Margaret Thatcher ‘knew about child abuse accusations, did nothing’


This video from Britain says about itself:

Pretty Chilling: Jimmy Savile And His “Love” For Margaret Thatcher

29 December 2012

Jimmy Savile‘s hold over Downing Street in the 80s is revealed in a series of letters in which he declares his “love” for Margaret Thatcher, according to newly released records.

Very disturbing: Jimmy, UKs posthumous “worse than Jack the Ripper“, telling the Prime Minister about his jealous “girl patients”…

From daily The Independent in Britain:

Margaret Thatcher ‘was warned of Tory child sex party claims’

Thatcher’s personal bodyguard and former detective chief inspector said he warned PM about Peter Morrison

Loulla-Mae Eleftheriou-Smith

Sunday 27 July 2014

Margaret Thatcher’s personal bodyguard Barry Strevens has told of how he warned the Prime Minister of allegations that one of her top aides was involved in sex parties with under-age boys.

Mr Strevens, a former detective chief inspector, told the Sun on Sunday that he passed on allegations about her loyal confidant Peter Morrison before he was promoted to the position of deputy chairman of the Conservative Party in the 1980s.

Mr Morrison, who died of a heart attack in 1995 aged 51, has since been linked to claims of sex abuse at children’s homes in north Wales.

At the time, Mr Strevens was informed of the allegations by a senior Cheshire police officer. Mr Strevens knew Mrs Thatcher was considering appointing Mr Morrison to the position of deputy chairman after Jeffrey Archer had stepped down over prostitution claims, and he requested an immediate meeting with Mrs Thatcher and her private secretary Archie Hamilton, who reportedly took notes of what was said.

“I wouldn’t say she was naïve but I would say she would not have thought people around her would be like that,” he said. “I am sure he would have given her assurances about the rumours, as otherwise she wouldn’t have given him the job.”

Explaining the nature of the rumours he had been told, Mr Strevens said: “A senior officer in Chester had told me there were rumours going around about underage boys – one aged 15 – attending sex parties at a house there belonging to Peter Morrison.

“After we returned to Number 10 I asked to go and see her immediately. It was unusual for me to do that so they would have known it was something serious. When I went in Archie Hamilton was there. I told them exactly what had been said about Peter. Archie took notes and they thanked me for coming.

“There was no proof but the officer I spoke to was certain and said local press knew a lot more. This was just after the Jeffrey Archer scandal and I knew she needed to know about it because they were deciding on the appointment of the next deputy chairman.

“I always told her things straight, as I saw them. She listened and thanked me. I assumed Archie Hamilton would have spoken to Peter Morrison following that.

“When he was appointed I assumed there had been nothing to the claims – as there was no way on Earth she would have given him the job otherwise,” he said.

Responding to the claims, Archie Hamilton told the paper that Mr Strevens had gone to Number 10 for a meeting but that he could not recall the mention of underage boys.

He said: “I remember Barry Strevens coming in and what he actually said at the time was that there were parties at Peter Morrison’s home in Cheshire and there were only men who were there.

“I don’t remember him saying they were underage. There may have been but the point he was making to her was that there were only men involved in the party.

“She listened to what he said and that was it. It was merely a party and men were there,” he said.

Home Secretary Theresa May has already announced a full-scale investigation into historical claims of child abuse at Westminster, and of an alleged paedophile ring.

Lord Tebbit has said he confronted Mr Morrison over rumours about him and young boys and that he received a flat denial, while former Tory MP Edwina Currie had previously called him a “notable pederast”.

British governmental child abuse inquiry or cover-up?


This video from Britain says about itself:

A political cover up of child abuse in the 1980s

7 July 2014

Lord Tebbit, who served in a series of ministerial posts under Margaret Thatcher, said the instinct of people at the time was to protect “the system” and not to delve too deeply into uncomfortable allegations.

The former Conservative cabinet minister Lord Tebbit has said he believes there “may well” have been a political cover-up over child abuse in the 1980s. Lord Tebbit, who served in a series of ministerial posts under Margaret Thatcher, said the instinct of people at the time was to protect “the system” and not to delve too deeply into uncomfortable allegations.

His comment came as the Home Office announced a fresh review into what happened to a file alleging paedophile activity at Westminster which was handed to the then home secretary Leon (now Lord) Brittan by the Tory MP Geoffrey Dickens. Appearing on BBC1′s The Andrew Marr Show, Lord Tebbit said: “At that time I think most people would have thought that the establishment, the system, was to be protected and if a few things had gone wrong here and there that it was more important to protect the system than to delve too far into it. That view, I think, was wrong then and it is spectacularly shown to be wrong because the abuses have grown.”

