Labour’s record in Rotherham is criminal
From the way the Labour party dithered in Rotherham, you could be forgiven for thinking the issue was just a minor local government scandal, not the systematic and extensive rape and sexual abuse of 1,400 children
When Shaun Wright, South Yorkshire's former Police and Crime Commissioner, resigned over the Rotherham child abuse scandal, the only surprise was how long it took him to do the right thing and step down.
Until his long overdue resignation, Wright, who had served as head of children's services in Rotherham between 2005 and 2010, was displaying the same ignorance and arrogance as his Labour colleagues on the Council, the child protection agencies and most shockingly, the police.
From the way Wright and the Labour party dithered over the decision, you could be forgiven for thinking the issue was just a minor local government scandal, not the systematic and extensive rape and sexual abuse of 1,400 children.
It is of course this chilling detachment from the reality of the abuse that allowed these crimes to be committed without consequence and in my view a reason why Labour is simply not to fit to serve the people of South Yorkshire in any form of public office.
Yet it was through daring journalism that we learned that gangs of Asian men in Rotherham had been raping underage girls for years. Apparently this was a situation which was accepted by the Labour Council and Police, who were more concerned about being called racist, than they were about enforcing the law.
It was not until the publication of an independent inquiry led by Professor Alexis Jay OBE that the whole truth was revealed to the country and the wider community. The report is as acutely critical as it is truthful, summarising that in Rotherham, “…the collective failures of political and officer leadership were blatant.”
Much of the material covered in the report was too shocking to reach the print in family newspapers. Children were raped by multiple perpetrators, trafficked to other towns and cities in the north of England, abducted, beaten, and intimidated.
Another was doused in petrol and threatened to be set alight, some were threatened with guns and others were forced to witness rape and warned they would be next. Another child in the report, known only as ‘H’ was found drunk in the back of a car with a suspected abuser, who had indecent photos of her on his phone, she was just 12 years old.
With the local community rightly in shock and suffering considerable distress at such systemic abuse on its own doorstep, is it any wonder that voters are angry?
They are angry at the care agencies that so badly mismanaged the situation, allowing the abuse to continue. They are angry at the Police for seemingly turning a blind eye to sexual assaults for fear of being branded racist. But most of all they are angry at the elected officials who even when the disgusting scandal was exposed failed to do the right thing and quit their posts immediately.
It is in this climate of political elitism, led by the academic but inherently robotic Ed Miliband that the Labour Party have made such poor judgement at the anger of the people of Rotherham and the wider country.
Whilst the left-wing media are quick to criticise anyone who advocates punishing Labour at the ballot box on Thursday, the silent majority know that they have a right to be angry about the widespread abuse of underage girls. Voting against Labour is not a vote for hatred or division, but it is a way of sending a message to those wealthy liberals in leadership posts who have forgotten who they represent.
Whichever way you look at it, Labour let down the people of Rotherham, almost beyond belief. From Labour’s culture of political correctness which allowed unfounded accusations of racism to be prioritised above the gang rape of children, to the officials who turned a blind eye to a very serious problem and then didn’t have the guts to resign on the spot.
This Thursday, the people of Rotherham have a choice about who they can trust to tackle crime and stand up for law and order. A Labour candidate was tried and tested, and it turned out that turning a blind eye was at the heart of everything his party stood for.
Rotherham needs a fresh start and clean break from the monstrous scandal that has shaken its community. Labour’s record in Rotherham is criminal, they don’t deserve to be trusted ever again.
Clare George-Hilley is a Contributing Editor to The Commentator and a former Conservative councillor in Croydon
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