2012: A year I won't forget, for all the wrong reasons



I can't remember when I've ended a year so angry. Goodbye 2012 and good riddance. In this country, a “much-loved” entertainer with a warm relationship with a former prime minister was exposed as possibly the UK's most prolific sexual predator.

The most nauseating document released from national archives under the 30-year rule was a letter from Jimmy Savile to Margaret Thatcher, as she then was, thanking her for lunch in 1980 and telling her that "my girl patients" pretended to be "madly jealous". Savile dropped a heavy hint that he'd like a knighthood – Thatcher duly gave him one – and went on to spend 11 consecutive new year's eves with her.

As the tally of Savile's alleged victims rose above 400 in the autumn, half-forgotten "celebrities" queued up to cast doubt on his accusers. It was all different in the Sixties, they insisted, as though sex with under-age girls wasn't a criminal offence in those far-off days. What sounded to me like sexual assault was recast as "a kiss and a cuddle", and it was suggested that famous men couldn't be expected to know the age of girls they'd met in studios and dressing-rooms.

It was also the year in which politicians gave us the benefit of their "wisdom" on the subject of rape, with a Republican Congressman explaining that victims rarely get pregnant because the female body has mysterious ways of shutting down.

I have to give a special mention to George Galloway, who gifted us the priceless notion that "not everybody needs to be asked prior to each insertion".

Galloway is a keen supporter of hacker Julian Assange, who is resisting extradition to Sweden where police wish to interview him over sexual assault allegations. He's just spent the first of what I hope will be many Christmases in the Ecuadorian embassy, so it hasn't all been bad news.

In Pakistan, a teenager who campaigned for girls' education was shot in the head. In India, the death was announced yesterday of a 23-year-old student who was left with brain damage after a gang rape in Delhi. In the UK, new campaigns burst into life on the internet, targeting everyday sexual harassment and demanding an end to Page 3.

Meanwhile the first female head of the TUC and the president of the Girls' Schools Association highlighted sexist attitudes in business and education. Frances O'Grady argued that quotas are needed to deal with the entrenched sexism of boardrooms, while Hilary French said that girls are still expected to be homemakers and believe that raising children is more important than their own ambitions.

A "royal source" chose this moment to reveal that the Duchess of Cambridge, a woman who has never had a proper job, is likely to take time off from her royal "duties" in 2013 as a result of her pregnancy. Once again, the royal family sets the worst sort of example for women.

I don't know whether to laugh or howl with rage. Happy new year from one very cross columnist.

www.politicalblonde.com; twitter.com/@polblonde

React Now

  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Dublin

£13676.46 - £16411.61 per annum + OTE: SThree: SThree Trainee Recruitment Cons...

Ashdown Group: Marketing or Business Graduate Opportunity - Norwich - £22,000

£18000 - £22000 per annum + training: Ashdown Group: Business and Marketing Gr...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + Commission: SThree: Are you great at building rela...

Ashdown Group: Database Analyst - Birmingham - £22,000 plus benefits

£20000 - £22000 per annum + excellent benefits: Ashdown Group: Application Sup...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Labour leader Ed Miliband unveils Labour's pledges carved into a stone plinth in Hastings  

Election 2015: Smash the two-party system! Smash the voting system!

Armando Iannucci
Tactical voting is a necessary evil of the current first-past-the-post system, where voters vote against what they do not want rather than in favour of what they do  

Election 2015: Voting tactically has become more fraught in new political order

Michael Ashcroft
General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'
Sarah Lucas is the perfect artist to represent Britain at the Venice Biennale

Flesh in Venice

Sarah Lucas has filled the British pavilion at the Venice Biennale with slinky cats and casts of her female friends' private parts. It makes you proud to be a woman, says Karen Wright
11 best anti-ageing day creams

11 best anti-ageing day creams

Slow down the ageing process with one of these high-performance, hardworking anti-agers
Juventus 2 Real Madrid 1: Five things we learnt, including Iker Casillas is past it and Carlos Tevez remains effective

Juventus vs Real Madrid

Five things we learnt from the Italian's Champions League first leg win over the Spanish giants
Ashes 2015: Test series looks a lost cause for England... whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket

Ashes series looks a lost cause for England...

Whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket, says Stephen Brenkley
Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power