Smirking 'No smoke without fire' crew win - we all lose
Thanks to the failure of police to stop Jimmy Savile, all men are now potentially tarred with the 'sex abuser' brush, says Eilis O'Hanlon
So now Cliff Richard's name has been added to the list of those whose reputations have been irrevocably tarnished, as the authorities in the UK, caught between a rock and a hard place, try to make amends for their failure over decades to stop Jimmy Savile with a retrospective crackdown on every real or perceived act of sexual impropriety by celebrities of the same era.
The singer insists that the allegations against him of assaulting a boy under the age of 16 in the 1980s are "completely false". While his home in Berkshire, England, has been searched, and a number of items removed, Sir Cliff has not been charged.
The notion of being innocent until proven guilty used to mean something, but that hasn't stopped the wild rumours from spreading online; and it raises the question why any man in his right mind would ever allow himself again to be in the company of other people's children.