Like everybody else who's taken an interest in the case I was taken aback by Steve Messham's retraction of his accusation. It rather beggars belief that he never looked at a picture of his supposed attacker (famous man, pictures all over the Net) until the day before yesterday. I suggest- delicately- that there are various reasons why a person might want to change their story.
Still, there's no doubt that Newsnight's handling of the case was incredibly sloppy. It's as if they were rushing to correct the impression- caused by the shelving of the Savile expose- that they were a soft touch. Also, once again, it appears that the Director General had no idea in advance of the content of the programme. What, for heaven's sake, is a Director General for if he isn't aware of his organisation's out-put?
My main concern is that this foul-up over Lord M doesn't prejudice the investigation of the crimes committed at Bryn Estyn and other Care Homes. The fact remains that children were abused- systematically- and that many of the abusers have got away with it. Channel 4 News, last night, suggested that yet another Conservative high-up may be in the frame. I hope we don't go down that road again. If there are famous people involved I'd rather their names came out in the course of a proper forensic investigation and not because they're being particularly targeted. We've been burned once in a truffle hunt after celebrity abusers, let's not make the same mistake twice.