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  • Writer's pictureLesley-Ann Jones


News of Huw Edwards's resignation from the BBC came as no surprise. For some, given the packet he was costing the licence-payer, it did not come quickly enough. For others, including the family of the 'young person' with whom he is alleged to have interacted on a 'dating site' and to whom he is alleged to have paid more than £35,000, it came too quickly. Because that family are still awaiting answers. Now that Auntie has washed her hands of her previously loyal servant and has turned her back on the scandal, this is no longer her responsibility. Huw is back with his old mum in Wales. His place on our screens has been filled. His wife and five adult children, who have led blameless lives, are left to scrape their way through the shame and to try to piece their lives back together. The 'young person' is likely still doing what they were doing in the first place, in order to make money to buy drugs.


This case has preoccupied me since it broke last year. Probably because we knew the Edwardses. Our children attended the same school, were in the same class, played sport together and spent time at each other's houses. Huw and Vicky were high-profile at that fine educational establishment. Vicky was on the board of governors. He may have been too. Awash with dosh and housed under an elegant roof, they nevertheless maintained humility and working-class values. Their boys toiled for their pocket money in local pubs. Vicky put in the hours as a TV producer. She was never a lady who lunched.


People ask, in such cases of monumental and devastating downfall, what went wrong? It is well-documented that Huw was prone to depression, that he had suffered on and off for more than twenty years. But there is medication for that. An app for that. What switch flicked that caused him to self-sabotage, to risk and subsequently lose everything in the name of a cheap sexual thrill?


It is only to basic biology that we should look. To the likelihood that he, like millions of others, fell prey to sex addiction in middle age. According to NHS statistics published in February 2023, the average age of people with this problem is 58. And yes, most of them were born male.


The human sex drive begins to decline in middle age. This extremely natural process is often denied by the person suffering from it, who sets about trying to prove otherwise. The subconscious urge is to show that their virility is as powerful as it ever was. Some 'creepy older men' who lust after young girls and boys can become obsessive. It's all an attempt to flout the forces of nature. Problems arise when older men who give in to these sexual impulses are exposed. When you are as famous and as influential as Huw, the fall-out is catastrophic.


Twitter/X has sizzled with the great and the good expressing sorrow and sympathy for their once lauded colleague and his clan. Some of them stressed, yet again, that the police had declared no crime to have been committed.


An astonishingly wicked crime against vulnerable young people has been committed, however. The crime that is the internet. That allows the existence of pornographic platforms, enticing them to earn easy money for sharing lewd photographs of themselves and 'flashing their bits'. Those who run such platforms are the abusers of those too young and misguided to know better. Liberated by excess cash, but eaten from within by a deep sense of shame and self-disgust, they fall into the arms of those other abusers, the dealers of drugs. Until our government wake up to the necessity of regulating the internet, such Huws, such vulnerable young folk, are frankly doomed.


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