Politically correct language and decency

Some of the bloggers who write to my site condemn the general outbreak of politically correct speech and writing. Some might like  to break the rules of modern discourse by saying disobliging things about groups or types of people just for the frisson of it. One of the worst aspects of my job in moderating this site is taking out unpleasant generalisations whilst preserving the sense of the argument of the incoming contribution.

I do so not because I have lamely fallen prey to politically correct speech myself, but because I think observing courtesies to others and avoiding harsh generalisations is a good thing for society and for democratic debate. Under the modern rules of  political correctness  differential considerations apply. It is thought unacceptable to make harsh generalisations or issue sweeping criticisms of most minorities and all vulnerable groups. On the other hand it is often  thought acceptable to condemn in general and  unflattering terms the “rich”, members of mainstream parties, senior politicians or holders of other offices of power and influence, types of business, and people with certain views (“climate change deniers”, “Eurosceptics”).

Some of this shows a healthy democracy. The governed should be free to criticise the government, the person in an average  job should be free to criticise the bosses, political opponents need some latitude in condemning their rivals. Some is itself over the top. A fair and open society needs to avoid making exceptions or villains of any group or type of people living within it, other than criminals.Some of it is potentially a libel based on prejudice and lies.

Let us take the vexed case of immigration. Many people and two political parties want it reduced. It should be possible in a democracy to make the case for controlled immigration, and to set out criteria for choosing who might come for jobs and citizenship to our country. What is not  acceptable is to attribute a series of negative characteristics to groups of potential migrants with a view to creating tensions between communities and groups of people in our society.

In the case of global warming it is important we challenge the lazy and politically correct statements that all so often dominate this debate. It should not be offensive to anyone that some people wish to challenge the assumptions of global warming theory, as good scientists regularly test other scientific theories to see if they are right or if some other model provides a better explanation and predictions of the future.


  1. Dame Rita Webb
    January 7, 2016

    Well if in Harry Truman terms about heat and kitchens why does Dave keep coming up with stuff like this? The “Independent” reported the other day that he fears that his children will never be able to get on the property ladder. Who is he trying to kid? Everybody knows both he and his wife come from very wealthy families. Otherwise how could he afford the homes in Notting Hill and Chipping Norton on a his SpAd/ TV PR wages and her job in the stationers shop? Despite him being a keen horseman it was noticeable too that he avoided the equestrian events at the Olympics. If he does not want to be seen as a insincere (self moderated comment) perhaps he should read Simon Heffer’s column in last Sunday’s “Telegraph”. Again it was his decision to turn up to the flooded areas in a pair of labourers wellies rather than a pair of Hunters as we would expect from someone of his background.

    1. Lifelogic
      January 7, 2016

      I would expect the labourers wellies given his superficial stunts & PR background. He has got rather better at his juvenile PR, since his cycling with chauffeur drivel limo following shortly behind days.

      Oh for a real Tory of substance and with a working compass.

  2. Iain gill
    January 7, 2016

    PC is much worse than that. Acceptance that motorists are a big evil, and ignoring the poor road design we see all around. The active discrimination against white working class males. The way men get destroyed on divorce being somehow accepted. Nobody in the real world agrees with this stuff

    1. Lifelogic
      January 7, 2016

      There is much truth in that. Any agenda that attempts to get 50% of women in say boardrooms, the house of commons or some particular industries has to be very active discrimination against men by definition. This as fewer women apply (or often are even qualified). Women very clearly make different work life balance choices very sensibly in my opinion too.

      If you were to go for 50% in say Science, Maths and Engineering you would have to have huge anti-male bias to achieve it as so few women choose to study these subjects.

      Perhaps as much as giving a woman 100 times more chance of getting the job than a slightly better qualified man. It would have to be that extreme to work.

      More to the point you would clearly have worse people doing the jobs and that could cost ÂŁbillions to the economy and even lives.

      I am all in favour of more women scientist and engineers and many are indeed excellent. But if most women choose not for whatever reason to you cannot force them.

      Financial splits on divorce are clearly absurdly anti-male and a very nice gravy train for Lawyers. They usually cause far more harm than good, with long bitter battles. Often damaging the ongoing relationship hugely and harming the children and even grand parents.

  3. Mike Stallard
    January 7, 2016

    I could not agree more.
    If you go on Labour List, the standard of debate is, frankly, rather disappointing. One person – Crusty – simply writes the word “twat” under whatever anyone says! I have quoted St Paul at him: “Your speech should always be pleasant and interesting, and you should know how to give the right answer to everyone.” He seems to have moderated his language now.
    When I was writing lessons plans (for free) on TES website, some teachers used simply to condemn my lesson plans with a dismissive “This ought never to be shown to any child.”
    That hurt, I can tell you! Especially when the writers usually had contributed precisely nothing to the site.
    I suppose you have to be pretty thick skinned in these Godless times…

  4. Ex-expat Colin
    January 7, 2016

    You can say all that and its nice to be nice I suppose. Unfortunately, in politics and Gov problems consistently roll on and on. Hence the terms incompetent and inadequate often arise. What we witness locally and in the world is truly appalling and you mention some. Ideology won’t run the world…reality and practicality does!

    At the same time the salaries and expenses are eagerly received so I’d expect considerable class derision. Imagine what happens in business when the return on such outlay is near zilch!

    And expect the likes of Trump to arise as a result , and he does say it as is, some might say generalisations?

  5. APL
    January 7, 2016

    JR: “What is not acceptable is to attribute a series of negative characteristics to groups of potential migrants ..”

    Well, we don’t have to, the behavior of the ‘migrants’ speaks for itself.


    The politically correct speak *IS* a means to control the narrative. Hence, all ‘migrants’ are qualified professors, doctors, engineers but definitely not welfare scroungers, thieves and sex offenders.

    But as with the clip from the BBC which you should have no problem approving straight away ( it being from the UK governments ‘Ministry of Truth’, the actuality has a habit of coming to the surface in an unpleasant manner. And now German women are not free to walk the streets of their own cities because Angela Merkel in a fit of left wing insanity encouraged hundreds of thousands of foreigners into Germany.

    When they have to travel through Turkey first and Saudi Arabia will take none.

    It’s what your political class wants for the British too.

    No thank you.

    1. Anonymous
      January 8, 2016

      Frau Merkel faces a dilema:

      to flood the coming festival in Cologne with police; cancel it, or allow women to be molested as they were on New Year’s Eve.

      None of these options is going to look good. Any more of this and Germany will kick off big time.

      Tolerances are being pushed to their absolute limits.

  6. Lifelogic
    January 7, 2016

    Some generalisations are of course merely statements of fact. Girls, on average, tend to prefer studying languages at GCSE and A levels than physics, computer studies and further maths. Men are on average taller and stronger than women. Even the recommended alcohol intakes. for the genders are apparently being equalised in another absurdly PC and anti science move.

    Political correctness can very often just mean preventing people telling the truth. Some groups are alas far more involved in certain types of crime than others groups. If one cannot generalise, even in sensitive areas, it can be very hard to say anything very much of substance or to tackle some problems. Free speech is then closed down, as indeed it is by the dreadful 2006 Racial and Religious Hatred Act. Belief systems, however irrational are protected from criticism by law. Some religions are, after all, essentially racist in their very nature and these views are then protected by law.

    If cannot be long before the law will prevent sensible scientists and others from pointing out that the catastrophic, man made, global warming religion is essentially a huge political scam to justify more taxation and world controls. Or it will become illegal to fire someone who refuses to do something due to their green beliefs.

    We have, I think, already had people vandalising power stations, crop trials getting off by justifying there actions with their green beliefs.

    As even the IPCC says: The climate system is a coupled non-linear chaotic system, and therefore the long-term prediction of future climate states is not possible.

    All sensible scientists would surely agree with this. No only that we do not much of the input data needed. The output of the sun and volcanoes are also similarly variable and unpredictable.

    1. Lifelogic
      January 7, 2016

      The BBC failure to report facts (and their tip toeing round facts) for reasons of political correctness, is absurd and very irritation. You often just have to Google stories just to get to some straight reporting of the details.

      I see that the BBC favourite “thinker” Polly Toynbee was on again saying what a complete disaster it would be if the UK left the EU. She never seems to say why, nor is she asked why for some reason. How long will we have between the announcement of Cameron’s token negotiation “triumph” and the referendum? It seems Cameron thinks his best change of burying the UK in the anti-democratic EU for ever is to get it over as soon as he can.

      I think he will struggle to con the voters a second time.

      1. Vanessa
        January 7, 2016

        The BBC never asks “Why” to any response it agrees with. Its agenda is pro EU and pro Climate Change and no-one who says it is so is ever taken to task and asked to explain why.

        1. Dame Rita Webb
          January 7, 2016

          You do get the odd gem. The “PM” program the other day had a good piece on Greenland’s exit from the EU. It also killed off the myth that trade deals are not possible if you want to leave.

    2. David Barry
      January 7, 2016

      “Political correctness can very often just mean preventing people telling the truth. Some groups are alas far more involved in certain types of crime than others groups. If one cannot generalise, even in sensitive areas, it can be very hard to say anything very much of substance or to tackle some problems.”

