(Apologies - with the exception of the first part, this is going to be a salad of hyperlinks. You don't have to read 'em all, but they're there if you want to know what evidence I'm using).
The Times have been running long reports and opinion pieces on exploitation of teenage girls by gangs of Asian men for the last couple of weeks. The bare facts are horrifying - men of all ages scheming and plotting together to entice and abuse wee girls with the most cynical and nasty of manipulations and inducements. To prison with the lot of them, say I, and don't spare the public disgrace or the Draconian sentences.
Another aspect of their coverage struck me as altogether weirder, though - an insistence on addressing the issue as specifically Asian/Muslim criminal behaviour. Well, it struck me as a bit odd. After all, sexual abuse and organised sexual abuse between co-conspirators is hardly restricted to Asian or Muslim men... But the figures do appear to back up the contention that this type of crime is committed by those overlapping ethnic/religious groups, disproportionately to their percentage of the populace.
Well, okay I figure. The same goes for forced marriages, and we're fine with discussing that in ethnoreligious terms, so let's give it a go.
And then I notice the single common factor to each piece (I'll paraphrase, since the Times is paywalled) in that almost every one - report, leader, opinion piece - starts with the premise that the topic is taboo; that discussing it in racial/religious terms opens the speaker up to malicious attacks from the Politically Correct mob; that, in short, the Times isn't allowed to discuss this stuff in these terms.
Wait a minute, I think. You're the nation's paper of record, and you're telling your readership that you're not allowed to report on the things which you are in fact reporting on, in the specific terms in which you're reporting upon them?
That doesn't make a whole lot of sense.
I think to myself, they must be worried about a terrible overreaction from the PC Brigade, however they're defining that much-maligned group. So I go looking for these awful liberals who are out to destroy the country's most well-known broadsheet for its brave truth-telling, and...
Well, no doubt there are plenty out there. I imagine that a Bob Lambert or a Mehdi Hassan would take issue, but I'm not finding lots of evidence.
What I am finding is lots of articles along these lines, in which the Minister for Children Tim Loughton places grooming of teenagers and kids in an explicitly ethnoreligious context. I find that back in July, the same minister has previously assailed Asian communities for ignoring such crimes or actively hampering inquiries. I find that the previous Home Secretary was criticised for generalising on the subject in the same terms, and extensive coverage of the police child protection agency laying that shit out in the starkest possible terms.
This isn't only being reported in the Mail, either. It's all the major UK news agencies, including the Guardian and the BBC, reporting this issue in exactly the frame the Times are demanding. It's not taboo at all - it's everywhere.
I also find many, many more articles like this than I care to link to, making the exact same argument - that the authors aren't allowed to say what they are in fact saying, in the terms in which they are explicitly saying them, from the pages of the nation's bestselling news publications.
Naturally, I also find a bajillion race-war loonies promiscuously linking and commenting between them, each stridently convinced that they are not allowed to discuss it because of the tyrannical PC multicultural liberals, or whatever demons haunt their dreams.
Then I think back to the original Times articles, which carried lengthy comments from government ministers, police, child protection agencies and so on. Despite enthusiastic endorsement by some of the most powerful political, civil and media figures in the country, most of the pieces loudly trumpeted their scarily taboo and unmentionable content. Almost all bewail the tyranny of Political Correctness Gone Mad.
I broaden the parameters to similarly combustible topics - genital mutilation is treated identically, with howls of persecution and vicious assaults on western libruls and feminists for God knows what. Forced marriage is such an unmentionable issue that the Scottish Government have just handed the courts sweeping powers to tackle it, with a guns-blazing ministerial fanfare. Similar powers were put in place in England and Wales years ago. Honour killings are all over the papers, from the multicultural evangelists of the Guardian to the diddiest local paper.
Hell, think of the coverage of the recent riots, in which a good number of fannies pinned the blame for white kids' violence on black people, with the same wailing terror of retribution. Did David Starkey or Toby Young miss a paycheque because of their dumbass comments? Did they Falkirk, my friend.
