Reflections on recent events, plus the occasional fact
free rant unfiltered by rational argument.
Here’s the latest instalment in my series on Britain’s steady journey down the rabbit hole. Forget the Brexit nonsense, the real erosion of Britain’s freedoms is from within as an insidious minority propagates its agenda, seizing control of the debate space.
In 2019 we can expect reforms to the Gender Recognition Act. This move will allow folks to self-identify as a man or woman. Transgender people have a rough time; thus any measures that ease their troubles are welcome. Except for the elephant in the room. That elephant is a predatory bloke called "Brenda" who identifies as a woman to gain access to female changing rooms, etc.
These are not made-up concerns or some transphobic fantasy. It has happened already. Feminists and others who raise concerns about biological males in all-female facilities face an onslaught from the radical trans-rights activists. In some ways, the feminists are getting a bit of their own medicine. They promoted their cause by direct-action. The trans-right activists adopted the feminist playbook, polished the tactics and took it to a new level. Hoisted by your own petard.
Nonetheless, it's a genuine concern. Many brave ladies have come forward to voice their worries of a threat to their safety. In turn, each gets assailed as transphobic when they're only seeking to protect women and girls. Others are then afraid to speak out. A militant minority dominate the conversation, giving a false impression they enjoy broad support. The silent majority sit sullenly.
The relentless attack on freedom of speech compounds this unfolding mess. Meanwhile, the Police enforce ‘thought control’ rather than dealing with real crime. It's all very 1984. If you are a victim of an assault you think has been directed at you because you are a member of a legally privileged group, your testimony is enough to classify the attack as a hate crime.
The operational guidance for police forces spells it out: “For recording purposes, the perception of the victim, or any other person, is the defining factor in determining whether an incident is a hate incident… The victim does not have to justify or provide evidence of their belief, and police officers or staff should not directly challenge this perception. Evidence of hostility is not required for an incident or crime to be recorded as a hate crime.”
Thus no tangible evidence is needed. Feelings are the only factor. We seem to be moving towards the situation in which we can turn every wrong we suffer into an expression of hatred. If you report a burglary, the cops come looking for signs of a break-in and that something was stolen. For hate crime, it’s all about feelings. No wonder the police can assert reported hate crimes have surged. Bonkers!
In one incident an upset father called police after his daughter lost a tennis match to complain the defeat was due to a racist umpire. The police log stated “Informant feels his daughter was subjected to racial discrimination at a tennis match where line calls went against her."
Elsewhere, Lady Warsi, a Conservative peer, is keen to get as much top cover for her constituency as possible. She recently pushed for an all-embracing definition of Islamophobia under the law. Her proposal would criminalise any criticism of Islam. After the mass rape of white girls by Muslim gangs, it seems Lady Warsi is keen to shut down any further adverse comment.
This lady has a track record of craziness. In 2005, her homophobic attitudes leaked out. She then resigned from David Cameron's government over its approach to Israel. Her antisemitic opinions came to the fore, although she'd deny it. Fortunate that she’s failed, as her definition faced robust opposition from more sensible folks. There is hope.
Meanwhile, on the campuses, things are going from bad to worst. The University of London is doing its bit to ensure students are not offended or exposed to anything upsetting. Comedians booked to perform need to sign a 'behavioural' agreement. Performers must agree to a no-tolerance policy; no racism, sexism, classism, ageism, ableism, homophobia, biphobia, transphobia, xenophobia, Islamophobia or anti-religion or anti-atheism. That’s quite a list.
Can they discuss the weather? Possibility not because if its cold and that affects the old, then ageism comes in to play. Must be fun at their comedy nights.
Let's remember what comedians do. They play with ideas; they challenge norms by showing the absurdity of situations. That sometimes leads to a higher truth and other times it’s funny. Is that too much for the students? Probably not, as worst gets said behind closed doors. The reality here is all about a minority signalling their wokeness. Most students are mature enough to make their own decisions.
The determination to shut down free speech is all pervasive. The middle-class Marxists from the social sciences only allow a single narrative. Students taking proper degrees in physics, maths and the likes of chemistry are too busy with actual study for this nonsense. The kids in the soft degrees, where empirical evidence is not a prerequisite, don’t need to study. Thus, they can have fun.
In 2017, the Joseph Rowntree Reform Trust conducted a free speech ranking of UK universities. Of 115 colleges, 62 were hostile to free speech or had policies to shut it down. While 46 colleges adopted a regime that 'chilled' freedom of speech: only seven had hands-off policies.
The Education (No. 2) Act 1986 requires that universities take reasonable steps to secure freedom of speech within the law for staff, students and visiting speakers. That’s not happening. It only remains for academic leaders to cower in surrender for the radicals to dictate what's heard on campus.
It's laughable that the UK points its finger at China asserting that free speech is under threat. The real challenge is on your ground.
Walter De Havilland is one of the last of the colonial coppers. He served 35 years in the Hong Kong Police.