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

Recruitment Genius: Digital Content Manager

£26000 - £31000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Digital Content Manager is re...

Recruitment Genius: Senior .Net Application Developer

£40000 - £60000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Office Administrator

£14000 - £17500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The successful applicant will b...

Recruitment Genius: Continuous Improvement Manager

£41500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is going through a period o...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

If I were Prime Minister: I would tackle our looming dementia crisis

Susan Greenfield
 

Letters: NHS data-sharing is good for patients

Independent Voices
Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee