Merchants Of Change

If you share the values and value the beliefs of serious columnists who aren’t afraid to challenge the recently re-energised merchants of change – especially the disciples and followers of the well trumped Hope and Change High Priest Obama – you’ll have plenty to reveal when you come out of the emerging market wilderness and seek the sanctuary of shared cause, from your safe haven in Miami.

The first consideration in what to reveal when concerns aim. Satire has always been the most effective way to expose hidden agendas that threaten healthy values. To paraphrase Swift, satire is a sort of glass (a mirror) wherein beholders do discover everyone’s face but their own (irony), which is that chief reason for its kind reception in the world (yeah right), and why so very few are offended by it (hah hah). He also calls satire a game of hide and seek, since exposure by ridicule doesn’t endear a satirist to his prey.

In the good old days, any self-respecting pro-am satirist would be delighted to find some creative way to have a go at a pseudo-charlatan like Barry and hope to provoke overreach. While the satirist could expect the system savvy to take revenge in ways many and nefarious in the age of technology, panicking Plod into prosecuting wasn’t one of them. But not now. Today, in the UK’s post-sticks’n’stones society where everyone is quick to take offence to gain an advantage bestowed on them by a pampering nanny state, even a wannabe charlatan at the bottom of the grievance-mongering food chain can expect to be indulged by the Police.

So while a pseudo-charlatan like Obama can drive policy that damages your interest and insults your intelligence, and you can return the compliment with a satirical gauntlet, a common or garden charlatan with a piss poor social media following, loads of mental health issues, entitlements and a criminal record, who happens surprise surprise to know his way around the system, can take any liberty he wants, and if challenged by satire ring 999, claim victim status, and watch the state machinery fire up in his favour.

From there, in my experience, the satirist is on a one way ticket via The Protection From Harassment Act 1997 to a criminal record of his own for non-violent harassment, while the fake victim wallows in the complete and confirmation biased support of impartial Police looking to take advantage of soft targets to boost prosecution rates. In mitigation, I guess he who pays the piper, calls the tune, if you forget that is ultimately the taxpayer. Less agreeable is the complicity of legal eagles for defence and prosecution, who see the gravy on the train, and ignore the devils driving it, and Magistrates or Judges who appear more inclined to take whatever the fake victim says at face value, while dismissing any line of argument that questions how satire that aims to offend creatively can be conflated with harassment in the first place. All in all a united front of ‘you’re lucky not to get six months inside, Son, here’s a criminal record, 120 hours community service, and a £500 quid fine, now fu@k off it’s 5 pm, we’re late for our afternoon crumpets and tea’!

Since when was UK drafted legislation originally designed to meet the challenge of creepy stalkers reinvented to target free speech? You’d have thought in a Magistrate’s Court the pen would be mightier than the sword when it came to settling differences, but if I’d gone Ben Stokes (the England cricketer who prefers to let his fists do the talking), at least I’d have had a path to a Crown Court jury, who might have seen through the fake victim’s act, and acquitted on the basis that the ‘defendant’ in my case had it coming to him. Sad to say with a conviction for non-violent harassment, all that’s on offer is an appeal to a Crown Court in front of a Judge and two Magistrates, so out of the frying pan and into the fire.

Well, we’ve all had that sinking feeling when authority applies the letter of the law subjectively to suit their agenda, and appears blind to all mitigating circumstances, which the rest of us would call context. Nothing will save you, not even a miracle, and the miracle in this case was that my satire worked. The lowlife who tried to end a mate’s marriage on his terms, and make off with his wife and three year old Son, was exposed as a fraud to those that mattered or cared, and most importantly, the vain and vulnerable wife! The poor woman was well beyond the point of no return, with a whole legal system in place to carry her deeper into her misfortune, when a simple satirical spanner lobbed into the legal works confounded the whole self-serving chicanery. But it was a race against time, with the Police doing everything they could to PROTECT THEIR VICTIM, which meant a cover up of glaring Police bias and inadequacy first and foremost.

Despite their concerted efforts, I won that race before the Cops could close me down, and my friend’s wife saw the dark side of the fake victim the Police became complicit in hiding from her, so when his anger and jealousy boiled over after she’d been on a night out with her girlfriends, he was dropped like a hot rock. Directly or indirectly, satire was a game changer for her life, not to mention my friend’s. It was so effective, I’ve even been asked to provide a complementary pre-emptive service to Father’s For Justice, who have to play it by the book after the legal process has done its worse. Method was quite harmless and according to case precedent legal, and even gave the fake victim a rocky ride that might have turned him in a better direction. Unfortunately it was also creative and unconventional, and designed to knock a back-stabbing foe off balance, and the fact that it worked, and victim lost, was almost unbearable to what passes for authority in the politically correct, progressive socialist culture of the UK.

