Monday, 22 October 2012

Savile's Travail's

Have been wanting to write something about the Jimmy Savile 'affair' for some time but the news changes daily. And what more can anyone say? I have no axe to grind and no judgements to make. But...

What I will say is this:

1. Do not, for one minute, think the kind of sexist, sexual bullying that people such as Savile allegedly practiced only went on at the BBC and in care homes, hospitals, etc. It went on in every workplace: print shops, advertising agency's; school staffrooms; offices; shops; factories and so on. Girls and women had to endure painful, humiliating exchanges with male colleagues every day and it was all seen as 'fun'. If complained about, the perpetrator would more often than not be protected by '...but he's really good at his job..', '...his workmates will back him and they'll all come out on strike...', 'whats wrong with you darlin' can't you take a bit of fun?'

2. IF the Jimmy Savile rumours were suppressed because people were afraid funds, and ultimately therefore salaries, would dry up then shame on them and they are as culpable as, allegedly, Jimmy Savile. I fail to see that if these heinous things were going on in an institution such as Stoke Mandeville that a nurse, therefore a sister, therefore a ward manager, therefore a department head, therefore a higher executive, etc., didn't know it was going on or have heard rumours that it might be going on?

Have these people waited until the funds have now dried-up before coming forward? Before making any accusations? Shame on them. Shame, shame, shame on them. And how pathetic to be claiming to be acting on behalf of the victims. Now their pockets can't be impacted, it can all come out. Sickening. As sickening as the original, alleged, acts.

If newspapers had stories, why weren't they printed? The tabloid trail is littered with ruined careers and reputations based on little more than tittle-tattle and opportunists seeking their five minutes of fame and willing to sell their story to the highest bidder. Quite remarkable that a story this BIG didn't make it onto the front page of the NOTW or that other paragon of virtue, The Sun. Were the stories held back for the same 'the cash for the charity will dry up' reason? Bad show if that IS the case and worthy of another investigation surely?

3. This is in no way meant to be an excuse for sordid, depraved and selfish behaviour, but... the environment of the 60's and 70's pop world was one of glamour, fame and a lot of teenage dreams. Jimmy Savile wasn't the only radio DJ that took his roadshow around the country, wasn't the only DJ whose aides would invite local girls backstage to 'meet the star'. And it wasn't only DJs. All the bands, singers, etc., were in on the act too. Allegedly. That was the territory, that was the scene. It was so wonderfully illustrated in the movie 'The Boat That Rocked' when a boat load of teenage girls turned up to claim their magazine prize and spend a day at the pirate radio station...! Of course, we all laughed along with that film... but maybe it doesn't seem so funny now? Well, maybe it should because that is how it was. And maybe we shouldn't be so quick to judge the behaviour patterns of 40 years ago by today's standards?

Of course, the knives are out for and at the BBC. New DG is in an insidious and un-enviable place. Newsnight Editor Peter Rippon has 'stepped aside' and had his blog 'corrected' in what appears to be a quite Orwellian step to me. What the BBC and those getting their knives out fail to see is that most of us are not that blind or daft that we can't take what we see on the screen or hear on the radio in a report with a pinch of salt and make up our own minds.

Further reading:
Mark Easton (BBC) Blog: Jimmy Savile and workplace culture today