Blonde children and Roma: when the two great hysterias of our age clash

23 October 2013

3:57 PM

23 October 2013

3:57 PM

The media seem to be in a pickle over the removal of a blonde girl from a Roma family in Dublin, which followed the arrest of a couple in Athens who had a suspiciously Nordic-looking child with them.

It’s a fascinating story because for the first time I can remember the two great hysterias of our age have finally clashed – racism and child-snatching, the Guardian’s obsession versus the Sun’s.

It has also pitted the almost immovable object of media taboo against the unstoppable force of the human-interest story. The highbrow media maintains a sort of code of decency about reporting the Roma, so that you will never read anywhere an accurate analysis of anti-Roma prejudice. I don’t think this actually sways anyone, because you’d have to be a total cretin not to see the causes, rather it informs the official opinion people are supposed to have in public.


However ‘missing child turns up alive’ is the most powerful story of all time and nothing will keep it off the homepage. It goes back to the Bible and the Greeks and early-modern European fairy tales, and it’s a narrative still poignant because of the children who are missing today, such as Madeleine McCann.

Perhaps because of the BBC’s remit to promote multiculturalism, their coverage of the affair has seemed highly editorialised towards informing the public that Roma are not going around snatching children, rather than just reporting a story. And as it is, it strikes me as extremely unlikely that there is any sort of trend here, and the Dublin family may well be innocent victims of circumstances.

But neither does that mean there is some campaign against the Roma, or that the Gardai should be blamed for their actions. Roma tend to have a lot of informal family adoption but they rarely adopt non-Roma and, knowing this, someone in Greece understandably got suspicious and then someone in Ireland did.

Contrary to the media cant, this doesn’t suggest that in Europe we treat blonde children better and want to snatch them away from swarthy parents. We just live in a society where it’s impolite to notice social patterns, yet one where it’s the police’s job to look out for them; to hone all those evolution-bred skills to notice when something doesn’t quite fit, like the wrong person in the wrong place or a child with someone very unlikely to be her birth or adoptive parents. So pity the poor policeman who has to traverse between the Scylla of race relations and the Charybdis of child-snatching hysteria.

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Show comments
  • skadhithjassisdottir

    Gypsies, though dark haired, can have light haired children due to admixture with outsiders. It was no grounds to suspect anyone, really.

    I wonder what she’ll look like when she’s older.

  • thelonghaul

    “My mother said, I never should,

    play with the gypsies in the wood,

    If I did, she would say,

    Naughty girl to disobey”.

    Popular skipping ‘refrain’ for centuries.

  • Fractal Vortices

    The police are only ever interested in cliches and stereotyping driven by their cowardly individual nature; yes there’s good police, but most aren’t very bright or strong.

  • Wessex Man

    The Police Officer was brave in this day and age to stick to his guns and not to be afraid to be called racist. What really amazes me is that in only one report is it mentioned that the raid also netted guns, drugs, combat knives and stolen credit cards. Lord help us come January 1st!

    • Aware

      Please post again on this a year for now and lets see if your fear mongering was justified.

  • Jez

    Being a minority myself (in media / public service representation) and being a white in work, happily married father of three young children- could i dare to rise out of the locked & isolated ‘contempt-box’ for such resented people like moi’ to share just one opinion only;

    All my kids TV shows / films- whether Yank or from here seem to trend a portrayal any man, woman or child who is white & blonde as the bad guy. Either evil, racist, deviant etc, etc.

    It’s always very negative.

    This along with the parallel education strategies such as ‘The Stephen Lawrence’ award etc, i am quite worried.

    I mean, all the none white kids that go to these schools, especially the very many inner-city schools that are now basically 100% non white- there must be much angst from all involved within these institutions that the ‘host populations’ children are being perceived as something exceptionally negative……. this would probably weaken the very foundations of the society that their families flocked to 15 to 5 years ago- so that would be bad wouldn’t it?

    Luckily we have a non white majority now in most inner-city boroughs that will be able to see through all this easily. They think we’re great, i know.

    • Jez

      Nice vote down, thanks ‘whoever’.

      I’m thinking of a new award; The Stephen Lawrence / Kris Donald award for schools.

      Then we’ll know if it is to combat racism and not some Ralph Milliband-esque’ type project.

  • Jackthesmilingblack

    Blonde, female
    Blond, male
    Just trying to help.

    • Eddie

      Yes, true – but maddeningly irritating, that. After all, we ain’t Frenchies!
      I suppose it should be ‘blonds children’ if we follow that logic.
      I am minded to use blond for everything really. Or allow blonde for everything too.

      • Jackthesmilingblack

        Looking for logic in English language usage? Now that has to be an exercise in frustration. In fact that`s one of the major weaknesses of English, particularly spelling.

        • Toby Esterházy

          The Western European languages are phonetic languages. Ulstermen, the Scots, the Italians, the Maltese, the Portuguese and the Brazilians have never fully and completely accepted standardised spellings.

          • Jackthesmilingblack

            “Some languages are “phonetic”. That means you can look at a written word and know how to pronounce it. Or you can hear a word and know how to spell it. With phonetic languages, there is a direct relationship between the spelling and the sound. It is important to understand that English is not a phonetic language. So we often do not say a word the same way it is spelled.”

            In fact English is a stressed based language.
            Another subject you know sod all about.
            And why use upper case for country?
            Jack, Japan Alps

            • Toby Esterházy

              Pseudo-linguistical jiggery-pokery. A stress-based language and a phonetic language are not mutually-exclusive.

      • Toby Esterházy

        “Children” are a feminine plural (according to French; even though the old genders in Anglo-Saxon words have long been disregarded and forgotten), so “blonde” is equally acceptable.

        • Fergus Pickering

          And blond is not, I think

          • Toby Esterházy

            Who ho cares but “Jackthesummat” the Resident Japanese OCD Autistic?

  • zanzamander

    Leaving aside the Roma and the blonde child issue, I’m wondering that while it is perfectly acceptable for Westerners to adopt an African Kwashiorkor as their latest fashion accessory and to show off to their friends how in tune Lefty Progressive they are, is it still taboo for a black couple from Africa to adopt a white, blonde European child? I’m thinking, say if a well to do African couple came here on a “shopping spree” (a la Madonna, Angelina Jolie etc.) to adopt one such child, would it be socially acceptable? If I see a black or an Asian family with a white blonde child in tow, should I report it immediately to the police advising them that they must have stolen the kid?

    • Wessex Man

      What on earth has this dribble got to do with a Roma Couple lying through their teeth and pretending that the girl to be theirs on top of which the woman claims claims the impossible with her birth rate, do try not to let that chip on your shoulder get any bigger.

  • Ricky Strong

    So DNA confirms she is their daughter yet when her parents were asked about her they said she was given to them by a woman who couldn’t look after her?

    • BigJC

      You’ve confused yourself. DNA evidence has proved that ‘Maria’ is not their daughter but is the child of a fellow Roma who gave her away/sold her to the couple.

      Now the child in Ireland……

  • Toby Esterházy

    I do not see what the Irish outrage is. Good parents at this side of the Pond, the European parts of Christendom, have always been implicitly expected throughout the Centuries to be prepared to prove (at the requestor’s expense) and justify whenever it is requested the true (biological) paternity and maternity of their natural children, either to the Church, the Crown or to the Republic, and it is no good for modern parents to hide under Article 8 of the ECHR. The whole idea that human rights are generally absolute is absolutely anti-Christian.

  • Jackthesmilingblack

    Have you seen the Stop Press?

    “A seven-year-old girl taken from a Roma couple in Dublin on suspicion she was not theirs has been proved to be their daughter.”

    Now about reparation for this racially motivated human rights offense. Any child could be removed from its parents on that basis.
    Jack, Japan Alps

  • Daniel Maris

    “Missing”? Aren’t you required to say “abducted”? I thought that was the law.

  • andagain

    And it turns out that the Irish kid is the daughter of the people they took her from…

    Astonishingly enough, it also turns out that water is not dry…

  • Bonkim

    Romanies have interbred with fair skinned people over their history, there is likelihood of fair skinned Roma – and there are many that can blend in with Europeans.

  • Rhoda Klapp8

    Not of our age, the myth of gypsies kidnapping kids is centuries old. If it is a myth. Somebody finding the origin of the child would help settle it. This latest Irish one looks a lot like over-excitement on the part of the authorities.

    But anti-Roma prejudice? Is it racist? Or are people entitled to base a dislike on apparent behaviour? Sometimes it is my prerogative to dislike someone.

    • Trofim

      “Sometimes it is my prerogative to dislike someone.”

      You are free to like or dislike anyone or anything anywhere and at any time. It’s not as though it is something we choose to do. One of the fundamental fallacies indulged in by leftists is that feelings and emotions can be somehow policed and engineered.

      • FrenchNewsonlin

        Unfortunately these leftist fallacies are now deeply entrenched under PC legislation and surrounded by armies of rights-obsessed coppers and legal types. This does tend to dissuade those keen take up your generous offer, at least in a public forum!

    • Fergus Pickering

      What does it matter if it’s ‘racist’. I have a prejudice against muslims. That doesn’t mean I think all muslims are evil. It’s just that I would feel naturally suspicious. Similarly with gypsies. Many/most are thieves and vagabonds. Anybody quarrel with tht assessment?.

      • Aware

        As are many/most non-Gypsies

        • Fergus Pickering

          No they are not. That’s just silly.

  • Framer

    BBC and C4 are on the hook of their own discreet prejudice. They know the Roma are less than lovable and they would certainly not want them as neighbours but they know they can’t say that. They also know everyone thinks little blond children are adorable. So they face both ways and when it gradually emerges these children were not abducted, we will pay.
    When it comes to Romanians having full access to all social security benefits in three months, the Beeb will pull out all the stops saying we can’t prove anything statistically.

    Just like they did yesterday on the health tourism story. One GP even came on to say he had never come across the problem. Given that GPs aren’t allowed to ask about nationality or immigration status how does he know?

    • dalai guevara

      But C4News ran a great little feed yesterday. No one could keep up the hype, there were simply no arguments in support of it.

  • Eddie

    The girl in the photo looks typically Russian/East European. If I were Interpol, I’d try looking for her real parents there.
    Having lived in Central Europe I can say that gypsies are seen as a problem, because they are often a problem – involved in petty crime etc. I am not denying the prejudice against them – however, neither should the open minded allow their brains to fall out by being in denial: Roma are a problem. That is why so many countries want them to leave and make things unpleasant for them so they do.
    And where do so many of these people end up now we cannot protect our borders? The good old international joke that its mugsville, UK, with benefits, housing, state-paid assistance from the UK tax payer, a blind eye turned to non-tax paying on casual earnings, when these gypsies shouldn’t be here in the first place.

    • MikeF

      She also looks like she has been trained to look imploringly at people.

      • Eddie

        Indeed – probably stoned on Calpol or Nightnurse too.

        • Aware

          Eddie, have you ever watch ‘Bottom’ ?

    • Icebow

      Reminds me of Liv Ullmann more Yulia Tymochenko. I suppose sociological factors might well favour the Slavic option. The answer may lie in the DNA, I suppose.

      • Trofim

        Not heard the news then?

        • Icebow

          Only re the one in Ireland.

      • Eddie

        Better still, extract one of the teeth and do a strontium test – then you can tell where she grew up. The milk teeth will fall out one day anyway.
        Also, once you have finished with the tooth, you can grind it up and mix it with gypsies tears to create a potion that will grant you three wishes if you drink a thimbleful at midnight under a full moon whilst dancing naked on a stillborn baby’s grave.

        • Icebow

          I doubt that test’s usefulness here, since she may have been separated from her natural parents soon after birth.
          Thank you for the interesting recipe, which I shall add to the Book of Shadows. Does it matter if one sterilizes the Gypsies’ tears first?

          • Eddie

            Nope. But watch out for fakes. Pakistani tears just won’t do, and there are some really cheap and dodgy Chinese copies on the market too.

            • Icebow

              Anything that exists may be dodgily copied by the Chinese.

              • Wessex Man

                You racist!

            • Rachel

              Why does the Spectator allow outrageiosuly racist comments like this?

              • Aware

                Because it doesn’t see them as such!

        • Jackthesmilingblack

          I`ve tried it. It doesn`t work.

    • ArchiePonsonby

      Spot-on! My first guess was Polish/Ukrainian. Do you suppose that someone might have the decency to wash the poor little mite’s hands and hair?

      • Eddie

        Yep, very central/eastern European looking. Having lived there myself, I got to recognise the facial bone structure – as you can everywhere actually.
        Down in Sussex they have a Norman look; up in the north-east they look Scandi. A Russian friend pointed this out to me once when we were watching football (in the days before footballers were all non-English).
        Not including the vibrant and diverse minority communities, obviously.

        • crosscop

          The Normans were Scandinavians.

          • Eddie

            Oh yeah – the ruling class were, though mixed with local Normandy blood. His grandpapa moved down from Scandiland (no doubt influenced by violent TV dramas) to oppress the French and nick their stuff.
            William the Conqueror was thus mixed race really – maybe if he’d had a council grant that he would almost certainly be entitled to now, he’d have been able to invade in 1065 or earlier…

            • Hexhamgeezer

              Was it not the case that William invaded at the behest of the Belgaes because the Saxons refused to implement a Directive on the location of middens relative to hovels?

        • Aware

          Oh sooooo wrong!

  • MikeF

    The BBC does not have a ‘remit’ to promote multiculturalism, It has a self-decided mission to spend other people’s money for a purpose that most of those people would not endorse.

    • Ed West

      If you look at their literature it does say something to that effect. not what Lord Reith had in mind but there you go

      • MikeF

        I daresay there is something to that effect in their literature. But who has written the literature?

    • Eddie

      They would say they do because that is their interpretation of the law that says all public bodies have a duty to promote good race relations. (I used to teach in colleges where they were constantly justifying mad multiculti nonsense because of that law).
      Of course, one could interpret it as meaning one should promote integration, not segregationist multiculturalism and victimhood-craving identity politics and race fixations.
      Just look at TV in France. Then compare to the UK, where most TV newsreaders seem to be black these days (a massive over-representation). Statistically, 42% of all newsreaders should be white men, to reflect the proportion of white men in society.

      • Aware

        “I used to teach in colleges”

        But thats another story!

  • prickyleaks

    Nicely put.