Well, marriage in the 21st century is as popular with the bien pensant as capitalism, free speech that disagrees with them, any independent mind that stands up for itself, or indeed Christianity, which is a shame since these are the very foundations of a Western culture that allows them the freedom to dream up and write such reckless self-sabotaging ideology into law in the first place. In 21st century Britain who doesn’t accept women are free to make their choices, but also to digest or ignore subsequent warnings about choices made based on fraudulent claims or cover ups? And surely satire is the safest and surest form of exposure, where authorities can’t or won’t step in? Was it worth taking my method to a higher authority? 

After a quick half-time huddle with a Probation Officer who liked my story, and the friend who hired my satire, I decided to appeal. At least a more experienced Crown Court Judge might be less subjective than the prim and proper local Magistrate who quite openly took personal offence. But things didn’t start well. As I waited outside Court, the Barrister my failed lawyer had procured to replace him at County Court level emerged to say the fake victim had applied to appear via TV link, a tactical move clearly designed to influence the Judge against me, which was accepted even though he’d previously given evidence from the witness box at the Magistrate’s Court, no problem. Now, suddenly, I was such a danger, he couldn’t be in the same room as me! 

This legal sleight of hand, indulged by the new Judge, backfired somewhat amusingly when the Crown’s Prosecutor, looking to set the scene and establish the identity of his client in the opening preamble, repeatedly asked the claimant to confirm my friend’s wife (back with my friend at that point) was his wife, however many times his client tried to correct him. The fancy robes and whig seemed to have turned the Prosecutor, a bright man one presumes, into a deaf and dumb village idiot. While his unintended but humiliating insensitivity would have annoyed anyone, it thoroughly unmasked his client. All carefully crafted vulnerability went out the window.

As frustration turned to anger, the Judge was forced to step in to rescue his floundering Prosecutor, by suggesting he begin by focussing on the satirical flyer. That made things worse. With smoke coming out of his ears, the fake victim went off on an exaggerated rant about the flyer and its effects on him that might have worked if the Judge hadn’t had an original copy in his hand to look at. Unable to control this angry outburst via CCTV, the Judge was forced to adjourn after ordering him into Court to appear in the witness box behind a screen. We all watched him jump up from his seat, rip off his microphone, and exclaim ‘let’s do this’ like he was ready for fisticuffs, his woe is me defence up in flames.

Since the plan was to set the harassment claims in the proper context of his anger and exaggeration, I should have been cheering these own goals to the rafters, but he’d been exposed as a liar twice at the beginning of the Magistrate’s Court hearing to no avail, so now at appeal I paid more attention to the way the Judge clearly sympathised with the blundering Prosecutor, and appeared ready to wave on a change of demeanour in his client that made a mockery of his request to give evidence by TV link. Where is the law in that? 

So when proceedings resumed with the Judge saying that he and his fellow Magistrates had studied the leaflet, and couldn’t see how it wasn’t harassment, my fears were confirmed. ‘What is his defence?’ he asked my Barrister. ‘That the leaflet is satirical’, she replied directly. ‘But he could write he was going to send heavies down to the victim’s house and call it satire’, was the Judge’s reply! From there, the way he’d schooled the hapless Prosecutor, and tolerated the fake victim’s defiance when pulled up for exaggeration, prior experience told me we were into familiar ass-covering territory where the better my defence, the heavier the punishment I could expect. 

My Barrister asked for a brief adjournment. She didn’t have much work to do to persuade me I was on a hiding to nothing. At least the farce of the TV link and the Prosecutor’s comical bungling meant I wasn’t quitting an evenly reffed contest so much as getting out 0-0 in a rigged one. Needless to say, when back in Court, the Prosecutor had rediscovered his legal mojo enough to ask that I cough another £250 to cover prosecution costs. I hope he spent it on an opening statement refresher course, or a new brain. 

What surprised and disappointed me most, apart from the instant conflation of satire with harassment, was the way the legal system banned context from proceedings. The defendant could post provocations over Facebook and Instagram, to thousands of followers my friend didn’t know, and I couldn’t respond with a satirical flyer for posting through letterboxes of people he didn’t know, which in the end could only be proven to have been seen by the fake victim, two of his friends, and it’s priority recipient, my friend’s wife! The leaflet branded him a charlatan because that is what investigations revealed, but none of the evidence compiled was admissible, or even open to discussion, not even a criminal record for a shotgun violation; which, when mixed with an opioid prescription, medication for depression, and claims of clairvoyancy, should have rung anyone’s alarm bells. In fact, at Magistrate’s court my Lawyer accepted I could have been facing a convicted Yorkshire Ripper, and my satire would still have been criminalised. The victim, or whoever claims victim status first, gets ring fenced by the legal system, which, without the checks and balances provided by context, is easily exploited.

On a personal level, the means justified the end. I saved my friend’s future, and if offered at the outset, I’d have happily taken a criminal record, 120 hours community service, and total £750 in fines as punishment for breaking a charlatan’s spell that, with a child involved, could have spiralled out of control. I couldn’t afford to lose him at that stage in the battle of the Great Reset to a wife’s bad choices. 

