For the purposes of this article I’m going to assume that today’s story in The Daily Mail, HERE, is broadly accurate. However, even as I assume that, I would like to distance myself from the description of Nick as a ‘Walter Mitty’. As I’ve written before, I actually do believe that Nick is very likely to have been a victim of child sexual abuse, I just don’t believe the allegations that have been reported over the last year and the term ‘Walter Mitty’ is an over-simplification of what is certain to be a very complex situation. It is also derogatory. I’ve had quite a lot of contact with many survivors of child sexual abuse over the last few years and I’ve never come across a ‘Walter Mitty’ but I certainly have communicated with a great many vulnerable and sometimes desperate individuals.
In my view, ‘Walter Mitty’ should immediately be struck from the lexicon of child sexual abuse media stories as unnecessarily pejorative and stigmatising in the extreme.
From the Daily Mail story we learn that Operation Midland police have found no evidence to corroborate the allegations that have been made by Nick, “Police have not been able to identify any victims. There is not one shred of credible evidence to support his allegations. The police investigation has been exhaustive but they have drawn a blank.” the Mail’s unidentified source tells us.
Anyone doubting that the police investigation has been exhaustive would do well to consider the extremely uncomfortable situation the police now find themselves in. Having perilously stuck their neck out at their press conference last December, readers should instinctively understand that the police will have done everything within their power to try and substantiate Nick’s allegations – if only to save face – because one thing is 100% certain and that is that Operation Midland really didn’t want to be here, in this place, at this time.
We learn also from the Daily Mail’s unnamed source/s that both the Crown Prosecution Service and the independent inquiry into non-recent child sexual abuse headed by Justice Lowell Goddard have been informed of this.
Watching the immediate reaction to the Daily Mail story on social media late last night I sensed a great deal of incredulity and anger. I can understand both. Everything that has been reported over the last year, including the remarks of Operation Midland’s head Kenny McDonald last December, would have led the public to believe that Nick’s allegations were true and in my eyes nobody is foolish for having believed that media narrative. Now is not the time for ‘I told you so’ polemics. The anger is natural also but it is misdirected. It is unfair to be angry at the police who have conscientiously investigated the allegations, run every possible lead into the ground, and come up with nothing. And it is ludicrous to direct anger at The Daily Mail who have just done what good journalists should always do and reported it.
No, anger, under the circumstances, is natural. I myself have been angry for almost two years, long before Nick’s allegations were reported but my anger is directed at the architects of this mess, those that hyped it, those that misled you all and in doing so potentially put at jeopardy the general public’s sympathy and support of tens of thousands of survivors of child sexual abuse up and down the country. The overwhelming majority were not abused by VIPs but some were and I worry about how this will affect them all. I worry, and yes, I’m angry.
Thankfully, the independent judicial inquiry into child sexual abuse has already been established. It is beyond the control of the establishment now. For almost three years The Needle team have been investigating institutional child sexual abuse in the UK and we understand the scale of the task that faces Justice Lowell Goddard and her Inquiry team. What we’ve found is staggering. Decades of apathy, ignorance, and complicity that led to the abuse of hundreds of thousands of the most vulnerable in our society – our children. The CSA Inquiry has a hugely important job to do because, make no mistake, this is a scandal of gigantic proportions. It is not a scandal that ever needed hype. Hype on this scale only serves to distract from, and appear to minimise in comparison, the genuine and appalling reality.
The title of this piece is ‘Operation Midland: Statement Imminent?’ and so we must turn our attention to what is likely to happen next. In a previous post, ‘Harvey Proctor and the ABC Of An Untenable Situation’ I attempted to lay out the three key points in the last year that have led us to this place. If named individuals including Lord Bramall, former Chief of the Defence Staff, and Harvey Proctor had not been so publicly linked to such serious and personally damaging allegations, if the story hadn’t been so hyped, and if the police hadn’t appeared to validate it, then I would imagine that the Operation Midland investigation would have been quietly put to bed and nobody would have noticed.
However, this is not the case.
As Harvey Proctor noted regarding the nature of these allegations in his press conference, Full Statement:
“They amount to just about the worst allegations anyone can make against another person including, as they do, multiple murder of children, their torture, grievous bodily harm, rape and sexual child abuse.”
He is correct and those allegations have not remained a private matter between himself and the police but have been publicly linked to him since his home has been raided.
To be clear, I have no idea whether Operation Midland will be making a statement.
But really – can they do anything other ?