Following the arrest of a 71-year-old preacher for the crime of reading aloud from The Book of Genesis, I wrote an article forChristian Concern. It begins: "Imagine a musical in which the prophet, Mohammed, is cast with the swivelling hips of Little Richard and Muslims are kept in line by a dancing pork chop. If it got past the censors (which it wouldn’t) it would be closed down during opening night."
Whilst we are yet to see a Jihadi sing-along on The West End, an equivalent musical has been playing the West End since 2013. The Book of Mormon casts followers of Joseph Smith as a chorus of Donny Osmonds, dancing their way through the jungle preaching that the cure for Aids is to have sex with a frog. "Hasa Diga Eebowai," they sing. As pointed out by the child-raping warlord, this roughly translates as “Fuck You God.”
Of course, no equivalent portrayal of Islam exists. There is no "Spooky Islamic Hell Dream" in which faithless Muslims experience the torture of spending eternity with the murdered cartoonists of Charlie Hebdo and George W Bush. No characterisation of homosexuality as a condition which, like a light switch, can simply be switched off. No cha-cha-cha of shagging Allah in the eye. The musical does not exist and the odds of it being staged any time soon are similar to those you can get for Les Miserables being replaced by George Floyd On Ice. In the Ideological Tower, the God of Joseph Smith and his 16 million followers are stationed several layers beneath the minaret. Islam is protected. Mormonism is ignored. Still lower, hanging out with the lockdown sceptics in the basement of the Tower, are the gender critics and evangelicals. As far as the police are concerned, it is open season on both. Service without fear or favour applies to the Unwoke in much the same way that a Waldorf salad applies to the unDead.
It was not always this way. Some constables still remember when politics was a private affair, and the uniform bore nothing more than force, rank, number and the breast pocket ribbons of past military service. Now, encouraged to bring one’s authentic selves to work, it is hard to distinguish a police briefing from the green room of RuPaul’s Drag Race, especially during Pride week.
Of course, authentic selves are only welcome where they express an approved ideology; one from the very top tiers. An adult human female wearing a badge stating her identity as an Adult Human Female would not be welcome. Neither would a constable with Irish Protestant heritage who had decorated his uniform with the colours of the local Grand Lodge. Orange laces are political and sectarian. Rainbow laces are authentic and diverse.
The Equality Act 2010 was designed to protect individuals vulnerable to discrimination. However, through the systematic and deliberate process of anthropomorphic creep, protection has transferred from the individual to the ideology. As a result, Islam is protected in a way that Muslim females are not. Similarly, the ideology of Black Lives Matter is held in higher regard than the lives of black people, who, according to an analysis conducted by Action On Armed Violence, are three times more likely to be killed on the streets of London than any other group. We only know the names of Stephen Lawrence and George Floyd because their deaths were rendered significant by virtue of the identities of those who killed them. Black on black death is accepted as the norm. Only where the death is perceived as an assault on the protected ideology does it register.
Burdened by the mantle of historic guilt, the police have become perpetual early adopters of wokery. And, like the great white hunter who, whilst shooting rhinoceros on the road to Damascus, has a divine encounter with veganism, the police cannot help but ram their revelation down our throat. Blessed with the Knowledge of Good and Evil, this ideological hierarchy provides a framework to sidestep the traditional requirement to police without fear or favour. The higher the position, the more relaxed the police can be in enforcing its own Code of Ethics, the lower the position, the more heavy-footed it can be in resisting heretics.
The system of favourites amounts to an ideological protection racket. Terrorism committed by a maniac holding aloft a copy of the Qur’an is seldom labelled Islamic—the non-word "Islamist" is as close as it gets. Terrorism committed by someone with "Katy Hopkins" in their search history is automatically cast as being the deranged product of the far-right. When a man who identifies as transgender commits rape, the police class it as "woman on woman violence." The judiciary, too, is in on the racket. Despite directing the jury that the six Extinction Rebellion defendants who had caused criminal damage to Shell’s London headquarters had no defence at law, Judge Gregory Perrins nevertheless thanked them for exercising care and attention when it returned a not-guilty verdict. The ideology of Extinction Rebellion trumps the rule of law.
The police lead the way in turning a blind eye to the violence committed in service to protected ideologies. Take the case of the young teacher forced into hiding for breaking an Islamic restriction on depicting the Prophet Mohammad. Together with the teaching Union and the school, the police have left it to the bin men of Batley to provide the teacher with the thinnest of blue lines. Ideologically, the teacher is the wrong type of victim.
Imagine a scenario in which a young Muslim teacher was threatened by a mob of evangelicals with Alabama accents for showing The Life of Brian. One cannot imagine a response that did not involve police in full riot gear and snipers on the school roof. Teaching Unions would call a general strike. Owen Jones would decamp to Batley. Ideology punches down.
The police have removed any pretence that its service is restricted to the maintenance of law and order. This week, the National LGBT+ Police Network, which operates unaccountably as a police force across all 43 constabularies, tweeted that its mission was to #StandForStonewall. Last week, during the inaugural podcast of The Thin Pink Line, the same group declared that its mission is to build a fairer society. Recast as social architects, the police are systematically supplanting the emergent architecture of democracy with the favoured ideologies of a borderless state. The GDR’s Honecker and Mielke would be proud.