The recent arrest of the anti-Islam mouthpiece known as “Tommy Robinson” in Leeds has brought to my attention a troubling issue that has plagued the UK for over a decade: Moral and racial hysteria surrounding so-called “grooming gangs.” I have to admit that I had been only vaguely aware of this phenomenon up until now. Upon examination, the grooming hysteria revealed eerie parallels with earlier moral panics that have erupted in the UK in decades past, notably the Satanic ritual abuse paranoia that migrated from the U.S. and rapidly took hold throughout the UK in the late ’80s. In particular, the key roles played by social workers, “concerned citizens” and the media stand out.
From roughly 2011 to the present day, large swathes of England (primarily Northern cities) have been beset with concerns that “Asian” men (men of Middle Eastern/Muslim heritage) are systematically targeting young white girls for sexual exploitation, “grooming” them for prostitution and abuse by wooing and controlling them with drugs and alcohol. There are even allegations that girls are lured with sweets, crisps and free cab rides (I’m not making this up; this is the shit some people actually say). Anti-immigration groups have fueled the hysteria by attempting to prove that Islam is an inherently violent, racist and misogynistic religion and that “Asian” men are simply incapable of being civilized human beings. There is emphasis on the notion that this is highly organized activity. There have been allegations of cover-up, political correctness gone awry, and even government collusion with the “grooming gangs.”
In short, we’re seeing a slow-motion replay of the Satanic scare of the ’80s and ’90s. Only this time, the supposed villains are actual religious and ethnic minorities, rather than fictional devil worshipers. I’ve compiled a timeline of the major cases and incidents to give you an idea of the scale of the “grooming scandals.”
In this series, we’ll be looking not only at the current grooming hysteria, but at two other moral panics related to child sex abuse that have gripped the UK in recent decades:
- Historical abuse inquiries. This costly retroactive witch hunt is costing English taxpayers millions of pounds every year, and has produced almost no tangible results. The search for abusers who are mostly ancient or dead has been rife with hoaxes, political ax-grinding, and false allegations.
- The Satanic panic cases of the ‘80s and ‘90s (Rochdale is highlighted, because it was also the scene of the first high-profile child grooming case).
We’ll look at the role the media (especially the tabloid press) has played in these panics. We’ll examine the council estate system and how it has created a permanent underclass of people who are vulnerable to both exploitation and moral hysteria. Most importantly, we’ll look at real abuse/exploitation statistics and try to determine if Asian grooming gangs, Satanic cults and deceased politicians are really the most dangerous entities faced by England’s young people.
What You Need to Know About the Arrest and Conviction of “Tommy Robinson”
A Timeline of Major Events in the “Grooming Gangs” Panic
Blackpool: The “Kebab Murder” and the Grooming Gang That Never Was
Rochdale, Rotherham and Oxford
Historical Abuse Inquiries
Satanic Hysteria in the UK
The Other Rochdale Sex Abuse Case