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Why liberals turned a blind eye to the ‘grooming’ of girls

By Ed West –  May 9th, 2012

To understand how a modern liberal will come down on any complicated issue, simply look for a victim. It’s been the case in every major battle of the last 50 years, and it’s an almost infallible guide to Leftist thinking.

The conviction yesterday of nine men in Rochdale on “grooming” charges, a rather gentle word for the sexual abuse of children, is a classic example. Almost immediately the Guardian produced a comment piece vigorously playing down any racial element. Sunny Hundal made the same point, even while linking to a criminal justice report which seemed to suggest the opposite. The BBC this morning went out of its way to deny there was a cultural element to this phenomenon.

Yet if the overwhelming majority of perpetrators of a particular type of crime come from one ethnic group, we can say that this crime has a racial or cultural element; if the vast majority of their victims come from another group, definitely so. To deny this seems bizarre. As Norman Dennis once wrote: “One of the unintended effects of teaching statistics to students in social-affairs departments is that a historically unprecedented large number of people have been equipped with the tools that enable them to dismiss out of hand all figures but those they want to believe.”

Yet despite several prominent Pakistani-Britons saying as such, the liberal media still see their primary job as dismissing these figures in order to defend their favoured victims.

It was different a century ago. As the Leveson report intensifies, it’s worth recalling that investigative journalism began with a child prostitution scandal, which led to the age of consent being raised to 16. Such outrages were eliminated by sturdy Christian feminists who hated the sex trade but saw that a human being could be both sinner and victim; yet such atrocities were to return to British soil in the 21st century.

That this has been allowed to happen can be partly explained by the victimisation of politics from the 1960s. The two great liberal reforms of that period, in attitudes to nationality and sex, both came about because of how certain people were perceived as victims: immigrants the victims of white racism, and young working-class girls the victims of male hypocrisy. In the latter case this influenced the Abortion Act, the change in housing rules that gave preference to lone parents, and the move away from moralistic approaches to sex towards safe-sex teaching.

Whatever the noble intentions, in practice this has not been a success: there are now 80,000 children in care, about four times as many in “chaotic” homes and, as these grooming cases showed, very large numbers of vulnerable young girls available for sexually exploitation. Yet the authorities, so desperate to turn away from any sort of moral judgment, even officially sanction children being sexually active.

Overlooked: one of the Rochdale rape victims

At the same time as sexual attitudes were changing, Britain was experiencing the arrival of large numbers of people from countries with conservative ideas about sexuality. The theory behind free movement was that people around the world were interchangeable and that, once exposed to British air, people would adopt British attitudes and world views. But that doesn’t necessarily happen, especially when a society is in its decadent stage; and history tells us that where barbarism and decadence clash, women are going to get hurt. Because the anti-racism movement became the core of the liberal conscience, when stories of sexual harassment and more began to filter down no one wanted to know, Nazir Afzal being one of the exceptions.

That this was ignored, that the police were weary of investigating, and that the media’s initial reaction is to worry about racism rather than the thousands of young girls who are in a similar situation, is testimony to the power of victim politics.

It’s why modern liberals can end up justifying some of the most bizarre, illogical, illiberal or morally repulsive situations, from the actions of Palestinian Islamists, late-term abortion, hate speech laws or the ban on mixed-race adoption. All of these came about because of the need to help an identified victim.

And it’s why, over a century after the scandal was first exposed, we turn a blind eye to the sickening return of organised child rape to these shores.

d West is a journalist and social commentator who specialises in politics, religion and low culture. He is @edwestonline on Twitter.

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