Monday, 3 November 2014

Establishment or not?

What to do? Imagine you're a Home Secretary. You're looking for someone to chair a committee into child sex abuse. You need to find someone who's eminently qualified to chair such an important inquiry but also someone who isn't part of the establishment. 

Now if you imagine for a minute what you think an establishment figure looks like. I'm guessing you're picturing a rather stuffy, overweight man. To avoid recruiting someone in this image, the simple solution seems to be to recruit a woman. 

You choose Lady Butler Sloss. Whoops. Her brother was the Attorney General who could have made decisions about cases that form part the inquiry. Survivors didn't believe she could remain objective. 

You try again, desperately trying to come up with a woman who wasn't part of the establishment. You pick Fiona Woolf. Whoops. Leon Brittan was her neighbour and they used to attend the same dinner parties.  He was Home Secretary and could have taken decisions that would be under the committee's magnifying glass. 

Who's left? Anyone?

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