In the same newspaper we read of a man who, having placed his belongings including a scarf on the belt to pass through a scanner, noticed a woman in a hijab pass through without showing her face. Querying what would happen were he to cover his face with his scarf resulted in a lengthy questioning session in which he was accused of making a racist remark. After considerable time, during which the police were called and management from BAA, a compromise was reached in which this man agreed that his remark could be considered offensive to a Muslim. So it is possible for racism to be an offence if a remark could have caused distress?
How have we allowed ourselves to be conditioned to the extent that free speech and even our private thoughts can be held to be verboten? As with the health & safety brigade, so have the politically correct brigade built an industry, ones that the taxpayers fund.
Frank Carson was renowned for suffering from what might be called verbal excess, yet this man - because of the pc brigade - was prevented from talking the hindi leg of a donkey. Is it not better that we allow a thousandfold abuses of free speech than to deny free speech? Likewise, does not free speech carry with it the another freedom; to listen?
To underline my point that we do indeed live under a system of democratised dictatorship, I am reminded of a quote by Herbert Hoover:
"It is a paradox that every dictator has climbed to power on the ladder of free speech. Immediately on attaining power each dictator has suppressed all free speech except his own."On that note - and to borrow a legal phrase - I believe I am entitled to say that I rest my case!