Clearing The Waters: The Rotherham Gangs

A dangerous idea has been allowed to develop. It is perpetuated by Britain First and racist, nationalist groups like them. An idea which has left two scenes- each one a dirty reflection of the other- for us to choose between.

The idea is this: that the left wing is unwilling to condemn the Rotherham abuse.

Hear me out.

I had never really looked into it myself- I have taught myself to block most of the crap that Britain First say on their protests from my memory. I would never normally advise listening to them, so I made sure that all of my research was done independently of racist/nationalist opinions.

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The story in Rotherham is that gangs of men have been exploiting young children in a disgusting trafficking operation since 1997. The girls were enticed by older boys, who got them interested in drugs, narcotics, and alcohol so that they could then be “sold”. Many of these girls were from care homes, and the terrifying thing is, the police really did do very little to help. Some of the victims even claimed the police were aware and refused to help.

An independent enquiry in August 2014, led by Professor Alexis Jay found that at least 1400 children had been sexually exploited by gangs in Rotherham between 1997 and 2013. Britain First and the EDL often shout these figures at their protests. I have no reason to believe the figures are wrong, but they are not Britain First’s figures: I want to see the left (openly) calling for further enquiry and “justice for the Rotherham 1400.” Britain First (The “Biffers”) have called us out on this issue- we have to clearly respond.

Emma Jackson, an abuse victim from Rotherham, told Standing Point Mag about her abuse in Rotherham from the age of 12. She said her abuser, Tarik, “threatened to firebomb my home and rape my own mother if I tried to escape.”

Terrifying.
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What happened to the Rotherham 1400 is absolutely horrific, and we cannot allow it to be repeated. We have a moral duty to stop these events being repeated. The question is why were the police so blind to this?
Gang crime is always difficult for the police to neutralize, but this should not have hindered them in Rotherham- it is very difficult to miss the abuse of 1400 girls- even over a period of 14-15 years. The most common reason given is that the police and authorities probably didn’t want to escalate racial tension in the area, because the majority of abusers were Pakistani or Asian, and the majority of victims were white British.

I’m sorry, but I’m going to say that is simply not a good enough explanation to wave aside the torture of 1400 children with. The Home Secretary Theresa May blamed the failure of authorities on “institutionalized political correctness.” Even as a PC leftie myself, I would be inclined to agree with the home secretary’s analysis: there was no way all victims were white British and all abusers were Asian. Prosecutions would have proved this. But fear of racial tension in Rotherham led to a hideous and unacceptable situation.

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I want to be clear: even if it had escalated racial tensions, the rape and torture of children is not something that can be relativized to avoid racial tension. Quite apart from anything else, the first and foremost duty of the police is to uphold the law: this was all a clear violation of the Sexual Offenses act 2003. Eventually, 5 gang members were prosecuted in November 2010. Zafran Ramzan, Razwan Razaq, Umar Razaq, Adil Hussain, and Mohsin Khan were all given prison sentences that were, in my opinion, far too light. The most severe sentence was 11 years.

To me, it is a question of justice before anything else.

Now that the Labour council (I’m a Labour supporter, but I utterly condemn the actions of this council) and the police have refused to act in a sufficient enough manner, the BNP, the EDL, and Britain First have claimed the issue for their xenophobic and Islamophobic campaigns. That is why I believe it is paramount that the left puts pressure on authorities, to give justice leverage. If we avoid this issue, we are only legitimizing Britain First’s campaign. Britain First don’t care that alcohol, Narcotics, and sexual abuse are condemned by Islam and the Islamic community. They will exploit it if we let them. If we address it, working with the Muslim community of Rotherham, who have unanimously condemned the gangs, we could neutralize the racist’s claim on Rotherham AND bring justice to the victims.

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What the far right are unlikely to be aware of, is what was stated by Joyce Thacker, the ex- strategic director of the children and young people’s services directorate at Rotherham Metropolitan borough council. Thacker stated that the young boys who were used (primarily Asian boys) to entice these young girls, were possibly abuse victims themselves, or victims of the violence of the gangs.

What this tells us is that, if enquiries were made, racial tensions would be neutralized: the perpetrators need to be revealed. It doesn’t need to be a race issue if it’s addressed properly. And the victims need help- we can’t leave it looking like the Biffers or the EDL are their heroes.

But it’s worse: UAF (who I support in every other circumstance) condemned the racism of Britain First with counter protests.

This is the wrong approach: it looks too much like they are protesting against getting justice for the victims. I know that UAF were simply protesting against Britain First because the biffers had blamed all Muslims. I understand that.

