Operation Yewtree … the Butler-Sloss inquiry withdrawal … this week’s reported sudden arrest of 660 suspected paedophiles, only 39 of which were previously on the sex offenders register.
Britain’s safe, secure, idealistic, fantasy world of the Daily Mail and ‘Middle England’ has been subjected over the past year to a mind-numbing array of sexual depravity and abuse scandals, cover-ups and institutional failings.
At the risk of scoring a trite and perhaps unworthy point, all this is hardly news. There have been similar scandals – admittedly, the majority of them hushed up and/or hidden from public view – throughout history.
In the early 1970s, when I was a naïve student journalist – or rather, to be pedantic, a mere contributor to a student newspaper – I was once granted an interview with a senior police officer upon the occasion of the opening of a new police station at Wigston in Leicestershire.
Towards the end of what was a rather low-key and unremarkable interview on both sides, I threw out a non-prepared question that I had hatched ‘on the hoof’ as we talked – “What is the most common crime in this part of the world?”
Without hesitation my interviewee responded to the effect that, although it was not general public knowledge, the most common crime in Leicestershire – and indeed in Britain nationally – was incest.
This revelation shocked me considerably at the time. I suppose it says something about the modern world that the implications of that statement don’t seem quite so outrageous today.