Jeremy Corbyn Must Follow Ted Heath’s example – He sacked Enoch Powell and Sarah Champion must be sacked
Jeremy Corbyn Must Follow Ted Heath’s example – He sacked Enoch Powell and Sarah Champion must be sacked
Can’t Have A Racist in the Shadow Cabinet
Update – Victory as Champion Goes
Within 12 hours of my posting this blog Sarah Champion had resigned as Shadow Womens and Equalities Spokesperson. It just shows the power of this blog!
When Enoch Powell gave his ‘Rivers
of Blood’ speech in 1968, Ted Heath instantly sacked
him from the Tory Shadow
Cabinet. Powell spoke of ‘Black piccaninnies’
and, as a Classicist used a Roman metaphor:
is like watching a nation busily engaged in heaping up its own funeral pyre”
and “Like the Roman, I seem to see
the River Tiber foaming with much blood.”
Heath was never forgiven
for this by the Tory Right but by his swift action he made it clear that the
kind of racist demonization we have seen in the last week is unacceptable. It is equally intolerable that Sarah Champion, who has engaged in no less despicable racist stereotyping, remains as Labour’s Shadow Minister for Women and Equalities.
Enoch Powell was sacked by Ted Heath – Corbyn needs to demonstrate his mettle by sacking Champion
Sarah Champion’s decision
to write an article in the Scum, of all papers, a paper which
has made the depiction of women’s bodies for gratification into an art form, is
shocking. No less shocking is the
headline over her article ‘British Pakistanis ARE raping white girls’.The extrapolation from what a particular gang
of Muslim men did to all Pakistanis is overtly racist and belongs in the
repertoire of the British National Party and Britain First, not the Labour
Sarah Champion – Labour’s Enoch Powell
Noone pretends that
the activities of this gang of rapists in
Newcastle is anything other than horrifying.
There is no justification for what they did and they deserve long prison
sentences. What is not acceptable is the
drawing of an equation between Muslim or Pakistani men and rape and child sex
abuse. It hardly needs to be said that
all men, whatever their colour or ethnic origin are equally capable of rape and
Sarah Champion chose well for her racist diatribe – the Sun
When a group of white men
did exactly the same just over a year ago there were no lurid headlines in the Scum
about white men abusing and raping. It
was not considered newsworthy.
When Lord Greville Janner,
the former President of the Board of Deputies of British Jews was widely
acknowledged to have sexually abused and raped at least 20 young boys, no one
except the most despicable fascist would have gone on to draw an equation
between him and Jewish men per se.
Jimmy Saville – protected by the Police and BBC – is not believed to have been Pakistani or Muslim
Nor did anyone try to
suggest that Jimmy Saville, whose activities were covered up by at least 3
Police forces and BBC Executives, was typical of White British men.
There is no evidence that
Muslim men are more inclined than any other men to rape or abuse. As Richard Seymour describes in the article
below, there are material reasons why abuse by Muslim men in certain Northern
cities may take a particular form. The fact that they are engaged in night time trades, kebab shops, taxis etc. lends itself to this kind of networking.
The Rev. Peter Ball, ex-Bishop of Lewes, was gaoled for 32 months for abusing at least 18 children, one of whom later committed suicide as a result. Doesn’t seem to have a Pakistani heritage
In the same way, rape and
abuse by Catholic and Church of England priests takes another form, often over
much longer periods of time and also subject to various forms of cover up by
the authorities. When the impeccably White
ex-Bishop of Lewes Peter Ball was gaoled for just 32 months, of which he served
only 16 months, for abusing 18 aspiring young priests no one campaigned against
White Priests once again being caught raping and abusing. Noone seemed bothered to ask why Prince Charles
and other members of the Establishment covered up for him. Charles even provided Ball with a grace and favour home on his estate.
sex abuse Bishop, who was protected from prosecution for years by Establishment
figures, walks free from jail]
The abuse in Ireland, not simply sexual abuse but
what was tantamount to the murder of children and young women in Catholic homes,
hardly bears repeating. It was a veritable holocaust but it reflected on the misogyny of the Irish Catholic church not all Irish Catholics. The same is true of the Protestant Kincora
home in Belfast where, under the watchful eye of MI6 and Northern Ireland’s
Special Branch, young boys were raped and abused by senior Loyalists.