Asked if he thought there had been a “big political cover-up” at the time, he said: “I think there may well have been. But it was almost unconscious. It was the thing that people did at that time.” Labour MP Margaret Hodge, who chairs the Public Accounts Committee, said there had been a “veil of secrecy” over the establishment for far too long. Appearing on the Sky News Murnaghan programme, she added: “Thank God it is coming out into the open. I think the really interesting thing about it is there has been a veil of secrecy over the establishment for far too long. Now the establishment who thought they were always protected…find actually they are subject to the same rigours of the law and that’s right. What we really need to get right as well is how children are cared for today. Let’s learn from the historic abuse, let’s actually give victims the right to have their voice on that, but let’s actually also focus on the present.”

The previous review concluded that all the relevant information in the file had been passed to the police and the remaining material had been destroyed in line with the policies of the time.

The Home Office has also disclosed that 100 official files relating to historic abuse allegations have gone missing.

Simon Danczuk, the Labour MP for Rochdale at the forefront of the campaign to investigate the alleged paedophile ring in Westminster told Channel 4 News there was an attempt to lean on him by a Conservative MP not to name any names just before giving evidence to the Home Affairs committee last week.

He said: “He stopped me outside the chamber and had a word in my ear in terms of what I would and wouldn’t say at the select committee.

“I was quite riled by his approach, I said I’d listen to what he’d say, i’d consider what he’d said and leave it at that.”

By Peter Frost in Britain:

Tories warm up for the cover-up

Thursday 10th July 2014

PETER FROST is sceptical about the two new inquiries into the way the Home Office lost 114 files related to an Establishment paedophile ring

So Home Secretary Theresa May has announced, not just one, but two reviews of how her department, the Home Office, lost or destroyed 114 documents listing all kinds of important people including MPs, ministers and senior civil servants as paedophiles and worse.

May has promised total transparency, today’s number one buzzword it seems, for what often actually turns into the usual smoke and mirrors.

When questioned in the House as to whether the reviews would have access to the secret services and the police she hesitated before giving a reluctant answer in the affirmative. We shall see.

It didn’t take long for Tory ex-home office minister David Mellor to start mixing the whitewash for Cameron and May to carry out a typical Tory cover-up — this time no doubt with Nick Clegg holding the bucket.

Mellor, better remembered perhaps for adulterous hanky-panky in a football shirt than for anything he did in office, told Guardian readers “his only reservation would concern the frankly rather emptily populist decision to put the chief executive of the NSPCC in charge of the inquiry into how the Home Office handled abuse allegations.

“Far more sensible but, I admit, not so sexy publicity-wise, would be to invite a boring lawyer to review what were, after all, legal or quasi-legal decisions, not social worker stuff.”

Which translates to: “Better to pick one of those compliant judges we usually use for public enquiries — they usually come up with exactly what we want to hear.”

Mellor went on to say: “The government needed to act decisively, because the rush to judgement among certain politicians and sections of the press was becoming unbearable.”

Nothing then to do with actually uncovering the truth.

Tory MP Geoffrey Dickens was an interesting man. He was abandoned by his parents and was fostered. He suffered from polio, but he turned heavyweight boxer and later became a Tory MP. He died nearly 20 years ago aged 63.

Dickens was no leftwinger. He campaigned strongly in favour of hanging but he was also a vociferous opponent of child abuse and the cover-ups of the paedophilia he discovered all around him in the Establishment and in government.

In 1981 he used parliamentary privilege to name the deputy head of Britain’s military spying service Sir Peter Hayman as a paedophile.

The Establishment rallied round Hayman. Ted Heath had made the senior diplomat a knight in 1971 for his work in the Home Office and the diplomatic corps. Secretly Hayman had also held very senior positions in military intelligence. He was the long-time deputy director of MI6.

Despite all their best efforts at a whitewash Hayman was so blatant and so arrogant he was jailed in 1984 for sex crimes. With the help of some powerful allies he had got away with it for a long time.

In October 1978, Hayman left a package of paedophilia-related pornography on a London bus. The police traced it to a Notting Hill apartment where, under the pseudonym Peter Henderson, Hayman had huge amounts of pornography including 45 diaries describing sex with children and other obscene literature and photographs.

