Give it a Hanky and a Slap

A spectre is haunting the place. No doubt you’ve already read or heard about the Fulham cops.

…the author Lynette Burrows went on a BBC Five Live show to talk about the government’s new “civil partnerships” and expressed her opinion – politely, no intemperate words – that the adoption of children by homosexuals was “a risk”. The following day, Fulham police contacted her to discuss the “homophobic incident”. A Scotland Yard spokesperson told the Telegraph’s Sally Pook that it’s “standard policy” for “community safety units” to investigate “homophobic, racist and domestic incidents”…”It is all about reassuring the community,” said the very p.c. Plod to the Telegraph. “All parties have been spoken to by the police. No allegation of crime has been made. A report has been taken but is now closed.”

It’s pretty staggering. All this ‘reassuring the community’ crap – can I be the only one who is developing a violent allergy to the very word ‘community’? A community right now seems to be a very unattractive and annoying specimen. A whining, nose-running, pants falling down, sleeve-plucking, feeble, knock-kneed, spiteful, tattling, nagging, droning, sniveling, self-obsessed pile of ordure. Why is everyone expected to keep reassuring it all the time? Why isn’t it expected to grow up? Why is it allowed – allowed? encouraged, urged – to run screaming to the police and the courts and the monarch and the armed militias every time someone ‘offends’ or ‘insults’ or ‘wounds’ or ‘blasphemes against’ or ‘disrespects’ its horrible poxy tiny closed airless stupid little beliefs? Why does it get to push all the grown-ups around all the time with its high-pitched noisy demands? Why doesn’t everyone with one voice tell it to shut up and piss off?

The community in question is not even a real community, it’s a spectral community, The Community as it exists in the minds of people who think it has to be reassured all the time. That community is not only whiny and covered in snot, it’s also damn dangerous. It’s a shut up device, and it works a treat.

Mark Steyn gets one thing quite wrong though, I think.

Mrs Burrows writes on “children’s rights and the family”, so I don’t know whether she’s a member of PEN or the other authors’ groups. But it seems unlikely the Hampstead big guns who lined up to defend Salman Rushdie a decade and a half ago will be eager to stage any rallies this time round. But, if the principle is freedom of expression, what’s the difference between his apostasy (as the Ayatollah saw it) and Mrs Burrows’s apostasy (as Scotland Yard sees it)?

Well which Hampstead big guns are we talking about? Some of them precisely did not line up to defend Rushdie fifteen years ago, and isn’t that exactly when all this sickening community-reassuring got going? With a good many Hampstead big guns saying Rushdie was a bad fella and that the feelings of devout Muslims ought to be respected? Yes, as a matter of fact, it is. And I strongly doubt that the people who ‘lined up’ (what else should they have done, pushed and shoved?) to defend Rushdie would all approve of the Fulham police work in this case. Hitchens for instance? That seems vanishingly unlikely. Steyn seems to have his enemies confused here (not for the first time).

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