The English are passing through one of their periodic fits of morality and the cause célèbre de jour is the late disc jockey Jimmy Savile.
Why do Australians have to be dragged into this morass of English public hypocrisy? Here’s some background to consider …
Jimmy Savile, a hugely popular radio and TV presenter, was in private a notorious perve and lecher. Everyone at the BBC knew it, Fleet Street knew it, the political classes knew it and the police knew it.
The only people who didn’t know were the gullible English public who watched his gormless TV shows and listened to his braying Yorkshire accent on the wireless.
James Wilson Vincent Savile, born in Leeds in 1926, was a protected species because he was that peculiar sociological being – a working-class Tory.
He was a devoted Thatcherite before the milk snatcher ever entered No 10 Downing Street. She invited him to Downing Street functions when the leaders of the arts, theatre, film and entertainment industries placed a unofficial boycott on her cruel and philistine regime.
(Sir) James Savile and (Sir Cliff) Richard, another Thatcher devotee, were both knighted by the Tories as a result of their creepy crawling. And Pope John Paul II, the disturbed Polish anti-communist, granted Savile a papal knighthood in 1990.
Savile attended New Year’s Eve parties at Cheques with the Thatcher family for 11 consecutive years during her slash-and-burn reign. Did she never notice him trying to bed the household staff? Why didn’t Special Branch or MI5 inform Thatcher of his deep-seated lust for sex with juveniles and innocents?
The timing of this week’s assault on Savile’s sexual exploits is not accidental. It is being driven by Rupert Murdoch’s News International. The purpose is to shame and scandalise the BBC who employed the cigar-smoking, Rolls Royce-driving disc jockey for half a century.
Murdoch’s current crusade is to destroy the revered standing of the public broadcaster and pressure David Cameron’s Tory Government into ending (or slashing) the licence fee that pays for the corporation’s staff and programming.
The plan is to turn his own pay TV network, BSkyB, into Britain’s premier broadcaster and make billions from advertising and exclusive sports TV rights.
ABC Radio National presenters are breathlessly covering the sex aspect of the story blissfully unaware that they are aiding and abetting Murdoch’s corporate strategy.
Savile himself died a year ago so he can’t be brought to justice, defend himself or sue his detractors. This isn’t about Savile’s egotistical sexual marauding but an exercise in BBC-bashing, pure and simple. For its chief promoter, Rupert Murdoch, it is a win-win: 1) the media is concentrating on the late Mr Savile and the BBC and 2) the media is ignoring him and his criminal enterprise.
I disliked Savile’s vulgar showmanship and his class treachery. However, he cheered the lives of millions of Brits living in cultural deprivation and worked tirelessly for charity raising millions of pounds for hospitals making life better for sick and neglected kids. He shamed the super-rich of the Thatcher and Blair eras who would only part with a quid on pain of waterboarding. Convicted of no crime, charged with no offence, his remains are being dug up and put on public display to further the aims of the Murdoch empire. It is cant and humbug and to hear it trotted out on Radio National is a sickening indictment of what is laughingly called “radio journalism”.
Finally, are there any Jimmy Saviles in the commercial radio industry in Australia? Perish the thought!
Postscript from Oscar Wilde
1. “Puritanism is not a theory of life. It is an explanation of the English middle classes, that is all.”
2. “In this country it is enough for a man to have distinction and brains for every common tongue to wag against him. And what sort of lives do these people who pose as being moral lead themselves? We are in the native land of the hypocrite.” (The Picture of Dorian Gray)