Friday, September 12, 2008

Blogsclusive: Friday Cyril, More Documents Surface

Great web exclusive for the good folk at Rochdale Online right here. Yes indeedee, there was a cover up. We'll make these incriminating documents available here too later this morning.

APOLOGIES Fri 13:42: For delay posting up the documents. All now saved in web friendly scales. Will post them here, without annotation in the first instance. Background and key quotes can be found by following links to Rochdale Online stories. Where are the Rochdale Observer on all this? Will Cyril fall into the biggest elephant trap of his career and come out fighting?

Part two
Part three
Part four
Part five
Part six
Part seven


Artstudio Sri Lanka said...
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tory boys never grow up said...

So Cyril was confident about the safety of asbestos at the time - in spite of all the deaths in Hebden Bridge and the then available medical evidence. In fact he was so confident as to accuse other MPs of scaremongering, without even taking the bother to check the evidence on which they based their claims - or even challenge his good friends at T&N with whom he was in regular contact.

Pull the other one its got bells on Cyril!

Chris Paul said...

There are many and varied faults in Cyril's career.

"Smacking a few bare buttocks" as David Steel put it, disgraceful railroading - why was that? - of the Stefan Kiszko case which may have contributed to the terrible miscarriage of justice, and of course the web of lies he wove on behalf of the ruthless bosses of TBA/T&N.

All this - and other pots and kettles simmering on the back burner - of course reflects very badly on his party and his local colleagues. Perhaps these things are even connected by more than the common thread of cyril Smith being culpable.

Anonymous said...

The stuff you link to here about T & N is fascinating and revealing. As someone who has family that worked in a related industry in Caernarfon, I also found it disturbing.

It has cleared one particular issue up though.

The whole thrust of the contributions of many of your contributors has been to pin this on Cyril Smith. To be honest, I think that's a side issue compared to the plight of the sufferers and their families both at the time and now. But I also realsie that some of you see this as a time to settle scores and carry out vendettas and it is an issue that has concerned me too - what Smith knew and when he knew it.

The report on the site you have linked to (which is a brillant website by the way) is about papers that were meant to be destroyed but were rescued by workers afraid of a cover up.

So you would think that if there were guilty secrets than they would be found here. Some are, but so that your readers don't have to plough their way through lots and lots of documents, I will provide just one sentence from the website reporters that answers the question that concerns you all:

"None of these documents suggest that Cyril Smith, as Rochdale's MP in the 1970s and 80s, knew of the cancer risk."

Cue nutters responding with bizarre allegations about the Rochdale Illuminati and blaming them for the state of the town centre, the Black Plague, the crapness of Channel 5 etc etc ad nauseam.

Who'll be first?

tory boys never grow up said...

The documents are incredibly damming - but the sad truth is that even now the lawyers are trying to limit and delay liabilities to the insured (see the original New Statesman article), knowing all to well that the longer they delay there will be less victims to compensate. I'm afraid that nasty as he was and is Cyril (and even now he hasn't the courage to admit he was wrong) was only a pawn in this game.

The document about their being more asbestos outside the plant than inside and the reference to the amounts being dumped elsewhere should make everyone realise the imporatnce of the Spodden VAlley and other similar campaigns.

tory boys never grow up said...

"None of these documents suggest that Cyril Smith, as Rochdale's MP in the 1970s and 80s, knew of the cancer risk."

They don't need to - others were telling him - look at the Parlimentary debates, look at how he accused those who highlighted the risk of cancer of scaremongering, look at what was happening in Hebden Bridge 20 miles away. Do you seriously believe that Max Madden the local MP there (and later on for Bradford West) who was an ardent campaigner on this issue didn't try and speak to the MP for a nearby consituency with the country's largest asbestos factory whose owners were actively obstructing asbestosis claims at the time through industry bodies.

This benefit of hindsight rubbish has to stop - it is absolute garbage. Cyril knew the dangers of asbestos - and he doesn't haven't the guts to admit that he was wrong.

tory boys never grow up said...

And this isn't a side issue - if Cyril Smith was to be forced into admitting he was wrong - then I suspect the impact on the current efforts to restrict the liability of the insurers for asbestos and the Spodden Valley and other campaigns would only be positive.

Anonymous said...

