I AM normally sceptical about those political-correctness-gone-mad stories in which school kids are banned from singing Baa Baa Black Sheep and local authority caterers warned off serving “black coffee”.
They always strike me as a convenient smokescreen thrown up by bigots who do not wish to acknowledge that racism exists, preferring instead to muddy the waters with urban myths in which prejudice is merely the nonsensical figment of a few hyper-sensitive imaginations.
So it is unfortunate that David Lammy played right into their hands with a hysterical response to an innocent BBC News tweet about whether the smoke from the Sistine Chapel would be “black or white”.
“Crass and unnecessary,” the Labour MP tweeted back to his followers, “do we really need silly innuendo about the race of the next Pope?”
Oh dear. Within seconds he was inundated with responses pointing out how papal elections work.
His rapid and honest apology – he said he had been Tweeting in the Chamber, only half concentrating – sounds reasonable to me.
However, it will be ignored by the PC-gone-mad brigade: “Now we’re not even allowed to have black smoke in Papal Elections!”
Literally, a new smokescreen for the bigots. Well done, David.