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    Joan McAlpine: Good people shackled by evil in high places

    JOAN says the appointment of Lady Butler-Sloss as chair of the inquiry into historic child sex abuse makes it clear that the UK political machine is rotten to the core and beyond reform.

    Lady Butler-Sloss

    EVIL will triumph when good men do nothing.
    That is one of the most repeated quotes of modern times.
    But it doesn’t apply to the Westminster child abuse scandal.
    Because good men and women DID do something when they suspected the abuse of boys and girls by paedophiles in powerful positions. They spoke up. They reported their concerns.
    But these good men and women were ignored. Evil had its way.
    The abusers were seriously powerful and, significantly, had powerful friends.
    To use another popular quote – absolute power corrupts absolutely.
    And this was corruption at its most base and evil form – hurting the most vulnerable in society.
    Barbara Castle, the former minister, is the latest “good woman” to emerge from this sordid tale.
    She handed a dossier containing the names of 16 establishment paedophiles to a campaigning journalist called Don Hale in the 1980s.
    But as soon as Hale began to investigate, the full force of the British state descended on him.
    He was visited by police from Special Branch who waved “D notices” at him, a legal instrument used to ensure matters of embarrassment to the government were kept secret.
    The revelations about Castle’s attempts to expose evil follow a familiar depressing pattern.
    Peter McKelvie, the child protection officer who raised his concerns about the matter more that 20 years ago, also found his investigation into allegations of widespread establishment abuse blocked by the authorities.
    Having seen Mr McKelvie interviewed, it is clear that he is a quietly serious professional who is telling the truth – another good man.
    That he was ignored and rebuffed while an obvious sleazeball like Jimmy Savile was knighted is appalling – and revealing.
    Lots of people reported their concerns about Savile – women raped or indecently assaulted by him, nurses who saw him attack patients, work colleagues alarmed at the number of children hanging around his dressing room.
    Nothing was done by the authorities at the BBC. He was Margaret Thatcher’s court jester after all. Tory MP Geoffrey Dickens was a bit of a maverick, perhaps that’s why he broke ranks and campaigned against establishment child abuse.
    But the file he handed to the then home secretary Leon Brittan disappeared.
    The appointment of Lady Butler-Sloss to investigate all this simply demonstrates that Westminster is incapable of investigating itself.
    Her brother was the Attorney General at the time of the original allegations – and he has been accused of trying to silence those who wished to name the abusers.
    But nobody seemed to think this conflict of interest was a problem because Lady Butler-Sloss was, “beyond reproach”.
    That’s code for part of the establishment.
    She was given the option herself to stand down – she did the right thing but should never have been appointed in the first place.
    It has been clear for a long time the UK political machine is rotten to the core. It is beyond reform.
    Thank goodness we in Scotland have the chance to sweep away this rotting mess and make a fresh start.

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