Robert Henderson, Living in a Madhouse, Nov. 12, 2010
Here’s a funny joke about stoning. In the Life of Brian Terry Jones (who plays Brian’s mother) and Graham Chapman (who plays Brian) go to a stoning. At the site of the stoning there is a wayside vendor selling stones to throw at the person to be killed. Terry Jones goes up to the vendor and says “Two large rocks and a packet of gravel, please”. (Think about it). The scene proceeds with John Cleese (who is in charge of the stoning) getting ever angrier as the would-be stoners keep missing until he orders a gigantic masonry block to be dropped on the person being stoned.
On 11 November 2010 a Birmingham Tory councillor Gareth Compton ventured a joke about stoning. Having heard the journalist Yasmin Alibhai-Brown pouring out her usual poison against Britain on the BBC R5 9.00 am phone-in programme–she placed Britain and the West in general on a moral par with the likes of Iran and China when it comes to human rights by saying they had no right to lecture countries such as Iran and China because of the West’s own breaches of such rights–Mr Compton used twitter to share this with the world: “Can someone please stone Yasmin Alibhai-Brown? I shan’t tell Amnesty if you don’t. It would be a blessing , really.” Not a very good joke I must admit, although I suspect that a sizeable number of Britons suddenly conjured up a pleasant fantasy of a world untroubled by the ubiquitous public utterings of the woman.
Ms Brown-Alibi, as a I cannot help myself thinking of her because of her incessant excuses for all the ethnic mayhem to which we are treated these days, then decided her life was in danger and made a complaint to the police alleging that it was not only an incitement to kill her but a racially incited one, something guaranteed to get the modern British policeman decidedly over excited. She need not have bothered because Her Majesty’s Finest were already on the case for someone else had complained. Mr Compton was then arrested for having breached the Communications Act, doubtless had his DNA and fingerprints taken, before being bailed.
To any normal person, which of course excludes Ms Brown-Alibi, Mr Compton’s tweet would be seen for what it was, a joke. Brown-Alibi was morally equating Britain with Iran, a state which uses stoning, a comparison which even after 13 years of NuLabour ‘s depredations on civil liberties will strike most as a trifle strong. Mr Compton clearly made a joke which suggested that Ms Brown-Alibi might care to experience the tender mercies of such a state.
Mr Compton’s case is both sinister and absurd, but it is simply a high profile example of what has become a common occurrence in Britain: the use of the police to intimidate anyone who breaches the narrow range of opinion allowed by political correctness. Frequently no charges are brought, quite often because the police are acting without legal authority because no crime has been committed, but the desired effect on the general public is achieved by creating an atmosphere of fear that nothing is safe to say if it is deemed to be politically incorrect. Worse, like all totalitarian ideologies, political correctness is constantly expanding its remit so no one can ever be certain that what was accepted yesterday is still permissible today.
I dare say there will be readers who cavil at the idea that political correctness is a totalitarian ideology. Let them consider this: the ideology intrudes into every aspect of life because the discrimination mania can be applied to anything; the ideology claims there is only one permissible view, that of the ideology and those who do not subscribe to the ideology leave themselves open to punishment both by the law and non-legal punishments such as media harassment and the loss of employment.
Milton had the answer to censors: ” ‘And though all the winds of doctrine were let loose upon the earth, so truth be in the field [and] we do injuriously by licensing and prohibiting is to doubt her strength. Let her and falsehood grapple; who ever knew truth put to the worse, in a free and open encounter. . .’ [Milton–Areogapitica].