I posted this tweet April 2 in response to what I consider to be the openly racist comments from the Home Secretary on child grooming yesterday:
The deeply-political claims Suella Braverman made are summarised in the video in this tweet:
In summary, Braverman’s argument is that there are grooming gangs; they are mainly Asian; they mainly operate in Labour-controlled local authority areas and because of political correctness Labour does nothing about them.
Staggeringly she is not alone in making this claim. As the Guardian notes this morning:
Rishi Sunak is to announce new measures to tackle grooming gangs on Monday, claiming that “political correctness” would not get in the way of a crackdown, while his home secretary was accused of “dog whistle” rhetoric over child sexual exploitation.
A new grooming gang taskforce will be set up with specialist officers, supported by the National Crime Agency, helping local forces and offering the use of ethnicity data to assist police investigations.
Before the announcement, Sunak warned that for too long “political correctness has stopped us from weeding out vile criminals who prey on children and young women”. He added: “We will stop at nothing to stamp out these dangerous gangs.”
His claim is as wrong as Braverman’s. As the Guardian also note:
An official report by the Home Office in 2020 concluded that most child sexual abuse gangs are made up of white men under the age of 30, adding that there was not enough evidence to suggest members of grooming gangs were disproportionately more likely to be Asian or black.
I believe the Home Office.
Just as I believe that these gangs also largely operate in larger towns and cities, which happen to vote Labour, which proves nothing about causality.
What I do not believe is that there is any political correctness in evidence.
Instead, this is openly racist. dog-whistling politics of the very lowest order. It is very hard to differentiate its open abuse of the facts, coupled with its obviously racist element, from fascism. And I am sure that those promoting it know that. I give them credit for not being stupid. Those who used fascist techniques do not do so by chance: they do so deliberately, having studied what they are.
Why are they doing this? First, they must believe it the right thing to do. I leave that fact for others to ponder on. But I can see no other reason for this open racist hostility.
Second, they think that they will get away with their lies. To make sure that happens we can expect these claims to be repeated, endlessly. That is what the Goebbels handbook requires.
Third, expect Labour to be ineffective in response, not least because the truth is so hard to promote in these situations where what is being opposed is an outright lie. The Tories know that.
Fourth, expect a civil society response – to be followed by threats to those who say anything because, it will be claimed, they are acting politically when doing so. As Orwell once said:
Where are we then on April 3? It seems to me that the next round of attack from the fascists has been opened by Braverman. That is sickening, because no one would condone child grooming. It is disgusting, because she is politicising the issue when unity of action is required. And it is appalling because of the explicit racist attacks she, and now Sunak, are making.
This is the state of the UK in 2023.
You can read more from Richard on his blog.