Sir Jimmy Savile, no rest for the wicked

One thing the late Sir Jimmy Savile will not be doing is resting in peace as horrific evidence emergence of his predatory sexual advances towards teenage girls and vulnerable people. From the BBC to government departments, it appears that no-one was able to nail the former miner and, pardon the expression, clunk click him into a cell for a lengthy sentence. Far from being punished for what looks increasingly like a scheming and manipulative pursuit of girls for sexual gratification, Savile was courted by the establishment presumably because it was good to be associated with an iconic figure who raised millions of pounds for charity.

Savile: facade of respectability
Savile’s decades of alleged abuse over the 60s to the 80s mirrored our society at that time. The sexual exploitation was often carried out by people who were paid by the state to look after or act as role models for its most vulnerable members. From care home staff to clergy, from teachers to care workers in special needs long stay hospitals, once the doors were shut (we now hear that Savile had a set of keys to plunder inmates at Broadmoor Hospital), it was open house for the abuse to take place. It will be interesting to see how much the establishment knew about Savile’s alleged crimes and how far and high the network of abuse spread. This article in the Independent by Paul Gambaccini forecasts that much more evidence will be uncovered.

Of course, abuse of children continues to blight our society today as the case of the paedophile ring in Rochdale harrowingly showed. But in the case of Savile, it is clear that it was a lethal combo of power and iconic status that enabled him to carry out the alleged attacks with impunity. This obsession with celebrity and fame was particularly misplaced with Savile, a B-list player who somehow manipulated TV chiefs into believing he was a superstar. Once this iconic status was confirmed, Savile had the freedom his alleged perverted actions craved. In short, he knew he was untouchable, the poor girls he allegedly abused had the right to remain so themselves.

Their heartbreaking tales of fear and humiliation are terribly sad and they leave a public already reeling from tales of incompetence among some social work professionals. Our clients at Care Images are hardworking, diligent and caring people who have chosen a career in care to help people. Savile’s legacy also affects their work because some of the country’s less scrupulous news organs will use his case as a stick to beat social and charity workers.

When Savile died a year ago, his coffin was visited by well-wishers before he was buried. This macabre ritual – reminiscent of former Soviet leaders who would lie in state for days as thousands of people paid their respects – is sadly poignant. The odious Savile, it seems, was not only lying in state, but while alive and kicking, was lying in bed abusing young girls with the keys to the room provided by the state.