Reflections on the Rotherham fostering scandal

In Rotherham on Friday with UKIP candidate Jane Collins

Maybe it’s time for a look back at the Rotherham fostering scandal, now that the initial fall-out has settled — although Damian Thomson said most of what needed to be said in his wonderful headline “Rotherham’s Stasi have handed UKIP a PR victory.  A shame they had to tear apart a foster family in the process”.

Nigel Farage was quite right to express his sympathy and concern, first of all for the children involved, and then for the foster parents.  But since the scandal centres on the disqualification of the foster parents simply for being members of what is now Britain’s third (and fastest growing) political party, it is impossible not to respond politically, and to examine the political consequences.

When I first heard the news (6:00 a.m. on Saturday, BBC Radio 4, lead item), I could scarcely believe the coincidence — the very town where a by-election was taking place in less than a week.  Yet it was true.  And I suspect that those left-wing social workers are kicking themselves.  They have indeed handed UKIP a PR coup — the very last thing they’d have wanted or intended.

But the implications go much further.  First of all, it has obliged senior Conservatives, and the Labour leader, to come out and condemn the decision, and to make it clear that UKIP is a respectable mainstream party, and that attempts to discriminate against it, and to make ritual accusations of racism, are plain unacceptable.  After all, five years ago it was difficult to mention immigration without knee-jerk racism smears.  Today, all major parties are prepared to have a grown-up debate on the subject — though only UKIP is able, or prepared, to address the issue of EU immigration.  Let’s not forget that 20 million plus Romanians and Bulgarians gain free access to the UK, and our health and welfare services, in thirteen months’ time, unless some action is taken first.

Credit to Education Secretary Michael Gove, who said that Rotherham Council had made “the wrong decision, in the wrong way, for the wrong reasons”.  I heard on the radio some apologist from social services complaining that Gove made a blanket judgement without full access to the facts.  Yet it seems beyond question that the social workers took action (on their own admission) because the foster parents were members of UKIP, and they (the social workers) took that as proof positive that the parents were therefore racist and unsuitable to foster non-British children.  Gove did his duty, condemning an outrage and leaping to the defence of freedom and democracy, though it perhaps stuck in his throat to speak up for UKIP — especially as his Party Leader once (preposterously) described UKIP as “closet racists”.

Ed Miliband has similarly condemned the action by Rotherham council, though so far as I know, the Lib-Dems have been singularly reticent on the matter.  So much for liberalism.

What the Rotherham incident has also done is to highlight UKIP’s position on immigration, which resonates on the doorstep perhaps even more than our position on the EU.  Another outcome that those social workers never intended, and will deeply regret.

So.  Is UKIP against immigration (as a BBC interviewer asked Nigel yesterday)?  Of course not, and we are very conscious of the needs of British industry for imported skills.  But we’re against the current free-for-all (especially from the EU, where we can’t even begin to control immigration).  We’re against poor and unskilled economic migrants coming freely to Britain for our health and welfare services.  In short we want a sensible, orderly, managed immigration policy, with controlled numbers.  The sort of immigration policy that sensible countries like Australia and Canada operate.  If they can do it, why not Britain?

Is UKIP against multiculturalism?  Yes, when it leads to ghettoisation, to ethnic minorities living in isolated communities, frequently struggling with the English language or not motivated to learn it, and so deprived of the advantages for which they came to this country in the first place.  We want legal immigrants to this country to integrate, to join in, to live by British values, and so do the best for themselves, for their families, and for this country — while of course retaining an attachment to their cultural values.  Celebrating Adilfitri and Dewali is one thing.  Living in an ethnic ghetto in a British city, cut off from mainstream society, is quite another.

Does UKIP hate Europeans?  Absolute nonsense.  Personally I think Europe is great.  I spend a lot of time there.  I love the culture, the cooking, the countryside, and I work closely with Europeans from many countries.  As my bumper sticker succinctly puts it, “Love Europe — Hate the EU”.  We oppose the EU not through prejudice or nationalism, but because it is a disastrous and unaccountable form of governance, which is making this country poorer, and less democratic, and less free.  For the record, UKIP works closely with a number of European nationals in our group in Brussels.  I have an Italian (a highly competent lawyer, as it happens) on my staff.  Nigel Farage is married to a German.  Doesn’t sound like prejudice against foreigners to me.

So how will the Rotherham scandal affect the by-election on Thursday?  Forecasting is a mug’s game, so I won’t try it.  But I can’t wait to see the result.

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20 Responses to Reflections on the Rotherham fostering scandal

  1. Ian Hills says:

    And now it looks as though Barnardos don’t want UKIP employees.

  2. Rich Tee says:

    I hope you have noted the connection between this scandal and Common Purpose (the Head of Social Services in Rotherham is a “graduate”).

    I remember a blog post by you dismissing this organisation as being basically harmless. You can’t be blamed for taking this line at the time but I hope you will reconsider. Unfortunately, this organisation is operating at a high level in the public sector with no oversight or accountability – its meetings (“training courses”) are conducted in total secrecy despite their cost, thousands of pounds, being charged to the taxpayer.

  3. Do you know what?
    Of all the scandals and corruption and breaking the law by important people recently, this is the one that hit home.
    My wife (who loathes politics) told me how shocked she was and, at first, I could not believe it was that simple.
    Then I found out that is was.
    It reminded me of the mad 90s when I was refused a job for asking for black coffee (this is a sober truth), or of the Blair Years when this sort of stupidity was the norm.
    And it is the third scandal to hit (Socialist) Rotherham this year.

