So within 24 hours of my post and significant pressure from various quarters, Lady Butler-Sloss has quit her position leading the child abuse inquiry.
The media is focusing on concerns that because her brother, Michael Havers, sat in the Cabinet during the 1980s there could be a question about her impartiality if he were found to have failed to act on information that may have been given to him. But the real issue behind her resignation concerns her own role in concealing from a report she had been asked to write, sex abuse allegations levelled against a Church of England Bishop. She put her ‘care for the Church’ before her duty to bring criminal activity to light for investigation and prosecution.
That, more than anything else, demonstrates that Butler-Sloss is an unreliable, pro-establishment figure who cannot be trusted to unearth and make public evidence that could destroy the reputations of people who inhabit the circles she has long moved in. Yet despite all of that the government line is one of defiance. David Cameron’s offical spokesman had this to say:
The Government’s view hasn’t changed, that she would have done a first-class job as chair.
The reasons for her appointment still absolutely stand in terms of her professional expertise and her integrity, which I don’t think has been questioned from any quarter whatsoever, and rightly so.
There is an important task here in terms of having the over-arching inquiry and we will put a panel together that ensures that that that job is done comprehensively.
The key thing around the appointment will be getting a panel that has the right range of skills and expertise and credibility that gives the inquiry confidence in its work.
It is absolutely incredible that despite Butler-Sloss having covered up the name of a Bishop accused of abuse, and the public response to the story thereafter, that Cameron’s spokesman pretends that her integrity hasn’t been questioned ‘from any quarter whatsoever.’ In fact it’s disgusting spin.
Butler-Sloss may have gone, but who now could possibly chair such an inquiry? The odds of anyone in the upper reaches of the establishment who may have engaged in child sex abuse being uncovered, and prosecuted if still alive, are very long indeed. Once again the public has been treated with contempt by those who have been paid large sums to ‘serve’ us.