THIS week I read with incredulity, then increasing anger, and finally with disdain the articles from various members of the council, the authority, and the MP Denis MacShane, their various responses to the sexual exploitation issue in Rotherham.
Each of the various bureaucrats goes on at length about the poor backgrounds of many of the unfortunate girls involved, their concern for the length of time this has been allowed to continue and how this must not be allowed to affect community relations.
However at the end of each article is the now long-established response from bureaucrats and politicians: ‘it is not my fault gov’. Well, whose fault is it that it has been allowed to go on for so long? And who is responsible? And why was nothing done before now?
I am no fan of Mr Middleton, but I agree with him that resignations are required. These people can genuflect lower than a cardinal visiting the Pope and crawl lower than a paratrooper under a razor wire in order to show their contrition.
Once upon a time you could expect such people to have principles and resign for their incompetency. Now, unless someone demands they go, they hang on for their ever-increasing salary, bonus and pension.
If resignations are not forthcoming, Mr Kimber, CEO of the authority, must demand action and show some resolve to root out the individuals concerned.
There is no doubt, if they had twice the budget and twice the resource, they would still be incompetent.
Finally, I must come to Mr MacShane’s final comment whereby he is good enough to state that he thinks the police now have this under control. In all my years of work, I learned to fear those who only think or hope something is fixed, as this usually means it is not fixed. He needs to go back and re-assure himself and the rest of us that it is fixed.
Allen Cowles,Greystones Road, Whiston
Time for us all to look ourselves in the mirror
IN the Advertiser this week (September 28) our town MP, Denis MacShane, calls for a top-level investigation into the grooming allegations that have come to light in the past week and he is right to point out that an investigation needs to take place (one presumes by the timescale that this has already been done, and ‘lessons have been learned’).
The truth is the investigation should be levelled at our very souls. All colours, faiths and creeds should be looking into the mirror today and asking this question: “What kind of society do I want to live in?”
I suspect that the overwhelming majority of people would say: “I wish to be happy and safe from harm”.
It does not sound like a lot, but it will cover every wishlist you ever have when you give it a little thought.
If we really are going to learn anything from any of this, we should all start every day by looking in the mirror and do a little more than comb one’s hair. After all, this would not need a costly investigation, just a moment of your time to think of others, to treat them with the respect that you would afford your own and let your concience be your guide, not your next must-have.
There’s an opportunity here for all aspiring partnerships to come together and tackle this head on. We may then say from the lessons that we have learned in our town: “I’m happy in Rotherham, I’m safe in Rotherham”.
Over to you Denis and the community leaders. Barry Morton, Secretary, Unite Rotherham
Well done, Denis
I AM writing this to show my appreciation of the stance Denis MacShane has taken with regards to the report on sexual exploitation that looked at how agencies including the police, council, NHS and Crown Prosecution Service worked between 2007 and 2012 with young people who were at risk of sexual exploitation.
On Monday, September 24, the Yorkshire Post headlined that ‘Rotherham was identified today as a centre for the widespread abuse of teenage girls by some Asian men’.
I would like to express my abhorrence at what has happened and support Denis for speaking out, even if what he says is uncomfortable for police and council officials in Rotherham and some members of the Rotherham community. We cannot brush this under the carpet any longer.
Ironically, it could be said that these services are institutionally racist on two fronts.
Firstly by not, as the guardians of our society, safeguarding a vulnerable sector of our community and, secondly, by being partial to another sector at the expense of the whole community.
I feel aggrieved at both the societal level and at a personal level because I do not want to be tainted by association as an Asian male working in the community.
THE Times’ Andrew Norfolk deserves praise for his investigative journalism to expose how paedophilia, human trafficking, grooming and exploitation has been covered up for so long in Rotherham by the authorities.
People have rightly asked, how many more have been put at risk over the years by inaction and lack of information to families? Why were there no warnings?
It was allegedly young, third generation Pakistani males BUT let us explode a myth: it is nothing to do with culture or religion — it is abuse and it is criminal.
It is also as likely to be carried out by middle-aged, professional middle class, white males in positions of power.
In the UK, we’ve seen the same abuse over the past at former children’s homes and within the church and where the victims were not believed by the authorities.
There must be an independent inquiry so that the public know the whole facts and people responsible can be held to account.
