Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Plod plays it safe

The following is based on a recent item in Yahoo News.
 An investigation has found that at least 1,400 children were exploited in the UK town of Rotherham*** between 1997 and 2013 and that there was a “collective failure” by authorities to stop the abuse. The Rotherham Borough Council published a report today which said that it is “hard to describe the appalling nature of the abuse that child victims suffered”.
“They were raped by multiple perpetrators, trafficked to other towns and cities in the north of England, abducted, beaten, and intimidated.”
The inquiry was launched last September to look at how Rotherham Council’s children’s services department dealt with cases involving child exploitation.  The report gives examples of children who had been doused in petrol, threatened with guns and made to watch brutally violent rapes. The victims were told they “would be next if they told anyone”.
Girls as young as 11 were raped by large numbers of male perpetrators, the majority of whom were of Pakistani heritage.
The independent investigation concluded that this abuse is “not confined to the past but continues to this day”. The report says that over the first 12 years covered by the Inquiry, there were “blatant collective failures” of the political and officer leadership. The author, Professor Alexis Jay, also said the council underplayed the scale of the problem and that South Yorkshire Police failed to prioritise the issue.
This is the fourth report into the situation in Rotherham. 
Why, do you think, were the local authorities and the police so reluctant to investigate this situation? Careful with your answer or you might be accused of being racist.
If this is the FOURTH report, the chances are that still nothing will be done. In the meantime, let's all have fun following the prurient accounts of the Yewtree pursuit of Cliff Richard, Freddy Starr and other geriatric celebrities, against most of whom no evidence has been produced.

***Sadly this kind of abuse is happening in several other UK cities. More here.

Threatened species!

House Sparrow is on the Red List of serious conservation concern. My garden is full of them: at least forty feeding on ground-strewn seed at any time.
Starling is on the Red List of serious conservation concern. My garden is full of them: anything up to forty feeding wherever there is something to eat.
In fact, I realise that the only truly endangered species on my property is me. I am male, I am white, I am heterosexual, I am old, I am mildly conservative, I am a carnivore and I am a Catholic. How many of those do you know still walking around unthreatened?

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Life is getting interesting again

A bruising performance last night from His Majesty Queen Alec Salmond, which is causing the chattering pundits to predict a YES vote in the Scottish Independence referendum next month.

There are always two equal and opposite forces at work in geopolitics. On the one hand, the centripetal force towards greater integration of elements: the USSR, the USA, the European Union, for example. And on the other the centrifugal force towards greater fragmentation of elements:
the balkanisation of the former Yugoslavia, Catalan, Galician and Basque separatism, a Kurdish state, for example. And, of course, an independent Scotland.

It is tempting to indulge in a reductio ad absurdum argument here. If Scotland becomes independent, then so should Wales. Then England will be an independent country too. But wait. Yorkshire folk have always seen themselves as different, separate. So why not an independent Yorkshire? But wait. In that case, why not an independent Cornwall, historically part of the Celtic fringe?

We are going Appalachian here. Queen Alec's wish to be independent is partly because he loves Scotland, but it's partly because he dislikes England. Only a matter of time before the Highlands demand to be separated from the Lowlands, which really do feel like two different countries. Soon, every valley will have its clan that wishes to be independent from all the other valley clans, and if there's any argument, they will fight to defend their freedom. Clan feuds r Us.

In fact, if the village of Haddenham where I live makes a UDI, I personally will ask for my particular road to become independent of the rest of the village, because some very weird folk live up there.