Saturday 19 August 2017

Are we done with Sarah Champion?

When “former race tsar” Trevor Phillips spoke out “On abuse it's time to call a spade a spade” it caused a mere ripple. Did his words carry less weight that Sarah Champion’s?

What about Trevor Kavanagh? The backlash from his “Islamophobic” piece in the Sun mainly concerned his ‘extremely poor choice of words’. His critics felt “The Muslim Problem” sounded a little too much like “The Jewish Question” and by implication, well, everyone knows how that ended up.

Sarah Champion has received much publicity, mainly praise and support, for what turned out to be a short-lived bout of truth-telling. Her subsequent apology for her ‘extremely poor choice of words’ and resignation from her post in the Labour Party (did she jump or was she pushed) was equally welcomed and derided. 
Is she weak for caving in or was she strong for speaking out? We who will not be divided, are divided.

I thought we were done with Sarah Champion, but no.  The affair still simmers. People who agreed with what she said in the Sun  are still praising her for having the courage to speak out, despite her subsequent resignation and, if I may say so, imprecise apology. Exactly which words were the extremely poor choice? All of them? We should be told.

Most people assume she was silenced by Jeremy Corbyn, but 'they would say that wouldn’t they' because they choose to see her as a political martyr rather than a vacillating self-publicist. 

For the record, I too agree with what she said in the Sun and I don’t doubt that Jeremy Corbyn welcomed her resignation and probably encouraged it, yet I still see her as a vacillating attention-seeking self publicist.  I’ll just have to accept that if it takes a vacillating, attention-seeking self-publicist to initiate a taboo-busting debate about the relationship between Islam and ‘British values’ I’ll have to lump it. But I don’t much like it.

Sarah Champion’s initial fifteen minutes of fame came about via the documentary ‘Inside the commons.” The cameras followed her rushing eagerly round the HoC learning the ropes and getting to grips with being a new MP. She was entertainingly portrayed as energetic and driven; ready willing and able to ‘do good’. Fantastic free publicity for the brand.

I repeat, many people agreed with her Sun piece; it was about time someone came out with it, and as she herself said in the Sun:
“British Pakistani men ARE raping and exploiting white girls… and it’s time we faced up to it”.
Or did she? Not quite sure - later she was to claim it was the Sun wot wrote it. Maybe the Sun fiddled with the original content, who knows, (they deny it) but assuming she did write, in the body of the piece:
“There. I said it. Does that make me a racist? Or am I just prepared to call out this horrifying problem for what it is?”

No-one who has seen her on YouTube castigating Israel over ‘the Palestine issue’ and telling an audience of Pakistani men just how passionate she was about the Palestinians could accuse Sarah Champion of being an Islamophobe. The video was so good I posted it twice. I thought it was remarkable, partly because of the inappropriate way she was 'exercising her right to bare arms' and almost flirtatiously flaunting her ‘immodesty’.  Goodness knows why she would do that, when simply denouncing Israel would have been enough to guarantee unanimous support from that particular audience - some sort of committee of local councillors. Rotherham folk.
Her disgust for Israel was peppered with references to herself:  “to me” or “for me”- a habit that surely begs a psychological diagnosis. 

Even if the only MP  brave enough to say so is an attention-seeking opportunist, the truth is that there are issues (as Jeremy Corbyn might or might not put it) with British Pakistani men and underage white girls. 
Of course the term  ‘Pakistani men’ is a euphemistic one. It’s an improvement on the  BBC’s default ‘Asian men’, but technically inaccurate since the perpetrators in the Newcastle case were not solely British Pakistanis; some originated from elsewhere; the elephant in the room is their religious/cultural  backgrounds. They’re Muslims.

If Sarah Champion was genuinely brave, she might have called them ‘Muslim men’, but either way, be it Pakistani men or Muslim men, it did turn out to be an ’extremely poor choice of words’, or extremely unwise words from an MP whose constituents are predominantly Pakistani and Muslim.

