Poppy Coburn: It’s not a failure to act on the migrant hotel crisis

Poppy Coburn is a journalist.

What do you say to a Scouser in protest? A far-right Tory fanatic. Almost everyone from mainstream journalists to Westminster hangers-on have tried to explain after last Saturday’s riots in Knowsley, where a group of protesters gathered outside a hotel after a 15-year-old schoolgirl video of asylum seekers. An allegation of sexual harassment by a grown man has gone viral. Protesters believed he was a resident of the hotel.

Hundreds of protesters, and a small group of counter-protesters were involved. The night descended into violence: 15 people were arrested, and a 19-year-old was charged with assaulting an emergency services member. The 15 arrested are said to be mainly residents of Nozle area. If these protesters are far right, they belong to Liverpool.

Merseyside Police’s explanation of the night’s events is straightforward: the 15 people arrested were identified as “not part of the main protest group”, described as peaceful demonstrators. Its chief constable, Serena Kennedy, identified “rumours circulating on social media following an incident last week…” as the impetus for the protest. This was a reference to the aforementioned video. Merseyside Police arrested a man in connection with the case who was later released on Thursday and assured the public that “investigations are ongoing”.

The immediate reaction from some sectors of the media world was to relate the night’s events to a larger political context. For example, Nazir Afzal, former Chief Crown Prosecutor for North West England, Strangely tried To shame the government for publishing the Shawcross review into Prevent earlier in the week, arguing that the state “underestimates the threat from the far-right”.

Lisa Nandy offered similar commentary, claiming that the Home Secretary’s language (particularly her use of the word “attack”) created a “toxic storm” from which violence sprang. Ironically, he neglected to mention that he himself said in 2021 that he was “horrified” that a hotel in his constituency was being used to house asylum-seekers, following a separate incident in which an immigrant male sexually assaulted a 12-year-old boy. involved old school girl If Knowsley has experienced sexual assault linked to the housing of asylum-seeking men in local hotels, she is not alone.

The idea that red-red seats, at a time when the Conservative government is facing record unpopularity, is being dominated by Suella Braverman’s ‘decoration’ is completely farcical. Knowsley is one of the safest Labor seats in the country. Most Liverpool correspondents refuse to stock up the sun Newspapers, loathed by many as the embodiment of the immigrant-era Murdoch press. The area is overwhelmingly white British – and overwhelmingly deprived. If you want an example of a stereotypical left-back community, you wouldn’t go far wrong citing Knowsley. These facts do not justify law-breaking activity, but they can help us identify the circumstances from which rioters arose.

It only takes a glance at the local newspaper to see that Liverpool has experienced violent attacks directed by asylum seekers living in the area. Take Hamid Naderi, an asylum seeker who kidnapped and raped a teenage girl posing as a taxi driver. Or the sexually-offensive Afghan refugee who slashed a 17-year-old’s throat with a knife. It’s easy to draw a connection between the Knowsley riots and the ongoing unrest in Dublin, also the generally left-leaning working-class people reacting to crime committed by asylum seekers in their area, as examined by Peter Ryan in Unhard.

Refusing to hold the agency accountable is a dangerous game for those who are increasingly resentful of expecting to welcome unexpected asylum seekers into their communities. Asserting that protesters are being manipulated by either corrupt politicians or sinister fascist groups plays into a larger trend to sidestep public recognition of the harms that free immigration can bring. Victimhood is not just for those who migrate to our country in search of a better life, as the gut-wrenching case of a 15-year-old girl gang-raped by Afghan asylum seekers at a Kent school shows.

The failure to act on the migrant hotel crisis is not compassionate. This is pathological altruism. Andrew Mitchell’s admonition that the British people “have a responsibility to welcome these people” must ring very hollow to the people of Knowsley. It is difficult to get the impression that some commentators are more concerned that sex crimes against teenage girls may reflect badly on the perpetrators than on the victims. This is the same mentality that has enabled the institutionalized coverup of Rotherham grooming gangs for decades and it must be called out. Condemning public disorder without helping to defuse tensions will only lead to more violence.

The reality is that there is no mainstream anti-immigration party in Britain today. If the Conservative Party is happy to accept half a million net immigrants a year, Braverman’s statement makes no sense. The common man has suffered the worst consequences of lawless behavior by a police force that can barely control its own officers. The onus is ultimately on the states to deal with the crisis they have allowed to spiral out of control. Slamming all participants of the Knowsley protest as far-right agitators will not work. If it can happen on Merseyside, it can happen anywhere.