How the mighty have fallen

Tiemo Talk of the Town Men’s Talk

Thursday 29 May 2014

Ramada Encore London West

London W3

Tiemo’s brand new series of Men’s Talk debates kicked off on Thursday 29 May 2014 at Ramada Encore London West with an interesting debate ‘How the mighty have fallen’. It explored the fall of celebrities and high profile figures such as the recently jailed Constance Briscoe, Max Clifford, Stuart Hall, as well as high profile celebrities found innocent such as William Roache and Michael Le Vell. The discussion focussed on the implications for these people, whether or not they are found guilty, as well as for ordinary citizens.

Max Clifford

Max Clifford

With regard to Barrister and Author, Constance Briscoe, some felt that she had missed an opportunity with her best seller ‘Ugly’ to make a positive contribution to society’s understanding of child abuse and to heal and move forward a community. She could have done this by not solely focussing on her own family situation, but by contextualising this through the wider West Indian cultural context. This would also have seen her put her abuse in historical context, making it clear that as a West Indian child of the 1950’s, 60’s and 70’s, physical beatings were seen as the norm and whilst they would be seen as illegal now “if marks are left”, back then they were not.

Constance Briscoe

Constance Briscoe

Whilst there is merit in that view, some felt she had every right to singularly personalise her story based on the picture portrayed that the physical abuse (often for no reason) and emotional psychological abuse (“you’re so ugly…”) went far beyond the pale and well beyond the “normal” physical abuse far too many children received. This actually has HUGE societal impact, more so than most people will realise, although  curiously enough perhaps an impact Constance would have been all too aware of in her position as a Barrister, part-time judge and Recorder. Statistics indicate that 75% of all criminals, including perpetrators of sexual abuse, were themselves sexually abused themselves as children.

It was also noted that such physical abuse is not “just a African-Caribbean thing”, but white English and Irish parents were equally guilty of such abuse, in far greater numbers.

Implications for ordinary citizens

With regard to the implications for ordinary citizens, an economic disadvantage was raised. This arose via the denial of opportunity for career advancement. Prominent figures such as Max Clifford, Jimmy Savile, Stuart Hall, Dave Lee Travis (DLT) and William Roache were in a way gatekeepers to fame and fortune in the entertainment business and unless impressionable youngsters allowed these predatory men to have their wicked way with them, then one good avenue to a career opening was firmly blocked.

The majority view was that the downfall of a Black celebrity had no more negative impact on future barristers, PR consultants, entertainers or other professional, than that of a fallen white star. The argument may be that there are fewer high profile figures such as Constance Briscoe when it come to the law, yet she is just one woman. She does not represent all black women or all black legal professionals for that matter. Some will perceive that her downfall will do damage to others coming up the ranks, but there is no evidence that that will be the case and people should focus on themselves and just carry on doing what they need to do to develop their career. Notwithstanding that there was general disappointment at her downfall (both personally and professionally), particularly over something so relatively trivial as the speeding offence that started the whole process, not to mention the revenge angle.

Statute of limits

When it came to historic sexual abuse cases against the likes of Max Clifford, William Roache, DLT, Rolf Harris and many others, the majority felt that it was ludicrous and unfair for police to be going after people 30, 40 years after “alleged crimes”. Firstly, because of the passage of time – people have moved on, developed careers and families etc… and secondly, because it begs the question of why after so long would someone do so. The majority felt it would be a good idea to introduce a statute of limitations as in America, whereby you can only have a case investigated if it’s reported within on average of approximately between 2 – 7 years of reaching adulthood. Something to think about.

All in all it was a good, wide ranging discussion that raised new issues and stimulated alternative ways of viewing high profile cases. I look forward to the next men’s talk event on 11 June 2014.

© Review and Constance Briscoe photograph – Tiemo Talk of the Town


Child Sexual Abuse Statistics – Chaucies Place

Men’s Talk II

Men’s Health Talk for National Men’s Health Week 2014

Men’s health, stress and work (or lack of) & Pre-World Cup Football discussion


Wednesday 11th June 2014


Ramada Encore London West (Hotel directions)

4-6 Portal Way

London W3 6RT

Free parking available. Bar food & Thai food available



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