Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Operation Yewtree

Operation Yewtree, if you've been living under a rock or outside the UK, is the three pronged investigation into the Jimmy Savile sex abuse scandal, investigating Savile's acts, those perpetrated by Savile with others, and those unconnected with Savile, mostly of people in the public eye from the 1960's - 1980's, which has resulted in a number of high-profile arrests, some of whom have been charged with sex offences. Codenames for investigations are a strange beast indeed, but I think I can figure this one, the investigation started after Savile's death, and Yew trees are often found in graveyards, so it seems fitting for an investigation centred around a dead bloke.

Image (c) www.camerasnaps.org.uk

Operation Yewtree affects almost all of us.  I'm glad to say that like, hopefully, the majority of the people reading this, I was never victim to the abuses of Savile or others in the public eye in the era in which I grew up.  And the world of 2013 is a very different place, with very different attitudes to the time in which the majority of these offences took place.  What was seen as acceptable behaviour at that time, is simply not in the present day - which is undoubtedly a good thing.  Would Are You Being Served? or the Carry On...films be made today, with their poorly disguised innuendo and objectification of women?  I hope not.  Clearly not in the case of the latter, as a number of attempts to revive the series have been made over the last 20 years since Carry on Columbus (and that was a dreadful mistake in itself)

But for anyone who grew up in the UK between the 1960's to 1980's, Operation Yewtree, and the findings of the investigations thus far, have affected us.  They've touched and tainted all our lives.  The rose tinted glasses of childhood nostalgia are scratched and damaged forever.  Those memories of writing to Jim'll Fix It as a class exercise in primary school and the hope against hope your might be picked to have your dreams made reality in front of the nation. Saturday evenings in front of It's A Knockout watching people from across Europe dressed up as ostriches or getting covered in gunge, making fools of themselves for national pride while commentators wet themselves with laughter.

In no way am I suggesting that what I'm feeling is anywhere near what the victims of these offences have gone through.  But for each one of us that watched, and loved their programmes, a little bit of our childhood has been stolen as well.  I don't even know what to equate it to.  The only thing I can come up with is exactly what it is - imagine if...  it's the kind of situation that a few years ago would have been a ridiculous idea.  But here we are today, and it's true.

It makes me scared.  Scared that in those rose tinted days, where like that facebook meme says "we didn't have phones, we climbed trees, scraped knees, our curfew was the streetlights, we licked out the cake mix bowl, and apples & blackberries only came in crumbles", that these things were going on to so many people, by those we all respected and admired, in a time where we felt so safe.  What about the world now?  A world where we feel so much less safe.  The internet has given us so much more access to information, we hear about things we would never have done before, which leads us to feel that the world is less safe (even when crime statistics prove otherwise).  Where does it end?


  1. I've mentioned this briefly in blog posts recently too. I feel shocked, but I don't feel my childhood is marred in any way, nor do I think that we were any safer then than children are now - it's just that media and the internet have made us hyper aware of the possibilities of risk. In fact, children today are probably more protected from crimes like those of Yew Tree than they ever have been before. I choose to look at those stars of my childhood as nothing more than sad pathetic men, and I feel stronger by knowing that I, and my family and most of the world are so much better than they could ever have been - so imagine the success that we can all have.

  2. I agree with actually mummy

    But I also feel sadness that figures I saw as heroes are no more


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