Twinned with Rotherham Does France’s Saint-Quentin Face an Image Issue?
For the past three weeks the name of Saint-Quentin, a small French town in the Somme, has been unwittingly splashed across British and world media and indirectly associated — through no fault of its own — with a rampant child abuse scandal now rocking the United Kingdom.
(Scroll to end for UPDATES). For Saint-Quentin (pop 56,278) is twinned with Rotherham, the northern English town that is the centre of one of the worst child sex abuse outrages in that country in decades.
As the pictures below show an image of the disgraced town’s welcome sign — “Welcome to Rotherham twinned with St Quentin France” — has been repeatedly published to illustrate stories that unveil in horrifying detail, a sordid cover-up of child abuse by Pakistani-descended Muslims over a period of 16 years, a cover-up connived at by elected Labour Party local officials, MPs and supporters.
A Reuters report on the shocking and shameful scandal makes clear that the abuse —“ignored and abetted by the local police” – was allowed to fester because politically-correct, multi-cultural concerns overruled a duty of care to 1,400 mostly white and working class youngsters — mainly girls — who were intimidated, abused and/or raped in the town largely by a clearly-identified group of religiously-inspired criminals.
It should here be clearly and unambiguously stated that Saint-Quentin has absolutely nothing to do with the sex scandal and is in no way implicated in any official or unofficial aspects of the affair. The town’s name is however being dragged into news reports only because Rotherham proudly displays its twinning arrangement with Saint-Quentin on welcome signs — photos of which now illustrate so much of the current media reporting. Saint-Quentin has been twinned with Rotherham since March 1990.
Detailing the ongoing scandal Reuters news agency said: “Allen Cowles, a Rotherham councillor for Britain’s United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP), which campaigns against what it calls ‘open door’ immigration, said local politicians were too scared of losing votes from Rotherham’s large Muslim population to speak up about the allegations, a view reiterated in much of the British press (…) Quite clearly, an excessive adherence to political correctness led to a failure to do or say the right thing for fear of being called ‘racist’ (…) this hindered the investigation of these awful crimes from day one.”
However this week the Saint-Quentin Town Hall was tight-lipped when French News Online approached it about the embarrassing photographs and asked whether it might be reconsidering its twinning arrangements.
The Mayor’s office said they had seen news reports about the scandal (French News Online had earlier emailed them several links) but had no further comment to make. Pressed on whether the town might cut its links the spokeswoman would only say that “that was a decision for the Mayor”.
Saint-Quentin’s Mayor is M. Xavier Bertrand, an MP elected on the right-of-centre UMP party ticket and a former Minister of Labour, Employment and Health from 2010 to 2012 under the Sarkozy administration.
Despite three emailed requests to his office at Town Hall and his offices in the National Assembly (parliament) over a period of ten days, the Mayor had not responded to this paper’s questions on the twinning matter at the time of going to press.
Our emails asked whether in the light of the shocking abuse scandal in Rotherham and the fact that Saint-Quentin’s name featured so prominently in photos appearing in British media and on the Internet, the town might be considering revoking its twinning treaty with Rotherham. The main issue being one of possible reputational harm through association and a possibly negative impact on the town’s tourist business.
France is the world’s top tourist destination attracting more than 81 million foreign visitors a year.
Saint-Quentin is proud of its twinning with Rotherham (pop 255 000 ) as it makes clear on the municipal website:
“Rotherham est une ville du Royaume-Uni, située dans le nord-est de l’Angleterre, appartenant au comté de Yorkshire. Elle compte 255 000 habitants. Signature du Traité de Jumelage le 26 mars 1990. M. Guy RICHEUX, français originaire de Bretagne et naturalisé citoyen britannique, domicilié dans la banlieue de ROTHERHAM, a été mandaté par le Conseil Municipal de sa ville pour rechercher une ville française susceptible de répondre favorablement à une demande de jumelage. Le hasard fait qu’il s’est arrêté à Saint-Quentin lors des fêtes de la Pentecôte et fit la connaissance d’élus et de responsables administratifs auxquels il a présenté la requête du Leader du Conseil Municipal de Rotherham.
(Rotherham a town in Yorkshire in the north-east of England, has 255 000 residents.
The twinning treaty was signed on 26 March 1990. M. Guy Richeux, a Frenchman originally from Brittany and now a naturalised British citizen and resident in Rotherham, was mandated by his local council to look for a French town which would favour a twinning treaty with Rotherham. By chance one Pentecost holiday he was visiting Saint-Quentin and chose to make the request to the local authorities”).