      Spot on. I was thinking of Rotherham when I read this. Obviously there are immigrants in Rotherham who were not involved in grooming, but it would be foolish and, frankly, dangerous to suggest that the problem was caused by a random collection of individuals. We all know there was more to it than that. It’s that sort of cowardice that allowed the problem to get out of hand in the first place.

      1. fedupsoutherner
        January 7, 2016

        David, totally agree with these sentiments. We only have to look at the problems in Germany at the moment with latest immigrants there. It is finally being reported that the men involved in the sexual harassment of so many women recently was down to men of a Syrian/Middle eastern appearance. (Generalisation left out ed) We must be allowed to speak freely when subjects like this come up without having to worry about if we are PC.

        1. Anonymous
          January 9, 2016

          Fedup – It should be a case that if you have written something illegal then it is referred to the police. There are now plenty of laws to prevent incitement to hatred.

          If it isn’t illegal then there shouldn’t be any problem in saying it.

          The British (the English in particular) have been remarkably tolerant. If a few choice words and grumbles is the worst of it…

          Let’s count the bodies in this war of nastiness. When a member of a minority group is killed by an indigene a statue is erected in memorium, with a cctv to protect it – such a rare event that it is.

          Easy to count.

          When an indigene is killed by a member of a minority group it goes unremarked. They number thousands.

          How wonderful if they had expressed themselves using only words instead.

    3. Lifelogic
      January 7, 2016

      So George Osborne warns UK economy faces ‘cocktail of threats’. The main threat is surely his over taxation, over complex taxation, over regulation and his general tax, borrow and piss down the drain agenda? This while delivering appalling run public services like the flood protection, the NHS, poor school, poor policing, a hugely inefficient HMRC, dreadful roads ….

      It seems even the sugar tax is back on the agenda and some daft proposal to even charge council tax on properties yet to be build ……. that is just today. Why does he not just stop the endless waste in the state sector that renders the UK so uncompetitive in the world?

      Perhaps we should tax children at birth on money they will earn in the future when they start work. He is already taxing landlords (and thus tenants) on losses. Nothing would surprise me from this huge purveyor of the bloated & incompetent state sector.

      He could perhaps start by keeping his IHT promise of 7? years ago perhaps. After all Cameron is a “low tax conservative at heart” or so he pathetically tells us.

      1. Lifelogic
        January 7, 2016

        He even seems to think a low oil price is a problem – for the UK a low oil prices is great news. Even if it does render his pointless & expensive PV and wind even more pointless than it was already. The problem is his lack of a working compass.

        1. fedupsoutherner
          January 7, 2016

          Low oil prices = low pump prices and that;s great if you have to commute everywhere by car because the public transport is rubbish. It’s good for businesses too. What we need now is real low priced energy and not the expensive useless wind/solar power. Bring on the shale.

    4. Lifelogic
      January 7, 2016

      Britain’s economy is entering a “mission critical” year in which it will face a “dangerous cocktail” of threats according to Osborne.

      But what is Osborne’s mission? It seems to be endlessly to increase taxes, bloat government even more, render the private sector unable to compete, over regulate everything, run a huge deficit, have open door immigration, remain in the sclerotic EU, chase out the rich and non doms, rob landlords and thus tenants, rat on IHT and deliver public services of very poor quality. The mission surely needs to be changes by about 180 degrees.

      Why on earth does he think cheap oil and indeed cheap commodities in general are a threat to the UK?

    5. Lifelogic
      January 7, 2016

      Can it be rolled back? Alas I rather doubt it.

    6. The Active Citizen
      January 9, 2016

      Mercia and Lifelogic – The Lords actually amended this Act, (which I still have lots of issues with), prior to it passing, so as to require the material or speech to be threatening and for there to be intent> to incite religious hatred.

      Here’s the relevant clause: “A person who uses threatening words or behaviour, or displays any written material which is threatening, is guilty of an offence if he intends thereby to stir up religious hatred.”

      And here’s the Racial and Religious Hatred Act 2006 itself.

      My understanding is therefore that we can still criticise a religion, provided our comment is not threatening and is not intended to incite, however I’m not a lawyer!

  7. Mark B
    January 7, 2016

    Good morning.

    What angers me most is the lack of honesty in the subjects mentioned.

    When talking about immigration, the lack of honesty here is to talk of only EU immigration, something we cannot do anything about yet, refuse to talk about non-EU immigration, which is something we can.

    On climate change, it is the lack of honesty about the fact that the earth has, and will continue to have, changes in its climate. From Ice Age to Ice Age it will always change. Why cannot people be honest and say that it is about wealth redistribution ?

    We have heard form other on-line news sites of disgusting and distubing news of what went on in the German city of Cologne over the New Year. The most troubling thing was, that the German MSM refused to cover the story.

    There is no greater danger to a democracy than Political Correctness. That is because there is no more effective form of censorship than ‘self-censorship’, and that is what Political Correctness was invented for. Also, it is a very good tool for those who wish to hide their shame, whether it be over their own incompetence or, dirty dealings.

  8. Ian wragg
    January 7, 2016

    Which is the second party that wants to reduce immigration. It certainly isn’t Dave or Gideon.
    I see today Dave is going to capitulate on free movement to oblige his friend Angela.
    Explain to us all why 90% of school children have to have their education disrupted because of Ramadan. I think your party is recruiting for Ukip and trying to throw the next election.

    1. Iain Moore
      January 7, 2016

      Sorry read it as ‘ going under a Surgeon’s knife’

      1. Iain Moore
        January 7, 2016

        Well at least a little of my post got part the moderators attention, unfortunately not a very informative bit.

        1. Ken Moore
          January 9, 2016

          Welcome to the EU’s intellectual Gulag called political correctness. I suspect your views differed from those that are pre-approved.
          I suppose this is how freedom is lost and why the Eu has been allowed to absorb our country from under our noses. Those that try to expose or oppose the consequences of following this re-treaded Soviet model are ostracised.

    2. Denis Cooper
      January 7, 2016

      I read here this morning:


      “Cameron asks Germans to help keep Britain in the EU”

      Well, that’s not quite the same as the communists asking the Russians to help keep Hungary in the Soviet orbit back in 1956, but it still rankles.

      “Cameron argued in Bild that the UK was not questioning the freedom of movement.

      “We want to stop people taking out from a welfare system without contributing to it first,” he wrote.

      “Like Germany, Britain believes in the principle of free movement of workers. But that should not mean the current freedom to claim all benefits from day one and that’s why I’ve proposed restricting this for the first four years,” Cameron argued.

      He suggested that curbing migrants’ benefits would make a “big difference” to whether the UK stayed.”

      Well, firstly the EU treaties do not confine freedom of movement to “workers”, as the Tory party pretends, right back to the Treaty of Rome setting up the EEC it has been “persons”: Article 3(c) referred to

      “the abolition, as between Member States, of obstacles to freedom of movement for persons, services and capital”.

      Secondly, if he wants to “stop people taking out from a welfare system without contributing to it first”, where does that leave our own young people who do not start to contribute until they enter the workforce, and how can he hope to get an exemption for people born and bred here which will stand up to challenge in the EU’s Court of Justice unless that exemption is enshrined in the EU treaties and it is expressly stated that the Court shall not overturn the new rules on the grounds of indirect discrimination against the nationals of other member states?

      And thirdly, he may calculate that new restrictions on migrants’ benefits would make a “big difference” to the referendum result, but what difference would they actually make to the volume of immigration from poorer member states, including those much poorer and in some cases populous countries like Turkey which he wants to get into the EU in the future, and without the British people being allowed any direct say on whether they should be allowed to join through a referendum, thanks to the blanket exemption for all accession treaties which Hague quietly wrote into his so-called “referendum lock” law?

    3. Lifelogic
      January 7, 2016

      Indeed they do seem very determined to be even worse than Corbyn and the SNP.

    4. Mitchel
      January 7, 2016

      …or where halal meat has frequently become the default position in public sector catering.

      Minorities are not inherently “vulnerable”;history shows well enough that assertive minorities can easily subvert and consume a large but effete/decadent majority.

    5. Timaction
      January 7, 2016

      Political correctness is a tool to stop free speech and undermine democracy. It was invented by “new” Labour to stifle debate, used as a tool to allow mass migration and feelings of nationhood, against the will of the indigenous population and then they legislated to ensure “equality” was the norm. Whilst ensuring that minorities, women and other special interest groups were given priority and advantage over the skills and ability of others. Meritocracy was killed on the alter and wisdom of our established legacy parties to the detriment of the English people. This is now adopted by all the legacies and the only party to confront this appalling disgrace is UKIP!

      1. Timaction
        January 7, 2016

        I see there is finally acknowledgement that crime and wrong doing by invaders in Cologne, Germany on New Years Eve. Hidden by the msm at the collusion of Governments for six days! Wake up people we are living in a post democracy!

    6. Qubus
      January 7, 2016

      It seems to me perfectly reasonable to ask the Imams (spelling?) to lift the restrictions of Ramadan for the few days that school children are sitting their public examinations. After all, they do lift the restrictions for pregnant women and possibly various other groups.

      1. Iain Moore
        January 7, 2016

        No need to, children are exempt, and even if they were following it, can postpone the fasting to other times.

