Posts Tagged ‘Newsnight’

The political classes have forgotten about the victims in the furore over Savile

25/10/2012, 07:00:45 AM

by Peter Watt

Sometimes the political world becomes a parody of itself, and Monday was one of those days.  Faced with a barrage of revelation relating to the grim antics of James Savile how did it respond?  With glee at another political bun fight and the sight of someone else being brought down in front of a select committee.  Congratulations everyone, job well done.

Let’s be really, really clear about what has happened.  An iconic figure from the world of the media, a children’s TV presenter for god’s sake, has got away with abusing children over a period of several decades.  Hundreds of child victims have been sexually assaulted over decades by this man.  And according to the police there appear to have been other perpetrators involved in this tragedy.

Each case of abuse, of violation, is a personal tragedy for the person involved.  It will almost certainly have involved  shame, secrecy, anger and years of trauma.  For many, recovery will have been difficult if not impossible with the consequences of the assault carried into later life and relationships.  Savile may be dead but the consequences of what he did will be very much alive for his victims.

And yes, the abuse took place in dressing rooms at the BBC.  But also in hospitals and in his caravan and no doubt other venues as well.  In other words, this is a human tragedy of immense proportions that spans decades, spans institutions and spans families.  The crimes were hidden in public and as a society we must begin to try and understand how this has happened.  How is it that over the year’s victims were not believed?  Or were too fearful to speak out?


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Cameron’s women problems

27/06/2012, 04:32:39 PM

Treasury minister Chloe Smith last night joined an exclusive club.

No it’s not the Bilderberg Group. Not much chance of an invitation there after her disastrous appearances on Channel Four News and later on Newsnight defending the government’s u-turn on fuel duty.

No she’s just been inducted into the ex-Next Big Things club. It’s a select intake of those of whom great things were expected.  But bad news travel fast in modern politics and Twitter was abuzz last night and this morning at the general awfulness of her career-limiting performances.

Of course an individual minister taking a caning in an interview is neither here nor there, but Chloe Smith’s case exposes a deeper problem for David Cameron.

In fact he has two big problems: both with women.

The first is the growing sense that the PM is a bit of a chauvinist. It’s revealed in small things like his silly put-down to Angela Eagle in the Commons (“calm down dear”) and probably not helped by leaving his daughter in the pub the other week.

These are relatively trivial offences, compared to the differential impact coalition cuts are having on women’s lives, wisely picked up early-on by Labour’s frontbench and now used to bring home the very real effects of the government’s programme to women voters bearing the brunt of unemployment, tax hikes and service cuts.

His second problem is closer to home. A government reshuffle is due soon. Unlike most other PM’s Cameron is said not to believe in regular changes, allowing ministers to get to know their briefs properly. A commendable enough sentiment, but the government is in need of fresh faces and to prune the less effective ministers.

In a bid to tackle his problem in communicating with women voters, the logical impulse is to promote more female political talent. But it’s not until you look down a list of government ministers that you realise just how few women there are.

The attendant problem is that the women ministers he currently has are among the least effective performers in the government.


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