Belfast Telegraph

Thought police have lost run of themselves entirely

By Lindy McDowell

We need to get a grip. If we have finally reached the point where Human Resources are now monitoring the naffery with which we choose to adorn our rear view mirror we really, truly have lost the furry dice.

Where does this daftness end? Will footie fans be compelled to remove their teams' pendants in case they cause distress to rival supporters whose side took a hammering at the weekend? Will religious symbols be banned? Such as "travel safe" St Christopher trinkets…

Will wee toy boxing gloves have to be removed on the grounds that a fellow worker might interpret them as a potentially aggressive statement? For if you try hard enough you can argue just about everything and anything is offensive. Even those wee tree-shaped in-car air fresheners - surely they could get up somebody's nose.

The point is, in your own private space (which a private car very definitely is) you should be free to decorate your mirror as you wish.

The thought police have lost the run of themselves entirely here. And it is a sad illustration of how the whole 'offence' epidemic is now running out of control. To go around checking rear view mirror tat to ensure it's utterly innocuous is petty, silly and would be comical if it wasn't, as in this case, serious.

And indeed, given that a worker has been called in and ordered to remove something from his own car, a bit sinister.

What has happened to common sense? For all the talk about the progress we're making in this country sometimes you get the distinct impression that we're actually going backwards. Keep flags and emblems out of the workplace, yes. But if somebody wants to hang a Union Jack ornament, a GAA county pendant or a stuffed parrot from their mirror that's their business - not their firm's.

As with some of the more extravagant mirror accessories, the real danger here is obscured vision. So, no, this isn't a heartening sign of how far we've come in ensuring a neutral workplace. If we've reached the point where we have to police the rear view mirror for 'offence' violation, we're in reverse.

Belfast Telegraph


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