With little or no sense of irony, Kate Hopkins is all over Twitter and Facebook decrying those who expressed sympathy and condolences for the victims of Christchurch as just individuals out for retweets and likes. She ranges over familiar territory, that white conservatives are a put upon sector of society; that free speech is under attack from the liberal elite; that banning semi-automatic weapons is not an answer; and that Islamophobia is not the problem.
All of these things are open to debate. All of these things are capable of rational discussion. She is entitled to express these views, even though I consider them to be incorrect. I can respond by pointing out that white conservatives are a pretty visible and dominant proportion of our society. I can tell her that the fact that she is able to publish her views and that I am able to publish mine shows that feee speech thrives. If I ask the question “what makes it more difficult for the evil amongst us to kill dozens of people” then I can tell her the answer is banning semi-automatic weapons. And sadly I can point to the slaughter of children because of the religion into which they were born as proof that Islamophobia is a problem.
The difficulty is that Hopkins cannot simply have this debate. She is incapable of discussion without immediately descending into the language of bigotry and violence. And this is a problem. A very real problem.
Her opening line is “a war for the world is underway” and that “the victor has already been declared”. She speaks of “feeling threatened by one religion, seeming determined to take over all that was once ours.” Her voice goes on to cry that we are “forced out from within….strangers in our own land.” She perpetuates the myths of no-go zones for whites and links this to her “war” and the fact that “Christians in Britain [are] looking Eastwards for a new place to call home.”
And she concludes with the two sentences I reproduce here
This is not subtle. The subtext is about as sub as the Eiffel Tower. There is a war, she says, between white Christian culture on the one side and Muslims on the other, between the born here and the immigrant. What else can she mean? And she says that the fight is lost, the enemy, our enemy, has won.
This is not some discussion she is having about immigration. This is not the telling of difficult truths. It is the language of warfare. It is a call to arms. A call to arms in the aftermath of a man taking up semi-automatic firearms and shooting those which her post portrays as her enemy. As the enemy of Christians. As the enemy of indigenous populations. As the enemy of us all.
This is not simply in bad taste. This is reckless. This is exactly the sort of language that will cause individuals to hate every Muslim. It invites them too. It is the language of division.
It is entirely standard fare for Hopkins. Just six hours ago she tweeted
Not a critique of policing. This is not her view of the effectiveness of Sadiq Khan’s policies or decisions. At its heart is the fact that the Mayor is a Muslim. If Hopkins does not know what Islamophobia is, her house has no mirrors.
Society has many problems. We face the threat of Islamist terror. We face the threat of right wing terror. But that does not mean every man born a Muslim or who votes Conservative or UKIP is my enemy. Terrorists act on behalf of themselves, not every person with whom they share a characteristic. Hopkins is not my enemy because she is a right wing “conservative”, but she is someone that risks the safety of others with her toxic views and the violence of her expression.
I invite her to reflect and act as her own critic. Take down this post that talks of a war between us and those who share our streets and our lives.