Geoffrey Shryhane’s Wigan World

Geoffrey Shryhane
Geoffrey Shryhane

BRITAIN – a country of free speech. And proud of it. But now we have to be careful just what we say.

Some people believe they’ve been gagged.

And in this confusing maze, the town’s David Whelan has found out that what could be said – and said innocently – half a century ago is a total no-no today.

A letter has arrived on the Wigan World desk from a person of 76 who believes that he and millions of others are being silenced by political correctness.

“I’m frightened of speaking in case I get in bother,” he laments.

I’ll say again ... we live in very different days. Let’s look back. Carefully.

My own mother hadn’t a clue about political correctness and, like Dave Whelan, she came from a totally different era.

When I listened to some of her comments, I used to tell her saying things like that (far too controversial to repeat in Wigan World now) she’d end up in jail if she wasn’t careful.

I’ve been trawling the internet to find a site revealing just what we CAN say and what is now politically off-limits.

It failed to come up come up with any specific examples.

Just for the record, the dictionary definition of “political correctness” is: Demonstrating progressive ideals especially avoiding vocabulary, especially concerning race and gender.”

I once had a row with an ignorant lout (can I say that?) who called me a poisoned dwarf.

I wanted to retaliate but I couldn’t because I was laughing so much.

I’VE lost many things in my life. My watch. My wallet. My keys.

But 10 years ago I lost something far more valuable which, in a way, has made everything different.

For a reason I’ll never understand, I lost my sense of smell, the medical name for which is anosmia.

At first I considered it unimportant but as time has gone by, I realise that noses that can’t smell miss a great deal. Mostly good things but also a few bad.

How I used to fume when the farmer spread that nauseating rotting muck on his fields.

The killer niff was so bad, it had the ability to imprison me indoors.

But what about the Fragrant Cloud rose I bought for Mrs S. And the Night Scented Stock, and the drift of expensive scents?

What about the smell of a roast dinner, newly ground coffee, furniture polish, and that new leather wallet?

All lost.

Oddly enough there’s one smell that isn’t lost to my conk ... newly mown grass. So strong the smell, it’s almost overwhelming. And oh so welcome.

Alas, there’s no known treatment to restore the sense of smell.

It’s just something people have to live with.