Can we truly call ourselves a civilised country after the industrial scale abuse, violence and depraved exploitation of vulnerable children and young women in Rotherham? Have we as individuals, organisations, communities and a society failed in our responsibilities to each other? Can we be proud to be British now?
Many of those in authority who turned a blind eye or even protected rapists and violent thugs have daughters and sisters, yet this failed to motivate action. They knew the law; they knew what was expected of them through the unwritten covenant with the people and simple humanity or compassion. Yet they turned away from those who needed their help, support and protection.
By their actions or inactivity they have diminished and disgraced all of us. To paraphrase John Donne ‘No man is an island unto himself. The rape of a child diminishes me because I am of this world.’
These official guardians of the depraved and criminal are naturally tainted and no longer command our trust. Yet often their reward has been to remain in positions of authority and even to get promoted; must be doing what their leaders (politicians and others) want. Outrage and indifference from us are not enough! Something is fundamentally wrong that needs to be understood and corrected or we will continue to have Rotherhams, Rochdales, Oxfords etc.
Rotherham happened mainly on the watch of the previous Labour government. They, through their policies, attitudes and behavior shaped the environment within which we all live and work. Out of this environment come behaviors, attitudes, perceptions and priorities within the public sector and those in authority and fear of not acting accordingly. Thus the oft repeated excuse, ‘I didn’t want to rock the boat’ or ‘I was afraid of being accused of being a racist’. These are real fears and the undesirable consequences of the Labour Party in government, which resulted in failures to protect the vulnerable and uphold the law.
What has happened is a failure by the Labour Party, in particular its leadership, to protect and support its own supporters; in effect it has betrayed them and shows no way of preventing the same happening in future. Harriet Harman’s Equality Act, the culmination of previous legislation, is a particular example of a policy, which has potentially undesirable side effects with its Public Sector Equality Duty; any public official would want to ‘play it safe’ rather than fall foul of the Act. Yet this is not identified in the Equality Act Impact Assessment and, therefore, its potential consequences or mitigations are not considered. Actually the Equality Act, although Labour legislation was introduced by this government. So where else did Labour and the Coalition Government not consider the side effects of their policies and actions?
Our politicians happily fail to use thorough methodologies for risk management in relation to their policies or administration and their impacts on public safety and welfare. Or perhaps, worse still they do consider these impacts and, when it suits them, ignore the risks. Ed, Harriet, and co for Labour and Dave, Nick, Theresa and co, (for the present government) please explain what you have in place to prevent your policies not leading to future Rotherhams or other things, perhaps a worse and greater Rape of the Fair Country?
Photo by spratmackrel