First we had the MPs’ expenses scandal, which showed that many of our top politicians, including those in the unelected House of Lords, and who were intent on cutting benefits for the most disadvantaged of society, were caught stuffing their pockets. Then we had the illegal phone hacking scandal, which included the hacking into phone messages of a dead girl, a practise promoted by newspaper tycoons, starting with Murdoch. Metropolitan police chiefs, linked to the newspapers, were paid handsomely for their services.
Politicians, including Prime Ministers, had until then been fawning over the newspaper barons. Andy Coulson, a former Murdoch editor, was employed by David Cameron as his Number 10 press officer. Cameron was also close friends with Rebekah Brooks, the top boss of New International, and ex-editor of the Sun/News of the World, as well as her husband and old Etonian pal, Charlie Brooks, with whom he regularly wined, dined, and went horse riding. This again showed the intimate social and class ties between different wings of the Establishment in Britain, the real powers-that-be.
Then we had the horrendous Hillsborough scandal, where police chiefs tampered with evidence so as to make it appear that unruly Liverpool fans were to blame for the Hillsborough tragedy. This went as far as taking blood samples of children to “prove” they were under the influence of alcohol. This was followed by the scandal over Orgreave, where during the miners’ strike police chiefs again deliberately told lies, manufactured “evidence” and framed striking miners on a whole series of serious criminal charges. This whole business was conducted under the instigation and protection of the Conservative government of Margaret Thatcher.
Further to all this, it has now come to light that Sir Jimmy Savile [disc jockey and TV show presenter who died in October of last year] had abused children and sexually molested many young women for decades, despite complaints to the police. This scandal has revealed what amounts to a systematic and massive cover-up of this abuse by the authorities. It was clear that top people connected with Savile would have been exposed if a proper investigation had been held at the time. That probably explains why several police forces, including Surrey, Sussex and Jersey, who were made aware at the time of the allegations involving Savile, chose not to pursue matters.
Savile had been allowed free access to special residential schools established in Rochdale and elsewhere, where his systematic abuse of young girls took place. He also abused children on BBC property, which must have been known but was hushed up. Other celebrities are now being suspected of having been involved along with Savile in the abuse, such as Gary Glitter, who was arrested and released on bail pending further investigations. But these were not the only ones involved. It has now been alleged that leading politicians were involved in this paedophile ring and even that members of the Royal Family may have been party to this in some way. It has been openly speculated on that this conspiracy goes all the way up to the top, including the Tory party and even Downing Street.
Jimmy Savile was in fact part of the Thatcher Establishment, photographed many times with the former Prime Minister and was indeed knighted for his services. He was also friends with Prince Charles. He is understood to have visited Prince Charles's official London residence several times in the late 1980s when he was acting as a kind of “marriage counsellor” between Charles and Princess Diana. A spokesman for the Prince of Wales confirmed the Prince and Savile formed a relationship in the late 1970s after coming together through their work with wheelchair sports charities. Charles led tributes to Savile when he died last year.
Dickie Arbiter, who handled media relations for the Prince and Princess of Wales while spokesman for the Queen between 1988 and 2000, said the suspected paedophile TV presenter used to rub his lips up and down the bare arms of Prince Charles's young female assistants as a greeting when visiting the Prince’s office. Apparently, Arbiter did not raise his concerns formally and there is no suggestion as yet that Savile committed any crimes while on royal premises or when he was with Prince Charles on numerous occasions from the 1970s onwards. However, the concern over his behaviour expressed by a senior aide will raise questions over how Savile, who is now under investigation in relation to child abuse involving 300 potential victims, managed to develop such a long-standing relationship with the heir to the throne. Arbiter struggled to understand why Savile was granted such access to the Royal Family. That is a question many will be asking.
Prince Charles met Savile on numerous occasions. In 1999 he accepted an invitation to a private meal at Savile's Glencoe home which has now been daubed with graffiti reading "Jimmy the beast". Savile, it is said, asked three local women to dress up in pinafores emblazoned with the letters HRH and Charles subsequently sent the television presenter a Christmas card with the note: "Jimmy, with affectionate greetings from Charles. Give my love to your ladies in Scotland." Charles reportedly also sent him a box of cigars and a pair of gold cufflinks on his 80th birthday with a note that read: "Nobody will ever know what you have done for this country Jimmy. This is to go some way in thanking you for that.”
Presently, there are at least eight investigations going on into the Savile affair, on top of the new enquiries announced as each new scandal emerges. The BBC has now been embroiled further. Not only was abuse undertaken on BBC premises, which must have been known to some at least, but the Savile investigation documentary which was to be shown by Newsnight was axed, while a favourable film about Savile’s life achievements was broadcast. Now the BBC director-general has been forced to resign after the broadcasting of apparent false allegations of abuse by a named-leading Tory.
Recently systematic and widespread abuse has been revealed in children’s homes in North Wales during the 1970s and 1980s. Children were regularly “sold” to clients to be abused. Chauffeur-driven cars, owned by rich clients, would collect and take the boys to a safe place, where the rich people would abuse them. Boys would even be subject to torture as some were marked as a person’s property with a Stanley knife. One of the abusers, it has been alleged, was a senior Tory official, who threatened to have the boys murdered if they talked.
