Shame and scandal in the family
Scallywag issue 22, 1994
By Simon Regan
While the government has decided to play down their disastrous preaching about back to so-called basics, the scandals involving their own members continue to grow.
The story so far
In edition 20 of Scallywag we named 11 of the estimated 60 gay members of Parliament, including two cabinet ministers, Peter Lilley and Michael Portillo. It was never intended to be an anti-gay project as such, but an exercise in highlighting the gross hypocrisy of the present government and its policies. In the next edition we took the story far further and gave chapter and verse on how a dangerous right-wing conspiracy had been hatched a quarter of a century ago at Peterhouse College, Cambridge. In this edition we expose the perverted actions of Lord McAlpine and the extent to which a national paedophile ring reached the very doors of Parliament.
This Peterhouse connection was led by a brilliant historian called Maurice Cowling who set his sights on one of the most ambitious students, one Michael Portillo. Since then, Cowling has masterminded Portillo's political career - infiltrating key members of his 'team' into influential positions in Whitehall, Conservative Central Office, and Parliament itself. Most of these Cowling Cowboys were gay and had an inordinate influence on political thinking.
There was a curious piece in the Guardian attempting to have a libel action against us funded by the Government. Strangely, this also included a PPS of his called William Hague whose office strongly denied he intended to take action.
Then we heard that Maurice Cowling, the evil mastermind behind all this, had called Portillo to read out to him a letter he had written to the Times refuting our allegations. Apparently, within hearing distance of the entire ministry, Portillo went apeshit and threatened his former history tutor with the dire consequences of any kind of retaliation. "Ignore them. They'll go away. Everyone else is as terrified as hell. I've made sure of that," was Michael's considered advice.
Bottomley bottoms out
Why did Peter Bottomley - so obviously groomed for high places - suddenly 'opt' to go into obscurity and leave the major running to his wife? It was not the normal behavior of an ambitious politico on the make, which he undoubtedly was. Being a Junior Minister for Northern Ireland is not exactly the bee's knees, but it is a healthy step up the ladder.
The question begs many others. For instance, if he had absolutely nothing to hide, why did he barrack (to the point of 'dementia'), the people holding a disciplinary hearing into serious child abuse at the Melanie Klein children's home in Greenwich? And why, when Thames television began an investigation into the situation at the home, did he embark on an unprecedented screaming match - not just with the programme - but with the hierarchy of the Thames board, to have the film suppressed?
The case first came about because a caretaker had been accused of interfering with some of the young females at another children's home in the borough; taking photographs of them in compromising poses; aiding them to leave the home until late at night; aiding them to obtain drugs and alcohol; and of generally debauched behavior.
At a subsequent, secret enquiry, this did not seem to be in dispute. But, rather than prosecute or pay him off in disgrace, Greenwich council decided (behind closed doors) merely to move him - to the already controversial Melanie Klein home.
So where does Mr Bottomley come in? No one would have noticed if he hadn't gone completely overboard in his insistence that nothing of the case should ever be seen in the media. But this very wrathful insistence was unusual in a member of the government.
He argued at the time that the caretaker was one of his constituents and he felt the man was being unfairly treated. He denied this without seeing any evidence, nor even asking for it. He did not ask for this Thames TV, who would have happily invited him to a private showing of their programme.
He decided this arbitrarily, without any kind of consultation with anyone we can trace. All we know is that in both areas he was "heavy-handed, bullying, and reckless". He did not know the TV production only referred to him in passing, as the caretaker's MP, and that he had sent a representation to the investigating tribunal, which he was absolutely perfectly entitled to do. One of the TV producers involved said: "I have never known such a classic case of protesting too much. Especially as his only claim was that he was protecting the interests of his constituent".