After reporting restrictions were lifted sufficiently for the world to know that 20 men had been convicted and sentenced for their part in a grooming gang operating in and around the town of Huddersfield, it was inevitable that some of what Robin Day memorably and rightly called “here today and gone tomorrow politicians” would use the trial for their own own ends, especially those who had nothing to do with securing the convictions.
So it was that our already devalued Home Secretary Sajid Javid decided that, having seen the ringleader sent down for life, and several others get a double-figure number of years behind bars, he would claim credit for it, having taken no part in proceedings. “These sick Asian paedophiles are finally facing justice. I want to commend the bravery of the victims. For too long, they were ignored. Not on my watch. There will be no no-go areas”.
Ri-i-i-i-ght. “Sick Asian Paedophiles”. Coupled with “no-go areas”. Stigmatising entire communities and pandering to the far-right, much? Securing the abolition of “no-go areas” would be the easiest of wins for Javid, of course, because they do not exist. Also, the suggestion that “Asian” aligns with “Paedophile” not only plays into the hands of the far-right, but also trivialises abuse by anyone else - in other words, most of it.
Small wonder that Sayeeda Warsi, a member of his own party, and someone who knows the West Yorkshire area rather well, was not backwards in coming forward to pass severely adverse comment. “‘No go areas’ ‘Asian paedophiles’ This should not be the language of a Home Sec . The victims of these appalling crimes deserve better - they need to be protected, believed & supported. This issue is too serious for political posturing. You are better than this Sajid”. Some advised her that he wasn’t. And this may be true.
Worse, as Peter Walker of the Guardian has observed, this feeds a narrative of falsehood and misinformation: “A Hope Not Hate report this week found that 30% of British people wrongly believe there are ‘no go areas’ in the UK ruled by sharia law, where non-Muslims cannot enter. When the home secretary uses the phrase in tweets it’s perhaps no wonder”.
Moreover, Javid would not have used “whites”, “blacks”, and certainly not any other religious or ethnic term. Yet this was the politician who sniped at Jeremy Corbyn “If Corbyn had said ‘Asians’ or ‘Blacks’ instead of ‘Zionists’ he’d be gone by now. The fact he’s still there, tells us all we need to know about what the Labour Party has become”. Well, Javid did indeed say “Asians”, which shows, er, what the Tory Party has become.
Small wonder that Michael Rosen - who may still be trying to get Tory chairman Brandon “Barrow Boy” Lewis to come clean on how much of the IHRA definition of anti-Semitism his party has adopted, mused “Could the Sajid Javid who brought ethnicity into his description of a crime be the same Sajid Javid who wrote a tweet where ‘Zionist’ was equivalent to ‘Asian’? (Yes.)” It could also be the Tories turning sharp right.
That Javid is still Home Secretary, in his own words, tells us all we need to know.
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