Issue 243 of SOCIALIST REVIEW Published July/August 2000 Copyright © Socialist Review

Stack on the back

Radio bigots go ga ga

Attacking political correctness is all the rage. But, Pat Stack argues, this is new clothing for old prejudice

I recently heard a radio phone-in programme where a right wing panelist, plus a number of callers, used attacks on 'political correctness' in order to voice a variety of reactionary and nonsensical prejudices.

One caller said you weren't allowed to 'even debate the question of asylum seekers because of political correctness'--this at a time when every tabloid in the country was finding a new angle every day to vent their spleen on their vulnerable targets. It's true there was very little debate in the tabloids. Instead all we got was a never ending flow of prejudiced ranting, with people opposed to this filth not given so much as a column inch to reply.

Similarly, the panelist bemoaned the fact that you couldn't oppose the abolition of Section 28 without someone from the 'politically correct brigade' calling you homophobic. Needless to say, when asked for a non-homophobic defence of Section 28 he was left with nothing to say.

So it goes on. In recent weeks I have heard anti-smoking campaigns described as 'politically correct'. Anyone watching Baddiel and Skinner's woeful and loathsome recent series will have heard a string of sexist, homophobic and even racist jokes punctuated with checks with the audience to ensure they hadn't crossed the 'politically correct' boundaries.

Even the demise of English sporting achievement is put down to political correctness. Apparently England is crap at all sports not because, well, they're crap, but because schools are working in a politically correct environment where no one is allowed to compete--so no one is good or bad at anything.

However, Stack on the back can only withstand so much before he falls prey to this free thinking propaganda. So I have decided to put forward a programme to free us all from these malign attacks on our freedom of action, expression and, even more importantly, our sporting ambitions.

Let us start with this question of kids, schools and competition. Clearly it's high time David Blunkett stepped in. There should be testing at every level. Penalty shoot outs for seven year olds, bouncer bowling competitions at nine, tennis tantrums for 11 year olds, and putting contests at 15.

There should of course be league tables, and those who come in, say, the bottom three could be taken out and publicly flogged before being made to stand in dustbins chanting 'We are rubbish' for 12 hours solid.

No doubt England would once again rule sport throughout the world, as is just, right and proper.

Why stop there? After all, if political correctness is about obeying silly rules that take away individual freedom of expression, risk, competition, and merely further empowers the 'nanny state', why not challenge it in every area of our lives? Why not do away with...well, let's think. I know, why not do away with traffic lights? Let the driver have the freedom to express, bring more risk and danger to the exercise, increase competition.

Now that we have a nation of risk taking competitors all we need to add is a healthy dose of masculine freedom and bigotry and we'll be up, up and away. Gone are the days when you could wolf whistle at lovely young ladies and shout, 'Get em off!' without some boiler-suited feminist killjoy ticking you off. Let's face it, the ladies love it really and it will give the British male his identity back.

What's more, black people were much happier when you could call them colourful nicknames like 'snowy', or 'chalky' and tell lots of jokes about them. They didn't have a chip on their shoulder in those days. None of this complaining about the police and inquiries.

The same goes for homosexuality. Give us back the word gay to mean happy, not perverted. Don't get me wrong. I'm not in favour of prejudice. I like a laugh like the next person. I loved John Inman and Larry Grayson. They were real homosexuals, not like your banner waving, rights demanding, child rearing lot of today. They call themselves gay, but you try telling them jokes about themselves and you see how gay they are.

See, don't we all feel better? We can all say what we think, do what we like. We are free from control, from the thought police, from the nanny state. Whilst on the subject, what about the death penalty? Bring it back--that's what I say. It would soon stop crime. I tell you this, if we still had the death penalty you wouldn't have unruly yobs running about like hooligans, throwing paint over statues of Winston Churchill.

Who do these people think they are? How dare they express their opinions in this way? That's the trouble with political correctness. It says to people, 'Do and say what you like.' I say, bring back rules and regulations. As for freedom of speech, well, I say there have to be limits. Let's suppose that after the IRA planted that bomb in Brighton that nearly killed Mrs Thatcher and Norman Tebbit a newspaper had run the headline 'Nearly Gotcha'. Well I'd have been in favour of closing that paper down and publicly executing its editor and all its journalists. See, your politically correct people don't understand there have to be limits.

If all that sounds a mite contradictory, well of course it is. People attacking political correctness are never demanding more freedom for those who oppose the system, merely the freedom to abuse, bully, insult and denigrate.

They do so while hiding behind a supposed critique of authority, but, in reality, when you hear someone complain about 'political correctness' you are listening to the last cliche of a scoundrel.

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