The news about child abuse by MPs and other VIPs is gathering pace. There is increasing revulsion over the allegations of murder of children and witnesses. John Mann MP has handed to police a list of 22 influential people.
The investigating police are making clear that they are not going to be thrown off-course. But they have a massive job to do. There are indications that they are inundated with a vast amount of work as they search for evidence that is sound enough to convict criminals who were operating 20 or 30 years ago. One of the difficulties is that child abuse is generally a private thing, with only the perpetrator and victim present. It is the word of one against the word of another.
That is the problem detectives face as they work to find individual low-level perpetrators.
There is another aspect of the detective work, that of identifying the high-level paedophile rings who operated (operate still?) in Westminster, that is relatively simple technically, but paradoxically, is deeply challenging politically.
Detective investigators could fairly easily work their way up the chain of command in order to identify the senior policemen and politicians who set up the culture of denial and obfuscation that is detailed here and here.
All that is required is for detectives to ask these questions of a witness to delay and obfuscation, whether it be a front line worker, or one of the many detectives who experienced their inquiries being blocked or stopped as soon as they began to close in on VIPs. The line of questioning is:
"Who gave the order that this abuse story was to be set aside and ignored?"
"Who did you hand the lost file to?"
and even simply "Who was your superior officer?"
The detectives then move up the chain of command to the next level, and continues until they find the source of the order. At each step in the search, the number gets fewer. If leads from different inquiries begin to point to the same name, that person gets to be interviewed.
This process is simple and effective, and will lead to important persons who were blocking the inquiries.
The problem is not complexity; the problem is political and psychological. It means that junior officers will be closing in on their own superiors - or their own superiors' predecessors. In doing this, juniors will need courage, integrity, and support. The support will have to come from politicians and journalists who also will need courage and integrity - qualities that many cynics will immediately say will be impossible to find.
In this case, cynicism about politicians actually helps to bring about the situation that the cynic believes in. It is a form of self-fulfilling prophecy. There are decent MPs out there who really want to serve the people. They may not be perfect - nobody is perfect - but we must encourage them and bring them forward.
If we are to tackle the abscess of child abuse in the body politic of our nation, it is imperative that we identify and remove from office the powerful paedophiles who are able to hide behind their positions of power, and their friends. If cynics do not want to help in this process, they should at least try not to hinder those that are motivated to get it done,
The sorry tale of Butler-Sloss, Michael Havers, Fiona Woolf and Leon Brittan demonstrates perfectly the mechanism that could be called the "establishment effect". The establishment would prefer that police detectives spend their time in a Sysiphan task of sifting through an ever growing mound of data relating to historic abuse, trying to convict aging low ranking abusers, than that they should turn their attention to finding and eradicating the 20 or so powerful politicians, civil servants and establishment figures who have committed serious crimes.
We must urge Theresa May and the Home Office to get the detectives to fight their way up the chain of command and identify the high level abusers.