7 October 2012


The story that Jimmy Savile was a paedophile was widespread even in the mid-1970s: I remember being told as a teenager by one of my schoolmates that he had a particular enthusiasm not for young girls but for paraplegic boys -- hence his enthusiastic support for Stoke Mandeville. None of my schoolmates had any media connections, as far as I'm aware, or any direct experience of Savile: the story had spread by word of mouth, and had been improved in the telling, no doubt, throughout teenage Britain. As such it was rumour, and no one could publish without evidence. But it was so pervasive that the failure of the newspapers or broadcasters to investigate -- or to publish or air after investigation -- is quite scandalous. I'm with Suzanne Moore: you can't claim it was simply a matter of different times and different mores. Savile's victims weren't groupies who wanted a piece of the action with the star -- which is maybe stupid and sad but at least consensual -- they were molested by a trusted children's TV presenter who bathed in the star's reflected glory, as Savile himself seems to have known. It's not quite the same as priests abusing kids, but it's in the same territory.

There are excellent pieces from my good comrades Padraig Reidy, Anna ChenSuzanne Moore, Nick Cohen, Charles Shaar Murray

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