After years of silence, the British establishment has finally acknowledged the ‘national scandal’ of female genital mutilation (or FGM, as it is called by those in the know), which has been practiced on up to 170,000 women and girls in the UK, and 140 million worldwide.
In a new report, the Home Affairs Committee has blamed ministers, police and other agencies for doing too little to prevent the mutilation of thousands of victims, out of a “misplaced concern for cultural sensitivities”.
That’s one way of putting it. Not wanting to be branded a racist is another. Such is the climate of fear surrounding all issues of race in Britain today, that a blind eye is turned to practices like FGM (which has been illegal since 1985), because no one wants to fall foul of the morality police. Or the real police, for that matter.
Now that hate crime has moved from the pages of fiction to those of the statute book, and racism is whatever anyone considers it to be, no one is quite sure what acts of barbarism they’re allowed to criticise anymore. A lot of people would rather look the other way and fill their mouths with PC pieties than risk a uniformed PC feeling their collar.
Even the Old Bill themselves are loathe to stick their noses into ‘culturally sensitive’ issues nowadays. Ever since the Macpherson Report accused the police of institutional racism, they’ve figured that it’s safer to serve as Janissaries of the liberal aristocracy than to stir things up by actually — you know — enforcing the law.
We’ve been here before, of course. Fifteen years ago, Victoria Climbie died at the hands of her foster parents, who subjected her to abuse that the pathologist on the case described as the worst he had ever seen.
The evidence of her torture was so profound that it must have been impossible to ignore. But ignore it the police and social workers did, because they decided it was better to abandon a vulnerable young girl to her fate than to question the virtue of a black couple, and collaborate with the allegedly racist establishment against its supposed victims.
The relativism used to justify this moral decadence is not confined to matters of race. In other high-profile examples of child abuse (if that’s a strong enough term), such as the Baby P case, the faked kidnapping of Shannon Matthews, and Michael Philpott’s manslaughter of six of his children, the perpetrators were members of Britain’s white underclass.
Each time, the left-wing media stopped short of rounding on the wrongdoers and their degenerate lifestyles, because they were members of a designated victim group, which serves an important role in defining the liberal identity.
Suffice to say, there is no such thing as an honest relativist, because relativism is a fraud. Its purpose is not to present the philosophical case for equal treatment, but to rob dominant ideas and institutions of their legitimacy. This is why leftists are so harmful to interests of this country: because they despise its values, its character and its culture, and identify every opponent of Western society as a comrade in arms.
They don’t see it this way, of course, because they reckon multiculturalism and ‘social justice’ enjoy (or deserve to enjoy) popular support. But beyond the walls of the Left’s ivory towers, things like liberty, free speech and old fashioned values still matter, and most people recognise multiculturalism and moral relativism as being incompatible with civilised order.
Still, perhaps times are a-changing. Thanks in part to the success of the UK Independence Party, a lot of previously verboten subjects are back on the table. The Left still shrieks “bigot” whenever its orthodoxies are challenged, but with diminishing returns. Conservatives are emboldened and the progressive thought police find themselves on the back foot.
The recent Trojan Horse scandal is a case in point. The takeover of several Birmingham schools by radical Muslims was greeted by little of the name-calling and accusations of fear-mongering that usually accompany such stories. The Left settled for blaming Michael Gove and attacking faith schools in general — possibly because it was an difficult for it to make a plausible defence, but more likely because it sensed the nation was tired of its apologist guff.
Contrast this with the experience of Ray Honeyford, the headmaster of a school in Bradford, who hit the headlines in the mid-1980s for daring to question the wisdom of official multiculturalist policies. The diversity lobby hounded him out of his job, castigating him as a virulent racist, and gave a clear message to anyone else who had a mind to cross them to think again.
It may be too early to say for sure, but perhaps the sober reaction to the report on FGM and the Trojan Horse schools is a sign of things to come. Who knows? Perhaps multiculturalism and moral relativism have finally seen their day.