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Lest we give offense

By Diogenes ( articles ) | Jan 19, 2004

The Telegraph reports that, sadly, the folks supervising Scotland's police have stopped taking their meds:

Police officers have been warned not to ask people if they are married in case it causes offence to homosexuals, it was disclosed yesterday. The directive is included in new guidelines, which also instruct officers not to call elderly people "old", use the term "homosexual" or refer to women as "pet", "love" or "dear". The Lothian and Borders Police guide advises officers against using the word homosexual because it is derogatory and stems from a 19th century notion that homosexuality was an illness that required a scientific label.

As always, once politics unmoors itself from reality, the resultant madness has no stopping point:

The guidance was issued after Scottish officers were sent on political correctness courses to teach them to stop using language that could offend minority groups. They were told to avoid using phrases such as "dyke", "manhole cover" and "accident blackspot".

Apparently innocuous terms such as "rule of thumb" and "nitty gritty" were found to be unacceptable because of their historical origins. Rule of thumb was deemed sexist because it dates from a law which forbade husbands from beating their wives with an implement thicker than a thumb. Nitty gritty was used by slave traders to describe the women or the remains at the bottom of transport ships that were covered in lice or grit.

Tom Wood, the Lothian and Borders deputy chief constable, said: "We live in very dangerous and sensitive times in terms of language and attitudes. People are very quick to take offence."

All things considered, I prefer an armed police force.

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