When David Cameron was ambushed by Phillip Schofield on daytime TV he must have been pretty annoyed. That didn’t follow the Tony Blair rule book that sitting on a sofa in these shows was a safe bet. No big questions need be answered and it’s so much easier than being in with the likes of Jeremy Paxman.
The ambush for those who didn’t see it was fairly amateurish. Schofield passed a piece paper to Cameron with the names of establishment child abusers he had found on the internet in just a few minutes. Cameron ignored the list and said that he feared it could turn into a ‘gay witch-hunt’.
Now why did he have that fear and use that term?
In no way is my following answer meant to be moralising on either homosexuality or even on the despicable treatment of vulnerable children by those with some power over them. What I would like to point out is that embodied in Cameron’s fear is the double-standard demanded by our political class.
Anyone surfing the internet at that time, just a couple of weeks ago would have seen a number of names of Tory politicians rightly or wrongly identified as being involved in breaking the law. Two of those names were of men working in Thatcher’s Number 10, one an MP and the other a political appointee. The charge being leveled was the police had turned a blind eye to them breaking the then laws in having sexual relations with young men, sometimes in a public place.
Now this wasn’t just a Tory phenomenon in our recent political history. Certainly before the 1967 legalising of homosexuality in Roy Jenkin’s Sexual Offenses Act there were well known offenders in parliament. Labour’s Tom Driberg and the Tory Lord Boothby were notorious.
In 1967 the age of homosexual consent was set at 21 years. In 1994 it was changed to 18 years and in 2000 to the present 16 years. Now whether the laws were right or wrong is whole other argument, but my argument is the law should be enforced equally on whether you a bus driver, an MP or a lord. If the police were charging ‘normal’ people for offenses then our political classes should be equally charged. If in the records of the Met we find that some were not treated equally but given privileged treatment because of who they were, then it should be made public.
Why would Cameron fear our political class being held to the same standards that they themselves set in law for the rest of the population. We have seen in the expense scandals, right up to recently David Laws cheating the public purse, that the politicians demand a different set of rules for themselves.
Of course the real shame in recent weeks is that we seem to be more worried by the political fallout and harmed reputations, rather than the suffering endured by children at the hands of predatory figures of authority. I’m sure those wrongly accused will end up with more money than those child victims let down so badly by society.