Tom Watson is one of the few people in parliament to be trusted when we discuss the issue of what to do about an alleged pedophile network operating at the very heart of the British Establishment. That does not mean I agree with everything he says. Firstly, the terms of the inquiry remain vague. Ending this is key. But can we trust Theresa May now to select a chair? I utterly reject that idea. Her insistence that Baroness Butler-Sloss is effectively the victim of irresponsible mob rule exposes why she is not fit to pick a chair for this inquiry.
Baroness Butler-Sloss should have known from the very start that she was not fit to do this job. She was never going to be accepable if only due to the perception of a conflict of interest. Family connections matter. Victims and all voters would never have accepted an inquiry chaired by the sister of Sir Michael Havers. Not given what I could find on the internet after a mere five minutes research after hearing the name of Butler-Sloss.
Families matter. They matter because we are all human, and sibling relations live with us always, at least until death or Altzheimers rob us of our memories; and if you are as prone to a belief in an afterlife as Baroness Elizabeth Butler-Sloss claims to be, they live on even after our bodies rot underground.
We cannot put love for our nearest and dearest aside in the eyes of the public, even when we try our best to do that. Parents, children, brothers, sisters, and others we love make mistakes, and worse. We feel a duty to stand by them despite everything, in almost all circumstances, even when they commit crimes society as a whole thinks abominable. We do this, not because we want them to be granted special rights we would deny others, but because we remember them before they lost their way, and perhaps even feel some guilt for letting them lose their very soul.
Greek tragedies, those of Shakespeare and others – film noire too – are often based on the hero/heroine being torn apart due to their love for an individual being at odds with what they know doing the right thing means, when viewed from the perspective of society as a whole. If we look deep into our hearts, we know we cannot be trusted when it comes to a conflict of interest between close family connections and loved ones, on the one hand, and doing the right thing, on the other.
And that is why Baroness Elizabeth Butler-Sloss would never have been allowed to be a judge when her brother was the defendant. And it is why she should never have been allowed to take on this responsibility. Theresa May’s inability to grasp this elementary fact exposes her. That is a problem, one that casts doubt in her own enthusiasm for getting to the bottom of what went on with the destruction of these 114 Home Office files in particular, and the alleged pedophile network at the heart o the British Establishment more generally.
Drawing a veil over Theresa May’s lack of self-awareness of her personal responsibility doesn’t help her. It doesn’t help the victims of child sex abuse. And it doesn’t help the voters get to the bottom of what went on.