The BBC is at the forefront of the campaign to blacken the Brexit referendum as a ‘racist’ campaign, the Leave voters being dubbed as xenophobic little englanders which is all a bit of an irony as the BBC and the Left complain loud and long about an apparent rise in hate crimes…what they do themselves would be considered a hate crime as they drum up hate, anger and abuse towards anyone who voted Leave. Indeed only on Saturday we had the BBC’s News Quiz likening Leave voters to Nazis and expressing the hope that their faces would all melt…along with the thought that Britain is quietly racist…that’s of course everyone who is white. The BBC fails to note how many non-whites were keen to vote Leave and that the man who was in court for swiping Eddie Izzard’s pink beret was Polish and an out voter. We were also told that Trump ranted ‘angry, petulant nonsense‘…I thought that a good description of the News Quiz panel as they vented their bile about Brexit and Trump clearly unaware or not caring that so many other people outside the Bubble don’t subscribe to their left-wing views and that they also realise something the BBC does not…that Trump junior’s use of Skittles to talk about immigration was a metaphor. All those english degrees must seem like such a waste. But then if you’re a bigoted pro-mass immigration, pro-EU BBC extremist reason probably isn’t your strong point.
A fully-loaded gravy train clattered into the Grange City Hotel in central London on Thursday morning, when around 50 smartly dressed men and women shuffled across deep-pile carpets into its air-conditioned conference centre.
The group — or rather their employers — had each paid between £359 and £575 to attend the day-long event.
Some of these people were civil servants, others charity workers and academics. A handful worked in the private sector, though rather more appear to be employed by the taxpayer, via local councils, British police forces, and the Crown Prosecution Service.
The event bringing this eclectic and well bankrolled crowd together was the sixth annual Tackling Hate Crime Conference — an expensive and painstakingly organised shindig staged each autumn by the £6.5 billion FTSE 100 corporation Capita.
Its purpose, according to promotional literature, was to provide a forum to discuss how best to ‘respond to the surging growth of hate crime’ in the UK, which (the same literature breathlessly insisted) has ‘risen 57 per cent since the EU referendum vote’. With this in mind, speaker after speaker waxed lyrical about how violent and intolerant the nation has become in 2016, or called for Draconian measures to combat the ‘rising tide’ of bigotry on our streets.
Modern Britain, delegates were repeatedly told, is a country riven by homophobia and racism, where to be foreign, disabled or belong to a religious or sexual minority is to fall blamelessly into the firing line of virulent abuse.
‘There is more hate crime in London than in the whole of the United States,’ claimed a ‘keynote’ speaker called Mark Hamilton, who is Assistant Chief Constable of Northern Ireland.
Another speaker, from Southwark Council, talked vividly about the extraordinary bigotry she encounters on a daily basis, making the shocking claim that the ‘youngest perpetrator of hate crime’ she’d come across lately was ‘a four-year-old child who harassed a lesbian couple’.
All very sobering. Or so you might think. But behind the lurid rhetoric, not everything was quite as it seems. Take, for example, the conference organiser’s headline claim: that hate crime has ‘risen 57 per cent since the EU referendum vote’.
This eye-catching figure has certainly done the rounds in recent months, regularly bandied about by liberal commentators, the BBC and Left-wing newspapers.
Yet dig into its provenance and things soon start to smell distinctly whiffy. For the ‘57 per cent’ number was actually plucked from a single press release issued by the National Police Chief’s Council on June 27, four days after the EU ballot took place.
The document in question specifically stated that police forces had recorded ‘no major spikes in tensions’ since Britain went to the polls.
However, its footnote added that 85 people had logged hate crime ‘incidents’ on True Vision, a website that records unverified allegations of such behaviour, during the four days in question, up from 54 during the corresponding period a month earlier.
What exactly did this mean? The police press release made things clear. ‘This should not be read as a national increase in hate crime of 57 per cent but an increase in reporting through one mechanism’ over a single 96-hour period.
Fast forward three months, however, and the number was being used very differently.
As we have seen above, organisers of the Tackling Hate Crime Conference were using it to allege that hate crime had risen by 57 per cent across Britain during the entire period since the Brexit vote.
This is demonstrably untrue. Or, to put things another way, Capita was shamelessly promoting its £600-a-head event by falsely representing unverified raw data that had been collected over the internet during a single four-day period in June.
When the Mail put this to Capita, the firm instantly deleted the 57 per cent claim from its promotional literature, describing its inclusion as ‘an innocent error’.