In each case, you don't struggle to find great legions of table-thumping hacks loudly demanding to be allowed to speak about these issues without being crushed by the mighty machine of modern liberalism. They're all over the broadcast and print media, bleating about their fictional victimisation.
Let's be blunt here. If the PC Brigade are strangling discussion of these controversial issues, they're not very good at it, are they? I mean, at present, they can't even get a light entertainer sacked for saying he wants to see innocent citizens shot dead in front of their families. A terrifying New-Age Gestapo, this is not.
All of this prompts the question - if these issues are being publicly attacked by the British Government and are heavily covered in the press, why do so many hacks feel the need to invent these great phantom PC monsters, determined to destroy Our Precious Free Speech?
A couple of thoughts spring to mind. Firstly, maybe British journalists are almost all utter cretins. It's a tempting possibility, but not a realistic one.
Second, these hundreds of politicians, hacks and coppers actually do fear harmful attacks by the PC Brigade for truth-telling. I have no problem dismissing this out of hand. If I can find a bajillion articles disproving the supposed might of some speech-eating Liberal chimera, you'd better believe journalists will stumble across them in the course of their research.
To my mind, this leaves option three - the whole thing, the entire "PC Leftisses will destroy us if we dare open our mouths" act, is a ludicrous pantomime. It's all a charade aimed at inculcating a sense of offended victimhood in the minds of everybody who objects to sexual abuse and domestic tyranny... Which just happens to be more or less the entire population of the United Kingdom.
Surely it's obvious that anyone who tells you he or she isn't allowed to say the things they are saying, when they're saying them with total impunity and the full backing of the nation's political and media empires, is talking the worst, most offensive kind of bullshit? Is this in doubt?
Performances this hysterical and overblown must be aimed at some logical goal. So, I ask myself, why bother with these great, idiotic displays of pre-emptive outrage? The answer to that, I think, lies in the recent government assault on disability benefit, amongst a raft of other regressive policies.
Recall the great avalanche of ginned-up stories about moochers living large off the state that accompanied the government's vicious crackdown on disability benefit. A few papers did manage to squeeze in a few stories about people with horrific diseases being forced back into the workplace, but by and large it was open season on a class of people we were told it was okay to hate.
And that's what this is - open season, not just on Asian sex offenders or genital mutilating men who murder their daughters over forced marriage, but merely one front in a general crackdown on everyone and everything despised by the political right. Rioters, feral youth, benefit fraudsters - everyone is getting it in the neck and if there are a few innocent casualties along the way, well, you can't make an omelette without openly lying to the populace, or something.
If you object to that well, fuck you, Mr. Do-Gooder! They're as mad as Hell and they're not going to take it any more, even if they haven't been taking anything and there's nobody to give it to them!
I can't be the only one who's found the tone of what I'll laughingly call our National Discourse increasingly nasty since the economic crisis and the Coalition Government's ascension. It's like all of the dark undercurrents of the last thirty years - the pandering to the electorate's most base prejudices, the scapegoating of the poorest and the rampant fearmongering on crime - have been thrust into the foreground.
As a nation, we're going through one of the worst depressions of the modern era and our entertainments and news outlets are full of angry gypsies, predatory ethnics, violent urban vermin and grasping cripples.
Well, fuck it. If this represents some kind of fight back against an all-conquering, tyrannical PC behemoth, as my wingnut readers will claim, you do have to ask how come it's proceeding virtually unopposed. You'd think that an unstoppable empire of wheelchair-bound Somalian lesbionics students would be able to muster at least a perfunctory pushback.
Where is it?
The logical answer, of course, is that the PC Brigade is a behemoth of bullshit, intended to smuggle all kinds of viciousness past the public undetected. The answer is that we're ruled and catered to by some very unpleasant people indeed, people who are just mad keen to keep us terrified of each other, for their own foul reasons.
Hey, I can see why a lot of folk would prefer the former explanation. After all, it said so in the paper.