        1. Edward2
          January 7, 2016

          Only children who have not reached puberty are exempt, apparently.
          Which these days means nearly all senior school children are required to fast.

        2. Graham
          January 7, 2016

          Very true

          Won’t be publicised anywhere thought nor will the ‘Muslim community’ state this fact either

      2. Lifelogic
        January 7, 2016

        It seem to me that indoctrination of young minds into many religions and religious practices is a form of child abuse.

        1. Lifelogic
          January 8, 2016

          If you do not do this you will go to Hell. Some of your friends at school do not believe this so they are “unclean” and will certainly go to Hell……

          Surely this is child abuse on any rational basis?

          Clearly having to watch East Enders is indeed Hell on Earth for many and a form of torture. Having said that my daughter rather likes the children’s version Tracy Beaker, but I try to prevent this.

  9. stred
    January 7, 2016

    There are reports that your enlightened leaders and Maria Whatsername, are planning to make passports non gender specific and to allow UK citizens to claim they are of either gender by a simple declaration on a form without anyone else having to poke around or having chats with shrinks, presumably qualifying for a sex change operation on the NHS.

    Recently, my better 1/2 had to wait 4 hours to be told she did not need an x ray on her leg, after falling down the stairs, and was sent home without treatment. Then a week later, another regional trust found she had a broken leg and foot, treated her and supplied crutches a surgical boot and medication within 2 hours. When transferring back to her home Trust in London, she again had to wait 6 hours in their A and E and the notes sent by the regional trust were lost. She was re-x rayed, seen by a trainee who did nor have a clue and an appointment had to be made this way to see ‘the team’ because the system did nor allow it to be made over the phone. She sat on a chair beside a lady who had bone cancer and had fallen and was in pain. She also had to sit on a plastic chair for 6 hours, while 2 families of Romanian citizens came in asking for their grandad to have a CT scan, as he had fallen ill here while on holiday. My better was sitting by the desk and could hear the conversations. Bearing this in mind, consider the following.

    If gender reassignment is to be added to the list of things for the NHS to do, no doubt some surgeons will be expanding their caseload. Presumably this will involve the matching of organs to be transferred between men who think they are really women and vice versa. Patients will have to be carefully matched in order to avoid rejection and departments will have to keep such organs on ice between operations, perhaps stored in what will be known as the toolbox.

    I hope this is not considered too non PC for the likes of the ex culture minister.

  10. Martyn G
    January 7, 2016

    John, “…what is not acceptable is to attribute a series of negative characteristics to groups of potential migrants…” Quite so and it is more than time that immigration should be discussed and actions taken in terms of numbers alone – regardless of where people come from or what their religion might be. It is the huge number of immigrants alone that are gradually overpopulating our nation and resources. Yet none at the top appear to want to actually do anything about it – one only need take a look at our border farce teams to see how unrealistic it is to expect them to properly control our borders.
    And as to the global warming religion, follow the money because that is one of the reasons (greatly helped by BBC propaganda) the main players are so eager to shout down anyone who questions their religion, upon which they depend for endless, increasing financial income.

    1. Denis Cooper
      January 7, 2016

      “…. immigration should be discussed and actions taken in terms of numbers alone – regardless of where people come from or what their religion might be.”

      I can’t agree that we should focus just on quantity and totally ignore quality.

      1. Martyn G
        January 7, 2016

        Good point!

    2. Liz
      January 7, 2016

      It is not just the numbers but also culture. Today we have reports that European media self censored news of large numbers of allegedly immigrant men sexually assaulting women on New Year’s Eve in Cologne, Germany – assaults which were ignored by police on duty. As also mentioned here there are proposals to move GCSE exams for the whole of the country away from the month of Ramadan. Neither of these two things will help either integration or racial/religious tolerance – the reverse in fact. The media needs to be much more open and transparent and not try to keep difficulties secret when covering immigration and the strains it imposes on the host country.

      1. Anonymous
        January 9, 2016

        I attended a famous burger franchise in Birmingham today.

        Nowhere did it say the meat was halal but on sitting among the clientelle I assume it surely must be.

        I have no problem with eating halal meat but I know that very many people would object to it and should at least be told up front without having to ask.

    3. Lifelogic
      January 7, 2016

      Indeed it is a very good way to justify public money being diverted to private interests. All perhaps helped along by “consultancies” that some MPs hold.

      I see that some legal companies benefit hugely from the public purse and then fund political parties who often push these daft laws through. Perhaps that goes some way to explain why UK laws so rarely act in the interests of the general public. But perhaps I am too cynical? The ECHR seems to benefit very few other than largely parasitic Lawyers.

    4. Lifelogic
      January 7, 2016

      Numbers and their quality perhaps?

    5. fedupsoutherner
      January 7, 2016

      Yes, I noticed on the news this morning that they were reporting that people cannot register with a doctor in Clacton because there aren’t enough doctors. What wasn’t mentioned was the fact that Clacton has a lot of immigration and this must add to the pressure on services. This is never mentioned when talking about immigration and why we need to get out of the EU. Why do we want to stay when our population will rise to an unacceptable level in a few years?

  11. alan jutson
    January 7, 2016

    Whilst I take your points raised, I think much of the problem with regard to language used is exactly because we are being denied sensible and reasonable discussion/debate, and truthful facts by many of our Politicians, and past and present Government.

    Comments can often be made out of frustration, and hence because of such frustration perhaps some remarks can be near the mark on occasion.

    Some politicians love to use words/phrases to put people or policies into boxes, because it is convenient to them, “Austerity, Climate Change, The rich, Poverty, Northern Powerhouse” But it means absolutely nothing to some people, and different things to others.

    Thus it is no wonder that good old fashioned language/sayings are then used by others (myself on occasion) in return.

    I think you have the moderation of your site about right John, people can make their point without absolutely insulting others, and at the same time you allow and them to stimulate and promote discussion on a wide range of topics and subjects.

    Appreciate that it is perhaps not easy to draw the line and to moderate some comments, but think the more people read and contribute to your excellent site, then the more likely they are to understand exactly where the line is, that should not be crossed.

    1. Cheshire Girl
      January 7, 2016

      AJ. I agree with you totally. Many reasonable people on this blog speak out through a sense of frustration with Politicians. As an example, two days ago, David Cameron was asked a specific question as to what happened to some migrants who sneaked into the UK in the back of lorries – were they still here? The question was asked twice and each time the Prime Minister did not give a straight answer. Also the subject of three thousand unaccompanied children came up. Were we planning to take any or all of them? The Prime Minister answered that he was ‘looking’ at the matter, which left many wondering if when a decision was made, we would be told about it, or left to find out when the children were already here! In my opinion, there is too much waffling about what the last Labour government did wrong, which in my view is irrelevant, as they have not been in power for over five years.

    2. APL
      January 7, 2016

      Alan Jutson: “we are being denied sensible and reasonable discussion/debate, and truthful facts by many of our Politicians”

      Now, why would they want to do that?

    3. Lifelogic
      January 7, 2016

      The main use of words by politicians (and indeed much of the BBC) is not to communicate but to obfuscate or mislead while saying nothing of substance. Daesh, Net migration, Bombing to “degrade” as examples. They nearly always either say things that are so obviously true as not to be not worth saying or they just try to mislead.

      Take the phrase:- “Scientists tell us these floods are consistent with climate change” it means absolutely nothing at all. The floods are consistent with almost anything, such as me having bath today. The climate has always changed and always will. Vacuous nonsense, but largely designed to mislead.

  12. Bob
    January 7, 2016

    I see that the Mayor of Cologne has suggested a “code of conduct” for women wth respect to their behaviour in public, including the recommendation to “maintain an arm’s length distance from strangers”

    Well that shouldn’t be difficult on a crowded train station, or in a New Year’s Eve firwork display.

    Such common sense advice!

    1. Lifelogic
      January 7, 2016

      What a bonkers suggestion from this female Mayor!

      1. Bob
        January 7, 2016

        At least she didn’t suggest they wear burqas when going out in public!
        Oops! am I allowed to mention burqas here?

        1. Ken Moore
          January 8, 2016

          At least she didn’t suggest they wear burqas when going out in public!
          Oops! am I allowed to mention burqas here?

          She came close…I believe the Mayor suggested women should ‘cover their heads’ when out in public….equality of all cultures however abhorrent in action!.

      2. APL
        January 7, 2016

        Lifelogic: “What a bonkers suggestion from this female Mayor!”

        So, here is the question. What, about the German male population this year is different from the German population last year when women were able to walk through the streets of Cologne or Dresden in a thick winter coat, with out being molested by gangs of the German male population?

        But the solution is for German women is to cover up their duffel Burberry coats, because what ever it is these women are doing, it’s just driving the ‘German’ male population insane with lust.

        This is one of life’s impenetrable mysteries, and our politicians are too stupid to be able to figure it out, because that would mean having to admit responsibility.

  13. agricola
    January 7, 2016

    My verdict is that Political Correctness is a one way street. While it is illegal to be offensive about black people, a term I do not like because there are very few people who are actually black in this world, they can be as unpleasant as they wish about white people. Check out the balance of prosecutions. Personally I would rather we were pleasant about everyone, criminals apart, because we all have a role in the progress of mankind.

