A masterpiece of slavering, snivelling obsequiousness

Vital to plan together in case disaster should strike

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Even before his perversions became common knowledge, Jimmy Savile always came across to me as a man of high camp and low cunning.

But just how adept he was at manipulating people can be seen from one of the letters he wrote to Margaret Thatcher 30 years ago, which has just been made public.

In its presentation, content and tone, it really is a masterpiece of slavering, snivelling, boot-licking, toe-curling obsequiousness.

Take the letterhead, for a start.

It is not one of those which contain a simple name and address at the top – that was not Savile’s style at all.

It was a paean of self-praise, which contained a flattering photograph of the man himself, and listed every town and city which was going to be blessed by his presence during fund-raising walks that year.

Reading between the lines of what is ostensibly a thank you note for a lunch date is not difficult.

But it reveals the true intent of the missive, which Mrs Thatcher did not recognise or chose to ignore.

For example, he refers to his ‘girl patients’ and ‘paralyzed lads’ (translation: I am a caring man).

He mentions that the lads ‘called me Sir James all week’ (translation: it has a pleasing ring to it and I wouldn’t say no to a knighthood).

He reveals that they ‘all love you’ - and adds that he does too.

You can imagine the lady purring with pleasure, because this was written in those pre-Falkland times when her popularity was in decline and she was dealing every day with a Cabinet full of men, most of whom she did not like and few of whom she could trust.

The letter is signed with the customary smiley face in the loop of the J, and the letters ‘OBE’ are carefully added (translation: this modest award is all I have to show at the moment for my tireless work for charity).

Other correspondence between them is to remain confidential because it is ‘too personal and confidential.’

If this one was deemed suitable for public consumption, one shudders to think what unctuous drivel the rest contain.