Past: Labour’s Harriet Harman, pictured in 1982, when she was cutting her political teeth
- Magpie magazine distributed in the late Seventies to members of PIE
- PIE is Paedophile Information Exchange – the name of a far-Left lobby group
- Called for legalisation of child sex and age of consent to be lowered to four
- Emerged this week Labour government of the time may helped finance the organisation and The Magpie
- Home Office now ordered a ‘thorough, independent investigation’ into claims
- Hewitt, Harman and husband Dromey encountered the PIE as young officials in the National Council for Civil Liberties
At first sight, it might be a harmless parish magazine or the newsletter of a respectable society of bird-watching enthusiasts.
Called The Magpie, the now-yellowing A5-size pamphlet was distributed in the late Seventies to members of an organisation called the PIE. The inside cover carries a workmanlike ‘editor’s letter’ highlighting ‘our third annual AGM, which is to be held in London in the summer’, and inviting readers to seek election to ‘our Executive Committee’.
Page three advertises a memorial service for recently deceased PIE member Alan Doggett, who worked as the conductor of the London Boys’ Choir, and was apparently to be remembered for his ‘friendliness, integrity and loyalty’. There follows a selection of short news stories, a letters page and several long feature articles, which are scholarly in tone and peppered with academic jargon.
But it doesn’t take long for any right-minded person who flicks through The Magpie — dispatched quarterly in plain brown envelopes to up to 1,000 members — to realise that behind its matter-of-fact tone and appearance, something is terribly, terribly, amiss.
For the initials PIE stand for Paedophile Information Exchange. This turns out to be the name of a far-Left lobby group which spent much of the Seventies and early Eighties publicly calling for the legalisation of child sex — and the age of consent to be lowered to four.
Today, PIE has been widely forgotten. But at the time, it achieved prominence for circulating articles by tame psychologists and cod scientists promoting the ‘rights’ of paedophiles.
Take, for example, a long article by Dr Edward Brongersma, a Dutch politician and academic who was renowned for his ultra-liberal views on sexual morality.
‘A sexual relationship between a child and an adult does not harm the child and may be even beneficial,’ he argues, ‘providing that the adult partner is considerate, loving and affectionate.’
Take also an article in which a PIE member called Keith Spence, who had recently moved to Stockholm, writes of his (unsuccessful) efforts to abuse ‘heart-shatteringly beautiful’ children at the local swimming pool.
‘If you think England is frustrating for paedophiles, you should try living in Sweden for a bit,’ he complains.
Towards the back of the journal are adverts for a book called Towards A Better Perspective For Boy-Lovers, and admiring reviews of magazines with names such as Male International, Kim, and Boys Express.