Wednesday, 7 December 2016

Whose voice is it anyway ?

A few months after the Savile saga began - Charles Moore wrote a fine article. He'd read the Giving Victims a voice report (January 2013) and tweeted this 
 I recall feeling something like hope as I read his fine piece. How refreshing it was that one journalist was bucking the trend. Not that he was dismissing the individual claims being made mind you. But still - here, read it again folks

Fast forward almost four years and those 'future Saviles' he warned us about in his last sentence have surfaced. Only, the  future Savile's have turned out to be contemporaries. Time for another article Mr Moore 

 The Telegraph makes you pay to read these days. Here's the few paragraphs hidden behind the paywall !

 It ends

Oh dear, I hope someone legally minded, answers Mr Moore's question. Even if it is rhetorical ! But, what's he on about ? What "hush money" ? More importantly, WHEN ? 

Wiki does a good background to the Johnson story. The Football abuse claims had hit the headlines a few weeks before 

A whole two weeks passed before Mr Johnson's voice was heard

The background to the "hush money" being paid is nicely summarised in this Evening Standard piece. The PR machine is by December 4th in full, support for the 'victim' swing !

Chelsea today "apologised profusely" for the sexual abuse Gary Johnson said he suffered at the hands of former club chief scout Eddie Heath during the 1970s, with the club saying they have "no desire to hide any historic abuse" that is uncovered.

About that gagging order ? 

 More recently, against the current backdrop of wider revelations and other victims coming forward bravely to tell their story, we no longer felt it appropriate to keep the confidentiality agreement in place. It was therefore removed. 

But, why did Slater and Gordon, the firm whose - cause is your case agree to be part of this 'gagging order' in 2014 ? Naturally, both they and their client would be delighted for a bit of easy hush money. I can only surmise that - in this case, the money was indeed, more important than voices being heard or helping others find theirs ! 

To a lower than sewer publication, the line becomes 

He claims to have approached Operation Yewtree Police in 2014 who told him to 'go back to Chelsea' Only Johnson didn't want to go back to Chelsea did he ? So, where else to turn, but Yewtree's finest ?

So, he got his £50,000, we have no idea how much SG got, and he kept his gob shut. Until other voices in other rooms started being heard. Because, that's what happens once one comes forward isn't it ? 

So,why isn't Slater Gordon getting it in the neck for their part in the silencing of an alleged 'victim' ? The press have been quick to attack Chelsea FC 

A 'clause' that 'protected Chelsea to the detriment of the victim' ?

How the hell does Slater and Gordon account for itself ?

It required Johnson not only to keep silent about the fact he had received £50,000 from Chelsea, but also to agree that: “the underlying facts of the dispute and the terms, existence, or any other detail of [the settlement] Agreement shall be kept, and will remain, confidential to the parties and their advisors.”

Scorer, whose firm is representing many sexual abuse victims giving evidence to the independent inquiry into child sexual abuse, said he could not discuss the specific details of Johnson’s case or settlement, but urged other clubs to be more open.
“It is very important that organisations are open and honest about abuse so that it can be properly dealt with and investigated, and gagging clauses should not be imposed to prevent organisations being open and honest about abuse which has occurred and addressing it properly,” he said.

 Johnson has said he felt he had no option but to accept the settlement, after the police decided not to investigate because Heath is dead. He also said that the Professional Footballers Association, the players union, had not returned his call, but the PFA said an official had talked to Johnson in 2013 and advised him to go to the police. 

Is it just me ? No, it isn't is it Mr Moore !!

Addendum 8/12/16 

I am indebted to a lawyer who offered this wise observation via twitter

 Of course, it would have been Mr Johnson's decision to accept these terms. Indeed, had this all gone down before October 2012 I wouldn't have bothered. But it didn't, and Johnson claims to have reported to Operation Yewtree Police (the Met), before approaching Slater Gordon. Be interesting to see the actual Police report IF there was one ! 


  1. Whatever legal agreement was entered into, both sides agreed. Would think that the confidentiality clause - which did not exclude police report - was because a) Johnson wanted the money b) they were not prepared to go to court c) Chelsea didn't want a settlement to impute vicarious liability as to the 'guilt' of the scout when they didn't know whether he was guilty. ie the possibility of a bandwagon of claimants on the basis of the settlement being made public. Johnson could have decided not to accept this. He could said I will go public and/or contest the claim in the civil courts. He decided on the £50K. He could also have gone public before the settlement had he so wished.

    1. My thoughts exactly Maggie. Thank you

  2. My gran used to complain footballers were always kissing and cuddling – now they’re all crying and hugging.

    1. It's ridiculous, so over the top and makes me wonder if it's genuine. People interviewed on TV recently about much more serious and more recent abuse, e.g.,, have not been in floods of tears. You don't get the impression that they're trying to look like victims.

