“ANOTHER embarrassing National scandal – don’t worry we’ll have an Establishment independent inquiry and cover it all up as usual?”
It’s a never ending cycle in the United Kingdom isn’t it? Something bad blows up, usually exposed by some whistleblower (who probably gets the sack as a result!), followed by strident calls from far and wide for something to be done, demands for people to be held to account indeed, but then answered by the announcement from the powers that be of an ‘inquiry’ no less.
Be in no doubt about it though. The PURPOSE of a so called inquiry is NOT to find out the truth, nor to establish blame, nor indeed to identify the guilty, nor to indict the wrongdoers, nor to dish out punishments, nor to consider retribution; no, its prime aim is to ‘kick the issue into the long grass’, as the saying goes, and if it can’t do that, or can’t take long enough for it all to be forgotten, then at least absolve the Establishment of any culpability. Have you noticed how often the ‘final’ report doesn’t contain all the significant information or details because “those giving evidence did so on that basis”?
This process must be well taught and most certainly included in the manuals of power, as we see it enacted throughout the structure from the very bottom to the very top – but our governments are the most adept at using it aren’t they? It’s quite easy really – not rocket science you see. You carefully select the person to head the inquiry, you ring-fence the terms of reference, and you provide a very narrow remit. If things go very wrong after that, you delay publication of the report (with dozens of already successful excuses to draw on) or you simply bin it (say it has been lost if you get caught out). Really simple!
Most people in Britain are aware of the Hillsborough Disaster, of twenty five years ago, when nearly a hundred innocent football fans were killed and over seven hundred and fifty injured, which was then followed by cover-up after cover-up (despite or due to government Ministers’ involvement?). The truth finally came out two years ago (after decades of campaign by support groups), with a report from the Hillsborough Independent Panel, which exonerated the fans and identified the disgraceful roles of the Police & others in the tragedy & aftermath. And has justice been served NOW? Dream on! Oh yes, a new inquest is taking place as we speak, but that won’t bring any of them back, nor justice will it? Those directly & indirectly responsible for what happened, and those behind or complicit in the cover-ups, will never be punished (whatever we have read in the newspapers), do you think?
[Britain’s NOW most senior Police Officer London’s Met Chief Hogan-Howe had a senior role, so was ‘involved’ in Hillsborough, and gave evidence to the Taylor cover-up inquiry; he says he didn’t do anything wrong, but he certainly didn’t expose anything about the extensive Police cover-up did he?. Elected London Mayor and Conservative celebrity front-man, and what’s more leadership hopeful, Boris Johnson, was culpable in publishing & reporting scurrilous and proven false accusations of Liverpool fans’ drunken responsibility for the Hillsborough disaster].
Then we have got both the cover-ups examples of the thirteen million pound expensive & inadequate Waterhouse inquiry of 40 years ago on North Wales’ child sex abuse covering 25 years, and the recently exposed Rotherham child sex abuse (perhaps two thousand children damaged) that went on for at least a dozen years, and not to forget the Mid Staffs Hospital scandal of poor care and high mortality cover-up, or Liverpool’s Alder Hey organ scandal cover-up, or the Bristol Infirmary’s children’s’ heart operation deaths cover up, and countless others of course.
So where does that leave us today? Well, with the latest disgrace of course. The proposed Panel inquiry into how the UK’s institutions historical have handled their duties to protect children from sexual abuse.
What mental incapacity nevertheless has overcome the beleaguered Home Secretary Theresa May? First she chose Baroness Butler-Sloss, a respected retired but in her eighties judge, to lead this inquiry into such child abuse, when one of the powerhouse people to be inquired into, was her own (deceased) brother no less! A strange choice anyway was to pick one of the aristocracy, part of the Establishment certainly, to lead an inquiry into many deprived area’s major child sex scandals orchestrated often by powerful individuals, that had been ignored for decades by the elite, the politicians, the police, and all others, surely?
One blunder in, and an embarrassing step-down by Butler-Sloss, May then next selects Fiona Woolf, a credible woman of integrity & City lawyer to boot (except in finance not criminal law), but a public non entity & Ceremonial Lord Mayor of London, an Establishment figure of course, with no relevant experience, no children of her own, who is a close associate, same street neighbour, and an admitted dining friend of another powerhouse person to be inquired into as well!
Woolf has lied (more accurately failed to correctly or accurately tell the truth) about her complete contacts with the person (more accurately his wife) to be included in the inquiry’s investigation. The very fact that she was unable to remember a meeting she has only a year ago is an uncomfortable thought when she has been nominated to lead a complex inquiry covering many-many years, is it?
Second blunder in and of course even further delay, but May doesn’t want to admit it does she? You see politicians are like that – they never admit to making a mistake, they never apologise, but just stick it out till finally forced to retract? What is even more surprising is that Prime Minister David Cameron hasn’t stepped in to sort this out, and instead is backing May – he is in electoral difficulties already and this incident showing further lack of leadership will additionally harm him surely?
[Woolf as a lawyer (past President of the Law Society of England, no less) surely should recognise that she cannot be seen as ‘impartial’ in these circumstances, and that she can only further damage the credibility of the panel by hanging on. In an unprecedented situation she is also facing a legal challenge to her appointment, and that is surely a killer blow to her carrying on? Theresa May needs to be third time lucky, don’t you think?]