Mark Easton wrote an article on the BBC News website entitled: Savile: How Could This Be Allowed To Happen?’ While today, Prime Minister Cameron unveils new measures that would extend the crime of ‘wilful neglect’ to cover the social care and education of children, with fines for organisations and individuals who can be shown to have let people down.
That’s great, even if there is a hint of too little, too late and only then because of an impending election, but cynicism aside, seriously, how could this be allowed to happen? Well, to go all Al Gore again, the inconvenient truth is the inconvenience of the truth and in the light of this ‘new discovery’ that people in positions of trust abuse that trust and the people who place their trust in them, and continue to get away with it because they continue to hold the balance of power unchecked by any effective regulators, so this continues now.
Why does this only relate to children when the principle is so clear? Well it’s a story that’s running so fast that our politicians have no choice but to try and catch up with it and pretend to be maintaining the pace. It’s especially emotive. But why does the same rule of law not apply to anyone in a position of power, trust and responsibility? Would that mean that too many people would be forced to actually do the job they’re being paid for rather than spending time, effort and funds to maintain the image of doing their job?
Is this why whistleblowers have their lives ruined – because they are doing their job and want others to do the same in a society that sees that concept as too much of a threat to the status quo? In the meantime our elderly become increasingly neglected, willing workers are punished for doing their jobs well while dodgy managers are allowed to twist reality so easily because the current reality of our society is so twisted?
The French have a law that places a responsibility upon anyone who knows of a wrong being perpetrated and they can pay a heavy price for failing to do what might justly be thought of as their duty to society. The trouble is, duty to society has shifted to keeping quiet, not rocking the boat, not putting yourself at risk. The result is this warped outcome where those who hold the power and positions to wield it anyway they like, are the ones who become protected by those too scared to speak out for fear of repercussions and who are too ready to accept the back handed rewards for doing so, selling any last remnant of worth they might have grasped onto and believing that no one can see through the charade.
So, anyone in a position of trust, of power, anyone on whom the vulnerable in our society depend (and who probably fund their ‘champions’), let’s see you stand up to scrutiny by not refusing to hear employees grievances fairly or by refusing to allow witnesses of their choice to be called or by not shunting out the staff who spot what you’re up to. The time for change is here.