From Tory Boy:

"The documents are incredibly damming - but the sad truth is that even now the lawyers are trying to limit and delay liabilities to the insured"

Please explain how they are doing that. I think you'll find the answer very informative.

Chris Paul said...

Exactly TBNGU.

The thing that our friend with family in Caernarfon in related industries, but presumably also with friends in Rochdale Lib Dems - so quick to jump on this post is what they are missing here.

The quote says:

"None of these documents suggest that Cyril Smith, as Rochdale's MP in the 1970s and 80s, knew of the cancer risk."

(LOL emphasis)

Cyril Smith isn't mentioned in these documents. But that is not to say that he isn't mentioned in other documents from the same archive or otherwise.

If I were advising an MP about to stand up and fillybuster on behalf of the Asbestos Industry in general and TBA in particular in 1981 I would carry out a wider literature review than accepting the words of TBA.

Paul Rowen MP was a student in Nottingham in a relevant scientific subject and if he had his eyes open he would I think have seen a series of articles in student papers as well as the national press about the dangers of asbestos to the general public never mind the poor workers.

There were certainly many such articles in Manchester. Relating to Hulme and Moss Side flats and indeed various university buildings. This was common knowledge and Cyril would have to be uncommonly ignorant to have no idea of dangers first recognised in the 19th century.

I'd humbly suggest that these documents are scene setting and that if and when more surface they will include more than a walk on part, playing to the gallery for St Cyril. But I'm only guessing.

Chris Paul said...

They are delaying and limiting using legal tricks, such as bankruptcy and receiverships, while still trading, not with any case whatsoever against the claims.

The delays mean individuals and their family members die before claims are settled. Cynical in the extreme.

Anonymous said...

Yet more nonsense about documentation that doesn't exist. This is becoming something of a pattern with you, Chris.

It seems that your attitude is that if something isn't there (but you would like it to be) it's becauae somebody is hiding it - whether that's about donations to MPs, asbestos, council group rules of association et al. There's a word for that condition. Last night I heard a radio programme about David Shayler. I don't know whay I mentioned that, it just seems relevant all of a sudden.

BTW, I have no friends in Rochdale Liberal Democrats - which is probably one less than you do.

Anonymous said...

"They are delaying and limiting using legal tricks, such as bankruptcy and receiverships, while still trading, not with any case whatsoever against the claims.

The delays mean individuals and their family members die before claims are settled. Cynical in the extreme."

I totally agree, Chris Can you be more specific, though. What exactly are they doing, who exactly is doing it and what steps the Labour government is taking to stop them?

I'll give you a bit of a clue - it's a trick question to which I already know the answer. But let's see how you get on.

tory boys never grow up said...

Anon 13:56

A broad outline is set out in the NS article - as you know the matter is with the courts at present - but if the Labour Govt. wants to make steps to assist the asbestos industry then rest assured the moment I see it happen I and others will be on their case. And don't you think that applying pressure to past parlimentary miscreaants might just stiffen a few backbones within the Govt?

Anonymous said...

So, get on their case, as you promised.

Chris Paul said...

This is the problem anon with the Caernarfon. We have no idea who you are because you don't have the bottle to use your name. Just spout a mixture of arrant nonsense, complete rubbish, non sequitors and the occasional instance of stating the obvious. All topped off with silly trolliness.

My view is that this pile of documents is the tip of the asbestos-berg and that Cyril was the skipper of the SS Titanic aka the proud town of Rochdale.

Chris Paul said...

PS Sources at the RO tell me that St Cyril has cluttered into the elephant trap and carried on with defending the indefensible ...

If they don't put his letter online I'll type it out for you dear readers.

Anonymous said...

Well I've just followed the link provided

and I don't think it's nonsense, rubbish or stating the obvious. It's definitely not a non sequitur. One person asks for evidence that the Labour Party is assisting the asbestos industry and another person provides it.

Don't be deterred, boys and girls. The truth is out there.


tory boys never grow up said...


I have no problem with supporting Unison on this and will - however I'm afraid that while it should not be easier for companies to hide the names of their insurers by not retaining records(why should they since it will probably only increase their own liability) this problem is only second order in relation to the potential moves for Equitas to reduce its liability for asbestos claims. The problems in pursuing Cape and Turner & Newall were not because their insurers were not known.

