Political correctness, a dangerous blight on our world

YOU are cordially invited to a ploughpersons lunch at John Storer House….’
I nearly fell off my chair opening the morning post as a young reporter at the Loughborough Echo.
Little did I know this was a landmark moment in my life – my first ever encounter with political correctness.
How things have changed in the three decades or so since. Or at least partly. I’m certainly not laughing now – but I’m more convinced than ever that political correctness is a scourge on our society and a very dangerous one at that.
Another fairly harmless example came during a light-hearted piece on Radio 5 Live yesterday afternoon.
The presenters were discussing the publication of a list of our 100 most popular comedy films when one posed the question why there were very few from around 2000 onwards.
In a lightbulb moment, a listener provided a very good answer: “Political correctness.”
Certain comedians apparently vanished off the face of the earth – or at least our TV screens – when this philosophy took hold.
Funny thing is most of them were very good and I can’t remember being offended by any of them.
Maybe that’s because I don’t take comedy literally. It either makes me laugh or it doesn’t and heads in one ear and out the other (like many, I can hardly ever remember a joke).
Getting a little bit more serious now, I was saddened and angered by the way Labour shadow cabinet minister Sarah Champion was treated over her ‘racist’ remarks.
She wrote in an article in The Sun that there appeared to be a Pakistani men link with the recent rape gang trials.
Firstly, she seems to have a good point – but, more importantly, she should be entitled to state her honest view, even if she’s wrong and even if she offends people along the way.
That, surely, is how ‘free speech’ should operate?
In my view, we should all respect and not abuse each other.
But part of that ‘respect’ is that everything we say and do should be open to genuine question.
Allow me to go back to another early example of a denial of our freedoms from my early journalistic career.
You may recall that the author Salman Rushdie received death threats and was given personal security for years after writing a book called Satanic Verses that appeared to be critical of the Islamic faith.
I decided it was a good idea to visit our local Mosque in Loughborough to find out what the official view of local Muslims was.
The answer I got from the Imam genuinely shocked me.
He told me that the author should not be subjected to the fatwa. Or death sentence, but he should be ‘severely tortured’.
Dangerous nonsense! Because a guy is bright enough not to be taken in by a religion, he should be tortured? Exactly which century are we living in?
Suffice to say that today’s ‘racism’ and ‘Islamophobia’ allegations often leave me cold.
I’m not wishing to be assassinated quite yet – certainly not on a day when Notts have a very important T20 quarter final – but I’ll just leave you with this.
For me, the issue is one of ‘discrimination’ rather than ‘ism’.
If someone discriminates against a fellow human being on account of their gender, skin colour, religion or sexual orientation that’s plain wrong and needs to be corrected.
But merely holding a personal view about any of these issues is not a prosecutable offence in my book.
Believe me, I hold many!
My concern – and the real reason for this article – is where we are heading.
Already a slip of the tongue or the pen can cancel out a lifetime of very good work in politically correct minds.
Sarah Champion apparently worked tirelessly to help the victims of rape gangs in her community.
Isn’t that more important and relevant than her views of the abusers?
We have been lured bit by bit into a world where Donald Trump, or Theresa May for that matter, can launch the most vicious weapons known to humanity and not be criticised, but should either raise a question mark about ‘gay marriage’ they could lose their jobs.
On that note, I will let this lie for now.
Political correctness causes us to lose our perspective and confuse mountains with molehills.

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