This blog is mainly about the governance and future of policing and crime services. (Police & Crime Commissioners feature quite a lot.) But there are also posts about the wider justice system. And because I am town councillor and political activist, local & national issues are covered a little, as well.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Political correctness

Two stories have come my way in recent days:

Oxford Lord Mayor resigns over 'sexy' comment (... witnesses reported hearing a combination of words including: "Bending is very sexy isn't it?", "Ooh, that's a bit sexy" and "It's sexy when you bend down like that" to an under 13 girl gymnast)

Resign call after Weymouth councillor's Facebook outburst (... “Terminally slow (and bad) service from the bone idle bitches at Costa Dorchester today, they all need a good beating.”)

Are these both cases of 'political correctness gone mad' (as some people would have you believe, including it would appear some of the Weymouth councillor's colleagues from their quoted remarks) or something a little more sinister...?

Several things I would like say:
  • Councillors are in leadership positions: the same rules do not apply to us. What we say deserves greater scrutiny as we seek to make decisions for the public good.
  • There is no such thing as private social media: that is a contradiction in terms. People in leadership positions need to learn this fast (if they have not learnt it already)
  • It is not the words that matter: it is what the words indicate that matters! If under 13 girls are 'sexy' to you or women in coffee shop are 'bitches': this says something about you and your attitudes to women and girls.
  • If you have such attitudes, do not expect people to ignore or laugh off your politically incorrect words that naturally come from you, because we will be wondering what else your beliefs lead you to do (and not just say)
  • Words can really hurt and upset people: it is called bullying
  • Apologies, real apologies, can make a difference (but not always).
  • And... service is always slow in Costa coffee shops (and others like): isn't that what people are paying for? If you want instant service, buy a jar of the instant stuff!

Even though I know that some people still think that political correctness is all about using the 'right' words (and avoiding the 'wrong' ones)... it really isn't! It is about deeply respecting people, treating fellow human beings as individuals not objects to be categorised and plain ordinary courtesy.

Update: Cllr Rachel Rogers has sent me a link to her blog on the affair. We share some common thoughts!

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