I think I’ve had just about all I can take of brave women being demonised, marginalised and forced out of their jobs for daring to speak candidly about grooming gangs, by a Labour Party so desperate for votes that it will turn a blind eye to abuse.
A quick recap:
Sara Rowbotham – the sexual health worker in Rochdale who, in the late 1990s, noticed that teenage girls in the local area were being groomed and abused by older Muslim men. She gathered an extraordinary amount of evidence and testimony from the girls, all of which she handed over to police and social services – but her pleas for action fell on deaf ears and she was eventually hounded out of her job.
Maggie Oliver – the Manchester detective who ended up resigning from the police in disgust after all the evidence and testimony she had gathered from some of the abused girls, was simply discarded with no action taken.
Ann Cryer, the Labour MP for Keighley, who in 2002 tried to get police and social services to take action over the abuse of underage girls in her constituency. For her efforts, she was shunned by fellow Labour party members and received so much abuse that she had to have a panic button installed in her house.
And now Sarah Champion, the Labour MP who wrote a candid article in the Sun a week ago, stating that we have a specific problem with British Pakistani men raping and exploiting white girls.
It’s bad enough that she has been forced to resign for simply speaking the truth. But what really makes me sick is that she clearly has been scapegoated for words written by somebody else, in a completely separate article.
Sarah Champion’s article was published last Friday, 11 August – and while it got people talking and caused a bit of outrage from the Muslim community at the time, it largely went unchallenged.
But on Tuesday 15 August, the Sun published a second article, written by Trevor Kavanagh, which concluded with the sentence “What will we do about The Muslim Problem then?”
It was this second article that caused a public uproar. The MP Naz Shah penned an open letter to the editor of the Sun, signed by a total of 105 cross-party MPs, in which she condemned the wording of the article and its undertones of Nazi propaganda. The letter also cited earlier articles published by the Sun but made absolutely no mention of that written by Sarah Champion. It called for the sacking of Trevor Kavanagh.
Mr Kavanagh has written a response in today’s Sun, in which he, astoundingly, tries to convince the reader that he saw no significance in the phrase “the Muslim Problem” because he was previously unaware of the phrase “the Jewish Problem”.
This is quite preposterous. After all the furore over the sacking of Katie Hopkins from LBC for her use of the phrase “final solution” it would be impossible for a journalist of any standing not to know that the second part of that campaign slogan was “to the Jewish Problem”.
With the tricky “Muslim Problem” wording dealt with, Kavanagh then goes on to deflect from his own article onto the earlier article written by Ms Champion, pointing out that it was her article that prompted him to write his own, and further pointing out that her article, in seeking to address the tricky issue of race, was the more likely catalyst for any offence now taken by the Muslim community.
Finally, he tries to claim an equivalence between his use of the phrase “the Muslim Problem” and an article by Clare Foges in the Times, about the traveller community, in which she wrote “ But when separateness grows to mean a scant regard for the laws and courtesies that frame life for most of us, we have a serious problem.” I’m sorry but apart from the word “problem” there is absolutely no equivalence between Ms Foges’ words and those of Mr Kavanagh.
So what does all this tell us? Well it tells us, firstly, that the editor of the Sun is clearly not willing to be bullied into sacking Mr Kavanagh – and good for him. While I don’t believe Kavanagh’s words were accidental – and while I can see how offensive they were – I am not in favour of journalists having to tread on eggshells in their choice of words, and I am particularly not in favour of historical references being used to recontextualise modern wording. Or of editors giving approval to an article then sacking the writer when it provokes an easily-anticipated backlash.
Secondly, though, based on the number of journalists who are siding with Mr Kavanagh and quite happily accepting his explanation of not having seen the significance of his words – the same journalists who rounded on Katie Hopkins for her use of the words “final solution” despite her making no reference to Muslims whatsoever, and who absolutely refused to accept her explanation that she wasn’t referring to genocide – it tells us that journalists are a fickle, hypocritical bunch willing to jump on a bandwagon of outrage, or to happily look the other way, depending on their relative admiration for the person in question (or just what day of the week it is).
But overwhelmingly, depressingly, this shows us that Jeremy Corbyn, clearly under great pressure from the Muslim community to deliver a scalp, and having failed to deliver that of Mr Kavanagh, decided to throw one of his own MPs under the bus instead.
It tells us that the Labour Party under Jeremy Corbyn will happily continue to turn a blind eye to the exploitation of underage girls, in order to secure the votes of Muslim voters. Just when I thought the scandal of 30 years of abuse of white British girls could not get any worse, it just did, with the revelation that the leader of our opposition is not even trying to hide his willingness to pimp them out for votes.