11/11/2012 The Wales Report


11/11/2012

On Remembrance weekend, an interview with a soldier who liaises with families of those on the frontline. And the latest on the allegations of abuse in North Wales care homes.


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Transcript


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She had on Remembrance weekend, The Wales Report is in London. We will

:00:08.:00:11.

be talking to one soldier who bears the heavy burden of liaising with

:00:11.:00:15.

the families of those on the frontline her. And after a new

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storm of controversy about the abuse allegations in North Wales,

:00:18.:00:22.

we will be asking what more can be done to uncover the truth. Stay

:00:22.:00:32.
:00:32.:00:36.

Welcome to London for this week's edition of The Wales Report. It is

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Remembrance Sunday. Dozens of people have gathered at the

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Cenotaph on Whitehall for services drought Wales and the UK to

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remember those lost in two world wars and other conflicts. We will

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talk to one soldier with a particular duty when it comes to

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liaising with forces' families. But the week's headlines have been

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dominated by a new wave of controversy about abuse in care

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homes in North Wales in the 1970s and 1980s. Two new inquiries have

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been set up amid concerns that the full truth has yet to emerge. David

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Williams, who reported on the scandal in the 1980s, has been

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revisiting the events. They after day, month after month,

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dozens of young people came here to give evidence of what the Home

:01:22.:01:28.

Secretary last week called hate for, disgusting, a bore and crimes. If

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some of those young people were listening to that statement, they

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might be forgiven for thinking, but we told you so. Went you listening?

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I knew many of those young people. I brought some of them here. It is

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just an office block now, but at the time, it was the setting for

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one of the biggest inquiries into child abuse. I watched as some of

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the people who gave evidence here crumpled and broke down in the

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witness box as they attempted to tell their awful stories of

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physical and sexual abuse at the hands of those who was supposed to

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be caring for them. Now, those same witnesses here that there are to be

:02:10.:02:17.

more inquiries, an inquiry into the inquiry led by Sir Ronald

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Waterhouse in 1996, and which sat here for 203 days and produced, at

:02:23.:02:29.

a cost of �14 million, the lost in care report, a report which some

:02:29.:02:38.

now say got a bit lost itself and did not go far enough. There is

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also to be another inquiry about an inquiry, this time a police inquiry

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about the original police inquiry into child abuse in North Wales.

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But there are those, myself included, who wonder whether the

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police inquiries went far enough and whether they pursued every line

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of inquiry open to them. That would certainly be the view of bears

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frost, who I first met in 1997. He had been the deputy chief executive

:03:09.:03:14.

of the privately owned Brunel in community homes in North Wales. The

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man who ran the homes, John Allen, was jailed in 1995 for six years

:03:20.:03:25.

for abusing residents. Ten years before his boss was convicted of

:03:25.:03:31.

those offences, there's frost had gone to the Chester police with

:03:31.:03:37.

allegations about six residents had been sexually abused by John Allen.

:03:37.:03:40.

He did not go to the Wrexham Police in whose area the homes were

:03:40.:03:45.

operating. But he believed that Chester police would pass on his

:03:45.:03:52.

concerns to their colleagues in North Wales. Naively, I thought

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that the wheels were in motion and a long way, something would be done,

:03:56.:04:02.

even if they didn't contact me. They would interview John Allen.

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These were serious allegations of sexual abuse not by one, but by six

:04:07.:04:14.

residents. Indeed. The thing that surprised me when I began to

:04:14.:04:19.

realise nothing was being done was that this was not just a grassroots

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worker talking to two policemen, it was the joint deputy chief

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executive. I would have expected them, even if it was not on their

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patch, to at least realise it must be serious if someone of that

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position had taken the trouble to speak to them. 15 years ago, bears

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frost made those same points in an interview with me. We wanted to

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show that interview in a television programme, because we considered

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that what he had to say was important evidence for the tribunal.