But to the people of Rotherham and other onlookers, it could easily be mistaken for a defence of the gangs, simply because they were Muslim. The biffers are pulling in support because of it and it’s so wrong. We shouldn’t let racists gain support because we are not putting pressure where it’s needed.

Even worse, UAF have put several people who tried to warn them about the PR dangers of a counter protest, on the list of Islamaphobia watch UK. I’m sorry; I cannot support UAF on this one issue: we need to be more intelligent than that.

Britain First are exploiting this situation just like the murder of Lee Rigby. We cannot create a situation where we say “you’re either with us or them.” Those who want to help the abuse victims will side with Britain First and the far right.

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Quite apart from anything else, the left must start a campaign because the biffers cannot really help the Rotherham abuse victims. Britain First is founded on fear and hatred. Fear of racial tensions is what bought this about. Fear and hatred will not solve the problem: it must be the left, whose beliefs are based on more than just fear and nationalism, who call for justice and further enquiry.

Enough of this “pick your side”, “us or them”, “black or white” crap. I side with the Rotherham 1400 for justice AND I oppose the racism of Britain First.

I urge you to do the same.

Guest Publication: Joanna Rothon: Visit To A Corbyn rally

Foreward

I asked Joanna Rothon if she would mind recording her thoughts about her visit to a Jeremy Corbyn rally on 28th August. She was kind enough to write up her thoughts- which, I think you’ll agree, demonstrate the power Jeremy Corbyn’s movement is having. And, being a wonderful person, she went one better and provided photographs from the rally. I’ve always held the opinion that inspiration is a chain reaction of proxemics. Joanna was inspired by Jeremy; now her descriptions truly have me inspired- Thank you very much Joanna.

The Man Of The People; The Voice Of The People

The invitation said to arrive at 12.30pm for 1.30. My daughter (Jacoba, aged 17) and I arrived just after half past twelve and the Guildhall was already more than half full, with a high percentage of middle aged to elderly leftie-looking types. It is many decades since I arrived that early for a gig in order to get a good seat.

By 1.30 the hall was full and I was getting restive. The organisers were taking selfies up on the platform, but no Jeremy.

There was a slightly incompetent sound-check which caused a mixture of laughter and noises of exasperation from the audience, who seemed excited and galvanized but by no means uncritical.

The local representatives took their seats, and then finally Jeremy Corbyn appeared to a welcoming cheer from the crowd. He sat down and listened unobtrusively while the four local speakers gave us their five-minutes worth on the issues facing young people, local politics ( the city turned Blue in May) and trades unions.

It was all straight talking stuff, with no sloganeering, no factionalising and no whipping up of emotions.

Then it was Jeremy’s turn – what we had all been waiting for.

I was determined to listen with a critical ear. My natural inclination is to believe in fairies – but I know they are no match for the “wicked wizards” of big business.

He spoke for around 40 minutes, with passion and a breadth of knowledge that showcased his three decades on the job. He spoke without any notes that I could see, and with a strong personal connection to the people of Plymouth.

Photo taken by Joanna Rothon during Jeremy's speech

[Photo taken by Joanna Rothon during Jeremy’s speech]

This was not a man sploshing uneasily around in a suit and brand new wellies in the Siberia of Somerset. He was relaxed and completely at ease, talking in his shirtsleeves, of his pride of the connection of his party with the trades unions and the social conditions that gave birth to the Labour party barely a hundred years ago.

My daughter, who had been dozing on my shoulder, was alert and listening hard. What came over was his passion for democracy, particularly in his own party in which the process of decision making has been funnelled upwards to a few of the high end elite.

He is not so much eager to push his own agenda, as to open up discussions in order to reach the best outcomes for the British people.

Photograph of Corbyn warmly greeting guests taken by Joanna

[Photograph of Corbyn warmly greeting guests taken by Joanna]

He talks and listens to everyone. His integrity shines through, rather than exploiting a seductive charisma aiming to pull people into agreeing with his point of view.

The rally finished with a few questions from audience which Jeremy answered easily and without prevaricating.

After three decades as an MP Jeremy Corbyn is without cynicism, full of passion and hope for the future. We gave him a standing ovation, after which he hopped off the platform to commune and submit to being photographed with his adoring fans.

All of us, who were distraught at the result of the general election, and have been floundering in the Slough of Despond, furious and exasperated at the impotence of political opposition to poisonous and destructive Conservative policies aided and abetted by right wing media moguls; we now have a voice, and the man to go with it.