The fact is that sexual abuse and rape takes many
forms in many societies. There is no
doubt that all religions, Islam included, are misogynist. It hardly bears repeating that the West,
Britain and the USA in particular, have sponsored and supported the most
reactionary strand of Islam, Wahhabism in Saudi Arabia, a strand which encourages
and legitimates sexual abuse. It was
Wahhabism which gave the inspiration to ISIS which made the enslavement and
rape of Yazidi women a matter of policy.
A poster that appeared in Streicher’s Der Sturmer featuring the lecherous Jewish male predator – this is a common theme in racist narratives
In Nazi Germany Jewish men were also alleged to be predators. It was the staple diet of Der Sturmer magazine run by Julius
Streicher. There is no doubt that the
incidence of child sexual abuse within sections of Jewish ultra-orthodoxy is
high. People like senior Lubavitch Rabbi
Manis Friedman have openly belittled and made light of such abuse. [see Call
for apology as Rabbi Manis Friedman likens child sex abuse to ‘diarrhoea’]
Lubavitch, which is a very active Hasidic sect in the Orthodox British Jewish community has
consistently refused to condemn Friedman’s remarks. Friedman who remains in a position of power is widely
believed to be a child sex abuser himself, at least according to his son, who
is also an abuser.
One could if one wanted to look at the way non-Jewish women are treated
and considered in the Jewish religion since Islam is held up to the
mirror. The term ‘Shiksa’ for a non-Jewish
woman is derived from Sheketz, ‘unclean’ and is used to refer to a
prostitute.The attitude of the Jewish Orthodoxy to non-Jewish women would not bear examination.
None of this excuses Sarah Champion’s decision to
write in the Scum.He decision has
particular poignancy given that this was the paper that lied about Liverpool
football fans at Hillsborough football stadium.
It should be a sacking offence for any Labour shadow cabinet minister to
write in this paper. To add political
petrol to the flames of the Scum’s racism and sexism is
has uncovered, prosecuted and convicted members of another large child sex
grooming ring, this time in Newcastle.
As is always the case when the majority of the perpetrators are
not white, this has provoked a ‘debate’ about race, that vacillates between the
hand-wringing and the downright sinister. Sarah
Champion MP has managed both,
attacking the Tories from the right on race, and berating the “floppy
left” for finding anything problematic in this. In particular, Champion
avers that these offenders are “predominantly Pakistani” and
castigates the government for not investigating this. Such debates are not
provoked when the perpetrators are white, and this tells us something about the
role of “race and culture” as talking points.
Now, contrary to what Champion claims, she is not breaking new
ground here. Back in 2012 when a string of major child sex abuse stories,
inculpating politicians, celebrities, senior police and others, exploded onto
the national news, there was also a national panic about Muslim men as a result
of child sex rings in the north. Keith Vaz MP explained on BBC Radio that one in five of
the perpetrators of child sex grooming are British Asians. He was drawing on
data from the Child
Exploitation and Online Protection centre.
Even he wasn’t breaking new ground, merely reiterating what Jack
Straw MP had said years before. This is an old and dishonourable tactic by a
certain kind of politician. In particular, it is Labour politicians who think
that they have to demonstrate their un-PC credentials by pandering to racism.
That this is in fact what Champion is doing, and knowingly, is
disappointing given her record. She won her seat by defeating a toxic Ukip
campaign orchestrated precisely on the axis of a panic about child abuse,
implicating British Asians as a menace to white sexual innocence. Ukip claimed
that Labour was more worried about political correctness and not being racist
than in protecting white British kids.
Champion did not, at the time, concede ground to the racist
fearmongering. She, as a professional with direct experience in dealing with
child abuse, knows the literature and expertise well enough to refute
race-baiting. And she increased Labour’s majority. Now she is repeating the
There are a few things to clarify before a sensible discussion
can even be had. First of all, “race and culture” should not be
spoken in the same breath, as if they are the same type of thing. Cultures
exist, but they are raggedy in outline, porous, and changeable. Their outlines
are more like weather fronts than borders. Races don’t exist, except as a
political and ideological construct. The idea that any one specific culture
could be imputed to British Asian men is incoherent.
