It's a collision of forces so evil and violent that in the Daily Mail's universe it should create anti-matter. But no, what it creates in reality is just another gash story to bring its dimwitted readers up to the boil, reaching the desired conclusions about bonkers youcouldn'tmakeitup PCgawnmad elfnsafety Britain without ever stopping to think if, just perhaps, things aren't as awful as the story has made them out to be.
So here's the story. A schoolgirl has been told she can't wear a crucifix because of health and safety concerns. Actually let me put that in capitals - HEALTH AND SAFETY. I'll do this so that you can keep your eyes on it throughout the story. Keep watching HEALTH AND SAFETY because at some point it will magically transform into POLITICAL CORRECTNESS right before your eyes.
Why does it change into POLITICAL CORRECTNESS? Ah, because 'Sikh children' are allowed to wear bangles to demonstrate their faith.
(Now, at this point I think it's probably sensible to mention that these are children and as such aren't really devoted followers of their religion; they're pretty much just doing what their families have told them to, which is all well and good. I'm a bit sceptical about whether eight-year-olds have the same passion for and devotion to their religion as adults do, but maybe I'm wrong.)
Is it double standards? Well, if the ban on crucifix necklaces is because of HEALTH AND SAFETY and not POLITICAL CORRECTNESS then no, it isn't really. A necklace is a potential hazard in that it can snag on stuff, be yanked by someone accidentally while playing sports or even fighting in the playground, and so on. Whereas a bangle doesn't present the same danger, minimal though that might be. I'm sure there are lots of schools where children aren't allowed to wear necklaces for these reasons - is it HEALTH AND SAFETY gone mad? Not especially. We're not talking about the 'goggles for Blu-Tack' silliness that was in the press a couple of weeks ago, which was a genuinely bonkers bit of H&S. There is a slight risk and, as such, I guess schools see it as part of their job to deliver home kids without horrible strangle marks round their necks.
Now watch this:
But the eight-year-old's furious mother has accused the school of double standards because they allow children following other faiths to wear jewellery on religious grounds.
You mean to say that 'Christian children' CAN'T wear jewellery, but 'Sikh children' CAN? At a Church of England School? Is that it? One rule for the ethnics, another rule for the indigenous British white population? Is that what's going on?
The school has suggested she wear a brooch
and the headteacher says
'We do want children to be proud of their Christian faith, therefore we would like to encourage them to wear crosses,'
Whoa! The school has suggested she wear the religious jewellery different, just not in a necklace? They
children to wear crosses, just not as necklaces? Oh, I see, so it's not double standards at all, and it's not a ban on Christian symbols when Sikh symbols are allowed; it's simply a rule about HEALTH AND SAFETY rather than POLITICAL CORRECTNESS and I am sure - so convinced and sure - that the readers who comment on this story will have noticed this.
Oh, hang on a minute.
The best-rated comment:
Here we go again. Why, in our own country, can we not wear symbols of our faith but it is perfectly OK for followers of other faiths to do so.
- Mike Barrett, Coventry, England, 1/7/2009
Oi, Mike! Fuckwit! Mike! Over here! Pupils CAN wear crosses. They are ENCOURAGED to do so by the headteacher. Just not as necklaces, that's all. If you'd have read the fucking story properly then you and the 1,100-odd people who voted up your comment would have known that.
if this is the case about health and safety then no religious jewellery should be worn, period!!!!!!! it seems one rule for one and one rule for another. how can one group expect to get away wiith it and not another!
- del, surrey, 1/7/2009 15:01
Del, hello. Look, why don't you read past the first paragraph and look at the words that form the rest of the story, and then you might understand that things are not quite as cut and dried as you think? Because religious jewellery is allowed. It's encouraged when it's Christian jewellery. Just not necklaces. Do you see? Do you care?
A brooch is still jewellery - no wonder the churches are now almost empty - such is the leadership of the Christian faith and its stewards - since when has the Christian cross become a fashion item?
- Dab, Cambs England., 1/7/2009 14:55
Dab, none of that makes any sense. At least you have read the bit about the brooch, unlike the other commenters, but somehow you've decided that rather than mitigating the situation it actually makes it worse. I don't know how you've done it, but it's an impressive intellectual feat.
So there you have it. How health and safety turns into political correctness, except it doesn't, but it suits the agenda for it to do so, so that's how it's made to look. See how children being told they can't wear religious jewellery becomes children being encouraged to wear religious jewellery, but by then a lot of readers' minds have already been made up...
PS thanks to Roxy_Hart off Twitter for noticing the madness of the story first!
- *sigh* It’s health, sorry, ‘elf, and safety – plus a bonus Sky oopsy
- It’s health & safety not mad enough… and I want my taxes to pay for it… er… wait… no… but… KABOOM!
- Littlejohn: I like the idea of health & safety, if it backs up my bollocks argument
- Alastair Campbell gives mental health issues a bad name
- Human being in ‘gets older with passing of time’ shocker