Three cheers for the Duchess of Cornwall who heroically stood up for freedom of speech last week by declaring that
"political correctness is as severe a form of censorship as any".
The Duchess has shown how game she is, given all the stick she has taken in the past by journalists exercising their freedom of speech. She has now earned herself a guaranteed place in the next routine of stand-up comic Stewart Lee, who believes that political correctness is a "huge lie". According to Lee, PC just
"allows the Right [...] to make people on the Left, who are concerned about the way people are represented, look like killjoys".
Which doesn't say much for Lee's powers as an observational comic.
Listed below is a tiny selection of the myriad ways in which political correctness has extended its tentacles into every aspect of our existence. Some of it is so silly, it is almost funny. Some of it is so perniciously wrong and destructive, it deserves only outrage. If PC was originally designed with the best of intentions to make the world a better, fairer, happier place, it has failed dismally.
Formerly a challenging test in which the brightest 25 per cent of the population could demonstrate their aptitude for university; now, given away free with packets of breakfast cereal in order that teenagers may have their self-esteem boosted by spending three useless years studying Wind Farming and Poi Studies at a place called "uni".
Forbidden by new health and safety regulations at Butlins resorts from bumping into one another. "The point of our dodgems is to dodge people, not run into people," explained a spokesman.
An all-embracing, new world religion that enables PC busybodies to persecute 4x4 drivers, air passengers, and anyone who dares to leave their television on standby, on the — scientifically dubious — grounds that if they don't stop guzzling energy, All The Baby Polar Bears Will Die.
In 2007, 10-year old Jordan Lyon was allowed to drown in a pond despite the presence of two Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs). They did not attempt a rescue because, said a police spokesman, they were "not trained to deal with such an incident". PCSO training does include "race and diversity" and "health, safety and welfare". But not anything that might actually enable them to perform any kind of useful public service, apparently.
The greatest bastion of political incorrectness. To a blind woman with a guide dog outside Exeter cathedral, he asked: "Do you know they have eating dogs for the anorexic now?" And to a driving instructor in Oban, Scotland: "How do you keep the natives off the booze long enough to get them through the test?"
Question: How many men does it take to fix a woman's watch?
Answer: What does she need a watch for? There is a clock on the oven.
Now as utterly verboten as your samizdat copies of The Story of Little Black Sambo and Tintin Au Congo — as Conservative activists Bill and Star Etheridge recently discovered. The couple were suspended by the Tory party after posting pictures of themselves holding golliwog soft toys on Facebook. Ironically, they were doing it to protest at the relentless growth of political correctness.
PC's armed, militant wing, responsible for all that pettifogging, intrusive legislation that doesn't actually make anyone feel healthier or safer. Just so mad they want to go out right now and do either themselves or someone else a violent injury.
Fertile source of many of the greatest PC idiocies of our age, mainly the result of white liberals treading on egg shells in their desperation not to offend. For example, the £80,000 recently paid by the Government to militant Islamist Tafazal Mohammad in order to use his knowledge gleaned at terror camps, where he had trained with the 7/7 bombers, to lecture "youth leaders" and council workers on how to "engage" with Muslims.
Not only the Remembrance-poppy-shunning, self-described "pinko liberal" newsreader, but also for the John Snow pub in Soho, London, whose landlady was hounded by the Twitter Taliban for having dared to throw out a snogging gay couple after complaints from customers.
"And would that be ritually-slaughtered, blood-drained chicken nuggets you want with those fries, sir? Because if it isn't — tough."
Already eight of KFC's London outlets serve Halal-only menus, following the example of some Domino's Pizza branches which — much to the annoyance of non-Muslim customers — now no longer serve pizza topped with pepperoni, sausage or ham.
Home of the world's most pampered dormice: in 2010, thanks to the generosity of you, the taxpayer, £190,000 was spent building a series of dormouse bridges and boxes to prevent the precious rodents being squished on a new traffic bypass.
Which, thanks to a truly inspired " fairness " ruling this year by the European Court of Justice, has now been rendered considerably less fair. Young women — 10 times less likely to have a serious accident than young men — must now pay the same insurance premiums. Under the same gender equality legislation, male pensioners will have their income reduced, even though statistically they are likely to die younger than women.
Perfectly acceptable, nay, compulsory if you are a rapper; no longer so if you are Guy Gibson in 'The Dam Busters' (when the 1955 film is shown now, his faithful black dog's unfortunate name is often bleeped out). Nor even if you are Huckleberry Finn: in a new version of his Adventures, the offending word — used in Mark Twain's 1884 classic 217 times — was replaced by "slave".
At which we have become so skilled at, it really ought to be our new Olympic sport. In the old days, we had a saying: "Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me." Now, almost certainly banned to avoid giving offence to sufferers of brittle bone disease.
The health-and-safety-abusing, Muslim-offending children's book character, recently had to be redrawn wearing a seatbelt after complaints from sharp-eyed idiot parents that she wasn't wearing one.
Such as the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC), which — mysteriously — has survived the Coalition's promised bonfire. The EHRC alone costs the taxpayer an annual £70?million, which it uses to stoke the culture of grievance, social division, chippiness and compensation-crazed litigiousness that makes modern Britain such a pleasant place to live.
— to whom you must now refer to as your "companion animal". According to academics at the Journal of Animal Ethics, the term "pet" is demeaning and derogatory of "free-living" creatures.
Fond nickname used by the Prince of Wales and his boys for their Asian polo-playing chum, Kuldip Dhillon. "I enjoy being called Sooty by my friends," says Dhillon. But this has not stopped the PC brigade taking umbrage on his behalf. A spokesman for Give Racism the Red Card, a charity campaigning against racism in sport, said: "In our view, there's no friendly banter where racism is concerned."
In its own estimation a heroic defender of free speech; in reality, a shrill, finger-wagging bully pulpit in which anyone who breaches its ruthlessly enforced codes of aching political correctness is hounded by the Twitter Taliban. Even Twitter overlord Stephen Fry was berated for daring to question whether women had the same sex drives as men.
Now, apparently, no longer a bar to getting a job. Last year, a Norfolk recruitment boss was told by her local Jobcentre Plus that she couldn't advertise for "reliable and hard-working" applicants because it might "discriminate against the unreliable".
See also veganism and all those other very irritating food fads, which dinner guests will insist on imposing on you ("This bread, it doesn't contain wheat, does it?"), making your catering arrangements unnecessarily difficult. Say:
"Sure, I can do vegetarian. You can have the potatoes and cabbage I'm serving with my delicious lamb casserole."
The fake annual festival loved by Left-wing city councils and politically correct officials because it enables them to stoke grievance culture, discourage schools from holding Nativity plays, save money on Christmas decorations, and infuriate Britain's Anglican majority. In the old days, we used to call it Christmas.
Last month, electrician and former soldier Colin Atkinson faced the sack for displaying a crucifix in the window of his company van. And yet Muslim supermarket employees are perfectly entitled to refuse to serve alcohol on the grounds that it offends their religion.
Who, thanks to our failing education system's "all shall have prizes" ethos, believe that the world owes them not only a living but also three taxpayer-subsidised years of rutting and drug-taking at university. Tell them it is unaffordable, and they riot around the Cenotaph. This is the generation whose parents were too caring to say "no".
Formerly a realm of entertainment and wonder, where you took your children to gawp at the elephants; now, an expensive anticlimax, in which most of the big animals have been replaced by leafcutter ants and where you are hectored by earnest environmental messages, such as the one at London Zoo where the "World's Most Dangerous Animal" turns, on closer examination, to be YOU in a mirror.
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