Last month, I wrote here about the BBC and ‘grooming gangs’. In particular, I speculated that it was unlikely that having once (after more than a decade) dramatized the mass gang-rape of British girls (and a man from Wales having partly been fired-up by it then ploughing a van into a crowd outside a mosque) that the BBC might not venture into such territory again. As I said, ‘nobody should be surprised if the BBC reverts to ignoring crimes like Rochdale in the future.’
As so often the situation is worse than I imagined. While I could see that the BBC drama department might be unlikely to again commission a programme looking at the most serious and widespread child-abuse to have occurred in Britain in modern times I thought that they might at least still report the news. No such luck.
The front page of yesterday’s Sunday Mirror read ‘Britain's 'worst ever' child grooming scandal exposed: Hundreds of young girls raped, beaten, sold for sex and some even KILLED.’ Like the scandals in Rotherham, Rochdale, Oxfordshire and a growing list of other places, it seems that the victims are, once again, white British girls and the perpetrators men of ‘Asian’ background. Of course while in most other situations the word ‘Asian’ means ‘Asian’, for these purposes ‘Asian’ means ‘men of Muslim background, mainly Pakistani’.
The details of the Sunday Mirror’s investigation once again make for exceptionally difficult reading. The paper describes how girls as young as 11 were drugged, beaten and gang-raped in Telford. It describes how:
‘One 14-year-old, groomed and abused after her phone number was sold to paedophiles, said: “I hated what was happening and my abusers made my skin crawl but I was told that if I said a word to anyone they’d come for my little sisters and tell my mum I was a prostitute.
“Night after night, I was forced to have sex with multiple men in disgusting takeaways and filthy houses.
"I must have been getting the morning after pill from a local clinic at least twice a week but no one asked any questions.
“I fell pregnant twice and had two abortions. Hours after my second termination, I was taken by one of my abusers to be raped by more men.
"The worst moment came just after my 16th birthday when I was drugged and gang raped by five men.
"Days later, the ringleader turned up at my house and told me he’d burn it down if I breathed a word of what had happened.”
We once again learn how, over the course of four decades, every arm of the state – including council staff, social workers and the police – allowed the mass gang-rape of children to go on in their town. And we learn – once again – how fear of accusations of ‘racism’ meant that the identities of the culprits were hidden and cases were not investigated.
When the story broke yesterday it was covered across a range of other papers, including in all of the Mirror’s competitors. But the story clearly sent the BBC into a panic. As Ed West pointed out on Twitter, this morning the story was not even on the front page of the BBC’s website:
You might look at that and think ‘Well, there’s a hell of a lot going on in the world at the moment that may take priority'. Like that disturbance at the final of the Crufts dog-show. And that story about an ex-footballer spitting at a woman in her car. What chance does the rape of 1,000 young girls have beside such competition?
Except that the story was not on the ‘England’ page either.
In fact, the mass gang-rape of underage girls in Shropshire didn’t even make it to the homepage of BBC Shropshire. Only after a fair amount of comment about this online did the BBC manage, this afternoon, to squeeze the rape of the area’s kids into their round-up of Shropshire news.
So now, finally, there is a headline story about the case. Though it may be said to fit jarringly with the ‘My Telford’ video also on their front-page in which the BBC has splashed out some money on a video in which students at Hadley Learning Community ‘Tell their Telford stories to BBC Radio Shropshire.’ I suppose we can just agree that it is to everyone’s regret that while the BBC was choosing to spend part of the license fee on this pointless piece of feel-good pabulum they forgot to make a video-story in which young women in Telford could have told about their very different Telford experience.
That ‘My Telford’ could have been a really interesting and important video. Or it would have been if every single arm of the state plus the official state broadcaster hadn’t already decided that the children of Telford being gang-raped on an industrial scale (Telford is a town of just 170,000 people) is one big yawn-fest. Or that they basically agree with the very basic Labour MP Naz Shah who last year revealed her own opinions about all this when she re-Tweeted a (satirical) Tweet suggesting that the victims of the Rotherham sex abuse scandal should ‘shut their mouths. For the good of #diversity.’
For it is now not just abundantly but repeatedly clear that most people in positions of authority in this country never did want stories like Telford, Rochdale or Rotherham to come out. Not just because they want to continue being allowed to negotiate between the facts and the public, rather than just reporting the facts to the public. But because such stories spoil – perhaps more than any other – the pleasant, transient, but for the time-being dominant narrative which a whole generation of people in authority have come to believe in, or at least preach. Don’t forget that, as the case of the MP Sarah Champion showed last year, you can still lose your job in this country if you say this is going on.
It is easier to keep trying to cover it all over. And that is why there is now such a concerted effort online and in the non-online world to shut down, bar, silence, ban, deport and downgrade not the people who cover for these crimes but rather anyone who speaks out about them, highlights them, campaigns against them or does anything else other than join in the general silence. ‘For the good of diversity’.