There’s a scandal in the English town of Rotherham.
Reports of pedophilia failed to bother ‘em.
To look into the charges much too critic’ly
Would lead to actions incorrect politic’ly. 

            Political correctness is anathema to conservatives.  By bowdlerizing or eliminating the negative connotations of any natural or social shortcoming (“optimally challenged” for short-sighted, “vehicle-appearance specialist” for car wash worker), political correctness infuriates those who incline ideologically to the more advantaged individuals and groups .

            Moreover, as I point out in one of the songs available on this website, political correctness is a natural target of satire, for the satirist’s stock in trade is giving offense. As the late Victorian caricaturist and essayist Max Beerbohm explained, the satirist is “a fellow laying about him lustily, for the purpose of hurting, of injuring people who, in his opinion, ought to be hurt and injured.”

            So when the British media in August 2014 broke the story that for a decade and a half in Rotherham, a town in northern England, some 1400 young girls, mostly white, had been raped and/or forced into prostitution  by Pakistani gangs, the news provoked both conservative fury and and satirical derision. For it appeared that the town’s Labour-dominated council, the police and the child care agencies had done little or nothing about the outrages allegedly because it would severely damage race relations between the white majority and the small but fast-growing Pakistani minority.  

            The liberal Guardian newspaper was embarrassed: while the council was naturally concerned to protect the Muslim minority from strident far-right hostility, “this had led to a terrible misjudgment: the subordination of the safeguarding of abused and exploited children … to the protection of the standing of one particular community.” But it was conservatives who jumped on the uproar as an obscene example of the refusal of the Establishment to recognize that the beliefs and behavior of certain minorities, especially Muslims, were threatening to undermine the established order. The anti-immigration United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) claimed vindication. So did the neo-fascist British National Party.

            Cartoons in conservative newspapers were scathing. Adam in the Daily Telegraph drew the Rotherham council, police and social services side by side, seeing, saying and hearing no evil.      

Mac in the Daily Mail riffed on the recent flooding of the town with a cartoon in which husband and wife are marooned on top of the flooded house while a rescue boat turns away from them and she complains: “Why did you have to tell them you’re with UKIP”              
        There were politically incorrect jokes collected in the online Sickipedia:
“My daughter got sent home from school in Rotherham for saying something racist: ‘No.’”
“He couldn’t score in Rotherham if he was outside a kebab shop dressed as a 6-year old girl.”   
"The government have announced new measures to stop British Muslims travelling tio Syria and Iraq to join ISIS. They’re holding a school disco in Rotherham.”  

            As always, it was the cover-up that was as cruel as the offense itself by allowing the offense to continue for so long.. Speaking of which Rotherham is hardly unique. In January 2013 an official report presented evidence that the late BBC presenter and entertainer, Jimmy Savile, had engaged over a period of 20 years in sex acts with children and teenagers, on BBC premises and in the hospitals where Savile often presented his shows. The BBC claimed it had no idea any of this was happening. And then of course, there is the problem in country after country, until very recently covered up by denial after denial, that has long afflicted the Catholic Church. The guilt, it seems, goes far beyond any one town or nation or religion or ethnicity.                                                                                                  

Posted on Friday, September 12, 2014 (Archive on Thursday, June 08, 2017)



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