We are currently spectators at a massive monstering. Today’s Daily Mail is a prime example.
We have the classic formula: a “most wanted’ list, and then the distortions.
Compare the on-line version:
Of course Shaun Wright’s position as Police and Crime Commissioner for South Yorkshire is untenable. “Untenable”, not because he has failed in just two years at PCC for South Yorks, but because he had been defenestrated from Rotherham Council, and found a safe nook, over just this whole scandal.
Then there are at least three gross distortions there already:
1. Ged Fitzgerald is clearly identified as “Councillor”. #Fail. He was Chief Executive of South Yorkshire for just two years (2001-2003) of the decade-and-a-half in question. A simple fact check would have established that. Or even — perish the thought — a reading, let alone an understanding, of Professor Jay’s report.
2. The headline is perverse. It wasn’t “1,400 Young girls”. Professor Alexis Jay is clear:
Our conservative estimate is that approximately 1400 children were sexually exploited over the full Inquiry period, from 1997 to 2013.
3. What about the assertion that child rapists are mainly of Asian origin?
What’s a bit of racism between consenting adults?
That has been another chronic #Fail throughout the whole of this horrible saga. It began, and continued from Andrew Norfolk’s original piece for The Times. Not to put too fine a point on it, Norfolk’s stories for The Times seem obsessed with proving the malignity and rapaciousness of Asians. Try it and see.
The whole focus, not just by Norfolk, has been on “gangs”, with the clear insinuation that the problem involves Pakistani men preying on vulnerable white girls. We may trace that one back to Jack Straw in January 2011:
Jack Straw has said that the “fundamental failure” in the Rochdale case, in which dozens of girls were groomed for sex by a group of men of Pakistani origin, lay with the police and social workers who failed to take action to protect them.
But, the former Home Secretary added, there was an added “issue here about colour,” in cases in which Asian men took advantage of white girls.
Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today Programme, he said: “There is an issue of ethnicity here which can’t be ignored.
“It is true that if you go into the sex offenders wings of prisons there are proportionally more white men than Asian men. But there’s also the separate issue of group grooming in the Asian community.
“In terms of group grooming, there is an ethnic dimension to this which is Asian men and white girls, and that has to be faced by the Asian community.
What Straw said, even as there reported by the Daily Telegraph, was almost balanced. What others read into it was definitely not. As with Sky News:
Former home secretary Jack Straw has sparked a row after claiming there is a problem with young Pakistani men grooming and sexually abusing vulnerable white girls.
The Blackburn MP talked of a “specific problem” involving Pakistani men who were “fizzing and popping with testosterone”.
He added that a minority of these young men considered vulnerable white girls as “easy meat”.
Same story; less nuanced.
Suzanne Moore made the case against this simplistic, even casual racism:
… when young myself and working as a residential care worker… [i]t was my duty to report a child missing if he or she did not come back to the home at night. For some girls, that was most nights. The police and my co-workers cheerily referred to these girls as “being on the game”.
If you want to know about ethnicity – as everyone appears to think this is key – these girls were of Caribbean descent, as were their pimps. The men who paid to rape these children, they said, were mostly white.
That was London in the 80s, so the whole “child protection is in tatters” number is not news.
Again, any nuance is unacceptable. Things must be seen as they are, in strict racial terms. So Dan Hodges, again for the Telegraph, channels his inner bigot:
The final attempt at exculpation is being constructed around the straw man of power. Suzanne Moore again leads on this today. “The bigger picture is not, as the right claim, about ethnicity but systematic abuse of girls and boys by powerful men”, expounds the subheading above her piece. “Our untouchables turn out to be little girls raped by powerful men,” she claims.
But they weren’t. Our little girls were raped by Kashmiri cab drivers. Yes, powerful men were involved in the Rotherham abuses. But they weren’t the ones doing the raping. They were the ones turning a blind eye to the rape. And why were they turning a blind eye? Because of the ethnicity of the rapists.
I had to read that twice to get the full splenetic spittle: Our little girls, forsooth. For Hodges (a reformed Lefty himself, but naturally) and his like, all detestable power has to be of the Left. The Guardian has to be monstered as part of the deal. If a bit of male-chauvinist monstering of a female columnist comes along, Steely Dan is up for it.
And that bit of nonsense is where I go to next.