There are times when even Nanny exceeds herself in her "knobheadedness", this is one of those times as Anna Farquhar (Chairman of a health watchdog Wiltshire Involvement Network - WIN) found to her cost last August.
Mrs Farquhar was chairing a public meeting and, when referring to gossip about NHS changes, used the phrase:
"You cannot help the jungle drums".
Problem with that anyone?
However, a certain Sonia Carr, member of the Wilstshire Racial Equality Council, had an enormous problem (in her own mind) about it and declared it to be racist.
Mrs Farquhar immediately apologised for any offence.
Not if you are Mrs Carr, she felt that an apology was not nearly good enough and submitted an official complaint to Wiltshire Council.
Nice to see people have nothing better to do with their lives!
The council, at great cost to the local taxpayers, produced a 10 page report, and barred all members of WIN from council premises and meetings. It also withdrew funding to cover the group's administration costs.
Mrs Carr remains remarkably unrepentant and claims that Mrs Farquhar's apology was inadequate, and that watchdog members needed training on "equality and diversity issues".
The council will meet WIN leaders to explain why it upheld this ludicrous complaint.
BTW, the council is Tory!
To make matters worse, it seems that the council have decreed that it is against the law to "offend" anyone.
John Thomson, deputy leader, is quoted in The Mail:
"The law makes it clear that what matters is not the intention of the person who uses the phrase but whether anybody is offended by it."
You can offend whoever you like, if you are prepared to get a punch in the face. Comedians do it all the time, and are paid for doing it.
This is a complete waste of time and money, and a very poor reflection of the underlying agenda (increased state control and bigger government) of our coalition government.
Here is John Thomson's email address firstname.lastname@example.org, feel free to tell him what you think.
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