Rumours about child abuse, and more, involving senior politicians in Westminster were rife even when I worked in the City of London as the interface between Parliament and the banking world. It was startling to be told by insiders, almost casually, who was doing what and how, and for it to be accepted as a veiled part of parliamentary life.
I met many MPs and Peers who were hard-working and ethical, and others who were not, but it is so in most sections of society. Bright lights and bad apples are everywhere, and it is up to each of us to decide the quality of the individuals who share our personal lives: our choice reflects who we are and where we are going, who will support us and who will hold us back, and can pose a moral dilemma also. If we know of malpractice or misconduct, particularly relating to perversion, what do we do about it?
Unfounded rumour is not enough to warrant direct accusation, but in Parliament, in Rochdale, in schools and children’s homes and churches all over Britain (and in many other countries too) children have been shockingly abused with the certain knowledge of silent onlookers who have done nothing to stop great harm being done to the innocent and vulnerable. Those who knew and who did nothing must share the blame for a culture of sexual depravity and deference to the powerful lasting decades.
Today, the Wanless Review found no evidence of a possible Home Office cover-up relating to child abuse by politicians, but simultaneously other credible witnesses have come forward to report having been given evidence, and names of perpetrators in Westminster – evidence later impounded by police and security services. Further inquiries have been promised, but it may be years before the truth is known by the public, and, sadly, some of the powerful still are powerful, and they will do all they can to stop the revelations of what really happened, by whom and to whom.
Meanwhile, some of the politicians who were knowing onlookers then are politicians still or retired but able to speak out. It is not the time for party loyalty or a fear of repercussions but is a time for honesty from them and all who have been “wilfully blind” about child abuse, whatever the political consequences. If a fraction of what I heard years ago is true, the established political system of Britain would fall apart, which might be perfect for these times of change. More importantly, it would bring some closure and justice to those who are the victims, and may even bring a sense of empowerment to those who for so long have been disregarded.
[Image by Cristian Bortes]