be called a journalist

    • amicus

      I found the article a breath of fresh air.

      • keith

        that says more about you

    • The Blue Baron

      Hysterical guff. At no point anywhere has Ed West contested the reality or horrible nature of child abuse. What he has done is question whether or not such abuse was endemic within the British establishment.

      Getting all emotional is no substitute to a well-reasoned and informed argument.

      • keith

        ah so getting emotional about child abuse is wrong, i am afraid child abuse is emotional, ask a few people who have been affected by it and Ed’s headline clearly shows what contempt he holds those seeking the truth amongst his friends in the establishment, sorry if that disturbs your perfect world

        • The Blue Baron

          Lots of things are emotional. Terrorism is emotional. Healthcare is emotional. Violent crime is emotional. Discussions over British foreign policy are emotional. Does this mean that we should be reduced to an irrational, babbling wreck every time we discuss them?

          I am very interested in seeking the truth regarding these allegations and await the emergence of evidence to support them. The problem seems to be that you, and others like you, are certain you already know the truth.

          • keith

            oh sorry and when did you tell us about, Cyril smith, or jimmy saville, as i understand it people knew but never said anything, maybe the tory whip who said we will make sure anyone messing about with young boys is looked after was close to the truth, but it will never come out whilst people say lets not bring it up or shout about it, it was years ago forget about it. that would seem to be your choice.

            • The Blue Baron

              The fact that some conspiracies of silence exist does not mean that every allegation you hear regarding child abuse is true. Allegations should be investigated thoroughly and without prejudice but should not be taken as fact until proven.

  • george

    political short termism + grossly inflated importance of twitter + media sensationalism + jaded public = witch hunts + lynchings + libel/slander actions.
    expect it to get worse and to start to spread.

  • John M

    I am struggling to wrap my head around the possibility that allegations against Cliff Richard will be made.

    • grammarschoolman

      Who says?

    • keith

      Myra Hindley and the like must love people like you

      • gildedtumbril

        I have yet to meet anyone who believes hindley is dead. After all, she was groomed for release for at least 20 years…

        • Fergus Pickering

          Why? Who would gain from this?

          • gildedtumbril

            No government would dare free her. So, ‘she died of ciggies’. And her ashes were distributed over Saddleworth Moor. Damned sinister.

            • Fergus Pickering

              So she was killed by Special Forces eh?

              • gildedtumbril

                I believe she lives, at our expense, in a nice home in a leafy suburb with a new identity.
                20 years groomed for freedom? Then she conveniently ‘croaks’ etc.
                To have freed her would have been electoral death for any government.
                Anyone who believes she is dead is an icepick short of a Trotsky.
                I do not believe she was Dr. Kellyied.

                • Fergus Pickering

                  I think a poem is the only answer.

                  In a nice home
                  In a leafy suburb
                  With a new identity,
                  Myra Hindley (88)
                  Lives on at our expense.

                  But not for long.
                  I am outside with the icepick.
                  Justice never sleeps.
                  She just dozes a little sometimes.

                • gildedtumbril

                  Fergus, my dear fellow, she may have died in the meantime. She was a chain smoker at our expense…However, the ‘government’ would not announce her passing under her old NI number, would they?
                  As for your poem. I believe it is blank verse. Never mind. Keep at it.
                  Would you believe, I have been blocked by the British National Party? The only British party, all the rest are sponsored by the black hole of the eu, Brussels.

                • Fergus Pickering

                  Blocked? Dearie me. Sounds painful.

      • The Blue Baron

        What an idiotic comment. So anyone who thinks people are allowing their lurid imaginations to get a little bit carried away is the moral equivalent of Myra Hindley?

        • keith

          idiotic might refer to you, so people abused are letting their lurid imaginations run away a little, you will say not the people who were abused, just those speaking out on their behalf, but if they don’t have people willing to stand up for them, who will, not you or Ed that seems clear

          • The Blue Baron

            That people have been sexually abused is not in dispute. That there exists a vast conspiracy of paedophiles inside the establishment all clubbing together to cover up their actions is very much in dispute and, at present, there is zero evidence to suggest this is the case.

            The fact that you and others claim to know that this is a fact
            has nothing to do with the very real scourge of child abuse and everything to do with your own imagination.

  • Neil Gardner

    We should take two urgent actions. First 100% of the population should have an RFID chip implanted in their skull, so we can track everyone at all times even when they are away from their mobile phone. Second, all private rooms should have discrete remote sensors installed to alert child abuse action officers of any suspected child abuse.
    In addition anyone failing to collaborate with these very necessary measures will be considered a child abuser and sentenced to watch endless repeats of EastEnders in a psychiatric hospital for sufferers of oppositional defiance disorder.

  • Des Demona

    I think the disdain with which you seem to approach this is ill advised. Children were being abused by a powerful elite, who then used that power to cover up the crimes, with the help of the establishment in general.
    You think that’s funny? I don’t.

    • grammarschoolman

      I would find your unthinking belief in this hilarious, if its implications for liberty and justice weren’t so terrifying.

      • Des Demona

        well, it seems all my replies are being censored so it looks like I won’t be able to discuss this further.

    • Someone

      Des – may be you don’t see the irony of your comment. Allow me to assist.

      Ed’s point is that rumours, speculation and tweets, do not amount to anything more than hot air. Trial-by-media, no-smoke-without-fire type of reasoning undermines the very essence of justice.

      If you want to get to the bottom of these allegations (and until they are proven, they are precisely that) then an independent inquiry which can be heard in a climate of calm may produce more reliable results than the existing witch-hunt which seems to have swept up every man and his dog.

