Look, it's an England flag. Look at it! It's the kind of tacky plastic novelty you'll see on cars up and down the country ahead of the World Cup, fluttering in the breeze or, most likely, littering the side of the motorway in ever growing numbers as the tournament progresses and England spiral towards their inevitable being-knocked-out-on-penalties-despite-a-brave-performance-in-which-they-get-outpassed-and-resort-t0-launching-high-ball-after-high-ball-up-at-Crouch-in-a-vain-bid-to-bundle-in-an-equaliser.
Hooray! The cross of St George flutters proudly at the top of this blog, despite the diversity Nazis and successive visits from the PC Brigade. It hasn't been banned from this blog because health and safety nuts have decreed that it would cost too much to put it on top of the page. It hasn't been banned because secretly I hate my own country because I'm a liberal fascist who loves Muslims and wants Britain to be a caliphate. It hasn't been banned for any of these reasons, because it's here, on my page, to celebrate the love I have for those brave 23 souls who may, or most likely may not (but I still harbour the hope they may) lift that golden trophy on a Sunday in July.
Yes, there are no bans at the Enemies of Reason! I'm not afraid that it might upset immigrants, or that my blog is such an international brand that it could stop overseas visitors from being delighted by the content. I'm not afraid that it could upset a Muslim. I'm not afraid of any of these things. Why not? Because I'm not a fucking moron.
There I go again, being sanctimonious. We liberal-left types aren't meant to call morons morons when they're being moronic; we're meant to imagine that if people are wilfully ignorant, or don't want to find out about things, or lack the curiosity to challenge what they've been told, that it's somehow our fault, and we should reach out to them, even though they won't believe us, for fear of alienating them. Do you know what? I try to bend over backwards as much as I can bear to, but fuck that.
Often, the reason why people are accused of being racist for what they say about the non-existent England flag/shirt/badger (oh yes! Our very patriotic fucking badgers are apparently under threat from the anti-England killjoy Gestapo!) is that they're racist. Often, the reason people are accused of being xenophobic is because they're xenophobic. Sometimes things just are what they are, and we needn't hand-wring our way into giving these fucking poisonous yo-yos an escape hatch.
Fuck that. I've read an awful lot of drivel about these supposed bans, often spilling into downright hatred of minorities; why shouldn't that be called out as what it is? Is that sanctimonious? Is that somehow wrong? Should I celebrate the diversity of a country that includes racism? Shall I mollycoddle the minority that is racist fuck-knuckles? No, I fucking won't. I've had enough of this shit.
Yes, if you go digging for long enough you can probably find examples of a couple of isolated times that well-meaning or dimwitted cops have genuinely told people to take down England flags, or someone has been told that a St George cross might offend someone, and so on. But as I said the other day with regards to immigration figures and their reporting in 'See what you want to see', that's not the whole picture.
Are these incidents, so rare that only a handful of examples can be verified despite a desperate search for them and despite numerous unverifiable tales which are described as being definitely true despite the lack of evidence, put into the context of huge numbers of cops - the vast majority - not telling people to take down flags? Are they put into the context of huge numbers of people - the vast majority - not telling their fellow citizens to stop wearing shirts, or not telling people they can't paint Big Ben red and white, and so on? Or are they depicted as being evidence of some kind of sinister trend, a clampdown on national pride? If it's the latter, then that is patent nonsense, and false, and misleading, and panders to idiots, and creates tension where there is none.
Here's the thing. No-one is offended by the England flag at the top of this page. No-one. People might think your car looks a bit shit if you plaster it with a billion flags, but that's because it probably does look a bit shit. Some people might be well-meaning or thick and think flags might offend people, but they're wrong, and they're completely and utterly in the minority, because they're wrong, and because most people understand that there's nothing wrong with a shirt or a flag. There is no clampdown, because it's just not happening. This complete bollocks gets recycled every time there's a tournament, and it gets repeated by lazy and fuckwitted journalists, not just because they're pressed for time, but also because some of them couldn't give a fuck whether it's right or not.
There is no big scary liberal PC Brigade health and safety diversity Nazis killjoy jobsworth conspiracy to stop anyone in England from enjoying the World Cup - I think you'll find the England team can manage that perfectly well on their own.
The rapid spread of the folk tale about England shirts being banned (or not, as it turns out, as we learned yesterday) is intriguing to watch - and it has a bearing on why politicians are so worried about immigration.
