Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Word Association.

Let’s play a game. I’ll say a word, you say the first one that comes into your head. Ok?

Here goes.


If you’re the journalist Allison Pearson, more than one word comes into your head. When Allison Pearson hears the word ‘Immigration’, she thinks ‘the abuse of children in Rotherham’.

Presumably, when someone says ‘Gloucestershire’, she thinks ‘Fred West’. If someone says ‘Happiness’ around AP, she hears ‘That Todd Solondz film about paedos’. If you say ‘Love’, she probably gets an image of Kurt Cobain shooting himself.

I say this, because Pearson has tweeted her anger that Ed Milliband didn’t mention immigration in today’s speech. And the reason she's angry he didn't mention immigration is  Rotherham.

How does a brain do that? How does somebody move seamlessly from the vexed, complex, vital issues of nationhood, borders, asylum, diversity and culture into a crime perpetrated by a group of sick men? How does someone hear ‘foreigner’ and go straight to ‘rapist’?

What happened in Rotherham is disgusting, troubling and upsetting. Evil men did evil things and chances to stop them were missed time and time again. Questions must be asked and blame must be apportioned- particularly, in this case, to the Labour council which screwed up.

I am sad to say that I am no massive supporter of the Labour Party. I’d like to be, but they make it so bloody difficult.  I will vote for them, but holding my nose and thinking 'least worst'.  I condemn the failures of Rotherham Council in the strongest possible terms.

Rotherham means that questions have to be answered about criminal justice. About policing. About social work. About local authorities. All of those things spring to mind when one reads about what happened because even though to cite some of them may be a little broad-brush and generalised, they all have a major part to play in the case. 

But, you know what? When I hear about something a few hundred people did, I don't assume that they're identical to another few hundred thousand. When I hear that some people who committed a crime shared a cultural identity, I don't assume that everyone of that cultural identity behaves the same way.  

And as a result, Rotherham isn't the first thing I think of when I hear the word ‘immigration’, or even- especially- the first thing I think of when I hear a speech in which immigration isn't mentioned. 
To do that, you’d have to be a massive… well, you know the word. And anyone who really cared about the awful things that happened to those poor young women would hate the idea of using them to make a cheap party political point.

I expect Allison Pearson isn’t a… well, you know the word. But she is undoubtedly a cynical opportunist who is happy to appeal to people who are.


Anonymous said...

Very well said.

David said...

These broadsides of yours are so eloquent and brilliant that I wish they were once a week in a publication of note...or at least once a fortnight, at the very least, here. But I guess you've got to be genuinely fired up rather than filling column inches for the hell of it.

Shame on her. Always thought she was a ghastly opportunist, at least after I started out quite liking her on Late Review as the least of its many evils.

And can that man in Rotherham still be in his post? I liked Darling's 'have you no shame?' riposte. Clearly he has none.

jondrytay said...

How kind of you! But yes, I'd hate having to crank something out for the sake of it. Thank goodness for doltish stuff like Pearson's to keep engagement going!

I used to like that original lineup on LR too, although Pearson showed early form when she talked about Hoop Dreams- a hugely moving film about how basketball rescued young black men in the US from the ghetto- in terms of 'oh, boys and sport, how silly'.