Ed Lines

THE conviction of celebrity perverts like Stuart Hall, Max Clifford and Rolf Harris goes some way – but only some – to mitigating the Crown Prosecution Service’s persecution of what’s seemed like any and every celebrity unwise to have had a dressing room fumble over the past 50 years.

Nearly two years years on from the revelations about Jimmy Savile, there is still a perverse lack of accountability along the back-covering hallways of the BBC.

A few sacrificial resignations complete with generous pay-offs, a shuffling of the executive pack … we are still miles away from holding accountable senior people at the BBC, at institutions like St James’s Hospital, Broadmoor and within the police force itself.

So many people washed their hands of Savile’s known and suspected misdeeds in true Pontius Pilate fashion.

But now an even greater conspiracy stands to shake the halls of Westminster to their very foundation – the revelation that key figures at the heart of government and the establishment have stood equally accused of paedophilia, and been offered the protective veil of the state.

It is shameful.

Home Office mandarin Mark Sedwill this week told a House of Commons Select Committee that while he was “concerned” they should not “read too much” into the loss of 114 files detailing the crimes and the alleged criminals’ identities.

He said that those files could just have been routinely destroyed under existing Whitehall protocols.

What?

This wasn’t an inventory of bog-roll purchases, or expenses forms for civil servants’ day trips to Bognor Regis.

Anyone casting an eye on those files – and a great many people did, we are told – would know that the contents were absolute dynamite.

Apparently they were all made to sign the Official Secrets Act.

If David Cameron wants to exert any moral authority he should rescind that order immediately and summon those people before the inquisition, post haste.

Like those innocent celebrities hounded by police and media alike, the individuals at the heart of this conspiracy should also be exposed to the full public gaze.

 

DON’T KID yourself that frenzied efforts aren’t being made in and out of Westminster and Whitehall to douse this week’s revelations before they engulf every major British institution in a firestorm.

For every public statement of intent to get to the bottom of this scandal, there will be just as determined an operation to identify a few acceptable scapegoats and limit damage at the top.

It’s already started with the appointment of Elizabeth Butler-Sloss to oversee an ‘independent’ inquiry. She’s in the House of Lords for crying out loud, which is riddled with the accused culprits.

Her brother, former Attorney General Sir Michael Havers, died with the taint of covering up an identical paedophile scandal on his reputation. Independent my backside.

Such as there is an investigation, it won’t be any different from the MPs’ expenses scandal where some minor individuals were sacrificed as collateral damage while the system rallied round the great and the good.

The police and CPS filled their boots with the celebrity Savile fall-out, and were equally zealous in the phone hacking case – and for all of the anti-Murdoch media hullabaloo, that was like a speeding fine in comparison to what we’re talking about now.

Journalists are at the top of nobody’s hit parade right now, but if you want justice to be served in this case, the men and women of Fleet Street are not just the nation’s best chance, they are its only chance.

 

AS MORE than a million public sector workers take a day off in the sun, Education Secretary Michael Gove accuses teachers of being more interested in their pay and pensions than children’s education.

Michael, my son. Listen up.

We have a saying round these parts, one that I trot out on a regular basis but which has never been more apt than right now – well slap my thigh and go to the foot of our stairs! You don’t say...

 

DIDN’T Yorkshire put on its Sunday best for the Tour? Even the weather rallied itself to show the world God’s own county in all of its fabulous glories. It’s a shame that Yorkshire’s adopted ‘son’ Mark Cavendish (he’s from the Isle of Man) had such an unhappy ending in Harrogate on Saturday afternoon. You can’t have everything I suppose.

The iconic image for me was the sight of the packed streets of Haworth, the competitors almost melding into one with the streets packed with cheering Tykes. Marvellous stuff.

I noticed a pal post on Facebook that we should put in a bid to stage the Olympics or even a World Cup.

I like the idea, but first things first – if the Scots vote for devolution, how about we stamp our feet and demand a bit of recognition and self-determination for ourselves?

Cornwall has been recognised as a ‘national minority’ by the Government and all they’ve got to boast about are pasties that would choke a whippet, and clotted cream.

Yorkshire’s population (5.2 million) is as big as Scotland’s while there are only three million Welsh and 1.8 million in Northern Ireland. Cornwall? 536,000.

In the meantime, a huge congratulations to all every single person who helped put on this super show, and a pat on the back to everyone who made the effort to get out and cheer the riders on.

 

CRIKEY, talk about being spoiled for choice – Argentina versus Germany in the World Cup final. I can imagine Britain’s pubs and front rooms watching the match in stony silence. 

The best result? Maybe if things get nasty enough, war could break out.

I got some funny looks in the village pub on Monday night when I broke into song just before kick-of of the first World Cup semi-final.

Apparently “Deutschland, Deutschland Uber Alles...” still doesn’t resonate too well in a village from whose airfield squadrons of Halifax bombers flew missions over the Rhineland in the early 1940s. Crikey, some people don’t half have a long memory...

“We’re cheering for Brazil,” said one of the taproom blokes, Gaz. “They play football as it’s supposed to be played.”

Gaz wasn’t saying much half an hour later. Not many in the taproom were, except to describe their erstwhile Brazilian heroes as self-regarding lazy sods who thought that winning was a birthright, especially on home soil.

Mind you, that’s how many supported England too – patriotic fervour in one breath, then having to be restrained from throwing their pint glasses at the tv an hour or so later.

Brazil were very much like England from what I saw – too full of unrealistic expectations, thinking that the size of their pay packet and the fabled history of their shirt should be a guarantee of achievement.

Once England were out I was able to relax and watch a few games, enjoying the efforts of Costa Rica and especially the USA. Blokes who wouldn’t get a run in most of our second division clubs, showing what can be achieved with a bit of fire in the bellies.

I hear that the Nigeria manager was so disappointed at their exit that he has offered to personally refund the travel and ticket costs of all their fans. He just needs their bank details and pin numbers ... boom boom!

Watching Germany take the diffident Brazilians apart with cool, ruthless precision, devoid of swallow-diving histrionics, I found myself grudgingly admiring them. Heck, I even found myself wishing we had not just a Klose, Kroos and Schweinsteiger, but an Angela Merkel. The German president probably has bigger balls than our entire Coalition cabinet.

It’s unthinkable that foreign relations between Britain and Germany could ever descend to the madness of 1914 and 1939, but if they did, we’d stand about as much of a prayer against them as our football team.

As for the final?

Well, although a great player like Lionel Messi’s career ought to be topped with a World Cup winner’s medal, I hope he joins a lot of greats like George Best and (probably) Cristiano Ronaldo in having that as an unfulfilled dream.

The Germans might be a pain in the neck when it comes to grabbing beach beds in Benidorm, but boy, they get the job done.

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