Nailing the top bad guys brings help more quickly to the victims at the bottom

Anthony France became the 22nd Sun journalist to be held by Elveden detectives yesterday, alongside two officers from the police ‘specialist operations unit’. So that’ll be 22 hacks collared then, none of them working for the defunct News of the World, but all of them working for an organisation closely involved in Plebgate where doubtless some other officers from another unit will be hauled up before de Jerrdge in the near future.

But to date in Hackgate, the Murdoch/Cameron intimates arrested number just the two (2), Andy Coulson and Rebekah Brooks. Those found guilty and banged up total zero (0). The Big Scalps are still firmly on the sociopathic heads of those who run these rackets. In turn, I wouldn’t hold your breath waiting for any Government whips to face Lord Justice Bacque-Botham in Court No 3 at the Bailey on charges of being an accessory to Andrew Mitchell’s stitch-up….or indeed Mitchell himself for perhaps (allegedly) telling media fibs about how many times he went in and out of the Downing Street gates on that fateful day, when crowds and swearwords came and went in inexplicably mysterious fashion.

Yesterday’s raid by the Met’s Fairbank Unit (interesting that they chose an infamous oxymoron for their name) on the premises of those helping abused care-home kids has immediately (and unsurprisingly) struck those close to the story is a little arse about face.  Given that the thing under investigation here is paedophilia-trafficking on an industrial scale, not volunteer organisations formed to represent the victims, you can see their point. There’d be a few raised eyebrows, after all, if Plod raided the Treasury while investigating charges of widescale tax evasion by a property development group. Or then again, perhaps not.

In relation to paedophile arrests too, Max Clifford faces charges; and while he is a seriously low-life leech on the careers of damaged celebs, he has always had one golden rule: he will not defend those who are paedophiles. So there is perhaps a trend here.

But the point with The Paedofile is the same as that with Hackgate: suspects questioned at or around the BBC, 56,098; perpetrators arrested beyond the confines of the BBC 0; suspect tendencies followed up at Sky News or in the House of Commons and Downing Street 0. We’re told (or I am anyway) that high-profile arrests in relation to the Elm Guest House saga will be revealed in short order. I would lay odds of 12-1 right now that some dead people will named, some celebrities will be charged, but none of those feeling a hoffissa’s hand on their collars will be serving politicians at Westminster.

Once again, no Heap Big Chiefs will be scalped. Once again, evidence has been seized and will be withheld. Just as the villains in Plymouth, Bristol, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Manchester, Humberside and Rotherham remain at large and/or ‘cleared’ on the basis of questionable evidence, so too do the Mandarins responsible for enormous pension fraud remain barely written about, let alone investigated or charged.

Nobody is a bigger parodying satirist of the Dave Spart school of comment that runs ‘the fundamental tendency of the boss class to exploit the children of the working people and twist their minds via media plutocrats towards a robotic, lackey acceptance of the capitalist narrative is once more apparent in the actions of their fascist agents within the ranks of the politicised ranks of the vicious police conspiracy in harassing the brave freedom fighters on our streets striving to create the Socialist’ etc etc etc. There will always be apologists for wrongdoers and wideboys, who insist that such people run things better, and are important to the point of indispensability. Perhaps every now and then they might even be right. But the importance of bagging Big Scalps goes well beyond such narrow arguments for or against.

This relates closely to a point I was at pains to make in the Palace of Westminster earlier this week. Two people were telling me how they have been blatantly swindled by the lawyers handling their alleged insolvency. A single mum explained how she wound up in prison for daring to question a truly eccentric decision by a secret family courts judge. A wife explained how her husband’s Council connections were screwing her out of a decent divorce settlement. There were at various times anything from 15-20 appellants in the room, all trying to get justice from various systems and corporatist institutions squashing their rights….for money, or worse. At the moment, they have only fine organisations like the Mckenzie Friends to help them – or already time-starved MPs who can raise their issues under Parliamentary privilege.

But while many argue that ‘the system’ creates the problems, it doesn’t: the system’s failings are only a symptom of the problem. The problem is one of culture. Only a culture of zero corruption tolerance can stop it….and not by simply putting ‘zero tolerance’ into the Annual Report. Corruption starts at the top. It is on the way to ending when the man or woman at the top is arrested, tried, found guilty, and goes down for a long time.

That and that alone is why taking Big Scalps is absolutely central to removing the misery of those being scammed in the lower echelons of a corrupt profession: because the crooks will either leave – or knock their rackets on the head in return for staying out of prison. And the victims will speak out with more confidence against the next get-rich-quick scheme operating at the expense of the system. And the senior ranks will be more attentive to their complaints. It is all, in the end, about changing the culture.

I’m prepared to suggest to the reader that, even though Bob Diamond has been forced to leave Barclays, I remain to be convinced that the Barclays culture will change, either temporarily or permanently. This is because Mr Diamond was not charged with any criminal financial offences, although he did seem to be very close to a great deal of the naughty action taking place. Today, Barclays’ new boss has told staff ‘they should quit the bank if they do not want to sign up to a set of standards’; but this is simply more signing, more mission statements, more notice-posting, and – yes – yet more bollocks. Everyone in the sector knows that Lord Green is still in thick with the Government, as indeed Stephen Hester is at the Treasury. Neither of these men is ever likely, in the current British econo-fiscal culture, to face any form of serious pursuit in the solving of alleged global crimes of manipulation and embezzlement.

The conclusion is obvious: try and then execute the senior Nazis, and you dramatically accelerate the process of denazification in Germany after 1945. Try  the Kray twins and jail them for life, and you very quickly restore cooperation between the East End’s police and public in 1965 London. Send the top Watergate criminals to jail (and force the President’s expulsion) and you protect the liberties of an America at war with itself in the early 1970s.

We don’t do this stuff any more. We won’t start doing it again until the culture changes. We won’t change the culture until some very influential folks are caught red-handed and go to prison, their lives forever ruined…..following which, their admirers feel the cold chill of pour encourager les autres on their backs.

See also Rossarian, Catch 22, Joseph Heller and so forth.

Previously at The Slog: Invasion of the body-politic snatchers