Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Make It Go Away

Last night my wife and I lounged on our sofas and found ourselves watching Panorama's special Jimmy Savile episode.  It wasn't comfortable viewing for a whole host of reasons.  Not just for the vile stories and the constant failure to put a stop to it, but also for the faint allusion that the lid is about to come right off this thing.  I see veteran DJ Paul Gambucini has made particularly stomach churning claims on a live radio show today, that has certainly taken it up a notch from his observations in yesterday's documentary.  One really gets the sense that this thing has picked up a momentum that will make it not easy to control and that somehow we might learn some things that a part of our national psyche is going to wish we didn't know about.

As I watched it, I marvelled at how many people seemed to know about this man and his cohorts hiding in plain sight.  ITheir knowledge and inaction was  dressed up in all manner of weasely words.  I think some of the worst of it was this notion of it being a different time.  I'm sorry, but that's bollocks.  Yes, the 70's in Britain was a different time but different in such a way that the opposite outcome should have been the result.  We had a tendency to be more judgemental in the 70's.  People we considered "strange" stood out more whether our viewpoint of them was justified or not.  People who the local populace felt were taking what they perceived to be an unhealthy interest in youngsters were more readily pounced on.  In other words, society was more likely to spot them as opposed to letting them continue their nefarious business as is being claimed about the inexplicable approach to the Savile situation.

I'm beginning to come to the conclusion that if all of this is true, this justification for missing him and his ilk is down to something very different than is being claimed and it isn't isolated.  This would add to two other scandals that have come to light this year that I think also contain seeds of the same issue.  Those two issues are the Rotherham and Rochdale abuse scandals, the reports of which were released a few months ago. 

For me, the perpetrators though they disgust me, are not what I focused on.  What has struck me in all three cases are those who saw and who knew, yet did nothing.  We will learn more on Savile in the future but I suspect we are going to learn about that what we have learned about Rotherham and Rochdale.  There were lots of people who could have done something, but didn't.  They can bleat and plead all they like but their hear no evil see no evil approach puts them right at the heart of the scandals and not just as witnesses.

At the heart of all three stories of all three failures to protect the youngsters involved is self interest.  The overriding motivation behind non action by those who could have said something but didn't was their concern for themselves.  Just like a child in a difficult situation, they effectively held their head in their hands and wished that the problem would go away. The police wished for it along with social services in the Rotherham cases. Such people found themselves in a place and time where there was something they just didn't want to deal because to do so would have led to greater discomfort and they needed to avoid it. Rather than deal with it, they lashed out at the vulnerable.  How else do you explain the situation in Rotherham in which the family of one of the victims are arrested by the police for trying to stop it.  The pain of dealing with the real issue is greater than the scandal of abusing the innocent.  They wished it would go away because to deal with it would have upset the relatively cosy arrangement that was their everyday life.

Horrible isn't it?  I just hope that somewhere they get to be honest with themselves, acknowledge their shame (even if only to themselves) and atone for their inaction.

Sunday, 21 October 2012


Readers will know that by my absence of posting that I am one of those who Witterings from Witney correctly identified as hitting the wall. I've been absent, not because of the lack of anger but more due to the idea that we as a people and a nation are surrounded by detritus that those who spread it have the gall to call public service.  It seems to come from all angles and to the relatively small number of bloggers trying to engage the 60 odd million people of this island to wake up, it can be an energy sapping experience.

David's kind words to me yesterday got me back into the saddle and I find myself on a second post in two days.  I thank David for encouraging me to get back into the fray.

Surrounded as we are by a torrent of self interest and corruption I started thinking about positive aspects about the apparent dominance of those for whom nothing matters but craven self interest.  It came to me after stumbling across a few seemingly unrelated stories.

First up was an article that I thought when opening was going to be a bit of a short piece.  How wrong I was.  The article in question was a suggestion that Jimmy Savile was the tip of the iceberg.  To read it is truly scary when you read about the efforts to cover up any attempts to get to heart of what happened on Jersey.  The other article was about the efforts by the speaker of the House of Commons to avoid releasing details of MPs expenses.  This was dressed up in the premise that such obfuscation was for security reasons which does not really seem to stand up to scrutiny and looked to those examining it, that it was more about hiding something.