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But the tribunal told us that they were concerned that there should be

:04:57.:05:01.

no discussion of events while they were sitting. Indeed, they

:05:01.:05:05.

threatened us with contempt proceedings if we showed that

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interview. In the circumstances, we had no choice. We did not show the

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interview. The tribunal knew that bears frost had information

:05:15.:05:21.

relevant to its inquiry. But it did not call him as a witness. The

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Waterhouse report concluded that there was no significant a mission

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by North Wales Police in investigating the complaints of

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abuse to children in care. It is now difficult to convey adequately

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the emotional turmoil that young people who came here went through

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as they tried to relive their past and to do so publicly. For some,

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the inquiry came too late. I once carried the coffin of a young man

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who had told me and others his story, but in the end, believed

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:06:09.:06:09.

that nobody believed him. He hanged himself. Some simply cannot let the

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matter go. People like Steven Messham, a victim of abuse at 0

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wears care homes, who has now apologised for making inaccurate

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claims to a BBC Newsnight programme about a former leading Tory

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politician. The BBC has issued an unreserved apology for the

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Newsnight report, which led to former Conservative Party treasurer

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Lord McAlpine of -- Lord McAlpine being wrongly implicated in online

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forums in relation to the sexual abuse of boys in care homes in

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North Wales. The extraordinary events of the last week caused

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something of a media feeding frenzy, as journalists scrambled to try and

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keep up with an ever-changing story. Then, late last night, came the

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dramatic climax to the week, when George Entwistle, the director

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general of the BBC, flanked by the corporation's chairman, Lord Patten,

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emerged from BBC headquarters. have decided that the honourable

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thing to do is to step down from the post of director general.

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Alison Taylor, the whistle blower widely regarded as the person who

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set in motion the investigations into child abuse in North Wales,

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has been taken aback by the sudden resurgence of interest in a subject

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in which she is well First. She first told me her story in a

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television documentary I did more than 20 years ago. It centred on

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the physical abuse carried out in a care home in Bangor, which once

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stood here work but was later bulldozed to the ground to make way

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for a housing complex. The home has gone, but the memory of the pain

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and suffering endured by children here has not been forgotten. What

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do you feel now, coming back 23 years after we did that first

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programme? It is houses now and the building has gone, but is the

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memory still with you? Yes, because you can erase buildings, but you

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can't erase memories. It is not just me, but my whole family,

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because my children's lives were very much taken up with what was

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going on, especially after I contacted the police and council

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about the abuse allegations. Events here are still vivid in the mind of

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Alison Taylor, who once worked as the deputy head of a care home

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which did everything except provide care. If it was not just abuse, it

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was neglect and such mean us that you would not credit. Like children

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having to line-up to have a little squirt of toothpaste on their

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:09:06.:09:08.

toothbrush every night. I felt as a woman that the girls had to ask for

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cemetery pounds each time they needed a new one. -- they had to

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ask for sanitary pads. That is humiliation. In the last week,

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Alison Taylor has been pursued relentlessly by journalists trying

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desperately to keep up with the story. All very different to the

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time when she first tried to tell her story of abuse in care homes in

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a Quinn up. The response was, shoot the messenger. Buried the messenger

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very deep in concrete at. Well, you have done a good job of surviving

:09:41.:09:48.

the concrete, but it took a long time. And that period included a

:09:48.:09:55.

police inquiry. Which came to nothing initially. No, because we

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know from the reports which were quoted in the tribunal report that

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the police regarded the youngsters who were making the allegations

:10:05.:10:10.

with the utmost prejudice. It was hoped that a chapter of terrible

:10:11.:10:15.

stories of abuse at care homes like Bryn Estyn, near Wrexham, had come

:10:15.:10:21.

to an end. The fear now is that the events of the last 48 hours could

:10:21.:10:25.

make the continuing search for the truth of child abuse in North Wales

:10:25.:10:29.

even more difficult and could even prevent victims of abuse who have

:10:29.:10:34.

not yet told their story from coming forward to give evidence to

:10:34.:10:40.

any new inquiry. For me, coming back here all these years after the

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last big inquiry into child abuse in North Wales, I am struck by a

:10:46.:10:52.

feeling of sadness and certainly concerned that it is not over yet.

:10:52.:10:57.

There could be fresh allegations and matters to be put right. And if

:10:57.:11:02.

there are, this time we had better all be prepared to listen. We

:11:02.:11:07.

mustn't let down these victims again.

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That was David Williams. With me is the Secretary of State for Wales.

