Katie Hopkins: questioned on suspicion of having an opinion

Guy Birchall

Topics Free Speech

You may recall that back in April, Katie Hopkins wrote a column in the Sun in which she described migrants trying to cross the Mediterranean as ‘cockroaches’. The Twitterati and the PC brigade reacted with their usual sense of proportion, comparing her to Adolf Hitler before demanding she be sacked by the Sun and arrested by the police. Well, this week, the perpetually outraged (sort of) got their wish as Hopkins was interviewed under caution by a team from the Homicide and Major Crime Command of the Metropolitan Police over an allegation that the column ‘incited racial hatred’.

Either that part of the Met is the most woefully misnamed in the history of law enforcement, or the term ‘major crime’ has lost virtually all meaning. Hopkins may have used emotive language to make her point. It may be a point you disagree with. But suggesting we dissuade potential migrants with gunships does not make her a fascist, nor is it incitement to racial hatred. In fact, the fascistic thing to do is to suggest she should be arrested for something she has written. But this is an irony that is frequently lost on the censorious lobby, which seems to think that calling someone a racist automatically wins the argument.

Whatever your views on the so-called migrant problem, it’s there to be addressed. Hopkins was merely advocating a solution that the Australian government, for instance, is already pursuing. You may not like Australia’s approach to immigration, but the land Down Under is not a latter-day Third Reich.

What seems to be happening here is the police are indulging in the very PC pastime of ‘virtue signalling’. There is no reason for the police to question Hopkins over two months after the offending article was published other than to demonstrate their right-on credentials. At the moment it’s fashionable among the right-thinking to dislike Katie Hopkins, and the police are getting in on the act.

That the authorities are involving themselves in situations like this is a very concerning development. It is bad enough when universities overreact to a Twitterstorm, as UCL did when it forced scientist Sir Tim Hunt to resign following a vaguely sexist quip. But the police should know better. It is not their job to aid the PC brigade in their quest to police our language. Sure, it’s just the nation’s favourite rent-a-gob being questioned now — but who will be next? Rather than being outraged by something someone has written, why aren’t people outraged that the police have questioned someone for simply having the ‘wrong’ opinion?

Guy Birchall is a writer based in Stoke.

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Topics Free Speech


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