Sheesh, there’s something of Lord of the Flies,when Britain gets into its stride and does the moral outrage thing.
The way it’s morphed into an attack on the BBC is intriguing, from newspapers whose crack reporters could tell you the colour of a drunken pop-star’s knickers and yet for thirty years couldn’t discover that a pretty weird guy was groping his way through generations of pubescent girls. But that’s another angle.
The other big story in the news this week has been the jailing of the “care workers,” exposed by the BBC (not a great deal of emphasis on that from the press) who were systematically torturing the vulnerable people in their care. The state was paying private sector providers a quarter of a million pounds a year to have them tortured; (the shareholders in that company, Lydian Capital Partners, (last king of Lydia – Croesus – gedit?) are amongst the richest men in Ireland, have, as far as I can tell, not been asked to give the money back) but that’s yet another angle.
All the torturers and Jimmy S. likewise would have passed the CRB check with flying colours. But in the coming quest for tightening checks on those working with children and vulnerable adults what will be missed will be that to get away with torturing and murdering people with learning difficulties, trade unionists, gypsies, homosexuals, Jews and people of colour it has to be called it something other than torture or murder.
I don’t believe that all the nurses who told the children to be in bed and pretend to be asleep when Jimmy was doing his rounds were collusive or turning a blind eye to child abuse or that people working with this man at the BBC decided that child abuse was OK because it was 1971. No, they couldn’t do that and sleep at night – they simply redefined it as something else. “A bit of fun,” would cover it for those at the BBC and the Winterbourne View care home because a) it wasn’t happening to them or theirs and b) because the perpetrator was someone who was in fact quite popular.
Good old Mr. Smith was, to the kid in your class who was the butt of his jokes all the way through school, an incredible shit. To everyone else he was a good laugh. How did Mr. Smith react when you stood up and said, “Hey Mr. Smith, you’ve no right to go round making a vulnerable kid’s life a misery?”
What? You didn’t say that; you didn’t stand up to such torture? You laughed along with everyone else? Exactly.
OK, you justified it. How? By turning it into something other than bullying. You joined the majority.
Perhaps if the fear of standing out wasn’t almost universal then neither Jimmy S. nor the torturers of Bristol wouldn’t have prospered.