For some, the recent furore caused by Diane Abbott's ridiculous tweet overshadowed the convictions of two men found guilty of one of the most infamous murders in London. It is funny to see how certain things will get covered by the press when it is flavour of the month; racism seems to be the latest news trend for some reason. Rather than opening up a futile debate as to whether the MP for Hackney North and Stoke Newington is racist, I want to point out a story that was not as widely reported but roughly in the same ball park.
David Cameron recently made a joke in which he likened Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls to somebody suffering from Tourette's Syndrome. I was surprised that this incident was not as heard of and wondered what the thought process different editors went through, to place this lower on the priority level of their news agendas. This was another example of somebody not thinking before speaking, yet Diane Abbott's clanger had people calling for her resignation. Why?
I doubt that Diane Abbott is a racist and to be honest, I doubt that David Cameron has anything against sufferers of Tourette's (he did have a son who was disabled after all). I think these two episodes say more about the country we live in. As we move towards a more politically-correct culture, does this spell the end of being able to speak freely without the threat of people calling for one's resignation? Or are the media partly to blame for this? After all, there were stories regularly printed about 'political-correctness gone mad' which proved to be urban myths (see the 'controversial' lyric change of baa-baa black sheep story). Maybe everybody is just too sensitive now. Or are people right to curb the use of 'freedom of speech' as an excuse to justify inflammatory statements?