How does advice from some cops in Croydon, for pubs to consider dress codes and the possible barring of people in football tops (not England tops, but football tops) become WE CAN'T WEAR ENGLAND SHIRTS IN OUR OWN COUNTRY BECAUSE IT OFFENDS PEOPLE IN BURKAS, BUT WE CAN'T TELL THEM WHAT TO WEAR BECAUSE OF POLITICALCORRECTNESS(GONEMAD)?
We've seen so many tales down the years. When people are told, for example, that you can't buy bent bananas because of the EU, or that people have been banned from flying flags for fear of upsetting minorities, or Baa Baa Black Sheep has been banned for fear of upsetting Muslims, or Winterval has been created because people didn't want to upset immigrants, or you can't use a hammer without a crash helmet because of health and safety, or you're told that immigrants have taken ALL OUR JOBS (and they go straight to the front of the housing queue), or that Romanians stole a man's house, but no-one could do anything about it because of political correctness... and so on and so on... then that becomes the defining structure of our popular mythology, whether it's a newspaper doing the storytelling round the campfire for us or some bloke down the pub. It doesn't matter. We know what the stories are and how they work.
I don't want to get too Claude Levi-Strauss about this, but you can boil a lot of these Littlejohnian "Youcouldn'tmakeitup" stories down to their ingredients and see how they are made up, and how the narrative works. It usually goes a bit like this. Some villain (the PC Brigade, the EU, a liberal judge, the health and safety Stasi, diversity Nazis etc) has decided that unfairness must happen contrary to natural justice and common sense (you can't get the job you've applied for and are entitled to, you can't buy bendy bananas, a criminal should be given a free telly and sent on holiday to Disneyland, you can't use Pritt Stick without fire-proof gloves and a hi-vis jacket, we must call Christmas Winterval so that Muslims aren't upset) and there's nothing we can do about it (Labour created the Yuman Rites Act, Ted Heath signed our rights away, the liberal intelligentsia are dominating all our institutions, red tape is beloved by our Jobsworth culture, we bend over backwards for immigrants even though they're the ones who are trying to bomb us).
So when confronted with the truth of the England shirt story, it doesn't quite work. Not yet. But it presses some hot buttons straight away, appealing to people's sense of national pride, patriotism and excitement about the forthcoming World Cup and England's chances in it - how dare they say we can't wear our shirts? So forget PC Plod sending round a memo - PC Plod becomes the PC Brigade. Cops aren't as good a villain as the faceless strawman; and what's even better is that no-one can deny it, because there isn't an official spokesperson for the 'Diversity Nazis'. Forget, also, it being about keeping rival club fans apart when gathered together to get drunk and be surrounded by lots of glass at an occasion on which huge disappointment and dramatic anger could be brought about (what on earth could possibly go wrong there?) - it must be because it might offend minorities. We have the villain going against natural justice and common sense, and there's nothing we can do about it - well because it's not true; but that can become, for the purposes of the anger-mongering tale, the idea that we can't do anything because it's just been decided, and there's no-one to complain to, and we should just get angry (how? at whom? I don't know, let's just get angry!) to stop it from becoming reality.
The 'England shirt ban' story works and has become so popular because it fits the narrative arc that people have learned from reading story after story about race, asylum and immigration through the years - stories which haven't always been challenged as effectively as they might have been, particularly by the politicians who were in the best position to do so. When did a politician challenge myths about asylum seekers stealing houses from locals? And why didn't they? So much easier to ignore those difficult questions about why there aren't enough social housing units to go around, why people can't get the jobs they want, why people are trapped in cycles of near-poverty, why people can't get jobs because the prevailing economic paradigms of the day say that full employment is a distant reality, why the banks failed even though they were backed to the hilt by all political parties.
That failure to challenge these assumptions led to people accepting the myths as fact; that meant that immigration became a bigger issue during the election campaign than it really ought to have been on merit; that has now led to many defeated Labour wound-lickers claiming that it was 'arriving late to the party' on (anti) immigration that meant they were fighting a losing battle with voters. Again, if you're in a tight spot, blame immigration. It's a stance that has left a lot of people on the left frustrated and despairing about why Labour are doing this, and understandably so.
New Labour are trying to create a myth themselves - one in which it wasn't their illiberal policies through the years, the wars, the authoritarianism, the desire to imprison people without trial for 90 days, then 42, then 28, the collusion in torture, which turned off voters. No, they weren't tough enough on immigrants, which meant they weren't trusted enough, and when they did finally do exactly what the screamsheets like the Mail and Express had demanded, and brought in attack-dog Phil Woolas to bark like Derek Beackon, it was too little too late. Gordon Brown got harangued by a not-bigot who asked "Where have all these Eastern Europeans come from?" and looked bad for calling a bigot a bigot.
