The Internet mob have claimed another scalp. A woman who chose to run a brothel told a man involved in money laundering that one of her customers used to signÂ into the brothel as ‘Cliff Richard’. Â Naturally coming from such a reputable source, and being conveyed to the ears of the internet generation by another impeccable source, this has been taken, for some years, as being irrefutable proof of inside knowledge into the sex life of someone they have never met, nor are likely to.
Presumably if that long ago customer had chosen to use the more usual moniker of ‘Mickey Mouse’, Operation Yewtree would have been tipping off the press to hang around outside the Disney studios in slavering expectation of the imminent springing of the Scotland Yard mousetrap.
South Yorkshire Police have denied that they informed the media of their planned raid, in conjunction with Operation Yewtree, on the apartment that Cliff Richard bought 23 years after the alleged offenceÂ is supposed to have occurred 176 miles north. Â They declined to inform Cliff Richard of their desire to search this property – instead ‘someone’ informed the world’s media. Helicopters circled the property and bedraggled BBC announcers waited outside as a convoy of five cars carrying eight policeman arrived to forensically search the property. Â Since South Yorkshire Police have formally denied having informed the media, we can only assume that it was someone from the celebrity obsessedÂ Operation Yewtree or one of their media ‘friends’ that are apparently privy to the inner workings of this police operation.
No matter; this morning Cliff Richard has awoken to a social media awash with headlines like ‘Arise Sir Pervert’ and the inevitable ‘Hello, Hello, Hello Kitty’ – and that is before the world has any idea as to whether Cliff Richard is involved as a suspect, a witness, or merely the owner of a property that has been named by one of the army of ‘survivors’ who believe that they have been sexually abused by a celebrity, or someone who once knew a celebrity, or someone who once donated to the Conservative Party, or any other tenuous claim to fame.
What a nasty, curtain twitching, prurient, celebrity obsessed nation we have become. We used to point the finger in disgust at North Korea or East Germany for their ‘show trials’ – at least they had a ‘show trial’ – we are indulging in a ‘show denunciation’; ritual humiliation; the ‘perp’ walk beloved of New York.
If, and it is a big ‘if’, there is someone out there who genuinely believes that he was sexually abused by Cliff Richard, and hasn’t felt able to speak about it for 29 years until now, then that is something that can be dealt with by the police and judiciary – it has nothing to do with the rest of us.
What has happened to Cliff Richard today has nothing whatsoever to do with ‘child protection’. I repeat; we don’t know whether Cliff’s involvement is as a suspect, a witness, or merely the owner of a property – though the social media crowd will be hoping that Cliff will be the next one to have to publicly defend the size of his penis, or his sexual inclinations to the slavering world.
There is only one reason why someone from either Operation Yewtree or someone connected to them tipped off the media yesterday – and that is the obsession with fame. They wanted to be the person who pointed the finger and ritually humiliated a famous person. It did nothing to aid the investigation; but everything to aid their present – or future – media career. Â
There should be an investigation. Another investigation – to unmask the police officer who tipped off the media. Questions should be asked in the House of Commons.
There are some very unpleasant undercurrents swirling round the current moral furore. The Government have announced an inquiry into ‘historic sex abuse’. Within hours the social media crowd were screeching that the government couldn’t possibly investigate – they were ‘too involved’.
What they propose is that the social media mob investigate! Mark Williams-Thomas whose various claims to fame involve pounding the streets on behalf of Surrey Police then for a chewing gum removal firm, licked the end of his pencil and wrote ‘Wot I wud do if I wuz conducting the investigation’ to loud acclaim from his acolytes – apparently this extends to ‘looking somewhere else’ if wherever he looked first didn’t produce the required proof. ‘Tis truly amazing what they teach police constables these days.
The once respected criminal barrister John Cooper, who was an unsuccessful Labour Parliamentary candidate, andÂ President of the League Against Cruel Sports which successfully lobbied for the Hunting Act, and still advises them on prosecutions against fox-hunting, has apparently agreed to ‘chair the People’s Tribunal’ – the Tribunal is said to have been set up as a result of ‘conversations between John Cooper and a Joanne Welch. Joanne Welch is a lady who comes on-line at 7.30am, and is still tweeting at approximately one minuteÂ intervals (I kid you not!) 9 hours later.Â 13,965 Tweets to date. She spends her time retweeting anything which showsÂ a sceptical attitude towards Government transparency.
‘The People’s Tribunal’ is said to be a huge improvement on the ‘secretive and less than transparent’ Government Inquiry which will – allegedly – be hobbled by its terms of reference.
They are encouraging ‘survivors of sexual abuse’ to come forward and ‘tell their stories’. Who to?
Well, so far, they have declined to say who will be funding them, they have declined to say who is on the committee, they have declined to show even other ‘survivors’Â who is behind the organisation, unless they were at the secret squirrel inaugural meeting on August 4th – apparently there were people there who ‘didn’t want to be identified’. ‘Evidence’ is to be collected by Skype, so that if the Government inquiry ‘lacks bite or is too narrow’ the ‘People’s Tribunal’ can ‘act’. How is not explained.
In the meantime, those with tales of sexual abuse by powerful politicians are invited viaÂ Twitter to tell their stories to an organisation comprised of ‘we know not who’ – besides a failed would be Labour PoliticianÂ – financed by ‘we know not who’, which discusses and has aims of ‘we know not what’. Transparency eat your heart out.
It would be laughable if sexual abuse wasn’t such a serious subject – primarily ruining the lives of those subjected to it, but also ruining the lives of those prematurely or falsely accused of it.
Yesterday, the Daily Mail was running a story by a woman claiming that two – conveniently dead – men had raped her at age 4. One was a prominent politician. Naturally. There is no redress for him, no opportunity to rebut the claims.
There may be no opportunity for Cliff Richard to address the claims currently circulating about him – it wouldn’t be the first time that Operation Yewtree had pointed the finger at someone they later declined to charge. Jim Davidson and Freddie Starr could sympathise with him.
This has to stop. Child Abuse is not fodder for the prurient masses. Nor should it be an opportunity for out of power politicians to foment discontent.
Let’s have an inquiry to find out who tipped off the media.