The three formidable bastions of the caring, sharing political left can be easily defined. Think the NHS, local government and the BBC. All provide nice little earners for those who persuade themselves that their political beliefs somehow equip them for guardianship of massive amounts of public money on the basis that ‘they care.’
Yet these institutions are failing us, each and every one stands accused of charges of gross negligence of duty when it comes to protecting the most vulnerable in society.
The reason isn’t hard to find. These three great (and I use that word advisedly) pillars of society are held in higher regard by the civil servants who profit from them than the members of the public whose taxes fund their incompetence.
Look at the evidence.
The NHS is rightly being excoriated for the systematic failure to detect and stop the predations of Jimmy Savile at Stoke Mandeville Hospital.
Dr Androulla Johnstone, the Stoke Mandeville report’s lead investigator, said Savile’s victims were “patients, staff, visitors, volunteers and charity fundraisers” – with almost half aged under 16 and 10 under the age of 12.
“Around one third of his attacks were against patients, just over 90% of the victims were female,” she said.
“The sexual abuse ranged from inappropriate touching to rape.”
Her report also found found Savile’s reputation as a “sex pest” was an “open secret” among some staff – but allegations probably did not reach managers.
Her words, not mine.
Liz Dux, a lawyer representing many of the victims, is having none of that.
She said: “It beggars belief that a report which has revealed Savile was widely known as a sex pest at Stoke Mandeville can find no evidence of management responsibility.
“Ten victims had reported their assaults to nursing staff on the ward include one complaint being made to management yet still his deviant and sickening behaviour continued.
“There was clearly something seriously amiss at this hospital where three other doctors have been convicted of serious sex offences in the last four decades.
“Savile’s victims deserved more accountability from a hospital where they went to be looked after than they have received today.”
That same lack of accountability was evident at Rotherham Council. For years its members turned a blind eye towards the gross sexual misconduct of those who preyed on young girls on its streets and kidnapped them, raped them, abused them, tortured them and then discarded their victims like so much human refuse.
Last year the Jay Report found 1,400 children had been subjected to that abuse.
The closest Rotherham Council has come to official public censure was the sacking of the town’s cabinet leadership – although each of those councillors will be allowed to keep their seat until the next election.
Five government commissioners have been selected instead to run the local authority after it was declared “not fit for purpose”.
Sir Derek Myers, Stella Manzie, Malcolm Newsam, Mary Ney and Julie Kenny will head the council until 31 March 2019.
Finally the BBC. We know that the scumbag Jimmy Savile’s atrocious activities were not restricted to Stoke Mandeville hospital alone. He also practised gross sexual misdemeanours on BBC premises on an almost industrial scale.
A current judge-led inquiry into sexual abuse at the BBC has been contacted by so many witnesses that publication of its findings has been delayed yet again.
The Dame Janet Smith review, set up in 2012 in the shadow of the Jimmy Savile scandal, was initially expected to conclude in January 2014 before another date was set for this summer.
More than 740 people have approached the six-strong inquiry team, with evidence relating to Savile and how he was able to target victims while working for the BBC. The team is also focusing on whether BBC bosses turned “a blind eye to his behaviour.”
There’s that phrase. A blind eye.
The same blind eye that was used at Rotherham Council when reports of teenage rape and sexual abuse were reported to staff members who chose to do nothing.
The same blind eye that the NHS used whenever anyone complained about the behaviour of Jimmy Savile.
For all that earnest inquiry and endless repetition of the mantra that lessons have been learned, you have to wonder if the only lesson really being learned by civil servants is not to rock the boat.
Most sickening of all, the numbers of senior managers and workers who have paid with their jobs for their conspicuous hopelessness at the NHS, Rotherham Council and the BBC can be counted on the fingers of one hand.
If at all.