Jimmy Savile is looking like a worst-case scenario. No doubt there are other lesser players, and perhaps the cops will weed them out too. But I can’t help feeling that the daily headlines are following an age-old pattern which in the end deceives the eye on the big stuff. That’s not to criticise the papers, to be fair – it doesn’t make them wrong and they’re not supposed to be the Brahan seer in any case.
The harsh fact, though, is that while the NSPCC is rightly playing an important part in the Savile business, they’ll also know that the overwhelming majority of abuse is of the more insidious, workaday and less newsworthy kind; atomised families and ex-families where children are suffering in all sorts of ways – hunger and homelessness at the fore. It’s absolutely right that Savile’s the big story, of course, but the fact is that the same moral imperative remains: it is still about what we can do to help kids who are simply the victims of their parents’ sad – often unintentionally so – life choices. Think about the ‘Benefits’ debates this week. Punish the parents, punish the children?