    For those who dabble in PC and make a living out of it, historical context is often ignored as is the unpleasant truth. Slavery was and is an abhorrent practise in any age. Some who use it as an anchor overlook the reality. Europeans, British, Spanish, Portuguese, and French were largely dealers and shippers apart from those who settled in the Americas and became users. Who do you think captured all the slaves and sold them at the African coast, largely fellow Africans and Arabs. A fact overlooked in the dissemination of guilt. In mitigation I would point out that it was William Wilberforce who campaigned for the end of slavery by the British. He was British and succeeded. Rumour has it that slavery is still rife in parts of the African and Middle Eastern world.

    Then there is modern immigration. We suffer the volume of it because we have a relatively successful economy while Europe does not. It has been exacerbated by our failure over the years to educate and train people for the work available, and at the same time through welfare hand outs making the resort to work less attractive. The so called 600,000 Polish plumbers only came because there was work for them. They discovered the benefits of our excessively generous welfare system when they had children, here or in Poland. The system is at fault not the Poles. As an aside I would point out that their grandfathers in the Polish squadrons of the RAF shot down more raiding Germans during the Battle of Britain than any RAF squadron. We owe them a lot of respect.

    The problem with immigration is not the principal it is the sheer overwhelming quantity of it in many areas of the UK. I blame the politically opportunistic Labour party who under Blair judged that those let in would be grateful and vote Labour. If we wish to vent our spleen that is where we should vent it. Those that legislate, by and large, arrange residence in areas not affected so do not understand the problems.

    It would be insane to think in terms of repatriation, but we could , outside the EU restrict entry to those we really need while educating those here to fill the vacancies. We should stop encouraging the birth rate with family allowance and any other benefits because our island would be a more comfortable harmonious place with a population of 45 million rather than the 65 million it has. If man can have an effect on global warming we could reduce that effect by 20 million people.

    We should not be so up our own backsides about PC. The odd Englishman, Irishman, Scotsman joke makes people laugh and relieves tension, so allowing a few Jamaicans and Poles to join in would be no bad thing

  14. Ken Moore
    January 7, 2016

    I think it is quite outrageous for John Redwood to suggest those making non PC remarks do so for ‘the Frisson of it’. He echoes the left wing default position that if you don’t think like them there is something wrong with you.

    I expected better to be honest – I thought JR was one of those rare politicians that still retained a capacity to think and keep an open mind.

    Those making non PC remarks do so out of a sense of frustration and indeed fear when their views are not represented by the elite. The non PC have the sense to realise that if the ability to debate is closed down problems cannot be tackled but are instead left to multiply. Fostering a sense of ‘victimhood’ in ethnic communities helps nobody.

    In the early days political correctness helped spread decency and consideration for the handicapped, women and ethnic minorities but has now gone way too far.
    It’s now deepened it’s influence becoming more dogmatic and intolerant of dissent.
    There is non more bigoted and intolerant than those that preach tolerance.

    JR wrongly sees PC as just being all about politeness and respect for others. He is dead wrong. The aim of PC is to redistribute power from the powerful to the powerless regardless of virtue by unquestioningly supporting for those it deems to be ‘victims’.
    The West in general, and the US can do no good while the developing world can do no wrong. It’s time we we halted the long retreat of reason but is JR on board ?.

  15. Old Albion
    January 7, 2016

    Just taking the example of immigration.

    MOST politicians and the BBC refer to those camped in Calais (and soon Dunkerque) as ‘refugees’
    They do so to try and gain sympathy for the ‘refugees’ in order to eventually allow them all into England (those that can’t walk through the tunnel will find other ways) When TV crews are dispatched to Calais they inevitably send back recordings of a young woman and/or a child living in squalor. They never send back truly representative footage, because it would show the ‘refugees’ to be around 90% males in the 16 -40 (approx) age bracket, who are actually mostly either, bogus asylum seekers or economic migrants drawn by the ease at which they can ‘blend’ into life in England. This is PC in action.
    Now that I have made this observation the Politically Correct brigade can of course make generalisations about me and others who know the truth and their own rule book will be temporarily discarded.
    They will call me a far-right/racist/Nazi for speaking the truth.

  16. Bert Young
    January 7, 2016

    The truth is often unpalatable . Sublimating language to a point where no-one or no thing is offended might well mean nothing is said . I think the points made in today’s blog are reasonable and timely ; there have been times when expression of thought has been extreme when a little thought beforehand could well achieve a similar statement of fact without it being outright insulting .

    When offending statements accord with one’s own point of view , it does not seem so outrageous , nevertheless to others this may not be the case . The moderation applied in the past I think have kept expression within reasonable bounds and , at the same time , allowed straightforward statements to be made . If it continues this way I , for one , will be more than happy .

  17. Antisthenes
    January 7, 2016

    PC is insidious and pernicious and is designed as a method of thought control, manipulation and to propagate progressives ideas/opinions and to shut down all others. Certainly racism and phobias are unpleasant and should be confronted vigorously but not by force as PC advocates unless it is to stop violent acts emanating from them . Unpleasant utterances are best addressed by hearing them and then refuting them by reasoned and rational counter opinions and argument. In open and unrestricted debate.

    Apart from which the PC way is undermining our right to free speech and therefore an attack on our civil liberties. If we do not stop PC then the price we will eventually pay is to have to live in a police state.

  18. Iain Moore
    January 7, 2016

    If we are told we live in a multicultural country , and culture is defined as the sum of attitudes, customs, and beliefs that distinguishes one group of people from another, then aren’t you acting politically correct fashion by moderating comments that presumably make derogatory generalisations, for it would appear we are allowed to wax lyrical about the wonders of multiculturalism, but not the downsides.

  19. Brian Tomkinson
    January 7, 2016

    JR: “What is not acceptable is to attribute a series of negative characteristics to groups of potential migrants with a view to creating tensions between communities and groups of people in our society.”
    There seems to be a received wisdom amongst much of the media and Westminster that any criticism of migrants is designed to create tensions in the way you state. Does it ever occur to you that the intention is exactly the opposite? Trying to stifle legitimately held opinions will eventually result in more problems not fewer. Sexual assaults in Germany on New Year’s Eve have belatedly been reported and again there seems to be a desire both in Germany and here by the authorities and the media to look to blame anyone but the perpetrators. Wilfully ignoring such events will both encourage their continuation and eventually provoke a response.
    There seems to be no restraint on people been called ‘racist’, ‘islamaphobes’, ‘climate change deniers’, ‘xenophobes’, ‘misogynists’ – political correctness appears to be a one way street – comply or else.

    1. Anonymous
      January 7, 2016

      Whatever I may say or write, I find that my ability to generalise has kept me safe on some of the mean streets I’ve been on.

      It may be unpleasant judge books by covers but it saves time and was learned through bitter experience.

      1. Ken Moore
        January 7, 2016

        We make all these kinds of non PC judgemental calls all the time about who we choose to do business with, where we allow our teenage daughters to travel to, if it’s safe to walk alone at night.

        In general it works . It is patently absurd of the PC lobby to deny this as they pretend to see the world as they would like it to be not as it really is.

        So yes we are all guilty of occasionally assigning ‘negative characteristics to groups’.

  20. Kenneth
    January 7, 2016

    The problem is that some ‘politically correct’ people confuse the man with the ball.

    Immigrants are not bad people. The high immigration rate is the problem, not any given person. I would try to come here if I lived in a very poor country

    Bankers are not bad people. The system they work within is bad.

    Benefit claimants are not bad people. It is the system that is bad. I would claim the most I could if I were in that position.

    CEOs of FTSE100 companies are not bad people (despite the current BBC campaign). They just happen to run the most successful companies.

    Politicians are not bad people. They just happen to have different approaches.

    Companies that minimise tax payments are not managed by bad people. They are simply doing what we would all do.

    Doctors and nurses are not bad people for profiting from sickness. Wind farm owners are not bad people for taking advantage of a subsidy. Rich people are not bad for happening to be rich etc etc

    The problem is that NewSpeak limits debate, shuts out reason and ultimately gives us 2 minutes Hate.

    PC is dangerous. Just look where we are now: we are living under a foreign-run regime that has communist levels of taxation and state interference to match and the regime is supposedly run by a Conservative-led government. How did that happen?

  21. Mitchel
    January 7, 2016

    Talking about blaming the ghastly foreigners,I see Osborne is at it again;As regular as clockwork he gives us a glowing report about his stewardship of the economy and then a few weeks later prepares us for the probability that his targets will not be met due to events elsewhere in the world.

    Nothing to do with me guv!

    1. Anonymous
      January 7, 2016

      “It all started in America”

      Where have we heard that sort of thing before ?

    2. Ken Moore
      January 7, 2016

      Mr George is just getting his excuses in early because the OBR’s growth forecast is about to be is proved wrong (again).

      Interesting how he manages to ‘confront complacency’ just after another politically driven spending binge. But never mind, the new modern politically correct Conservative party can just conjure up a new version of reality..until events become so serious that no amount of ‘media manipulation’ can cover up the truth.