On the face of the two seem about as unrelated as it is possible to get and I would agree if taken at face value.  There is no suggestion on my part that the ongoing criminal investigation of Savile is connected with Westminster (just so we're clear). There is however a common denominator on another level.  For me that common denominator is about keeping something hidden from the eyes of the public. To a point those taking the p*ss are brazen, but once the attention of the majority focus on them they look to hide it.  In the Jersey case, although efforts to thwart the investigators initially succeeded, the end result was that certain individuals allegedly connected to the sabotage efforts were caught red handed and committed suicide.

Please do not mistake this post as one taking pleasure in the loss of life. It is far from that.  I use the example to illustrate a point and it is this.  If there is something positive it is that even amongst the most craven and  most vile of actions, shame still exists.  Shame exists because we see it every day.  It dresses up as cover ups, lies, buck passing, sabotage - you name it.  Every effort to deflect attention from wrong doing to somewhere else is a behaviour that has its roots in the shame of the perpetrator.  In other words they have a fear of being found out.  We can find it when we saw the wriggling of our PM around his cast iron guarantee of a referendum on the EU and in all the claptrap about repatriation of powers back to Britain currently found in the verbal dysentery from those in Westminster.  We can find it in the lies of one Edward Heath in the joining of the common market. We can find it wherever a public servant conveniently leaves something out of a statement that would leave their credibility on an issue lying in tatters if it were known by the public.

Is that a positive?  I say yes.  In some things they are seemingly brazen but their dominant behaviour is to dance around the truth.  They will not stand and make a case to you on what they truly believe and that should tell you the whole story.  What it should tell you is that having what they do laid bare for examination scares them.  They fear accountability.  They fear examination.  They fear their lies being exposed to the wider public. They know that there is a power in your hands that they do not have.  They know that you, yes you has the power to remove them from their place at the trough filled by the public purse and it scares them. They fear shame which is something that can be attached to them by the public and the people of this nation. 

Reread that last sentence - because you are the nation and you are the public. Wake up!

Saturday, 20 October 2012

My Two Pence Worth

Fraser Nelson has written his view on the battle for Elected Police Commissioners.  In his eyes it's becoming something of a balls up with very few suitably qualified candidates.  As Nelson cites, it has attracted the big political parties or other people for whom it's not clear what they will bring to the table.

Personally I'm not surprised.  It's window dressing for me from a man and a political process that isn't really interested in lifting  a nation off its knees.  It's a misdirection.  An attempt to make you think that that they're looking to take the fight to the criminals, something I have concluded they are not really interested in.

Why?  Well you only have to talk to serving police officers as I do with my friends.  One thing you will often get told is how they arrest people, often catching them bang to rights or with what should be an overwhelming amount of evidence, only to have the CPS decide not to proceed further.  One of my serving friends often refers to them as the Criminal Protection Service or Couldn't Prosecute Satan.  That is where the pinch point lies.  The police seem to be serving up a ready amount of work for them but for some reason they don't seem to have an appetite for it.

I'm sure there are fine people within the organisation but there's got to be something wrong when you pick up stories like this.

If you're looking to elect a role in the judicial process, you might want to consider the merits of electing a regional or district crown prosecutor.  Labour tinkered with a similar notion in their 1997 election manifesto when they said the public would know who their regional head of the CPS was.  We never did learn that but I believe Witterings from Witney did a recent post that referenced the farce of Labour's Election Manifesto with the observation that people shouldn't take a manifesto of a genuine indication of what they would do once in power. 

Probably the reason they didn't tell us who our regional crown prosecutor was probably had something to do with accountability and if there's one thing I've learned is that accountability is like Kryptonite to our political class.

That for me is why the Police Commissioner thing is a farce and pure window dressing.  It was give the illusion on tackling crime with actually having to tackle crime.  The real power on tackling crime lies elsewhere and they certainly don't want you having some power over that.