Town twinning is fervently embraced by the European Commission which offers the following advice to municipalities on how to go about twinning in Europe: “partnership aims at encouraging cooperation between the towns and mutual understanding between their citizens. The Town twinning movement has developed after the Second World War, in parallel to the progress made by the European integration process…town twinning relies upon the voluntary commitment of citizens, in collaboration with their local authorities and local associations. It is therefore both a sign of, and an incentive to active participation. Second, it encourages exchanges of experiences on a variety of issues of common interest, thereby raising awareness on the advantages of finding concrete solutions at European level. Finally, it provides unique opportunities to learn about the daily lives of citizens in other European countries, to talk to them and very often to develop friendships with them. Thanks to the combination of those elements, town twinning has a real potential to enhance mutual understanding between citizens, fostering a sense of ownership of the European Union and finally developing a sense of European identity”.
The horrifying scale and nature of the sex abuse that has trashed Rotherham’s reputation and disgraced its city officials, police force and the UK justice system, can be seen in this Reuters despatch which followed the August 21 publication of an official report into the scandal — “Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Exploitation in Rotherham 1997 – 2013” by Professor Alexis Jay OBE, and found here.
‘The utter brutality is what shocked me most’ – Professor Alexis Jay, the author of the Rotherham sex abuse report said. She is determined that the young victims should be heard: “You must tell people exactly what has happened. It is important for the victims that their dreadful experiences should be acknowledged.”
According to Reuters: “Some of the victims, mainly white girls in social care homes, were as young as 11 and were plied with drugs and alcohol before being trafficked to cities across northern England and gang-raped by groups of men, predominately of Pakistani heritage, the (Alexis Jay) report said.
“Those who tried to speak out were threatened with guns and made to watch brutal gang rapes. Their abusers said they would be next if they told anyone. One girl was doused with petrol, her rapist threatening to set her alight.
“The report added that senior managers in social care ‘underplayed’ the problem while police regarded many victims with contempt.” The full Reuters story is here.
The fallout from the Alexis Jay report continues amid near-daily new reports of death threats to whistleblowers and opposition political figures in Rotherham who have urged police to arrest all the perpetrators. In addition there are disturbing indications that Rotherham is but the tip of an iceberg and that at least half a dozen other towns are afflicted with the same Pakistani Muslim-driven abuse.
“And in Rotherham, it meant men whose ethnic and religious background made them seem politically untouchable, and whose victims belonged to a class that both liberal and conservative elements in British society regard with condescension or contempt. Peter Franklin writing on the Conservative Home website
Senior officials identified as responsible for the cover-up and failings that allowed the abuse to continue unchecked for 16 years have mostly refused point-blank to resign. A committee of the Westminister Parliament has held hearings – “Child sexual exploitation and the response to localised grooming” — into the matter and grilled some of the leading figures identified as responsible for the failure to act. Proceedings can be watched here.
House of Commons Home Affairs Committee Tuesday 9 September 2014. Those questioned by the committee were: Chief Constable David Crompton QPM, and former Chief Constable Meredydd John Hughes CBE QPM, South Yorkshire Police; Joyce Thacker OBE, Strategic Director for Children, Young People and Families, Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council and Shaun Wright, South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner.
In an opinion piece published in the New York Times on September 6 Bill Kennedy writes:
“(…) Interpreted crudely, what happened in Rotherham looks like an ideological mirror image of Roman Catholicism’s sex abuse scandal. The Catholic crisis seemed to vindicate a progressive critique of traditionalism: Here were the wages of blind faith and sexual repression; here was a case study in how a culture of hierarchy and obedience gave criminals free rein.
“The crimes in Rotherham, by contrast, seem scripted to vindicate a reactionary critique of liberal multiculturalism: Here are immigrant gangs exploiting a foolish Western tolerance; here are authorities too committed to “diversity” to react appropriately; here is a liberal society so open-minded that both its brain and conscience have fallen out (…) what happened in Rotherham was rooted both in left-wing multiculturalism and in much more old-fashioned prejudices about race and sex and class.
”The local bureaucracy was, indeed, too fearful of being labelled ‘racist,’ too unwilling, as a former member of Parliament put it, to ‘rock the multicultural community boat.’ But the rapes also went unpunished because of racially inflected misogyny among police officers, who seemed to think that white girls exploited by immigrant men were “tarts” who deserved roughly what they got(…)”
The BBC offers a related report that signals the widespread nature of the rape and abuse closely associated with descendants of Pakistani Muslim immigrants to Britain:
British Pakistani: Abuse is ‘brushed under the carpet’
“A British Pakistani woman whose relative was convicted alongside others of sexually abusing a 14-year-old girl, says her community brushed the issue ‘under the carpet’. It comes after a report found 1,400 children in Rotherham had been sexually exploited over a 16-year period by gangs consisting mainly of men of Pakistani origin. Sarah, not her real name, said she was ‘tortured every day’ after speaking out about the issue, which took place in a different town to Rotherham. She said local authorities failed to intervene because they were ‘afraid’ of ‘offending’ people or being branded racist. This clip is originally from Richard Bacon and broadcast on Wednesday 27 August 2014″.
