Saturday, 27 October 2012

Don't blame the BBC - Savile demonstrates our sick society

The hysteria spewing forth from the Murdoch press, the Tory party and their associated lapdogs appears to be a diversionary tactic to end all sidesteps.  Skewered by Plebgate, Leveson and the ineptitude, hubris and apparent corruption of a Cabinet whose sleaziness and moral incontinence is reminiscent of Major's administration circa 1994, the standard approach is to blame the BBC for everything.

Notwithstanding that the unlamented creepy child abuser was a house-guest of Thatcher, and that his alleged activities will only have been facilitated by the complicity of then Ministers in allowing him privileged access to victims in hospitals and secure institutions, the obvious target is the current management of public service broadcasting.  This is the contemptible reality of a media dominated by megolomaniac plutocrats, who secure the allegiance of political lackeys through passive threats and an active hatred of any institution that threatens their control of information.

There are clearly questions for the BBC to answer, if only to reassure the wider public that the secrecy and sexist culture that allegedly permitted abuse to occur has been eliminated.  Yet management decisions and practices of decades ago are being dragged up - as the alternative of considering the needs, rights and expectations of victims is too complex an issue for the accusers and ranters to appreciate.

The repressive atmosphere of the 1950s and subsequent decades created climates where abuse was not merely unacknowledged, but much easier to perpetrate - this so-called golden age that the "Daily Mail" wants to drag us back to.  From Catholic priests, through schoolteachers, social workers and others right up to the celebrities of the time behaviours that would earn obloquy today were ignored, and the victims often accused themselves. 

This is why the Tories and their minions are so eager to attack the BBC - and to pick up suspect practices or misjudgments as far more important than the systematic evil that is being exposed.  Far more pertinent would be to examine how Savile, despite being under suspicion and investigation, did not merely slip through the net but was given public recognition of his "charitable" activities around Stoke Mandeville hospital and Broadmoor.

So much easier to shoot a (slightly-tainted) messenger.  And so much more convenient to sweep the real issues aside in favour of displaced resentment of impartial journalism and a mission to explain.


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