But I don't think that's the case at all. I think New Labour's pandering to immigration mythology, and subsequent attempts to create a myth of their own, are damaging in two ways. Firstly, they're still not challenging the anti-immigration narratives. Is it really the case that people can't get council houses because of immigrants, for example, or are there other factors they'd prefer not to talk about - but should - including a chronic lack of supply at local and national level? Is it true that resources are stretched by immigration, or are they stretched for other reasons? What kind of dialogue does Labour really want with the grassroots - an honest one, or one in which they seek to stigmatise one over-stigmatised section of the community?
Did the immigration policy really matter that much? 'Bigotgate' might have given everyone a tremendous titter, but as one poll that the Sun decided not to publish showed, it may not have had as huge an effect as some people would like us to believe. Are people right to worry about immigration, and if they're not, what should Labour do? Go along with them anyway, because it's easier? Throw up their hands and admit that the tabloids will always push an anti-immigration agenda? Or challenge the lies and the myths? The thing is, Phil Woolas's policies and the points system were for nothing. Labour was already seen as a soft touch, whether it's true or not, and that's how it stayed.
As Mark Easton wrote this week, it's already the case that some sectors can't find the skilled workers they need because of the points system that New Labour brought in. That's before the Coalition's immigration cap comes in. Easy to say that 'indigenous' workers on the dole should fill the gap; not so easy to get people trained up into skilled roles, move home to do so, and find the money to pay for it. But that's what we're left with, because the shouting voices of prejudice have won the argument. Anti-immigration is the only show in town.
All the stories - both in the papers and from 'a friend of a friend' like the Facebook tale - have produced a patchwork narrative in which time after time we're told that immigrants are siphoning off benefits despite contributing very little, that 'we' taxpayers have got to fund it, and no-one can do anything about this except bend over backwards. It gets people angry, which is why, when they hear they're getting their national team's shirts banned, it must be something to do with immigrants, who are on benefits... and so on, and so on.
If Labour doesn't want to challenge these myths, fine. If it wants to think that it lost the election because it wasn't tough enough on immigration, fine. But they'll have a pretty stinging smack in the face coming when they have a re-brand with added Woolas-style dogwhistles but don't get anywhere. They had the chance to challenge the myths, but instead they're making myths of their own. And that's a massive mistake.
Maybe I'm as guilty as anyone when it comes to making assumptions. Sometimes they're misplaced, and other times they're just plain dumb wrong. And I wonder sometimes if I make the wrong assumptions about news.
The assumption we make - at least I think the assumption I assume we make, if that isn't too ouroborotic already (and believe me, it might get worse) - is that there is a thing called news. This thing called news is made up of solid-gold things called facts. People from newspapers (or TV programmes, or whatever) go and look at the facts, then report them to us in a story. We trust that they've looked at the facts, and we imagine their version of what they've seen, or heard, or smelled, or whatever, is an accurate representation of what is actually there.
But I am not so sure it really works that way - or that we even assume that it does. Look at the Express story about the BBC from yesterday for a good example of what I'm talking about. There's a story which, when you pull it apart, doesn't seem to reflect what you're told about it. The headline says this will be a story about FAMILIES HIT BY BBC 'FILTH', but when you unpack it, the contents aren't quite what was on the box. The 'filth' is in the mind of a rentagob politician; the families aren't so much being 'hit' as exposing themselves to it, either on purpose because that's what they want to do or by accident because they're unfortunately thick; and the 'filth' in question really isn't about the BBC, unless you count a gloomy detective series as 'filth', which I don't.
But then if you did unpack all that, you wouldn't be left with something to write. It starts not so much with 'news' in this instance because nothing's actually happened; the event that anchors it in time is the release by MediaWatch of a press release, advance details of a press release or somesuch saying that children are being threatened by unsuitable content via such media as the iPlayer. We can't see it, so we don't know what it contained; but there doesn't seem any evidence that it focussed on the BBC. That element got bolted on, presumably because that makes it a 'better story' - other broadcasters showing you filth, so what? State-funded BBC, ah, that's better, because we're all paying for it!