      Says George “Anyone who thinks it’s mission accomplished for the British economy is making a mistake’.
      So a doubling of the national debt, record public spending, woeful current account deficit and missed deficit targets mean we are not out of the woods yet.
      Wow insightful stuff from our great chancellor.

  22. ian wragg
    January 7, 2016

    On another blog a gentleman says that when …. president Trump flies in to meet PM BORIS, we will know the world has gone mad.
    I don’t know about Boris but there is more than an evens chance that Trump will win.
    People are fed up with the lies and dissemination by politicians and all over the west a new kind of political party is emerging.
    Immigration is a major problem all over the western world cheered on by the legacy parties whilst muttering about doing something.
    The problem is, most of the incumbent politicians haven’t wakened up to the power of the internet. Whilst the BBC was playing down the attacks and rapes in Germany over Christmas and the New Year, pages of genuine reporting was available online identifying the perpetrators. This would never be allowed on the BBC.
    Political correctness is a cancer on society promulgated by the left to stifle opposition to their communist agenda.

  23. Original Richard
    January 7, 2016

    “What is not acceptable is to attribute a series of negative characteristics to groups of potential migrants with a view to creating tensions between communities and groups of people in our society.”

    Many people are unable to distinguish between race and culture.

    Race is an attribute that is unchangeable and for this reason racial discrimination is unacceptable.

    But culture is a lifestyle choice and consequently we have every right to point out the negative characteristics of cultures that are alien to our society.

    As has already been written on this site, our failure is our simplistic belief that all cultures are benign and equal.

    1. Ken Moore
      January 7, 2016

      Many people are unable to distinguish between race and culture.

      Indeed many cry racism when Islam is criticised forgetting it’s a religion not a race. If you can convert to Islam or be killed for leaving the religion it cannot possibly be a race.

  24. Atlas
    January 7, 2016

    “Amen” to what you say John.

  25. Vanessa
    January 7, 2016

    Your moderations JR just show that freedom of speech is dead and buried. We used to be able to say what we felt despite offending some poor fragile soul but now they are so fragile they cannot come back with a good reason why we are wrong. PC has gone mad and the worst is “racist”?! We are all members of the human race and therefore all the same despite our colour, creed, etc. but now, for some reason every different human being is a “race” of their own apparently to be defended against everything.

  26. Roy Grainger
    January 7, 2016

    Oh, I thought this was going to be about the bizarre prospect of the UK Parliament wasting our time and money debating whether to allow Donald Trump to enter the UK (hypothetically, as he has no plans to visit) for some remarks he made about USA border-control policy. Luckily we have the new phrase “virtue signalling” to describe that nonsense. Surely we already have laws to exclude those we regard as undesirables, possibly like Mr Trump, or maybe terrorists, from entering UK, or maybe we don’t and if that is the case that’s what the debate should be about.

    You are right that the ascribing of a single characteristic to a group of people is wrong, and if it is applied to a race then it is racism. Here’s a good example, from the left-wing Guardian darling George Monbiot:

    “If wealth was the inevitable result of hard work and enterprise, every woman in Africa would be a millionaire”.

    Here’s the reference:


    So, he’s ascribing a characteristic “hard working” to ALL African women. This is the exact equivalent of saying “All Mexican men are lazy”. But of course he can get away with it because he’s from the left.

  27. backofanenvelope
    January 7, 2016

    What is fuelling dissent between the English and migrants is the gap between what politicians say and what they actually do. The case of the migrant who walked thru’ the tunnel is typical. Why wasn’t he just shipped back to France?

    Three months ago I spent over an hour waiting on an early morning tunnel train because there were migrants on the tracks and possibly under the train. Who knows what they could get up to under the train?

  28. Ken Moore
    January 7, 2016

    It’s very well John Redwood enjoying the glow of his own moral superiority in sniffily denouncing those that despise political correctness. Or so it seems.

    But what is his message to the young woman that were raped and sexually assaulted in Germany over the new year?. Sorry I can’t comment as someone might be offended presumably?.
    If the elites could bring themselves to admit that a large group of men from a different culture pose more of a threat to young women than an established group, then the suffering might have been prevented. But this is a thought crime.

    Why is John Redwood’s politically correct stance more ‘decent’ and less ‘unpleasant’ than my view that reason and fact should come before emotional considerations on matters of safety?.

    Or what is John Redwood’s view on Muslim ghettos that have allowed young men to feel such a sense of hatred that they have gone on to commit mass murder in the name of religion ?. Is this also a no go area?

  29. Denis Cooper
    January 7, 2016

    JR, you refer to “the rules of modern discourse”, but who should set those rules?

    Over the past twenty years or so I’ve observed things which I previously never expected to see in this country. I’ve seen people looking over their shoulder to check that nobody else is in earshot before speaking their mind, I’ve seen people asking “Am I allowed to say this?”, and of course there is there is the now almost obligatory prefactory “I’m not X, but …” where X refers to some “ism” or “phobia”.

    It’s almost as if with the collapse of the Soviet Union and the eastern bloc we’ve forgotten that we were supposed to be upholding freedom, including freedom of expression, and we have allowed an unofficial Thought Police to gradually take control, supported by most of the political establishment and all too often backed up by the real police issuing cautions and making arrests on grounds which would never have been accepted in the past.

    But at the same time certain privileged groups can openly incite violence, even murder, and the authorities hold back from invoking the criminal law, and most politicians are prepared to tolerate them and even endorse them.

    1. Denis Cooper
      January 8, 2016

      Innocuous comment missed for moderation here.

  30. Bill
    January 7, 2016

    Those who know the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis are aware of the notion that perception is influenced by language. It suggests we cannot think of something we do not have a word for. Thus some cultures cannot ‘see’ some colours because the word does not exist in their vocabulary.

    My worry about political correctness is that it removes the power of thought and ‘blinds’ us to reality.

    1. Bob
      January 7, 2016

      “My worry about political correctness is that it removes the power of thought and ‘blinds’ us to reality.”

      Indeed it does.
      Barry Humphries was quoted on Monday in the Telegraph culture section saying, “You can’t describe the world as it is any more.” “1984” has arrived for sure.

    2. Stuart B(eaker)
      January 10, 2016

      (Coming very late to this discussion..)

      I think we have to be aware that Political Correctness is a tool wielded by two distinct sets of people.

      On the one hand we have those who are interested in pursuing their cause, whatever it is, by controlling the language of discourse to favour themselves. This obviously includes each one of the apparently disparate groups that have been repeatedly mentioned above.

      On the other hand, and far less obviously, we have those for whom Correctness is a tool of calculated divisiveness. These are people who have no wish to pursue social justice for oppressed minorities, or enforce a perceived moral responsibility for a threatened planet, or any of the myriad other issues which lobbyists, pressure groups and ‘Civil Society’ sees as justifying opinion-control. What they seem primarily interested in is the shattering of society itself by setting one group against another, by igniting and inflaming conflict by whatever means comes to hand. These people are true revolutionaries who have correctly identified honest public discourse as the basis of stability in society, and are doing their best to attack it.

      It serves these purposes very well indeed to use the conscience of our nation to protect criminals, undesirables and enemies of the state from any form of criticism. To provoke justifiable moral outrage targets and marginalises precisely those at the centre of our culture, in favour of reprobates, ignorant moral enthusiasts and the frankly insane, all of which will do the work of those revolutionaries for them.

      The Achilles’ Heel of conscience is slavery to reputation – it is vulnerable to exploitation by the ruthless, and this is what is currently happening with freedom of speech issues.

      On the other hand, the Achilles’ Heel of the revolutionary (as of all collectivist) enterprise is corruption. It is vulnerable to the chaos of unenlightened self-interest, and this is the lever that must be exploited in defeating it.

  31. The Active Citizen
    January 7, 2016

    I don’t think many reasonable people would object to the general thrust of your diary entry JR. And I’m appreciative as I’m sure everyone is that you have to review our responses before publishing them. Goodness knows how you get the time, but we’re grateful.

    As an Englishman, I was brought up to respect the views of others and to debate in a courteous way. Perhaps I’m typically understated sometimes in what I say. However we are reaching a point where even the calmest Englishman has to start speaking his mind on some subjects, and damn the consequences. What is right, is right.

    I fear I have to take issue you with you on your overall conclusions about this PC thing. I hope you’ll read all of this comment and decide that there’s nothing which contravenes any laws and that where I make generalisations these are valid for the purpose of debate. After all, if we can’t say what we think on the topic of free speech, when can we? That said, I deeply regret that I’ve had to self-censor and I really shouldn’t have had to do this….

    You gave two examples for us to think about in the context of political correctness – immigration and climate change.

    [A very quick aside on climate change and the PC-Police – are you aware that “Monsieur Meteo” (the best known TV weather forecaster in France) lost his job a couple of months ago because of a book he published questioning the global warming orthodoxy? A travesty.]

    However let’s take your first example and try to deal with that without breaking any laws….

    I’d like to highlight a specific and highly topical case of the dangers of PC-thinking, speaking, and behaviour, and the draconian laws and limiting ‘acceptable behaviours’ which have become extreme across Europe in the last fifteen years or so.

    I refer to the events in Cologne, Stuttgart and Hamburg (and now, it appears, in other major German cities like Berlin) on New Year’s Eve, which went unreported by the media there for five days.

