Thursday 18 January 2018

Kevin Myers: Predatory and cunning, the Jimmy Savile world never saw

Kevin Myers

THE allegations that Jimmy Savile was a child abuser came as a complete but unsurprising revelation to me. Thirty years ago, London was abuzz with rumours that he couldn't be left alone with young girls. Yet as his esteem grew, and he was even rewarded with a knighthood, I naturally assumed the rumours had been baseless. We now know that he was a serious violator of young children: predatory, cunning and charismatic, using his immense personality to cow his victims into silence, and to intimidate those adults who were aware of what he was up to into passive complicity.

We in Ireland have had the dubious advantage of having been given a guided tour of this territory, courtesy of many priests and brothers: but of course, almost no nuns. The power of such abusive clergymen was closely related to their outward religiosity, and the same was true of Savile, whose embrace of Christianity was public and uncompromising. He once argued that priests should always wear clerical clothes, so that the laity could instantly recognise them in time of need, and he manipulated his charitable deeds to promote his reputation as a good man.

It was of course all horseshit, part of an industriously created facade that was also based on a very outward devotion to his mother -- 'The Duchess' as he called her -- which gave him the freedom to exploit and debauch young girls, as far back as the 1960s.

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