The UK has been rocked by a series of "historic sex scandals" in which beloved cultural and political figures -- Clement Freud, Jimmy Saville, Rolf Harris and many others -- have been revealed to have been sexual predators since the earliest days, using their money and respectability to rape children for decades with impunity. When each new horror surfaces, one of the first questions the public asks is, "Who knew about this and helped to cover it up?"
Margaret Thatcher knew.
Cyril Smith was an MP for Rochdale when in 1988 when Margaret Thatcher recommended that he be knighted. She had been warned by MI5 that Smith was suspected to have raped at least eight boys. After Thatcher knighted Smith, he went on raping children, because his knighthood opened doors for him, getting him inside organisations that supported vulnerable children. He died in 2010, at the age of 82, without ever facing charges.
The initial 1970 Lancashire Police inquiry into Smith concluded he had used a “veneer of respectability” in order to abuse young boys in the 1960s.
The report said: "It seems impossible to excuse his conduct over a considerable period of time whilst sheltering behind a veneer of respectability.
"He has used his unique position to indulge in a sordid series of indecent episodes with young boys towards whom he had a special responsibility."
Margaret Thatcher gave MP knighthood despite knowing child sex abuse claims against him, inquiry hears
[Ben Kentish/The Independent]
(Images: Mattbuck, CC-BY-SA; Rodhullandemu, CC-BY)
The UK government has announced a plan to put media regulator Ofcom in charge of regulating the internet, with a focus on removing illegal content and minimizing “harmful” content.
Last year, the EU adopted the incredibly controversial Copyright Directive (it passed by only five votes, and afterwards 10 MEPs said they'd got confused and pushed the wrong buttons!): now, EU member states have to create rules that require online platforms to filter all user-generated content and block it if it matches a secret, unaccountable […]
In 2018, London's Metropolitan Police Force announced trials of a facial recognition system that could be married to the city's legendarily invasive CCTV thicket; the tests failed 98% of the time and led to arrests of people who opted out by covering their faces.
Twitter rants and various online ugliness aside, social media has actually grown up a bit over the past 15 years. In general, users are warier of their interactions on platforms like Facebook or Instagram — and marketers have taken note. In fact, if you felt retailers you saw on social media were only looking to […]
Virus quarantines and shuttered restaurants sent millions of Americans back to their homes, only to rediscover the joys of firing up an oven and cooking something special for themselves. Whether by desire, necessity, or both, many of us have certainly been spending more time in the kitchen these last few months. And we haven’t just […]
Now that the world is starting to re-emerge from its self-imposed COVID-19 quarantine, we’re all going to have to start making some adjustments to both short-term and long-term changes. And the questions… Should customers be hounded out of a store if they aren’t wearing a face mask? Are crocheted face masks safe or not? And […]