Second, as an elementary point of logic, correlation is not
causation. Commenting on the CEOP figures, an investigator told The Guardian that the higher
representation of British Asian men in the data is likely to reflect not ‘race’
or ‘culture’ in these cases, but occupation. In other words, these grooming
rings were made possible by a night-time economy populated by young girls
moving between taxis and fast food outlets. Which, given a racial segregation
of the labour force, meant that there was a unique opportunity for a small
number of men, mostly British Asian in the case of Operation Sanctuary, to
generate a grooming circuit, based on attention, flattery, parties, booze and
drugs. Relatedly, where biases toward the over-representation of a particular
minority group have been found among child sex abusers, typically it is because race is indexed to other factors that make children
vulnerable, such as class.
Third, proof of the stereotypical nature of this debate is
Champion’s claim that gang-related child sexual abuse is “predominantly
Pakistani”. This is often asserted, but there’s no evidence for it, and
the CEOP figures simply don’t bear that out. “Just 35 of the
415 Asians are recorded as having Pakistani heritage and thus highly likely to
be Muslim, and only five are recorded as being from a Bangladeshi background.
The heritage of 366 of the Asian group is not stated in those figures.” As
a result, the CEOP is quite explicit about its inability to draw any nationwide
conclusions based on the fragmentary and partial nature of its data. It depends
entirely on data deriving from cases reported to a police unit investigating
Fourth, the construction of child abuse along racial or national
lines depends entirely on how you focus your search. The majority of sex
offenders in the UK, according to collected by Sheffield
Hallam University, are white. In the figures collected in 2007, 5.6 per cent of
the sex offender population was ‘South Asian’ by origin, and 81.9% white. Taking
into account the fact that this was the prison population, and that there are
racial biases in the criminal justice system from arrest to prosecution, it
would be surprising if these figures didn’t exaggerate the representation of
British Asians among the sex offenders population.
Fifth, one reason for the extraordinarily high rate of estimated
non-disclosure is that the majority of sexual assaults are inflicted on
children. And abuse selects for vulnerability. This means that there is, even
in the best official data, a huge zone of blindness. But with the data we have,
it is possible to say that the majority of child sex abuse is not like the
grooming cases. It usually involves one-to-one assaults, in a residence, either
first thing in the morning, during after-school hours, or at midnight. So,
attempting to draw wider conclusions about the nature of child sexual abuse
from the high profile grooming cases is at best a mistake.
The problem with Sarah Champion’s intervention is not that she
wants to talk about culture. If we started to talk about the cultural biases
and cognitive distortions that enable abusers, that would require a careful and
nuanced discussion, which would take into account the specific ways in which
different groups of offenders — be they the abusers at Kincora Boys Home, the
groomers of Rotherham and Newcastle, or the fathers who assault their children
ongoingly — are informed by their cultural self-understandings, their
religion, their socioeconomic position, and so on. It would not try to simplify
all this by forcing it through the morally charged and oppressive grid of race.
To reinforce race as the appropriate framework for analysis and
police action is to, as Sarah Champion admits, raise the pitch of nationwide
Islamophobia. It is also to add one more giant weapon to the arsenals of
silence. Children don’t speak out for many reasons. In part because they fear
they will not be believed, in part because they fear punishment or revenge. But
one of the best known reasons is their fear of the process of accountability
and prosecution itself. Their fear, in a word, that the process will run out of
their control, that it will have consequences well beyond their intentions. If
you turn child sex abuse into a national morality tale about race relations in
21st century Britain, you haven’t made it easier for people to speak — especially children who are
particularly vulnerable because of the way they are racialised.
Because contrary to Champion’s claims, this sort of intervention
is not about protecting children. Racism is not child protection.
: Since I wrote
this, Sarah Champion has taken to the pages of The Sun to further incite racial
hatred. The headline: “British Pakistanis ARE raping white girls … and
we must face up to it”. Followed by the first sentence: “Britain has
a problem with British Pakistani men raping and exploiting white girls.”
It is not trivial to point out that the majority of those
arrested, prosecuted and convicted in this latest grooming circle in Newcastle
are not Pakistani. To respond to this case by, as Champion has from the start,
inciting against Pakistani men, is to conflate all the men with brown skin who
were arrested, be they Iraqi, Bangladeshi, or Indian into a sort of racial
amalgam, a Muslamic horde.
