The Betrayed Girls, BBC 1, 8.30 pm, BBC iPlayer directed by Henry Singer.

betrayed girls.jpg

http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b08xdh9r/the-betrayed-girls

Ironically, the lead story BBC Ten O’Clock News which followed this programme was a report calling for the demolition of Haut de la Garenne home in Jersey. Children weren’t listened to. Children were abused. Seventy years of failure: The Jersey Way.

Can we demolish Greater Manchester Police? Maggie Oliver one of the few who can hold their head up catalogued their failings from the inside as a young office investigation these child abuse allegations and noted how often young girls she worked with had been let down by those supposed to protect them, by the police, by social services, by the community. We know all of this if we watched, as I did, the dramatization of their story, Three Girls, shown recently on BBC 1. But here it is Assistant Chief Inspector Steve Haywood speaking to the press after the successful prosecution of nine Asian men of Pakistani origin giving the usual reassurances to the public. The same Assistant Chief Inspector Steve Haywood that had discontinued the first investigation four years earlier. The same Assistant Chief Inspector Steve Haywood whose force conveniently lost a catalogue of evidence collated for them by one of their outstanding officers Maggie Oliver. She too was betrayed. This is an issue of class. White, working-class girls, trouble.

‘It’s no wonder they come to us,’ said ‘Daddy’ a nickname for one of those successfully prosecuted.

Although a convicted paedophile and rapist ‘Daddy’ does have a point.

Can we abolish the Rochdale Care System? This is shown graphically when the mother of one of the girls that is being raped and abused by men says something that is not politically correct. ‘What are you going to do about those Pakis abusing my daughters?’ she asks social workers and care workers involved with her children. She is removed from the meeting and not allowed to attend further meetings. We can’t have working-class mothers calling paedophile rapists Pakis.

The British National Front and English Defence League filled their boots with the images of Pakis raping young white girls as young as thirteen. We know this for sure because the father of Girl A speaks hear on camera and says they were the only ones that listened to what he had to say and believed him when he told them how his daughter was raped.

Thirty more prosecutions have been made since that case. That’s meant to reassure us. But if we listen to Sarah Rowbotham who made a spider-chart of all those mentioned by the girls in Rochdale and catalogued who they were and how they were connected and estimated such abuses had been going on for a minimal of ten years or more, if we listen to Nazar Afal, who, as public prosecutor estimated that 100 000 girls are abused every year, then 30 doesn’t seem that big a number. In fact your chance of getting prosecuted for raping young white girls works out at 0.0003. There’s more chance of getting hit by an asteroid. Perhaps one day we will have justice. The Betrayed Girls are still being betrayed. That shame is ours.

Three Girls, BBC Drama, written by Nicole Taylor and directed by Philippa Lowthorpe.

three girls.jpg

I watched this on BBC iPlayer. It was shown over three consecutive nights and was based on the Rochdale child sex scandal.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b08r8pvh/three-girls-series-1-episode-1

http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b08r8s12/three-girls-series-1-episode-2

http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b08r8vp5/three-girls-series-1-episode-3

There is institutional cover up, issues of class and racial bias. A blackness of themes that seems to find its way into the character’s voices I often shape in the stories I write. Nobody listens and it’s here in spades. Pseudonyms are adopted for the characters of Holly Winshaw (Molly Windsor), Amber Bowen (Ria Zmitrowicz) and Ruby Bowen (Liv Hill). They represent hundreds of children, perhaps thousands, who have been raped, beaten, tortured and terrorised into silence in England. White-working class girls. These girls do not know what justice looks like. In truth, neither do I. Imagine instead of the actress Holly Windsor, the queen or her daughter, Princess Anne, were fed burghers, told they were beautiful and then raped, ‘quid pro quo’ and ‘passed around like a ball’ for other Asian men to rape orally, anally and vaginally.   I’ve never before sided with the British National Party, until now, who are by any reasonable standards, friends and allies with the moron’s moron in the Oval office. There only answer is Guantanamo Bay for those of the wrong colour and sending those non-whites back to the county of origin. In this case Pakistan.  I’m all for it here. The nine convicted Rochdale rapists are from Pakistan. I’d torture them and send them back.

Daddy (Simone Nagra) a Rochdale taxi driver who we first see giving away freebies of vodka and fast food from ‘Speedy Kebab’ argues it’s not his fault if these young girls go about with their tits hanging out, asking for it. Girls from good Pakistani families don’t. Muslim girls don’t. Girls in Rochdale do. Eve testing, which came publically to the fore in 2012 with the  Delhi gang rape of a physiotherapist. Six people on the bus raped her, including the driver. She was asking for it, of course, travelling on public transport. The ‘Eve testing’ argument is also played outside the courtroom with a public meeting after the trail with members of the Rochdale taxi community moaning that the general public no longer trusted their Pakistani drivers. And a young firebrand saying the usual stuff about it’s not their fault if young girls flaunt themselves on the streets, good Muslim, Pakistani girls don’t do that sort of thing. The flip side of the argument was the general public were associating these heinous crimes with the general Pakistani community and they didn’t know anything about it. Yeh, yeh, yeh, somebody knew about it. That is how this drama works. Somebody knew about it and did nothing, or when they tried to do something where silenced. This drama is real, because the characters are real life people.

