November 3rd, 2012
|08:44 am - You don't need to be an Insider|
I went to bed early last night. Apparently there was a Newsnight report about the ongoing child abuse revelations which are rocking the British establishment. The BBC cautiously redacted the name of the friend of Margaret Thatcher who was closely involved. So this morning I thought I would give myself a little test of how easy it would be to find out who he was. It took less than five minutes. And it was only as long as that because I had the wrong name in mind. I have decided not to link to any websites, because it will all be out by the end of the day anyway. For example, wikipedia staff have edited content, but wikipedia editing history is open to anyone to read. If you care to know you can find out. PS it is not a fascinating fact or anything.
There was an article in Crooked Timber about the concept of Insider knowledge (it's not about child abuse).
Most of the time, you can learn as much or more from intelligently consuming publicly available information as you can from attending purportedly insider briefings... (in fact) you are likely to end up with a less biased understanding. ... the reasons for the apparent near-unanimity among foreign policy specialists that going into Iraq was a good idea was a combination of bad sources, careerism, and substantial dollops of intellectual dishonesty.
I agree with that post: the idea that powerful people have some kind of secret understanding, closed to the rest of us, is self-serving bullshit. OK, obviously there are secrets - like who exactly did what and when - but secrecy is there to protect the incompetence and weakness of the powerful. It doesn't give politicians and their pet journalists special power or competence, quite the reverse, it allows them to be rubbish. And secondly, while the details of allegations can be hidden (for a while) the overall attitudes of superiority and selfishness which enable abusive behaviour are obvious to anyone who cares to see.
Let me take an example from outside Western society, and outside right wing circles. Both Stalin and Mao were linked to people who physically abused others. In both cases the details were suppressed. But do we think that ordinary people in those countries did not know? Or that the attitude which enabled that abuse was not clear to all? Of course people knew. And it is just the same for us. (By 'the same' I mean we already know in our hearts, like people in Russia did. The wicked deeds are different).
I think the only thing that happens when details come out is that what has been frankly obvious to anyone with eyes can't be denied any longer - not the individuals but that attitude that some people are expendable, usable, less important. Although of course some people will bitterly continue to deny.
Hmmm. Not knowing enough about UK politics, I'm not sure where to start looking so I may have to wait, unless some kind LJer wants to send me a hint via private message.
But I've already noticed some grim stuff on the talk page for the scandal, in which the sexual abuse of girls is described as different to sexual abuse of children because girls develop so much faster. OMFG.
I am very annoyed to read comments from men saying 'Oh, it isn't paedophilia it's hebephilia' because the girls have gone through puberty. As if that makes them more powerful and able to escape.
Yes - the perception of the abuser is considered more important than the experience of the abused.
The other shocker: if something is a common urge among men, it's okay somehow.
|Date:||November 3rd, 2012 10:57 am (UTC)|| |
the Daily Mail published this with the name 5 days ago
I think this may be different one, a peer. I don't think he was mentioned in the Mail yet. But I could have missed it.
|Date:||November 3rd, 2012 11:09 am (UTC)|| |
I think it is the same one. But time will tell.
On the whole I am glad if it is out there already
They published the name of the one who died in 1995, Peter Morrison, because the dead cannot be libelled - they won't publish the name of the live guy.
I think of this as the "Pluto effect," ie if there seems to be something going on, there probably is, and you should proceed accordingly.
I find it holds true for regular life as well as the broader culture. I don't mean that people should be paranoid, but if things don't add up, and the excuses seem flimsy, your suspicions are probably correct.
Yes, and sometimes insiders can be fed a lot of bullshit. I think that happened with the Iraq war for example, the pet reporters got taken out to lunch and told they were getting an exclusive and they bought it hook line and sinker. While other people looking on were a lot more skeptical.
The buildup to the Iraq War is a perfect example! It was OBVIOUS that there was no good reason for it. But my husband was convinced that Bush and Blair must know something. Maybe they thought they did.
That was the most politically disillusioning moment of my life.
|Date:||November 10th, 2012 02:36 pm (UTC)|| |
Passing through on friends of friends.
my husband was convinced that Bush and Blair must know something
I remember working through the pros and cons and coming to the conclusion there was no sensible reason to support the war, and yet Tony Blair seemed so obviously scared that I thought he must know something, so for the first and only time I decided to trust his judgement. Nowadays I am left wondering if he was a good actor or a fool.
I think Bush deceived Blair, and then later Blair could not own up to this without looking naive so he had to try to make the best of it.
I knew that name over a decade ago, and I'm sure it has been easy to find for a long time. It's true that it is more difficult now for the rich and powerful to keep their actions secret. But it's also true that however many people knew (and in the late Peter Morrison's case that meant all the Cheshire policemen who ever caught him habitually importuning people) he was never prosecuted, very possibly because he was a mason, like many top policemen and judges (and possibly also Savile, though I can't find any proof of that online). They can still get away with stuff. "Everybody knew" isn't the same as "everybody had evidence that would stand up in a libel action", which is why I'm getting tired of people blaming the BBC.
I guess my overall point is that there is nothing magical or powerful behind that curtain of secrecy, just weak people covering up their weaknesses.
The names, and as you say the legal evidence, were kept secret. And it is important for it to come out in full. I hope it all does.
But the attitudes - the attitude that it was 'only women' or 'only bad children' who were saying anything - that contempt and privilege was in plain view and still is.
Also, of course, molesters/abusers are really good at charming people into thinking that they couldn't possibly mean any harm. SO the pre-existing mindset contributes to this.