A list of 30 tweets

James Kirkup on that chat with Inspector Plod:

This is a story about Harry Miller, a man who has lived a life that might be described as blameless and even admirable. He’s the director of a company that employs 70-odd people in one of the poorer bits of England, invests in its staff and community, and uses its financial and technical expertise to raise large sums of money and make life better for people who really need it in very poor parts of Nepal.

And yet he had that 34 minute conversation with a cop yesterday.

This is, of course, a story about Twitter, and transgenderism. Miller says he was interviewed by the police and warned about his ‘thinking’ because he had used his Twitter account to express opinions about transgenderism and the law as it applies to gender. On that account, Miller says things such as ‘trans women are not women’ and questions the school of thought that says someone born male who ‘identifies’ as female must be treated in exactly the same way as a person born with a female body.

Or rather, exactly the same way but more so because trans women are twice oppressed, unlike mere women. Trans women are women and trans, which is two kinds of oppressed, so they go to the head of the line.

Miller, it was suggested, might have been responsible for such a ‘hate incident’ by ‘promoting’ tweets that a complainant (unnamed) regarded as hateful or offensive. The officer allegedly had a list of 30 tweets Miller had sent, liked or retweeted, which he suggested had been cited by a person he referred to as ‘the victim’ of the supposed incident.

Miller says the officer went on to warn him that by ‘promoting’ such material, he might find himself in trouble with his company (the officer was evidently unaware that Miller actually owns the firm) because his tweeting might make transgender employees uncomfortable.

And of course we can assume that these non-existent trans employees are monitoring Miller’s tweets just as anxiously as the police are, in hopes of finding something to be “uncomfortable” about.

 spoke to Miller this morning about the call. He said he remains incredulous that a police officer would seek him out, via his business, and spend more than half an hour warning him about his ‘thinking’ and the fact that he had expressed opinions about social and political issues, in a way that does not in any way break the law.

Miller told me: ‘I kept asking him, why are you saying ‘victim’? If there’s not been a crime, how can there be a victim. He said that’s just the way it is.’

‘He said he would be passing my answers on to the complainant. I told him to tell that person I would gladly talk to them, that I’d like to take them out to dinner so we could have a conversation about this. I’d explain that I am a strong supporter of the 2010 Equality Act, and explain my concerns about possible reforms of the Gender Recognition Act and how that could affect legal rights for women. Of course, he wouldn’t tell me anything about the complainant, just that they were from ‘down south’.’

Well that narrows it down.

I also asked Humberside Police about Miller’s account of his conversation with their officer. They gave me this statement:

‘We take all reports of hate incident seriously and will always investigate and take proportionate action.’ [sic]

They didn’t say any more about what constitutes a ‘hate incident’, but English and Welsh police forces are subject to Home Office instructions on ‘crime reporting’ that appear to oblige them to record anything that a complainant perceives to be motivated by hatred of people because of a protected characteristic. That can mean race, age, disability or gender reassignment.

How about sex? In there at all?

What to make of this? I’ve written a lot about this subject, because I think it raises many disturbing questions about the way we conduct ourselves as a society and a democracy, about the way the political process registers and responds to different groups’ valid concerns and questions. I keep writing about it because I think that more people in positions of authority should take a closer (and more public) interest in numerous failures of policy and politics.

In the meantime, be careful of those limericks.

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