“Being offensive is an offence,” says the slogan inscribed on the banners of Merseyside Police. The statement sounds so tautological that it isn’t immediately clear why it had to be made. Of course being offensive is an offence, what else is new?
But that’s not what they mean. The offence they have in mind is a criminal one – a crime, in other words.
Fine. The law is the law, and those Liverpudlian cops follow the guidelines laid down by the Crown Prosecution Service.
However, even though we must obey all laws, we should still be free to regard some of them as unjust. To avoid such an accusation, a law must as a minimum clearly define the boundaries of a proscribed crime.
Thus murder is an arbitrary taking of a human life, theft is stealing someone else’s property, rape is having sex without permission, perjury is lying under oath and so on. But what does “being offensive” mean?
Surely this crime can’t be defined objectively; an element of subjectivity has to creep in: one man’s offence is another man’s compliment. True, says the CPS. So, to eliminate all doubt, it helpfully defines an offence as anything anyone takes as such.
That’s where the word ‘injustice’ has to cross anyone’s mind. For this law leaves Her Majesty’s subjects powerless and rightless, while empowering law enforcement to a degree hitherto deemed an exclusive property of totalitarian tyrannies.
Potentially this law can criminalise every one of the 53 million adult Britons. After all, all of us may say things that could conceivably offend someone, especially at a time when even complimenting a female colleague on her appearance may be seen as a misogynistic attack on womankind.
Still, dura lex, sed lex, as the Romans used to say: the law is strict, but it is the law. But surely the fundamental principle of British jurisprudence is that any law, strict or otherwise, is the same for all.
Hence, my friends and I also have a right to feel offended, thereby finding ourselves on the receiving end of a crime. Well, this is a right I wish to exercise now, speaking for myself and most of my friends. Here, in no particular order, are the offences some or all of which I suffer every day:
Tattoos and facial metal; pop music of any kind, especially rap; pop music of any kind, especially rap, being performed in concert halls and at the Proms; conceptual art, especially Damien Hirst and Tracey Emin; Lang Lang, Yuja Wang and other such non-musicians; most of modern architecture; being frisked at airports, especially by men; actors playing women, actresses playing men and blacks playing whites in the theatre.
Strident atheism; insistence that all religions are equally good or equally bad; belief that Darwinism is anything more than a theory; strident feminism, championing of LGBT rights, environmentalism – in fact, strident anything; Greta Thunberg; anyone who takes her or ‘climate change’ seriously; materialism; the expression ‘our planet’; men born as women impregnated by women born as men; abortion; modern philosophers, especially if French; Richard Dawkins; most of current literature and all of current poetry.
Left-wing politics, philosophies, aesthetics – in fact, left-wing anything; unchecked democracy; tyranny of any kind; my life being affected by a state predominantly staffed with self-serving morons.
Belief that, if people are equal before the law, they are equal in every respect; the word ‘diversity’ as it’s currently used; feminism; contempt for spiritual and intellectual authority; belief that every opinion is equally valid, indeed egalitarianism of any kind.
Woke people and their beliefs; suppression of free speech, especially as enunciated by decent people; systematic undermining of Britain’s constitution and the English Common Law; Tony Blair and every member of his cabinet, especially Peter Mandelson; Jeremy Corbyn, every member of his shadow cabinet and every supporter he has ever had; John Major, David Cameron, Theresa May and other non-Tory Tory wets; the EU and everything its stands for.
Putin’s Russia and especially her Western ‘useful idiots’; jingoism or any other form of militant nationalism; London having become a giant laundromat for Mafia money, especially Russian; Britain’s strategic industries falling under foreign control, especially Chinese, Russian, Arab and EU.
I could extend this list tenfold, but this should suffice to get the point across. Which is that my friends and I are grossly offended countless times every day of our lives. And yet there’s nothing we can do about that.
The state first expands the boundaries of “being offensive” no end to enforce its woke despotism and increase its power, but then narrows them to constriction when it’s conservatives who are offended.
Personally, I’d rather be called a fatso (rude but accurate) than hear yet another diatribe against everything I hold dear or be unable to escape the degenerate din of pop excretions everywhere I go. And yet I may have some recourse against the former but none at all against the latter.
The CPS and other such setups don’t understand that debauching the law this way will render all laws inoperable. Laws don’t work when they are only feared, but not respected. And to be respected, they have to be respectable – which they increasingly aren’t.