My good friend Nigel Evans, MP for Ribble Valley, and one of the most effective Parliamentarians has already won this week’s prize for the most entertaining speech in Parliament during the Queen’s Speech debate.
During Nigel’s speech, he took an intervention from the (excellent) Scottish Labour MP Michael Connarty. As Nigel was responding to this intervention a fly entered the chamber and decided to pester him. Nigel asked the chamber where the fly had come from and speculated that perhaps Michael Connarty had just opened his wallet!
Personally I found this exchange to be extremely funny but given the stereotype of Scottish people being tight I have no doubt that there is a politically correct zealot somewhere who believes that Nigel’s comments were offensive and possibly even racist. It is quite amazing but there are no doubt such people who have such a sense of humour deficiency.
Political Correctness is an issue about which I feel very strongly and I am proud to be a supporter of the Campaign Against Political Correctness co-founded by John and Laura Midgley. It is quite difficult to define political correctness, but people tend to know it when they see it. My definition, for what it is worth, is the restriction of free speech and the promotion of positive discrimination usually done in the name of minorities but usually perpetrated by white, male, middle class, sandal wearing, lentil eating, guardian reading do-gooders with too much time on their hands and a misguided guilt complex.
When people come across examples of PC they don’t know whether to laugh or cry and we often read about the craziest aspects (such as baa baa green sheep) and think we can smile about it. However there are two very sinister aspects of PC which we must fight against. First is the restriction of free speech. The PC brigade have sought to close off debate on certain issues (such as immigration) by trying to portray people who raise the issue as racist. When we have got ourselves into the situation where ordinary, decent people in the country are scared to speak out on issues or are worried about what words they use in case a zealot down the line takes offence at it, then I believe we have got a problem. We go all around the world promoting free speech yet it is being undermined all the time on our own doorstep by a determined and extreme minority.
The second sinister side is the promotion of positive discrimination. I very much believe that all jobs should be given to people on merit irrespective of their race, religion, gender or sexuality, and I believe the vast majority of people in this country. Yet there are people who believe that we should have positive discrimination for certain groups. The argument seems to be that because certain groups of people were discriminated against in the past the solution must be to discriminate in their favour. Surely the proper solution is simply to end all discrimination. Positive discrimination is still discrimination and putting the word “positive” in front of it does not change that fact. The PC brigade now call it Positive Action but it is exactly the same but dressed up in more acceptable clothing.
For too long this extremist minority of PC zealots have had their way and the silent majority have stayed silent and allowed them to get their way. I believe it is important for the majority to regain the initiative and so don’t stay silent; join the Campaign Against Political Correctness and play your part in the fightback. If not even Nigel’s innocent joke might one day be a think of the past!