The Oxford sex gang in court, from L to R: Zeeshan Ahmed, Akhtar Dogar, Anjum Dogar, Kamar Jamil, Bassam Karrar, Mohammed Karrar, Assad Hussain
By Peter Hitchens
Commentators take what they want to from scandals. Already this is happening to the debate about the mass abuse of young girls in Oxford.
The Left are blaming the law for being too weak on rape. The Right are blaming political correctness. Each has a point. But it goes deeper than that and both sides should admit it.
I have lived in Oxford (with some gaps) for almost 50 years. It is, in many ways, a paradise which has escaped much of the evil and decay which beset this country.
I suspect I may, all unknowing, have gone past the scenes of some of those crimes while they were actually taking place. There’s a particular meadow with a pretty name and a shady reputation that I often ride past on my bicycle, which was the scene of some disgusting crimes.
I have probably rubbed shoulders in the streets, at the station and at the market with both culprits and victims.
It is an education in how little we actually know about what is going on around us. I am a pessimist and tend to assume the worst, but never imagined this.
Yet though it disgusts me, it does not much surprise me. Like everyone who has any kind of public position, I know that an accusation of racism – even an entirely false one – could ruin my life. I know it as I write these words.
If Thames Valley Police or Oxfordshire County Council and its social workers deny that their wretched responses to these crimes were influenced by the same fear, then I simply do not believe them. It would be good if some of the newspapers of the Left would acknowledge this.
In return, I’ll agree with them that the law is a feeble protection for young girls exploited by older men.
Seven members of a paedophile ring were found guilty at the Old Bailey of a catalogue of child sex abuse charges
Mind you, it is bound to be. In a free country, the law needs hard evidence to prosecute and convict, and such evidence is not always easy to get in such matters.
So should we relax the rules? How many wrongful convictions and wrecked innocent lives are we prepared to permit in the battle to stop this sort of thing? Plenty, provided of course that it does not affect us personally.
Then there’s the issue that dare not speak its name. When we set the Oxford case beside other recent events in Rochdale, we find that in both crimes the men were Muslims (often mosque-going ones).
How important is it that the convicted rapists and perverts in most cases regarded their victims as barely-human degenerates, ‘kufr’, unbelievers who didn’t count? It matters. But non-Muslims should not be smug about it.
It reminds me of the assertion by Anthony Blair at the start of his Iraq War in 2003 that our Islamic enemies ‘hate our way of life’. Because, as he said it, I thought: ‘Yes, and I too hate our way of life.’ I loathe the outcome of the sexual revolution, the Great Innocence Robbery that has replaced the pursuit of happiness with the pursuit of pleasure.
What an opportunity it has given to the evil and the selfish. You don’t have to be Muslim to take advantage of the rape of innocence, believe me.
The thing that haunts me most about the Oxford case is that one of the six victims was not ‘in care’, at least to begin with. I have come to expect that children ‘in care’ are left almost completely unprotected from our modern hell of loveless sex, binge-drinking and casual drug-taking. The very word ‘care’ sounds to me like a yellow, sarcastic sneer.
But one of these girls had a home and parents who thought they were in charge. Those parents begged the police to act. They took her befouled clothes to them and were turned away. Can you imagine their despair? The authorities, whom they had relied on, and who are supposed to stand between us and evil, were not interested.
In one form or another, this despair comes to thousands of parents in this country every year. They find out that a ‘permissive society’ means just that. Their authority over their own children was long ago abolished, and they can get into severe trouble for trying to exercise it.
The law, the schools, the town and county halls are all in on the same arrangement. ‘The kids are all right.’ We are all free now. Restraint is ‘repression’. There is no moral centre, nor any real law, and ‘equality and diversity’ stand high above morality. Sometimes a single, diligent individual fights against it and manages to secure a prosecution. Mostly, this doesn’t happen.
And so, on a filthy bed in a squalid house somewhere near you, these crimes and others like them still go on, and in most cases nothing will ever be done about it.
Moral panic? I long ago gave that up. Nobody listened. Now I just hope that these hellish things won’t come too near me, though they are already nearer than I thought they were.