Don’t know if you’ve been following the burgeoning scandal in the UK, but it seems that a hundred files possibly containing damning information about a 1980s-era pedophile ring involving high levels of the British establishment have gone missing. More:

Lord Tebbit has said he believes there may have been a political cover-up of child abuse allegations against politicians in the 1980s as Theresa May came under pressure to explain how the Home Office lost or destroyed more than 100 files related to accusations of organised paedophilia.

The former cabinet minister, who served under Margaret Thatcher, said the collective instinct of establishment figures at the time was to protect “the system” and not to delve too deeply into claims.

The home secretary is preparing to make a statement to the House of Commons on Monday to explain what happened to the missing documents relating to historic organised child abuse over a period of 20 years.


Tebbit said: “At that time I think most people would have thought that the establishment, the system, was to be protected and if a few things had gone wrong here and there that it was more important to protect the system.”

Asked on the BBC’s Andrew Marr programme if he thought there had been a political cover-up at the time, Tebbit said: “I think there may well have been. It was almost unconscious. It was the thing that people did.”

Do keep this in mind when trying to understand why the Catholic bishops did what they did. It was more important to protect the system than to protect children. It was true in the case of the Church, and it is almost certainly true in the case of the British State (as it no doubt would be in our country). And it was true of the BBC with Jimmy Savile.

I am personally and intimately aware of two cases in which two different national media organizations spiked a stories about serial sexual abuse because in one instance, the reporters’ work was perceived to threaten the organization being investigated, and in the other case the reporter’s investigative work threatened — how to put this? — a cause important to his bosses.

The key lines from Lord Tebbit’s interview: “It was almost unconscious. It was the thing that people did.”

The thing that people did. Forget it, Norman, it’s Chinatown.