Hayman was investigated by police but telephone calls were made and favours called in. That old whitewash again. Hayman, under his alias, walked away with an anonymous police warning.

Dickens then named Hayman in Parliament. Thatcher and her ministers were furious.

Hayman waffled that he had received pornographic material through the post but it was not of an extreme nature, was non-commercial and in a sealed envelope, so did not warrant prosecution. So that was all right then and Hayman walked free.

Dickens complained in the House of Commons that he had suffered real harassment over the Hayman affair.

“The noose around my neck grew tighter after I named a former high-flying British diplomat on the floor of the House.

“First, I received threatening telephone calls followed by two burglaries at my London home.” Dickens even believed he had been put on a murder hit list. The Establishment and the media ridiculed it as paranoia.

Thatcher’s attorney general was Sir Michael Havers. He will be remembered both as a loyal Conservative politician, encourager of police and the courts against striking miners as well as the lawyer who prosecuted both the innocent Guilford Four and the Maguire Seven, all jailed and then later found not guilty and released.

What isn’t perhaps so well known is that Havers was the brother of Baroness Butler-Sloss who May has just appointed to head her other, more in depth, inquiry into the lost papers. No clash of interests there I am sure.

Dickens paid dearly for his brave whistleblowing. Thatcher never forgave him that some of those named in the dossier were very close indeed.

Meanwhile Hayman didn’t behave himself. Perhaps he felt he didn’t need to. In 1984 he was convicted for an act of gross indecency in a public lavatory. He died in 1992.

Dicken’s brave but unpopular campaign wasn’t over. In November 1983 he delivered a thick dossier to the then home secretary and the senior minister in Thatcher’s Cabinet, Leon Brittan.

It contained allegations of paedophilia in Buckingham Palace, the government, the diplomatic and Civil Service and who knows where else.

This is the dossier that Sir Leon Brittan says he cannot remember and the Home Office has either lost or destroyed.

The top civil servant at the Home Office Mark Sedwill told the home affairs select committee on Tuesday that he had not even asked to see a list detailing what the 114 missing documents related to.

He told MPs he presumed they had all been destroyed, the destruction had not been logged or recorded, but despite that they should not assume that anything sinister was at work. So much for May’s transparency.

Dickens also personally delivered a separate file to another member of the Establishment, the director of public prosecutions, Sir Thomas Hetherington, in August 1983. Amazingly that copy too has been conveniently lost or destroyed.

Dickens’s files and dossier contained details of at least eight prominent public figures who were paedophiles.

Dickens said at the time: “I’ve got eight names of big people, really important names, public figures. And I am going to expose them in Parliament.”

He never did. Pressure, threats, or some other reason kept him quiet. The dossiers and files were lost and a lot of very important people, with very dark secrets, breathed again.

So will those important names become public this time round? Or will the establishment and the Con-Dem cabinet manage to sweep it all under their capacious carpet with all the other sleazy secrets?

I don’t know, but if I were you I wouldn’t hold my breath.

Peter Frost blogs at frostysramblings.wordpress.com.

A FORMER headmaster of London Mayor Boris Johnson has been arrested on suspicion of historic sex assaults: here.

Whale-watching in Australia, war in the Falklands


This video from Australia is called Migaloo the White Whale Encounter.

By Peter Frost in Britain:

How to start a war and win an election

Friday 4th July 2014

Whale-watching in Australia leads PETER FROST to a forgotten story of a deception that led to the Falkland’s war

A year or so ago Ann and I spent time in Australia driving down the east coast in a motor-home. Highlight of the trip was watching the many whales from the headlands and beaches.

It was there we heard tales of a pure white humpback whale. It was a hard story to swallow, but the rumours of this great white whale had gone up and down the coast for over 25 years.

Now, it seems, the stories are proved true. Migaloo — his aboriginal name means White Fella — has been spotted and photographed close to Sydney and this has enabled whale scientists to discover a lot more about this amazing animal.

Migaloo is one of the few albino humpbacks in the world. Sadly as an albino he is more susceptible to UV damage in the bright Australian sunshine than darker humpbacks.

Indeed Migaloo watchers are worried about the 28-year-old whale’s health. Healthy humpbacks can live for 50 years but yellow and red patches on Migaloo’s skin suggest he may have skin disease or even cancer.

Humpbacks do bump into each other at play or when jostling for position when mating and it may be this that has caused the whale’s skin damage.

Meanwhile Migaloo is being studied and looked after. Watercraft are not allowed within 500 metres, aircraft no closer than 2,000 feet.

