Last week’s winner for the Equality and Diversity Political Correctness Award must go jointly to The Sun newspaper for suspending columnist Kelvin MacKenzie, and Liverpool Labour Mayor Joe Anderson, who referred him to the police.
They were reacting to an an alleged racist hate incident caused by an article he wrote about Everton footballer Ross Barkley.
Everton Football Club made a late bid to share the award by ludicrously banning all Sun journalists from their ground.
In his weekly column in The Sun, which prides itself on being irreverent and jocular in equal measure, MacKenzie compared Barkley – who had been punched in a Liverpool nightclub for apparently chatting up another bloke’s girlfriend – to a gorilla, saying he also has a great physique but is thick.
He then went on to make a joke about how such a man would be considered a great catch in Liverpool. It seems the famous Scouse humour is a myth if it involves a joke at their expense.
You wouldn’t think that could get anyone suspended from their job, but it turned out that Ross Barkley’s granddad was Nigerian and black. Therefore it follows – according to the PC brigade – that this was clear racism.
They have been undeterred by the fact that Kelvin MacKenzie clearly had no idea about his family tree.
I am a keen follower of football and I wasn’t aware of this, and having spoken to avid football fans from the city of Liverpool, where it seems none of them knew this either. So how on earth can anyone be guilty of making a racist comment when they had no idea about this?
To anyone sensible they can’t, but of course the PC brigade have never believed that it matters whether there was ever any intent. As far as they are concerned, if anyone takes offence at what was said then you are guilty.
Nincompoop Liverpool Mayor Joe Anderson has reported the matter to the police. If he thinks they have nothing better to do than investigate this nonsense then it shows how out of touch Labour are with working-class people.
Anderson is always complaining about cuts, yet clearly he thinks the police have plenty of resources available to look into vexatious complaints like this.
The Sun newspaper – so scared they are about upsetting anyone in Liverpool after Hillsborough – have suspended MacKenzie. They should be ashamed of themselves.
If a national newspaper is not going to robustly defend free speech then I can’t really see the point of them. Perhaps the editor can explain why he thought it was OK to publish it in the first place, but that the author now deserves to be suspended.
So we have another victim of political correctness in the name of equality and diversity, even though everyone knows that no racism was ever intended by the article.
People would do well to remember the reaction of Nelson Mandela when told of a councillor who blacked up to go as him to a fancy dress event.
Mandela said “We don’t see any harm in this whatsoever. If it was a fancy dress party and people were expected to arrive as a character or famous person, we are convinced there was no ill intent behind this.
“We are not oversensitive about matters like these. Whilst we need to be respectful towards the character [of] events of this nature, we should try not to read racism into actions which may be completely innocent.”
It is shame that morons like Joe Anderson, Everton Football Club and The Sun newspaper itself can’t heed Mandela’s wise words.