BY DOMINIC WIGHTMAN
Prince Philip’s latest “gaffe” on Sunday has caused something of a storm, predictably.
The Duke of Edinburgh was leading a procession of royals to their morning service at St Mary Magdalene Church in Sandringham on New Year’s Eve when he spotted a man in the crowd who was sporting a long ginger beard. Philip was wishing lots of people a Happy New Year and then pointed at the man with his distinctive beard. He turned to one of his Royal bodyguards, joking: “Is that a terrorist?”.
Philip is notorious for such breaches of what is perceived to be political correctness. His asking a female sea cadet if she worked in a strip club and joking to a female solicitor he thought it was against the law for a woman to solicit – such Prince Philip jests and similar comments by him have caused comparable stir to Sunday’s joke.
These comments tend to split the nation into two camps – one that thinks he should apologise and be hung out to dry and another camp that loves how he pulls no punches and thinks he is the best unofficial stand-up comic the country has ever had.
It tends to be the Left that occupies the hang-out-to-dry camp. Perhaps – as daily users of the grenades of racism and sexism – they are more cognisant of hang-out-to-dry opportunities presented by clumsy or errant free speech. (Certainly, as in this case, those who prefer a United Republic to a United Kingdom tend to be of a leftist hue).
Let’s be clear, there was no hatred in the Duke’s joke. Just as there was no hatred in the jokes of Neil Phillips who was locked up for eight hours for telling (unfunny) Nelson Mandela jokes in 2013. Their inappropriate jokes must be tame compared to the jokes of unfortunate Chorley teenager Matthew Woods who was jailed in 2012 for trying (and failing miserably) to replicate Sickipedia jokes on Facebook while sozzled. These days in Modern Britain those who dare joke must be circumspect – the individual is denied even the opportunity to break the law on conscientious grounds – your risqué jokes could lead you to a spell in the clink, whether they are amusing or lead balloons.
Yet on Sunday the left-wing commentator Kevin Maguire – on a seemingly permanent and despairing quest for exposure – wrote in the Mirror that it was time we “locked embarrassing relic” Prince Philip away.
Maguire ranted: “I’d like to know which parts of Phil’s “unique sense of humour” the Queen was referring to in her Christmas message. Was it quips about “slitty-eyed” Chinese, cannibals in Papua New Guinea or pot-bellied Hungarians? Or asking the dance group Diversity if they were one family? Perhaps asking women in a community centre who they sponged off – another instance of a bloke on the public payroll courtesy of marriage lacking self-awareness.”
Yes, Kevin Maguire wants to start locking up OAPs for things they say that he doesn’t like. In this case a 96-year-old ex-sailor who served with distinction right through the Second World War, and has served the UK all his adult life.
Does Maguire have a point?
For, like other Leftists, Maguire merely uses the monster that is Political Correctness opportunistically to virtue signal and, in this instance, to make copy. Political Correctness is supposed to stop tyrannical behaviour, yet in itself it is always a tyranny except when used by saints. The Left – the builder, and opportunistic user, of this linguistic Frankenstein – consequently has a bizarre relationship with Free Speech. A love-hate relationship where love is sometimes hate and hate is sometimes love, where all judging and commentary is emotional, thus usefully subjective and hazy. Political Correctness is the Left’s flexi-smotherer of opponents which they keep using but often fail to apply successfully.
The Left has failed to comprehend that its relationship with Political Correctness is one that inevitably results in either hypocrisy or perpetuating sainthood. Slowly, its mass of opponents, usually on social media, know how to combat the Left’s opportunistic use of PC. Yes, the Left can continue to judge if it wants – but they must be perfect now and for the rest of their lives if they wish to practise what they preach and not have their PC attacks backfire on them. Too often, as in this case, they are hypocrites…
Maguire, like the Labour MP Tom Watson, was permanently tainted by the grubby tentacles of Smeargate in 2009. The stones he throws are long contaminated.
As for the Left in general…. Prince Philip no doubt has better things to do than sit through episodes of Mock the Week. No doubt he’d rather indulge in some competitive carriage driving than be subjected to the canned laughter of Have I Got News for You. Still, should his Royal Highness find the time to watch such shows, he will notice that the Left dominates them and that the jokes of the leftie comedians appearing on most BBC Comedy creations are evermore expanding the margins of discrimination in an increasingly vain effort to elicit laughs and buttress audience. Where is the Left’s criticism of its comedians? Again, PC becomes un-PC as its tyrannical head surfaces through its judges’ hypocrisy. What’s fine for them is not for others?
I am with Daniel.
Give me Prince Philip as a cause for laughs over the Left’s wet and hypocritical clowns, any day.
Happy New Year, Your Highness. And keep on cracking those jokes.