Richard Littlejohn writes in the Daily Mail - in fact he's frequently the only good thing about that bizarre and execrable rag. He often dares to say the things we all think but are too timid or inarticulate to do so. Here he is on Operation Yewtree, the ongoing witch-hunt that seeks to brand as paedophiles any elderly celebrity who's ever been foolish enough to look at a schoolgirl. And that's just for starters – in our view if the police can make this one stick, they'll soon widen the search to ordinary old blokes like us ...
Jim Davidson and a deranged witch hunt that's turned British justice on its head
The Guardian has spent most of this week howling with outrage about the detention at Heathrow airport of the partner of one of its journalists. David Miranda, the Brazilian boyfriend of reporter Glenn Greenwald, was interviewed for nine hours by police investigating the leak of intelligence designed to discredit the British and American security services. He was in possession of classified material provided by U.S. defector Edward Snowden, currently holed up in Moscow, and was travelling on a ticket paid for by the Guardian.
Most people would agree with Home Secretary Theresa May that the authorities have every right to launch a criminal investigation, given the potential threat to national security. But according to the Guardian, this was a draconian assault on Miranda’s human rights and the freedom of the Press.
One could perhaps sympathise with this point of view had the self-styled ‘liberal’ newspaper been more vociferous in standing up for others who have found themselves on the receiving end of police intimidation. When the homes of tabloid journalists were raided and ransacked at 6am by detectives investigating alleged phone hacking, there wasn’t a peep of protest from this self-appointed sentinel of civil liberties. On the contrary, the only sentiment on offer was schadenfreude, the German word used to describe the pleasure derived from the misfortune of others.
It was the same when ageing TV celebrities were being rounded up by the Jimmy Savile squad, sometimes on the flimsiest of pretexts. Not a dicky bird of sympathy from the Guardian, or its ideological fellow travellers in the professional ‘human rights’ industry.
Back in January, the comedian Jim Davidson was arrested at Heathrow by detectives from Operation Yewtree, set up to investigate so-called ‘historic’ sex offences. He, too, was treated like an international terrorism suspect after being taken into custody as he got off a plane from Dubai. Davidson was quizzed about an incident alleged to have taken place 25 years ago. He has always maintained his innocence, but has been on bail for eight months while the police attempted to build a case against him.
His house in Hampshire, where he had lived for only a year, was searched from top to bottom, his computer confiscated and sacks of ‘evidence’ carted away. What the hell did they expect to find in relation to an alleged sexual assault purported to have occurred a quarter of a century ago? This was just another fishing expedition.
The investigation even spread to the Falkland Islands, where Davidson entertained the troops in the Eighties. That line of inquiry is apparently still active. This week, however, Davidson was told that he would face no further action over allegations that he sexually assaulted ten women. Where did all these allegations come from? Davidson insists that he was initially interviewed about a single complaint, which he categorically denied.
From the moment detectives decided to widen the Jimmy Savile inquiry, I have been expressing concern that the entire operation was turning into a deranged witch hunt.
Let me make it clear yet again: the police have a duty to investigate all allegations of serious sexual assault. If there is a case to answer it must be tested in court. Their tactics were certainly vindicated when former It’s A Knockout presenter Stuart Hall admitted committing a string of sexual offences against young women, many of whom came forward only after he had his collar felt.
But from the outset there has been the suspicion that the police were arresting people first and asking questions later. Their entire modus operandi has been to create an impression of guilt by mounting high-profile, mob-handed arrests for the benefit of the television cameras. The presumption of innocence has been turned on its head.
After they have already made an arrest, po-faced police chiefs hold press conferences at which they announce that they take allegations of ‘historic’ sex crimes very seriously indeed and appeal for other ‘victims’ — their expression — to come forward. They hope to flush out enough ‘victims’ to establish a pattern of behaviour which would allow them to bring criminal charges.
