Congratulations to Durham City Council, for winning this week's prestigious "Prats of The Week" award. It seems that in the main only councils ever win this award these days, that says a lot about the "quality" of lour local councils.
Anyhoo, Durham City Council have decided that a local businessman's choice of name for his business is racist and would cause offence.
Fair enough, maybe....
Except for one small fly, well actually some very large elephants, in their oinkment.
-The business is a Chinese restaurant
-The name of the business is the Fat Buddha
-The owner of the business is Chinese
-The owner of the business is in fact Buddhist.
Eddie Fung will open a £1.3M in Durham next month, creating 60 jobs.
Not so fast Mr Fung...you had reckoned without the local council screwing things up.
Cue stage left, Tracey Ingle, the city council's head of cultural services.
Ingle has demanded that Mr Fung change the name because it was "provocative".
Mr Fung quite rightly thinks that the council is talking bollocks:
"I cannot believe that this woman
should go to so much time and trouble
to take issue over an inoffensive name like Fat Buddha.
No Buddhist is going to be offended by this.
The fat Buddha is a symbol of health and happiness.
It is political correctness gone mad."
A spokesman for the Buddhist Society weighed in, also with the view that Ingle was talking bollocks:
"Buddhists regard the fat Buddha as lucky.
To suggest this is offensive is to misunderstand the faith.
Buddhists don't take offence at anything
because to do so doesn't follow Buddhist teachings."
Ingle wrote to Mr Fung:
"To use the name of a major religion's deity
in your restaurant brand runs contrary to
this city's reputation as a place of equality
and respect for others' views and religious beliefs.
The generic descriptive adjective of "fat"
is not in itself a derogatory term when applied
generally the name implies an Eastern offer [sic]
as it is associated with a religion that
grew from Asian countries.
It does not, however, offer vegetarian
cuisine solely nor does it refer to Buddhist belief systems.
The name is provocative."
What the fark is this woman talking about???
Durham City Council came to her defence:
"The department felt the name was inappropriate
in a city founded on faith.
We don't want to offend anyone because
of the different faiths that come to the city.
The council operates a strict non-discriminatory
equal-opportunities and diversity policy across the board."
Who gave the council the right to dictate to people in this manner in the first place??
Councils need to be put very firmly and quickly back in their place by the people; they have grown far too cocky (can I use the word cocky here?).
Ingle dug herself further into the sh*t:
"I stand by the letter,
which asked the restaurant owners to rename the place.
That is where we are now.
We have taken every reasonable step
and I have contacted the company director
and set out my concerns.
The restaurant is in a very prominent
position and it does have an impact
on the reputation of the city.
I have expressed a view as head of cultural
services in dealing with the culture of the city."
Errmmm it simply is not the council's place to dictate to people in this manner.
The Buddhists are not offended.
White middle class do gooders should keep their farking noses out of matters that they don't understand.
Durham City Council and Ingle, well deserving "Prats of The Week".
BTW Ingle actually keeps a blog (not very up to date), but feel free to pop over and post a few messages; it looks like she could do with some.
Feel free to drop Durham City Council a line, to tell them that they have won the award, via this link Prats.