Friday, 22 July 2016

Soft-Despotism Hardening Up

When Sins are Criminalised

We were staggered to learn that at least one police force in the UK--Nottinghamshire Police--does not have enough to do.  The word is that Mr Plod in the 'shire is sitting in the station twiddling his thumbs, challenged with an acute case of boredom, and wondering if he should pursue another calling
But his inventive superiors, always looking for ways to keep the force busy, have come up with a doozy.  Whistling is about to be criminalised.  That will mean a whole new line of work for Mr Plod and his indolent colleagues.  Whistling in public, apparently, is one manifestation of misogyny.  And, let's be clear, misogyny is a haaaaate crime!
A police force has become the first in Britain to recognise misogyny as a hate crime, in an effort to make the county a safer place for women.  Nottinghamshire Police is recording incidents such as wolf-whistling, street harassment, verbal abuse and taking photographs without consent within the hate crime definition.  It also includes unwanted sexual advances, uninvited physical or verbal contact and using mobile phone to send unwanted messages.  [NZ Herald]
At this point we need to send out a warning to all the gypsy rovers in Nottinghamshire.  No whistling within the auditory orbit of any female--lest you be charged with a hate crime.

But, protesteth Mr Plod quivering with the new found eagerness of a Sherlock when the "game's afoot", let's be clear.  What is the definition of a wolf whistle?  Should a gypsy rover be arrested and prosecuted?  And since most wolf whistles are supposed to be expressions of appreciation, how can they be construed to be hate crimes.  How confusing to a plain, ordinary plod.

But one thing is clear.  Mr Plod won't have to be worried about twiddling thumbs any longer.  He has a veritable lifetime of diligent policing ahead of him.  Boredom will be forever banished while the worthy officers of the law make fine calibrated distinctions between a "hate crime" whistle and the mere merry music of a plain and ordinary bounder.  Then, when once the administration and application of the law is clear, out they will go, carrying policing to extraordinary lengths.

Clearly the police in Nottinghamshire will need extra training to work through the subtleties and finer points of misogyny.   But the brass are off to a good start.  They have already defined misogyny to be any "behaviour targeted towards a woman by men simply because they are a woman".  Yes, you read that right.  Let all well-mannered males beware.  Do not, under any circumstances, hold a door open for a woman, because she is a woman.  Make no attempt to offer assistance to a female carrying a heavy load.  You are coming dangerously close to a hate crime.

Let's be clear about what's actually going on here--and it is far more serious than asinine "make-work" bureaucrats imposing their small-minded world-views on free men.  What is being lost is the distinction between sins and crimes.  Nottinghamshire has decided that at least certain sins are now to be classified as crimes, subject to the full weight of police oppression.  And since sin is ubiquitous, there is nothing that the state now cannot proscribe and punish.

There is a new Sheriff in Nottingham and he is far, far more oppressive than Alan Rickman in his prime, let alone his witch-muse in the castle dungeons.  Mr Plod is about to play a new role--this time more like in Hot Fuzz where everything is perfect because criminals are in charge.  This time around the police will be the criminals.  But at least he will be busy. Sharkey of the shire, and his shirrifs will have their work cut out.

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