We in Britain are constantly being reminded about our wonderful freedoms, especially freedom of speech, and by the same token how repressive are Iran, China, and many other countries by comparison. People who make these claims are stupid, ill-informed, or simply lying. Free speech has been under constant attack in Britain since at least the early 1920s, certainly as far as “nationalism” is concerned, and in recent years, attacks on free speech in other areas have increased dramatically as well.
Instrumental in these attacks are Britain’s increasingly politicised and politically correct police. People on the left never tire of branding the police racist, as though that word actually means something; at the same time people on the “far right” are hounded with impunity.
The reason for this apparent contradiction is not far to seek, and their complicity in the persecution of all manner of minorities is nothing new. The bottom line is that the police like easy targets. The macho culture of the British police is largely a myth, certainly with rare exceptions they are only ever brave when pushing around the little people or heavily outnumbering them. Rather than chase real criminals who might be armed and shoot back, the police in this country prefer to go after unpopular minorities or those living on the fringes of society.
Twentieth Century Britain saw police harassment of atheists, prostitutes, “dirty book” sellers, homosexuals, and certain types of blacks, usually young men who hung around on street corners because they had nothing better to do.
Atheist John William Gott died in 1922 shortly after serving a sentence at hard labour. The persecution of porn peddlers was not limited to those who imported or produced what even today would be regarded as extreme pornography, but quite mild stuff, including the “saucy seaside postcards” of Donald McGill. Although homosexuality between consenting adults was legalised with the Wolfenden reforms of the 1960s, as late as 1975 it was reported that undercover police officers were hanging around in public toilets to entrap those who persisted in “cottaging”.
After the hysteria generated by the April 1993 murder of the teenager Stephen Lawrence, blacks have been less easily targeted, but “racists”, and Islamists like the provocateur Anjem Choudary, remain fair game. Now though, in the Twenty-First Century, many police officers appear to spend their time scanning social media for offensive content, the word offensive being purely subjective.
When people are arrested for “offences” which would be perfectly legal in the United States with its First Amendment, the police routinely seize computers and mobile phones gratuitously as evidence, holding them for extended periods, lying about the retention of data, and at times destroying them arbitrarily while laughing at their victims. The latest social media blitz is on Twitter trolls, and the latest “fad” for persecution is “transphobia”.
Transsexualism is a real issue, a serious issue, but one that affects only the tiniest number of people, or did until it became fashionable. Harry Miller, who is a former police officer, decided to comment on transsexualism on Twitter. One imbecile complained to the police, and this resulted in Humberside Police contacting Mr Miller, not because any crime had been committed but to advise him to check his “thinking”. This was in January last year. Not being the type of man to be messed with, Mr Miller challenged both Humberside Police and the College Of Policing, asking the specific question – who the Hell do you people think you are to tell me how to think or how not to think? Or words to that effect.
His judicial review was heard by the High Court on November 20 and November 21 last year. On February 14, Mr Justice Julian Knowles handed down his judgment, which said in effect that Britain is not yet a total police state, and that the police had gone way over the top. This 65 page judgment can be found on the Judiciary website.
While this is one small victory for both free speech and common sense, the reader should be left in no doubt that this sort of persecution will continue, and that the police will be willing accomplices, whoever complains. In fact it continues, because at the time of writing, Mr Miller’s Twitter account is suspended.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The Duran.