Friday, 14 November 2014

20th Century cover-up techniques won't work in the 21st Century

It's reflex behaviour in parts of the Civil Service .

When an uncomfortable question is raised, find ways to take conrol and make the situation look good.

Or if you can't make the situation look good make it look as if you're taking the issue seriously.

When it comes to the Child Abuse Inquiry, the first instinct of the Home Office was to appoint one of the "great and the good".

Dame Elizabeth Butler-Sloss was appointed as Chair of the Inquiry.

Surely nobody will notice that her brother, the late Michael Havers was a key part in the cover-up of child abuse at Kincora. At least that seems to have been Home Office thinking.

The Twitterati did notice and very quickly too.

So that old chestnut of appointing one of "the great and the good" in the form of a senior judge didn't work, did it?

Next the Home Office tried to repeat the "great and the good" trick by attempting to foist Fiona Woolf on an unsuspecting public.

Almost before you could say "Leon Brittan" the Twitterati was pointing to an association between Mrs. Woolf and the former Home Secretary, Lord Brittan.

Media discussion focussed on whether Leon Brittan had somehow lost the so-called Dickens Dossier.

But there were deeper unacknowledged problems - there had been allegations dating from the 1980s  (not yet proved or disproved) that Leon Brittan was himself a paedophile.

The hypothetical possibility that Leon Brittan was a paedophile killed dead any prospect of Mrs. Woolf surviving as Chair of the Inquiry.

The latest Home Office wheeze is to give Keith Vaz and his Home Affairs Select Committee a right to conduct "confirmation hearings" for a replacement to Butler-Sloss and Woolf.

The implicit assumption is that Mr. Vaz is "independent" of the Home Office and, so we are seemingly asked to believe, Mr. Vaz is one of the "great and the good".

Yet again the Twitterati aren't buying it.

Mr. Vaz has a past that may be directly relevant to the child abuse inquiry:

  1. Mr. Vaz was a solicitor for Richmond Council in the 1980s. A Richmond Council children's home supplied boys to the notorious Elm Guest House.
  2. Mr. Vaz was a senior solicitor for Islington Council in the 1980s. Child abuse was rife, it seems, in Islington Council children's homes.
  3. In 1991 Mr. Vaz sought to change the Law to suppress public awareness of child abuse allegations.
That is Mr. Vaz.

Independent? Of the Home Office maybe. But of the issues which the Child Abuse Inquiry must address?

Would you buy a second-hand Inquiry Chair from him?

I certainly wouldn't but you should make up your own mind.

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