The more one thinks about the current witch-hunt against alleged paedophiles in the establishment, the more beyond satire it seems. What mordant novelist could have imagined, even ten years ago, that the police would be devoting massive amounts of their time to investigating famous people who were a) suspected on no actual evidence and b) dead and therefore beyond the reach of the law? Yet it has happened. It just goes to show that even a society which self-consciously prides itself on its tolerance will always contain those who are desperately searching for people to ruin and then to scream at those who suggest they might be wrong, and — which is worse — that the authorities will cave in to their menaces. What is odder still, at a time when gay rights trump everything, is that behind a good deal of the current obsession lies the old idea that an unmarried man must be homosexual and that a homosexual is scarcely distinguishable from a child-abuser. This seems to be the basis, for instance, of the suspicion of Sir Edward Heath. Why do the police stop there? Why not exhume the private lives of other bachelor prime ministers — A.J. Balfour, Pitt the Younger, the Earl of Wilmington?
This is an extract from Charles Moore's Notes in this week's Spectator. The full article can be read here.