Tag Archives: political correctness

Stick, carrot or finger-pointing and laughing?

MY PREVIOUS post about the politically-incorrect use of red ink on weans’ jotters provoked some amount of the usual abuse but also a rather useful and informed debate in the comments thread. I love it when that happens (not very often, if you must ask).

The Devil pointed out, (not without some justification, I should confess) by way of suggesting a solution to my red mist dilemma, that, since I am a member of the governing party, then the remedy is in my own hands.

Oh, if only ’twere so easy…

Do we really think that the way to prevent this kind of waste of time and energy is to pass a law prescribing the language that can be used in schools and by local authorities? Sounds a bit authoritarian to me, and ultimately unenforceable.

No, surely better to mock and ridicule education providers teachers and local services and equality facilitators council staff and to shame them into coming to their senses.

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Filed under Blogging, Government, Society

Seeing red

STILL catching up on news stories over the Christmas period, and this one made me fume.

Now, I know I’ve been accused in the past of pandering to the whole Daily Mail/it’s political correctness gone mad” thing, but there’s a very good reason why this kind of half-witted nonsense should be opposed.

In the 1980s, the right-wing press had a field day with the antics of left-wing councils allegedly banning the words blackboards, black coffee and  man” in manhole covers, etc. In fact, a lot of it was made up, but the damage was done and Labour paid a heavy electoral price, particularly when our cadidates were drawn from the alleged “loony left” section of the party.

Yet today, it’s almost as if Labour (and other) councils are looking at their archived press cuttings from the ’80s and saying: “Hmm, that’s a good idea – why didn’t we think of that before?”

Take this latest nonsense about red ink: where is the empirical evidence that using a red pen on a pupil’s work will have any detrimental effect whatever on his development? Where is the research? Where are the numbers? Where are the “victims” of red ink, and do they blame their own failures in life on the colour of the pen their teachers used?

Well, if they do, they’re morons. And so are the half-wits who came up with this latest idea. 

Here’s a suggestion about why some kids do better than others at school – they’re cleverer! Yes, maybe it’s nothing to do with red ink, or because their school was called a “school” and not a “place of learning”… Maybe kids who are brighter, or whose parents spend time reading to them and teaching them the value of learning and books and respect for their teachers and for authority will do better than their fellow pupils (am I allowed to say “fellow”? Is that sexist? Do I care?).

All of this obsession with “non-threatening, non-offensive” language is simply a distraction. It gives succour to the right wing and their allies in the media. But worse than that, it doesn’t matter. Teachers and (I hate this word – ) educationalists should be concentrating on teaching kids to read and write, to learn stuff instead of worrying about whether the wee souls are going to burst into tears because there’s a red instead of a green cross on their jotter.

Rant over.

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Filed under Banned, Labour, Media

Our Christian heritage still matters

WHILE my mind’s on the subject, I thought it might be useful to try to add a bit more than Daily Mail-style indignation to the debate on “political correctness gone mad” with regards to Christmas.

It’s vital that all our communities value and respect other religions and honour their traditions. But the problem I have with the London City Hall approach – and this is replicated all over the country now, including in Glasgow – is that Christmas as a Christian celebration is now regarded as just one of a number of religious events during winter.

In fact, I don’t attach a great deal of spiritual importance to Christmas. It’s arguable that the Christmas story, romantic and beautiful though it undoubtedly is, is far less important to Christians than the Easter story. St Paul, who wrote a good deal of the New Testament (after the four gospels and the Acts of the Apostles) seems not to have known about Christ’s birth in Bethlehem and the search of the Magi. Or even of the little drummer boy, come to that.

But Britain is a Chistian country. That does not mean that most of our citizens attend church regularly, or even adhere to the central tenets of Christianity. But we have a strong and important Christian heritage, and most Britons are cultural Christians, if not religious ones. And culture still matters.

There’s nothing wrong in embracing that fact, in accepting the fact of our Christian heritage.

In Middle Eastern Muslim countries where Christmas is celebrated, would anyone object to it nevertheless being regarded generally as less important than Eid?

Why shouldn’t children be taught the Christmas story in our schools?

Why must we feel defensive about saying that in the UK, Christmas is not just one of the religious festivals in winter, but the most important?

And why do our local authorities find it impossible to recognise and acknowledge other people’s traditions without feeling the need to devalue our indigenous faith?

Here endeth the lesson.

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PC RIP?

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.

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Filed under Church, Media, Society, Uncategorized, United States

It was two years ago, Tom – get over it

MY PREVIOUS post and the responses to it remind me of a ridiculous incident two years ago when Cherie Blair was interviewed by SIX police officers because she had pretended to take a playful swipe at a teenage boy’s head during a photo call.

Whoever the moron was who reported this to the police in the first place should hang their heads in shame. They probably won’t, though; most likely they think it was the right thing to do because “even the pretence of violence towards a child (he was 17) is unacceptable” or some such tosh.

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Filed under Media, Society

Found it!

FOLLOWING on from a previous post about the demise of the term Neets in Scotland, I have finally discovered the actual phrase which Fiona Hyslop, the education minister, has decided should replace the better known term: “Young people requiring more choices, more chances”. Aw, the nice…

Still, my version wasn’t far off the mark.

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Filed under SNP, Society

At least he’s not called ‘the Morbidly Obese Controller’

I suspect political correctness raising its ugly head in my children’s night-time reading. I just finished reading our four-year-old a recently-published Thomas the Tank Engine book, and had to remind myself to say “the Fat Controller” every time the words “Sir Toppam Hat” were used. It’s odd that this nonsense appears in some Thomas books and not others, where “the Fat Controller” is freely used, despite the ludicrous fears that such labels will cause overweight kids lifelong trauma.

Inevitably, “Sir Toppam Hat” is the preferred title given to the character in the American film production “Thomas and the Magic Railroad”, probably the worst children’s movie I have ever seen. Alec Baldwin, what were you thinking?

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