When these boys eventually went to the police, they were not believed and the allegations were swept under the carpet. Then, in 2000, an investigation by Sir Ronald Waterhouse QC into abuse in North Wales children’s homes found that 240 children had been abused in 40 homes. And yet, although 200 were involved in the abuse, the identities of 28 people were protected, which included two top Tories, and only a handful were ever charged. Although the identity of the senior Tory remains a mystery, since the BBC managed, it appears, to have leaked the wrong name (itself an indication that they lack proper journalistic input), the fact that the rich and powerful were involved in some way remains an open question.
The media is full of interviews about the crisis at the BBC and the need to re-establish its “credibility” and “independence”. The BBC has always cultivated an image of itself as being impartial and objective, but the truth is that it has always been the mouthpiece of the British Establishment. It has never been independent ever since it was established, despite the attempt to maintain the fiction of independence. The head of the BBC Trust is Lord Patten, a former chairman of the Tory Party, hardly an “independent”. Even the former chairman of the BBC, Gavyn Davies, who resigned after the Hutton Report, said: “I don’t think they (the government) are interfering in this particular instance. They often do.” (our emphasis, Financial Times, 12/11/12) This clearly gave the game way as to the real “independence” of the BBC.
These scandals have now opened the lid on a cesspit. They expose the rottenness at the top of British society. Like a stinking fish, the head starts to rot first. These Establishment figures – whether they be top Tory politicians, media barons, celebrities, or police chiefs – have all behaved as if they were untouchable and free to do as they please.
They are a reflection of the much deeper malaise affecting society at all levels. Capitalism is in an impasse. During the boom years, epitomised by banking and property speculation, a whole class of degenerate parasites came to the fore. They felt as if they owned the world and they could do as they pleased with it. They were “masters of the universe”, an untouchable elite, who despised the rest of society. They were a product of Thatcherism and the marketplace, where everything had a price, including morality. This was the dog-eat-dog society of free market capitalism, where finance capital was king. The rich got richer at everyone else’s expense, not by producing things that people need, but simply by making money from money.
The more successful these creatures became the more outrageous their behaviour. There was no morality except to get rich. This class of decadent entrepreneurs now rules the British Establishment. The Coalition government of millionaires is their government, a government that is attempting to make the working class pay for the crisis of capitalism, and where the weakest sections of society face the brunt of the cuts.
British society is in a blind alley. A malaise is affecting everything. Even our town centres and high streets are in decline, with more and more shops being boarded up, or taken over by pawn shops, pound shops, charity shops, and legalised loan sharks. Soup kitchens and food banks have returned. A sign of these sick times is graphically revealed when the new sponsor of Newcastle United football team is Wonga, the internet based high-interest money lender! It is a tragedy that in an area with a high degree of poverty, this sponsor of working class sport is dedicated to sucking the blood of the region’s poor.
While these scandals expose the rottenness at the top of society, the ruling class is attempting to impose Dickensian conditions in Britain. They come at a time when more than 500,000 disabled people are facing massive cuts to their benefits.
According to charities led by Disability Rights UK, children will go hungry with the introduction of Universal Credit. Around 100,000 disabled children stand to lose up to £2 a week. Another 230,000 severely disabled adults who live alone will lose up to £58 a week. And up to 116,000 disabled people in work could lose £40 a week in additional support.
One in ten told reporters they would not be able to stay in their own homes and faced eviction, while two-thirds said they would have to cut back on food and more than half said they would have to go into debt.
In addition, a report from the Resolution Foundation found nearly 1.2 million low-paid and part-time workers would lose out under Universal Credit unless they found longer hours, an extra job or a pay rise.
The reductions in housing benefit means that people will be faced with eviction, especially in London. In fact, London boroughs are presently looking at ways to unload their homeless families onto other authorities when benefit caps are introduced next April. At least 17 have already started sending people out of London.
The government’s reassessment of those on incapacity benefit by the private company Atos has resulted in one-third being disqualified. Their benefits will be stopped and they will be forced to “seek work”. People who have since died from cancer were told they were fit for work. This is how bad things are for the workers and poor.
As billions of pounds are cut from the welfare budget, millions will face hardship and even hunger, as people lose the means of feeding themselves or their children. This is the real face of capitalism in this new Millennium. It means a return to Victorian conditions for large sections of the most vulnerable in society.
Ed Miliband’s appeal to Disraeli and the “One Nation” is very wide of the mark. We have never had such a class-ridden society as now. And the recent scandals have revealed but a small glimpse of the rottenness that engulfs the Establishment. This glaring contradiction between the real suffering of working people and the opulence in which the rich live adds to the growing anger within society.
This shows clearly that the system we live under cannot be reformed. Capitalism can no longer afford the welfare state or even minimal living standards. It is time we put an end to this madness and reorganised society on socialist lines where things can be rationally planned for the benefit of all and not the excesses of a parasitic few.