I was struck by the number of people – allegators – in the past series of Savile reports, who had contacted Yewtree merely out of a wish to validate other reports of abuse.
In plain English – although they had no evidence of abuse themselves, or were fabricating it, it was out of a sense of solidarity with abuse they were convinced had taken place. Every single one of them had come to the decision that this was the right thing to do (or even the most profitable thing to do) in the wake of a television programme that stated as fact that Savile was a paedophile – a programme that based its evidence on a) material which was not considered substantial by the BBC, and b) has itself not been corroborated by the extensive investigation into the Duncroft girls claims by Operation Outreach, and c) would most certainly have been the subject of a massive defamation tort had Savile still been alive.
The Emperor not only has no clothes – but is standing on a bed of quicksand.
There has been much talk of those other unfortunate individuals who have been caught up in Operation Yewtree, vilified, defamed, and spat out with no charges. Their names are legion.
In one sense, their, and Savile’s, ruined reputations is partly at the own hand – because they had made their living by their very celebrity.
Yet there is another, much, much, larger group of people who have equally been defamed, and irretrievably damaged, by the media obsession with the Savile saga, which has encouraged these grim Fairy Tales.
They are in no particular order:
First and foremost – those 90% of victims of abuse within their own family, who must now queue up behind the ‘Yewtree chancers’ and wait their turn for a weary police officer to take them seriously, or a harrassed social worker to remove them from danger, or a therapist to help them make sense of their lives.
Then there are the children currently in care, who have been told daily in the news that their carers are a useless bunch; they might seem like cheerful, helpful, souls who have their best interests at heart, but without the threat of imprisonment – they couldn’t be trusted to tell anyone that their charges were being abused. That is one Hell of an insult to a group of people who have a pretty thankless task as it is.
There are the Duncroft staff, one of whom passed away never knowing that their names had been cleared of some dreadful accusations, and another who has had her advanced years blighted by hurtful libel as reward for having worked so hard to get what was in its day the most advanced and liberal scheme ever imagined to give girls a second chance of independence and a rewarding life.
There are the other Duncroft girls, who have given up their anonymity and rebuilt lives – and make no mistake, 100s of us did take advantage of what was then a unique opportunity to get our lives back on track from difficult beginnings and have made a success of it – and have had to read and explain to our families the appalling lies told by the media of how we were emotionally deprived helpless waifs living under a dreadful regime of uncaring incompetence. We weren’t.
There are the thousands of NHS staff who, the media would have us believe, are so feeble and morally incompetent, that a few gold chains round the neck of someone who spins records for a living is sufficient to blind them to appalling abuse to helpless children in favour of not upsetting a ‘celebrity’ – a reticence they can only be cured of by threat of a prison sentence.
The same goes for the hundreds of BBC staff, who, surrounded by far greater celebrities than Jimmy Savile, are painted as equally feeble and morally incompetent once catching sight of that track suit, and ignoring the pitiful pleas of abused children under their nose.
All these people have children of their own, are normal, everyday, folk – yet they have been defamed as monsters who wilfully ignored the distress of children. I simply don’t believe it.
What I do believe, is that if mandatory reporting had been brought into legislation as some wished, then it would have been open season on every care home in the country. Disgruntled ex-residents would have been queuing up to claim that they were abused and had reported it, as this past series of reports has shown they are perfectly capable of doing so. Then the lawyers would have simply shown that there was no record of the abuse being reported – as there wouldn’t be when it hadn’t happened – and successfully sued the organisation.
This would have helped no one who deserved help. I note the distress of many on social media, ‘disappointed’ that no evidence could be found of intelligent caring folk deliberately ignoring ‘truly awful, dreadful abuse’.
Now that I’ve gone through ALL the allegations of abuse by Savile at the various Children’s Homes dotted around the country – you might imagine that there would be a collective sigh of relief, an outpouring of ‘at least our Children were safe in the Children’s Homes’. There hasn’t been.
It is a strange world when people would prefer that children had suffered.
But the cost of intervention in chaotic families – at least at the last resort stage of removing children – looks increasingly unsustainable. I looked at the latest reported figures for five local authorities in England: in Birmingham, the forecast overspend this year in children’s social care is currently £10m; in Salford it is £5m; in Sheffield it is £2m; in Liverpool £3m; in Kent it is currently £8m. In all cases the cost overruns are attributed in the main to higher than expected increases in the numbers of looked after children.
We blew 7.3 million on investigating media hype, instead of looking after current children.
You will be relieved to hear that Ms Raccoon is now going to shut up for at least a week….
Barman! Give me hand back up those stairs!