I have a very mixed opinion of James Kirkup. He’s a wet centrist with some very fanciful views on almost any topic you care to think of. Read any of his ramshackle think-tank’s output for confirmation that there’s very little on which he and I could agree, starting with the existence and munificence of the magic money tree.
But he’s done some stellar work in the Spectator on the matter of transgenderism and the silencing of any dissent or questioning of this bizarre new orthodoxy.
Today he brings us a tale that shouldn’t surprise us but still ought to manifest anger, depression and despair.
To cut a long story short, Harry Miller – a former copper, owner of a company that employs 70 people, and upstanding member of the community – has a traditional opinion on the matter of transgenderism. He questions assertions that a trans-woman is the same as a born woman.
In the course of expressing his lawful opinion, he ‘liked’ and retweeted a poem that someone else posted on twitter that essentially says ‘trans-women are not women, don’t treat us like we were born yesterday’.
Someone subsequently trawled his twitter, compiled a selection of 30 ‘hate tweets’ that he had made, and made a complaint to Humberside Police.
A PC from Humberside Police looked to track down Mr Miller and, presumably using kindergarten-level Google-fu, tracked him down to his company, where the PC spoke to a company director who – de facto – works for Miller.
When Miller contacted the copper who’d made the enquiry, to find out what the story was, he was subjected to a half-hour hectoring about the ‘hate incident’ (i.e. not a crime) that had been raised against him. The copper gave him a lecture on transgenderism that a right-on teacher may deliver to a schoolchild.
Miller was told that he must ‘check his thinking’, and made sinister suggestions that this could lead to him being in trouble with his employer (the copper not realising that Miller owned the company).
Now, this is at once absurd and sinister, but there are a couple of points that Mr Kirkup doesn’t explore in his otherwise good piece about this incident.
The first is that since Miller is an ex-copper, he knows how to handle other coppers, and how to conduct himself when in communication with coppers. For the rest of us, the first law is “do not talk to the police – you can never get yourself out of trouble, but you can sure get yourself into it.”
In other words, if Miller had been rash or naive enough to say anything out of line he could have ended up on a spurious catch-all charge cooked up by the copper and his sergeant (public order, communications act, obstructing a police officer, hate crime etc). He knew that and kept his counsel. Someone else might have just told the copper to untwist his knickers and piss off, then spent the next 12 hours in a cell.
The second point, which I haven’t yet alluded to here is that Mr Miller considers himself to be pretty ‘right-on’. Speaking of his exchange with the PC, he says:
‘He said he would be passing my answers on to the complainant. I told him to tell that person I would gladly talk to them, that I’d like to take them out to dinner so we could have a conversation about this. I’d explain that I am a strong supporter of the 2010 Equality Act, and explain my concerns about possible reforms of the Gender Recognition Act and how that could affect legal rights for women.’
Whic goes to show that toeing the PC line and hoping the lynch-mob will hang you last is not going to protect you.
Admirably though, Miller says that he has no intention of changing how he acts, thinks, speaks or tweets.
How will he respond to the police attention? Will he change his approach to tweeting? He says no. ‘Free speech is a hill that we have to fight on. If we can’t express ourselves freely within the law, none of the other rights we have mean anything.’
It’s easy to see, though, that someone who doesn’t have the firm footing that Miller has – as an ex-copper and well established company owner – may feel that they needed to bite their tongue in future.
All in all, this is a great distillation of everything that is wrong with ‘hate-crime’ laws, and with the so-called Conservative government, and the so-called Conservative prime minister, who have folded – with alacrity – in the face of the progressive cult of weaponised victimhood, and enabled the cult, contrary to all good sense about what it means to be a free and fair society.
In the meantime, by the way, a little consideration of the proper priorities for a police force may be given consideration. From Humberside Police’s own website:
Humberside has seen a 24% increase in the number of Violence against the Person offences, which is above the national increase of 19%.
The publication also shows an increase in the number of recorded Sexual Offences, which is up 14% nationally and 19% locally.