Many years ago, when I lived in England, I brought my roommates (or, should I say, flatmates) to convulsive laughter when I announced that the 1960s happened in San Francisco's Haight-Ashbury district — and nowhere else. In my parochialism, I was completely unaware of the whole "Swingin' London" scene of the 1960s.
Apparently I've had that same blinkered parochialism when thinking about the twin (and often overlapping) evils of Political Correctness and Multiculturalism. While I've been reading books, articles and newspaper stories about these ideas here in America, and thinking of them as uniquely American phenomena, it turns out that they've been going like gangbusters in England — to the point where England has far overtaken any insanity we can think of here.
I'm not talking here about the bizarre deference England has been showing radical Islam. I won't hyperlink here (too lazy), but you all remember the stories of the cartoon pigs removed from workplaces, the ice cream containers redesigned, and the prision officials made to remove their St. George's crosses. I didn't then (and don't now) see these acts as PC or multi-culti so much as craven fear.
No, I'm talking true multi-culti, PC stuff, where all white people, er, white men, are evil oppressors, whose every utterance or act is a threat. (This is akin to Andrea Dworkin's famous pronouncement that all heterosexual sex is rape because of the power difference between men and women. She resolved this problem by marrying a homosexual man — who, by the way, is the head of AARP. But I digress.) Here's the latest insanity from the country that once blessed us with its solid cultural values:
A former North Wales police officer of 22 years standing, John Atkinson, referred to a senior police officer as a "dyke." He had apparently been upset by the officer refusing to commiserate with him at a funeral over the death of his son. It was, as Miss Widdecombe said, a vulgar expression, but vulgarity is not normally a crime.
He might have been told to mind his language and go home. Instead, he claims, six officers arrested him, handcuffed him, and bundled him into a van.
According to Mr. Atkinson, he was then locked in a cell, stripped naked, and left all night with only a blanket. There were no sanitary arrangements and he was forced to urinate in a corner of the cell, nor was he given any water, though prisoners are legally entitled to these things. While he was still naked the police proposed to interview him. When he protested he was handed back his clothes soaked in urine, which he was told had leaked under the cell door.
This was not, it seems a matter of unofficial horseplay among police getting out of hand, or of police settling some sort of grudge or quarrel among themselves by rough but informal methods. He was formally charged with threatening, abusive and insulting behavior and taken to court, though when the matter was brought before a magistrate the charges were thrown out.
A few days after this it was reported that a Bedfordshire farmer and former churchwarden, Frank Cook, fired a shotgun, not to kill, but to frighten, a dog threatening his lambs. He was standing on his lawn with his two grandchildren aged 3 and 5 shortly after when six police cars roared up and dozens of police poured out, five of them armed.
Mr. Cook, 77 years old and suffering from high blood pressure, claims he was forced into an armlock in front of his family, handcuffed, sworn at, and bundled into a police car. He was then locked in a cell for five hours, finger-printed and photographed and forced to give a DNA sample. He claims that at one point police pointed a gun at his son, who photographed him being arm-locked (the photograph was printed in the British press). He had previously reported two burglaries with no action being taken.
The same article from which the above comes goes on to detail how the British government somehow managed to lose over a thousand hardened criminals. And of course, this is the same government that is, only now, delicately attempting to prosecute some of the vilest hate speech ever uttered in that country in the wake of the Danish cartoon riots.
I use to be an Anglophile, immersed as I was in the country's mostly glorious (and, yes, sometimes very inglorious) historic tradition. I'm now rapidly becoming an Anglophobe, wondering how such a gem-like little island, filled with so many historic wonders, can be left to the hands of its present inhabitants. Queen Victoria would not be amused.