Wednesday, 27 January 2010

New York City Cops...

...ain't that smart. So sang the Strokes. Don't know about that, but at least one of our Special Constables definitely ain't.

I refer of course to the contribution at PMQs today from David TC Davies MP. Aka David "political correctness gone mad" Davies, and, on Twitter, #DavidDaviesgonemad.

"Balal Khan was this week sentenced to just three years in an institution for a violent rape. Will the Minister refer that disgraceful sentence to the Solicitor General, and also investigate the parents and community, to find out how that young man could have such disregard for women's rights?"

Now.... big intake of breath. Where do I start? Well here's the Daily Mail report on the case, which was undoubtedly horrible. A 13 year old boy beat, raped and robbed a 20 year old woman. And it's because he was under 14 at the time that the sentence was so short. Whether the sentence was too short is of course an issue for debate, and a perfectly valid issue to raise in a parliamentary question. But let's put that to one side for now.

Let's also leave aside the sheer audacity of TC suddenly presenting himself as a champion of "women's rights", which was what made my jaw drop open in disbelief. (A colleague, actually squealed in horror, which I gather could be heard by the TV audience. Though she'd grasped the real import of what he'd said).

And let's also brush over the silliness of describing rape as a breach of "women's rights". Well yes, if you also regard being murdered as a breach of one's human rights, I suppose. Which it is, but kind of misses the point, doesn't it?

Let's focus on what TC was really saying in his question. Which, put crudely, was that the boy raped because he comes from a community - the Muslim community - which doesn't respect women's rights. That was what he was saying, wasn't it?

Now obviously there's an ongoing debate over Islam and the role of women, and whether the religion is more or less respectful of women than Western cultures, and of course that depends partly on the interpretation of Islam and the form in which it is practised or, even, perverted by extremist elements. And TC will no doubt try to convince his critics that he was trying to engage in this serious, complex debate. But I could point to plenty of examples of Western culture that equally "prove" a correlation between male attitudes towards women and crimes such as rape.

I was going to flag up footballers, their drunken escapades and allegations of rape against them by way of illustration, but that gets into rather tricky territory. So I'll just use a very simple example.

I've mentioned on here before an incident I witnessed when I was about 15. Trivial in a sense, but something that left a lasting impression. (Well it must have - it was thirty years ago!) I was walking the family dog late at night, when a minibus pulled up at the traffic lights near me. The occupants, who had no doubt had a few drinks, had a life-size, naked blow-up doll in the bus with them and were punching it, abusing it, beating it repeatedly around the head... I remember their faces illuminated in the streetlights, contorted in snarls of angry, aggressive pleasure. Yes, it was only a inflatable doll, but they were clearly venting their hatred on it. Their hatred of women.

They were rugby fans. They may well have been Welsh rugby fans. So perhaps TC - a Welsh MP - would like to ask some questions about what in their families, their community led them to have such a lack of respect for women? He'd probably find out they loved their mothers, were fiercely protective of their sisters, wanted to marry a 'nice' girl. Not much different to your average Muslim, in fact. But he would never have asked that question of them, would he?


Alex said...

I don't think that's fair, rugby fans will equally well beat up an inflatable sheep, in fact they're more likely to as sheep are cheaper.

And to be honest what's wrong with people looking at their society, they're upbringing, their community to see how it's influenced their worldview. We could all do with that surely?

Kerry said...

So you think their behaviour was harmless and not remotely disturbing? Let me guess, you're an an 'Alex' of the male variety? And btw, it was very clear from the abuse they were shouting that it wasn't just any old inflatable object.

JuliaM said...

There's nothing wrong at all with looking at their upbringing, culture, family life, Alex.

After all, that was used in mitigation in the case of the Edlington junior torturers.

Very odd that the same people who squarked so loudly that home life should excuse them seem not to even want to MENTION this kid's home life at all, isn't it?

scottspeig said...

Kerry, I think you are on the attack here when you shouldn't. Quite clearly, there is something amiss with this boy.

We should look at the community that he was brought up in (whether muslim or Hindi or atheist?? Why you even mentioned it was beyond me) to see if he is just a bad egg, or whether there is a serious social problem brewing.

In regards to your rugby fans - it was a blow-up doll. Treat it as it is without trying to look at the bad in everything! To suggest they'll go from that to beating a real woman is unfair and plain daft. After all, I kill lots of things on a computer...

Kerry said...

Scott, I agree that when a boy as young as this commits such a crime, of course questions should be asked about his background, but that wasn't what TC was saying, he was specifically suggesting that the fact the boy was Muslim meant that he didn't respect women's rights and therefore turned to rape. His comments on the radio make this clear, even if his question in parliament didn't. (For those of us who have observed him for the past five years, it was fairly obvious from the question too).