Rotherham – Rubbing Salt Into The Wound

children's capital of culture

Rotherham to become the first children’s Capital Of Culture.

Rotherham in South Yorkshire used to be known mainly for its traditional industries of coal-mining, glass-blowing and steel-making. For the past 15-or-so years, Rotherham’s claim to shame was that it is the town where over 1400 young girls were groomed, raped and abused by predominantly Pakistani men.

A report by professor Alexis Jay detailed horrific examples of young white girls – many in local authority care – who were raped, trafficked and threatened with extreme violence if they objected to being pimped out to other muslim men. It also found that senior council officers, elected councillors and cowardly police officers had been aware of what was happening for years but failed to tackle it for fear of being labelled ‘racist’.

Now in a development that beggars belief, Rotherham is to become the world’s first Children’s Capital of Culture in 2025. The project means that in 2025 there will be a 365-day festival celebrating the ‘arts, creativity and community’.

When the grooming scandal broke a number of Labour bigwigs were forced to resign, including a man who had been leader of the Labour-dominated council for 10 years.

Rotherham Borough Council was under Labour control throughout the period in question, and Labour suspended the authority’s former leader Roger Stone and ex-deputy leader Jahangir Akhtar, as well as serving councillors Gwendoline Ann Russell, who chairs the town’s looked-after children scrutiny panel, and Shaukat Ali, a former mayor. Stone, who was leader of the Labour-dominated council for 10 years, resigned and apologised.

Akhtar resigned as the council’s deputy leader and vice-chair of the police and crime panel after press reports (which he denied), alleging he knew about a relationship between a relative and an under-age girl in care.

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