Monday, February 17, 2020

Reining in the Thought Police

Orwellian is the word for it. In Great Britain an errant tweet can get you investigated by the thought police. If you dare to utter the least offensive tweet about the transgendered or even about the gendered, a local constable might show up at your door to police your thought.

You think that this comes from a dystopian future. And yet, it’s happening in today’s Great Britain. Happily enough, the powers that be in the local judiciary and the  national government are trying to put an end to it, but still, it has been happening.

For instance, it has happened to one Harry Miller. As it happened, Mr. Miller is a former police officer.

The Times of London has the story:

Police have been urged to rewrite the rules on hate crime after a judge likened a force to the Gestapo over its handling of a businessman who tweeted about transgender people.

Mr Justice Julian Knowles warned yesterday that Britain was in danger of slipping into an Orwellian society after Harry Miller, 55, was visited by officers at work and told that his tweets would be recorded as a “non-crime hate incident”.

He was investigated by a community cohesion officer who claimed that he was in danger of breaking the law. Mr Miller said that the officer had told him: “I’m here to check your thinking.” The tweets included a limerick about transgender people and one saying: “I was assigned mammal at birth but my orientation is fish. Don’t mis-species me.”

Mr Miller began legal action against Humberside police and the College of Policing. The force said that its visit was based upon operational guidance from the college, which is the police’s professional body.

The judge ruled against Humberside, saying that the tweets “were lawful and there was not the slightest risk that he would commit a criminal offence by continuing to tweet”.

Mr. Justice Knowles offered this in his ruling:

In his ruling Mr Justice Knowles said: “The effect of the police turning up at [the claimant’s] place of work because of his political opinions must not be underestimated. To do so would be to undervalue a cardinal democratic freedom. In this country we have never had a Cheka, a Gestapo or a Stasi. We have never lived in an Orwellian society.”

Their actions towards Mr Miller, who is also a former Humberside police officer, “disproportionately interfered with his right of freedom of expression . . . The judgment emphasises the vital importance of free speech in a democracy and provides a reminder that free speech includes not only the inoffensive, but the irritating, the contentious, the eccentric, the heretical, the unwelcome and the provocative, and that the freedom only to speak inoffensively is not worth having.”

The prime minister’s office has also weighed in on the policies promoted by the College of Policing:

Last night Downing Street expressed concern over the operation of the college’s guidelines and indicated that it was prepared to press for a review of the situation. A No 10 source said: “The UK is an open and diverse country and freedom of speech is one of the values that defines us as a society. It is important we distinguish between strongly felt debate and unacceptable acts of abuse, hatred, intimidation and violence.”

You might say that it’s not a minute too soon. Happily, the new Great Britain, unencumbered by the European Union and led by the eminently reasonable Boris Johnson is returning to sanity.

As for other incidents, the Times of London reports some of them:

• Kellie-Jay Keen-Minshull, a blogger, was interviewed by West Yorkshire police on suspicion of transphobic offences after tweeting in 2018 about a charity director taking her 16-year-old child to Thailand for gender reassignment surgery. No charges.

• Gordon Larmour, a born-again Christian street preacher, was locked in a cell and charged with subjecting a gay teenager to threatening or abusive behaviour “aggravated by prejudice relating to sexual orientation” for quoting the Book of Genesis in Irvine, North Ayrshire, in 2017.

• A police investigation was opened in 2012 after Rio Ferdinand tweeted a reference to Ashley Cole, a fellow footballer, being a “choc ice” — alleged to mean Cole was black on the outside but white on the inside. No charges were brought.

• Suffolk police were criticised for contacting a 74-year-old woman who tweeted “gender is BS” and telling her to “tone down” her posts. They later called back to apologise.

As it happens, this is coming to us from the radical left, in particular, from transgender activist groups. Don’t assume that it can’t happen here.


whitney said...

"Don’t assume that it can’t happen here."

I assume it's going to happen here here and it's going to be worse. It's not just going to be a visit from the police, it's already bankers taking away your bank account when they don't agree with you. And they haven't even gotten started

UbuMaccabee said...

I work for a Fortune 50 company with a very visible public profile. I have dummy social media accounts that are just for show. I have multiple social media accounts linked to burner phones and burner emails to limit my exposure. I use a very good VPN, and have additional privacy protocols built into my home network. I never use Google and only surf with Brave and Duck Duck Go. I have 9 encrypted ProtonMail emails for personal email use. I have so many identities over the years that I need a program to keep track of them all. Ubu reincarnates over and over. And yet this is insufficient. The AI hounds are going to sift right through the white noise one day. Welcome to the inquisition, the digital Panopticon.

I got three passports, a couple of visas
You don't even know my real name

You know the song.

Harry “Ubu” Tuttle Heating Engineer

UbuMaccabee said...

BTW, when you break it down, the thought crimes all revolve around four subjects

1. GloboHomo and their secret police the GloboTransHomo. This is the most dangerous group to run afoul of.
2. “Don’t make the black kids angry”
3. Muslims. Not so much here in the US yet (couple more years) but in Europe they are untouchable.
4. Falling to 4th place is Wahmen, poor dears. Still, not a group to get sideways with.

Sam L. said...

"1984" is still a coming thing...