On the other hand, I was found guilty in two Courts of law of non-violent harassment, with my unique brand of satire offering no protection whatsoever. There wasn’t a single part of the process, with the notable exception of the ex-cop Probation Officer who urged me to appeal, that didn’t feel like an institutionalised stitch up. Any relief that the Crown Prosecution Service dropped the more serious charge of malicious communication, after it had been used as an excuse to send three Cop cars and a van to arrest me, stick me in a cell for 8 hours, and search my friend’s flat (where they found 9,997 satirical leaflets ready for distribution!), was tempered by the realisation that they’d merely fallen back on weaker catch all legislation designed to boost prosecution rates. They had arranged my plea bargain amongst themselves. As for the local Police – when my mobile number and internet address were on the leaflet, and I’d apparently been reported for such a serious crime ten days previously – the fix, as events soon proved, was clearly in!

But how would my satirical genre fair in the court of UK public opinion? It’s undeniably, and quite intentionally, rude and offensive, but what most reasonable family people would consider proportionate and even restrained given the level of provocation. However unpleasant to its intended target, and distasteful to some who’d prefer ineffective manners to effective method, is it ridiculous and exaggerated and quite clearly satirical to others? Everyone knows impartial Plod is part of a legal process that has a left liberal agenda which takes sides, but is this, to the wordly-wise in modern Britain, acceptable satire and a proportionate and relatively harmless response, the literary equivalent to fisticuffs behind the bike shed that the Police could have broken up with a simple warning, or as the rigged law has found, criminal harassment? 

A4 folded to A5, Inside Cover of Leaflet

It’s well known the legal system has a blind spot when it comes to personality disorders, the spectrum of conditions which belong to some of the most manipulative people in society, and to that you can add a pathological dislike of effective satire that works. Two months after the appeal, a young woman who had endured three years of emotional abuse and harassment from this loser who won in court got in touch with my friend’s wife. On an open mike call she described how it became so bad, she had suicidal thoughts, which is a red flag for most when it comes to establishing the gravity of abusive behaviour.

It turned out what we had seen was the tip of the iceberg. She claimed he went for vulnerable women with young children, and knew of a number of other women who’d suffered his mental abuse. She herself went into some detail. My friend could hardly believe what he was hearing. While someone else’s story is hard to quantify, especially when it comes to mental abuse, much of which to a listener sounds personal and petty, it’s real to them. My friend’s instincts and investigations were vindicated, I was glad to hear, and so to my support, but too late to affect my indictment. Without risking prison, there was nothing more any of us could do. If she’d rung six months earlier, she would have been the witness my defence lacked, and the trial would have been very different, even if the outcome wasn’t. 

Still, the value of personal vindication is not to be underestimated, and my friend had detected in this emotional account a determination that led him to believe this wasn’t the end of it, and we’d hear from her again. 

And indeed it wasn’t, and we did. After a heated argument with one of her friend’s, who had the courage to stand up to his slander, he went to his buddies at the local police station, the same who’d arrested me, and asked them to run a background check on the person with the affront to stand up to him. How was this illegal collusion revealed? Her wingman lived across County lines, and worked for the Ministry of Defence, for whom a background check by Police into one of their staff has to be investigated. Local bent Plod had unwittingly stepped on a landmine! According to her, the Officer was immediately ‘suspended pending further investigations’. And this time she’d built up the courage to make her own move; with the help of a lawyer she crafted a cease and desist letter, which mentioned by name other victims willing to come forward, who were listed as material witnesses. Here’s the half of it, before the detail becomes too private for me to publish:

First Side Of Cease And Desist Letter

Last I checked, between us we’d boxed him in, though that’s not to say he hasn’t moved on to fresh pastures. Let’s be honest here, when it comes to hard targets, who require some tracking and trapping, the Police these days don’t want to know. And if asked to take a side when some minor issue begins to reveal a major one, most hard working folk who know this prefer to run for the hills, and hope the minor issue goes away and the major one never affects them. Free speech, and especially satire, seem so detached from everyday life at the coalface, but that’s the caged canary in the coal mine, and when it goes silent, it’s the working class down the mines who are most at risk. America, now Trump has stopped tweeting freely, will be the last to discover this. 

Who creates the progressive legal climate that these low life’s thrive in, and how can they be stopped? That’s the larger question of our times. Of course it’s the same group of shady dealers with shared agendas who create laws that protect them from close scrutiny. But what do you think? Can satire, as the Magistrate asked me, yes or no, cause harassment? Is it fair to demand a binary answer to that question? For me, the law needs to define satire, and decide if someone active and provocative on social media is fair game. I chalked it up as a useful test case, and a relatively painless leaning curve, and prepared to join the other endangered freedom of speech fighters in Miami, where there’s stomach for the fight. Florida is as good a place as any to make a last stand. I’ll arrive in court better equipped next time. 

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