    • The Blue Baron

      Funny or not, there isn’t any evidence to support your views.

      If and when such evidence emerges, it can then be analysed and discussed.

      • Thomtids

        It doesn’t help when the Home Office certainly “lost or mislaid” 114 files on similar subject-matter. Nor when the Home Office Secretary of State appoints a person who is inevitably wholly unable to accept the appointment through conflict of interest yet accepts the appointment. Or when witnesses are quite explicit about the actions of a holder of the Highest judicial Office in the suppression of publicity for the behaviour now being denied again on the basis of “no evidence”.

        • The Blue Baron

          Home Office employees can’t take a ride on the train without misplacing a few hundred government files. It doesn’t look great but incompetence remains a much more likely cause than conspiracy.

          • Thomtids

            Yes, but it’s such a shame that they all decide to take the same group of files for a trip on the Underground at the same time AND leave them where no one ever finds them again. If you were to ask one of Betfred’s Offices to give you a price on that happening, I suspect you would get better odds on the Tooth Fairy being asked to take over leading Boko Haram.

  • Dogzzz

    Ed West, let’s see what an independent public inquiry will reveal, before you find everyone in the establishment innocent, and the public find everyone in the establishment guilty.

    There has been a huge amount of interest in this, purely because since the Savile allegations, it has been revealed that victims of vile abuse have actually been to the police and been laughed out of the station. The police and the entire justice system have failed those victims, and now with more allegations of abuse at the hands of those who are powerful enough to cover these things up, not being investigated by police, means that very unusually, the NORMAL system of justice cannot be relied upon in this case as it has failed so often (If the allegations are true).

    If the allegations are not true, then I hope that the full truth will out. If they are true, then I hope victims will see justice done.

    Either way, we need this investigation to establish that truth and Ed, you are as bad as those who are prematurely assigning guilt.

    If the allegation that there really were a high level paedophile network at the heart of our establishment which has been protected by the police, the judiciary, and Lords and MPs, then does that make you comfortable Ed?

  • MrJones

    The VIP paedophiles hid behind a gay smokescreen. Some of the people who were unknowingly part of that smoke screen are now worried their names will get dragged in.

  • MrJones

    “I’m slightly sceptical about the whole paedogeddon thing, and the idea that child abuse is as widespread as some of the newspapers believe”

    The number of people accused of actual child abuse is very low. It’s the 100s that have been involved in covering it up who need to be exposed.

  • Chet Carter

    It is understandable that the public school educated establishment must be bemused over this fuss. They don’t see the big deal over young boys being buggered by their elders and betters. It happened all the time at school.

    • David davis

      No it didn’t at my school: leastways, not while I was there, and boys know everything what is going on and we would talk, privately. Where did you get that notion then?

      • Ooh!MePurse!

        I note you didn’t get a reply, David. Let me have a go. Chet got that notion as a result of unfounded bigotry and prejudice.

      • Chet Carter

        David, you probably went to the one of the cheaper, second rate ones.

        • Fergus Pickering

          My father went to a public school, the same one as A.E. Housman. I asked him once if there was any stuff going on. He said not as far as he knew. At my Scottish boys day school there was a fair amount of, how shall I put it, boy on boy activity, and one of the masters used to take favourite boys for rides in his car, or so it was said. Actually it was said by one of the boys to me. He was as gay as the Gordons.. Whether the master was to blame for this state of affairs I really couldn’t say.


          • Chet Carter

            Going through the archives it seems that Spectator journalists were quite relaxed about young boys being buggered. Must be a public school thing.

            • Fergus Pickering

              Sheer prejudice. Scots are well known for buggery, but that’s all classes.

  • Mike Barnes

    I don’t know about you, but I’m more than happy to throw away the presumption of innocence we’ve been using for centuries and i now thoroughly endorse the ‘no smoke without fire’ method of justice.

    • george

      unless they are m u s l i m whereby they are innocent no matter what the evidence … due to “cultural sensitivities”.

  • MaggieL

    The Paedo Industry is in it’s infancy and there will be many other opportunities to cash in if your candidacy is overlooked on this occasion. There is a crying need for charities, experts, researchers and investigators. You could start off by setting up PaedOff.

    • John Gerard

      Or perhaps a charity called NonceSense? With apologies to Chris Morris…

    • Roger Clague

      Maybe suckoff.

  • Barry

    Sharmi Chakrabarti must be a shoo-in, surely?

    • amicus

      shoe in

  • ChrisTavareIsMyIdol

    “I suppose I’m slightly sceptical about the whole paedogeddon thing, and the idea that child abuse is as widespread as some of the newspapers believe. I’m not alone; Rod Liddle is writing about the hysteria in this week’s magazine, and now Stephen Fry has spoken out.”

    Well that’s proof positive, a B-list celeb has spoken. Got any facts? Remember them from journo school?

    • The Blue Baron

      On the contrary, the absence of facts to support any of these allegations is rather central to Ed’s article.

  • Earlshill

    I think the music industry will be ripe for investigation once we’ve exhausted the search for political paedos Ed. My money is on Michael Mansfield to head the inquiry now that the Dame has excused herself.

    • Mike Barnes

      I have no idea how the DJs are getting prosecuted but the rock stars who were far, far worse are getting away with it.

      I guess Jimmy Page and David Bowie are a lot cooler than Jimmy Savile and Rolf Harris though.

      • Hexhamgeezer

        ……….and Bill Wyman………….

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