Tuesday, 11 April 2006

The cliché is still going strong

In a post in October 2004 I quoted a comment on Political correctness gone mad explaining why this phrase, which at that time had appeared at least 631 times in British national newspapers since 1993, was a silly cliché.
In February the tedious columnist Cristina Odone referred to “little Welshies” in a Question Time programme. Apparently some idiot—possibly a small Welshman—complained to the BBC, and, hilariously, the police telephoned the wrong woman to administer a rebuke. Odone then phoned the police to have a go at them and they told her that they "take anti-Welsh racial slurs seriously".
The comment of the egregious Cristina, always on the lookout for a witty and original phrase, was: "I think this is political correctness gone mad". Still, it enabled her to fill her Guardian column with a rant about the North Wales police, so she's done well out of this supremely uninteresting story.
The Sunday Times was always very fond of p.c.g.m., and it appeared twice in their last Sunday edition; in both cases it was in inverted commas as if to say "Yes, we know this is hackneyed and foolish phrase but lots of people use it so why shouldn't we?".

[I must make it clear that in my own view many Welsh persons are neither idiots nor little, though some of course may be both.]


Banksy said...

Odone didn't actually refer to the Welsh as little Welshies, as a transcript of the programme confirms.

What she actuallyt said was that the patronising attitudes to the Welsh, such as those who think of us as 'little Welshies' were rather foolish now that we had hosted the English FA Cup and several other trophies a number of times.

I'm not sure I entirely agree with her logic, but her intent was not to insult us. It was the viewers' misinterpretation of the commen t that caused the complaint.

This was compounded by the BBC as when the viewer rang in to complain the BBC operative who too the complaint looked up an out of date schedule which listed Aliso n Pearson as the panellist, and t was she who subsequently had a visit from the Old (North Welsh) Bill.

Edward Lucas said...

I'm Cristina's husband. Can I just point out that the Sunday Times invented the quote "Political correctness gone mad". They did speak to her, but she didn't say it. It's not worth complaining about, so she didn't. But please bear this in mind when you next read a quote in the Sunday Times that sounds made-up. It probably is.

Edward Lucas

Tony said...

Thank you for your comment, Edward.
My apologies to Cristina. I should have known better than to assume that a quote in the Sunday Times was accurate.
I was pleased to discover your blog.
All good wishes.