    I’m sure all your readers have by now read something of the horrors inflicted on German women on New Year’s Eve in concentrated metropolitan areas by groups of hundreds of men of Middle East and North African appearance. I hope you won’t censor that factual description, JR, as it’s now accepted all over the mainstream media including in Germany itself and on the BBC and it’s the whole point lying behind the argument.

    So bad was this (apparent) self-censorship by German media that the state broadcaster ZDF yesterday publicly apologised for failing to carry this story, which is now making news all over the world.

    Anyone who doesn’t have an interest in politics and in media failings due to the whole PC-absurdity fiasco might ask themselves how on earth the German state broadcaster failed to cover this appalling story.

    This is not the case, however, for anyone who has watched the steady decline in truthful, complete, fair, and unbiased reporting standards in many EU countries, including our own, over many years. I regret that I have to put a lot of this down to the whole PC nonsense which aims to stifle facts and dress them up in another guise, or which aims to cover them up altogether if they don’t fit the approved ‘narrative’.

    The situation is particularly bad in Germany and in Sweden, where it is now almost impossible to state certain simple facts for fear of being labelled racist, xenophobe, fascist, a nazi, etc. It goes further than that. People even lose their jobs if they say what they think. That’s certainly true of journalists in Sweden.

    We can of course also look closer to home and consider Rotherham. Ahead of the results of any official enquiry, many people are deeply concerned that the correct actions weren’t taken by key authorities due to a fear of offending a certain minority community. What was this if not the terrible consequence of PC-thinking gone mad?

    In Cologne on 1st January, the Police announced that New Year’s Eve passed off with ‘no major incidents’. Now they have had to admit that they saw a type and scale of crime that they’ve never seen before, in their main square. And let’s be clear, we’re talking about mass and abhorent crime against women, 75% of which involved grievous sexual assault and at least two rapes reported so far. The total number of victims is now over 150 and it’s rising all the time. Even the Berlin police are now admitting that they have also received complaints of the same type, after first saying that Berlin’s celebrations passed without undue incident.

    On New Year’s Day JR you posted a wonderful diary entry. As part of my response I wrote the following:

    “It seems to me that it comes down to a lack of plain speaking generally. It’s almost as if we read about the latest disgrace in public administration and must simply sigh in response. In years gone by we would have expected heads to roll and dramatic changes to be made. Now it appears that we just accept the unacceptable, as a matter of course. The British resolve becoming the Gallic shrug, so to speak.
    “One of my hopes for 2016 is that good men and women stand tall and say it like it is. In particular I hope all of our Parliamentarians speak out in plain language against some of the nonsense we see and hear daily.”

    I continue to hope that decent people can debate and discuss issues fairly and without rancour or personal abuse, no matter what topic. And I hope that these debates will continue to illuminate our lives and lead to further understanding and positive outcomes.

    I could have written about countless other examples of PC-craziness in many spheres, but unfortunately the German news is probably the most apposite right now.

  32. petermartin2001
    January 7, 2016

    We have to interpret the term “politically correct language” with some scepticism. It’s generally used by those who don’t like that we can no longer use certain words for minority groups in the way that we once perhaps could.

    Social attitudes are changing. At one time it would have been electoral suicide for a political candidate to let it be known they were in a homosexual relationship. That’s much less an issue now, and so it should be. We’ve got more important things to worry about than who’s sleeping with who. We can all think of a few words that might have once been openly used to describe those relationships. So we all know what they mean and we all know that they are still used but we disapprove of their use except perhaps when they are used in defiant way by homosexuals themselves. That’s not ‘correctness’ as such. It’s an unwillingness to cause unnecessary offence.

    On the question of climate change it isn’t correct to say that “It should not be offensive to anyone that some people wish to challenge the assumptions of global warming theory, as good scientists regularly test other scientific theories…..”

    For a start they aren’t assumptions. We can experimentally test the absorption of IR radiation by GH gases and water vapour for example. We can measure the average temperature of the moon. We can measure the average temperature of the earth as it appears to be from space and that isn’t the temperature we measure on the surface.

    It has been known since the middle of the 19th century that the Earth’s surface temperature is some 33 deg warmer than it should be on the basis of its emissions into space and the only possible explanation is that the semi opacity of GH gases causes that warming. It’s beyond any reasonable dispute.

    So the question is how much warming we can expect from allowing the concentration of GH gases in the atmosphere to double. Fortunately the answer, or rather science’s best estimate, is more like 3 degs than another 33 degrees. But unless we do the actual experiment we won’t know for sure. Is that a good reason for doing the experiment?

    Whatever the answer, this is quite a separate issue. It’s nothing to do with so-called political correctness.

    1. Ted Mombiot
      January 8, 2016

      We haven’t “doubled the amounts of greenhouse gases”.
      We have increased CO2 emissions measured in parts per million in the total atmosphere.
      It’s slightly different.

      And the theory fails to account for periods on Earth where CO2 was far higher without large temperature increases and fails to account for why since 2000 predicted temperature rises have not occurred despite CO2 continuing to grow.

    2. Barbara1
      January 8, 2016

      Peter, the satellite data – which are the most accurate and up to date measurements that we have – show no warming for the past 18+ years.

    3. petermartin2001
      January 8, 2016

      @ Ted

      The pre-industrial level of Co2 in the atmosphere was 280 ppmv. It is now just over 400 ppmv and will rise to close to 600 ppmv by the end of the century if the level of current emissions continues as projected.

      In the previous interglacial period , the Eemian, temperatures were thought to be only a degree or two warmer than they are now but sea levels were about 5 metres higher than now. That’s not good news for anyone who’s just bough an expensive property in London for example.

      If you think the theory fails to take account of anything you might like to write a paper on the subject – you might be able to put their minds at rest!

      Barbara 1,

      The warmest year on record globally was 2012. So can we say that because 2013 was slightly cooler that the problem has gone away? Sadly not. Yes we can pick out longer periods too when the world appeared to be cooling.

      They are just statistical variations, caused by a mixture of measurement error and other factors. Like the effect of the 13 year solar cycle. The short term cooling effect caused by increases in particulate pollution (smoke) for example.

      1. Ted Monbiot
        January 10, 2016

        Yes parts per million Peter.
        Then they quote percentage rises to make it appear more significant than it is in overal impact to the whole.
        CO2 makes up a very small percentage of the Earth’s atmosphere.
        Man is responsible for a very small percentage of this.
        The humans in the UK are resposible for a very small percentage of this very small percentage.
        If we are successful in achieving the 80% reduction in the UKs CO2 as demanded by the Climate Change Act it will have no effect on temperatures on Earth.
        Studies have said if every nation on Earth reduces their CO2 by 80%, (and they won’t), then this will reduce average global temperatures by approx 0.7 of one degree.

        You selectively quote one period of history.
        In others CO2 was much higher than it is now without large temperature rises and sea level
        Other periods of history show CO2 rises lagging behind temperature rises.
        But one thing we do know is no rises as predicted since 2000 yet CO2 still rises.
        But this movement is a religion and you either believe what the high priests say without question or you do not.

        1. Ted Monbiot
          January 10, 2016

          Can you tell us Peter how much hotter 2012 was compared to the average since records began ?

          Still less than one degree rise since records began and no increase since 2000 despite predictiobs of rapid rises, I understand.
          Unless you are counting in tens of one degree measured as a global average and including “adjusted”data from land sites
          Bear in mind tenths of one degree are outside even the tolerances allowed by the IPCC as being reluable statisically.

          Cherry picking one year in a geological time frame is of little use.

    4. Anonymous
      January 9, 2016

      Peter – I think most of us believe in politeness and being careful with people’s feelings.

      Things, however, need to be debated without a climate of fear.

      On climate change – few deny it’s happening. But few will admit that it cannot be stopped.

      I take solace in the fact that our consciousness has been raised in other ways too: to the level that we are now aware of the rogue asteroid/comet threat to our planet; that the very industrialisation that may have triggered extreme temperatures could well save the planet from obliteration.

      We are not going to stop the Chinese nor the Indians (in their vast numbers) from joining westerners in their right to consume. Nor should we.

      But what would you prefer ? That we never industrialised ? That we never lifted millions from poverty ? That we never reached a position whereby we could save the planet from a fate far worse than climate change ?

  33. Margaret
    January 7, 2016

    Categorisations are always difficult. Characteristics are unfairly attributed to some who by tick boxing, fit into that group, which is why individual circumstance should be appealed to. There again everything in collating facts and figures cannot be seen as individual and for the sake of expediency there has to be similarities .

    I was enraged many years ago when a popular accusation was against single parents sucking the state dry. This was during a period where I had paid off thousands of pounds worth of others debts , was working all the hours god sent , was paying for degrees, buying my house with a 100 % mortgage, working on zero hours contracts and bringing up 2 young children without any financial help from any other To be told that I, as belonging to the group ,was sucking the state dry at the same time as I was serving many married others on state benefits hurt deeply.

    The same misconstrued perceptions can be applied to many who hurt due to categorisation , but no one group who hurt should be given priority consideration to another.

