Manchester once had a brave and crusading newspaper edited by CP Scott. The Manchester Guardian was libertarian, reformist, anti-establishment in stance and valued journalistic integrity. If it were published today, it would probably be my go-to newspaper, but sadly it exists no longer. A shadow of its former self, it moved to London, became The Guardian, and disavowed its libertarian and reformist stance to become a platform for bigots and cranks and a tool of the new establishment takeover of the UK's state institutions.
During its incubation in Manchester, the Guardian has a sister publication, the Manchester Evening News, founded in 1868, and owned by Guardian Media Group until the sale of the title to Trinity Mirror, now Reach plc, in 2010. It is the MEN that has inherited the crusading honesty of its former press-partner, while the Guardian has become complicit in the lies, cover-ups, distortions, misrepresentation and obfuscation of one of the foulest scandals of this millennium.
The Manchester child sexual abuse scandal is the just the latest in a tsunami of child abuse scandals in the UK that became institutionally embedded as acceptable amongst police, social workers and local politicians. It is the most egregious tale of police and official malfeasance, maladministration and misconduct in public office, and heads must roll and persons must do jail time for the wrongs they did. The bromides of the guilty establishment - "we empathise with the pain you must feel" and "lessons have been learned" - don't work any more. We want prosecutions.
We owe a debt to the Manchester Evening News and the city's mayor Andy Burnham for this story being fully investigated.
I was in two minds whether to write this piece, as I know the assortment of deeply bigoted comments it is likely to attract. So let me make things clear. This is primarily a story about public officials, the police, the media, local government and many senior figures in government wilfully covering up the most shocking and disgraceful abuse of the most vulnerable in our society. The crimes were carried out by paedophiles, nonces, who also belong in jail. Those officials were covering-up paedophilia.
And this piece is a piece in praise of the upright and the righteous who abandoned their establishment comfort-zone to expose the wrongs. It is not an opportunity to vent vile and disgusting discrimination against the adherents of the Muslim faith or the nationals of a single nation. Or a deluded opportunity to aver that the harassment and victimisation by a convicted street-thug of this minority under the pretence of exposing wrong has any equivalence to the actions of the MEN, Andy Burnham and Maggie Oliver. It does not. So although I'm not closing comments, please be very careful.