Jimmy Savile and I were both born on 31 October, though separated by 30 years. Sir James would be 87 this week. While he lived, I must admit, this fact did not give me much fellow feeling with the famous disc jockey, knight and member of the Athenaeum (proposed for membership by Cardinal Hume); but since he has died, I have been distressed that absolutely no one will speak in his defence.
What bothers me is the sense that no one knows fully what he did, and few have tried seriously to establish the facts. Operation Yewtree, conducted by the police and the NSPCC, would barely admit that it had not actually investigated individual testimony against Savile. The current inquiry into Savile’s behaviour in NHS hospitals is being much more conscientiously pursued.
But the universal use of the word ‘victims’ to describe all those who have made posthumous allegations against him is unjust, so long as we believe that justice depends on evidence and due process.
In life, he was excused everything. In death, he is indiscriminately condemned. Both these things are revolting.
It is reported this week that a disabled man in Bristol was beaten to death and his body burnt by youths who accused him of being a paedophile for photographing children. The police, ever vigilant against paedophilia, had run him in for questioning on the say-so of the mob. Actually, he had been photographing damage done by vandals to his hanging baskets and flower beds. Hurrah for the British sense of fair play!
This is an extract from Charles Moore’s Spectator’s Notes in this week’s magazine. Click here to read for free with a trial of The Spectator app for iPad and iPhone. You can also subscribe with a free trial on the Kindle Fire.Tags: Jimmy Savile