As far back as 2007, an official working group identified 50 youngsters at risk of exploitation. Yet such was the guilty men's sense of impunity that, when victims lashed out, causing damage to a taxi and a takeaway, they twice reported them to the police. So what on Earth went wrong?Gosh, who could possibly say? Apart from, you know, people who can see through the media's rhetoric?
The failure of the police to pay serious mind to the complaints of youngsters who came to their attention as miscreants is disturbing, but part of a familiar pattern. What is more baffling is the blind eye turned by social services.Ah, yes. See the knife slipped in there? The police, well, everyone knows they are thugs, vandals and bullies, but how, oh how could sainted social workers drop the ball?
Thinking was warped by a version of a right-on ethos about respecting the individual decisions of teenagers. An approach that might have been appropriate in the context of a sexual health clinic advising girls with boyfriends was misapplied to a scenario of brainwashing and coercion.Ah, but see, that’s like being a little bit pregnant – you can’t advocate the one (because why leave it to stuffy old parents with their bourgeois hangups?) without opening up the door for the other…
This is a shrunken, atomistic notion of decision, which disregards intimidation and peer pressure. It is a no-such-thing-as-society view.See! Somehow, it’s always the fault of Thatcher, no matter what ‘it’ is..!
Another element may have been ethnicity.‘May have been’..?
Caveats are important here…Oh, I’ll just bet..
… because, in discussion of grooming, there is plenty of prejudice and no reliable statistics.Really? Well, there never will be, if everyone’s studiously looking the other way!
We know that the overwhelming majority of sex offenders are white, but it does not follow that the same is true in every criminal sub-category. Different cultures do give rise to different violent pathologies. The fondness of white Britain for alcohol, to take one example, gives rise to forms of thuggery which would be unheard of in Muslim communities.Ummm, no. Actually, thuggery is thuggery, even if the perpetrators haven’t had half a shandy in a pub beforehand.
Arranged marriages and low female employment in Muslim Britain are indicative of – at the very least – different attitudes to gender. There is no proven link between these and the (mercifully rare) cases of the Rochdale type that we have witnessed among South Asian Muslims. But such a connection cannot be ruled out a priori.Try as you might!
If social services feared to tread to avoid causing offence, and perhaps complicating wider work within the Pakistani community, then that has proved a terrible error. For giving offence is as nothing compared with the grotesque offences that eventually transpired.And I might believe your sudden conversion, if there was the slightest bit of evidence that, from now on, you'll be cutting back on the opportunities for people to use your newspaper to foster their own grievances and demand their hurt feelings be assuaged.
But there isn't.