Watching these monarchs of the ocean prompted us to take a look at the history of British and Australian whaling.

We visited the old whaling station ports of Ballina and Byron Bay to learn a little about this huge, if cruel, industry.

The need for food fats in post-war Europe was critical. In the 1950s and 1960s Australia built a huge fleet of ex-wartime wooden Fairmile motor torpedo boats to hunt and kill thousands of whales. The whale oil was almost entirely used for the British margarine trade.

Scottish “Ten pound Pom” Harry Robertson recorded this hard life in song and story and on an amazing website brings this history alive — www.harryrobertson.net.

The Australian whaling fleet also ventured into Antarctic waters as competitors to the vast Scottish whaling company Christian Salvesen which built several hugely profitable whaling stations in the southern oceans — the first in the Falklands in 1907 and then another on the island of South Georgia. Their station at Leith Harbour, South Georgia, was named after the company’s home port in Scotland.

It was to South Georgia that Constantino Davidoff — an Argentinian scrap dealer — came in March 1982. He had a £180,000 contract from Christian Salvesen to dismantle the company’s derelict whaling station.

At the end of 1981 Davidoff had sought approval from the British ambassador in Buenos Aires. He had also spoken to the Falkland Island authorities.

Margaret Thatcher in London thought this might make a great excuse to flex her muscles in the South Atlantic. She declared the scrap metal workers were the advance party of an Argentinian invasion of South Georgia and told the press that the scrap-men had planted the Argentinian flag and were singing the Argentinian national anthem.

Thatcher despatched marines from the Falkland Islands and 39 scrap metal workers were detained. Argentina sent its troops to rescue them and landed in the Falkland Islands.

Two previously friendly countries were at war over a scrap of unwanted land 8,000 miles from London and 900 people would die before Argentina surrendered on June 14 1982.

Thatcher and the Tories would storm home in the 1983 general election and that, of course, was the whole point of the exercise.

In an ultimate irony, British forces contracted Argentinian scrap dealers to clear away the post-war debris of the many Falkland battles.

‘British Establishment crony Sir Jimmy Savile abused children, patients, dead bodies’


This video from Britain is called Jimmy Savile & Margaret Thatcher.

Jimmy Savile, while he was alive, probably abused thousands of children and other people. At least some people in the British establishment knew that, but kept silent. The British government of Margaret Thatcher made Savile a nobleman, Sir James Wilson Vincent Savile. Thatcher succeeded in this in 1990, after her fellow Conservative ministers had vetoed four earlier attempts at it. Also in 1990, Pope John Paul II made Savile a Knight of the Vatican.

In 1978, John Lydon (Johnny Rotten) of punk band the Sex Pistols, spoke in a BBC interview about Savile’s sexual abuse. The BBC censored that interview. Three years later, in 1981, Margaret Thatcher said Savile was ´marvelous´.

Only after Savile´s death the horrible truth became known to the general public.

From the Daily Mirror in Britain:

Jimmy Savile told hospital staff his jewellery was made using dead patients’ glass eyes

June 26, 2014 11:31

By Richard Hartley-Parkinson

An investigation heard multiple sickening claims from different staff at Leeds General Infirmary where he was a regular visitor

Jimmy Savile told hospital staff that jewellery he wore was ‘made from the glass eyes of dead bodies at the mortuary’, an investigation has heard.

The disgraced presenter was also reported to have acted ‘unacceptably’ with bodies in the mortuary of Leeds General Infirmary.

An investigation into his abuse at the hospital heard the now-dead entertainer claimed to have “interfered with the bodies of deceased patients”, including performing sex acts on them.

Investigators said while there was no way of proving Savile interfered with the bodies in this way, they concluded that “it is evident his interest in the mortuary was not within accepted boundaries”.

Dr Sue Proctor, who led the investigation into Savile’s abuse at the LGI, told a press conference a student nurse reported having had a conversation with Savile in which he claimed he performed sex acts on the dead.

While she said the allegations cannot be verified now, Dr Proctor said they had to be considered in the context that the controls around access to the mortuary in the 1980s were “lax”.

Dr Proctor referred to Savile’s claims that large rings he wore were “made from the glass eyes of dead bodies at the mortuary”.

Savile’s professed interest in the dead was described by Dr Proctor as “pretty unwholesome”.

Savile visited the mortuary in his role as voluntary porter and that he visited socially with his friend, who was the chief mortician.

