This week everyone is getting their drawers in a bunch over Katie Hopkins and her big flappy faux-posh gob. Let’s face it – the Daily Mail reader in us all wants to stick a pitchfork up her arse, flick a match at her head and watch the Elnett-fuelled flames shoot to the sky so that she looks like Calcifer from Howl’s Moving Castle. Except wearing a Hobbs frock and pearl earrings.
But take a minute to have a little think about this.
We can all spot a cunt a mile off (at least I can. It’s not on my LinkedIn profile, but it’s a skill I’m reasonably certain should be) and the ‘RahRahRah We’re going to Smash the Oiks!’ thing that she has going on is the real thing that is pissing us off about her. We’re just trying to find excuses to hate her without actually being like her. You see, we all make sweeping judgements about other people. As I’ve just said, I have a Cunt-dar the size of Birmingham and regularly use it. It’s all about making a call based upon the information you are immediately presented with. In Katie’s case, it’s clear to all that she is desperate for fame at any cost, knows that she is abrasive of character and has taken a conscious decision to be inflammatory as a fast-lane to the media opinionated rent-a-gob career she desires. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to work out that scandal=column inches.
I’ve never met Katie, but that is my judgement of her.
I don’t think I’ve ever met a person who hasn’t taken a sweeping great headlong leap into an opinion, based on the tiniest fragment of information.
Someone’s fat? They lack willpower and self-esteem.
Super thin? Psychological problems.
Massive belly and tattoos? Yob.
I could go on, but it would be venturing into dangerous territory and I’m sure as hell not going to get into the ‘what women wear and what it says to people’ debate because that’s almost as blindly deluded as Katie Hopkins. What I’m saying here is that no-one is guilt-free. We’ve all had a little snigger at a Chardonnay. Fucking hell, I won’t even drink the stuff, let alone name my child after it.
We consider Katie Hopkins, however, to be at the ‘Harmless Nob’ end of the sweeping judgement spectrum. Offensive and telly-mutingly nasal, but not presenting an actual danger to the public. I watched the other end of this perceived spectrum with interest this morning as the BBC reported that police in England and Wales failed to provide adequate justification for ‘Stop and Searches’ in over a quarter of cases. Now I’ve been on the sticky end of this when, several years ago, I was stopped and searched outside a Train Station by a member of Her Majesty’s Constabulary.
I was asked to empty my pockets, give my full details including name, address, date of birth, occupation and more. I was quizzed about where I was going, who I was meeting, where I was coming from. I was then issued with a form explaining why I had been stopped in the first place. I didn’t read it until I reached my destination. There was a section where the officer had to declare their reason for making the stop and search. Mine had ‘Going Equipped for Burglary’.
Have a fucking day off, Constable.
At the time I was stopped, I was wearing (and bear with me on this, I was a LOT younger, working in an art shop and prone to rolling around in charity shops until I found something that fitted) a denim mini skirt, fishnet tights, Converse All Stars, A t-shirt and…here’s the killer…A HUMUNGOUS RABBIT FUR COAT, which was clearly concealing a crow bar or a hammer or similar. I am also exactly five feet nothing in height. The police officer in question had clearly made an error of judgement that I didn’t discover until I was well away from the situation and far too involved in a bottle of red wine to pursue any further. Yes, I could be lured from my anger with booze like a puppy with a squeaky toy because it’s not something I have to generally deal with. For many this isn’t always the case.
In 2010-2011 just over half of the forces in the UK reported on their Stop and Searches. It transpired that 64% of people stopped were of black, Asian or mixed race origin. In contrast, by 2012 only 4% of officers came from an ethnic minority. Stop and Search by its very nature is not based on data, but judgement. Very similar kinds of judgements that Mrs Hopkins uses to assess the appropriateness of playchums for her precious nippers – based on social class, dress, name, residence.
The reports of how many of these stops resulted in arrests for aggravated behaviour makes grim reading. I sure as fucking hell had the hump about being searched for no good reason (not as much as my dad though, who was practically frothing at the mouth with rage), so can you imagine if you regularly went through the same thing, week-in, week-out, with the knowledge that your life is being dictated by the prejudices of others. As a result, there is a proposed overhaul of the police S&S policy, which will more and more see police beginning to use an ‘intelligent’ approach to crime – the use of statistics and data. Facts over judgements.
But there will always be that element of Katie-ism in us all. You, me, the police, that little old fella you see at the bus stop every morning, the nice lady who says good morning to you at the train station, Prince Phillip – all people. All inherently flawed and crammed with information gleaned from other flawed individuals. Perhaps we should all own up to our innate judgement system and see it for the potential danger that it really holds instead of gasping in shock and anger at Katie Hopkins. She may be a braying moron, but at least we can see her coming.