Regardless of one’s opinion of Jimmy Savile, the idea that he should be stripped of his knighthood must surely strike all but the most vindictive and petty minded as being being beyond contempt. The man is dead. David Cameron might just as well force the posthumous abdication of King Henry VIII, responsible for the executions of between 60-70,000 English citizens, or of Queen Mary, also responsible for a large number of gruesome deaths though considerably fewer than her father. Certainly Oliver Cromwell’s statue should be removed from outside the House of Commons. Apart from being a regicide, he was responsible for the death and deportation of 10′s of thousands of Irish Catholics. (Cromwell was of course ‘executed posthumously’, but the favour with which he has been perceived since then is surely misplaced given the current laws affecting religious tolerance and ethnic cleansing.) And then there were those responsible for prolonging the slave trade and Lord Kitchener who introduced the world to concentration camps during the Boer War causing the deaths of “27,927 Boer civilians in concentration camps , plus an unknown number of black Africans (107,000 were interned).” . In fact the list of honoured people who have behaved dishonourably is very long indeed.
If anybody should be castigated for the recent abuse revelations, it should be the likes of that monstrous hypocrite Esther Rantzen who is surely profiting from this scandal, and countless other BBC luvvies and executives some of whom have admitted, though many more of whom would have been aware of the allegations but chose to ignore them. Members of the Whitehall committee that investigated and recommended Savile’s knighthood should be punished for gross negligence. They clearly failed in their duties. I sincerely hope that any who believe themselves to be victims of Savile’s abuse sue those who are or were responsible for suppressing the allegations or failing even to report them.
I say they should be punished because it seems that the world has already found Savile guilty and if he is guilty, then so are they. Regardless of the facts, the principle of being innocent until proven otherwise should apply to those who are dead as well as those who are living, at least as far as the government is concerned. It has no moral right to take action against the reputation or estate of a deceased individual who is unable to defend himself any more than it has the right to punish without trial a man who is still alive. Individuals can say and think what they want about Savile, but the government should stay well out of it. What the government should investigate are the shortcomings of those who are still around to re-offend. i.e Esther Rantzen and her ilk
One more thing. Let us not forget that for all the bad he may have done, Jimmy Savile did a great deal of good. He raised an immense amount of money for Stoke Mandeville and other institutions and his work brought a great deal of happiness to a lot of people. That at least has been proven and that is why he was honoured and celebrated over many years. We should not let our personal distaste (and I readily concede that the physical appearance and style of the man mad me feel uncomfortable) for an individual colour our judgement. For a community that prides itself on a lack of prejudice, the case against Jimmy Savile only goes to show just how undeserving that pride is.
The word skulk, that being the collective noun for a group of jackals, seems more appropriate than pride.