Stubbing your toe? It's Political Correctness Gone Mad I tell you!

There's more about Political Correctness Gone Mad in the Daily Mail, this time from last Thursday (22 February) with the handy title of 'A guide to the PC madness blighting modern Britain'. Of course, it's a rubbish dump populated by strawmen (remember how to evaluate whether articles about Politcal Correctness Gone Mad: if it's in the Mail, it's bollocks) but it's a good example of how the meaning of the term 'Political Correctness', which was never exactly clear or fixed in the first place, has shifted over the years, and now just means anything the author doesn't like.

It would be quite an easy article to take apart letter by letter - take 'A is for Access' as an example. It's based on the strawman that community outreach programmes in the arts exist purely because too many white middle-class people go to them, rather than becasue they're state subsidised institutions that are almost exclusively used by people who could afford to pay for them. Or take 'G is for Germans, the' which says, "Ve cannot commit more zen five soldiers und a pea-shooter to Afghanistan - even though ve are members of Nato und ought to be damned grateful for ze privilege'." I don't really need to do much more than link to this BBC report 'More German troops for Afghanistan' to poke fun at that one. But I think we can pretty much take for granted that any story about Political Correctness in the Mail will be full of inaccuracies and strawmen.

I used to have at least a vague idea of what the PC term meant in the old days. It meant any attempt to challenge racist, sexist or homophobic actions or to do anything with disabled people other than pat them on the head and give them a sweetie. Almost all of the examples that littered the papers in those days were ridiculously exaggerated or completely made up. Nobody banned black bin-liners, nobody banned the term 'black coffee', nobody banned hot-cross buns from schools and nobody banned bloody Christmas. But still, you knew where you stood, sort of.

Now though, that seems to have changed. The definition of PC that most people would be familiar with is relegated to one entry in the A-Z 'D is for Diversity':
It used to be that 'diversity' meant 'a state of richness, variety and abundance'.

Now it is an excuse to persecute any activity that is deemed 'white' or 'middle class'.

So, diversity is why your children come home from school knowing more about Eid or Diwali than they do about Easter.

It's also why, if you apply for any kind of state funding for your church hall, cricket pavilion or bowling clubhouse, you won't get it - because the people who would benefit don't press the correct 'diversity' buttons.
This used to be the meaning of 'Political Correctness'. Now it's only a small part, taking up only a couple of letters in the A-Z.

There has been a shift over the last few years that means that anything done for Health and Safety reasons qualifies as being Politically Correct. I think at least part of the reason for this is that there weren't enough instances of things the papers could call PC. Take the Sun's Christmas 'Save our baubles' campaign, which used examples for things being changed Health and Safety reasons to pretend that Christmas was being banned so as not to offend people of other faiths. Without widening the definition, there wouldn't be enough things happening to be able to moan about without just making shit up. Which is what they used to do all the time, but now not so often. The definition has widened even further now, and includes some really odd things.

Now, it's Politically Correct to believe the same as the vast majority of climatologists and scientists in the world. Climate change gets two entries, 'E is for Environmentalism' and 'K is for Kilamanjaro'. Funnily enough, there is no entry about Evolution. If this were written by an American right wing moonbat, there would almost definitely be. I would imagine that James Delingpole would be surprised to be called PC himself for believing things because of science rather than politics.

Deciding to put passport control officers in uniform is now, bizarrely, an act of Poltical Correctness. Deciding to relax or abolish uniforms would have been seen as PC in the past, I'm pretty sure of it. Now it seems that even things that the strawman versions of PC nutjobs of the past would have railed against are actually examples of PC.

Raising taxes is PC. Not much of a surprise in itself, but it is a little bit weird that he moans about not getting public money for things at the same time as arguing that there shouldn't be attempts to increase the available pot.

Every Local Council is PC. All of them. 'Your council is staffed by the sort of embittered Lefties, crazed Greens and loopy Lib-Dems too talentless to get jobs as traffic wardens or social workers, let alone as MPs.' It seems someone didn't tell him about the BNP councillors in several councils. Or the Lib Dems that backed them being added to committees.

Hosepipe bans are PC. Weird eh? Not having enough water? It's Political Correctness Gone Mad. I don't really get Delingpole's reasoning behind this one. I know, it's generous to assume there is any, but this one really does show that PC just means anything the author doesn't like. I'm surprised there isn't an entry 'S is for Stubbing your toe' or 'H is for Hangovers' that goes, 'It used to be that we could have as much fun and drink as much booze as we liked and be as fresh as a daisy in the morning. But now we live in an age where PC busybodies think too much fun is bad for you and any night out is followed by feeling absolutely horrendous and wanting to vomit on our bacon - which will be banned before long for being offensive to Muslims'.

The label 'Political Correctness' was always used by the right as a pejorative one used to stifle debate - in the same way that they claimed PC people did with the word 'racism'. But at least it was restricted to debates about racism, sexism, homophobia or disabled people. Now it's debate about everything they don't like. Which is handy for them, eh?


Neil said...

I wonder if he was equally offended by the BBC's Flamenco Dancers ident? I mean, I know people do those things, but there's no need to ram it down our throats...

It's rather obvious this is just an attempt to cash in on the Grumpy Old Men/Is Everything Shit bandwagon. I've half a mind to try the same thing myself - list *everything* I dislike and blame it on PC. Money for old rope!

Five Chinese Crackers said...

And why can't we earn a living selling old rope? It used to be perfectly acceptable until the advent of the PC busybody telling us what we can do. The country is being ruined by this madness.

Sorry it took a while to reply to this post. I blame Political Correctness.

Neil said...

That's okay 5cc, I'm not checking your blog so often since my boss told me off about surfing the interweb on work time.

Talk about Political Correctness - it's like living in East Germany here!