On 24th October, Tom Watson MP made sensational allegations, speaking in the House of Commons under the protection of Parliamentary privilege, of about evidence of a past paedophile ring linked to an aide of "a former Prime Minister" and a "powerful paedophile network" linked to No 10 at that time. In his blog, he added that the person in question was not Sir Peter Morrison, now dead and beyond the threat of libel actions, but unmistakably linking the accusations to Margaret Thatcher's Premiership.
Until that day, there had been a series of sensational allegations and disclosures, day after day, about Jimmy Savile's abuse of children and young people at the BBC and in NHS hospitals and care homes.
Meanwhile, in Labour Rochdale, centre of a major child abuse scandal involving the abuse of young women in care in the town is currently under scrutiny in Parliament.The HoC Home Affairs Select Cttee in the very week following Watson's intervention grilled the senior Social Services professionals in Rochdale, and their bland "I didn't know, I wasn't told, I did everything I should" responses were remarkably similar to Entwistle's just before he resigned as Director-General of the BBC. What were the Labour MP and Cllrs doing during the period? Meanwhile, a Rochdale health services worker claimed that the abuse is still continuing, yet this astonishing testimony got little national coverage with the "Tory high-up paedophile" scandal running at full tilt.
A high profile by-election imminent is in the Labour seat of Rotherham, which manages to combine an almost identical running child abuse of girls in care scandal like Rochdale's, but where the by-election is happening because the Labour MP Denis McShane was forced to resign after being found to have fraudulently claimed thousands of pounds of expenses. The latter item was beginning to gain traction in the press just as Watson dropped his bombshell. McShane's misdemeanours sank into the back pages once "Tory paedophile rings" got taken up as the main story by media and BBC.
Another of the by-elections is in Middlesborough, caused by the death of Labour's Sir Stuart Bell, notorious for having led the fight in the last Parliament to have MPs' expenses kept secret on a range of grounds such as "security", and to have those who leaked them prosecuted. Bell also got a lot of stick in the last few years for ceasing to hold MP surgeries for constituents in Middlesborough. It was widely claimed that this was because he was living in Paris. Bell also achieved huge publicity by going after the child protection medics in the Cleveland child abuse scandal. He could not have known whether the allegations were true or false, but got huge newspaper and BBC coverage with his claims that the allegations were false.
There are elections for Police Commissioners in all areas outside London.
Also happening within a fortnight of Watson's bombshell. Margaret Moran, ex Labour MP goes on trial for £53,000 worth of fraudulent MPs' expenses claims. She will not face a full trial (and therefore a prison sentence) because she has medical certification stating she is not fit to stand trial.
Fraser Nelson at the Spectator thinks Tom Watson's motives are unrelated to anything else other than his siincere desire to unmask child abusers in high places, all coincidentally in Tory high places. Tom Watson has not raised any questions about or even hinted at any Labour folk in high places who have been alleged to have been involved in child abuse.
Nelson Jones at the New Statesman is equally convinced of Tom Watson's sincerity, but suggests that he's working himself towards becoming yet another conspiracy theorist:
Watson seems to be demanding a virtually unlimited inquiry into establishment paedophile networks that he has already decided must exist, and into a shadowy establishment cover-up that he is also presupposing. He had already issued an open letter to David Cameron, in which he vaunted his "experience of uncovering massive establishment conspiracies" and condemned "decorous caution" as "the friend of the paedophile". He came close to suggesting that Cameron himself might have reason to be part of a cover-up: "Narrowing the inquiry equals hiding the truth. That is the reality and it is not what you want."
This is the language of the witch-hunter, the conspiracy-theorist, or the architect of a moral panic down the ages. Is it really the language of a serious politician?
That's an impressively well-informed viewpoint. On the other hand.....it's remarkably helpful, no doubt, to the Labour Party that the words "paedophile network" now seem linked in the minds of a large proportion of the electorate to the words "high placed Tory".
Tom Watson first achieved national notoriety by heading a very successful operation on behalf of Gordon Brown to force Tony Blair to resign. He then went on to achieve even more national fame and success by being the Parliamentary lead of efforts to end the power of Rupert Murdoch.
Are his current efforts on associating highly placed Tories with paedophilia, at a time when Labour constituencies with upcoming elections are mired with scandals associated with corruption and child abuse, a distraction from or a masterly development of his role as Labour's by-election supremo?