Shortly after expressing pleasure at the way the Sun presented her article, she rowed back, claiming the Sun had fiddled with it, apologised for the article and promptly resigned as ‘Shadow Secretary of State for women and equalities’.

If you’ve got that feeling of deja vu all over again but are wondering why, it’s probably because Sarah Champion has form when it comes to resigning when she sees fit. 
For example, when she thought Jeremy Corbyn was unelectable, she quit  - and when that particular bandwagon appeared to be hurtling off piste she ‘unresigned’ again, resuming her post as  “Labour’s domestic violence spokesperson” (officially “Shadow minister for preventing abuse and domestic violence) first-hand experience, evidently, qualifying her for the post, though her role as perpetrator rather than victim would ordinarily seem something of a drawback. 

Because of my dismay at Sarah Champion’s shameless sucking up to antisemites (call me paranoid) I have probably monitored her roller coaster political journey with more interest than absolutley necessary, and I know I judge her negatively / see her through a negative prism and so on.

However, praising her courage for speaking out, and for ‘saying the unsayable’ is easy. For one thing it provides cheap ammunition against Jeremy Corbyn - as if more of that was needed.
It’s just a pity that there was so little praise for the courage of people whose words can genuinely be taken at face value on the numerous occasions they have spoken out and said ‘what Sarah Champion said’. 

Can one unequivocally praise Sarah Champion for her courage without her track record diminishing the impact of her words? Former MP Denis McShane believes so, for example.  Accuracy may not have been Denis McShane’s priority; for example he wrote: 
“My plea was triggered by a young South Yorkshire Muslim, groomed by British-based Islamists, who blew himself up in Tel Aviv in a failed terrorist mission.” 
Correct me if I'm wrong, but was he referring to the 2003  terrorist Omar Khan Shariff who I understand hailed from Derby?

In 2004 Denis McShane was a Foreign Office minister representing the same Rotherham seat where Sarah Champion is a presently “hard-working Labour MP”, and he believes she was badly let down and harshly treated by her political masters. Here is a passage from his Times article:
“No one came to me when I was an MP to speak about the awful sex crimes committed against local children by groups of men whose family roots lay, as is the case with much of the British Pakistani community, in rural Kashmir.”

Read on for more of his thoughts about the incredibly difficult question of sexuality in the Pakistani Kashmiri community.
However, according to Mr McShane, he learnt about the situation  in 2012, “when years of failure by Rotherham’s child-protection authorities to act against known abuse gangs” was exposed by “painstaking journalism” in The Times. 
But Sarah Champion was MP for Rotherham at the height of the abuse. To quote from an earlier article about Denis McShane in the Telegraph  “I was too much of a ‘liberal leftie’ and should have done more to investigate child abuse”.  

Surely if Denis McShane felt he should have done more to ‘burrow into’ the problem then, it might have occurred to him that Sarah Champion could also have done some burrowing, or that she appeared positively blinkered by showing far more concern about Palestinian children than about what was being done ‘right now’, by Muslim men to children under her nose. Did no-one at all in Rotherham raise the matter with their MP while all this was happening?  

I still see Sarah Champion as opportunistic, vacillating and irresolute, but her antics have attracted publicity to  the malevolence of Corbyn’s Labour Party and that’s almost enough to forgive her for everything. Almost.


  1. Although I don't back the BNP in any way, if you google on this issue, you find that the problem of grooming was already well known by 2006 because Nick Griffin was using it to justify his comments about Islam (which resulted in him being prosecuted with the full backing of the Labour establishment, and I think Cameron and co.). So, if McShane didn't know about the problem by 2006 that was entirely due to his own dereliction of duty. He could hardly not be aware of the issue in 2006 - all he had to do was ask some questions of Police officers, social workers or his constituents to find out what was going on.

  2. In the current western political and social climate it seems to me that if you're going to declare an opinion, you had better be prepared to defend it to the hilt. Statistics before opinion or first hand experience, an argument worthy of debate.
    Otherwise you may as well keep quiet because you are willed irrelevant.

