Saturday 10 December 2016

To the re-education centre . . .

Published 01/04/2009 | 00:00

Apology: British Home Secretary Jacqui Smith's husband Richard Timney
Apology: British Home Secretary Jacqui Smith's husband Richard Timney

One of the most worrying phrases we hear every day is the chilling mantra: "You have to be careful what you say these days" as if somehow the Smile Stasi are lurking around every corner, awaiting the next unwitting citizen to break the language laws.

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And, whenever someone points this out, they're accused of being some sort of fascist fear monger who just wants to gratuitously offend everyone. Which, in relation to this column, can be assumed to be reasonably accurate. But that's not the point.

Just look at the case of Tory councillor Jonathan Yardley, who spent two hours as a guest of the Her Majesty's Thought Police the other day -- for making a joke that someone thought was homophobic.

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