Why must you and I pay for Savile’s crimes?

No good can come from the slew of lawsuits and payouts sure to follow

Share

No sooner had the official verdict been pronounced on Jimmy Savile – one of the most prolific sexual predators, if not the most prolific sexual predator, of his time – than we had the unedifying spectacle of compensation lawyers rubbing their hands and the urgent sound of ringing tills.

It was predicted that the BBC, the NHS, Stoke Mandeville, Great Ormond Street and whichever other institutions might have been implicated would face demands for payouts running into millions of pounds.

Of course, Savile’s extracurricular activities were reprehensible, not to say illegal. Of course, he should have been brought to book in his lifetime. Of course, the hospitals, children’s homes and the good old BBC were wrong to give him such free rein. Of course, the police should have taken the (few) complaints seriously. Nor is it any justification to argue that these were more innocent times, or that those with the power to stop him were star-struck.

But what possible good can come of lawsuits and payouts? Those who will end up doing the paying receive their funds from the taxpayer, the licence-payer and charitable donors. Any money paid out by Stoke Mandeville or Great Ormond Street is money that can no longer benefit their patients. Any compensation agreed by the BBC is money no longer available for public broadcasting. Reduce it to the basics, and what is happening is that money which you and I pay – compulsorily or voluntarily – will be diverted from the common good to a few aggrieved individuals.

The person who should have done the paying, if there was any to be done, was Jimmy Savile. He is now dead, and his estate went to the charities he supported. Is it too much to ask those he damaged to regard this as their compensation and be content with that? What his victims ought to receive is a proper apology from  institutions that should have been more vigilant. But the reason all the apologies thus far have been so mealy-mouthed is the fear that admission of fault will precipitate massive payments. This is a vicious circle that goes the wrong way round. 

Something similar applies to hospitals generally. No one would question the duty of a hospital that makes a mistake – and hospitals do make catastrophic mistakes – to compensate those they have injured. But why, as appears to be happening in the wake of scandals such as that at the Mid-Staffordshire Hospital, do relatives of those who were mistreated and subsequently died apparently feel that compensation is due – not for the loss of a breadwinner (that would be obligatory), but for someone else’s suffering? Some will argue that unless institutions are made to feel the pain in their purse, they will have no incentive to mend their ways. But the money they are paying out in compensation is not their money. It is our money, and it should be used to treat the patients of today, not trying to salve the grief of yesterday’s bereaved.

React Now

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

Head of Marketing and Communications - London - up to £80,000

£70000 - £80000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Group Head of Marketing and Communic...

Nursery Nurse

Negotiable: Randstad Education Manchester: Level 3 Nursery Nurse required for ...

Nursery Nurse

Negotiable: Randstad Education Manchester: L3 Nursery Nurses urgently required...

SEN Teaching Assistant

Negotiable: Randstad Education Manchester: We have a number of schools based S...

Day In a Page

 

Ed Miliband's conference speech must show Labour has a head as well as a heart

Patrick Diamond
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam