There are some foreign words so expressive that you long to absorb them into your own language, to add breadth, colour and depth. ‘Asshat’ (or ‘ass-hat’) for instance. This fine north-Americanism denotes a person who has their head so far up their own ass [Eng: arse] that they are literally wearing their ass as a hat. It is a term for which there is no precise equivalent in our English demotic. But it is useful, and I recommend its adoption.
The specific cause of this recommendation is that I can think of almost nobody who claims to be any type of ‘community representative’ or ‘leader’ who is not a complete and utter asshat.
On Monday, after the prosecution of another group of rapists in Newcastle, the Sun published a column by Trevor Kavanagh. It followed a column on a similar theme by Labour MP Sarah Champion. Kavanagh’s column dared to mention that the grooming gang in Newcastle (see also Rotherham, Rochdale, Oxfordshire etc) did not consist of ‘Asian’ men but specifically men of Muslim origin. He was right. Most newspapers don’t like to mention this, preferring to hide behind ‘Asian’ and thereby showing a willingness to mislead their readers into thinking that organised gangs of Koreans and Japanese have been gang-raping young white girls across Britain over recent years.
If this is undeniably perilous territory to write in, it is also ground-hog day. After the prosecutions in Newcastle last week, the BBC’s Newsnight ran a lamentable discussion with four young Muslims chaired by Evan Davis; the panel decided within minutes that the case had nothing to do with religion.
Perhaps readers will forgive me if I sigh about all this. I just checked the first Newsnight discussion I did on this issue and somewhere on the internet found my younger self discussing whether we could talk about Muslim grooming gangs, the whole question of political correctness and the shutting down of debate. That was a decade ago.
Demonstrating that nothing is getting better in this regard, there has been the usual predictable, organised, backlash against Kavanagh and Champion for telling the truth. It has been led by the Muslim Council of Britain and Labour MP Naz Shah (who readers will remember faced her own anti-Semitism scandal last year). Yesterday, Champion was forced to quit her place in Labour’s shadow cabinet. And her party leader, Jeremy Corbyn, in accepting her resignation, has done what he can to blur the distinguishing features of the Newcastle rape gang.
It is all part of a much bigger pattern. Elsewhere, I have recently explained the strange British and European sickness whereby we don’t really have the societal fortitude to deal with (or even address) problems such as the organised gang-rape of children and console ourselves by attacking anyone willing to acknowledge the truth. We attack the response to the problem because we lack the societal fortitude to address the problem. You have to stand back to recognise the full consequence of such societal sickness. Imagine if Shah, Corbyn and their eggers-on among the Twittering classes were able to summon up even a quarter of the rage they reserved for Kavanagh and Champion, and saved it instead for the rapists who brand their initials on girls they regard as ‘chattel’.
Which returns me to asshats. In his piece, Trevor Kavanagh ended with a reference to Britain’s ‘Muslim problem’. Now that is not a phrase I would use myself, and I imagine that in retrospect Kavanagh wouldn’t feel that happy about the shorthand. But so what? It’s a free country and people are allowed to avail themselves of their opinions in a robust fashion. Or they used to be, before a self-appointed group of self-appointed leaders took it upon themselves to police the language for us.
For along with Shah and the MCB, who else do we find leaping up to attack the Sun’s correspondent, but the Board of Deputies of British Jews. It is difficult to convey the contempt with which many British Jews hold this organisation. The last time I appeared on a platform with two of the board’s leaders the audience greeted their ‘representatives’ with boos. That audience was too kind. Now – as the Independent has gleefully reported – the board has complained to the Independent Press Standards Organisation (Ipso). To them, the phrase ‘Muslim problem’ is too close to the phrase ‘the Jewish problem’.
Well the phrase is also close to the term ‘Tax problem’ and ‘Crossword puzzle’. But according to the board: ‘The printing of the phrase “The Muslim Problem” – particularly with the capitalisation and italics for emphasis – in a national newspaper sets a dangerous precedent.’ Oh yes. And what precisely is that precedent and danger? Might it lead to an outburst of further capitalisations? A wave of italicisations? Is the problem that when there is next an outbreak of child sex-abuse scandals in the Catholic church newspapers might refer to it as ‘The Catholic Church’s child-abuse problem’? How terrible that would be. Enlightening readers as it could.
Anyhow, as I say – asshats. I suppose the Jewish ‘community leaders’ think that in response for this reach-around they will get some Muslim community leader to service them in a similar manner in return some day. Well I wouldn’t bet on that. But this ugly little episode does confirm what I’ve long thought about this game. Gay leaders. Muslim leaders. Jewish leaders. It’s all just a big racket. And it’s not just that they do so little to solve any problem. As their ongoing efforts to silence anyone speaking about grooming gangs proves, there is no problem – even child rape – that community leadership groups cannot in fact make worse.
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