The internet is like many other developments in human history; it’s changed all our lives for the better, but it’s also left some unforeseen consequences in its wake. One of these more pernicious side effects has been to witness our society drowning in hyperbole. Now everyone’s a Nazi and every piece of legislation is proof positive of Orwell’s dystopian nightmare. Vaccine passports, environmentalism and international trade have morphed into the horsemen of the apocalypse and the mark of the beast, rather than issues for serious discussion by thoughtful people.
This constant ratcheting up of attention-seeking outrage has an anaesthetic effect on our collective consciousness, rendering us less able to recognise a real danger when it appears. Rather than comprehending a genuine existential threat, we find ourselves merely tut-tutting as knife violence soars and our once respected police keep files on everyday citizens who’ve broken no laws.
It’s disappointing that the Daily Mail should be the paper to highlight such an issue of genuine concern, but the truth is the truth, no matter from whence it comes. The arrest of an elderly Christian preacher for the crime of quoting the Bible in public should send shivers down the spine of every free citizen anywhere in the world.
The fact that the 71-year-old was later released without charge is no comfort, because although he has not been charged, the encounter will still be recorded as a non-crime hate incident by the police. That’s right, in our topsy-turvy authoritarian world, not breaking the law is now sufficient reason for the police to keep a file on you. The fact that quoting one of the three Abrahamic texts verbatim is now grounds for arrest and state sponsored harassment is nothing short of terrifying. It’s my sincere hope that Mr Sherwood has a Muslim friend who’s willing to stand in the same spot and quote the Koran on the same subject. It would be fun to watch the Met’s mental gymnastics team spring into action!