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There is a real sense of a firestorm this weekend, certainly

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angle from the BBC, which I will come to. Are we in danger of losing

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sight of the victims here, those who have suffered terrible abuse?

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We should remember that that is what all this is about. There have

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been concerns in North Wales for many years about whether the

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Waterhouse inquiry was sufficiently in depth. But the processes we have

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put in place over the last we should address concerns about that.

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We have appointed Keith Bristow, the head of the National crime

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agency, to work with North Wales Police in reviewing not only

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historical complaints, but also fresh complaints that are emerging

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now. The other part of the process is about reappointed a High Court

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judge to conduct a review of the process of the Waterhouse inquiry

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itself. This will take some time. But I would hope that those two

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processes will give some assurance to the public of North Wales that

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we are continuing to take these issues very seriously. You do

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wonder if there are people out there who are victims who have not

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spoken out yet. They may see this media storm happening. What would

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be the incentive for them to come forward and have their say, because

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it seems a dangerous area to be in? This is the problem when dealing

:12:41.:12:45.

with issues of child abuse, particularly historical child abuse,

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because these people have moved on with their lives, and to renew the

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pain they felt all those years ago is quite an undertaking. We would

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like them to come forward nonetheless. We can assure the

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individuals who may want to report those incidents that they will be

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treated very sympathetically by a very experienced investigators. By

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all means, consider whether you want to come forward, but if you do,

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come forward in the knowledge that you will be treated with great

:13:16.:13:23.

concern. There is a view, of course, that we will have inquiries into

:13:23.:13:27.

all inquiries. But you are saying it is much wider? It is a wide

:13:27.:13:32.

remit. You have a very experienced criminal investigator or in the

:13:32.:13:36.

form of Keith Bristow, who has been given a remit not just to look at

:13:36.:13:40.

old allegations, but any new allegations that come forward. Each

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of those is an allegation of criminal behaviour. It is possible

:13:44.:13:50.

that it should be dealt with by the police. It is being overseen by the

:13:50.:13:54.

National crime agency to give people extra comfort. We are taking

:13:54.:13:58.

it very seriously, but it is by no means just a historical review of

:13:58.:14:04.

what happened 20 years ago. know the area very well. Was it

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your feeling at the time that the Waterhouse inquiry was too narrow?

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I did not have that feeling them, but of course, this is one of the

:14:16.:14:21.

issues that the Chief of justice has been asked to do that. She will

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make up her mind. Do you have a view on it? I am not in a position

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to express a view of, because the Chief of justice will be reporting

:14:33.:14:40.

to me. It would be wrong for me to express a personal view. But she

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will be looking at this in detail, and she will look at the workings

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of the inquiry. That is a major undertaking, because it was a very

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long inquiry that lasted three years before it reported. He so she

:14:56.:15:00.

certainly has a job to do, but I am sure she will do it well. If you go

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back to the early '90s, there was a report compiled at that time which

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was not published for lots of reasons. Apparently, because of

:15:09.:15:13.

some legal concerns. Do you think parts of that report should be made

:15:13.:15:18.

available now? That is a report I have not seen. I have no idea what

:15:18.:15:24.

was in it. I understand most of the contents of the report, most of the

:15:24.:15:29.

copies were shredded. It was prepared for the North Wales

:15:29.:15:34.

council itself. There may be a copy in existence under the control of

:15:34.:15:37.

Flintshire County Council. They will have to take legal advice as

:15:37.:15:41.

to whether it would be in their interest to publish it. But the big

:15:41.:15:46.

problem was that the report was conducted under conditions other

:15:46.:15:49.

than conditions of privilege. The concern was a bit if it were

:15:49.:15:59.
:15:59.:16:00.

published, it might be regarded as One of the consequences is the

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resignation of the BBC's Director- General, in what is clearly a

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crisis for the corporation. Do you think he made the right decision?

:16:08.:16:13.

think he had no alternative, frankly. What we have in the BBC is

:16:13.:16:16.

easily the biggest news organisations in the country. It is

:16:16.:16:20.

in the world. It is essential that the public should have confidence

:16:20.:16:25.

in the BBC and that it is an organisation that can be relied on.

