As always I begin my day on LJ by clearing out some of the spam that has accumulated over night. I doubt if I get it all. For some reason the spamsters are particularly drawn to a short post about rhubarb I wrote earlier this year.
Last night I found myself watching a programme about Sir Georg Solti. It was called Maestro or Mephisto? but really we were only given the one choice. A percussionist complained that Solti tried to get the Royal Philharmonic to play like an American band when it wanted to be British but apart from that there was never a whiff of sulphur. Dame Kiri hinted that he may have been a bit of a one for the ladies but only in the nicest possible way.
Thump, thump, thump, thump. I hear it a lot in the evenings and pay it little attention and sort of assume it's the kids next door goofing around, but last night I actually thought about it and realised it was just too regular a noise to be kids. "Does Samina have a running machine?" I ask Ailz. "It'll be a health app on her Wii" she says.
At first we were all falling over ourselves to get Lord McAlpine's name out there and now we're all falling over ourselves to apologize to him. At no point- so far as I am aware- has there been a police investigation into the accusations made against him. He says he was never at Bryn Estyn and only in Wrexham once. Is anybody checking these statements? If he were as insignificant a personage as Freddie Starr we wouldn't simply be taking his word for it.
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.
If justice isn't done- and seen to be done- rumour will flourish. The alternative is cowed acquiescence. The cover-up at Bryn Estyn (and I don't know what else to call it) left the public uncertain as to who was under suspicion and who was in the clear. Of course we're going to want to talk about it. Firstly because we're nosy and secondly because this sort of thing makes us angry. If you want to shut us up you're going to have to flood the community with secret police.
I'm sorry if an innocent man got fingered but that can happen in any investigation- even when the authorities are in charge. Think of it as collateral damage. The pursuit of justice can be a pretty rough business.
Philip Schofield was right to ambush the P.M. The "proper" journalists didn't have the balls to do it (which is probably why they're now all so miffed at him). If there's something rotten in the State the top man should be informed- and seen to be informed. Yes, a couple of names were flashed in front of the camera but- please- it's the 21st century and things that are on the Internet really aren't secret any more. Those names were as much in the public domain as they would have been if they'd graced a headline in the Telegraph. How can it be wrong to reveal a thing that everybody knows? When are we going to stop pretending the Internet is this occult thing when it isn't? Twitter rules OK!
Without the pressure from the blogs and the social media would this scandal ever have been raised again? The establishment and its commentariat want us to pipe down and let them deal with things calmly and maturely because daddy knows best but what have they ever done that we should trust them in a matter like this?