HERE are a few things I regret hearing this week…
The words ‘Jimmy Savile’ being again uttered in the public arena. Dear God how that man poisoned the well of our lives.
That vile name was back again yesterday thanks to the publication of an independent inquiry by former senior judge Dame Janet Smith into the way the BBC had allowed stars such as Savile to abuse women and children. Her inquiry found that deference towards “untouchable” celebrities such as Savile and Stuart Hall was to blame.
This morning most newspapers are having a go at the BBC as they always do. This is not to say that the Corporation is blameless – far from it – but it is to wonder at the way Savile in particular has become the cross the BBC will seemingly have to carry for ever.
The poison from that man spread much further than the BBC, infecting various aspects of public life, up to and including the NHS and Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, who often consorted with Savile.
A Google search of their names will bring up enough assorted old photographs to put you off breakfast for a week. Savile wormed his way into the complacent heart of the establishment; the BBC played a big part in that, but shouldn’t carry all the blame for ever more.
The editorial in The Times this morning calls on the BBC to learn the lessons of Dame Janet’s review, saying: “It needs to return to its core competencies of news, current affairs and entertainment, and end its unfair dominance of online news publishing and atone for the devastating damages of a decade-long scandal that unfolded while it looked the other way.”
Here you have a typical example of BBC bashing, with Rupert Murdoch’s paper twisting the findings of the inquiry to have a go at the unrelated matter of the BBC’s online services. These by the way are very good indeed and I’m happy to see some of my licence money spent on them.
When will all this end? Probably never (see below).
I also regret Tony Blackburn being sacked by the BBC, even though I can’t stand the man or his dreadful programme on BBC Radio Two.
The veteran DJ was shown the door yesterday because the BBC director general, Tony Hall, said he had failed to fully cooperate with one element of Dame Janet Smith’s report.
Blackburn claims he has been “hung out to dry” and made a scapegoat for historical failings at the BBC. That may or may not turn out to be the case, but really the BBC should have pensioned off Blackburn years ago, instead of letting him rumble on for so very long, still cranking out a creaky old act in a hoary piece of self-parody. Blackburn is 73 and although I don’t wish to be ageist about this, isn’t that just a little too old to be a DJ? For all that, it’s still a shame he should have gone in this manner, and the statement from Tony Hall was pretty grotesque and full of squirm.
On a different and unconnected matter, I very much regret ever having encountered the word ‘genervacation’. Well, I say word but it’s no such thing. It’s just a horrible neologism dreamed up some twerp employed by a travel company; and regurgitated last weekend in the Observer, of all places.
Now ‘staycation’ sort of made sense and was tolerable, but this new one is an ugly coinage. What’s worse its meaning irritated the hell out of me, as it supposedly refers to rising numbers of parents my age who have so much money to spare they take their broke twentysomething adult offspring off on glamorous holidays (an irritating panel trundles out a creative director and his family in Vietnam).
Now I know this isn’t about me and I shouldn’t care. But while I would love to take my three on an exotic break somewhere, the way things are I’ll be lucky to go on any sort of a holiday ever again.
Self-pitying moan over and out.