Wednesday, 5 August 2015

Paedophiles and Power

I'm beginning to think that paedophilia is more a manifestation of someone being drunk on their own power than an innate condition in itself.

In this light it shouldn't really surprise anyone to hear that Edward Heath has been accused of child molestation. As well as persistent rumours, and the admission by his Chief Whip Tim Fortescue about covering up such things to keep backbenches loyal, Heath showed himself to be a thoroughly nasty piece of work in every way and absolutely power crazed.

There's no real way of knowing whether Heath was a paedophile who became powerful, or a powerful man who became a paedophile. However, the persistent nature of these accusations against very powerful men at the top of their profession does seem to point towards some link, rather than a representative proportion unless paedophillia is simply far more common than we are led to believe. 

If there is a link between power and paedophillia then there seem to be 2 possibilities:

One, that power actually makes certain people attracted to the abuse of children. Perhaps their belief in their own power and invincibility leads them to push new boundaries and sexually abusing children is one of the most extreme boundaries they can push. Perhaps simply a love of extremes where the most powerful political figure in the country would derive sick pleasure from abusing some of the most powerless people, orphaned and abused children.

The second is that being a paedophile is a prerequisite for attaining power in the first place. Sexually abusing children is a rite of passage to the inner circle, and someone who doesn't do this can not be trusted.

This is basically an extension of Tim Fortescue's comments on his time as Chief Whip in Heath's government, where he would routinely help backbench MPs cover up "problems" in exchange for their loyalty:

"For anyone with any sense, who was in trouble, would come to the whips and tell them the truth, and say now, I’m in a jam, can you help? It might be debt, it might be… a scandal involving small boys, or any kind of scandal in which, erm er, a member seemed likely to be mixed up in, they’d come and ask if we could help and if we could, we did. And we would do everything we can because we would store up brownie points… and if I mean, that sounds a pretty, pretty nasty reason, but it’s one of the reasons because if we could get a chap out of trouble then, he will do as we ask forever more."

It isn't quite clear from this whether these people will "do as we ask forever more" out of gratitude or fear of being outed later - i.e. blackmail. What is clear is that if you were a chief whip or a senior minister then the more scandal and dirt you have on your backbenchers (and hence the more loyal they are) the better. Of course, the reward for being a loyal backbench MP is promotion to more senior roles in the party and in government.

Given that MPs are meant to first and foremost to represent their constituents, there's no reason they should be unswervingly loyal to the government. In fact they should hold the government to account which necessarily involves disagreeing with it on occasion. If the whips know they are a child molester then they can be prevented from doing this in any way which would be detrimental to the government. The more dirt the whips have, the more the MP can be trusted to toe the line.

The logical conclusion of these machinations is that the governing party would promote those who they had dirt on, while promoting someone with no dirt would be dangerous as they might contradict or challenge the government. Of course not all dirt is paedophilia, but it's hard to imagine a more potent scandal, or thus a more powerful way for a government to keep their MPs in line. 

I suspect the reality lies in a mixture of both of these explanations - the mix of ambitious MPs attaining much longed for power, and the fear of public revelations about what they do with that power creating and reinforcing a culture of secrecy and collusion. In this situation everyone who could expose it stands to lose by doing so, yet stands to gain by staying quiet.