Here is Bidisha’s latest thought for the day: it is very similar to all her other thoughts. I am reposting the article in full as it is mercifully short:
‘Have you ever wondered what happens inside Birmingham magistrates court? Well, speculate no more. This week, West Midlands police took to Twitter like … well, like underemployed pen-pushers who could be working on increasing the rape conviction, but are Tweeting instead.
I’d imagined that the combination of local court plus Twitter would be a marriage of inanity. I was wrong. It turned out that the 24-hour “tweet-a-thon” was both funny and sad. The life it showed is not a rich tapestry, but the repetitive bottom two inches of a threadbare rug: the thieves, the liars, the chancers, the sad, the desperate. There’s the woman who stole cucumbers and flour from a shop (cucumber fritters?), the guy who stole electric fans, and the woman who stole mascara and hid it in her bra.
The West Midlands “tweet-a-thon” is a creative reaction to the decline in newspaper reporting of court proceedings, but I don’t think it should be a police priority. There are surely other areas they should be focusing on. My last two encounters with the police went like this: a knock at the door late in the evening. A nice officer: “Hello, nothing to worry about. We’ve had a call from a woman in distress from around this area and all we know is that it’s a dark-coloured front door.” Another knock months later. A brusque officer to my mother: “We’ve had a call from a woman in distress with an Asian name. Who else lives here? Do you have a daughter? Does she know how to speak English?”
Guess what, I do! And whoever this woman in distress is, cops, you’d better get the hell off Twitter and find her’
Her first question struck me most: have you ever wondered what happens inside Birmingham magistrates court? Because my answer is no. But then I don’t need to because I have spent two days there, which rate amongst some of the most unpleasant days of my life.
I was at magistrates court in Birmingham a long time ago now, standing as a witness in a case of a contravention of the ‘harassment’ laws of 1997, whereby my ex boyfriend had broken an ‘injunction’ prohibiting him from coming near me or my house. This injunction had been implemented after he had been stalking me, and also had broken into my house and assaulted me (for which he had been convicted in crown court and fined).
Bidisha does not acknowledge here that magistrates courts try different kinds of offences from crown court, and that ‘rapists’ would not be at a magistrates court, and neither would the officers who were working on rape cases. That’s why, the list of crimes she cites, read like
‘the repetitive bottom two inches of a threadbare rug: the thieves, the liars, the chancers, the sad, the desperate.’
This is one of the most condescending, middle class, ivory tower insulting sentences I have seen in the Guardian for a long time! How awful it must be to be amongst the ‘bottom two inches’ of society. As people who end up in the magistrates court are. As I was myself. For two horrible days. Facing my attacker in the witness box, at the coffee machine, in the waiting room.
Bidisha is making out that police officers are hanging around the magistrates court, instead of being out there, ‘fighting crime’, catching the ‘baddies’, like they would in the cartoon world Bidisha seems to inhabit. When in fact, police have to attend court and give statements and look after witnesses, and do paperwork, because the people who pass through the doors of the magistrates court, matter, just as the exciting, nasty, cartoon baddies matter, the important ones that get done for ‘proper’ ‘criminal’ crimes like rape. So they may aswell make the effort to document some of the experiences of those people. To show a world they exist, a world that actually probably never ‘wonders’ what goes on inside Birmingham magistrates court.
Bidisha also makes reference to police officers coming to her door, after women have called them ‘in distress’. Now I don’t know for sure, but it is most likely those women were involved in domestic violence/domestic disputes. They probably were not in the midst of being raped, as mostly, it would be hard to make a call whilst being raped I should think.
And, as feminists often present it, so Bidisha does too, it sometimes seems as if ‘domestic violence’ is the boring, poor relation to ‘rape’ with its exciting one-syllable name, and all the connotations of sex and serial killers that go with it. The police get called out to domestic violence cases all the time. When I was in Birmingham magistrates court, my attacker’s lawyer asked me over and over why I called the police so many times on one particular evening? He made out I was a fantasist, an attention-seeker, wasting police time. I remember the police in the magistrates court when I was there. They were in some ways, a comforting presence, in comparison to the wigged-up lawyers and suited and booted solicitors. That sounds strange now, that I am back in the ‘real world’ where I don’t have to deal with the legal system. But at the time, compared to the man who had assaulted me, and the judicial system that judged him, and me, the police were my link to the everyday, to normality.
I think Bidisha holds twitter in the same contempt she does ‘rapists’ and the ‘cops’ and the ‘bottom two inches’ of society, who find themselves in Birmingham magistrates court. Because she thinks they all represent the uncultured, dumbed-down, patriarchal world that she is somehow superior to, and separate from, but also oppressed by. She has a very limited presence on twitter, and does not follow anyone there. Maybe she has no friends?
And The Guardian pays Bidisha to write this shit. I don’t know why. Maybe it thinks she is a provocative, controversial figure. I think she is just a sour, embittered woman. Please RT.