There’s a story in The Yorkshire Post today about how an idiotic local council has “banned” the use of the term “singing from the same hymn-sheet” because it might offend atheists. I’m an atheist and I’m not offended. Neither is Keith Porteous Wood of the National Secular Society who tells TYP that he uses the phrase himself. Indeed, so do I. I’m not sure how a council even “bans” a phrase?
But this isn’t what interested me about the story.
The first comment – since it is now de rigueur for newspapers to invite comments on their online editions – launches into a tirade which can only be the fully-formed product of a diet of tabloid news. Shirley from Goole says:
councils are reaslly getting more and more stupid – this is an old english saying and it is stupid to ban it. The foreigners should realise they came here willingly, they were not forced to come and by the same reasoning if they dont like it they either accept it or return back to where they come from It is time now for all councils to stand together and honour the english way and the traditions. Thankfully my local town council are still having christmas lights.
Foreigners? Atheists are foreigners? Well no, the second post is by the same author correcting herself:
I appear to have become mixed up with atheists and foreigners, but the sentiments are still the same.
An easy mistake, I suppose. It seems to be that the kneejerk tendency of many people is to blame “foreigners” for “political correctness” as if the Great British Public weren’t able to bring it upon themselves. Foreigners tend to be more resilient: many having left behind conditions so unimaginably ugly to British sensibilities that they don’t really get too worked up about Christmas lights or whether Penny Lane was named after a centuries-dead colonialist who may have profited from slavery.
That’s best left to the small-time carpetbaggers that run for local office.
Sadly, their blundering and meddling feeds the Tabloid Press, which poisons the minds of “Shirley from Goole” against… well… foreigners. Or atheists.