The worst thing, no, the second worst thing about the paedophile and sex abuse scandal that is currently engulfing Westminster is that it isn’t news to most people who have worked in and around Parliament for even a few years.
Most people not only know that it has been going on for decades in Britain, and continues to go on across the upper echelons of public life, but also many of the names regularly rumoured to be involved.
Rumours are plentiful in politics, but these rumours have been so widespread, so detailed and so consistent they have even made national breakfast television.
They may not merit prosecution at this point, but they certainly merit investigation by a body that the public are satisfied are not corrupted by the vast web that still lays over the British Establishment.
In 2012, I wrote that the trend that relates to MP’s expenses and phone hacking also relates to the paedophile scandal, and that the government should take action on the rumours of paedophile rings before the inevitable scandal, not after.
I learned about the nature of expenses, journalists paying Police Officers for stories and Westminster Paedophile rings more than ten years ago, as a teenager. Each one has since come out to the same reactions of faux shock and outrage by the establishment, followed by promises to reform after the fact, whilst sweeping as much as possible under the carpet.
It is nigh impossible that any of these scandals can have come as a shock to senior politicians and yet be common knowledge among junior staff. I am concerned that the organisation I run, the Bow Group, may be implicated to some degree in this scandal, but that is no reason to deny its existence, or to attempt to cover it up.
A few years ago, I explained to an American journalist that these rumours had been circulating Parliament for years, they were baffled that there were so many people who knew about it, and yet so few who were willing to speak out or take action.
It is no coincidence that it was an American who pushed on the expenses scandal when no one in Britain saw anything to query, or didn’t want to rock the boat. But the dynamics of the media in Britain have changed, and the British establishment that once made it impossible for the public to investigate such scandals, that is still threatening and cajoling people to keep the lid on it, can no longer keep news under their control.
Whilst they may be able to hold back the tide, intimidate and bury as much evidence as they can for a while, too many people know, and the more they resist the greater the damage will be. Because sooner or later this will break, and it is likely to be the greatest scandal ever to engulf British politics.
The damage may be greater to the Conservative Party than any other, but as with expenses no major Westminster Party will escape unscathed. They are all complicit, from the old-school establishment to their modern liberal metropolitan protégés who tried to put the brakes on the investigation in case it turned into “a witch-hunt against gay people” and are now resisting an independent investigation, advising victims to “leave it to the Police”.
Such an approach should be treated with the contempt it deserves. The Police Force have known about past and current sex abuse in Parliament for decades, and have done nothing. The victims have feared ridicule, or worse, in going to the authorities.
Nothing short of an independent inquiry with total public transparency will now be satisfactory. If the government takes this action sooner rather than later it may be able to salvage some public respect for Parliament, if not events and public anger will lead the nation to a place where the disconnect between the current Parliament and its citizenry will be irreparable. Public figures in this case will be judged either as being part of the cover-up, or part of the expose.
Parliamentarians from all parties such as Geoffrey Dickens, Tom Watson, Tim Loughton, Simon Danczuk and most recently Lord Tebbit must be commended in speaking out in the face of severe pressure and resistance from their colleagues. I am now more confident that history will reward them, and condemn the murky depths of Westminster that has escaped the light of public justice for far too long.