It also goes without saying that Champion styles herself as
someone very brave and original, as though what she is saying has not been said
over and over again by opportunistic Labour MPs, Tories, Ukippers, Sun
columnists, and so on. “There. I said it. Does that make me a
racist?” She asks. Yes.
Champion MP, I think you’re racist. There. I said it. Does that make me
politically correct? Or am I just prepared to call out this horrifying problem
for what it is?
you think I am being over the top, have a quick read of the column in the Sun written by Labour’s Shadow
Equalities Minister, Sarah Champion. It’s entitled “British Pakistani men ARE
raping and exploiting white girls… and it’s time we faced up to it.” She
inexplicably opens with the line “Britain has a problem with British Pakistani
men raping and exploiting white girls. There. I said it. Does that make me a
racist? Or am I just prepared to call out this horrifying problem for what it
to answer what I’m sure was a rhetorical question Sarah, yes, it does make you
a racist. Let me explain why.
country which has a history of abuse against South Asians by way of activities
such as “Paki-bashings” and at a time of resurgent racism, to make such a
sweeping and factually inaccurate statement is incendiary and achieves nothing
other than establishing further stigma against minorities. Is it true that there
is “a problem with British Pakistani men raping and exploiting white girls” or
is it just some Pakistani men? A very small minority? Your statement is lazy
and suggests the problem is with all British Pakistani men, which as your
colleague Naz Shah MP points out includes other politicians such as Sajid Javid
and Sadiq Khan, as well as her two sons.
Shah’s rebuttal article makes
me wonder whether you consulted with any of your British Pakistani colleagues
before launching such a vocal tirade against Pakistani people. Did you?
go on to say “for too long we have ignored the race of these abusers and,
worse, tried to cover it up…these people are predators and the common
denominator is their ethnic heritage.” Let’s overlook the questionable accuracy
of your assumptions again, but look at the common denominator that you
identify, their “ethnic heritage”.
case which her comments come after is the horrendous sex gang case in
Newcastle. Unusually for a sex abuse case, the ethnicity of the perpetrators
has been the main focus, and the focus of choice for Labour’s Shadow Equalities
Minister. The convicted men were mostly British-born, from Iraqi, Bangladeshi,
Pakistani, Indian, Iranian, and Turkish communities. Whilst the majority were
British Pakistani, not all were. Regardless of this, Ms Champion has labelled
the problem as a “Pakistani” one. It’s a modern-day, non-violent version of
“Paki-bashing” attacking those who are brown-skinned under the all-encompassing
more contemporary racists, you have chosen to identify the common denominator,
without proper evidence, as “ethnic-heritage” or as it appears you are unable
to differentiate between different ethnic backgrounds, just the skin colour.
But say it was the ethnic heritage. Is it British Pakistani culture and
upbringing that you are pointing the finger at? Are you able to identify what
that culture is? Because I can’t. Like every other “culture”, upbringing varies
wildly based on multiple factors. Would you claim the culture and upbringing of
an Eton-educated southerner is the same as a manual labourer from a
working-class community in Wales, just because they are both White British?
Give me a break. You could have pointed out that the common denominator is that
they all have dark hair or that they are all men. But you chose race.
argument’s sake, let’s assume the premise of your arguments are true. That
child sexual exploitation is a problem unique to the British Pakistani
community. The solution would therefore be to engage with British Pakistani
communities and to enable them to tackle the problem head-on. But what do you
hope to achieve by writing a column about it in the Sun? Have you been briefed
that the Sun has a large Pakistani readership? Are Pakistani mothers and
fathers buying copies of the Sun to catch a glimpse of Page 3? If there are
huge numbers of Pakistani people reading it, why haven’t you addressed the
article to them? When you refer to British Pakistani men as “these people” it
sure doesn’t sound like you’re speaking to them directly.
is a lot more that can said about this, but let me leave you with this thought.
Had this article been written by an MP from any other political party or
someone like Donald Trump or Nigel Farage, what would the reaction have been?
The fact that the article has been penned by an MP from the proudly anti-racist
Labour Party is reason enough to be shocked, nevermind the fact that the MP is
the Shadow Minister for “Equalities.”