December 11, 2012 by hattersleysmith
‘Your name was removed from registers, every record of everything you had ever done was wiped out, your one-time existence was denied and then forgotten. You were abolished, annihilated: vaporized was the usual word’ (Orwell, Nineteen Eighty Four)
Jimmy Savile’s atrocities stretch far beyond thought-crime; the most recent police reports suggest that over 500 victims have claimed they faced abuse by the presenter. Watching clips of past footage of Savile on television makes me feel a bit sick and it’s difficult not to feel incredulous as to how he wasn’t accused and exposed before October 2012. Yes, the Surrey police made investigations and apparently found him innocent, but it’s still chilling that such a Personality could have been rendered so untouchable by his fame, outward goodness and friendship with influential people, that he got away with molesting so many innocent young women. Televised interviews, first on ITV’s Exposure and later on the BBC’s Panorama, newspapers’ relentless questions and the resignation George Entwistle and Peter Rippon have rightly led to a dramatic public outcry. How could such a trusted national institution as the BBC have let this happen? How did Savile operate such evils under the noses of press, public, friends and family? Why didn’t the victims come forth? And for the select few who did, why didn’t anyone believe them? Why did the BBC stop the broadcast of a Newsnight investigation on his suspect pedophilia a few weeks after his death?
So many questions are being raised across all platforms that it seems impossible to answer them all. At the end of the day, the news came too late. He’s dead. He can’t touch us or any more young girls for that matter. But neither can he have a voice from the grave to tell his story and, closing the pages of Orwell’s dystopian vision, I’m left wondering if vaporising all positive memories from his legacy is the answer.
The crushing of his tombstone, scratching off of plaques and inscriptions, defacing of his commemorative walls is somewhat resonant with sending his existence down Winston’s memory hole. Even his cottage in Glencoe boasts thick black graffitied ‘Jimmy the Beast’ and I wonder if it too will face the bulldozer, I mean what family would want to bring up their children in the building in which such an evil and vilified man once ate his cornflakes?
All over the country public officials, the BBC and even his own family and friends are systematically wiping out all traces of goodness, physically and mentally, from the legacy of a man who raised over £40 million for charity, attracting invaluable funding and celebrity endorsements, including from the Royal family, of hospitals and schools and achieving an OBE (1971) and knighthood (1990), just two more symbols of his sparkling deception.
The once smiling face which fronted the immensely popular ‘Jim’ll Fix It’ is now rendered terrifying, with his wispy white hair, bizarre rosy-tinted spectacles and fat cigar gritted between mouldering teeth, and has become the stuff of childhood nightmares as he leers out of screens, newspapers, magazines. This is a face we must all hate and make our children hate and make our children’s children hate, whipped up into a universal rage which ‘it was impossible to avoid joining in’.
Although Savile’s memory will never die, he has been rewritten. Forever will his legacy be recalled in disgust as an embodiment of evil who hoodwinked his family, celebrities, royalty and closest friends, preying on the most vulnerable victims, the young and the psychologically unstable. The man who brought smiles and laughter to our screens, the man who synonymised himself with charity and goodwill, the man who worked his way to the centre of one of the most trusted corporations, the BBC, is now firmly locked in Room 101 as ‘something unendurable – something that cannot be contemplated’ by the hearts and minds of a nation. The fragments of his tombstone lie scattered in landfill as he joins Adolf Hitler, Jack the Ripper and Colonel Gaddaffi in an unmarked, soon to be unknown grave.