When it comes to passing out awards at the end of the year when gongs and awards are handed out  best director, best screenplay, best drama, best actress, best supporting actress…Three Girls should take a wheelbarrow and take the silverware away.

But when it comes to real life, nothing has changed. The heroes here, for example, Rochdale Sexual Health Worker, Sarah Rowbotham (Maxine Peake) who continually tried to get the abusers of these young girls and had a paper map of who the abusers where and where they stayed, was sacked, or in institutional jargon, made redundant. And DC Margaret Oliver (Lesley Sharp, who ironically appeared on Loose Women) were sidelined from the Rochdale investigation and forced to resign. These are women that should receive the highest awards in the land and be allowed to continue and carry on with the investigations of other male abusers of children, whether they are from Pakistan or China or Timbuktu. But institutions are designed to protect themselves and those that have failed such as the police, social work departments and judiciary remain the same old familiar faces. A triumph of drama. The question of what does justice look like? It doesn’t look like this. Cover up and scandal. Same old. Same old. Lack of transparency.  No one is to blame and it wasn’t our fault. It’s only white working class girls. Fuck off.

 

 

Angry, White and Proud, Channel 4, 10pm

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http://www.channel4.com/programmes/angry-white-and-proud

Jamie Roberts spent a year of his life making this documentary.  I’d guess at a cost to Channel 4 of about £250 000. Compare that to estimated £1 million  ‘kettling operation’ in which police officers flung a cordon of men, woman and horses around far-right-splinter groups, (‘Engl-i-and, England, England till I die’) protesting about Muslim Pakis abusing white girls in Rochdale. Protesting about the cover up that followed, which implicated the police and most other agencies. This was the big one, this was the highlight of the programme, with those in the know caught with their trousers down. Guilty by association.

What the Jamie Roberts could not have anticipated, what the commissioners of such a documentary could not have known, was the Parisian and Charlie Hebdo killings. Timing is everything.  Front-page headlines. World leaders coming together to condemn the terrorist perpetrators. Millions of ordinary, mainly white, French citizens coming together to condemn the outrage in Paris and other parts of the country. The Muslim enemy had been outed. It’s The Angry, White and Proud man’s wettest dream.

Note the running together of Paki, Muslim, terrorist, the undifferentiated script of the bleeding obvious. The search for simplistic answers to larger questions. I thought about the puzzle with the pieces missing and wrote a crappy poem to help me understand it a little better (http://www.abctales.com/story/celticman/angry-white-man).

This documentary follows Paul, a Londoner; middle-aged bloke that lives with his mum. He blames that on his far-right allegiances. I’d say he was just a plonker, skinhead optional. He is the in-man that allows Jamie Roberts to film the splinter groups that have broken away from The English Defence League. I’d guess Jamie is white, probably middle-class, as long as he kept his mouth shut and nodded a lot, I’m sure that’s how he got away with it. But there is also a narcissistic element.  These working-class guys want to be filmed going about their business. But Paul is only a foot soldier, part of a splinter group that come together to hate those of a different skin colour. He’s aware of a splinter group of the splinter group, that ‘does stuff’ but he’s coy about what it is they’re doing, not because he doesn’t believe Muslims don’t deserve it, but because he knows it’s not legal. The benefits of belonging to such a group are they quickly become family, but without the nagging mum, with the thrown in excitement of ‘demo fever’ meeting up for a ruckus with those that oppose their viewpoints.

Andy gives their hatred an ideological coherence. He took to the streets because his son, a British soldier, died in Afghanistan, aged nineteen. He didn’t think it was right that those that had killed him were allowed to come to Britain, preach jihad and hatred and raise money to kill people like his son.

Colin was an old hand at hatred. Ironically he was of Greek/Cypriot descent. Similarly, Paul’s mum was of Italian extraction and his dad Irish. England till I die begins to look a bit murky, but what they mean by it is they’re proud to be Islamophobic, they’re not Pakis, they do not have dark skin. Colin was the voice of the disaffected, the misunderstood. He helps organise trips, like those to Rochdale, where they can meet up with other lads, show what they’re all about. He’s Nigel Farage with aggro. The kind that can be relied on when things kick off. Because that’s a common theme. Demo fever is transitory, but on camera those boys are telling it they can’t wait until it does kick off. For real. Farage knows where to come when a bit of ethnic cleansing is needed, Colin is his Ratko Mladić. Colin is ready.

The programme finishes with Paul being unusually reticent. He didn’t go to the Rochdale rally. He admitted he’d had a think about things and it was time to grow up. Too fucking right son. Too fucking right. Je suis Charlie, but there’ll be another 1000 Pauls, waiting to play Spartacus. They’ll be agitating. They’ll know the answers. Ethnic cleansing. With people like Colin to organise—if they’ve not already got them—all they need are the guns and the go ahead.

http://unbound.co.uk/books/lily-poole