Wednesday, 27 August 2014

The responsibility for the grooming crisis lies within the culture Hope not Hate has infected the Labour Party with

Make no mistake - Nick Lowles and Hope
not Hate are a major part of the conspiracy of
silence in the Labour Party which allowed
this to happen repeatedly.
'Shining a light on abuse' is the disgraceful apologia issued by Hope not Hate director Nick Lowles following the publication of the report on child abuse in Rotherham. As an exercise in obfuscation and blame passing it is truly New Labour in its scope, which is only to be expected from an organisation so heavily supported by the New Labour faithful, many of whom have ended up in prison for expenses fraud.

Lowles - while at least having the decency to join calls for Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner Shaun Wright to resign - goes on to say, "HOPE not hate was vocal in its criticism of how local authorities were dealing with on-street grooming from as far back as 2005". Leaving aside the minor point that Hope not Hate as a separate entity did not exist in 2005, their interest in the issue was politically motivated and solely an attempt to counter BNP propaganda: the type involvementstawhich Hope not Hate advocated and which was deeply entrenched within the Labour Party - turning a blind eye and hoping the problem went away on its own - ensured the continued ability of these grooming gangs to operate.

The desperate attempts to play down their culpability have lead to major re-writes of sections of their blogs and websites as history is re-arranged to make their own actions seem less supportive of those who engaged in child grooming. Luckily, we still have their pages available off-line, meaning articles such as the snippet below are not entirely lost to posterity:

"New HOPE not hate leaflet - £700 needed by midnight tonight

We are producing a new leaflet to debunk the racists’ lies around grooming.... the leaflet will also debunk racist myths peddled by far right groups. We have a mother of a girl who was groomed condemning the BNP for exploiting the issue. We have people in the Muslim communities speaking out. And while racist groups try to blame all Muslims for the actions of a criminal few, this leaflet will also show that many of their own supporters have been convicted child pornography and child abuse"
Nobody was attempting to suggest that every Muslim or every Asian was a child grooming paedophile in waiting except in the deepest reaches of Lowles mind - but making out that that was what his political opponents really meant ensured that the problems could be deferred or ignored. It was a policy always destined to failure, and the price of that failure to date - 1,400 sexually abused young girls in Rotherham alone - is only the tip of the iceberg.

Their actions in opposing child grooming amounted to pointing the finger at the BNP and saying that they too were child abusers, while attempting to minimise the cultural associations which made it particularly prevalent within sections of the Asian community. Elsewhere, serious attempts to deal with the ongoing problem of grooming have been deliberately ignored by Lowles for political reasons. We have long supported the campaign by Imam Alyas Khamani which seeks to impose a 'khutba' in mosques underlining that grooming is un-Islamic behaviour. Hope not Hate meanwhile have never mentioned Khamani's initiative because he is a Respect councillor in Bradford: in fact, in Bradford Nick Lowles was recently praising a councillor with long, established links to the British National Party for managing to hold his seat and keep UKIP (and Respect) out in last May's elections.
Lowles goes on to paint himself as a martyr in the fight against Asian grooming gangs, writing, "Unfortunately, too many people have remained silent for too long,” I wrote at the time. “Police and local authorities have been slow to protect these young girls. Leading figures in local Muslim communities have often been too slow in speaking out on this issue, and in some cases simply dismissed it as Far Right propaganda. They have been joined in this by some on the left, who have been too quick to silence any discussion.". He fails to mention that he himself is one of those on the left who have for many years been desperate to silence calls for action by dismissing them as racist and attacking the messenger rather than the crime. It is Lowles and his band who have ensured that these crimes have continued by refusing to countenance the idea that there may be a racial/cultural/ethnic basis simply because it clashed with their dogmatic, blinkered approach to racism: all differences are good, and to suggest that some are not is to be a neo-Nazi.
We should be clear about this. When the report talks about councillors of Pakistani origin who blocked and mislead the inquiry, this is a direct result of the type of culture within the Labour Party which has been encouraged by Lowles and Hope not Hate. It is a culture which is so determined to turn a blind eye to anything which may have ethnic origins that they would rather sweep it under the carpet than deal with it head on, regardless of the consequences to some of the most vulnerable members of society.
In this, Lowles is as guilty as the PCC whose resignation he calls for: Labour's Shaun Wright, who was responsible for children's services in Rotherham at the height of the scandal, and who was also a member of the police authority at the time. His compliance with the idiotic, blinkered approach advocated by Lowles and the rest of the Labour Party hierarchy allowed this to happen. While taking foster children away from a couple because they happened to be UKIP members, they also permitted over 1,400 children to be sexually abused, threatened, beaten and trafficked as they turned a blind eye because to act may have been considered racist. If clearer proof was needed of the political motivations of this bunch of clowns elevated to high office, we're not sure what form it could take.
And so Lowles finds himself now walking a tightrope. Posts by his organisation which dismissed rumours of major and organised involvement in child grooming by members of the Pakistani and Kashmiri community have been deleted, while some attacking those who suggested a link between certain immigrant communities and child sex have been deleted altogether.

Time and again, Lowles and Hope not Hate have ignored some of the most unpleasant aspects of extremist Islam as they try to persuade us that there is nothing to worry about. Misogyny and homophobia have been ignored as they take aim time and again at any who would dare to raise the fundamental incompatibility between a secular western democracy and fundamentalist Islam. By refusing to shine a light on crimes which they are supposed to expose Hope not Hate have revealed their fundamental hypocrisy: it could be argued that they are in some respects even complicit for promoting an attitude and a culture within the Labour Party which actively prevented such issues from being dealt with.

So, Mr Lowles. Spare us your self-serving crocodile tears. You are not a martyr. You are not and have never been working towards a solution, and to suggest that you are is to overlook your own complicity with the culture of secrecy and silence which permitted such crimes to flourish in Labour controlled areas. 14 months ago, we wrote of Lowles refusal to even mention Imam Kharmani's initiative:

"So I say this to Nick Lowles and his Hope not Hate comrades. Shame on you, for betraying your core principles. Shame on your silence which allows hate to grow and lies to spread unchecked. And shame on your shoddy attempts to put your own personal allegiances ahead of an initiative which will clearly aid better relations between communities. Your blinkered attitude and political partisanship makes you no better than those you claim to oppose. For many years, you attacked the BNP, and ran with the slogan 'Not in my name', only for us to find the tables are now turned, and an increasing barrier to harmonious relations between communities is not the BNP and the EDL, but Hope not Hate and your refusal to back initiatives like Karmani's. If you must continue with such wilful blindness, be aware you do so on your own and not in my name."

It is as true today as it was then. Shame on you, and shame on the cowards you represent. Your moral ambiguity has permeated the Labour Party to such an extent that it has failed in its duty towards not just children, but whole populations of a significant number of Metropolitan areas which it controls. The fault is your, so don't you dare try and wash your hands of it.

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