That said the cause is still one that should be supported - and everyone should encourage their MP to support the EDM and put pressure on the ministers concerned. It is interesting which of the MPs representing the two towns that suffered most from asbestosis have signed the petition - Hebden Bridge's MP is there - but where is Mr Rowen's name (is he still taking orders from Cyril??) - the petition has been signed by a few Conservative and Lib Dem MPs to their credit.

Anonymous said...

I'm afraid you are too late. The government passed it in May and it comes into place next month. Signing EDMs will have no effect whatsoever.

This poxy government is making it easier for insurance companies to avoid liability.

Chris Paul said...

This is the sort of law that gets upset at the first challenge.

But in any case this cannot possibly deflect criticism from Smith, Waddington, Selwyn-Gummer, and particularly Smith for their attempts to "protect jobs" aka "shaft workers" and "protect mill owners".

Smith was the ONLY MP to speak in both the 1981 and 1983 debates. And despite all the evidence and indeed the rather minor amendment in the right direction proposed in 81 (which was defeated by Cyril's fat cattery) the Tories and Libs tended to vote for asbestosis.

Cyril cannot be that stupid. So why did he persist with this? Did TBA apply some strange pressure on the MP?

Anonymous said...

I beg to differ. And even if yoy are right, it's irrelevant.

This nasty little piece of government policy is designed entirely to shaft workers or, more likely, ex-workers. It gives employers the right to get rid of records relating to insurance. Even if it does "get upset at the first challenge", as you so rosily put it, the records will have been destroyed and the waters muddied.

This is not Smith or the Tories, it is the Labour government. Who benefits? You tell me.

Anonymous said...

Of course the requirement to keep insurance certificates for 40 years and the requirement for companies to obtain insurance against occupational diseases was only introduced by the Labour Govt in 1998 - it is only the former that is being repealed on the grounds that it is unenforceable against companies that have ceased trading (such companies are legally dead and it is not possible to enforce legal obligations against them). Any living company would be mad not to identify its insurers - since failure to do so would only increase its liabilities.

Anonymous said...

That's factually not true.

If it were, the relevant unions and, more importantly, the victim's groups would not be opposing the move. And if it were, the repeal should only apply to companies that have gone out of business.

According to the official civil service briefings, it is being ended on the bizarre premise that as there was no actual penalty for transgressing this legislation then it was pointless to retain it.

Honestly, that's the official explanation.

Am I missing something or was there another possible remedy to that oversight?

Chris Paul said...

Oh come anon 21:33 whoever you are. Anon 19:57 has shot your arguments out of the water. Some of the 1998 law introduced by Labour is not fit for purpose so it is being changed.

Fortunately in the case of TBA and St Cyril a good deal of archive material does exist and a complete record of insurers over the past century and more too.

In contrast the Tory and Liberals of the 70s and 80s spent a huge amount of effort resisting MINUTES that would have set a direction of travel towards getting rid of harmful asbestos as an aspiration.

That's right. St Cyril made a complete idiot of himself trying to stop an amendment to what was in effect a MINUTE, a this parliament notes kind of thing.

The assurances given by St Cyril's accomplice Baron Waddington, as he is now, of govt action came to nothing anyway.

If only Labour's Corporate Manslaughter rules had been in place back then. Heaven knows they took long enough to get on the statute book. But hurrah.

Anonymous said...

Then read the official briefings if you don't believe me.

The 1998 legislation is being butchered for exactly the reason I gave. There is currently no penalty for breaking the statute therefore it is being scrapped.

Would not a more reasonable solution have been to introduce an adequate penalty? That is what the unions and the victims' groups are campaigning for.

You are right in that it is not fir for purpose. My arguement is to make it fir, yours is to get rid of it althogether. I know which side the insurance companies are on - yours.

This shows you up for exactly what you are. You haven't the slightest interest in the livelihood of the victims that you claim to be so concerned about. Your sole interest is in knockabout politics and petty abuse.

The Labour Party are doing this in the interests of big business. For 'Labour of Love' read 'Love of Labour'.

tory boys never grow up said...

There is no need to speculate as to why the amendment was considered necessary the official explanation is here

There was no penalty against companies that were trading because none could be enforced (perhaps someone could explain how this might be done) and it was considered that there was no need to enforce a penalty against living companies because it would be good business practice for them to keep records of who their insurers were (so that they couldn't be sued directly).