In the case of Jim Davidson, the Crown Prosecution Service obviously felt that none of the evidence against him would stand up in court. Sex cases are notoriously difficult to prove at the best of times, often boiling down to ‘He said, she said’. Davidson is adamant he has never forced himself on a woman.
So what motivated these ‘victims’ to come forward? Was it, perhaps, the prospect of a fat pay day if he was convicted? The BBC muddied the waters when it announced that it would pay compensation to anyone assaulted by Savile or Hall on its premises.
As I wrote at the time: ‘How long before every woman with a signed photograph of either man, or a 40-year-old ticket stub from Top of The Pops or It’s A Knockout, slaps in a claim? It’s not so much a matter of how they could ever prove it. How could you ever prove they were lying? Easier to write the cheque.’
This week, it was reported that the BBC had agreed to pay £33,000 each to 120 of Savile’s alleged victims, at a cost to licence-payers of £4?million. How many of the women who claimed to have been assaulted by Jim Davidson thought they might be in line for a nice little drink if they said it happened while he was presenting the Generation Game or Big Break? We shall never know, but the implications for justice are disturbing. In the fevered atmosphere stirred up by Yewtree in the wake of the Savile affair, anyone in the public eye is fair game.
Stuart Hall admitted his guilt. Dave Lee Travis is awaiting trial and maintaining his innocence. Others such as Jimmy Tarbuck and Rolf Harris are in legal limbo, neither charged nor able to clear their names. Harris was re-arrested this month. Officers have even travelled to Australia trawling for victims after one 43-year-old woman claimed to have been assaulted by Harris when she was a teenager. Nice work if you can get it, Sarge.
The Commons Deputy Speaker Nigel Evans is also still on bail after he was arrested at his home in a blaze of flash bulbs and subjected to the full Savile Squad search treatment after two men made sex allegations against him.
I make no comment on the veracity of any of these allegations. They are all innocent until proven guilty. If the police have real evidence against any of these men they should charge them without further delay or set them free to get on with their lives.
There are more coppers at the Yard working on Yewtree than on the child protection team. Goodness only knows how much this operation has cost. It’s time to put up or shut up.
At least Nigel Evans has received more sympathy than celebs like Davidson, who has suffered serious career damage. He was due to make his TV comeback in Celebrity Big Brother, but was dropped like a spinning plate on the Generation Game following his arrest. He is entitled to sue the blue serge pants off Scotland Yard. Even if all of these men are eventually informed that no further action will be taken against them, mud sticks. They will always be known as ‘that MP/TV star in that sex case’.
One might have hoped that the Guardian would extend the same support to Jim Davidson as they have to their own man. But while Miranda has the right credentials — gay, fashionably Brazilian, Left-wing, anti-American, anti-British — Jimbo ticks all the wrong boxes. He’s a serial heterosexual, fiercely patriotric, works tirelessly for military charities, tells the ‘wrong’ kind of jokes and, horror or horrors, was a cheerleader for Mrs Thatcher and the Tories.
So, even if he isn’t guilty, as far as the Guardian is concerned it serves him right. His kind aren’t entitled to ‘human rights’.
Meanwhile, Jimmy Savile remains dead.
The GOS says: We couldn't have put it better ourselves, so we didn't try.
By the way – this Miranda bloke. What's all the fuss about?
He wasn't killed or tortured. His reputation, insofar as he has one, is relatively intact. His boyfriend is still his boyfriend. All the police did was question him gently for nine hours, so what's the big deal? I've spent that long standing round in Debenham's waiting for Mrs.GOS to make her bloody mind up.
If there's one publication more contemptible than the Daily Wail, it's the Grauniad. Not for its spelling, which is frequently woeful as Private Eye delighted to point out, but because its lying, biased, limp-wristed liberal propaganda is dressed up to seem intelligent. And it ain't.
Mind you, the Daily Wail pretends to be a newspaper, and many of the people who post their stupidity on its website (“end of”, “FACT!”) pretend to be human.
Not sure which is worse, really.
either on this site or on the World Wide Web.
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