  4. Linda Hudson says:

    Best of British Jane!

  5. ancientpopeye says:

    Let’s put the blatant political issue to one side for a moment.
    Answer me this Roger, why are we fostering east European children at all?

  6. Andrew Shakespeare says:

    Cameron does it every time. Every time, without fail, it seems. Every time I start moderating my opinion of him, and imagining that perhaps — just perhaps — he wil actually turn out not to be such a spineless drip after all, he ruins it by sticking his foot in his mouth yet again.

    In this case, it goes back to his description of UKIP a few years ago as “fruitcakes and closet racists, mostly”. No sooner had he returned from genuinely causing Rumpy Pumpy and the F*ckwits Sans Frontieres some sleepless nights than Downing Street releases a statement that “not all UKIP members are racists.”

    So a good number of us still are, are we? Pratt. So now Nigel has declared war because, unlike Cameron, he’s not a total wuss, and UKIP will now field candidates even against Eurosceptic Tories. The prospect of Cameron winning the next election, already difficult, fades even further out of reach, and Cameron has no-one to blame but the stupidity and incompetence of his own PR department. He must be regretting the loss of Andy Coulson, although even Andy Coulson couldn’t stop Cameron ballsing up on a routine basis.

    I can’t help feeling that the political historians of the future, addressing the Cameron years about as frequently as they do Douglas Home’s, will conclude that Cameron’s worst enemy was himself.

  7. Mike Spilligan says:

    What I’d like to know – though that’s not permitted – is how many times this has happened before; in Rotherham and nationally; and how many times for other “political” reasons.
    Sacking is too good for Thacker; but then we know she’d be heading straight for the revolving after collecting the regular compensation.

  8. Phil J says:

    A few points to make:
    Rotherham social services stated that they were concerned about cultural issues-so why did they place eastern europeasn children with an English couple in the first place?
    In direct conflict to the above,, if multiculturalism is advocated from the highest stand, what better than for English couples to adopt eastern european children dumped on our child welfare programme? Surely such a situation guarantees integration!
    Joyce Thacker should be sacked immediately for allowing her own political views get in the way a a stable family environment enjoyed by three children.
    Can it be taken that any single person with an affiliation to any political; party be nominated as unworthy of certain adoptive rights-as many Lab/Cons/Lib voters also agree with UKIP immigration policies.
    And on a slightly different note, this giant ‘own goal’ by a Labour controlled council might be a turning point, for this situation is one that hits the heartstrings in a big way. The shamed MacShane had a very comfortable 10,462 majority at the last election with UKIP fielding only 2,220 but this outrage by a “Common Purpose” graduate within a Labour controlled council will surely show the good (and I hope sensible) people of Rotherham that Labour do not deserve to be in power in any part of the country. It is they that introduced the restrictions on freedom of ones rights and freedoms of choice in this country and the reason that this country is ‘going down the pan’

  9. neilfutureboy says:

    However the nearly 100,000 children in “care”, the lack of care provided as the Rochdale child abuuse case, along with the high rates of imprisonemnt, illiteracy and every sort of social failure among “professional carer’s” victims shows the problem is far worse.

    A mother did have her child seized simply for being a supporter of the EDL, with no news coverage. Had this council given some other reason, or indeed none, this would never have made the news. It is likely that this happens 100 times for every time it becomes public.

  10. Malcolm Edward says:

    Of course this is an outrage by the self appointed thought police of the social services, I think the employees in question should be immediately sacked for abuse of their position. Worryingly it is part of an insidious trend, whereby those who stand up for our country and traditions are so often stigmatised and punished.

    By continuing his slur against UKIP, Cameron has demonstrated that he is unfit to be leader of the conservative party and prime minister, his fire ought to be solely directed to the errant social workers. He clearly despises those of us who want our sovereignty back and wish to control our own borders. To be certain Nick Clegg and Ed Miliband are far worse still.

    We need a thorough investigation into Common Purpose, what it teaches, and who has been authorising payment for employees to attend.

  11. Scaredypants says:

    Yes I think we really need to look further into Common Purpose. There needs to be more transparency and therefore more accountability.

  12. avalon111 says:

    It’s a fantastic story.

    Removing children of parents deemed to be members of the wrong political party was a policy first enacted by General Franco’s regime after the end of the Spanish Civil War. It applied to parents who were Marxists and belonged to the Communist Party. But here Rotherham have adapted the idea and delivered it as a viable option for a future Labour administration.

    Isn’t history a wonderful thing!

  13. Pingback: UKIP East Cheshire Info | UKIP East Cheshire

  14. Anton UK says:

    Do you think it’s at all possible that the Rotherham born-to-rule-us people are so detached from real people’s lives and beliefs that they actually calculated, with an eye on the forthcoming election, that UKIP would be damaged by the disclosure?
    It’s the only theory that makes any sense to me.

    • neilfutureboy says:

      Possibly that they might scare people into keeping away from UKIP.

      That would show the political class divorced from reality but perhaps no more divorced than the government & O2 funded idiots who produced a video of murdering children who ask scepticasl questions about global warming & thought it would do them good.

      Certainly the timing would support the idea that it was deliberate.

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