As the rot sets in on Brand Britain – it’s time for some hard questions


  By a Newsnet reporter
This weekend the latest shocking claims to engulf the BBC were made public when it was alleged that three BBC employees tried to rape a young man as a famous BBC actor watched. 
Such claims are now almost daily occurrences and are shaking the very foundations of the once rock solid British Establishment.  The allegations are no longer directed solely at the BBC, they reach deep into the heart of British institutions, and even go right to the top of government.

 By a Newsnet reporter
This weekend the latest shocking claims to engulf the BBC were made public when it was alleged that three BBC employees tried to rape a young man as a famous BBC actor watched. 
Such claims are now almost daily occurrences and are shaking the very foundations of the once rock solid British Establishment.  The allegations are no longer directed solely at the BBC, they reach deep into the heart of British institutions, and even go right to the top of government.

The allegations are almost too incredible to believe – paedophiles linked to Downing Street, Tory MPs facing exposure as child abusers, BBC presenters and staff members accused of rape and child abuse.  They are shocking and truly distressing to read.

As the appalling revelations of Jimmy Savile’s activities and the alleged complicity of BBC managers were discussed during Prime Minister’s Questions in the House of Commons, Labour MP Tom Watson told the stunned Chamber there was “clear evidence” that a Downing Street aide under a previous prime minister was connected to paedophile Peter Righton, who was convicted in 1992 of importing child pornography.

Mr Watson urged police to investigate the allegations. 

On Friday night, Newsnight on BBC2 broadcast the allegation that a senior Conservative raped and abused boys in a care home in Wales.  Although it had been thought Newsnight would name the individual, who remains highly powerful and well connected, at the last minute the programme decided not to identify him.   

But over the weekend the names of some very high profile Conservative MPs and former Ministers were being circulated on social media sites. 

Over the weekend Twitter was ablaze with rumours, and the same individuals’ names cropped up repeatedly.  A consensus appears to have been reached concerning the identity of the individual at the centre of the Newsnight allegations, and many Tweets and postings on blogsites directly accused him of the most serious sexual offences. 

Others identified the former Downing St aide mentioned by Mr Watson, and alleged he was a key figure in a sex-ring procuring underage youths for senior Conservatives, some still in government.   The alleged events date back to the period of Thatcher’s administration, but continued for many years.

The tabloid Daily Star reported that police investigating allegations of abuse against senior figures in the government during Margaret Thatcher’s tenure in power were warned off and told that further questions would cost them their jobs.  The paper quoted an anonymous former detective who said:

“It wasn’t that we ran out of leads but it reached a point where a warning to stop came.  It was a case of ‘get rid of everything, never say a word to anyone’.  It was made very clear to me that to continue asking questions would jeopardise my career.”

In an unrelated story another senior Conservative, and serving member of the Cabinet, is fending off allegations that while in the office of a political lobbyist he inappropriately touched a young actor whom he believed to be 15 years old.  The blogsite which made the allegations received a warning from the Cabinet Office to remove references to the politician or face legal action.  The senior Conservative politician strongly denies the allegation, but the actor at the centre of the incident stands by his version of events.

The dam is bursting, and this time it may not be held back despite the bribes and threats which worked in the past.  Meanwhile Tom Watson MP has spoken of his fears for his personal safety, saying: 

“I’m not going to let this drop despite warnings from people who should know that my personal safety is imperilled if I dig any deeper.  It’s spooked me so much that I’ve kept a detailed log of all the allegations should anything happen.

“As I type this blog post, I’m half-smiling about how insane all this appears.  It sounds like I’ve taken leave of my senses – just like they said I had during the early days of the hacking scandal.  Maybe I have.  Yet with a properly resourced investigation, with the voice of victims being heard in public and with the political will we can get to the facts.”

The MP says that since he made his statement in the Commons, he has been contacted by many members of the public alleging heinous abuse.  He writes: “… they have named powerful people – some of them household names – who abused children with impunity.”  The MP added that two former police officers have raised their concerns of cover-ups.

David Cameron’s ‘flirtatious’ texts with former News International Executive Rebekah Brooks look small beer when compared to the mounting revelations that threaten to engulf the British establishment.  Many similar allegations have been circulating for years, but were routinely dismissed as the demented ramblings of conspiracy theorists. 

With the BBC and the Westminster Parliament now at the centre of many of these shocking claims, and high ranking figures within British government implicated, there is a dawning realisation that the British establishment may indeed be more rotten than ever thought possible. 

Despite claims of rape, child abuse, paedophilia and a general culture of abuse towards women being rife at the BBC for decades, Jonathan Dimbleby complains of people “relishing” the opportunity to have a go at the broadcaster.  There are no allegations against Mr Dimbleby personally, but his remarks are representative of a culture in which abuse could flourish.