Investigators said he publicly acknowledged his fascination with the dead and there were a lack of stringent procedures surrounding the mortuary.

A series of chilling reports have revealed Savile subjected patients in hospitals across the country to “truly awful” sexual abuse for more than four decades.

Savile’s victims at the LGI ranged from five-years-old to pensioners and included men, women, boys and girls.

At high-security hospital Broadmoor, Savile sexually abused at least five individuals, including two patients who were subjected to repeated assaults.

Investigators discovered members of staff at the LGI failed to pass on complaints of abuse to senior managers, who could have acted to stop it happening.

And they also found “clear failings” in the way access to wards in Broadmoor was controlled, as Savile had keys allowing him unrestricted access to ward areas within the security perimeter.

A joint statement from NHS chiefs described the findings of the investigations as “truly awful”, while both current chief executives of Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust and West London Mental Health NHS Trust, which covers Broadmoor, apologised to victims.

The inquiry into his activities at LGI after he started his association in 1960 included the testimonies of 60 people who gave accounts of their experiences with Savile to investigators – 33 of these were patients.

Three of these incidents were rapes, the investigators said.

The Leeds team said 19 of those who came forward were under 16 years old and the age range was five to 75.

They said the majority were teenagers but 19 victims were hospital staff – all women.

At Broadmoor, investigators found sexual relationships between staff and patients were tolerated in what was a “clear, repeated failure of safeguarding standards”.

There was an atmosphere within the hospital that tolerated inappropriate behaviour and discouraged reporting, the probe said.

Savile’s “often flamboyantly inappropriate” attitude towards women was seen as part of his public act, “just Jimmy”, the report found.

In a disturbing finding, it was noted that Savile sometimes watched as female patients undressed for baths in the wards, and at other times looked through doorways while making inappropriate comments.

While fewer assaults were reported to have taken place at Broadmoor than other hospitals, the inquiry concluded that Savile was “an opportunistic sexual predator” throughout the time he was associated with the institution and attributed the smaller number of complaints to an atmosphere of fear among staff as to what might happen if they did report incidents.

Investigator Dr Bill Kirkup said the report’s findings are “likely to represent an underestimate of the true picture”.

Savile, a Radio 1 DJ who also presented the BBC’s Top Of The Pops and Jim’ll Fix It, died aged 84 in October 2011 – a year before allegations that he had sexually abused children were broadcast in ITV documentary Exposure: The Other Side Of Jimmy Savile.

The documentary ultimately led to a joint review by the Metropolitan Police and NSPCC into allegations that the television presenter abused women, girls and boys.

The findings of the review, published in January last year, saw 214 criminal offences, including 34 rapes, recorded against Savile’s name across the UK between 1955 and 2009.

Claims that some of the abuse happened in hospital settings triggered separate NHS investigations published today.

A key report into his activities at Stoke Mandeville Hospital has been delayed after new information recently came to light.

Jimmy Savile’s reign of abuse across NHS exposed in detailed investigation. Edwina Currie voices regret as report reveals sexual predator’s activities at 28 hospital trusts: here.

Report reveals Edwina Currie approved Jimmy Savile’s role at hospitals: here.

Those who shielded Jimmy Savile are still silent. Given the evidence from dozens of witnesses, how did Savile, a child molester and sex pest, escape attention? Here.

With a steady stream of revelations of paedophilia within Parliament and the media, STEVEN WALKER asks just how far the Establishment cover-up extends: here.

ONCE beloved entertainer Rolf Harris saw his reputation end in disgrace yesterday after he was found guilty of 12 counts of indecent assault: here.

POLICE considered fresh allegations against Rolf Harris yesterday as the ink dried on his conviction for indecent assault: here.

Anti-apartheid protests did work


This video about South Africa is called APARTHEID 46 YEARS IN 90 SECONDS – BBC NEWS.

By Solomon Hughes in Britain:

Apartheid: Protests do work – just ask Thatcher

Friday 23rd May 2014

Government papers from 1984 show how rattled the South Africans and their British allies were over anti-apartheid activism, writes SOLOMON HUGHES

Is it worth it? Do demonstrations, pickets and strikes change anything?

This question reappears with annoying regularity.

Especially near elections, as part of the linked argument that voting is a realistic way of getting modest change, while campaigns are a big waste of time.

Personally, I find the question a bit bizarre, because I am old enough to remember many successful campaigns and I think wise enough to know what we would miss if we never bothered making a fuss — like, er, the eight-hour day.

