INTERESTING programme on Radio 4 this morning (and repeated this evening, I think) on the Daily Mail‘s favourite topic, political correctness – PC RIP.
I take the middle road on this one – PC has been invaluable in reminding us of the importance of respecting other people and their culture. But some of it is just BS. I’ve written here before, for instance, about Glasgow City Council’s ludicrous decision to stop serving “black coffee” (it’s now “coffee without milk”, believe it or not). It would be too depressing even to start discussing the many reasons why this is absurd; it’s enough that I insist on ordering black coffee whenever I’m in the city chambers, even when I actually feel like a nice latte…
But it’s near the time of year when I join with every Telegraph and Daily Mail letter writer in expressing horror and indignation at the worst example of needless PC of them all – that’s right, we’re in the run-up to “The Holidays”.
I have never been able to understand why America, where so many people attend church every week, has capitulated so entirely to the absurd and mindless practice of referring to Christmas as The Holidays. Even George W. Bush is scared to put the word “Christmas” on his Christmas cards. And the infection has spread over here, inevitably (and I don’t refer to Birmingham’s late, unlamented “Winterval”). A couple of years ago I noticed that the packaging for B&Q’s Christmas decorations said “Happy Holidays” and made no reference to the actual name of this particular seasonal celebration.
The assumption is made that the celebrating of Christmas is offensive to non-Christians. There are two important points here: firstly, I don’t care. If you’re not a Christian, that’s up to you, but since I don’t get offended by others celebrating their own religious festivals, then they shouldn’t get offended when Christians celebrate theirs. And if they are offended, fine – be offended, it’s a free country.
But secondly, and more importantly, I simply don’t believe that Muslims, Seikhs, Jews and others are offended by the celebration of Christmas, just as I would be willing to bet that there isn’t a black person in the country who would be offended by anyone asking for a black coffee.