sstop a thought for Prince Andrew – and, indeed, a brain cell. As your milestone Newsnight interview as Emily Maitlis showed, the queen's second son is really sensationally thick, even by the standards of a family internationally famous for his cowardice, certainly since the time of George I. If the Falklands War did not steal from Andrew, ability to sweat, now would definitely be the time to break one or two accounts.
Instead, I see that the Duke of York is once again "confused”, After the American arrest of her close friend Ghislaine Maxwell, accused of sex trafficking underage girls. HRH is "perplexed" that this dramatic event has led to yet another podium from US prosecutors, who insist again that they want to interview him about his close friend Jeffrey Epstein and the latter's crimes (don't call that "Lifestyle”). "We would like to have the benefit of your statement," said a US lawyer on Thursday. The previous occupant of his post had claimed Andrew was refusing to help – and yet, according to Andrew's lawyers, he contacted the US authorities twice in the past month, and their lack of response apparently led to the latest outbreak of bewilderment.
Which version is the most strictly accurate? US lawyers have a reputation for seeking advertising; therefore, it may be that one of the parties is economical with the interpretation of the truth. There would be a certain poetic justice if it were Prince Andrew which is now being used for one thing or another. Oh gosh. The person finds the karma bitch.
If this helps the duke to understand this potential scenario: it is being used because it has come to be perceived as weak and powerless. He is seen as a somewhat useless figure who, however, would be an adornment for events. He's being teased, panting and angry, and that really is a no-win situation for him. The standard position of people about what he says is disbelief. His desperate statements are dismissed as lies, the fact that he would make them make a joke. He is an object of ridicule, contempt and social disdain. Even his mother clearly believed that he should leave in silence.
On the positive side, the duke is not feeling a thousandth of what appeared to be one of the many teenagers and young women who would also feel all of these things, as they were attracted to Epstein's web of rape and abuse. he spat and threatened an unhappy and permanently damaged silence. On the other hand, Andrew is certainly feeling SOMETHING that will never go away.
He can still feel something more concrete than that, given that Ghislaine Maxwell now they will be strongly encouraged to be completely frank. Remember Andrew's impolitic reflections on his longtime friend in the Newsnight interview. Asked about Maxwell, he said: "If there are questions that Ghislaine needs to answer, that is her problem, I am afraid." (Very brave, sir. There was even a single row in the whole 592 car buildup where he didn't make several situations worse for himself? The deep vulnerabilities that the interview opened up still reveal us like a lotus flower that develops slowly.)
Still, if only the prince's perplexity – and that of many others – had arisen a little earlier. Part of me wonders if something like the Vietnam War had robbed HRH of its ability to be disconcerted during its friendship with Epstein. Otherwise, he might have been perplexed as to why his middle-aged friend was so often surrounded by teenagers. He may have found it disconcerting to go to Ghislaine Maxwell's house after a visit to the Tramp nightcluband spend the rest of the night with two other people in their 40s and a 17-year-old girl. Unless he knew exactly what was going on, that situation should have confused his shit. (I must mention that Prince Andrew is confused by those who do not accept that he was not there that night, but at Pizza Express in Woking.)
That is why it is so difficult to believe all the frightening nonsense about "not knowing" that is caused by so many rich and powerful former friends of Epstein. One of Filthy Rich's most revealing admissions, the Epstein documentary currently aired on Netflix, comes from the former telephone engineer from Epstein's private island. "You tell yourself that you’re not sure and you’ve never really seen anything, but that’s just rationalization. Jeffrey Epstein, he was a guy who hid his diversion very well – but he didn't hide it as well. "
Well, quite a lot. There are many cases of massive and systematic abuse where we still deal with people who have closed their eyes, saying it was "a sophisticated operation". Epstein's operation was certainly expensive. But was it sophisticated? How sophisticated is it really when your private property in the Caribbean is known locally as "Pedophile Island"?
The same happened with Michael Jackson, whose child abuse operation is again described as "sophisticated". And yet, was it? The guy set up a huge amusement park outside his scary home, told people he slept with children in his bed and was chased for decades for actions by children – always boys, always at the same age, always claiming the same patterns of behavior. Expensive, yes, but not sophisticated. It didn't have to be.
One of Jackson's former advisers once said to him, "Michael, you're going to end up in a lot of trouble. Why don't you stop all these things with the boys? Jackson's immortal response was," I don't want to. " For me, this is Michael Jackson's definitive line. "I don't want to." You can hear now, with that unmistakable sung voice, imbued with absolute indifference to something other than personal gratification, and the absolute conviction that, from a one way or another, you will get away with it. Which proved to be the case. Why don't you stop sexually abusing children? "I don't want to."
In the case of Jackson and Epstein's employees, the silence about their employer's "lifestyle issues" is inexcusable, but easily explained. They depended on men for their income. But in the case of many, many wealthy people who have turned a blind eye to Epstein's grotesque predilections, there really isn't even the slightest bit of twisted excuse. They knew enough to know. Donald Trump, of course, was the only one stupid enough to say it out loud, laughing in an interview that his friend Epstein's girls were "on the younger side”. But please do not suggest that Bill Clinton, an extremely intelligent man, was too stupid to make basic assumptions, or that even Prince Andrew could not have regretted after Epstein was convicted of acquiring an underage girl for prostitution. These are just the presidents and the prince; there are countless others in addition. Perhaps Ghislaine Maxwell will fill some of the blanks behind the void.
For now, you may think that the really disconcerting thing is that so many people have said nothing. You may think it is absolutely disconcerting that these smart, privileged and financially coveted individuals have never confronted Epstein about something that even they must have felt dubious about calling it a "lifestyle". And yet, it is not disconcerting. There is, of course, a perfectly simple reason why they never did the right thing. They didn't want to.
• Marina Hyde is a Guardian columnist