  34. Ken Moore
    January 7, 2016

    ‘What is not acceptable is to attribute a series of negative characteristics to groups of potential migrants with a view to creating tensions between communities and groups of people in our society’.

    Who in their right mind would wish to create ‘tensions between communities’.
    The British are a hugely tolerant people and the only tensions I see are from individuals frustrated by being ignored by the political elite who only view the world as they wish it to be – not how it really is.
    Creating this sort of ‘strawman’ of the non politically correct by pretending they are motivated by hatred and racist is just another tool in their Marxist toolbox.

    1. JoeSoap
      January 7, 2016

      Yes our host has fallen victim to this “straw man” fallacy so beloved of politicians, particularly those in the Cameron mould.
      I can take being called a fruit and nut-cake by Cameron, but of course if my origins were described by the symbol placed a few years ago on a certain make of jam, I would be accused of hatred.
      Jest is only jest for these folks when applied to the indigenous population!

  35. Margaret
    January 7, 2016

    It may be a good idea if Kit Malthouse was ticked off about attributed stable households to married couples. This is an outrage . My very healthy and stable children would be considerably offended, and as I work in connection with CP Agencies know that harm comes to children in a variety of parental and guardian mixes in families.

    1. Anonymous
      January 9, 2016


      There are always exceptions to the rule of which you are clearly one.

      But why do we always hear in court (in mitigation of the defendent’s crime) “Members of the Jury, M’Lud. He comes from a broken home.”

      If being in a fatherless household is not generally a problem then why ? In most cases of child abuse in the familial homes the offender is usually a step-father or boyfriend.

      It was a mistake to coin the phrase ‘single mum’ instead of ‘absent father’. None contributing fathers are a huge cost to the country.

  36. Maureen Turner
    January 7, 2016

    Over the past 25 years the need to conform to what is perceived as being politically correct has done us no favours rather it has suppressed many from expressing their concerns with the result frustration grows to anger.

    The longer balanced discussion is prevented on topics such as AGW, immigration,, BBC bias etc, the greater the tension buildup. Freedom of speech is one of democracy’s safety valves and the governing classes who aim to close it down are foolish in the extreme.

    1. Denis Cooper
      January 8, 2016

      A lot of things have changed since the removal of the Berlin Wall and then the collapse of the Soviet Union – many of them good, but some bad.

  37. Anonymous
    January 7, 2016

    Indeed. Some generalisations are unpleasant, but that doesn’t make them untrue. The rules of modern discourse should not extend to us being unable to point out disproportionate involvement in crime.

    All any of us wants is control of our borders on a points based system like Australia. Race doesn’t actually come into it.

    In general Political Correctness – with recent debates on the removal of classification by sex and the removal of statues – has reached utterly insane levels.

    It would be lovely to hear you sticking the boot in on such as that.

    1. Ken Moore
      January 7, 2016

      ‘It would be lovely to hear you sticking the boot in on such as that’.

      I have been patiently waiting for several years now with barely a whimper of protest. If even a ‘right wing Tory’ like John Redwood feels the need to retreat from reason and logic its maybe time to start planning to emigrate. There must be a place where we aren’t told what we can and cannot say and think.

      And today we learn that because of the voluntary decision by some Muslim parents to deny their children food and water for Ramadam, the whole of the exam timetable is to be shifted.
      Just another of example of the majority having to bend to meet the needs of the minority. Loony PC logic dictates that any group that is ‘oppressed’ or ‘victims’ automatically has more rights than everyone else.

      How long before employers are told they must allow workers time off for religious festivals?

      Yet we still keep being told that political correctness is all about language and decency. If only.
      It is about actions and decisions that affect us all in very profound and often damaging ways.

      1. Lifelogic
        January 7, 2016

        Indeed religions need to be reined in. The message should be do what you like in your own time and with your own money, so long as you do not inconvenience or harm others, do not indoctrinate your children (nor mutilate them) and let them make up their own minds about their own “beliefs”, but only when they are mature.

        1. Lifelogic
          January 8, 2016

          That too but there is no working mechanism as MPs do not do their jobs of protecting the interest of voters. They are so often more interested in their “consultancies”.

  38. john miller
    January 7, 2016

    The trouble with PC is that there is a disturbing logic behind it.

    After the Durban Test, Nasser Hussein was discussing the make up of the SA team. He ventured onto the subject of racial quotas and looked like a ventriloquist’s dummy whose master had the hiccups.

    He realised he couldn’t say “racial quota”, he realised he couldn’t say “black”, he realised he couldn’t say “coloured people”. The end result was an impersonation of a recently landed cod.

    A few days later, a guest presenter on The One Show quite happily called one of the guests “black”.

    Of course, the presenter escaped the vituperative hounding on social media that Cumberbatch received and that Hussein would also have received.

    Why? Because she was a female of Indian extraction. Cumberbatch is white and Hussein is quite white. And both are men.

    The presenter didn’t even think about her remark. It would never dawn on her that she could be racist.

    And there is the problem.

    1. Anonymous
      January 9, 2016


      There is no problem with ‘black’.

      There is no problem with ‘people of colour’ but there is, apparently, a big problem with ‘coloured people’ (a phrase that white people use in perfect innocence but are hounded for it when they do.)

      All these things are designed to trip people up; rather like table etiquette is designed to establish who’s who in the social hierarchy.

      PC has become a form of snobbery (away from its original purpose) and is so tricky that it’s not nice at all nowadays.

  39. ian
    January 7, 2016

    OK, what about the chancellors speech last night, not spending beyond more than the people of the country can afford.
    10 to 20 billion a year extra spending with a debt each year of over 90 billion pounds, fix the roof while the sun is shining.

  40. Old Albion
    January 7, 2016

    Censored again for speaking the truth. Guess the truth is Politically Incorrect……….

  41. M Davis
    January 7, 2016

    PC is a Socialist concept, aided and abetted by CONservatives, brought about in order to control people – and it is working beautifully – Social Engineering at its’ best!

  42. The PrangWizard
    January 7, 2016

    It’s not good enough Mr R.

    You know how people are seething at the way they are lied to and the truth suppressed. Why should we not let our feelings out? We should be entitled to call a spade a spade. I am sorry if some people are upset. It is often the only way to get their heads out of the sand.

    What good has it done so far to behave as ‘gentlemen’? We have been patronised and despised by the Left/Liberal Fascists who seem to be in the ascendency. They take advantage of weakness. All aggressive people and cultures do so, the meek are not inheriting the earth, not in this century so far anyway.

    We have to defend our beliefs and we must speak freely; not every understands subtlety. Stirring speeches are not set in a tone to put people to sleep.

  43. ian
    January 7, 2016

    and its not just the spending of 10 to 20 billion a year, you have cuts of 10 to 20 billion a year, asset sales of 5 to 10 billion a year, tax increase and new taxes of 3 to 6 billion a year, on top of the 90 billion a year you borrow and 8 to 10 billion a year from QE which puts 375 billion on the debt which should not be there, the debt at the moment is 1155 billion pounds.
    So if you add all that in on to how much it is costing to bail this country out you are still running at around 140 billion a year debt, say 15 billion extra spending 15 billion in cuts 7.5 in asset sale 4.5 in tax increase and new taxes 9 billion from QE plus the 90 billion a year debt, would say that without the extra spending that the debt would of been paid off by now and that the extra spending has gone on what the establishment wanted and has cut what the people wanted

  44. Corin Vestey
    January 7, 2016

    My post of this morning hasn’t appeared John… any particular reason why, if I may ask?

  45. Jerry
    January 8, 2016

    Slightly off tangent, but related to the subject; John, can you please restate what your aim is in inviting readers comments, are you providing a place were people have post a stand alone monologue (that you then use to weight the evidence and opinion, or are you inviting a debate between yourself and readership, and amongst ourselves. I ask because I seem to be being criticised by some for wishing to debate the issues you raise, have I mistaken what the intentions of this site are or is it simply a case of some wishing to try and bully me into silence – once again – simply because they do not like what I have to say?

    Reply The idea is to respond to my original blog, but I do not stop people sending in something else they think important.

  46. ChrisS
    January 8, 2016

    Dear Mr Redwood

    While this contribution is not directly about the topic, it is about an issue that, for reasons of political correctness is not being covered properly by the media, especially the BBC.

    I have not necessarily submitted it for inclusion in this particular topic but hope that you might research the answers and make it the subject of a new topic in your Brexit campaign series.

    Best Regards

    Chris Sheldrake


    Given the complete failure of our Government’s stated policy of reducing the number of net migrants coming into the UK, immigration will perhaps become the most important issue in the referendum.

    It is not a race issue as some would try to present it, but purely one of numbers and our inability to house and provide infrastructure for the more than 300,000 new resident arriving in the UK every year.

    It follows that there are some questions, the answers to which will be of critical importance. Given the forces aligned against us, the answers could well be enough to swing the outcome decisively in favour of Brexit.

    I refer to Merkel’s disastrous migration policy which has far reaching consequences for every country in Europe and not necessarily only those in the Schengen area.

    Not least, it raises the serious question as to how it can be that the EU provides an opportunity for one woman, acting on a whim, to fundamentally change the immigration policy of 27 other countries.

