By John Charles Dyer, UK Correspondent
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5 November 2012 is the night the British celebrate Guy Fawkes day with “bonfire night.” Guy Fawkes Day mostly comes off with good natured celebrations and fireworks. This 5 November the Prime Minister David Cameron lit what may be a slow burning political explosion of far reaching consequences.
5 November Prime Minister David Cameron announced yet another independent inquiry into yet another shoddily conducted investigation.
Even before the investigation begins, fundamental questions surface that will echo for weeks to come.
What kind of system is so utterly corrupt and/or incompetent that one high profile inquiry after another must be redone to restore credibility? Hillsborough, Orgreave, Phone Hacking & Leveson, Savile, and now the Waterhouse inquiry into allegations of paedophillia in North Wales care homes. As if phone hacking, protecting the police from embarrassment and government sanctioned violent strike breaking are not enough, now between Savile and Waterhouse Britain confronts systemic failure in the investigations of an alleged major paedophile ring.
Like the (in)famous original “Gunpowder Plot,” this latest investigation has the potential to affect British politics for generations to come.
This latest inquiry into an inquiry grew out of the Savile affair. Briefly, BBC Icon Jimmy Savile turned out to be indisputably a paedophile of epic proportions over 60 years of predation allegedly covered up because of his connections within BBC and 10 Downing Street. He was never prosecuted. In fact, charges did not emerge into the public eye until after his death.
The Savile reinvestigation led to the resurfacing of charges that had been allegedly mishandled or dismissed 12 years ago in the Waterhouse inquiry. Named for the judge who conducted it, Waterhouse inquired into a paedophillia ring with alleged connections to 10 Downing Street during the Thatcher era. Related charges led to Tom Watson MP asking Prime Minister Cameron to investigate allegations that a paedophile ring operated out of 10 Downing Street and included an important aide to Mrs. Thatcher.
The newly resurfaced allegations include charges that implicate not only this principal aide to Margaret Thatcher but a Senior Conservative “Grandee” no longer holding public office. Further charges cut across two major political parties. They cut a wide swath that reaches the very top of the British political elite for a generation.
These charges are so explosive and serious I will not repeat any specifically identifying information much less names. Nor will I cite newspaper articles or blogs which may inadvertantly repeat identifying information unless and until the charges are proven.
If proven, these allegations will seriously rock not only British politics, but international politics.
If proven, these charges raise the question, how could the affairs of government of such an important, powerful, and shining light of Western democracy and NATO ally be run for at least a generation with paedophiles at the heart of government. How could this have been swept under the rug? Who knew and what are they doing now? Does one seriously think the attitudes toward abuse, trust and vulnerability inherent in the condition did not affect policy, both foreign and domestic?
The painful questions will not end with politics.
As is now common knowledge, paedophiles are generally themselves victims as well as perpetrators. What did these individuals have in common? When in their personal histories did they become paedofiles? Who “turned” them? The implications stretch to family and potentially the public school system so integral to the preparation of this country’s political elite.
If proven, Britain -- and possibly the West -- faces a potentially profound and self image shattering reexamination of itself and its institutions. This reexamination would likely be as shattering as the past 20 years has been for the Roman Catholic Church, especially in Ireland.
But it must be faced. It must not be shirked. It must not be swept under the rug and -- especially if not proven -- the inquiry must be seen to have been fastidiously and faithfully thorough and transparent. Government cannot shrink from exposing this dark, stinking rot -- if it exists -- to the light of day.
But by 7 November Tom Watson was already accusing Secretary Theresa May of a cover up because of the way the government is structuring the investigation. On 8 November Prime Minister David Cameron further muddied the waters -- and at the same time raised fears of a government coverup -- by confusing paedophillia with homosexuality, saying he did not want the investigation to become a witch hunt of homosexuals.
The British public have both the decency and the backbone to face this. Surely a nation as sophisticated as Britain knows the difference between paedophillia and homosexuality!
Its government must also. No question of whether it has done so can remain at the end of this journey.