I’M a bit apprehensive about this week’s column! The last time I wrote about Sir Cliff Richard or ‘Cliffgate’, as I dubbed it – South Yorkshire police force’s handling of sex abuse allegations dating back to 1985 – my article attracted numerous letters to this paper’s Letters page and, at the time of writing, 28 five-star votes and 25 (a record?) readers’ vitriolic comments: both for and against Sir Cliff.
News this time round concerns the sale of the property belonging to Sir Cliff which was the scene of one of the most controversial police raids in recent times. Confirmed by his close friend Cilla Black, she has also expressed concerns about his welfare:
“Cliff told me he’s just put the flat on the market. It’s the saddest thing for him but he had to do it. He said he never wants to live there again. It’s awful. Cliff is not all right, not at all. He doesn’t want to go back there because he’s worried this is still hanging over him. When the police raided, it was an invasion of his privacy. He will never, ever go back there again. I don’t blame him.”
More ‘allegations’ (strongly denied by Sir Cliff) reportedly surfaced following this highly-publicised police raid. Sadly, there’ll always be individuals who seize the opportunity of making money by simply making accusations which, 30 years on, nobody can categorically prove or disprove.
How many of us can truthfully say where we were and what we did 30 years ago? Wow, I can hardly remember what I was doing last week!
Now, if we’re talking about real abuse, what about another piece of recent news. Namely, that child protection chief, Sue Berelowitz, criticised for failing to speak out about widespread sexual abuse by British Pakistani gangs, quit her job with a six-figure payoff only to be immediately rehired on almost £1,000 a day.
This is not so much to do with child protection as with the patently abusive, cynical manner in which the public sector almost routinely ‘enhances’ people’s pensions by offering them fat ‘redundancy’ cheques prior to retirement, then retains them in some way or other subsequently.
Or, as one tabloid headline unintentionally (but genuinely!) put it recently: ‘Private sector when it comes to pay rises, pubic sector for pensions…’
Nora Johnson’s thrillers Landscape of Lies, Retribution, Soul Stealer, The De Clerambault Code (www.nora-johnson.com) available from Amazon in paperback/eBook (€0.89;£0.79) and iBookstore.
Profits to Cudeca.