And that's where I think news is a bit like an identikit picture. Bits of it might be right, but to make the story recognisable you have to add other details, other things you might expect. "What were his eyes like?" - "I don't remember" - "Well, we've got to put some on, let's just use these". It's a bit like that. When you know what the elements are, it makes sense. Of course the story has to be about the BBC, whether the 'news' is or not; it's stronger if it is, and it's less of a story if it isn't. It's not wrong to say that; it's not as accurate, but it's not entirely wrong. It needs to be there, just as a face needs eyes for you to see it properly as a face.
It's the same with Diana Mondays in the Express - an old classic that keeps getting revived, as it was today. There's partly the idea of expectation - another kind of assumption, but this time on the part of those doing the writing on behalf of those doing the reading - thinking that people will see Diana, recognise her, expect it to be the Express, have that expectation confirmed, and associate the goodwill attributed to that public figure to the product using the image, a kind of free branding exercise if you like. It's like having the union flag by the words Daily Express, as it used to do I think (but doesn't any more).
But there's another element, too; it's the continuation of the theory that the woman in question was murdered by a big conspiracy or plot which has been covered up. As we saw earlier, there are claims of a 'tsunami of evidence' but once again, when you unpack the box, it's not quite how it's been described to you, but that's an appealing narrative because it's taking a tabloid approach to these things.
You start with the idea that Diana was murdered. You fit the bits in around to make it make sense: if Henri Paul's blood said he was drunk, then the blood must have been tampered with, and so on. Make the logical connections, whether the evidence for them is there or not. There isn't a story if you don't. There's no story in saying Diana died in a car accident because the chauffeur was drunk, driving too fast for the road conditions and she wasn't wearing a seatbelt. Same same.
Mark Pack writes today over at Lib Dem Voice about how a story about a child who had been in a tree was reported, in his 'handy guide to how to be a journalist':
Fact 1: “At no point was any child ever stuck in a tree”.
How do you report this? Easy:
- TEACHERS LEAVE BOY OF 5 STUCK UP A TREE (Express)
- A FIVE-YEAR-OLD pupil was left stuck up a tree (Sun)
- She spotted the stuck five-year-old at Manor School in Melksham, Wiltshire (Metro)
It's not about what happened. It's about the story. The story is that elf'n'safety gone mad means Britain is bonkers. The story is always there, waiting for a few stray facts to attach themselves to it. So "there was a kid in a tree" becomes "he was stuck there and bonkers Britain elf'n'safetygawnmad meant he couldn't be helped, and the person who was got accused of being a pedalo", and so on, and so on. Whether it's true, or accurate, or fair or not doesn't matter. It's not about that. There is no story unless it is this, therefore, it is this.
The remaining question is one of whether we really trust these sources or not - we're certainly buying fewer newspapers, but that may be an indication of all kinds of things. I don't know if we assume that newspapers or news outlets are there to tell us about news and facts. Maybe we don't; maybe we're just finding the narrative that most closely matches our own assumptions and expectations, in which case, we're just doing what they're doing, albeit on a much smaller scale.
Maybe the arrival of freely available information via the web means people don't want newspapers and other filters, if they can do the interpreting and sorting themselves - we can create our own narratives rather than newspapers messily deciding the ones they think most of their readers will want. It's self-selecting distortion, and we're just as capable of that as a third party we don't want to pay for.
But if we do trust them, it's worth bearing in mind their relationship to the truth and to the facts, given that they'll be telling us how to vote in a couple of weeks' time, and saying the facts they have support their opinion.
If you've never seen the wonderful Angry People in Local Newspapers blog, do go and have a look. It describes a type of local newspaper story - someone is angry about something, and is standing pointing at something or with their arms folded looking at something - which occasionally trickles through to the national press. Generally when it does go national it's because it ticks a couple of boxes - jobsworths and health & safety, for example, or political correctness to complete the set.
The story of pensioner Brian Wakley, refused entry to a bus because he was carrying a tin of paint, is just such a thing. Here's an angry person in a local newspaper - his local paper, the Bournemouth Echo. Look at the photo! He's got a pot of paint and everything, and he looks really angry.
This story has been picked up by our friends at the BBC and the Daily Mail, among others, who have, well, they've changed a couple of paragraphs or something, and it's suddenly a big deal. Except... I couldn't help thinking I'd seen something like this before. Is it really a surprise you can't carry a tin of paint on a bus? I'm pretty sure I already knew this. Ah yes:
There we go. Same story. Pensioner... paint... stranded... walk home... picture of him looking angry with a pot of paint... but that was the Liverpool Echo from 2008. Seems it didn't 'go national' that time - maybe there was some real news about something important going on at the time - but I do recall the story, and I wasn't living in Liverpool... maybe it made it onto the radio or something. Or maybe I'm thinking of another story back in 2008 - when a 'health and safety row erupted', according to the Northern Echo, when a man wasn't allowed on a bus because... yes, you've guessed it.
