The very murky death of Jeffrey Epstein has once again focused public attention on the gross distortions that money, politics and patronage have wrought on a supposedly impartial legal system. With the FBI having been caught out protecting Hillary Clinton while trying to hound a duly elected President from office, we shake our heads sadly at the blatant and frankly terrifying politicisation of a once respected law enforcement agency.
At least we don't have such a dangerously partisan legal culture in this country, right?
Anyone who thinks such a systemic corruption of policing priorities couldn't happen here should consider the questions swirling around the Carl Beech fiasco. It's illuminating and depressing to compare and contrast the unfounded witch hunt of Operation Midland with the way Operation Central was eventually, finally and grudgingly launched in 2008.
The Metropolitan Police could barely contain their glee as they turned their huge resources to hounding a group of fading establishment figures at the behest of an obvious fantasist. Warrants were obtained, houses were searched and Beech's ludicrous and demonstrably false allegations were declared to be “credible and true” before any investigation had been concluded. The Met were positively salivating at the thought of putting a bunch of old men through the meat grinder, and they weren't going to let a complete absence of credible evidence stand in their way.
I'm sure it's just a coincidence that the accused men were retired Tories or their supporters.
Of course, the story in Rotherham was the mirror image of Harvey Proctor's shameful treatment as those damaged by systematic abuse were confronted by a wall of silence and institutional hostility. In contrast with Beech's kid gloves, these alleged victims were treated with barely disguised contempt and even threatened with prosecution in some cases, although their stories have since been proven in court.
This tale of two cities would be troubling enough if it applied just to Rotherham, but alas it doesn't. We're only too familiar with the long and wearying list of British towns where rampant and organised abuse has been allowed to flourish unchecked for decades, despite evidence that the authorities were made aware of it.
It's clear that despite their endless protestations, our once respected police have become highly politicised and are basing their decisions on which favoured groups might be affected, rather than the available evidence or the balance of probabilities.
This glaring injustice must not go unanswered.
Given everything that we now know about the operational decisions of various police forces, the time has come for a full public enquiry into the politicisation of our police. It's not very comforting to think that those charged with our protection are fundamentally corrupt in their application of the law, but the evidence for an unwritten, unofficial and politically based policing policy is overwhelming, credible and true.
Simply jailing the offenders is not enough; this nation deserves to know why our police felt justified in pre-emptively hounding one group while shielding another from scrutiny.
If it can happen to a former Prime Minister, it can happen to any of us.