Shooting the Messenger

BY DAVID SEDGWICK

It wasn’t that long ago – five years – when in his role as anchor for BBC2’s Newsnight programme, Jeremy Paxman became very sniffy with a certain studio guest named Tommy Robinson. “You are seriously suggesting that young white girls are being sexually exploited by what you say are gangs of Muslim men? Is that what you are suggesting? Seriously?”

“Yes,” replied his guest, to which Paxman looked aghast. How could this racist, xenophobe suggest such rot? Sexual grooming of under-age white girls? How utterly absurd. The BBC weren’t having any of that. Had Robinson cared to cast his hostile gaze on the streets of Notting Hill he would have seen a thriving ‘multi-cultural’ paradise, where every creed and colour came together to produce a ‘vibrant’ Liberal fantasy land. Grooming? What grooming?

Paxman scoffed. He knitted those famous eyebrows together. The drawling voice, tinged with hostility and scorn from the outset, became indignant. Sat in front of him was a clown. And the good old BBC were going to expose him.

His guest was clearly an Islamophobe, but how could the host and his BBC employers make the young man understand this? How to educate this young thug? How could the BBC make Tommy Robinson and his kind see that the real problem lay not with cultural attitudes towards young (white) women prevalent within a certain ‘community’ but rather that the real problem lay in his own bigotry and prejudice?

Robinson repeated his delusion once more: gangs of predominantly Muslim men were indeed targeting young white English girls, ensnaring before going on to sexually abuse them. Paxman sighed. There really was no reasoning with this man. Liberals all over the country winced. For here was their worst nightmare: a nasty little racist intent on upsetting their multi-cultural applecart. What other reason could there be?

To the progressive Notting Hill mind, Robinson’s conspiracy theories were naught but the culmination of Daily Mail paranoia and right-wing propaganda. They’d seen it all before, knew exactly the root cause, knew that Robinson was merely the symptom of a warped ideology.

Thus, the BBC’s position was: grooming gangs are a figment of Tommy Robinson’s rabid anti-Islamic imagination.

Robinson’s position was: grooming gangs do exist and while the police and social services ignore them, such gangs are sexually exploiting some of the most vulnerable in our society, i.e. young working class girls.

So, who was right? The ‘racist’ Mr Robinson or the Liberal BBC?

Having been proved so catastrophically wrong you might think the BBC would desist from slurring Mr Robinson in future, or at least give him the benefit of the doubt, right? Wrong.

Whenever they mention his name, the national broadcaster still bring forth the usual barrage of slurs when reporting his activities; ‘racist’ ‘bigot’ ‘far-right’ etc. etc. The BBC has apparently learnt nothing.

They have, however, been uncharacteristically silent in relation to Mr Robinson’s latest activities in which he has been present outside various magistrate’s courts as members of the grooming gangs turn up to face charges ranging from sexual grooming to rape of minors. Odd. One would have thought the BBC would have been crawling all over the place with their armoury of slurs and smears, ready to expose Robinson’s ‘Islamophobia.’ Hmmm…

Strangely, while the allegedly anti-racist BBC seem wholly unconcerned by a crime with such overtly racist motives as the specific targeting and sexual exploitation of white girls, a rasher of bacon placed outside a Mosque on the other hand will draw its full fury, such a crime more than enough to send the broadcasters into full ‘anti-racist’ meltdown.

Oh yes, when it comes to getting it wrong the BBC is a master of the art.

Just what is it about the corporation? How can the national broadcaster get it so very wrong so often? Instead of sneering at Tommy Robinson, dismissing him as an ‘angry white man,’ this publicly funded institution should have been doing all it possibly could to help stop this horrendous catalogue of abuse.

But no. As ever, the BBC decided to take the wrong side, the side of the abusers. So, what’s new? Those who know anything of the BBC’s recent history will know they have form in this area: Jimmy Savile, Rolf Harris, Stuart Hall. The list goes on and on.

Just why the national broadcaster would have gone to such lengths to prevent Robinson from exposing this evil practice raises some profound and very uncomfortable questions about the British Broadcasting Company and the staff who prosecute its ethos.

The BBC have a habit of brushing such ‘inconvenient’ matters under the luxuriant carpets of their commodious executive offices. Indeed, at Broadcasting House it’s business as usual. Auntie simply continues to demonise anyone who dares raise a voice of dissent against their favoured ideology and those who practice it.

The very troubling part played by the BBC in concealing these (and other) heinous crimes will more than likely never be examined. Similar stories of ‘Asian’ (BBC’s preferred blanket term) sexual grooming gangs are never aired on any of their national news platforms. In fact, it would require more in the way of luck than judgement to stumble upon any such reports, hidden carefully away as they invariably are on the regional news pages of the corporation’s website.

To the BBC it seems the workings and motivations of paedophiliac ‘Asian’ grooming gangs rank in importance somewhere between failing traffic lights and local jamborees. Nothing to see here folks.

Nevertheless, whether they wish to acknowledge it or not, the BBC played (and are still playing) a significant role in this tawdry business, which raises some fairly profound questions:

Should there be a penalty for not only shooting the messenger but also for helping to ensure said messenger is reviled, censured and ultimately silenced?

To what extent is a concerted attempt to silence the messenger an act of complicity?

Most galling of all perhaps is the BBC attitude on those rare occasions it is forced to acknowledge the reprehensible phenomenon which is the targeting of under-age white girls by these gangs. Its presenters will of course feign the right amount of incredulity: Why did this happen and more importantly how could it ever have been allowed to happen?

And then without even the faintest trace of irony a lightbulb will suddenly light up in the head of a Newsnight presenter: If only someone had spoken up at the time…

If Tommy Robinson or any of the several thousand young girls who have been (and continue to be) victims of this abuse are waiting for an apology from the national broadcaster, they’d be advised not to hold their breaths.

A university lecturer by profession, David Sedgwick writes about a wide range of topics including Theatre, Politics and Formula One. His forthcoming book, ‘Up Yours, PC’ is a collection of political essays written from a Libertarian perspective. 

 

Advertisements