Douglas Murray

Modern Britain’s apathetic, inadequate response to child sexual abuse

Modern Britain's apathetic, inadequate response to child sexual abuse
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The customs developing around how modern British officialdom reacts to the gang-rape of children is very interesting.

I’ve just watched an interview (above) with Shaun Wright, the Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) for South Yorkshire, a man who has to struggle along on a tax-payer funded salary of £85,000. The interview was in reaction to the revelation that Mr Wright was PCC during much of the period in which at least 1400 children in his area were raped and gang-raped by groups of men.  I’m not quite sure what we’re currently allowed to say by way of identifying these men.  We might once have said that they were ‘diverse’ or ‘vibrant’.  Except that nearly all the men seem to come from one religious, and specific ethno-religious, background. For some time ‘Asian’ appears to have been the term of choice, but whenever I use it I receive a slew of angry emails from Hindus and Sikhs of Asian descent.  I also get cross emails from Chinese persons and the people of Japan who criticise me for using the term ‘Asian’ to describe the men.  I don’t know what the solution is.  Perhaps we could avoid all trouble by just calling the guilty men ‘non-diverse’?

In any case, I was trying to remember what the interview with Shaun Wright reminded me of, and then I remembered of course it was this apology by the Chief Executive of Oxfordshire County Council, Joanna Simons:

Ms Simons is better off than Mr Wright, though she still has to squeeze by on a tax-payer funded salary of around £182,400, plus bonuses. She had to make her apology after it transpired that she had overseen, among other things, a care-home system which allowed young girls to be drugged, raped and gang-raped by an equally ‘non-diverse’ group of men in the Oxfordshire area.  This was known as the ‘Operation Bullfinch’ case and led to the prosecution of a distinctly non-diverse group of men from the Oxfordshire area last year.

Anyhow – if you care to study these two excruciating pieces of evidence for any future prosecution of contemporary Britain you will notice several things.  Firstly both of these highly paid dolts are kind enough to issue an apology for not stopping the incessant gang-rape of children.  Secondly you will notice that although they are willing to issue an apology for not stopping the habitual gang-rape of children, they do not think that it was their job to stop it or think it was partly their job but that it wasn’t their fault that they didn’t stop it.  Thirdly, naturally, they are very clear that they are not going to resign.  Fourthly comes the happy ending which is – yes, that’s right – the fact that ‘lessons have been learnt.’  Such a relief.  One might have worried that point four in the pro-forma 'English council gang-rape apology advice handbook' would be: ‘Say “nothing has been learnt and that the kids deserved it”.’

But what is most extraordinary is that watching either of these videos you wouldn’t know anything remotely out of the ordinary had actually happened.  Watch Ms Simons’s apology with the sound bleeping out the verbal acrobatics she employs to euphemise the fact that we’re talking about the systematic, repeated gang-rape of children, and you could think that Ms Simons is apologising for Oxfordshire County Council’s failure to provide more adequate leaf collection a week last Wednesday.

Happily for her, Ms Simons is still in place.  I should imagine that Mr Wright should be able to keep his job so long as he can ride out the next few hours.  One tip would be not to repeat the line that he ‘feels quite let down by this report.’  This might be thought not to hit the right tone.  If feeling ‘let down’ begins to hold any sway in South Yorkshire then I can think of at least 1,400 girls who would demand a more immediate hearing.

But in one way of course whether Mr Wright stays or goes doesn't matter very much.  Low-grade, over-paid officials like Mr Wright and Ms Simons thrive in this country precisely because they do not buck the status-quo.  For the last couple of decades that status-quo has been to do everything possible to ensure that nobody offends anybody or is seen to be in any way criticising anybody based on their race, religion or culture.  As we all learnt from the Macpherson Report, such an offence can occur whether an offence was intended or not and whether it occurred or not.  Indeed it  can be based solely on whether a complainant feels like such an offence has occurred.  Mr Wright and Ms Simons were simply toeing the national line in doing what they were so munificently paid to do.  Whether they resign or not may placate a passing rage.  But it will do nothing to address this nation's deeper and more intractable underlying problems.

Written byDouglas Murray

Douglas Murray is Associate Editor of The Spectator. His most recent book The Madness of Crowds: Gender, Race and Identity is out now.

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