But I’d go further. In a subtle way, such a claim – and indeed similar invocations of political correctness – represent a kind of racism. For what is being implied when a council or police force say they cannot stop a ring of men raping children? It is that there is a class of people who are different from the rest, a category that sits somehow outside, if not above, the law because of their race. That was the message of the policeman who told that frightened group in east London that his hands were tied: the usual laws don’t apply to that lot.
At the very least, the effect of such talk is racially divisive. It pits one group against another. It says to white people in Rotherham: “We’ll come after you, but we can’t go after them. Thanks to the PC brigade, that lot are untouchable. They are different.” So in reaching for a handy excuse for their own incompetence, the authorities of Rotherham have sprinkled petrol onto an already incendiary situation.
Lucky we have such casuists to explain things to us properly, eh?