Brexit: the lessons of Rotherham
by Richard North
Note: Great minds think alike! SIG
The outrage of the media over the events of Rotherham needs to be taken as much with a pinch of salt as the expressions of regret by representatives of the public services who so egregiously failed in their collective duties.
As much as anything, the media kept the lid on events, only reacting after it was safe to do so, following events tardily and reluctantly, rather than leading the way.
But, as the detail emerges of the 1,400 or so white girls who were “groomed” and sexually assaulted by gangs of Asian (mainly Pakistani) men, the one institution which does not come away with any blame or shame is the European Union.
That is not to say that the role of the EU was impeccable – simply that it was irrelevant. The Pakistani men, some of them second or third-generation immigrants, did not come here under EU freedom of movement provisions. They came here under UK law, in accordance with policies decided by UK politicians.
There was no EU directive that stated that Asian men had a license to rape, or that they should be treated preferentially by public officials, who chose to do nothing for fear of being branded “racist”.
There is nothing in any EU regulation that I know of that demands that South Yorkshire police should display its usual level of malevolent incompetence, and there is certainly nothing that insists the police complaints system is not fit for purpose – a closed, self-referential loop that prevents any complaint being pursued to its logical and necessary conclusion.
Nor can I find any directive that tells us that, of all the many hundreds of officials who were involved in this affair – who took their salaries and will take their pensions for duties they failed to discharge – should escape Scot free, with not a single one disciplined, much less fired.
In other words, in terms of failures, this is a very British affair. This is something we did to ourselves, without the least outside intervention. The EU can rightly hold up its hands and say “not guilty”.
And that is the lesson for “Brexit”. Despite the tendency in some quarters to blame the EU for all our woes, much of the evils of our modern society result in the failings of our own system.
The corollary of this, of course, is that leaving the EU will not sort out these problems. An independent sovereign UK would be just as capable of spawning such evils as is the UK as a member of the European Union.
Hence, of course, my assertion, that we cannot be content simply to prepare an exit plan which takes us out of the EU and hands back powers to the very people who have proved themselves criminally incompetent on so many others matters.
As far as local authorities go, I have lost count of the times I have written that the system is fundamentally rotten to the core, and needs root and branch reform. From that premise we built The Harrogate Agenda, the essence of which we have incorporated in Chapter 17 of the Flexcit plan.
In the meantime, the “system” will look after itself. No one will be fired – no pensions will be docked, and apart from the ritual hand-wringing and the token resignation of the Council leader, nothing much will change.
Should we ever get to leave the EU, without us recognising that our own system of government is also irredeemably flawed, we may not end up much better off, despite our best endeavours.