Jude Collins

Monday, 22 October 2012

OK, the goose got sauce. Now what about the gander?

I've just been watching a two-minute video on the Guardian website, which features people talking about Jimmy Saville and the gravity of what's being called Savillegate (yes I know - clumsy or what?). Prominent in the clip are two people who worked on a TV programme that was pulled more or less at the last minute, with no explanation. The programme, the producer of it said, dealt with a range of accusations from people naming Saville as guilty of sexual abuse.

As so often happens with the media, particularly TV, what wasn't talked about was as important as what was. Everybody now seems agreed that Saville was guilty of these crimes, although nobody I've heard from yet has offered conclusive evidence. I really think someone should, and soon, otherwise it's going to be a case of everyone's-saying-it-so-it-must-be-true, which is a very dangerous way to try someone. The other thing that was noticeable by its absence was that the two people who'd been involved in making the programme back then - that's the programme that was pulled without explanation by the higher-ups - no one asked the makers of the programme why they didn't go to the police. On the contrary: the implicit assumption seemed to be that here were two decent people, doing their best to expose evil, who'd been frustrated by higher-ups in the BBC.

Mmm. I seem to remember a certain cleric called Brady, first name Sean, who was excoriated by the media because, when he was a priest in his thirties, he acted as a note-taker at a meeting involving charges of sexual misconduct that went nowhere. The cries then were "What sort of person would have let that child-abuser remain on the loose, regardless of what his role was?" and "How could anyone with an ounce of decency not go straight to the police and save so many other innocent victims?"

I'm just puzzled. How come Brady was cast as villain and the BBC programme makers as decent, maybe heroic people?


  1. Jude
    Maybe the difference is that the makers of the Newsnight investigation were trying to uncover alleged abuse.
    That is why they made the programme.
    Do you think that is true of Sean Brady?

  2. It's hardly comparing like with like - Savile was dead and no longer about to carry out abuse.

  3. I agree with a lot of what you say, but I don't see a valid comparison between a priest and a journalist. I don't see the journalists as victims, they were just annoyed that their story was pulled. Now they see a chance of publicity. If they had been thinking of the real victims they would have kept on until the story was out.
    Seán Brady was likewise not thinking of the victims, just about the good name of the church. That was more important than protecting further children from abuse, or getting justice for those already abused. There is nothing Christlike in his behaviour. However, I do see similarities, in that they both would have had to challenge important and powerful people to do the right thing. In the end they chose to protect their careers, and in Seán Brady's case, this condemned many further children to abuse.

  4. It is clear that many people inside and outside the BBC covered up and contributed to further abuse over many years. The recent Newsnight issue is a small irrelevancy. They loved going after the Catholic Church. Time will tell how good they are at going after themselves. Don't hold your breath.