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Something is rotten in the state of Denmark

For those who believe that common sense, decency and a sense of fair play are traditional British values, this has not been a good week…

By James Evelegh

Something is rotten in the state of Denmark

On Monday, Sir Brian Langstaff issued his final report on the contaminated blood scandal, a horror show that involved more than 30,000 people being infected with HIV and hepatitis C after being given contaminated blood products in the 1970s and 1980s.

The prime minister called its findings a “day of shame for the British state”.

A fifty-year-plus catalogue of institutional failings, it has been described as the worst treatment disaster in the history of the NHS.

Yesterday, former Post Office CEO Paula Vennells gave evidence to the Post Office Horizon IT Inquiry that is looking into the wrongful prosecution of hundreds of innocent sub-postmasters over alleged shortfalls in their accounts.

A 25-year catalogue of cover-up, lies and bullying, it has been described as one of the greatest miscarriages of justice in British history.

If anyone is tempted to see these as aberrations from the norm, they need only cast their mind back a few years to the Windrush scandal – the hounding and deportation of legal and long-standing immigrants – and the 30-year-plus fight by the Hillsborough families to prove that their loved ones were innocent victims of catastrophically poor police decision making.

Common themes in all these scandals are arrogance, cover-up, dishonesty, buck passing and a refusal to take responsibility.

In his report, Sir Brian said: “It will be astonishing to anyone who reads this report that these events could have happened in the UK.”

Many will think the same about all these scandals, but they did!

How can we be sure this type of thing won’t happen again? That future people in positions of authority won’t similarly rally around to protect their own?

The media can play an important part in preventing history repeating itself, if it chooses to; by being more sceptical, more enquiring and by never just taking a person in authority’s word for it. To always dig deeper, to uncover the truth and to then shout it from the rooftops. And to continue shouting until justice is done.

You can catch James Evelegh’s regular column in the InPubWeekly newsletter, which you can register to receive here.