Blinkered

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All too often, the phrase "political correctness" is sorely abused, treated as if it were some kind of lexical lunacy. In practice, political correctness is usually "decent behaviour" by any other name. It means the desire not to cause unnecessary offence. A refusal to accept "political correctness" often constitutes a determination to behave in an unpleasant way.

All too often, the phrase "political correctness" is sorely abused, treated as if it were some kind of lexical lunacy. In practice, political correctness is usually "decent behaviour" by any other name. It means the desire not to cause unnecessary offence. A refusal to accept "political correctness" often constitutes a determination to behave in an unpleasant way.

On occasion, however, political correctness does indeed represent pompous folly on a grand scale. It seems scarcely credible that a job centre in Walsall felt able to refuse a job advertisement because phrases such as "hard-working and energetic" and "commitment and a desire to succeed" were somehow discriminatory.

David Blunkett, the blind Education and Employment Secretary - not known as a workshy minister, nor lacking in energy or a desire to succeed - makes the point that it is the job centre, not the advert, that is insulting. In our blinkered society, a disabled person has to be several times more hard-working than an able-bodied colleague to succeed. Jonathan Stevenson, manager of the Walsall job centre, who seems so reluctant to believe that the disabled can be energetic: please take a blushing bow as the silliest man in the UK.

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