The baying from the Tories and their supporters is getting deafening: Something Must Be Done about what Jimmy Savile did, especially by the BBC and any other organisation that they don’t like. Whatever enquiry is announced is not good enough, too late, doesn’t have the right remit, doesn’t have the right chairman (even before one is announced) and not enough heads will roll. Perhaps.
Margaret Thatcher fixed it for him
Already adept at deploying this specialism is Reading East MP Rob Wilson, who is crowing about the Corporation’s shortcomings non-stop right now. In this he is ably supported by the likes of Alec Shelbrooke, who represents the newly created Yorkshire constituency of Elmet and Rothwell, who wants a “full independent investigation”, also with heads rolling. Lots of them.
Here's an MP on his high horse ...
Added to these august beings are the Tory supporting press, notably the preposterously pompous and puffed-up Simon Heffer, who has declared that the BBC cannot undertake an investigation into itself (unlike his own paper, which can bend the PCC to its will by having its own presence there). The Hefferlump suspects that the Corporation “may be an accomplice to ... depravity”.
... and here's one on an even higher horse
Supporting Heffer at the Mail, as I noted the other day, is the odious and serially dishonest Quentin Letts (let’s not), for whom every PMQs is a victory for Young Dave, no matter how abysmal the Cameron performance. Letts is busily painting anyone on the left as suddenly silent on the Savile affair, so they’re all guilty and the right is therefore a paragon of virtue.
So far, so predictable, but I would suggest a little caution here: there’s one good reason that Zelo Street has been merely observing the jaw-dropping response of a press that never said a dickybird in Savile’s lifetime and still did nothing after he passed, while not jumping to conclusions, and that is that we still don’t know what he got up to, when and where it all happened, and who else was involved.
But what we do know about Savile’s political travels is that he was close to Margaret Thatcher, who is very much alive and has just celebrated her 87th birthday, though she is by now rather frail and doesn’t get out and about as much as she would no doubt like to. Thatcher was the PM who signed off on Savile’s knighthood. He stayed at Chequers as her guest on more than one occasion.
Not only that, it was the Thatcher Government that appointed Savile to head a task force to investigate the running of the Broadmoor secure psychiatric hospital, in 1988. He had a set of keys – a truly frightening prospect – and a room there. So when the Tories and their cheerleaders in the press start turning the Savile affair into some kind of perverse left versus right competition, they should stop and think.
Right now it looks like nobody is going to come out of this business well.