This week it's been interesting hearing peoples' reactions to the accusations against Jimmy Savile and Lance Armstrong. In the case of Lance Armstrong the people I've spoken to, like me, have defended him when I expected to be in a minority, possibly of one.
After defending him on Twitter yesterday I was invited to defend him on the BBC World Service, a programme called World Have Your Say. The thrust of my defence of Armstrong was that he had around 500 drug tests during his cycling career and did not fail a single one. The report produced by USADA contains nothing but hearsay, maybe from people with a grudge or people who knew they would receive a lighter ban for admitting their own doping if they fingered Armstrong. Let's face it, USADA have hounded Armstrong for years and were determined to get him one way or another.
With Jimmy Savile the questions are even more far reaching. Why did people wait until he was dead and buried to make the accusations? Why did social workers, police and other agencies seemingly ignore accusations against Savile going back 50 years? Why did hospital authorities allow Savile to wander at will around wards with no supervision if, as is claimed, nurses and other hospital staff suspected or saw him sexually abusing patients? As with Hillsborough, where people in authority at the time are likely to be charged now with manslaughter, I would hope that anybody in any position to have acted against Savile, be it a nurse, a doctor a BBC manager or whoever but didn't, faces investigation and charges if the accusations are proved correct.
There is also the question of women now coming forward claiming to have been victims of sexual misbehaviour, by people other than Jimmy Savile, when working for the BBC. One question here is what constitutes sexual harassment or sexual abuse? Over recent decades what is seen as acceptable behaviour by a man towards a woman has changed dramatically. Could what they are looking back on have been what was regarded at the time as 'banter', but with twenty first century eyes it becomes harassment or abuse? And again, why did these apparently strong women, building successful careers in the tough world of broadcasting, not act at the time?
This morning I read that social workers in Rochdale ignored reports that a 13 year old girl was involved in prostitution claiming that she had made a 'lifestyle choice'. All these things show one thing, that the authorites (the state) cannot be trusted. They need to be questioned and challenged constantly and in many cases agencies of the state should be abolished, only then will people start taking individual responsibility.