Maybe these are all isolated incidents and most of the time you're allowed to take the bus with tins of paint or anything else you like, and it's just a handful of evil bus drivers who, for some kind of health and safety-related nastiness, decide not to let paint-wielding passengers on. Or maybe this kind of story happens all the time. This letter in the local paper in Leicester might suggest that bus companies everywhere are a bit averse to carrying paint around all over the place, and it's not an isolated incident.
So you have to ask: is it really news? Two minutes of searching on the internet finds examples from Dorset, Newcastle, Leicester and Liverpool of people not being allowed paint tins on buses. Maybe this is just one of those stories that keeps on happening, because it's not a rare event at all, and maybe there are pretty understandable reasons for not letting you on the bus with a tin of paint. Ah, but that would deprive us all of another angry person in a local newspaper, and another example of health and safety supposedly gone mad, wouldn't it?
There's a lot of confusion at the moment about what the legal position is over clearing your path (or a neighbour's path, or the path outside your house) of ice - with urban myths and elf'n'safety bollocks getting trotted out, of course. Most news outlets have had a bash at the story, including the BBC and the usual suspects. Richard Madeley has been banging on about it almost all day on Twitter, bless him; but is the Express columnist right when he says:
Legal knowledge mine Jack of Kent, however, is a little less worried by the whole thing. If you do clear a neighbour's path, for example, he says:
Ah but where's the fun in that? Surely the most important thing for a news outlet to do is not represent the facts of the situation, but instead create a nightmarish vision of the world in which the spectre of elf'n'safety or compensation ambulance-chasing bastards who SHOUT AT YOU DURING THE ADVERTS IN JEREMY KYLE are taking over the world, and there's nothing we can do to stop them. Why bother with accuracy, when you can take your readers for a ride in the ghost train?
The Daily Mail's effort appears to be rather similar to the Telegraph's on the same subject - notethe use of the word 'could' and 'may', carefully crafted on this occasion to represent "could well" whereas in fact the truth is "could possibly, under extremely unlikely circumstances". The Mail says:
Householders and businesses have been warned not to clear snowy pavements - as they could be sued if someone slips.
The Telegraph says:
Yet the professional body that represents health and safety experts has issued a warning to businesses not to grit public paths – despite the fact that Britain is in the grip of its coldest winter for nearly half a century.
Householders and businesses with the Mail; just businesses with the Tele. Who are these experts, anyway? Telegraph:
Clearing a public path “can lead to an action for damages against the company, e.g. if members of the public, assuming that the area is still clear of ice and thus safe to walk on, slip and injure themselves”.
I would say that if that's the case, it's not really 'clear' is it, but then I'm probably nitpicking. Both the Mail and the Telegraph quote John McQuater, who gets a nice bit of publicity with this quote:
John McQuater, president of the National Association of Personal Injury Lawyers, admitted: 'If you do nothing you cannot be liable. If You do something, you could be liable to legal action.'
Which is odd. Because look at this quote in a Guardian article which mentions ice clearing:
4. I've cleared the snow from our driveway. Am I opening myself up to a claim if someone slips?
This is an urban myth. If you do the reasonable thing and clear your drive, you are not opening yourself up to a possible claim, except in very exceptional circumstances.
"This is a common misconception," McQuater says. "By clearing the snow from your paths, you do not invite any extra liability that wouldn't have existed had you done nothing and left the snow on the ground. The only circumstance in which you might invite a claim was if you acted completely unreasonably, and somehow created a new latent hazard that had not existed before your actions."
Yes, it's our old friend John McQuater! Funny how the 'except in very exceptional circumstances' in the Guardian from McQuater becomes 'could be liable' in the Mail and Telegraph. I wonder if he qualified that quote when he spoke to them with an 'except in very exceptional circumstances' and that bit didn't make it into the final printed copy?
Who knows. But as ever, news stories aren't about the truth - they're about a certain worldview which needs to be reinforced. So if you think compensation culture is running rampant and elf'n'safety has truly gone mad, why bother finding out what the facts actually are, when you can go looking for the quotes that support your point of view, and which will infuriate your readers most?
Thanks to Iain for the tipoff!
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!