I know the world went mad in the early 90s but sometimes it still astonishes me.
In the above article a Staffordshire police spokesman said:
“We've received no complaints about signage outside J W Ash and Son butchers in Leek. However, the local chief inspector did advise the owner to give careful consideration to what was written on the boards in case anyone took offence.”
There are a few problems here. If nobody complained, why are the police involved? Why, regardless, is a chief inspector involved in something so trivial? Why can’t the police see the context of this; that it is just light-hearted humour?
The big one, though, is when did it become illegal to offend someone?
If it’s now illegal to say or write something that someone might take offence to, we’re finished as a society. There will be no more discussion.
People should be free to say or write potentially offensive things and likewise people are free to take offence and respond as they see fit, but we can't go around silencing people just because what they say might be offensive to someone somewhere.
There is of course sometimes a fine line between ‘offensive’ and ‘illegal’ but context always needs to be considered in such cases and common sense should prevail (erring on the side of permissiveness in my opinion).
If however it is now illegal to give offence, then we can get rid of the Kardashians, Kayne West, Donald Trump and about a billion other people whose very existence I find offensive. Perhaps a chief inspector would look into that for me.