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I think the Newsnight report was a very shoddy piece of journalism. I

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am speaking as a lawyer and I know that I would check my facts about

:16:35.:16:41.

simple things such as identity. I think that the good news of

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Newsnight was badly damaged by that report. I think that George

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Entwistle had no option but to do what he did. Really, it does seem

:16:50.:16:54.

to me that there may be other organisation issues within the BBC

:16:55.:16:59.

that need to be addressed urgently. Such as? Well, it is quite clear

:16:59.:17:03.

that there must have been or there should have been a process of

:17:03.:17:08.

reporting to the Director-General if there were a programme, such as

:17:08.:17:12.

the Newsnight, that was apparently, at one stage, going to name a

:17:13.:17:15.

senior Conservative politician. Clearly there was no such

:17:16.:17:22.

arrangement in place. I think that there must be organisational issues

:17:23.:17:26.

below Director-General level that need to be addressed. It is fair to

:17:26.:17:29.

say because of the Savile inquiries, the BBC management structure has

:17:29.:17:33.

been, let's just say heavily affected by that. Well, I have no

:17:33.:17:40.

doubt that is the case. If you have got a news item of the proportions,

:17:40.:17:43.

of the magnitude of the Newsnight report, there should have been

:17:43.:17:49.

arrangements in place to draw this issue to the attention of the

:17:49.:17:53.

Director-General. I am astonished they were not in place and the

:17:53.:17:57.

shoddyness of the journalism makes it all the more the necessary for

:17:57.:18:03.

that to be in place. How soon does the BBC node to appoint a new

:18:03.:18:05.

Director-General? It needs to review structures completely. What

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we need is somebody at the helm of this organisation, which is an

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important British institution after all, who is capable of inspiring

:18:14.:18:19.

the confidence, not marely of the staff of the BBC, but also -- not

:18:19.:18:23.

merely of the staff of the BBC, but also the audience of the BBC, who I

:18:23.:18:29.

have no doubt feel badly let down by this episode. It has been a week

:18:29.:18:33.

of contrasting news headlines, including vivid ones in Washington

:18:33.:18:38.

for the presidential election. One common theme - the use of social

:18:38.:18:42.

media, which is transforming the way we gather news and transforming

:18:42.:18:52.
:18:52.:18:56.

In Westminster and here in the Assembly the week has been

:18:56.:19:03.

dominated by allegations of child abuse. If there is something which

:19:03.:19:06.

has changed since the Waterhouse inquiry, that is social media.

:19:06.:19:16.

Names have been Tweeted and ancient liable laws are having trouble

:19:16.:19:20.

catching up. Politicians who use Twitter are finding some dark and

:19:20.:19:26.

disturbing elements to confront N another part of this complex world,

:19:26.:19:30.

there was more controversy here when Leanne Wood suggested victims

:19:30.:19:36.

of abuse could get in touch with her via social media. The First

:19:36.:19:40.

Minister was not a fan of that idea. I do not think it is appropriate

:19:40.:19:43.

that people should be encouraged to get in touch with politicians. I

:19:43.:19:46.

think it is important that they should be asked to get in touch

:19:46.:19:50.

with authorities who can do things for them and properly investigate

:19:50.:19:54.

their complaints. I would urge them to do that. She was Sangin about

:19:54.:19:58.

that attack saying the victims would be suspicious of talking to

:19:58.:20:02.

the police, why not give them another opportunity to raise their

:20:02.:20:06.

voice. Either way, social media is clearly changing the rules. You

:20:06.:20:11.

have been getting in touch with us over the past week on different

:20:11.:20:15.

issues. The most persistent concern is around the health service in

:20:15.:20:21.

Wales. A retired consultant has been in touch on what he says are

:20:21.:20:27.

declining standards in accident and emergency care. I would rather die

:20:27.:20:31.

at home than die at the hospital. That is the way I look at it. I

:20:31.:20:36.

have come to that state because I have lost a lot of confidence. Are

:20:36.:20:40.

a lot of very good doctors in the health service, a lot of very good

:20:40.:20:46.

nurses, they are doing their work. Somehow this is all controlled by...

:20:46.:20:53.

It has become a political hot potato. Labour blame the

:20:53.:20:57.