In an interview with The Times, the Radio 4 presenter, who first started working at the BBC in the late 1960s, said: “I think it’s disgraceful and horribly out of proportion to hound everyone at the BBC in a way that is unwarranted and lacks perspective when the real focus should be on what Savile did wrong.

“Paedophilia is a huge national problem that no one thought about 50 years ago and is now something that concerns everyone, but this has become a witchhunt against the BBC.”

Blaming the media and politicians for getting their priorities wrong, Mr Dimbleby added: “Organisations that have come under flack recently such as newspapers and MPs want to get their revenge.  They think the BBC is too smug and holier-than-thou.

“But there is a disturbing relish in the way the critics have laid into the BBC, holding today’s office-holders to account for what happened 30 years ago.”

What Mr Dimbleby fails to mention is that this isn’t the first sex scandal involving young girls and paedophilia to rock the BBC.  It happened in 1973 when a trial at Bow Street Magistrates’ Court heard of possible child prostitution, with a 14 year old girl ending up pregnant by a ‘BBC man’ and payments of £100 from another for sex with a girl he told the court appeared “much too young” to be a prostitute.

According to Dimbleby, the reporting of alleged sexual abuse allowed on BBC premises for decades as managers and chiefs turned a blind eye, is a “witchhunt”.  Instead we must focus on the bad apple who is safely deceased and lying in a Scarborough cemetery.

Dimbleby, like his older brother, has thrived on the respect the BBC and similar British institutions have enjoyed for years – building their careers on the sense of fair play and the superiority of the British ruling classes, and married it to their own cut glass public school accents.  It’s a culture they embody.  It’s the culture that tells us to trust in the effortless self-confidence of those born to rule, while we struggle with our working class or Scottish insecurities. 

Yet this is the same unwritten constitution of gentlemen’s agreements and nods and winks which allowed abuse and malpractice to thrive.  The managers of UK Plc simply didn’t speak of such things, and most certainly not in front of the staff. 

But the stiff upper lip is beginning to quiver as evidence mounts of sexual scandal piling upon financial scandal, of lies and deceit affecting every institution of the British state. 

Over the past couple of years we have witnessed the economic crash and the malpractices of the financial sector, requiring billions of public funds to prop up the banks.  Our grandchildren will still be paying the bill.  Yet despite PPI misselling and LIBOR rate fixing, bankers’ boardroom salaries continue to rise while benefits are slashed and the gap between rich and poor grows ever wider. 

We saw the systematic abuse of expenses by Parliamentarians who proved themselves remarkably adept at milking the rules to provide the maximum financial return.  Many of the most egregious offenders faced no sanctions for their behaviour.  Indeed some continue to tell us why we’re “Better Together”.  

The press awaits the findings of the Leveson Inquiry which heard shocking evidence of the routine manner in which British newspapers hacked the phones of celebrities and the victims of crimes.  The cosy relationship between media moguls and UK governments was unmasked.

Meanwhile the police are reeling from the Hillsborough scandal, which has uncovered an organised campaign by senior officers to smear the victims of the tragedy.  The Foreign Office is fighting a legal campaign to resist paying reparations to Kenyans who were tortured and mutilated by British forces during the final years of British colonial rule. 

The depressing and distressing litany of malpractice and abuse goes on and on, from the most appalling crimes, to the comically arrogant sense of entitlement recently displayed by Conservative whip Andrew Mitchell in his invective laden tirade against those who didn’t know their place. 

The scandals continue to break, and although a couple of sacrificial lambs may be tossed to the wolves, most of those involved walk away with their pensions and privileges intact.  And perhaps most depressing and distressing of all is the realisation that the worst is yet to come, as the rumbling storm clouds of the sexual abuse scandal gather on the horizon. 

Any one of these abuses seen in isolation is aberrant behaviour, its detection a sign that the system is working.  Checks and balances are in place, the wrong can be righted and the system is rectified.  But taken together, the aberrant becomes the norm, the abuse systemic.  We can no longer focus just on the bad apples, we must look at the orchard which grows them.

Until now the independence debate has focused on what an independent Scotland might be like.  Questions have been raised about Scotland in NATO, or Scotland’s currency, or Scotland and the EU.

But what exactly is the alternative that is being sold to Scots – what’s on offer if we vote No?  In the summer ‘Brand Britain’ was the London Olympics, the Diamond Jubilee and Boris Johnson.  It is now the Hillsborough cover-up, child abuse at the BBC and Jimmy Savile.

The ever growing list of institutionalised British scandals suggests that the status quo isn’t all that appealing.

It’s time we started asking some hard questions of Unionists and the British institutions they so passionately believe in.