So the Crown Prosecution Service have said that a dead, former Lib Dem MP, Sir Cyril Smith OBE, should have been charged with abusing children while he was still alive. The reason he wasn't charged, apparently, was because police at the time effectively assumed that an MP couldn't possibly have done anything wrong
and that the alleged victims making the allegations were liars.
And of course this has kicked up a big mess for Liberal Democrats (and the police and the CPS) given that, if the alleged victims are telling the truth, this was a prominent MP who was allowed to get away with horrific crimes which obviously and deservedly reflects terribly on everyone involved.
It's not really revealing much to say that there are plenty of Lib Dems wondering how all of this is going to play out and all the rest of it. So here's my take on it:
At the end of the day everyone is innocent until proven guilty and in this case it will never be possible to prove if Sir Cyril Smith was guilty. On the other hand, there are apparently plenty of witnesses whose evidence would nowadays be considered sufficient for prosecution which means it's at least somewhat likely that Cyril Smith was in fact a paedophile who abused children.
So all we (we being Lib Dems) can do is keep an open mind, extend our sympathy to both Smith's family and his alleged victims while trying not to condemn Smith when he's unable to defend himself and trying not to handwave away what might have happened to his alleged victims just because he was once of our MPs.
But above all it should all act as a good reminder to everyone that paedophiles and rapist don't have to be creepy looking weirdoes - they can be, apparently, good people whom we know and respect. You can't spot one by the way they look or by any other stereotypes.
And if everyone could remember that particular lesson about the fact that just because someone appears respectable and good doesn't mean they can't have committed evil crimes then the state of justice in this country would probably be greatly improved and we wouldn't have anywhere near the amount of victim blaming that we so often see in rape and paedophilia cases.