Two years ago, according to the newspapers, Britain was overrun with satanists performing ritual abuse on children. Hundreds of young children were untimely ripped from the womb of their homes, the air was thick with accusations, evangelical Christians and social workers monopolised radio interviews – and almost no one was prosecuted.
An appalling amount of distress was caused to children and their parents; a fair amount of distress was also caused to thousands of practising pagans who, in the headline-conscious eyes of journalists, were synonymous with witches who were synonymous with satanists. It was hardly possible to brew a pot of herbal tea without people believing that you buggered babies. An occult bookshop in Leeds was firebombed by evangelical Christians.