Chris Brooke, Daily Mail (UK), November 1, 2006
A council has warned staff against using the phrase ‘political correctness’ at work because it might offend people.
A booklet outlining ‘equality’ policy to council workers claims using the term at work can be damaging and even linked it to the Ku Klux Klan.
The bizarre publication also orders staff not to use words like ‘policeman’, ‘fireman’ and ‘chairman’, suggesting they are classic examples of ‘exclusionary language.’
While the word ‘ethnic’ is also outlawed for being not ‘appropriately descriptive.’
The 44-page training book called ‘Equality Essentials’ has been used for staff training courses at Kirklees Council in West Yorkshire.
The publication outlines forms of damaging behaviour in the workplace and rates them on a five-level scale.
The authors claim that moving things around on someone else’s desk is as serious as punching or kicking them.
And workers are instructed to come up with 10 things they can do every day to make colleagues feel better.
Tory MP for Shipley Phillip Davies, a patron of the Campaign Against Political Correctness, branded the pamphlet ‘extreme and patronising.’
‘How much is it costing to produce all this garbage?’ he said. ‘The policy is full of either the blindingly obvious or utterly ridiculous nonsense.’
A section of the ‘PC booklet is devoted to denouncing the use of the words ‘political correctness’.
It states:’Political correctness is often used to describe what some of us think are unnecessary changes which don’t really bother anyone.
‘The term political correctness was coined in 1988 by John O’Sullivan III, who was a member of the Ku Klux Klan. He was making an after dinner speech complaining about how Black Americans were being allowed to take the jobs traditionally reserved for the white majority because of a wave of political correctness.
‘Since then the phrase political correctness has almost universally been used to decry changes which aim to prevent offensive behaviour.’
It goes on to say because this takes the form of ‘blaming the victim, denying peoples experience or expressing the view of a popular majority,’ using the phrase can represent a ‘physical attack.’
The authority’s new Tory leader Robert Light blamed his political opponents and said the booklet was no longer being used by council staff.
‘We don’t think it is relevant to use this booklet. We are trying to achieve the situation where the council has a more professional, modern approach. Diversity is still an issue for us but we will be taking a common sense approach rather than being part of the PC culture.
‘Kirklees Council has had the title of most PC Council in Yorkshire and we are determined to change that view.’
Mr Light added:’References to the Ku Klux Klan and Nazi Germany are really extreme to use in a training guide even as a reference, it’s very bizarre.
‘I find it more unbelievable that they complain about the use of the word ethnic when it is the term that Government bodies, think-tanks and local leaders all use. It’s very off the wall.’
Kirklees Council employs more than 18,000 people and has a budget of more than £470 million.
Two Tube workers have been cleared of racially harassing a colleague with JELLY BABIES.
A jury took just one hour to acquit Carlo Rozza, 45, and Victor Cooney, 47, at the end of a farcical eight-day trial that cost £250,000.
They had denied taunting black colleague Daniel Jean-Marie with black Jelly Babies.
Victor Cooney said the strain had nearly destroyed his marriage and relationship with his children.
He said: “The trial has been a complete farce. The whole thing has been a disgrace. We’ve had this hanging over us for 2½ years — and during that time my life has been wasted.
“I screwed up my marriage by not paying enough attention to my wife. Thankfully we are still together.”
Station manager Mr Cooney — who has a daughter of 13 and an 11-year-old son — went on: “I’ve also missed a lot of time with my children, all in a row over Jelly Babies.
“The verdict is a victory for common sense. This sort of trial should not have taken place. It’s a waste of taxpayers’ money.”
Mr Cooney and Carlo Rozza were charged with racial harassment following a complaint by black colleague Daniel Jean-Marie, who is in his 20s.
He claimed the pair taunted him with black Jelly Babies — and were biting the heads off them.
Both men were suspended. Mr Cooney returned to work after three months and Mr Rozza after eight months. They were cleared by an internal probe.
And a jury took just an hour to find both not guilty at Middlesex Guildhall Crown Court in central London after an eight-day trial costing £250,000.
After the pair were suspended in February 2004, Mr Jean-Marie went off work claiming stress from the case. He only returned to duties at a different station in March this year.
The court heard all three had been at Caledonian Road station, North London, in January 2004.
In a statement to the hearing, Mr Cooney said: “One time I gave Daniel a bag of Jelly Babies and he called me a racist because there were too many black ones.”
When asked by a police officer if he had made comments or jokes about the sweets, he replied: “No.”
Mr Cooney, of Southgate, North London, added: “I made no reference to cutting Jelly Babies’ heads off.”
Mr Rozza told the jury he walked into a staff room to find Mr Cooney and Mr Jean-Marie, of Barking, East London, chatting.
He said: “I think they were joking about Jelly Babies. I asked Vic for a Jelly Baby. I asked him for black Jelly Babies.
“Mr Jean-Marie became angry and stormed out of the room.” Last night there was fury over why the case was brought.
Tory MP Mike Penning said: “We are desperate for police on our streets. But if taxpayers’ cash is wasted on ridiculous cases like this how can we afford it?”
Retired Detective Superintendent and murder squad boss John Jones said: “There is so much crime that to waste police time like this is outrageous.”