In my last post I talked about collectivised victimhood, its negative effect on the individual and why it should not inform policy. On the flip side of this is collectivised guilt which is also problematic.
Writing in the Sun the labour MP Sarah Champion stated “Britain has a problem with British Pakistani men raping and exploiting white girls”. This was in response to 17 men being convicted of child sexual exploitation in Newcastle. As I write this I see she has resigned from her post in the shadow cabinet. Of course this is a serious issue and we should not shy away from the difficult questions which need to be asked. Indeed the backgrounds of these criminals should be thoroughly investigated, in order that we can try to understand why this has happened.
I am afraid to say however that Sarah Champions words were totally out of line. I am sorry she has lost her job (We don’t hound people we disagree with on the right). It is absolutely right that she has apologised for her choice of words. Word are tremendously powerful and blaming an entire race, community, gender, or anything else which defines identity for the actions of individuals is totally wrong.
Being British of Pakistani origin (personally I have always preferred to just be called British) I and people like me are not responsible for the crimes committed by people who share my identity. This goes to the heart of what our nation is about, we all have individual liberty and must take individual responsibility for our actions. In plain terms the only person I am ultimately responsible for is myself.
I can say categorically that I and I almost everyone from my background share the disgust of the wider public, for the crimes committed by these awful men. Being no expert on criminology, I also share the confusion of most decent people. How anyone could treat other human beings in this way is far beyond my understanding.
I have a lot of time and respect for Sarah Champion, she is a hard working MP who cares deeply about the community she serves. People in her position however must be extremely careful when it comes to choice of words. This is not out of neanderthal PC policing of language but instead about making sure we do not collectivise guilt and we certainly do not give legitimacy to racists and bigots.