Conservatives - it should be completely out of the political

:20:57.:21:01.

area. And, in the world of Twitter, it

:21:01.:21:09.

was a week of records as I am sure Huw will testify the US elections

:21:09.:21:14.

were a phenomenon. Barack Obama announced his success on Twitter.

:21:14.:21:21.

This message from the President looks like the most reTweeted in

:21:21.:21:27.

history. Within a few hours 500,000 people had re-sent it. Welsh

:21:27.:21:31.

politicians are not in the same league, any more than Welsh

:21:31.:21:36.

journalists there. Top of the league of Tweeters David

:21:36.:21:45.

Jones, MP. And this week's guest, well he is a Tweet-refusenic. If

:21:45.:21:50.

you cannot join them... Tell us what we should look at. Tell us

:21:50.:21:56.

what concerns you. You can find us via e-mail.

:21:56.:22:06.
:22:06.:22:08.

Next week we'll have more reaction. Earlier today thousands of veterans

:22:08.:22:12.

marched along Whitehall after a service of remembrance led by the

:22:12.:22:20.

Queen. There were political leaders there including the leader of Plaid

:22:20.:22:23.

Cymru. He has been leading a campaign to improve the lot of

:22:23.:22:29.

military veterans. We will hear from him shortly. We have spoke on

:22:29.:22:33.

the an officer in the Welsh Guards about his job of liaising the

:22:33.:22:41.

families of those on the front line. For Captain Brian Moore that can

:22:41.:22:50.

involve delivering the worst No matter how you prepare yourself

:22:50.:22:55.

it is always a shock because you are delivering some brutal and

:22:55.:22:59.

unsavoury news to a family and you are pretty much destroying them for

:22:59.:23:04.

a period of time and you are there then to help them put it all back

:23:04.:23:12.

together. When an incident occurs in an operational theatre, they

:23:12.:23:18.

have a procedure called "opt- minimise." All external

:23:18.:23:23.

communication is closed down. 108ers will respect that --

:23:23.:23:26.

soldiers will respect that close down of communication. They have

:23:26.:23:30.

lost a comrade, a friend. They could have lost a relative. They

:23:30.:23:34.

will respect that. Social media does play a part, obviously. When

:23:34.:23:38.

the information comes back, you cannot control families, members of

:23:38.:23:42.

the public who get the information from the family and they may post

:23:42.:23:46.

it. We've had occasions where non- family members have posted the

:23:47.:23:51.

information, which has caused some distress to the family. The

:23:51.:23:58.

soldiers in service they respect the opt minimise procedures.

:23:58.:24:03.

Walking up the path, you know you're going to knock on the door.

:24:03.:24:07.

You know that somebody's life is going to change from that day on.

:24:07.:24:13.

You've got to be professional. You've got to be mature and you've

:24:13.:24:17.

got to be in the right mind-set to do it. That is all we can do as

:24:17.:24:22.

soldiers, you know. We are trained to do stuff like this.

:24:22.:24:27.

Some people want to know the very fine intimate detail. Some people

:24:27.:24:31.

just want to know the overall incident they have been involved in.

:24:31.:24:35.

People will deny this happened to them. People will get angry.

:24:35.:24:41.

People will just accept what has happened. Because in this little

:24:41.:24:44.

bubble at this particular time they've never been in before. They

:24:45.:24:48.

are not angry that their sons or daughters have been injured in the

:24:48.:24:51.

theatre of operations, they understand they volunteered A

:24:51.:24:55.

couple of casesvy been involved in the families have said, sadly it

:24:55.:24:59.

happened, they were doing what they were doing, it is what they

:24:59.:25:06.

volunteered for and what they I have a serving son in law and if

:25:06.:25:11.

it happened to me, I don't know how I would react. The people I dealt

:25:11.:25:18.

with, I can never understand their pain or grief, because it's not me.

:25:18.:25:22.

As we approach remembrance time, we have to remember the first and

:25:22.:25:26.

Second World War, where whole communities were devastated.

:25:26.:25:31.

Communities in Wales are small. That may be the only one in that

:25:31.:25:34.

community with somebody in the military. If they lose somebody

:25:34.:25:39.

they may feel isolated. They will get sympathy, emfathi from all

:25:39.:25:45.

their friends and -- empathy from all their friends and family. Years

:25:45.:25:53.

ago there was a whos who of people who had lost one. Now it can be

:25:53.:25:57.

more difficult for families and individuals. It is really quite

:25:57.:26:03.

tragic. Well, that was the story of Captain

:26:03.:26:11.