    Champion should have stuck by whatever guns she was professing to show and waited to be sacked. Only then could the real debate begin. She shouldn't have resigned, resigning was a tacit admission of wrong thinking and emotional reaction, and will be dismissed as such.
    I wouldn't be at all surprised if Champion suggests as much in the near future.

    She shouldn't have blamed The Sun for anything. She should, as a political representative, have been massively aware of the consequences of saying anything at all linking Islam or race to child abuse, and should have been seen to have taken all steps to not make excuses for her article.

    The only way that the necessary conversations can be started is to know and acknowledge the statistics, and also acknowledge that certain political agendas wish to blur those statistics.
    Champion will disappear in the mincer, but may well return whole in the future. Fixed.

    1. But you are up against a machine here when it comes to statistics. How often in the UK have we been told by BBC Reality Check, More or Less, the OBR, the FT, sundry (often Qatari or Saudi funded) academic institutions, and the IFS, to name a few, that mass immigration is a wonderful boon to the UK and adds hugely to our personal wealth? Look into the studies and one is appalled by how shallow the analysis is (eg discounting health and criminal stats, focussing purely on in work benefits v tax, and discontinuing the analysis as soon as people become UK citizens).

      If you want to get traction (and Champion was purely looking to advance her own status in my opinion, not to set out the truth) you have to do it Trump-style, or at least with a strong element of the pugilistic Trump style, in the current era. You have to be confrontational and immediataley undermine the opposition's claim to virtue. Sadly, this ain't a rational debating club.

      The opposition are out to kill you by fair means or foul (and they have thrown everything at Trump from nude statues, to a literal assassination attempt, to secret recording, to slurs about German antecedents, to claims of racism, claims of perverted practice...on and on...the last thing they want is a rational debate).

    2. I disagree with your conclusion. Truth outs eventually. Trump is and will remain too easy to label as belligerent and stupid. As POTUS, he cannot be ignored but uses his media time to wound his own presidency.
      In the face of world wide media opposition to his narrative, his only future defence will be statistically arguable solid results and coherent arguments.

      All we witness at the moment are degrees of polarised opinion in the pro / anti camps which can be used to develop a suitable narrative -
      almost always in favour of progressive agendas.

      Unfortunately, Trump doesn't undermine the opposition's claim to virtue. More often than not, he reinforces it. If I were 25 years
      younger, I'd probably see him as a tyrant too.

      Those who trust the BBC ( et al ) narrative only have two paths of travel.
      They either keep trusting through blind faith, lack of interest, or lack of exposure to alternative viewpoints, or they lose their inherent trust (and it is inherent) when they notice the BBC (et al ) lies by omission and obfuscation - which by definition means they've been exposed to an alternative narrative that doesn't simply emotionally polarise their opinion, but is fact based.
      First you have to notice it, then you have to question it, and then you have to learn to back up your view and argue it out in 'polite company'.
      That's why I like Douglas Murray, Mark Steyn and this blog.

      Anne Coulter has done more for Trump on the fact-based argument front than Trump himself.
      Trump would not be capable of debating Ana Kasparian, not without taking low shots anyway. Shouting, sulking and belligerence will ultimately defeat Trump.

    3. I would say look at the way they treat Robert Spencer, someone who explains everything clearly and concisely and backs it up with a mountain of evidence? Do the UK political and media elite engage with him? No they don't. He was banned from the country on spurious grounds and remains banned. The BBC are assiduous in ensuring he never gets an airing on the their channels. They would no doubt have gleefully reported his death had his Islamic assassins succeeded but he was well protected and it was his would-be killers who died. But of course he like all honest high-profile critics of Islam remains a prime target for a lethal Jihadi assault.

  3. One supposes they have to work with what they have been presented, but it beggars the mind how unutterably thick so many high profile political pontificators are.

    Abbott, Soubry, Thornbury, Rudd, Corbyn, May... the list is endless.

    These are all people who could not successfully operate a flak jacket stand on a Moroccan beach, yet are accorded acres of print space and megabytes of bandwidth and brow furrowing 'analysis' for no more than the ability to have been installed in positions of power by a population educated and informed by the state education system and broadcaster.


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