Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Billophobic

I emerged from my house just before 8 am on Good Friday - on my way for a swim before hitting the road with my five year old on an Easter Holiday trip to see family in Wales - to find that some scum sucking sons of bitches had thrown paint over my car and the cars belonging to about half a dozen of my neighbours on a rampage through our street.

My first thought was that I should report the incident to the Police so I called the local station and was put on hold for ten minutes. I hung up and dialled the emergency 999 number. This was answered crisply but I was told that I had to call my local station to report the incident.

I tried the local station again and waited again for ten minutes before giving up. Bear in mind that during the twenty plus aborted minutes of this attempt to report the incident I was fretting about house paint drying on and ruining the finish of my car.

I spent the next two hours or so cleaning my car. After I had finished the obvious surfaces, I had to open the doors and the boot and rinse the paint that had leaked into and through the seals and over the internal paintwork and mounts. This second cleaning produced a new set of drips over the rest of the body. I was not best pleased.

A cameraderie developed between us neighbours as we wiped and sluiced and it became clear that pretty much all of us had given up in trying to report matter to the Police. One guy made me laugh by saying that if the gendarmes had deigned to turn up they would probably have arrested him for washing his car in the street during a hosepipe ban.

I didn't want to let the matter drop though, so after I had cleaned myself up I went to http://www.online.police.uk/english/default.asp to report the matter online.

This system - to my utter bewilderment - asked me to decide if my report should be classified under any of the following categories:
Hate Crime Any hate incident, which constitutes a criminal offence, perceived by the victim or any other person, as being motivated by prejudice or hate.
Hate Incident Any incident, which may or may not constitute a criminal offence, which is perceived by the victim or any other person, as being motivated by prejudice or hate.
Racist Incident Any incident which is perceived to be racist by the victim or any other person.
Homophobic Incident Any incident which is perceived to be homophobic by the victim or any other person.
Transphobic Incident Any incident which is perceived to be transphobic by the victim or any other person.
Faith Related Incident Any incident which is perceived to be based upon prejudice towards or hatred of the faith of the victim or so perceived by the victim or any other person.
Sectarian Incident Any incident which is perceived to be sectarian by the victim or any other person.
Disablist Incident Any incident which is perceived to be based upon prejudice towards or hatred of the victim because of their disability or so perceived by the victim or any other person.

I don't know where to start on how perverse this is. An incident need not be a crime remember, so what is to stop the list being extended again and again and again?

Firstly, can I draw your attention to the ludicrous codicil "or so perceived by the victim or any other person" which extends - potentially infinitely - the coverage of every incident covered by every verse of this ludicrous catechism?

Secondly, why do I have to jump through all the hoops of this taxonomy just to report hooligans pouring paint on my car? I neither know nor care if they think that my car is gay or heretical.

Thirdly, I have never even heard of transphobic, but if I Google it the majority of hits I get from the whole world are from UK Police sources. This speaks eloquently about priorities.

When I got to Wales I remarked to my Dad that this unholy partnership of administrative incompetence and bien pensant contempt for anyone outside the new establishment's current list of pet groups of victims is what drives people to vote the the BNP.

Hey presto, what should emerge yesterday? Research carried out for the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust has suggested that up to 25% of people have thought about voting for the far-right party.

I have decided to coin a new word Billophobic for the those of us who are frightened of the UK Government's tidal wave of legislation targeting opinions with which they disagree, and the cynical use of the Police to publicise, legitimise, and enforce these policies at the expense of doing their real job.

Expect Billophobic incidents.
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