I’m beginning to think there’s a unicorn hiding at the heart of Whitehall.
Call it a conspiracy theory, but there’s something deeply troubling about the Home Office’s response to the petition to release the grooming gang report. Actually there are many troubling things, but there’s something about the whole affair that’s starting to make me very uneasy. In fact, this parade of shadows and ghosts has forced me to ask a fundamental question.
Does this fabled grooming gang report actually exist?
Has anyone at the Home Office actually carried out the research and compiled this mythical report that nobody outside the Home Office has ever seen? What reliable evidence do we have to prove the existence of this legendary tome?
Except for the word of some senior civil servants there is none. Plus the non-existence of this report would explain why, having never created it, the Home Office can’t ever allow anyone to see it. It would also explain why a single word of it has never leaked, despite the intense media and public interest. The Sunday broadsheets and the tabloids have a long reach and deep pockets, yet none of them have produced a shred of evidence to confirm that the grooming gang report was ever written in the first place. Forget about the report itself; there are no emails quoting from it, no minutes of meetings and not even a credible source confirming they’ve read it.
I know it sounds preposterous, but no doubt Sir Humphrey Appleby would counsel that the best way to avoid an embarrassing report from ever coming to light is not to create it in the first place. It would certainly account for why Sajid Javid (then Home Secretary) never got to see it, despite his ordering its creation. It would also explain why the current Home Secretary has not seen the work created by her own department.
Now, at last, we have the Home Office’s written response to the petition for release, which has done nothing but exacerbate my growing sense of unease. As you might expect, the official response is a seven hundred word masterclass in mollifying, meaningless corporate doublespeak. Reading like a failed application to appear on The Apprentice, this turgid missive drones on about missions and working tirelessly…blah blah, yadda yadda. It’s inadequate and disturbing in equal measure, but that’s not the worst part.
The worst part is how the Home Office response fails to directly reference the grooming gang report ordered by Sajid Javid, not even once. Oh sure, there are vague comments about “internal work” and “future action”, but never does it explicitly mention the one report at the very core of the petition. Why would the Home Office do that? Perhaps to avoid specifically mentioning something it knows never existed in the first place.
This is a very strange state of affairs, but it all becomes clear when you ask yourself that one simple question.