Savile Abuse Fallout Continues To Swirl

As the Savile scandal continues to wreak havoc amongst reputations both personal and institutional, yet another flurry of allegations, recriminations and political manoeuvring has emerged this weekend.

Newsnight – the programme at the centre of the storm that infamously pulled an investigation into the abuse claims has bounced back with a journalistic vengeance. Interviewing Steve Mesham, a victim of sustained and systematic abuse within Welsh care homes in the 1970’s and 1980’s, a pattern of extraordinary exploitation and injustice began to emerge that allegedly involved a senior Tory politician. Possibly overly keen to rescue a tarnished reputation, a contributor to the Newsnight piece tweeted that the programme would expose “a very senior political figure who is a paedophile”. Minutes later, social media was ablaze with unsubstantiated candidates for the unnamed politician’s identity, sucking yet more names into the maelstrom. The politician at the centre of the allegations began threatening a libel action against the BBC, telling the Telegraph "I’ve never been to this children’s home. The fact is that if they publish anything about me they will get a writ in the morning, I wouldn’t wait two minutes.

Meanwhile Alan Collins, a solicitor at the law firm Pannone, who is representing several of Savile’s victims, fired a shot over police bows, saying "There should be an independent investigation into the decisions that were made. There are key questions about what happened to several claims made against Savile and who decided how they should be followed up. There are police forces who had complaints on their books and chose not, for whatever reason, to pursue matters. That is a serious concern."

With the police now facing criticism for their own role in the scandal, Jonathan Dimbleby weighed in on the ‘witch hunt’ against the BBC as the new Culture Secretary, Maria Miller apparently unfazed by her last dressing down by Chris Patten waded back into the spotlight. Despite having been warned off for the appearance of political interference, Ms Miller seems keen to remain at the centre of things, heaping pressure on the BBC by saying “We haven’t ruled out a public inquiry”, before going on to invoke the spectre of statutory regulation for the wider media and an uncomfortable post Savile, post Leveson world where politicians increase their influence within the media.

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