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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.