The people of Rotherham could be forgiven for believing they had a new hope in the form of their fresh MP Sarah Champion.
After the insufferably smug and criminally negligent “true Guardian Reader” Denis MacShane, anything would seem an improvement. Wouldn’t it? Unfortunately the signs are not good, as the Rotherham scandals widen and deepen, that Champion herself is fit for purpose.
Champion is following what appears to be the central, desperate, narrative of the Labour Party and all their hand-wringing do-gooder friends. She appears determinedly concerned to maintain that old canard of “community cohesion”. To be credible in such an endeavour it is incumbent upon a politician to be very moderate in their language. Yet Champion made the wildly irresponsible claim to the Daily Mirror yesterday that she believes one million girls have been assaulted across the country by similar gangs. To put this in perspective, that is approximately 20-25% of the age group in question across the nation.
Now I believe the true number is eye watering, maybe even up to one hundred thousand. But one million? And Champion wants to keep the peace whilst making such an outlandish claim? It is both beyond belief and completely irresponsible.
Does this make any sense to you? Oh hang on, there’s more. She couches this figure in terms of a “national disaster”. The mists are starting to clear. The nation has a problem. Rotherham is not a particularly egregious example. Please don’t focus on us.
Her absence from the Daily Politics yesterday meant UKIP’s Mark Reckless could hammer the nails into Labour and the Big Issue’s John Bird was able to argue that not all immigrants are equally desirable. Points which must have broken a sweat at BBC HQ and with which, uncharacteristically, Andrew Neil was in apparent full agreement. Then again he did not seem particularly impressed that she had apparently pulled out at the last minute with no excuse. Whilst she seems perfectly happy to go in front of the camera for Channel 4, she no doubt wanted to avoid a likely monstering by Neil who would not play pattycake with her like so many of the figures in British media today who laughably call themselves journalists.
Her nightmare came true today however. Neil comprehensively skewered her on Labour’s record in Rotherham. In particular he focused on the under reported fact that many of the senior officers who were previously in charge at Rotherham Council during the period the Jay report covered were now in very well paid jobs elsewhere. Many in child protection.
Champion however, does not seem to know when to stop. Whilst UKIP’s Farage was forcibly prevented from opening the new campaign office in Rotherham today by the usual rent-a-mob, Champion thought it would be funny to tweet the following:
“Hilarious Farage is trapped inside the #Rotherham UKIP shop by people objecting to him coming to rubber neck at victims!”
Not only did she receive a massively hostile barrage on Twitter but Neil also brought this tweet up with her. She maintained that it was still appropriate. Neil on the other hand, like many others who saw it, was not impressed. It is yet more evidence that she cares more about protecting the image (and indeed – lineage) of the Labour party than she does the tragic events in question. Utterly contemptible.
And in spite of everything going on, the primary theme of her Twitter output for the last two days has been her re-tweeting praise from other people. Is she trying to convince herself of something? Such venal narcissism would be puke inducing enough at the best of times, but whilst being at the centre of one of the worst domestic crises this country has ever seen? Ironically several of the tweets were about her “humility”. Yet again she is beyond belief.
She even took the opportunity to thank a barely literate die hard Labour supporter, ‘@TonyAFCGunner’, for “fighting her corner”. Personally I’d rather have a urine soaked paper bag on my side, looking at his output. He has spent much of the last 24 hours aggravating angry tweeters commenting on the #rotherham hashtag. Anything and anyone associated with Labour can do no wrong in his eyes and in fact, he believes all the current trauma is being caused by a “labour bashing” conspiracy to “assonate [sic] the left”.
She has said several other striking things on twitter recently too. Whilst making politically risky claims of 1 million victims nationally on the one hand she also bizarrely stated two days ago, “Always acknowledge Gang abuse in Rotherham is mainly Pakistani men, but I don’t accept they’re Muslims”. So she’s happy to concede the dominant race of the perpetrators, but not the religion? In which case she is denying the 2011 census data – of 1,124,511 Pakistani respondents, 1,028,459 identified as Muslim. That’s 91%. What are the chances that the 1.5% who identify as Christian all decided to congregate in Rotherham? It is utterly desperate rot from an utterly desperate lady.
She also had the temerity yesterday to roll out one of the most hated political platitudes possible. In answering a query as to whether she “accepted the report” (the Casey report) she said yes and immediately went to say “we need to draw a line & move forward as a community”. For anyone who is familiar to political speech in this country, that is a red rag to a bull. Every single time an MP utters the phrase “draw a line under this”, it means in practice to put it away, to dismiss it, to contain the damage and leave it all in the past. It is an utterly craven thing to do.
Whilst it is possible for Champion to legitimately sell herself as a newcomer to the political class – only being involved in front line politics since her initial election – there is no avoiding the fact that during that time she has been closely associated with those most responsible in Rotherham’s council.
Take for example the ex-deputy leader, Jahangir Akhtar, who was identified by the Casey report as a tyrant who instilled fear, (along with his lieutenant, Mahroof Hussain who resigned yesterday), in other council workers and had an unhealthy chokehold on the council. He was also an ex taxi driver and his cousin was one of the identified abusers. The report indicates that Akhtar’s tyrannical predilections and intimidatory behaviour was common knowledge throughout the council. This did not stop Champion and Milibandwagon (never one to miss an opportunity) joining him in celebrating Eid last year in London. Champion was also responsible for being the one responsible for selecting the “community leaders” that Dear Leader would meet. Many of whom have since been fingered for numerous dodgy dealings and involvement in the Rotherham scandals.
And what was our “Champion” doing on the day the Jay report was published? Given the council already likely had intimations of what the report contained, it would have been all hands on deck. Champion would be familiarising herself with the material and preparing for press and constituent enquiries, right? Er, she was campaigning on behalf of Palestine. Don’t forget that since the Jay report was published, she has been working tirelessly for her constituents by, uhm, “starring in a behind the scenes TV documentary”.
Another oddity concerns Champion’s level of awareness prior to the Jay report. She has expressed shock and surprise at the Jay report’s findings. Yet almost a year before it was published, she participated in hearings facilitated by Bernado’s of CSE victims across the country. Are we really supposed to believe that there were no Rotherham victims represented there, especially given the numbers involved? And if there were, why did Champion do nothing on the home front?
Worse, Bernado’s CEO Javed Khan, in a post Jay report interview with Eamonn Holmes claimed that the Jay report showed that despite mistakes in the past, “Rotherham child services were now fit for purpose”. He also refused to be drawn by Holmes into assigning any blame or responsibility. Khan himself has had serious suspicion cast his way, including amongst other things, claims that he led an armed gang in Pakistan to settle a dispute. Whilst as is clear from his CV, Khan is a fully paid up member of the diversity and multicultural gravy train, Bernardo’s themselves have a remarkably sketchy past on the issue of CSE.
It seems the more this rock is scratched, the more it bleeds. There is obviously much more occurring here beneath the surface. It is a heavy rock that needs to be lifted. And narcissist Sarah Champion, desperately trying to deflect attention away from Rotherham and Labour whilst indulging her own self-righteous ego, is absolutely not the person to do it.