    Now that this has happened there is the critical issue of the possible future availability of EU passports to the migrants that she has encouraged to come to Europe.

    This appears not to have been addresses in the newspapers, the BBC or anywhere else, for that matter. Yet it is of critical importance to the debate over Brexit.
    Perhaps that’s why !

    With over a million new migrants from the Middle East and probably at least another million preparing to come when the weather improves, what are their future prospects ?
    With the recent problems in Cologne and other cities, there can be little doubt that Merkel will be coming under huge pressure to offload substantial numbers of migrants to other EU countries, far in excess of the 160,000 covered by the stalled Brussels quota scheme.

    Can you help with the answer to these questions ?

    1. Is Merkel allowed under EU rules to give every migrant an EU Passport and therefore they become immediately entitled to go and reside in any other EU country under FOM rules ?

    2. If they are given temporary residence in Germany only and this is challenged in the European Court, will Merkel be forced to give them permanent residency and a passport with the same outcome as 1 ?

    3. Under UN refugee rules, I understand that in some circumstances there is a right to bring in a large number of family members over a period of time, possibly 7 or 8 family members per migrant. Is this correct and what are the implications for 1 and 2 above ?

    As I said above, the answers to these questions could be enough to swing the outcome decisively in favour of Brexit.

    1. Denis Cooper
      January 8, 2016

      As the EU treaties stand nobody can directly give anybody an EU passport, because EU citizenship does not yet exist independently of national citizenship of one (or more) of the member states. It has been suggested that EU citizenship should be given an independent legal status, but at least as far as I understand that is not possible under the present treaties which say, in the preamble to the TEU:


      “RESOLVED to establish a citizenship common to nationals of their countries”

      and in Article 9 TEU:

      “Every national of a Member State shall be a citizen of the Union. Citizenship of the Union shall be additional to and not replace national citizenship.”

      So the mechanism for the German authorities to give the migrants EU citizenship is indirect, by giving them German citizenship, and as far as I know there are no EU restrictions on the Germans giving citizenship to whoever they like.

      1. ChrisS
        January 8, 2016

        Thanks Denis

        You have pretty well confirmed what I thought. Given the implications for other member states, I had hoped that might be some rules stating to whom passports could be issued to and when.

        If the decision over issuing passports is entirely under the control of individual EU member states, there would appear to be nothing that can be done to prevent Merkel giving every asylum seeker she has allowed into Germany a German passport.

        They will then be free to move and live in any other member state.

        That may well be what she decides to do in the hope that many will move to other countries thus reducing the problem she has saddled her country with.

        Given that a good proportion speak some English, we can make a good guess as to where they might go.

        1. Denis Cooper
          January 9, 2016

          Well, the most notorious case so far has been that of Romania handing out Romanian passports to hundreds of thousands of Moldovans, and as far as I know the EU Commission has not tried to stop that.

        2. APL
          January 9, 2016

          ChrisS: “Given that a good proportion speak some English, we can make a good guess as to where they might go.”

          Perhaps the London Mayor will issue chastity belts and body armour for next years London New Years celebrations.

  47. Stephen O
    January 8, 2016

    I think there are other aspects to this which also need to be considered. First a government has a duty to act in the interests of its people, even when ministers or parliament find it uncomfortable to deal with some issues.

    A second point is that statistically if you consider a sample of one person drawn from a population, then that sample’s attributes are likely to differ considerably from the norms for the population as a whole. If you have a sample of 10,000 you are likely to find the attributes of that group reflect that of the population they are drawn from.

    There are available to government a vast array of global statistics which show the scores of countries (and even subsections of a countries population) across a range of attributes, such as crime levels and social attitudes. These might not accurately reflect the character of a single immigrant, but they are likely to provide a strong indication of the impact of 10,000 on UK society, though you could term them as ‘generalisations’.
    If the indicators are negative the ‘generalisations’ may be termed offensive, but they can still be accurate and objective.

    The third point I would make is that in managing immigration there is a presumption that this should be done subject to the same kind of framework of rules to ensure fairness that apply to candidates for a job in the UK. But potential migrants are not part of UK society (yet), and the obligation to treat them fairly when considering their applications should be secondary to the government’s obligation to consider the interests of its existing citizens.

    To fulfil its duty the government needs to be effective when determining who may immigrate into the UK and ‘generalisations’ which are objective and fact-based may be the government’s most effective tool.

  48. Mercia
    January 8, 2016

    I think what happened is most people agreed that social conditioning/political correctness about race was a good thing. People cannot change their race and that is “racism” as I always understood it. Yet people of certain races can change their culture or religion, that is NOT racism. We are in big trouble when this distinction is blurred.

    So as most people accepted political correctness was a good thing when it came to race, so then the social conditioners, media, political class decided trying it on with everything that was politically agenda driven or good for consumerism, sexuality, religion and now politics (i.e Cameron is forbidding non violent extremism), if not yet by law, by political correctness (i.e the belief in conspiracy theories etc). The Soviets used to lock people up in mental asylums who believed in conspiracy theories as well.

    All this is the manifestation of the political class getting totally out of control and of the Security and Intelligence Services becoming (self justifying). As these stand down false flags attest, in collusion with the media to bring about more repressive laws. In short, governments have turned into self justifying monsters and the future is terrifying because of it.

  49. Mercia
    January 8, 2016

    The Soviets used to lock people up in mental asylums who believed in conspiracy theories as well

    (Makes an allegation that sounds ludicrous ed)

  50. Mercia
    January 8, 2016

    It is important ideologically to keep all public organisation and institutions as small as possible or they will start to become self justifying monsters, whether thats the BBC, NHS, or the Intelligence and Security Services. What David Davis says on this subject is spot on.

    January 8, 2016

    If you cannot use, and you cannot, the term Muslim… in the historic way in which Catholic and Protestant were and are used in the political/social/cultural/literary narrative then that is not decent. Not a decent use of English. Foreign.

    1. stred
      January 8, 2016

      There was a report on File on 4 last year about a so called Church sect in China that were murdering other Christians, including family members who did not wish to agree with or join them. They believed in a forthcoming end of the world and, like IS, studied prophesies. Completely bonkers.They were referred to as Christian or the Chuch of ….. throughout the programme.

  52. Amanda
    January 8, 2016

    Mr Redwood, I am most surprised that you of all people, should confuse political correctness with civility and good manners.

    The former subverts the language to favour certain groups, and threaten others: it enforces bigotry and prejudice and shuts down freedom of speech.

    The latter is a means to oil the wheels of ‘freedom of speech’, I can speak my mind, but I do it with civility, especially if I wish to tell an unpalatable truth – of which Churchill was a master.

    Perhaps some of your readers write comments with ‘harsh generalities’, because it has become the norm to do so with certain groups eg men, white races, Christians, Tories. Whilst other groups are not allowed to be associated with any negative terms, even when well deserved and factually correct. This causes anger and frustration. It is nothing to do with a lack of civility.

    1. Ken Moore
      January 8, 2016

      Mr Redwood, I am most surprised that you of all people, should confuse political correctness with civility and good manners.

      Well said Amanda.

    2. Ken Moore
      January 9, 2016

      The EU is an old Soviet model presented in a western guise designed to absorb nation states . The Soviets had the Gulag..the Eu has an intellectual gulag called political correctness in which only permitted thoughts and opinions are acceptable.

  53. Original Richard
    January 9, 2016

    Political Correctness is destroying the 1000 year old Magna Carta principle that everyone is subject to the law.

    We are seeing laws not being applied to some cultural groups.

  54. Original Richard
    January 9, 2016

    “What is not acceptable is to attribute a series of negative characteristics to groups of potential migrants with a view to creating tensions between communities and groups of people in our society.”

    I think it is logical to assume, given the evidence that already exists in abundance, that migrants continue with their existing culture in their new country.

    It therefore follows that given sufficient numbers of migrants entering a host country, then this host country, or parts of this country, will resemble the original country from which the migrants came.

    This is why it is necessary to observe the characteristics of large populations of potential migrants.

  55. Mercia
    January 9, 2016

    It is almost politically incorrect to criticise the Security or Intelligence Services. Breitbart revealed that 3 days before the Paris attack a car with machine guns, (grenades and TNT) was stopped with the sat Nav set to Paris, but this information was not passed on to the French. According to Frank Gardner they probably went “home for the night” instead of telling the French. (He was forced on the BBC to make up his own theory of why such an elementary blunder was made), he was obviously not told. But after watching his interview it became very apparent the problem, reaction, solution was to bring about a unified EU intelligence service (which has since been announced). Mr Cameron also promptly made a speech in which he said this “proved” the Intelligence Services need more control over the internet and promptly employed 2000 more spooks.

    As David Davis says, the job of the government is to realize that it is not duty bound to never refuse the requests of the Intelligence/Security services, no matter how politically incorrect in todays climate that may seem to be.

  56. Wayne Bow
    January 9, 2016

    What we need is more harmony, unity and polite consensus. I am fed up with politicians arguing with each other and the House Of Parliament is divisive. Yes it is divisive! People sit on opposite sides shouting at each other! Why do we accept this in today’s day and age? This is not civilised and NOT the way forward. The way forward is polite consensus, that we all come together as one and end this farcical two party pantomime.

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