Just watched BBC Look North reporting of Huddersfield grooming gangs sentencing.
As a grandmother who saved two granddaughters from this evil trade in children, am heartbroken that 'community cohesion' is still the main emphasis in BBC reporting...
Not the safety of our girls.
...led me to watch BBC Look North.
The programme's coverage didn't hide the fact that the grooming gang phenomenon is overwhelmingly associated with "south Asian"/"Pakistani" individuals and it reported that 13 out of the 15 victims were "white girls", but:
- (a) It did have a strong focus on how "the [Pakistani] community" was coping,
- (b) It featured a BBC communities reporter in a headscarf telling us that the community says these criminals "are in no way representative of the Pakistani community". and
- (c) It featured a range of experts/commentators who shifted the focus squarely onto generalised male sexism and misogyny -
- the exception being the local Labour MP Barry Sheerman, who began by making a point about the BBC's role in the matter:
Barry Sheerman MP: After I gave the media coverage by having a debate in Parliament in January 2009, the BBC, a lot of you media people, it was too hot for you as well. You didn't want to cover it. It was very poorly covered. So no one, let's be honest about this, local authority leadership, police, many of the people that should have been taking this more seriously earlier did not.Harry Gration, BBC: You've got a community now that you look after that is very seriously bruised and battered. Do you think some people might exploit this to divide the community of Huddersfield?Barry Sheerman MP: Yes. We're talking about a minority of evil people, evil men, mainly from one community in this case, but remember, the attention will now be on Kirklees, on Huddersfield and Dewsbury and Bradford. The first I heard of these cases was of course in Oxford.Up and down the country, in city after city, Newcastle, Rochdale... This was going on and we didn't wake up to it fast enough or positively enough or early enough.
A reporter for the programme did, however, say that the mother she'd interviewed today was the same mother the programme had interviewed "ten years ago" where she expressed concerns about the council's treatment of her daughter. Wonder what that report was like?
Sheerman is being completely disingenuous about this. Concern about grooming gangs had been expressed by both Ann Cryer Labour MP and Nick Griffin, Far Right BNP leader by 2003. That was SIX years before his debate. We suddenly went from no trials to trials across the country. It's pretty clear to me this was a political decision which flowed from Labour's concerns about losing votes to the right in response to the failure of the government and authorities to do anything about the gangs.ReplyDelete
And this is what Barry Sheerman ACTUALLY said at the 2009 debate he is now so proud of:
"The more I talked to experts in the field, the more convinced I became that there was no dominant ethnicity among the perpetrators. They came from different ethnic backgrounds in different towns and could be white,
black or Asian. Some, such as the British National party, have tried to make this a racial issue. I do not believe that it is."
Talk about muddying the waters! And we see again that concern about the BNP making political capital about it all.
Also the debate was presented as if it related to "prostitution" - that was never the prime motivation of the gangs.