On Remembrance Sunday, when you have a prominent role and people

:26:11.:26:15.

are focusing on the need of the armed services are we losing sites

:26:15.:26:23.

of the veterans? I think we are. It is so haphazard when people who are

:26:23.:26:29.

discharge Road looked after. It depends to a large extent which

:26:29.:26:32.

regiment, whether your senior officers are interested in what

:26:32.:26:35.

happens to you when you are discharged. To put it in a nutshell,

:26:35.:26:40.

I would say, when we spend months training up these people for combat,

:26:40.:26:45.

we need to spend a similar time decompressing them back for civvy

:26:45.:26:49.

street. It is difficult for some people who have been in the Army

:26:49.:26:53.

for a fair while even to understand or to realise they need to pay

:26:53.:26:58.

bills regularly. They have got to get somewhere to live. They may

:26:58.:27:03.

deal with marital breakdown, substance misuse and so on. There

:27:03.:27:07.

are many problems which confront people in the Armed Forces.

:27:07.:27:11.

don't think that is the principal job of the British Legion who

:27:11.:27:15.

provides a lot of these services. What different kind of provision

:27:15.:27:21.

are you talking about? They do a lot of excellent work, like the

:27:21.:27:27.

Poppy today. One of the problems we have, actually, was there are

:27:27.:27:29.

between 3,000-4,000 military charities. I think we should be

:27:29.:27:33.

looking at perhaps some of them getting together, some of them

:27:33.:27:39.

being able to provide the expertise in a given area. Others

:27:39.:27:44.

concentrating on something else,er than have a haphazard competition.

:27:44.:27:49.

I say primarily it is the role for Government. That is the crucial

:27:49.:27:53.

point? That is the crucial point F the third sector want to come in

:27:53.:27:57.

and assist as well, well. The primary responsibility has to be

:27:57.:28:00.

with Government. At the end of the day, they were out serving the

:28:00.:28:04.

state, therefore the state needs to provide for them. What has prompted

:28:04.:28:08.

your interested in this? Is it seeing examples which have bothered

:28:08.:28:14.

you? Until a couple of years ago I used to pratise at the bar, in my

:28:14.:28:21.

spare time and in one five-day period I saw half a dozen extremely

:28:21.:28:25.

serious cases for which there was no reason or certainly no motive.

:28:25.:28:32.

It worried me. When I looked at them, all six of them were involved,

:28:32.:28:37.

did involve ex-service people from Iraq one and two and Afghanistan.

:28:37.:28:43.

So, I got thinking then, how many of these unfortunate people end up

:28:43.:28:47.

in the criminal justice system. We found 10% of the prison state. That

:28:47.:28:52.

is many thousands of people. That is remarkable. It is a huge

:28:52.:28:56.

statistic. It maitd be denied by the Ministry of Defence. -- may be

:28:56.:29:01.

denied by the Ministry of Defence. Many of them, by the way, will be

:29:01.:29:05.

suffer from psychiatric conditions. So what we need to do is to screen

:29:05.:29:10.

these people properly. My view is we would look at a fraction of

:29:10.:29:13.

those people getting involved in crime. When you put the feelers out,

:29:13.:29:17.

what kind of response have you had? Well the Welsh committee are

:29:17.:29:24.

looking at it. A lot of good quork has been done by our friends --

:29:24.:29:29.

work has been done by our friends. We have the military covenant

:29:29.:29:33.

enshrined in law. We need to back that up with positive and firm

:29:33.:29:37.

action. That is what I am pressing for you. The time is right for that

:29:38.:29:46.

to happen. Good of you to talk to Next week we will back in Cardiff

:29:46.:29:50.

and we will get to grips with a subject that lots of you are

:29:50.:29:55.

On Remembrance weekend, The Wales Report is in London. We'll be hearing from a soldier whose role is to liaise with families of those on the frontline. And after a week of new revelations and allegations of abuse in North Wales care homes, we'll be discussing the latest.


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