Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Every Tory needs a Tebbit

I'll admit to following Celebrity Big Brother. Not watching it, but scanning the Channel 4 website to see what George Galloway has been up to since his infamous cat incident. I was wondering what his wife thought to him licking Rula, but vaguely recalled that she had decided to divorce him. I'm unsure if they've been reconciled or not.

Anyway, that led me to this and the following line caught my eye:

One of Cameron's attention-grabbing initiatives that didn't quite grab the attention was the appointment of MP Philip Davies as a 'political correctness eradicator'.

Further investigation reveals that Cameron doesn't seem to have appointed anyone (I couldn't locate it on the Conservative website anyway) and it just looks like Mr Davies thought it was a good idea. Political correctness is one of the favourite rant topics of the reactionary right. There's nothing like a mention of Winterval or Ba Ba White Sheep (this appears to be a myth) to fill empty column inches in the Daily Mail. My position on it is this:

a) I agree with Armando Iannucci in the Observer article above. If people say politically incorrect things they are just rude and thus:

'I don't think we should ever stop people from saying politically incorrect things: I just think we should be more up-front in telling them they're just plain rude.'

b) When people do silly things in the cause of political correctness, they permit people who attack political correctness because they want to be rude and bigoted to get wider public sympathy. This harms the cause of preventing genuine discrimination. A good example this week of something silly is the attempt to prevent the homophobic abuse of horses. It's a pedantic point that informing a policeman his horse was gay was not actually an insult especially if the horse was, in fact, homosexual (the sexual orientation of the horse doesn't appear to have been established). More substantially the horse (not understanding English) was unlikely to be insulted whatever it had been called, the young man doubtless would not have made the remark had he been sober and the police could have spent the money and time investigating something like a homophobic assault (on a human). [NB: The guy was with friends when he shouted the remark. Amongst his friends was a former Balliol LGBT officer]

On the other hand, having a political correctness Tsar (they're always Tsars) might be a smart move for Mr Cameron as a sop to the hang 'em and flog 'em brigade who are feeling somewhat disenfranchised by the new caring and sharing Conservatism. It would show he was on their side. In fact, I recommend he appoints Mr Tebbit or one of the Tory Taliban as Shadow Deputy Leader in the same way as Tony Blair appointed Prescott. They could wheel Tebbit out every now and then to compare George Osborne to a seahorse (George Osborne is cuter than Mandelson so is definitely not a mitten crab). Giving people a strong left-hook is, of course, optional.


  • At 1:40 pm , Blogger Simon said...

    Tebbit was wheeled out last week on Question Time in fact. But worry not - I understand that nephew of Norman (who also shares the surname) is now a researcher for a euro-sceptic group of MPs and has ambitions...

  • At 7:05 pm , Blogger Bishop Hill said...

    So what do you make of Anthony Browne's suggestion (at Civitas if you were'nt aware of it - I'm sure you can find the link) that political correctness is killing people (or words to that effect).


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