“Suicide!” was my first thought when I heard about Leon Brittan’s death at work this afternoon. I’d been expecting some VIPs to top themselves if they were accused of child sexual abuse. Over the next few years I certainly expect this to happen. In decades to come, historians will see our cultures widespread acceptance of the rape of children as hard to fathom as we now do slavery.
But now, we till don’t know which VIPs did what, and nobody in Britain really believes that the likes of Prince Andrew and ********* will be treated fairly by the law and stand a chance of doing time.
But there will be speculation about which VIP did what. And this is my main point: Actually, it doesn’t matter!
Of course the politicians falling all over themselves to praise Leon Brittan is sickening.
How can Ed Miliband say he is “sad“?
Why do Norman Lamont and William Hague call him “kind“?
Strangely, Michael Howard called him “feisty” and went on to declare ” its a tragedy that his last days were dogged by these quite unsubstantiated allegations but actually I don’t think it did have very much affect on him, he obviously knew the truth and I don’t think he was particularly troubled by them”. (!!)
At least Simon Danczuk said something worth saying
a loss to the inquiry that the Home Secretary ordered into establishment child abuse.
“Only this morning we were debating the lack of progress in the inquiry and Sir Leon is someone who should have faced questions and been compelled to give evidence to the inquiry over his role as home secretary in the 1980s when a dossier containing allegations of establishment child abuse was handed to him.
“It’s fair to say that a cloud has hung over him for a long time. If we’re going to get to the truth of what happened then Theresa May needs to start making progress. A lot of the people who need to give evidence are in advanced years and we’re running out of time.”
The truth about VIP politicians has been known by many for years, just as it was with Jimmy Savile. (see 1980s press cuttings at the end of this article) Brittan has already been named in parliament as a suspected abuser. Norman Tebbitt has already said that the cabinet was aware of the “rumours”. They all knew.
There are more important issues than which VIP did what. It is the survivors who matter
As I have argued elsewhere, every time an child sex exploitation story hits the media – and it will continue to do so for years – memories are triggered among all those who’ve been abused themselves, whether by close family members and their friends, which is the mos common experience, or strangers in some network. Some of those people are remembering for the first time or telling friends for the first time. Others have lived with it for decades, but are now having to relive the trauma.
The police say they are overwhelmed with historic child sex abuse cases. Social workers and counsellors the same most likely.
But where is the help for survivors?
Where is the extra funding to provide full support for all those society has let down so badly?
Where is the public information campaign urging survivors to come forward, telling them that they will be believed, that they can win some kind of justice?
And where is the left taking a lead on this issue?
Do we really want to leave child sexual exploitation scandals like Rotherham to the far right?
So, good riddance Leon Brittan and can we get on with the real issue of campaigning for justice for all survivors of child sexual abuse.
If you need to talk to somebody yourself, contact Survivors Network
I’ve included a few cuttings from newspapers in the early 1980s, showing how the press (and almost certainly politicians and police) were aware of what was going on all around them.
And just one little odd story about Leon Brittan. Parents of a close friend (also Jewish emigres from Eastern Europe or Russia) said they knew his family after the war and that he was named Leon after Leon Trotsky, somebody his parents once had respect for. No idea if its true though – family gossip’s worse than internet bloggers)