‘We know no spectacle so ridiculous as the British public in one of its periodical fits of morality’.
So Thomas Babbington Macaulay on Lord Byron. And he did not end there.
‘From the poetry of Lord Byron they drew a system of ethics compounded of misanthropy and voluptuousness, — a system in which the two great commandments were to hate your neighbour and to love your neighbour’s wife.’
Little or nothing in the harassment scandal which has recently enveloped Westminster would justify comments as stringent as Macaulay’s. But after the initial storm over abuse in the Church of England (which, you will recall, nearly claimed the scalps of an Archbishop of York, an Archbishop of Canterbury and the saintly George Bell) a curious case has arisen.
Founding member of the Archbishop’s Council, Jayne Ozanne has claimed that she was raped by a priest twenty-five years ago, that she approached a Church safeguarding officer who brushed her off, and that she recently reported the offence to a bishop who advised her to drop the matter.
Who is the priest, who is the safeguarding officer (and from which diocese) and who is the bishop? We need to be told, and they need to be disciplined.
In a world where victimhood is rapidly becoming a status symbol the details of such accusations need to be forensically examined for the sake of all concerned, and the health of the institutions involved.
It is time Ms Ozanne named names.