The horror our age will be remembered for
Will the grooming scandal dominate future ideas of the new Elizabethans?
Fascism is coming, I warned this week, writing about the problem of political hypochondria. Most of it is perhaps harmlessly idiotic hyperbole, in a culture with little common shared historical memory outside of the Second World War, the modern Matter of Britain.
Yet the fear of an imagined far-Right, of a fascist takeover about to come, has real-world consequences, too. Last week there came further horror stories about the widespread and organised rape of English girls by gangs of men, mostly of Asian and particularly of Pakistani origin. No one knows entirely how many adolescents have now been raped by similar ‘grooming gangs’, but it is certainly in the thousands. Many were very young, and the details seem barely credible; here is a summary of the Oldham Report from the SW1 Forum substack.
In the particular case of 12-year-old “Sophie”, the report is damning. She was groomed online by a paedophile, who child services failed to protect her from. On a night out she was sexually assaulted by an Asian man and tried to report it at a police station, only to be told to come back with an adult when she wasn’t drunk. Outside she was picked up by a car with three Asian men, who raped and abandoned her. A man she asked for directions brought her to his home, where she was raped by a further five Asian men. The report found “serious failings” in the police investigation, which only managed to convict two of the five men who raped her in the house.
The police failed to record or investigate the sexual assault at the beginning of the night or the rape by the three men in the car. GMP claimed they followed leads but the evidence for this is poor. When GMP arrested one of the five house rapists, he confessed the names of two of the other rapists. GMP failed to investigate them or to inform “Sophie” of this new intelligence. In 2009 one of the named house rapists who GMP hadn’t investigated tried to murder his wife; this could have been prevented if he’d ben investigated. His wife admitted in 2011 that he’d confessed to raping a 12-year-old girl and kept press clippings relating to it. This information was passed on but not used.