All of which may sound a bit rum. Yet spend an extended period of time exploring ‘hate crime’ and the growing and lucrative industry that increasingly surrounds it, and you’ll find such cavalier behaviour par for the course.
For the more you investigate, the more it turns out to be a deeply cynical industry where dishonesty and hysteria reign, truth has been replaced with Left-wing dogma, and verifiable facts no longer count for very much at all.
On paper, Britain is a remarkably tolerant country. London has just elected a Muslim mayor by a whacking majority. Gay marriage is not just legal but supported by a comfortable majority of adults. Children from ethnic minorities consistently outperform white working-class counterparts at school and in university.
Surveys by the respected and politically neutral think-tank Pew Research, along with the prestigious British Social Attitudes Survey, show racial prejudice in long-term and perhaps terminal decline.
Yet despite such trends, we are routinely described as being in the grip of a hate crime ‘epidemic’ where a few high-profile incidents — such as the appalling recent murder of a Polish immigrant on the streets of Harlow (which may or may not eventually prove to be race-related) — are said to represent the tip of a sinister iceberg, and where the number of hate offences seems to grow year by year.
(In 2014/15, police recorded 52,528 of them. The previous year, the number was 44,471. In 2012/3, it was 42,255.)
So how can we explain the disconnect? Let’s start with another pressing fact: that hate crime also happens to be one of the great political buzz-phrases of the moment. To this end, virtually the first thing new Home Secretary Amber Rudd did after taking office was to launch a ‘hate crime action plan’.
The Home Affairs Select Committee is holding an inquiry into ‘hate crime and its violent consequences’.
Next month, the Government will promote ‘hate crime awareness week’. It’s spending £2.4 million on a fund for churches and mosques to protect themselves against hate crimes, while the Met is creating a £1.7 million ‘crime hub’ to target online ‘trolls’.
Elsewhere, universities such as Leicester and Sussex employ academics in ‘centres’ for ‘hate crime studies’. The taxpayer hands over six-figure grants to charities which seek to ‘combat’ or ‘monitor’ hate crime.
Police forces employ staff to log it. Councils such as Kensington and Chelsea now have a ‘community support officer for hate crime’.
The Crown Prosecution Service has a ‘hate crime co-ordinator’ in all 13 regions, plus ‘area-based Equality, Diversity and Community Engagement Managers’ who ‘contribute to the delivery of the Hate Crime Assurance Scheme’.
These people, whose leading lights spent Thursday at Capita’s conference, often owe their jobs, status and mortgages to the fashionable perception that hate crime is somehow spiralling out of control.
That, in turn, has led to two distinct trends. The first is a relentless pressure to widen the number of people able to describe themselves as ‘victims’ of such crimes.
When Tony Blair first introduced hate laws, in 1998, they applied only to incidents of racial intolerance. However in 2003, the net was widened to include religious discrimination. Over subsequent years, first homophobic and then ‘transphobic’ abuse was added to the list, along with disability hate crime and, more recently ‘crimes against older people’.
All current categories (with the exception of elder abuse) can result in ‘sentence uplift’ — in other words, a likely increase in jail time — if a case goes to court and results in a conviction. Some 15,442 such prosecutions took place last year with 12,845 convictions, of which around a third saw a ‘sentence uplift’.
Last week, a new category of potential victim emerged: it was reported that several police forces may soon treat ‘misogyny’ as a hate crime, following the alleged success of a pilot scheme in Nottingham where it was decided that wolf-whistling could in certain circumstances constitute ‘threatening behaviour’.
Women may not be the only new demographic singled out for protection, either. Consider, if you will, the annual report of Stop Hate UK, an influential charity which gets around £240,000 a year from grants, largely from the public sector.
It suggests that ‘goths’ or people who choose to wear black clothes, are potential hate crime victims. To this end, it contains a ‘case study’ of abuse supposedly suffered by a ‘goth woman [who] has five facial piercings’.
In such a febrile environment, where almost anyone seems to be a potential victim, should we really be surprised if reported ‘hate’ incidents are on the rise?
Of course it should be stressed that genuine hate crime is not to be tolerated. In Friday’s Mail, for example, the Jewish Labour MP Ruth Smeeth described being sent 25,000 abusive messages by members of her party’s Corbyn-supporting far Left, one of which referred to her as a ‘yid c***’.
The problem, however, comes when the definition of what constitutes a hate crime becomes risibly vague. After all, the subjective way in which the police (who increasingly resemble glorified social workers) now categorise such offences is hardly forensic.
