Butler-Sloss quits child abuse inquiry – under pressure from SOCIAL media?

Resigned: Baroness Butler-Sloss.

Resigned: Baroness Butler-Sloss.

Would anybody argue with the suggestion that the social media – including blogs like Vox Political – played the largest part in the removal of Baroness Butler-Sloss from the government’s inquiry into historical child sex abuse investigations?

Until yesterday, Lady Butler-Sloss was adamant that there was no reason she could not head up the inquiry, even though her past associations with people she might have to investigate included her own brother, the late Sir Michael Havers, who was attorney general in the 1980s.

It was the social media that found this information and revealed it to the general public – who then complained bitterly to the government.

Do we believe Lady Butler-Sloss where she tells us she “did not sufficiently consider” whether her family links would throw the inquiry into question? It seems extremely out-of-character for a former judge, who would never – for example – have allowed a trial jury to include a relative of the defendant, to claim that she could be impartial about matters involving her own family. It was a clear conflict of interest.

One point that has been glossed-over is the fact that this woman is nearly 81 years of age and from the same privileged background as many of the people she would be asked to investigate. Did she even have the necessary sensibilities – or even the ability to open her mind to current thinking – required to head up an investigation such as this?

Of course, Lady Butler-Sloss was appointed by the Home Secretary, Theresa May. She has been accused of failure to carry out “due diligence” – the necessary checks to discover if a candidate can be relied upon to be impartial – but has defiantly claimed that her choice was good.

“I do not regret the decision I made. I continue to believe that Elizabeth Butler-Sloss would have done an excellent job as chair of this inquiry,” she told the Home Affairs select committee. Really? Excellent by whose standards?

We know from Lord Tebbit that there was a ‘hush-hush’ culture in the Thatcher government of the 1980s. He said people thought the establishment “had to be protected”.

Then-Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher – who herself spent a great deal of time with serial child abuser Jimmy Savile – is now seen to have turned ‘Nelson’s Eye’ towards such accusations – the same eye with which he was able to make the claim, “I see no ships”. The eyes of history are likely to take a dim view of such blindness.

And of course the attitude she held is likely to pervade government even now, 30 years later. Perhaps Theresa May wanted this inquiry – which she had resisted for a long time – to be headed by a person who could be trusted not to rock the boat. Perhaps she had been told to select such a person.

Now we must wait for an announcement on a new chairperson. This also plays into the hands of those with skeletons (or worse) in their closets as it creates a delay.

Not only that, but we must all remain vigilant against the possibility that May will appoint another dud. The BBC’s report makes it clear that the requirement for a candidate to have a legal background and the security clearance necessary to be able to read confidential papers means it is hard to find anyone who is suitably qualified and is not part of the establishment.

We still do not know where this will lead and who will be implicated. People like Theresa May and David Cameron will want to protect members of their own Old Guard from retrospective vilification (if Lord Tebbit’s words are to be trusted), and it seems likely they will do everything in their considerable power to fob us off.

It is our responsibility to make sure they don’t.

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  1. ellie guest July 15, 2014 at 10:07 am - Reply

    or Nigel on the sssshhhh QT

  2. sdbast July 15, 2014 at 10:09 am - Reply

    Reblogged this on sdbast.

  3. Joanna July 15, 2014 at 11:09 am - Reply

    Well done Mike! Top notch reporting!!!

  4. Joanna July 15, 2014 at 11:23 am - Reply

    When I was abused in care I was told if I carried on with the complaint I would be put in a secure unit, and to re-enforce the Idea I was taken on a day trip to visit a secure unit, needless to say it terrified me!
    A couple of years ago I could have had my day in court, but the police prevented that happening because even though they found him, they weren’t going to press charges because, and I am not joking
    1) He is in his 60’s
    2) he is not very well and
    3) it is my word against his.
    The police didn’t even send the complaint to the CSP, because a sergeant decided it wasn’t important enough!
    The is and never has been justice in the world, not for the likes of me anyway. Life sucks!!!!

    • Mike Sivier July 15, 2014 at 11:36 am - Reply

      Those are exactly the excuses delivered by the police to a certain person of my own acquaintance.
      This wasn’t Dyfed-Powys Police, by any chance?

      • Joanna July 15, 2014 at 11:45 am - Reply

        No It was Humberside police in Hull. I have zero respect for any police now!!!

  5. Florence July 15, 2014 at 11:35 am - Reply

    We’re all deeply indebted to you & your social media colleagues for the priceless work done on this and many other issues – such as the DWP FoI case, bedroom tax, etc. We can’t thank you enough.

    I hope that this will mark a watershed in the new politics (with a small p) with far greater participation, and less establishment control. Although as I write that, the new snoopers charter springs to mind as a desperate attempt to close us all down (beyond irony).

    It’s a victory for the people against the establishment – will they take note, or just try to close their ranks tighter? As ever, we’ll be here on VP to see the issues and the responses. Invaluable.

  6. jaypot2012 July 15, 2014 at 12:57 pm - Reply

    Reblogged this on Jay's Journal and commented:
    Do they think that they can get anyone to head the inquiry, that will NOT stand by them?

  7. […] Source: Butler-Sloss quits child abuse inquiry – under pressure from SOCIAL media? […]

  8. bad putty tat (@BadPutty) July 15, 2014 at 2:12 pm - Reply

    Brilliant reporting! You are so right social media has moved a lot to act: Maria Miller is a case in point, in just 5 days 250,000 people signed a petition to sack her and she had to go. Boycott workfare has done some wonderful work exposing workfare abusers, yesterday they were engaged with Tesco and their 16 week apprenticeship which is zero wages, and of course I added my two pennorth worth. I boycotted Tesco’s because of their abuse of the unemployed and MAKE SURE I tell them every time boycott workfare has a go on them.
    Please keep the blogs coming!


    • Joanna July 15, 2014 at 3:33 pm - Reply

      This world is getting evilly crazy, Have seen the Tesco ads asking people to donate to their food bank drive? They are causing most of the food crises Every time they exploit an unemployed person and then they have the nerve to play on peoples consciences!! Words fail me!!!

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