Monday, 22 October 2012

Using the Saville affair to further their political ends shows how low many on the political right have sunk

It is instructive that the Tory press, and in particular the Murdoch press, has suddenly found a deep concern for the victims of sex offenders. This, of course, has nothing - absolutely nothing - to do with the BBC and (in the case of the Murdoch press) their own commercial interests and everything to do with their newly discovered moral compasses.

Yes: News International, the same firm that sat back silently as its reporters hacked the voicemails of dead soldiers, murder victims and countless others is now a paradigm of virtue.

And MPs from the Tory Party, the same party whose Mayor described said phone hacking as 'codswallop' are now launching crusades into the probity of the BBC, whilst, in the case of the latter, appear shamefully to be trying to downplay the wrongdoings of the Murdoch corporation.

The truth is the Saville affair was a product of a general culture in the country that existed prior to the 1990s in which child welfare was sorely lacking. There are very likely to be many organisations - public and private - that will undoubtedly in time be shown to be at fault. And there will be many very famous people that in the past used their authority to abuse with impunity or, in other cases, crossed the boundaries of what is acceptable today in 2012.

It is only right that as a society we atone for the crimes of the past and that we acknowledge where we were deficient, so that we do not repeat past mistakes. But it is - as with the Jonathan Ross/Andrew Sacks affair - very clear that a number on the political right are hiding behind the cloak of morality to further their political aims, namely attacking one of the few remaining non-profit making parts of British society.

Finally, as one commentator put it well recently, there is a difference between Auntie and many of its commercial competitors. The BBC constantly reviews, criticises and accordingly amends its own news coverage, in the full glare of the public. How many private corporations - News International included - can say the same?

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