Liberalism

I was once accused by my Zimbabwean ‘family’ of being a dangerous liberal. That a comment on one of my books and we all laughed, but what does it mean to be a ‘liberal’ nowadays? Reading the newspapers every day, I tend to feel that liberalism has come to mean that everyone must share your point of view and nobody must joke about anything that you as the liberal ‘thinker’ feel strongly about. Which means almost everything.

The Ginger Twonk and his tame American duchess have come in for some heavy criticism of late, mainly for using four private jets and one helicopter in eleven days. Personally I don’t care how they travel, but do object to His Twonkship lecturing me about the environment while taking multiple holidays in private aircraft. Perhaps he should follow his elder brother’s example and use budget flights. However, that is for another rant.

But now the Yank’s ‘celebrity’ friends are up in arms at what is said to be ‘bullying and persecution’ by the media. How does one ‘bully’ a person who has everything I wonder? Anyway, the slightly frenzied outpouring of indignant rage at what is perceived to be shameful treatment of the said Duchess is being led by some actress – I think she is British – named Jameela Jamil or some such obvious pen name. She – bless her – has labelled the entire British nation racist, presumably because Mrs Twonk is coloured. She also suggests that we all ‘grow up’ and accept that we are living in the twenty-first century. Could we ever forget it?

I suppose in her obviously minuscule mind, this makes sense but I can only shake my head in wonderment. Who does this lady think she is? She is an actress damnit, not someone who is of huge importance to the world.

You know, I never thought I would defend Gary Lineker, the BBC football pundit. I have always looked on him as being an obscenely paid professional complainer who used to be quite adept at kicking a pigs bladder between two sticks in the ground, but this week he caused uproar among ‘liberals’ as well.

In a Match of the Day programme last Sunday he commented, “It’s a strong start to the Premier League season; real hair-raising times… unless you’re Alan Shearer and Danny Murphy.”

The camera then panned to Shearer and Murphy, the two pundits on his show. Neither of them had a single hair on his skull and both were laughing and shaking their heads. They certainly did not appear in any way offended.

Not so the bald brigade in the wide blue liberal world. Lineker was generally slammed for being offensive to all we baldies. How ruddy ridiculous it is all becoming! Can nobody make a joke any more? Can nobody gently rib his colleagues without offending the great unwashed in one way or another. We don’t all think the same way or hold the same opinions but the so-called liberals seem determined to prove that anyone who disagrees with them is wrong and dangerously biased.

It really is no wonder that ordinary folk are turning to political leaders like Trump and Johnson who are not afraid to buck the trend and say what they mean.

And for those who revel in taking offence, the week only began with Lineker’s programme. Next to complain about an -ism was eighty-year-old Phyllis Hidden after a visit with her husband Robert to the Riverside Hotel in Cumbria.

She said she was left ‘incensed’ and ‘shaking with anger’ when she discovered that instead of a table number, a waiter had entered the words ‘old people’ on the couple’s bill for lunchtime drinks and pate. 

‘It’s a terrible thing to label people like that,’ she said. ‘Age shouldn’t be what defines you.’

For heaven’s sake Lady. Even in these hypersensitive times, can it really be thought offensive to describe an octogenarian as old? You’d think a product of the wartime generation might have a thicker skin.

Later in the week, the nation’s guardians against -isms turned their fire on the Army, accusing it of sexism because regiments light-heartedly refer to sewing sets carried by soldiers as ‘housewife kits.’

I am pretty long in the tooth now and would not be offended if I was described as old by a waiter (provided the food was good!) but even in my school cadet days, we were issued with ‘housewives’ and nobody took offence.

What on earth is the matter with people of the twenty-first century? They can shout and scream abuse on the various social media outlets, can’t take criticism themselves. Soon it is likely to be an offence to comment about how nice the weather might be.

I mean, if the sky is blue and I mention that in my scribblings, I am sure to offend hordes of people whose favourite colour is purple. I certainly should not mention rain or someone will point out that I am being unfair to those folk living through droughts at the moment.

I might have mentioned it before, but I really do think the world has lost its collective marbles.

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