This week, my Other Half told me that he had read an EU directive stating that no official documents should refer to parents as Mother and/or Father, but rather Parent A and Parent B (naturally sparking off a debate about who should be A and who is B – it’s a bag of laughs in our house). But really, can anyone tell me what is potentially offensive about being labelled Mum and Dad (or Mum and Mum, or Dad and Dad for that matter)?
It reminded me of another news item a while ago about a school in North London that introduced a rule forbidding hugs between students, for fear that some embraces might be interpreted as 'inappropriate physical contact'.
So, let me get this straight. When they pass their exams, students at this school cannot jump for joy into the arms of their friends in a frenzy of celebration? Nor can they cry on the comforting shoulder of their best buddy when the latest love of their life dumps them? At best, I guess a polite handshake or a heartfelt “I feel your pain” might be considered ‘appropriate’.
Political correctness started off with the very best of intentions, in a bid to create a kinder, fairer and more understanding society. But it has morphed into a monster that makes sane people despair and gives ample ammunition to the bigots who pine for the days when they could slap insults into everyday conversation without anyone (apart from those insulted) batting an eyelid. For the likes of the legendary ‘Angry of Tunbridge Wells’, having the opportunity to justifiably fume “It’s Political Correctness gone mad!” at the drop of a hat is like having Christmas every day.
It seems to me that we need a whole new set of rules for this age of precautions and Political Correctness.
The old Ten Commandments we had into us at Sunday School are no longer enough, but I reckon the following are a good start - and there's 12 of them to reflect the spirit of excess that marks our new age:
1) Thou shalt not touch.
2) Thou shalt not question the Powers That Be.
3) Thou shalt not be thyself (unless thyself has been approved by an officially-appointed Commission).
4) Thou shalt worship at the altar of tabloid celebrity.
5) Thou shalt not go outside without permission.
6) Thou shalt not scold or punish thy children.
7) Thou shalt not take photographs at a school play without permission from the parents of all participants.
8) Thou shalt honour thy partner or significant other (the terms ‘husband’, ‘wife’ and ‘boy-’ or ‘girl-friend’ are hereby outlawed).
9) Thou shalt not risk... anything.
10) Thou shalt not answer for the consequences of your actions.
11) Thou shalt not reward ability, but encourage the ‘special talents’ of the intellectually-challenged.
12) Thou shalt not think.
But like all things PC, these new commandments must pass through a committee stage. So, please feel free to chip in with your thoughts.