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Iain Dale is Presenter of LBC Drive, Managing Director of Biteback Publishing, a columnist and broadcaster and a former Conservative Parliamentary candidate.

Sarah Champion is one of the more impressive Labour MPs. She represents Rotherham, having taken over when Denis MacShane resigned his seat back in 2012, and is that rarest of people – a front bencher of that party who can actually string a sentence together, and conduct an interview without experiencing a car crash.

On Wednesday evening, she resigned from the front bench (for the third time, I think), over an article she wrote last Friday in The Sun.  Her offence? Well, apart from having the temerity to write for The Sun at all, she dared to confront the fact that most of the men who make up these gangs who target vulnerable white teenagers for sex are from the British Pakistani community.  Ninety-seven per cent of the girls who are groomed and raped are white.

Champion dared to confront an inconvenient truth. She emphatically was not saying that all child abusers have a Pakistani background, but that those who form these gangs do. Trying to deal with why this is so does not mean we should ignore the fact that it is.

She opened her article as follows: “Britain has a problem with British Pakistani men raping and exploiting white girls. There. I said it. Does that make me a racist? Or am I just prepared to call out this horrifying problem for what it is?” And for that, she’s been drummed out of the Brownies and forced to resign.

Yet Amina Lone, a Labour councillor who is a Muslim, told Newsnight: “I grew up in a Muslim community where these attitudes were common. “White girls are easy” “Nobody cares about them” “They are just slags” “They parents don’t look after them properly” etc were/are still said today. I hear it regularly. Sarah Champion was talking about a particular type of grooming which is carried by men because of their cultural/religious practices. Obviously not all men. She is not a racist, but a brave woman speaking out about a politically awkward issue. Labour, bury your heads as much as you like in the black and white purist world you push. The chickens will come home to roost.”

Quite.

However, not everyone goes along with that. Owen Jones told me on LBC he considers that paragraph to be racist. And there, ladies and gentlemen, you have a prime example of what is wrong with our politics today.

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This week, we marked the 70th anniversary of the partition of India. I don’t know about you, but it made me realise how little I know about the event and how it came about.

India, Pakistan and Bangladesh live with the consequences of partition today, so why don’t we know more about it? India is going to play a massive role in the world in the next 20 years. Perhaps our media might like to give it the same level of coverage it gives to China.

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Why is that on A Level results day, TV news reporters only ever seem to interview very good-looking girls or show pictures of them jumping up in the air when they open their envelopes? Do boys not count any longer in this weird old world we live in nowadays?

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Last week, I wrote the majority of this column about Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un. Since the latter has blinked, let’s concentrate on the former this week.

Trump’s reaction to the events in Charlottesville demonstrate why it’s impossible for him ever to unite his country.  In an angry press conference he undid all the fine words he had uttered from an autocue the previous day. He called some neo-nazis, white supremacists and the Ku Klux Klan “very fine people”. He seemed unable to differentiate between fascists and anti-fascists.

On the first day back from her holidays, Theresa May rightly condemned this attitude, although she was careful to play the ball, not the man. It is right she should speak out, but people have to understand the realpolitik of the situation.

America remains our closest ally and a country with which we need a free trade agreement. It’s right for the Prime Minister to make clear her position, as she’s done, but gratuitous personal insults will help no-one.

There are, of course, further calls for his state visit to be cancelled. Wouldn’t it be better for it to go ahead, and for people to make their views clear while he is here? The way things are going, I’d be tempted to man the barricades myself – and I count myself as a down the line Americaphile.

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Those who follow political debates on Twitter will have no doubt noticed that James Chapman’s Twitter account was deleted early yesterday morning and then again later in the day. When the truth comes out about what has happened, there ought to be a day of reckoning for some very irresponsible journalists (and others). And that’s all I’m saying on the subject.

234 comments for: Iain Dale: May shouldn’t simply slag off Trump over Charlottesville – or anything else

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