New rules: Greater Manchester Police have now revised their definition of what constitutes a 'hate crime' to protect punk rockers and heavy metal fans from the rest of society
By Richard Littlejohn
Greater Manchester Police have revised their definition of what constitutes a ‘hate crime’ to include violent incidents involving punk rockers and heavy metal fans.
Not before time, you might think. Round up the lot of them and throw away the key.
Or, as my Geordie mate Black Mike always jokes when he spots a Sid Vicious lookalike gobbing his way down the High Street: ‘Gi’ us a stick and I’ll kill it.’
But that isn’t what the bold Plod have got in mind. The new rules aren’t designed to protect society from gangs of punks and heavy metal headbangers.
They’ve been drawn up to protect them from the rest of society.
GMP is becoming the first force to extend ‘hate crime’ status to those with ‘alternative sub-culture identity’. In future, these groups will be granted the same special treatment as racial, religious, gender identity, disabled and sexual minorities.
The police are also pressing for a change in the law which would mean anyone accused of violence or abuse towards one of these ‘vulnerable minorities’ would receive a stiffer sentence.
Which in the case of Black Mike could mean five years in The Scrubs if his trademark ‘Gi’ us a stick and I’ll kill it’ crack is ever overhead by a passing off-duty copper or vigilant member of the public.
The absurd GMP Assistant Chief Constable Garry Shewan said: ‘The launch of this new strand of recordable hate crime is a major breakthrough.
‘We must recognise the impact that alternative sub-culture hate crime has on its victims and the wider community, we can offer better support and risk assess the potential for repeat victimisation.’
Manchester cops are to be given special sensitivity training in handling complaints from punks, ‘metallers’, goths and ‘emos’.
I’ve been trying to imagine the training session at GMP headquarters.
‘Now then, listen up. OK, yesterday we learned about goths. This morning we’re going to talk about dealing with emos.’
‘Emus? Has one escaped from Chester Zoo, guv? Isn’t that a job for the RSPCA?’
‘Not emus, Hollis, emos.’
For the uninitiated, goths look like they’ve just wandered off the set of a Hammer horror movie.
Think Morticia from the Addams Family. Emos look pretty much the same to me, but they’re said to be a lot more sensitive. Emotional, geddit?
I’m assuming most people can spot a punk a mile off. The heavy metal brigade dress like Lemmy from Motorhead; long hair, dirty jeans, scruffy T-shirts and leather jackets.
If you’ve ever been to a heavy metal concert, the audience won’t have struck you as all that ‘vulnerable’. Upset one of them and you’ll probably end up with a motorcycle chain wrapped round your head. And that’s just the women.
According to the latest figures available, in January there were 25,411 crimes reported in Greater Manchester, including 2,500 burglaries, 10,800 incidents of anti-social behaviour and another 2,500 involving violence.
I wonder how many victims of violent crimes were drawn from the goth, punk, heavy metal or emo communities? Precisely. So why this sudden emphasis on members of ‘alternative identity sub-cultures’?
All this was sparked by the tragic death of 20-year-old Sophie Lancaster, who was attacked along with her boyfriend in a park in Bacup, Lancs, by a mob who took exception to her goth clothing and stark make-up.
That was back in 2007. Since then, her courageous mother has been campaigning tirelessly for such senseless attacks on people with ‘alternative lifestyles’ to be treated as ‘hate crime’.
The change was sparked by the tragic death of 20-year-old Sophie Lancaster, who was attacked along with her boyfriend in a park in Bacup, Lancs, by a mob who took exception to her goth clothing and stark make-up
It is perfectly understandable that a grieving mum would want her precious daughter’s memory kept alive. But there is always a danger in changing the law on the basis of a single case, however horrifying.
This is not to belittle the sad loss of Sophie Lancaster — or the sheer barbarity of the attack on her — but the laws to prosecute her killers were already on the statute book.
Are we now saying that attacks on punk rockers, goths and emos are more heinous than, say, a violent mugging of someone who doesn’t belong to a ‘vulnerable minority’. Is one life worth less than another?
'Hate crime': Are we now saying that attacks on punk rockers, goths and emos are more heinous than, say, a violent mugging of someone who doesn't belong to a 'vulnerable minority'?
Violent attacks on anyone because of their skin colour, religion or sexual proclivity are repellent.
Those responsible deserve exemplary punishments. The motivation behind the crime is something a court can take into account when passing sentence.
But once you start giving preferential treatment to people on the basis of their dress sense or musical tastes, how many other ‘alternative sub-culture identities’ will this be extended to include — mods, teddy boys, New Romantics, skinheads? That’s the problem when you single out any individual group under the law. There’s no limit.
To be honest, I’ve always been uncomfortable with the idea of a ‘hate crime’ statute. How do you decide what is a ‘hate crime’ and what isn’t?
More to the point, who decides what is a ‘hate crime’?
Increasingly, the definition is being expanded to include ‘hate speech’, which the Left pretend covers any criticism — however legitimate and justified — of the behaviour of one of their favoured client groups.
The truth is that most ‘hate speech’ comes from the Left these days, as they seek to demonise, prosecute or ruin professionally anyone who challenges their intolerant orthodoxies.
You would expect this new initiative to find favour with the former Met Police chief Ian Blair, who worshipped at the altar of ‘diversity’ and embraced every passing Left-wing political fashion.
Yet, speaking on London’s LBC Radio yesterday, he said trying to equate crimes against punk rockers and heavy metal fans with hatred directed at genuine minority groups was a bridge too far.
And when even Ian Blair says it’s bonkers, trust me. It’s bonkers.
Today, the very liberal and huge Obama supporter, movie critic, Roger Ebert, died. Many years ago, he presciently said:
“Political correctness is the fascism of the Nineties.”