Peter Hitchens on Our Stasi Police

Peter Hitchens on our Stasi police. Source: Mail Online, 23 May 2016.

After getting the usual wave of silly, resentful attacks from police officers, for daring to criticise their complacent and liberal nationalised industry, I looked out this old article from the Mail on Sunday of 27th July 2004, written nearly 12 years ago. This is before discontent with modern policing was as widespread as it is now, and also before the police had been wholly revolutionised by the post-Macpherson inquisition and many officers from the old tradition were still in positions of responsibility. It explains a lot.

You may sometimes wonder why modern police officers are so word-perfect in the language of liberal political correctness. You may be puzzled as to how a generally conservative organisation, which once chased thieves and bad people in a fairly straightforward way, has suddenly become so keen on pursuing racism, homophobia and the other thought-crimes that obsess political radicals.

Here is part of the answer. They have been carefully and systematically trained in the Newspeak of the New Left, who know very well just how influential the trusted blue uniform of the British police constable is. I have been shown a document that has for some years been used to train officers in what is called 'Community Awareness'.

It smacks of the re-education camp and the thought police, and about half the people of this country would find it quite disturbing.

The other half, who have grown up since ultra-liberal ideas took over the schools and most of the media, may not be so surprised. The progress of the cultural revolution over the past two decades is so gigantic that the whole idea of what is shocking and what is not has altered.

One part of our country barely understands what the other one thinks any more. But where the two nations clash in any state-controlled body or big company, it is the new thinking that always seems to win.

See what you make of it. The booklet, originally produced by Kent Police in 1999, has been copied by some other forces and, I'm told, is typical of the sort of course officers must undergo. It is currently being revised to take account of - you've guessed it - European Union directives on religion and sexual orientation.

It is clever and subtle. It is what it does not quite say that is most worrying. I believe the assumption behind it is that many police officers - too young to be retired or otherwise easily got rid of - are guilty of crude prejudices and must be made to feel ashamed of them.

If they bridle at a course such as this, then they will wreck their careers because their chief constables have plainly put their authority behind the ideas in it. But if they submit to it, they will ever afterwards be tamed and neutered.

It opens with a 'self-assessment' quiz. The student is invited to agree or disagree with such statements as 'The UK is a multicultural society', 'Everyone has some prejudices', 'I will always challenge inappropriate language or behaviour', and 'We must adapt our policing practices to suit various cultures'. The instructions say: 'Answer as honestly as you can.' At the end of the booklet, the quiz is repeated. There is a suggestion that the student should go back and look at his original answers. You would have to be a prize fool not to realise that you are expected to have shifted from one end of the spectrum to the other as a result of ploughing through the pages in between.

It is courses such as these, I suspect, that have led to the new climate of fear in which officers are afraid of speaking openly even among formerly trusted colleagues in case they are denounced for some incorrect slip-up, and so lose their jobs and even their pensions.

Certainly, I am amazed and distressed by the number of serving police officers who write to me about the state of the force and beg me not to identify them in any way.

Yet it is so hard to pin down the insidious nature of this material. You catch it on the edge of a remark, passing by so fast that - if you are not paying attention - you don't realise the importance of it.

Take, for instance, the section on Britain as a multicultural society. All the facts are correct, but the way they are presented is thoroughly questionable. Yes, Romans, Vikings, Angles, Saxons, Jutes, Normans and Jews all came to or lived on these islands in the previous 2,000 years.

But from 1066 until very recently, there were very few immigrants of any kind to this country, and Britain developed its own distinct national character - to which those immigrants adapted.

But the booklet tries to suggest this has always been a diverse, multicultural country. 'The whole history of Britain's population is one of ebb and flow of different peoples and tribal groups,' it claims.

For the most important 900 years of Britain's history, from 1066 to the Sixties, this simply was not true, and is the reason for our unique language, customs, institutions, religious opinions, laws - and our unique ability to sustain policing by consent, by unarmed officers.

It is only since the Sixties that the reformers have sought to change the country to suit the supposed wishes of migrants, rather than requiring migrants to conform to local customs.

What would happen, I wonder, to an officer who had the nerve to point this out to the 'Community and Race Relations Training Department'?

The booklet then asks, 'Is there any such thing as a "True Brit"?' and replies that 'the historical background and cultural diversity of Britain suggests this is an impossible question to answer'. This quiet demolition of a cherished loyalty to a proud and rather enviable civilisation seems to me to be as cruel as it is untrue, and the very heart of what is wrong with this creepy brainwashing.

Much of the rest of it seems designed to demonstrate that there is almost no way to avoid being racist, however hard you try. The use of the expression 'non-white' is allegedly 'felt to be offensive and racist' by unnamed persons because it 'defines people by what they lack and implies that being white is normal/ superior'.

Perhaps for those baffled as to why a Black Police Association is encouraged whereas a White Police Association would be (rightly) denounced, the pamphlet asks: 'Can minorities be racist?' The answer appears to be: 'Not really.' It says: 'Minorities may of course have prejudices relating to the majority group and may sometimes act on these. Whether it is appropriate to refer to this as racism is debatable (remember that Racism = Prejudice + Power). If it is so referred a more appropriate term would be "reactive racism".

'In this sense the minority is reacting to majority power or dominance... by possibly using derogatory remarks for whites and promoting the image "black is beautiful", for instance.' The experienced constable or sergeant confronted with this knows one thing for certain - that he can never be sure, for the rest of his time in uniform, that he will not commit some sort of speech crime.

He may also quietly conclude that the really wicked aspect of racism - hate and fear based on skin colour - is not actually being challenged here. Such emotions are excused if they are felt by anyone apart from white English people.

But what can he do, by himself? Inch by inch, piece by piece, the world he grew up in has been dismantled and replaced by another. The same thing is happening to almost everyone he knows.

And so, the very people who would once have complained loudly about 'political correctness gone mad' find themselves enforcing exactly that.