Ged Dempsey, print worker, Unite and Labour Party Member
THE matter of Pakistani men grooming young girls for sexual activities is not without precedent in Rotherham. Some 45 years ago young girls from Wickersley High School (as it was then) were likewise being groomed for underage sex. And the culprits were white men!
John A Corney, Badsley Court, Rotherham
ROTHERHAM Labour Party swept this saga under the carpet for political purposes, to keep themselves in power, to stop the rise of the BNP.
Now, thousands of EDL are rumoured to be marching on Rotherham. This is what happens when serious crimes are not addressed.
The only way to deal with crimes of this sort is to educate children of the dangers of grooming and the danger signs. That, in turn, needs the police to act regardless of the religion, race or gender.
Michael Conlon, Maltby
l WHY do we have to use terms of ethnicity, British Asian, Pakistani for example, when describing the actions of certain groups in our society? The males committing these vile offences form a very small part of our society and we should not allow prejudice to castigate a whole group of law-abiding, hard-working, decent citizens, who make a valuable contribution to our society, for the crimes of a few.
Name and address supplied
THE vile abuse of young girls yet again questions the lamentable service of those paid out of the public purse and the sexist nature of Muslim males.
Unfortunately this incompetence will probably yet again be swept under the carpet like all other failings in the public sector.
Rotherham Council is not unique. The vast majority of management in the public sector is equally incompetent.
Name and address supplied
FOR any parent the spectre of organised sexual abuse of children by gangs of men must come as one of the most heinous crimes possible.
To find out via a national newspaper and the Advertiser that the problem here in Rotherham has been known about for over ten years begs questions regarding the integrity of senior local politicians.
It is time for radical change at RMBC, starting with the leader of RMBC, followed by all those culpable for this scandal.
Name and address supplied
I AM very disappointed at your coverage of the child abuse scandal in your newspaper.
Now some of the truth has finally come out into the public domain, I was hopeful that the Advertiser would carry this story without the need to suppress the facts so as not to ‘upset relations’ in the town.
Rather than telling the people of Rotherham, rather patronisingly may I add, to ‘Stay Calm’, then spend most of the next four pages making excuses for the authorities, who are obviously still in denial, could I suggest that you balance these views out with some stories from the victims and print some facts.
This isn’t just hysterical nonsense from The Times — it is the truth of what has been happening in Rotherham for at least the last 16 years. An excellent piece of journalism two years in the making, trying to find justice for some of these children who were ignored by the authorities.
Please don’t fall into the trap of feeling this information cannot be reported. It can and needs to be spoken about in our town to help prevent future cases.
You say in your comment that we need to move forward as a town. My feeling is we can’t move forward until all the story is out.
Whereas the Rochdale authorities have admitted the problems this week within the way they handle these sensitive issues, unfortunately the authorities in Rotherham still have a long way to go.
I’m getting the impression from your coverage that a meeting between the Advertiser and the police and Rotherham Council took place to discuss how best to deal with reporting this crime. The effect this has had on your reports is obvious. I urge you to balance it out.
Name and address supplied
Stay Calm, STAY CALM?!
What a lousy headline on the front page of last week’s Advertiser and what an utter failure to address the real issue, because nowhere in the many pages that the issue dedicated to the subject of child sex grooming in Rotherham, did the plight of the victim receive any consideration.
But what the pages of the paper really did, was simply give dutiful voice to those authorities and their highly paid senior officers, that have systemically failed the victims
And all the usual clichés were trotted out — ‘we’re improving’, ‘we’ve learned lessons’, ‘we’ve got a good rating’, ‘the crime goes off in all cities’ and all the other predictable deflective drivel.
And what did the Advertiser do? It stood on the sidelines wringing its hands about the town’s image.
Stay calm? I wonder just how ‘CALM’ the editor would have been, had one of the victims been related to him?
Rob Foulds, Bawtry Road, Bramley
We want to continue holding local authorities to account, attending court and council meetings, as well as providing breaking news, competitions and offers – but it costs money. Online advertising does not cover costs, therefore we feel the need to ask for your help in ensuring we can provide the best possible coverage, online and in our printed products.
For as little as £1, you can support the Rotherham Advertiser – and it only takes a minute.
Click here to support local news.