The “don’t bother” case is often put by older folk, ignoring the evidence of the history they lived through. I assume this is just because of the natural pessimism that grows as our hair greys.

Luckily, we don’t have to look too far back to read what the Establishment side thinks of protests. I have a pile of government papers in front of me about South African President PW Botha’s visit to Thatcher in 1984.

This was part of Thatcher’s campaign to make support for apartheid South Africa more respectable. She thought it was a vital bulwark against “communism.”

After some very token complaints about apartheid, Thatcher did her best to show British backing for Botha.

But the anti-apartheid protesters had different ideas. And they clearly rattled Botha and Thatcher. The prime minister and the president knew protest could work.

A telegram from the British embassy in Cape Town described a visit from South Africa’s [Foreign Affairs] Minister Pik Botha. It says: “Pik Botha added that PW Botha had been somewhat concerned by the hostility demonstrated by the anti-apartheid lobby in Britain towards his visit.”

However, British ambassador Sir John Leahy “reassured Pik Botha that PW Botha would be most welcome.”

Protests shaped the visit. Originally the South Africans wanted to stay for a week, but a telegram from the Foreign Office to their diplomats says the longer stay was stopped because “the political benefits of the visit could be spoiled by the unwelcome attention from Mr Botha’s critics. The longer he was here, the easier a target he would be.”

Better to have Botha whisked away before he faced too many demos.

A note for the foreign secretary also says the South Africans should not have a “two-day stay” because of fears over “the management of any demonstrations.”

Jack Russell of Special Branch said protest ruled out much of the country for the visit.

He “strongly advised against staying in London.”

However, if the delegation opted for a “country place” to avoid “hostile demonstrations” they should not consider “Oxfordshire/Thames Valley area because eg Greenham Common Women etc.”

Thatcher herself worried over whether to meet Botha in the government’s country house in Chequers or in Number 10.

A note says “The prime minister is concerned about the risk of demonstrations or break-ins at Chequers, but recognised that No 10 is no easier.”

They even considered meeting Botha at an RAF base to keep protesters away, but ruled this out as “wholly undignified.”

There are many notes about how to get Botha from Heathrow to Chequers and “minimise the risk of disruption” by “demonstrations by the Anti Apartheid Movement,” using, for example, helicopters to ferry the South Africans around.

They were so scared of anti-apartheid protesters that Special Branch had informants inside the Anti Apartheid Movement. Thatcher’s government used information from these informants to help prepare for PW Botha’s visit.

A telegram from the Foreign Office to the British embassy in South Africa says: “Special Branch have learned from their own sources inside the Anti Apartheid Movement that the AAM are to mount a protest occupation of the South African Airways office on Regent Street for the two days before and after the Botha visit.

“The police cannot do much about this without compromising their source but they will be ready to step in at once when requested by South African Airways. The police are also considering whether and, if so, how they can warn South African Airways that this is likely to happen.”

The papers include many discussions of the Anti Apartheid Movement’s planned demonstrations.

A minute from the Foreign Office “protocol department” discusses official meetings between the police and the AAM about their June 2 rally to Trafalgar Square, with 10,000 demonstrators expected.

The Foreign Office noted the rally would be “well behaved and well stewarded” but warned: “There is a possibility that the ‘hooligan element’ — the City of London anti-apartheid group, might join in.”

They add: “This group is not expected to be more than 20 to 30-strong. They will not be made welcome by the main body of the Anti Apartheid Movement.”

The police were particularly exercised by a vigil outside the South African embassy by the family of David Kitson, an ANC activist imprisoned in South Africa since 1964.

A Foreign Office memo says: “The police are in touch with the South African embassy here about demonstrations affecting South Africa generally and will be warning them about the Kitson family’s vigil.

“I assume this ill-guided demonstration is unlikely to have any repercussions for Kitson himself.

“It is not clear that there will be any overt association with Kitson, eg banners etc but we cannot rule this out.”

In the end the Kitsons’ demonstration did have repercussions for the prisoner: the “ill-guided” protest seemed to hit its mark as Kitson was released shortly after Botha’s visit to Britain.

Kitson showed his gratitude for this clemency by joining the vigil outside South Africa House, which was transformed into a non-stop picket that tormented the South African officials inside until the end of apartheid.

In the end we know that Thatcher was unable to get British people to back the South African government, and that apartheid fell to the ANC which Thatcher hated. That’s the big picture.

But even on the small picture of the 1984 visit, the government side knew how powerful protest could be, even if our own side does not always understand the power they have.

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