Friday, 10 April 2015

Anthony Blunt - article from Private Eye 20th January 1988

In this post I am simply transcribing a cutting, said to be from the 20th January 1988 edition of Private Eye, which describes events relating to Anthony Blunt, soviet spy, distant relative of the Queen, member of the Royal Household and, for his lifetime, immune from prosecution.

The transcript comes from a cutting posted on the Spotlight on Abuse blog here:
Anthony Blunt and the Kincora cover-up

Whatever the merits, or otherwise, of the Private Eye article Anthony Blunt provides a link between Kincora, child abuse and the Royal Household.

Unanswered questions include the following:
  • What did the Queen know about Blunt's peripatetic paedophilia, including child abuse at Kincora?
  • Who provided Blunt with immunity from prosecution. The Director of Public Prosecutions of the day? The Attorney General of the day?
  • Does a document detailing the scope of Blunt's immunity from prosecution exist? If so, what does that document say about the scope of the officially-sanctioned protection of Blunt for his wrongdoing, including child abuse?

Such fundamental questions won't go away.

I expect that the Queen will, in time, have to make public statements about what she knew and when.

Here is the transcript:

THE JEERS which normally accompany any Parliamentary question from Ken Livingstone, the controversial MP for Brent East, were not in evidence when he asked a supplementary question of the Prime Minister on 13 January. This was because he mentioned a word most Ministers, especially those who have been on duty in Northern Ireland, dread to here: Kincora.
 The packed House was silent as Livingstone asked about "allegations linking Anthony Blunt with several prominent figures in Northern Ireland who escaped prosecution for their crimes because had a prosecution been brought it would have revealed the immunity granted to Anthony Blunt".
 In reply, Mrs Thatcher mumbled some cliches regarding prosecutions not being a matter for her, and that the Honourable Member must take any evidence that he has to the Director of Public Prosecutions. However, she knows enough about the subject to realise that Ken Livingstone is getting some very sensitive information about Kincora. What must have worried her and her supporters in Northern Ireland most of all was the reference, the first ever of its kind, to the associations of the late Sir Anthony Blunt with Northern Ireland.
 At Marlborough and Oxford, Blunt fell in with some Ulstermen who were later to become prominent, chief among those was Peter Montgomery, the son of a Northern Ireland general. Montgomery shared his passion for art and music, and was to remain one of his closest friend's all Blunt's life. Montgomery, who is very ill, is Deputy Lord Lieutenant of Tyrone; and the visiting book of his big house at Blessingbourne was often graced with the name of Anthony Blunt. Blunt was also a close friend of Louis MacNeice, and visited the latter's native Belfast with him. Blunt's former lover, John Gaskin, was once a drummer boy in Northern Ireland, and another Ulsterman, Robin Bryans, who fell out with Blunt in the 1970s, has written several books on Northern Ireland.
 Blunt later became closely involved with the Orange establishment in Northern Ireland, and particularly with the hyperactive and reckless set of gay people who flourished in the Six Counties throughout the period that they themselves and their friends in the Orange Order were mounting campaigns to "Save Ulster from Sodomy".
Especially attractive to this set was the apparently limitless supply of boys of all shapes and sizes. This supply was quite unrivalled anywhere else in the United Kingdom and became legendary in upper-class homosexual circles. It was regarded as a "special treat" to go to Northern Ireland and get yourself invited to one of the "soirees" which would be well attended by not entirely literate or well-adjusted teenage boys. No one ever asked where these boys came from, but some at least were provided through the extremist Orange gang which ran boys' homes for Belfast Corporation, notably the one called by an old Irish royalist folk name, Kincora.
When Blunt was provided with immunity from prosecution in 1964, the immunity did not cover just his treachery. It covered any crime he may have committed , including sodomy, which in Northern Ireland remained a criminal offence after the Sexual Offences Bill of 1967. At the time he negotiated his immunity, Blunt knew quite enough about the behaviour of certain among the English upper classes and the gentlemen who marched at the head of the Orange parades to guarantee him immunity in hundreds of lifetimes as the negotiator from government and intelligence quickly discovered. He agreed to keep quiet in exchange for immunity on all these matters. And when in 1979 he was exposed as a traitor and forced to renounce his knighthood and his honours, he kept his pistol firmly at the head of the authorities. The slightest whiff of concession to the howls for his prosecution or harassment, he made clear, would be to lift the lid off the seamy tank which carried in it far worse pollutions than that uncovered at Kincora.
 The motive for the Kincora cover-up, which took place in 1980, 1981 and 1982, was not just to save the reputations of a few second-rate politicians in Northern Ireland. It was not even to save the chiefs of intelligence, some of whom, as the Eye revealed recently, were making full use of the Kincora boys. (One senior intelligence officer was convicted almost as soon as he got back from Northern Ireland of importuning in a public lavatory at a London railway station.)
The chief reason was to protect the very important people indeed who, as Sir Anthony Blunt knew only too well (and was perfectly prepared to reveal) had been as active in Northern Ireland "gay scene" as he had, and for the same basic reasons: the supply of boys from local authority homes and other similar places who, because of their status in care, were prepared to do anything they were asked.
As one cynic remarked about a similar scandal and its political consequences: "It's not the reds under the bed - it's the blues in it."



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