This is the last article you can read this month
You can read more article this month
You can read more articles this month
Sorry your limit is up for this month
By chance several events in the last few days have highlighted poignantly how the British Establishment — the small political-economic-financial elite who went to the same public schools and the same universities (usually Oxbridge) — automatically closes ranks to protect its own when it comes under pressure.
Jonathan Burrows, a former managing director of Blackrock Asset Management who was paid a multi-million salary, was exposed as a chiselling fare dodger who had cheated Southeastern Railways out of £43,000 over several years, but because he was allowed to make an out-of-court settlement he avoided prosecution and wasn’t sent to prison.
What ordinary employee would have have been allowed such a getaway?
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) feebly admonished him as “falling short of the standards we expect” — can you imagine that being said to a burglar who had raided houses for several years and got away with £43,000?
The FCA is the same toothless body which is supposed to be holding the City to account after a decade of stupendous financial crime but has yet to send a single City grandee to prison.
The mood of this corrupt closing of ranks to protect one of their own is best caught by the machinations reported on Friday of how the Tory government in 1963 sought to frame Mandy Rice-Davies in order to “get” Stephen Ward because he was about to expose minister of war John Profumo for lying to Parliament about his affair with Christine Keeler. Nothing has changed.
The Establishment cranked into action. A corrupt Scotland Yard officer had Rice-Davies arrested for a non-existent theft of a rented television, softened up in prison and told she would only be released if she testified against Ward.
She was subjected to the corrupt bullying of the police, the moralising cant of the prosecutor and the deep bias of the Old Bailey judge. Nor is this a one-off story of 50 years ago.
The rampant child sex abuse of Jimmy Savile over decades was hushed up, just as the sexual depredations of Cyril Smith MP were similarly never followed up even though detailed reports of the evidence against him were sent to the Home Office.
In order to ensure that nothing much would come of the child sex abuse inquiry she set up, Home Secretary Theresa May tried to get away with appointing blatantly pro-Establishment figures to chair it.
We now learn that the Metropolitan Police has enough evidence to validate allegations of a VIP-led child sex scandal operating for years among senior Westminster figures, which was known about but hushed up for decades.
The police officer who shot dead an unarmed Mark Duggan has not been prosecuted.
MI5 was not called to account over the two terrorists who murdered the soldier Lee Rigby last May, even though both men were known to the authorities beforehand.
The senior police officers who ran the secret unit of undercover officers spying on environmental activists and using illicit sexual liaisons to cover their tracks have never been prosecuted.
Not a single death in custody over the last 25 years which has led to open coroner verdicts has ever been prosecuted and the perpetrator convicted.
Britain has an Establishment worthy of any Third World autocracy, it’s just that the British are more subtle about it.
Michael Meacher is Labour MP for Oldham West and Royton
You can’t buy a revolution, but you can help the only daily paper in Britain that’s fighting for one by joining the 501 club.
Just £5 a month gives you the opportunity to win one of 17 prizes, from £25 to the £501 jackpot.
By becoming a 501 Club member you are helping the Morning Star cover its printing, distribution and staff costs — help keep our paper thriving by joining!
You can’t buy a revolution, but you can help the only daily paper in Britain that’s fighting for one by become a member of the People’s Printing Press Society.
The Morning Star is a readers’ co-operative, which means you can become an owner of the paper too by buying shares in the society.
Shares are £1 each — though unlike capitalist firms, each shareholder has an equal say. Money from shares contributes directly to keep our paper thriving.
Some union branches have taken out shares of over £500 and individuals over £100.
You can’t buy a revolution, but you can help the only daily paper in Britain that’s fighting for one by donating to the Fighting Fund.
The Morning Star is unique, as a lone socialist voice in a sea of corporate media. We offer a platform for those who would otherwise never be listened to, coverage of stories that would otherwise be buried.
The rich don’t like us, and they don’t advertise with us, so we rely on you, our readers and friends. With a regular donation to our monthly Fighting Fund, we can continue to thumb our noses at the fat cats and tell truth to power.
Donate today and make a regular contribution.