There is clearly nothing worse about the Savile case than the unspeakable crimes he committed and the amount of lives he damaged. His depravity, his abuse of trust and the longevity of his crimes provoke feelings of nausea. But there is something else very disturbing about the case- the failure of so many public institutions to meet their most basic obligations to protect those they were meant to serve.
The Police, CPS, NHS, BBC, the prison service, the list goes on. They let down hundreds of people- many of them children- for six decades, including during the 2000s.
Criminals commit crimes and they often do it with ingenuity and stealth but rarely do they get so much help as Savile did.
Talk of “watershed moments” rings a little hollow after a year in which other issues have rocked our trust in bodies we should be able to rely on. Savile was clearly a predatory sex offender, preying on the most vulnerable. But he was only able to succeed and avoid justice for so long because of the failure of others. Their unwillingness- as that is what it must have been- to believe those who spoke out, and their willingness- as that is what it must have been- to turn a blind eye to criminality because they were putting themselves and the reputation of their organisations first is breath-taking.
Time and time again we see institutions close ranks and forget their oft-quoted values of public service, integrity, truth, respect etc for short term gain; avoiding scandal and damage to its brand.
You can often judge a country by its people and its institutions. This is the greatest country on earth to live in but as a little more shine came off these institutions over the last few weeks our country got a little less great.