We have to talk about these Pakistani gangs

The Manchester abuse scandal shows what a horrendous impact political correctness can have.

Brendan O'Neill

Brendan O'Neill
Editor

This week, we have seen the true toll of political correctness. PC isn’t just irritating or stupid. It isn’t just woke students banning sombreros or schools getting iffy about ‘Baa Baa Black Sheep’. PC destroys lives.

A report into police and council failings in Manchester has found that gangs of predominantly Pakistani men were free to abuse up to 57 girls after chief cops and local officials turned a blind eye to this foul, cruel behaviour. Why did they turn away? Partly out of fear of stoking racial tensions. Partly because they were worried that drawing attention to the grooming and exploitation of mostly white working-class girls by Asian men might ‘incite racial hatred’ and damage multicultural relations.

Let’s put it plainly: they sacrificed girls to political correctness; they thought that preserving the ideology of multiculturalism was more important than protecting girls from harm.

The independent review into grooming and abuse in Manchester in the mid-2000s, published yesterday, makes for grim reading. It says there were up to 57 victims, mostly white girls aged between 12 and 16, and 97 potential perpetrators, mostly men of ‘Asian heritage’. The review makes clear, from some of the evidence it acquired, that some of the abuse networks were made up of ‘predominantly Pakistani men’. That is, similar to Rotherham, Telford and other parts of the UK, this was a case involving what is sometimes referred to as a Muslim grooming gang.

The girls were groomed, sexually abused, plied with drugs and raped. They suffered, in the review’s words, ‘the most profound abuse and exploitation’. But little was done to help them. Their abusers were not brought to justice. And this catastrophic failing was in part fuelled by what the review refers to as Greater Manchester Police’s concerns about ‘sensitive community issues’. As one news report summarises it, the police were ‘keen not to be seen targeting [a] minority group’. As a result of this PC cowardice, of this mad multicultural sensitivity, the abuse continued.

The review focuses on the tragic case of Victoria Agoglia, a 15-year-old girl in the care of Manchester social services who died from a heroin overdose in 2003. Social services were aware that Victoria was being exploited. She was being injected with heroin by the gangs who used and abused her. She reported being raped. Scandalously, little was done to assist her. Following her death, the coroner said she was known ‘to provide sexual favours’ – a repulsive way of describing the sexual abuse of an underage girl by older men. As the independent review says, such a view of Victoria and her tragic fate ‘significantly underplays the coercion and control’ and ‘harrowing experience’ she was subjected to.

Think about this: we live in a time in which a middle-class woman’s complaint about overhearing a sexist joke or having a hand briefly placed on her knee becomes a huge scandal and can even dominate news coverage, and yet a vulnerable working-class girl can experience horrendous genuine abuse and a coroner, influenced by the view of social services, will refer to it as ‘sexual favours’.

Greater Manchester Police launched Operation Augusta following Victoria’s death. They identified 57 victims and 97 potential perpetrators. Yet hardly any of these people were brought to justice and their ‘activities [were not] disrupted’, as the review says. That is, they carried on abusing. Operation Augusta was wrapped up early and resources were devoted to other, less ‘sensitive’ crimes. As the review says, ‘The authorities knew that many were being subjected to the most profound abuse and exploitation but did not protect them from the perpetrators’.

This is a scandal of epic proportions. The very organisations that are charged with looking after young people who are at risk of abuse failed to do their duty. And they failed to do their duty because they did not want to ruffle community feathers; because they believed, as so much of the establishment does, that ordinary Britons are a vile racist throng and if we hear about an Asian grooming gang we will go crazy. They let their ideology – their commitment to political correctness and to multicultural censorship – distract them from the task of protecting girls from ‘the most profound abuse and exploitation’.

The silence around grooming gangs, in which largely Muslim men abuse largely white working-class girls, has gone on long enough. We need a serious debate about this.

And yet even discussing it is difficult. People are branded racist if they bring it up. You’re an Islamophobe if you talk about the background of most of these men. Sarah Champion was thrown out of the shadow cabinet for daring to write about gangs of Pakistani men abusing girls in her constituency of Rotherham. Corbynistas and Muslim groups accused her of racism.

This unwillingness to talk about, never mind take seriously, the abuse of hundreds of white working-class girls across the country can also be seen in the response to the Manchester scandal. As some people are pointing out, many of today’s newspapers have not led with this story in the way we should expect them to, given it is a huge social and political scandal. What’s more, feminists, so-called progressives and the allegedly pro-working-class left are silent about the whole thing.

There are no hashtags. There is no #MeToo solidarity for these abused girls. There are no expressions of concern from the left. Just shameful, cowardly silence. ‘Make it go away’, is the attitude of these people. Indeed, this week we have had the truly grotesque spectacle of lefties expressing more concern for a duchess, Meghan Markle, than for 57 working-class girls who suffered ‘profound abuse’. They’ve shed more tears over a few rude headlines about the painfully privileged Duchess of Sussex than they have over the revelation that working-class girls were degraded in the most awful way because the authorities couldn’t be bothered to help them.

All day yesterday the chattering classes were droning on about ‘white privilege’ while ignoring the reports about white, mostly poor girls in Manchester being abused. The cognitive dissonance is complete: ‘All white people have privilege’, they cry, as a review reveals the abuse and rape of white girls by mostly Pakistani gangs.

We have to talk about this. We have to talk about how officialdom’s shameful reluctance to investigate these kinds of cases allowed the abuse to continue. We have to talk about how the cultural elite’s silence on these crimes further denigrates the victims, treating them as if they are unworthy of public sympathy. We have to talk about how the new elite’s denigration of white working-class communities as backward and stupid and trashy could well inflame some people’s view of these communities as unimportant, as worthy of abuse. And we have to talk about how the ideology of multiculturalism, the PC unwillingness to look community tensions and divisions in the face, is harming the country.

If we don’t talk about this, far-right elements will continue to make mileage from this issue, girls will continue being abused, and society’s divisions will never be tackled. Only honesty and firmness can stop these things from happening again.

Brendan O’Neill is editor of spiked and host of the spiked podcast, The Brendan O’Neill Show. Subscribe to the podcast here. And find Brendan on Instagram: @burntoakboy

Picture by: Getty.

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