The media must be desperate. Since the Jimmy Savile story broke they have been phoning me, of all unlikely people, in the hope of getting further revelations.
The Daily Mirror‘s chief crime correspondent, Tom Pettifor, said “name your terms”; the Daily Mail‘s reporter Lucy Osborne offered “a fee”. Both were interested in whether Savile or any other celebrities were once in PIE. The Mail, true to its chronic anti-BBC agenda, wanted to know about anyone in the beeb who might be linked to child pornography.
The Mirror made a second call, this time asking if I knew Peter Righton, named recently in the House of Commons by MP Tom Watson as a former member of the Paedophile Information Exchange, which I chaired in the late 1970s. We campaigned for liberalising the age of consent laws.
Righton was convicted of an age of consent offence many years ago.
Watson told parliament: “The evidence file used to convict Righton, if it still exists, contains clear intelligence of a widespread paedophile ring. One of its members boasts of his links to a senior aide of a former Prime Minister, who says he could smuggle indecent images of children from abroad.
I knew nothing of any such links to Downing Street, or any talk of smuggling.
I knew Peter Righton, though. He used to be Director of Education at the National Institute of Social Work. The man I knew was a cultured, easy-going, affable type, large and jolly. He very kindly read a proof copy of my then forthcoming book Paedophilia: The Radical Case and gave an endorsement comment for the dust-jacket, under his own name, and with his job-title included. It’s still there for anyone to see, although there can’t be many dust-jackets that have survived so long: the book was published in 1980.
As for celebrities in PIE, there were none I know of, but there was certainly a very big fish who joined under an assumed name. This was Sir Peter Hayman, former High Commissioner to Canada. I had no idea about his membership until it was revealed by Private Eye in a story alleging an Establishment cover-up of his membership. Hayman was later “outed” in parliament by Geoffrey Dickens MP.
Hayman had also been deputy commandant of the British military government in West Berlin 1964-66, during the Cold War. Any member of a sexual minority in those days, gay or paedophile, would certainly have been regarded as a prime target for Soviet blackmail and hence a major security risk. Little wonder, then, that the government was less than keen for his name to come out.
Another paper to contact me was the Guardian. But I’ll leave that for another post.