Under their official guidance, hate crime is now deemed to be ‘any criminal offence which is perceived, by the victim or any other person, to be motivated by a hostility or prejudice.’
Proof of such intent is not necessarily required, the guidance adds: ‘Evidence of … hostility is not required … [The] perception of the victim, or any other person, is the defining factor.’
In essence, this means that anyone, anywhere, can force officers to treat something as a hate crime. All it takes is a vague ‘perception’. Such rules are perverse and open to abuse. They mean that, in theory, a straight white male punched in a pub fight can falsely claim his assailant thought he was gay, and therefore motivated by homophobia.
Such an incident will duly be investigated as a hate crime, with the police and CPS under pressure to prosecute.
If they fail, the ‘victim’ can potentially claim to have suffered so-called ‘secondary victimisation’ in which the ‘hate’ he or she experienced is compounded by the police’s lack of sensitivity.
Such factors may very well have motivated the ludicrous recent prosecution of Kevin O’Sullivan, a TV journalist who was involved in an altercation on a train back from a funeral a couple of years ago.
Around 24 hours after the event, the other party — a straight white man who’d initially declined to press charges — informed the police that he now wanted them to prosecute O’Sullivan for a homophobic hate crime.
The man claimed that during their argument he tried to make a telephone call, only to be interrupted by O’Sullivan shouting ‘Are you phoning your gay lover?’
CCTV of the entire incident told a very different story, however. It showed that the man did not make, or attempt to make, a single phone call during the confrontation. Unsurprisingly, when the case came to trial, O’Sullivan was acquitted.
Though awarded costs, he expects them to cover only a fraction of his £15,000 legal bill. Recounting the episode in a recent edition of the Spectator, he said the affair gave him ‘a ringside seat at the edge of insanity’.
The second great modern trend has been for the police, assorted quangocrats and other publicly funded organisations to go to extreme lengths to ensure the number of reported hate crimes is as high as possible.
Consider, in this context, the aforementioned police website True Vision. It allows anyone, anywhere in Britain, to report an incident, even if they were not the victim, have no idea of the victim’s identity, can provide no supporting evidence, and would prefer to remain anonymous.
Their claims then get logged as official statistics and, as we have seen above, used by ‘experts’ to draw sweeping conclusions (invariably negative) about the state of the nation.
Seldom has such a system been more open to abuse than in the immediate aftermath of the Brexit vote, when Left-wing media outlets predicted a ‘surge of xenophobia’ and disheartened Remain voters attempted to prove them right. On Twitter, the hashtag #postbrexit racism went viral.
On Facebook, a forum called ‘worrying signs’ was established for ‘anyone dealing with post-Brexit fallout’ to post reports of hate crime. From here, users were directed to True Vision.
Unsurprisingly, many allegedly racist incidents they carried turned out to be anything but. On the Monday after the referendum, a mobile phone snap of a smashed window at Donde Tapas, a Spanish restaurant in South London, was posted on Facebook. Its caption read ‘Spanish and Turkish restaurants in Lewisham had their windows smashed over the weekend. Very widespread reports coming in now.’
The post soon received 1,833 shares. One commenter noted: ‘The ghost of Sir Oswald Mosley now stalks the streets of England.’
The same picture and caption soon appeared on Twitter, where Dawn Butler, a Labour MP, dubbed it ‘awful,’ and another online commenter called it ‘Kristallnacht all over again.’
The Institute Of Race Relations subsequently asked the poster: ‘Is there any chance we could use your pic for a round-up of post-Brexit racial violence?’
But soon: a reality check. On a South London internet forum where the picture was also posted, one contributor pointed out: ‘I’m no expert, but that looks like a robbery attempt.’
The Met soon admitted it was almost certainly just that, and was ‘not considered to have a hate-crime motivation’.
A second widely reported hate incident that started life on Facebook around the same time proved similarly flaky.
It began with a post on a Remain-supporting forum reading: ‘My friend works at a well-known restaurant in Mayfair, 15 people just came in to celebrate the Leave vote. The customers dismissed him and asked for a English waiter, because he was Italian!!!’
This anecdote was promptly included as case-study in an official study of post-Brexit violence by the Institute of Race Relations, before being widely cited in the Left-wing Press. Yet neither the restaurant, the supposed victim, nor any fragments of proper evidence have ever been identified.
The fact is that we may never know. Yet if the state-sponsored and increasingly powerful hate crime industry gets its way, we could all be potential suspects.
For, to quote the old saying, the Left has a supply-and-demand problem with bigotry: there isn’t enough to go around to support the apocalyptic world view they hold so dear.