It’s a total 180 in content from what I usually do, but take a look at this article by Dan Hodges. No, go for it. The title of this post isn’t even an exaggeration. It’s textual, bitches.
Background: Leon Brittan, former Home Secretary of the United Kingdom, has just died; he had been named publicly as the man who “lost” a dossier about a child abuse investigation, while in private much worse was said about his activities. Libel laws in the UK are very strict. However, you cannot libel someone after they are dead, so a person’s reputation can change very suddenly after their death—witness Jimmy Savile.
As for the author, he’s a former New Labour member who writes about how terrible New Labour is in the Telegraph. For a living! There’s more, but that should be enough of a description for now.
And now for the show.
This is quite possibly the stupidest article ever written by a very stupid man, and I can’t let it pass. I just can’t. Look at how it starts.
“I hope Leon Brittan was a paedophile. That he abused boys. Raped women. Made snuff films. Sat at the heart of a sprawling Westminster web of perverts and child killers, and then used his vast power and influence to cover up his heinous crimes.
I pray every single one of these horrific allegations are true. Because if they’re not, then what Leon Brittan and his family and friends have had to endure in the final years of his life represents abuse that in its way is as sickening and destructive as any of the abuses of which he was charged.”
Oh, really? Let’s sort this out.
Reality 1: Leon Brittan decided to go into politics. He underwent setbacks and faced smears from the prejudiced. No doubt these were upsetting, but they did not prevent him from holding the highest offices of state and maintaining an extremely comfortable lifestyle.
Reality 2 (the better one, according to Hodges): Leon Brittan raped and killed women and children while holding the highest offices of state.
Hmmm, which reality am I more comfortable with? I’d pick the one without the rape and murder, but perhaps I’m just a bleeding heart. Then again, I’m not the one actively praying that a bunch of people were raped, so perhaps I’ll just enjoy the high ground for once.
Hodges attempts, in his self-righteousness, to continue his argument that gossiping about Brittan’s proclivities is the moral equivalent of being the corpse-making participant in a snuff film. You can tell that even Hodges doesn’t quite believe this, as he blithely admits gossiping about Brittan himself—if Hodges really felt he was participating in something so wicked, he’d offer a mea culpa for his own slander of an innocent man. He also never seems to have bothered where the rumors came from—“everybody knew,” and that was that. Who would start such a vicious rumor and make sure that it stuck?
Back in the 80s (to show you how long these rumors have been running), Paul Foot—certainly no friend of the Tories—authored a Private Eye article stating that MI5 had blackened Brittan’s name in response to his attempts to reform the agency. The MI5 story may be true, or it may be misdirection of some sort, but anyone truly interested in Leon Brittan’s good name would bring it up in the context. Hodges doesn’t—he’s too busy with hypocrisy to bother with a Google search.
Why didn’t the victims speak out? Well, if you believe Hodges’s rumors about snuff films, the victims were dead.* If you believe some of the less lurid rumors, the victims were in no position to accuse—they were young women, very young boys forced into prostitution, certainly not part of Hodges’s “everybody.”** And Brittan was Home Secretary! Try a libel suit against him! You’d have to be crazy to bother. Hodges must know this, even he can’t be that stupid.
If I hadn’t read more of the Hodgsian canon, I’d suggest that Hodges’s blustering anger is really a cunning ploy to flush out evidence. He doesn’t do his stated cause any help by including gems like this:
“And the fact that between 1979 and 1999, over a hundred other files relating to child abuse were also lost from the Home Office records, and that Brittan was only Home Secretary for the period 1983 to 1985.”
Oh, well, files were lost, Brittan must be innocent, then—wait a minute, what were the rest of them up to? Were the entire 18 years of Conservative rule one long underage rapefest? The 1999 cutoff suggests that even a deeply shady character like Jack Straw could eventually stop “losing” abuse files, so why couldn’t the Tories hold on to them?
Like I said, were this any other writer, I’d think “aha, the whole thing’s rotten, what a clever way to state it without running afoul of The Law.” But I think that Hodges is genuinely dim enough to think that revealing decades-long mishandling of child abuse files somehow exonerates Leon Brittan. Nothing in his writing suggests that he’s capable of pulling off insinuation, that he’s anything other than a very well-connected man who has trouble connecting two cars in a train of thought. A quick read of his recent articles and Twitter reveals that he is also concerned that the Holocaust is about to reoccur and that the banning of Page 3 girls (did that even happen?) is a blow against free speech, so this sort of dimness is par for the course. It’s just that… well, when Hodges gets down on his knees and calls on the Holy Powers to let kid rape be true, it’s just too much. I have to laugh at the ridiculous, and cry at the stupidity.
Anyway, I don’t know whether the rumors about Brittan have any truth to them—I do believe that when there’s this amount of smoke, there’s fire, and there’s more to this one than the usual Lizard People/satanic-sacrifice stories. But whatever Brittan did in life, in death his best friend is… Dan Hodges. So if he did do any of what he was accused of, at least there’s a tiny bit of justice on this earth.
* Although I’ve never seen accusations of Brittan doing any filmed murder, so Hodges can congratulate himself on further blackening Brittan’s reputation.
** Well, not strictly true, according to the holy writ of Reverend GoatBoy… Brittan had a try at everybody! Even the Taliban would blush.