Let's assume I am in the PC Brigade. I wouldn't mind being a member, after all. I'd like to hope you get a nice uniform with shiny buttons which is tailored to meet all cultural sensitivities, and you get to drive a big A-Team style van, and burst out the back of it with M-16s whenever someone does something naughty, and chomp cigars, and fire at the ground so no-one dies but they all get a bit scared, or something. Imagine that! You'd all want to be in the PC Brigade then, wouldn't you?
Anyway, replace the phrase "PC Brigade" with "vast majority of people, who think that unnecessarily upsetting others is a bad thing", and yes, I'm in the PC Brigade. One thing that really intrigues me about those lodged against us in 'the Brigade' is their constant feigning of surprise whenever they do something provocative, as if there couldn't possibly be anything offensive or derogatory about what they're doing. Sometimes, though, the mask slips just a little bit, so you can see the horrors that lie beneath. And sometimes the journalists who take aim at we proud footsoldiers of political correctness (which is, no doubt, shortly to go mad) reveal a little bit about their agendas too.
The charade that these drivers, as well as the Mail, are playing is to imagine that there might not be anything offensive or derogatory about what they're doing, and to ask why on earth anyone might be upset by such an innocent and entirely reasonable thing. "Us?" they'll say, doing that 'looking over the shoulder for someone else and then pointing at themselves' bit, "but what have we done?" - and they buff their halos and get on with things.
The Mail reports the story with the usual outrage over the outrage of others - outrage being a commodity that only they're allowed to have, after all:
But the flags have been branded 'racist' by trade representatives, councillors and racism campaigners who have demanded they are removed.
Taxi drivers have hit back, claiming the stickers are simply a protest to force the council to make sure new drivers can speak good English.
At which point you, me, just about everyone in the world, says: "Oh come off it, for fuck's sake". But the Mail doesn't. And look what else it does:
The stickers were placed in the cars after drivers received complaints about the standard of spoken English among them.
There have also been complaints from passengers about drivers using sat navs and over-charging.
All reported as fact, and designed to lead you into a certain direction: that drivers who don't speak good English - i.e. the evil foreign ones - are also inherently dishonest. But there is no evidence to back it up. We've just got someone's word for it. Like the story about someone who says she wasn't allowed to buy a quiche without getting her ID out, it's just one person's word. Perhaps Mail journalists live in a world in which people always tell the truth, or don't make stuff up - stop giggling at the back - and they're just so naive they don't realise that these things go on. Or maybe they don't give a shit about what's fact and what's opinion.
Where else do we find evidence of the 'use of sat navs' or overcharging? Nowhere. Still, it's been said now, hasn't it? But that doesn't matter. The story has gone up like a big bat-signal to the anti-PC Brigade types who electronically green-crayon in their responses, including:
I hate these sort of stories Im annoyed I even read it,whos country is this anyway the PC brigade move somewhere else.
We have to do as we are told in other countries.
- beansontoast, woolacombe, 02/2/2010
Beansontoast has captured the classic outraged anti-PC frenzy of anger. He or she is angry, but not quite sure why. They're annoyed they even read it, but they aren't sure why they're annoyed. Who's country is it anyway? Yours and mine, Beansontoast, yours and mine, and seeing as I'm a fully paid-up member of the PC Brigade, we have to try and get along with each other, or things will get awfully tricky. I'm not sure whether they want the PC Brigade to move somewhere else - that's not clear - or whether they think these taxi drivers who aren't the sort of people to put flags in their windows saying "English speaker" should move somewhere else. And yes, we do have to do as we're told in other countries - and in this one. If you're told your poxy dog-whistle flag campaign is racist, then it might well be because it's racist.