The kind of PC I am particularly interested in is the public sector sort; schools, hospitals, councils, etc. Let me make it clear, my feeling is that it is far less an issue up here than it is down South. I was particularly alarmed by this story from Sussex, about a man who was arrested and left in a cell for four hours after being wrongly accused of doing something vaguely un-PC.
According to the Mail the big issue was:
The email, concerning a planning appeal by a gipsy, included the phrase: ‘It’s the 'do as you likey' attitude that I am against.’
Council staff believed the email was offensive because ‘likey’ rhymes with the derogatory term ‘pikey’.
Chief Inspector Heather Keating said: ‘Sussex Police have a legal duty to promote community cohesion and tackle unlawful discrimination.
Now I am all for using imagination when it comes to semantic interpretation, but I would have thought that it was above the pay grade of most council staff. And since when did the police have a "legal duty to promote community cohesion" and how does this equate with arresting people for making complaints to the planning department?
Never mind, this was in Sussex. What I want to know is, are councils in Scotland so petty and hysterical? Are the police so obsessed with being nice to minorities at the expense of the majority? I would really like to know.
Here is what I think:
The Scots are in my experience polite and considerate. It would seem to me that old fashioned courtesy exists and accordingly there is not a need to enshrine this in law or to enforce it with the blunt instrument of law. After all, this is the country where you can be arrested for breach of the peace, merely for swearing at someone - this is not political correctness, but a recognition of common decorum. Surely the sort of behaviour we get in Sussex is born out of hysteria, itself born out of fear, born out of ignorance and mistrust. If minorities trust in society to protect them, the need for heavy handedness occurs less. So to answer my own question, I think that here, courtesy and respect for others renders the crass cudgel of PC irrelevant.