The sickening sound we heard from Rotherham this week was that of chickens coming home to roost. The doctrine of multiculturalism has been enforced with such zealotry in Britain, and in the northern town, over the past three decades that we must cast the net far wider than the police and social workers to find all those culpable of fomenting this mass deception – Michael Henderson in the Daily Telegraph
The Alexis Jay report has not come as a surprise to everyone, plenty of non- mainstream websites have for many years, been pointing to examples of similar appalling abuse. One such site has now published a fully documented expose covering more than just Rotherham. It can be downloaded here
Meanwhile the French broadcaster 66 minutes – M6 has this revealing video clip with input from BBC clips:
Rotherham : une ville ferme les yeux Rotherham a town that shut its eyes
According to Wikipedia Saint-Quentin in the department of Aisne lies some 85km east of Amiens and 150km north-east of Paris. It is the second most populous town in the region, is classified as a town of Art and History and was voted as France’s most sports-mad town in 2011. It is a centre of light industry — motorcycles, chemicals, food and textiles — and was founded by the Romans who named it Augusta Viromanduorum in honour of the Emperor Augustus. Saint-Quentin is the last stage on the French Gallia Belgica part of the pilgrimage route across France to the Catholic shrine at Santiago de Compostela (Saint Jacques de Compostela in French).
During the High Middle Ages, an important monastery thrived on pilgrimages to the grave of Quentin, a Christian Roman who came to evangelize the region. Building of the gothic Basilica of Saint Quentin began in the early 13th century and became the centre of Catholicism in the area and is classified as an Historic Monument.
The town also has several other significant buildings signalling a strong Catholic presence over the ages. Its other places of worship today include a Reform Temple, a Mosque, and a number of Protestant Churches.
The Assalam Mosque, the only one in the town, stands in the Vermand quarter and attracts some 600 worshippers. The Islamic Cultural Association of the Aisne (IAIS) runs the mosque which according to the Courrier Picard newspaper has successfully campaigned to add a minaret because says IAIS vice president Ahmed Askar: “We want to give it the appearance of a mosque. We want it to be identifiable. When you see the mosque, it should be as visible as a church. Islam is the second religion of France.”
Apart from Rotherham, Saint-Quentin is also twinned with: Kaiserslautern (Germany) since 1967 and San Lorenzo de El Escorial (Spain) since 1987.
Among its top annual attractions are the International Ciné-Jeune de l’Aisne Festival, a cultural and film festival for younger audiences now in its 32nd year. It also has a remarkable Town Hall built in 1509 in the Gothic style with a façade decorated by 173 sculptures and a neo-Gothic bell tower with 37 bells.
The video below sets out in more detail how UK officials ignore Muslim grooming rape gangs because they don’t want to be seen as racist:
The problems identified at Rotherham are not confined to the UK. France, the Netherlands, Sweden and Denmark have all reported similar or related abuse problems against the host countries’ citizens.
Here an American-based TV station, CBN News, features a report from its Paris correspondent on some of the issues affecting France: “Violent crime can happen anywhere and to anyone and for many reasons, but in parts of France, it has become especially dangerous to be white.”
Native French under Attack in Muslim Areas – CBN News- Published on Apr 10, 2014
With a general election in the UK only months away (7 May 2015) social media campaigning by supporters of UKIP, an insurgent anti-EU party, has stepped up … with further detrimental impact on the twinning deal with Saint-Quentin.
This November 11 tweet substitutes the catch phrase “Twinned with Saint-Quentin” for one labelling Rotherham a paedophile hotspot. Expect much more as the elections draw closer.
French News Online remains open to and welcomes any comment the Mayor of the respectable French town of Saint-Quentin might care to provide about the twinning arrangement.
— ukip, people’s army (@3572rob) November 10, 2014
On February 4 2015 the British government released a report into the Rotherham sex abuse scandal involving mainly Pakistani-descended gang rapists. The report found the Rotherham council was not fit for purpose and government is to take over direct control of the local authority until new elections are held. Meanwhile criminal investigations continue.
The report suggests Rotherham council ignored child abuse by the mainly Muslim gangs because of ‘misplaced political correctness‘. As the image below shows the scandal again drags the entirely innocent and respectable French town of Saint-Quentin into the affair because of its twinning arrangement.
Once again French News Online would welcome any comment the Mayor of Saint-Quentin might care to provide about this now increasingly embarrassing twinning arrangement.
Story: Ken Pottinger