As for dismembering 1998 legislation - i don't see it companies are still required to get insurance to protect their workers - and they didn't before. Many companies are still whingeing about the additional cost - and I don't see the insurance companies selling partial and illegal cover.

As I said before the much bigger issue to watch is what happens with Equitas.

Anonymous said...

So the unions and the victims' groups are campaihning for nothing, are they?

Have I got this right? You are basically saying that there is no need to bring in any legislation because, obviously, companies will always, always, always carry out good business preactice?


Chris Paul said...

As I understand it anon there was a decision on this on 4 July and the changes come into practice on 1 October. The Trade Unions certainly seem to be wrong about one part of the change viz the removal of the need to publish insurance details. Simply not true. The change allows these to be displayed EITHER on every premise as was already the traditional case and very sensible for smaller firms with a couple of offices, shops or works AND/OR electronically on a website etc which seems sensible for an organisation with hundreds or thousands of premises.

The 40 year document trail requirement is clearly not enforceable in retrospect and can only be done going forward.

I'd suggest that collecting the information either from the insurance industry or from firms e.g. in their annual returns would be a more reliable way than expecting such filing to be kept intact by organisations of any and all scales for 40 years.

Who on earth would arrange this for a MSE or SME that last two years? Who would pay for records to be safeguarded for 38 more years? Isn't it better to look to the insurance industry to keep the records? With good provision for any combinations and failures there?

As TBNGU says the statutory instrument is here. And there are/were two EDMs:

1829 and 1839. Both mention asbestos related issues and in both cases Paul Rowen MP has not signed them. The first has more signatures. And my MP Tony Lloyd has signed that.

The man who would like to be my MP, post boundary changes, John Leech has signed both. He is very much an EDM junkie. The EDMs were put down approximately two weeks before the statutory instrument was passed.

Anonymous said...

The unions have accepted the issue of insurance details being published in electronic form. They don't have an issue with that as long as there is adequate access on site to such documentation.

Their complaint is about that matter of the paper trail. So is that of the victims' groups.

Paul Rowen is criticsed for not signing the relevasnt EDM, John Leech is berated for having signed. Make your mind up.

The general opinion of most people that don't slavishly support this government is that this is a deliberate attempt to muddy the waters for claims that may follow in the years to come.

Remember, this is not now about the finances of the asbestos industry nor even of insurance companies (as you seem to think. It is very specifically about the interests of the re-insurance sector. Tory Boy is spot on in mentioning Equitas but I think he has missed the nature and depth of what is going on here.

Chris Paul said...

Leech signs up to 50% of all the EDMs available. On request it seems. That is a problem. Rowen is more discerning. But he either hasn't discerned the politics of signing one or both of these, or he doesn't want to. Perhaps that is because there is an element of protesting too much? or perhaps TBA still have influence.

I believe that the best paper trail would be achieved by having the insurance companies and/or the insured companies returnign their employye and public liability data along with other items annually.

It is absurd to rely on 40-years of physical dosuments being archived particularly by flash in the pan companies and other entities.

Adjusting law that doesn't quite work is not the sin it's being made out to be and "the nature and depth of what is going on here" may even be an improvement.

Anonymous said...

Just checked the web edition of the Rochdale Obscurer.

With incompetance bordering on criminal, the trusted mouthpeice and organ of Lib Dem's in Rochdale has managed to turn the revelation of those T&N documents seen here and on Rochdale Online from firecraker to a damp squibb.

It will appear in tommorrow's wafer thin ham, piss poor circulation, Wednesday edition no doubt buried amidst the pot hole pointing and boy scout jamboree exclusives that helped the Obscurer not win national prizes for its in depth investigative journalism.

Anyone in Rochdale that relies on its news from this dire outpost of the Guardian Media Grope will be sratching their heads in confusion.

Even money on T&N pensioner and "Leading Scientist" Dick Bandami's recent drivel making it into a nice fluffy feature in the Rochdale Express freesheet this Friday.

In years to come trainee journalists could be looking in textbooks at the "Rochdale Observer Model" of how to completely hoodwink an entire readership about the town's hidden serial killer yet charge 50p a copy in the process.

A shameful lack of editorial integrity that one day those responsible at the Rochdale Observer will have to account for.