    2. Good point 'anon' - How these fake 'victims' appear to enjoy recanting the : worst moments in their lives ! As you do !!

    3. A further thought: could "letting it all hang out" emotionally as opposed to trying to keep emotion in check be a sign of not being genuine? Not that this means that people who are unemotional are automatically genuine. Perhaps this is too simplistic but there's something about the first football accuser and some people who have made accusations about celebrities (e.g. Caroline Robinson, who accused Jimmy Savile and Tonya Lee, who accused Rolf Harris - both incidentally describing lap-groping scenarios very similar in their details) that makes me think that they're relishing their performance, whether in tears or not.

    4. Sorry, Rabbitaway, I posted that second comment before reading your reply. I agree with you!

    5. No problem 'anon' hadn't realised how recent your original comment was !!! LOL x

    6. I think there's something in what you both say, though a little care is needed in viewing reactions or emotional states. To state the bleedin’ obvious, different people react in different ways to different things. But also standards have changed – the expected stoicism and emotional restraint of, say, the post war era (and perhaps for a very long time before) have given way to weepiness. It now seems almost abnormal not to cry in public. Didn't the parents of one missing child fail to appear sufficiently distraught a few years back, resulting in their becoming suspects in the eyes of many?

      Footballers learnt to kiss and cuddle after scoring a goal – it wasn't always like this – some years later they learnt to kiss the badge on their shirts – to show their pride, like. How did they learn these things? Just the same way they learn to kick a ball: monkey see, monkey do.

      Now, they, and everyone else, have learnt that all life’s failings and miseries can be erased, and you’ll get one last payday, if you just say someone put their fingers down your pants. ‘One brave soul’ has to come forward for us first, cry for us, suffer for us, that we may be forgiven our sins (and get a few bob).

      Floods of tears make it very difficult to challenge anything anyone says. And make it quite difficult for the honest interviewer to establish very much at all. I guess a daytime TV interviewer's job is to elicit emotional reaction rather than facts. That's what the people want. Unfortunately, now the 'news' is the same.

      The whole thing's a performance. We've completely lost touch with reality.

    7. These are excellent points, Misa, and I agree that it's important to remember that different people react in different ways. Regarding daytime TV's need for emotion, I had the distinct impression that Victoria Derbyshire was milking things for all it was worth during her interview with the four ex-footballers, looking deeply concerned and reading in hushed tones tweets from viewers praising their bravery.

      I'm surprised that normally cynical journalists (didn't they used to have a reputation for being cynical?) aren't questioning this phenomenon more: lots of people coming forward to make historic unprovable and previously unreported allegations about people in the same occupation. First it was Savile, allegations against a dead person (which itself seemed to go unquestioned, although there's a rare example of it being questioned here, just prior to MWT's watershed documentary:, then fellow mostly elderly celebs from TV. One would think journalists might have questioned that. If someone came forward to make historic abuse allegations about an interior designer/market gardener/rubbish collector, then lots of other people made the same kind of historic abuse allegations about other interior designers/market gardeners/rubbish collectors, surely most people would think that was absurd.

    8. Anon, I worry that I begin to sound like a broken record, and I'm sure I've said something like this here before, but it's cynicism that's the problem. Scepticism is fine, even good. The willingness to suspend judgement is fundamental to science, to mature thought, and ultimately to wisdom, should we ever achieve it. But cynicism is simply the mirror image of naivity; 'Oh, yeah, they're all at it' is just as naive, in its way as, 'Oh, no, no-one could do that.' But it seems to me much more dangerous.

      Thank you for the Look North link. I'd not seen that. Good old Christa and Harry! And very well spoken by Howard and, in particular, David. Loyalty to one's friends and faith in one's own judgement are qualities that seem to be in short supply these days.

    9. There's also a Look North clip broadcast just after the Exposure documentary (it says 2 October underneath the video, but I think that must be a mistake if the documentary came out on 3 October):
      The change of tune is striking, with the BBC already raising the issue of compensation.

    10. Thanks for that. Fascinating to hear Joshua Rozenberg, knowing what we now know.

      1) No prospect of civil claims against the estate, as must be within 3 years.

      2) Only way in which charities might lose money is through a drop in donations.

      3) Possible criminal trial of accomplices.

      4) BBC and other organisations only at risk of criminal prosecution if they have connnived/supported.

    11. So much for experts. At the end of the day they know nowt, all they can offer is speculation. What a different outcome there would have been if any of his words of wisdom had actually been true.

    12. Quite, Damian, though it made me wonder whether the three-year issue ever came up. Was it simply never an issue, or was it waived at some point?

      Rabbit, I'm sorry if you've covered this before, but do you happen to recall anything?

  3. Two very different views of the same person, apparently from the same source:

  4. Thanks for all the GREAT comments folks. I've been busy with personal stuff. I really appreciate y'all !! Onwards xx