Laurence Fox’s new role
Will the outspoken actor succeed in ridding the police of their rainbow flags?
The actor Laurence Fox and a former police officer are planning to run against the most extreme trans ideologists standing as Police and Crime Commissioners in the May elections this year. Their plan is to support PCC candidates of any party or none, who promise to rid local forces of politicised policing.
Harry Miller, who founded the organisation Fair Cop, says he’s happy to work with anybody who agrees that policing should be conducted “without fear or favour” and that he has been in discussions with Fox, who is best known for playing the role of detective sergeant James Hathaway in Lewis, about how best to oust “woke” sitting PCCs.
But how successful can they hope to be? The main issue Miller has with police forces is the way in which the gay and trans rights group Stonewall appears to be getting special favours. Fair Cop estimate that 24 police forces in England and Wales pay an annual subscription of £2,500 per force to the campaign group – with a significant amount of extra spending on Stonewall paraphernalia. This is an affiliation Fair Cop says does not exist with any other group, and would be troubling even if the strident internal politics of Stonewall’s trans positioning weren’t already causing so much dissent within the wider gay community. Certainly it’s hard to think on any comparable group likewise getting political favours from police forces in the way Stonewall does.
Last year Harry Miller wrote a letter to West Midlands police criticising a tweet they sent alleging that 40 per cent of trans people experienced a hate crime in the previous 12 months, a claim which he says is exaggerated by between 3000 and 5000 per cent. The Fair Cop founder also took issue with the force credulously posting virtue-signalling pictures on Twitter of a trans woman in a wig pointing a taser at the camera. Historically British police forces have been very po-faced about ‘pointed weapons’ imagery, not least in their own advertising materials, so this was a noticeable departure from the norm. Indeed, for the Police Federation – who have been on quite a journey themselves – she is trailblazer, being, in retrospect, one of the very first policewoman in the country to have been trained to use the X26 taser. Her own force proudly claim that Skye Morden, who used to be a bald-headed man called James, “knew that though she was assigned male at birth and had lived as a man for many years, she was, in fact, female.”
Miller’s points about the depths of official police sanction for the most radical of trans doctrines is worth bearing in mind given how forces then enforce the laws they have been given by the current government. Not least those pertaining to the Tory-created offence of “deadnaming”.
The appetite for independent candidates at PCC elections has dramatically dropped over the years
But taking on PCCs at the ballot box may be harder than it potentially seems as the appetite for independent candidates has dramatically dropped over the years. In 2012 the first PCC elections in England and Wales delivered 12 independent commissioners out of 40 but after 2016 there were only three who did not belong to a party. It’s telling that, even for an innovation as unpopular and apparently unsuccessful as Policy Exchange’s transtalantic-accented gimmick of elected sheriffs, or PPCs as they eventually became known, British voters aren’t prepared to creatively indulge themselves at the ballot box in the way they did for, say, elections to the European Parliament. Crime and policing remains a serious subject, even if PPCs palpably aren’t a serious institution, and Miller has sensibly said he would support candidates who are already members of existing parties so long as they sign up to a statement of impartiality.
The Fox/Miller plan hasn’t been finalised but their hit list is likely to include Angus Macpherson, the PCC of Wiltshire Police. The Wiltshire force recorded several “non-crime hate incidents” on the criminal record of Sarah Phillimore, a barrister specialising in child protection cases, based on some of her tweets questioning whether transwomen really are women. Phillimore was also recorded by South Yorkshire Police for religious hate for commenting that her cat might be a Methodist. By way of a test she had persuaded a colleague to report her cat tweet. When asked why the comment was hateful the colleague said she “meant to imply Methodists were wandering pests that defecate in people’s gardens” which was duly noted on her record by the force.
Miller and Fox will also campaign to repeal the 2002 Police Act which Miller says includes a “nebulous commitment to upholding human rights”. The point here is that human rights are defined widely by different groups and not limited to what’s in UK law. Miller points out that Amnesty International say preferred pronouns are a human right, a statement which British police have under the 2002 Act signed up to in some sense.
Whether or not the duo can succeed depends on a few factors. If the elections aren’t suspended for a second time (they were originally scheduled for 2020) a lot will depend on the restrictions still in place in May. While the media profile of Fox will give them an advantage in the national broadcast airwar, and continuing restrictions could neuter the comparative advantage (knocking on doors) of those established political parties who run offensively woke candidates, plenty of obstacles remain. No one could seriously say the ultra low-turnout PCC elections are an “intensely local contest” – they’re not an intense anything – but indifferent as most voters are, getting any sort of purchase on those who bother to turn out will inevitably be very hit and miss, even with bespoke, local campaigns. Fox and Miller have a clear opportunity in front of them, but as yet they seem to lack a truly signature issue.
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