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The Politics of Offence

Where has all this politics of offence come from? What happened to all the good old days, when social change wasn't caused by ordinary people challenging social norms, but instead came from [information missing]. Mostly importantly, why is all the bad stuff I've been doing and saying all my life suddenly unacceptable? What happened to free speech?

The above refrain is becoming incredibly common. It's like a race memory, a cosmic blueprint handed down from one ur-reactionary dad to a legion of dinner table sexists. It's the bread and butter of supercilious conservatives, who advocate for free speech as an unshakeable principle but call the police when you call them a pie.

It's the New World Order. Suddenly, comedians in their 50s are the edgy bad boys because they've got the guts to say that socially-conscious undergraduates are idiots. They're the new James Dean, riding a motorcycle through the grounds of the town hall, popping a wheelie through a flower display and shouting, 'Even though I don't intend to do it, I should be allowed the freedom to use ethnic slurs in public'. While these sagging reactionaries may not be teenage heartthrobs, they do have a sizeable and vocal fanbase of childless uncles who miss Top Gear but can't work out how to use Amazon Prime Video.

Let them have their moment, I say. This intergenerational squabble can only go one way in the end, thanks to our greatest ally: father time (aka Daddy Clock). I appreciate it can be patience-testing when they go on Newsnight to say that it should be okay to declare racial supremacy without being criticised by people with dyed hair, but remember what you're listening to: the final gurgles of a drowning mob.


As we teeter on the rim of the abyss, at what point should we give up the ghost of creating a better world and just concentrate on having a few wholesome luxury moments before our inevitable destruction?

There's never a good time for the globe to warm to inhabitable extremes - and I really mean that - but if it's definitely going that way (it is), then what a shame that the most crucial time for necessary wide-reaching social, economic and industrial preventative overhauls coincides with the collapse of capitalist democracy and the re-emergence of fascism.

It's a pretty bad lot, overall. So all I'm asking is: if we are all doomed and we're going to spend our final moments melting or drowning in the confines of a concentration camp, can we not spend our final moments with our feet up, a cuppa and maybe even one of McVitie's glorious discs?

Let's be honest, if you're not genuinely willing to draw blood and actually eradicate the political class that is going to destroy the entire planet, then perhaps the umpteeth protest march just isn't going to do the trick.

So why don't we just enjoy televisions, marzipan and basic human liberty while they last? Can't I just have a lovely eclair and a mid-afternoon nap before I'm sentenced to a lifetime of hard labour in one of Britain's majestic deserts? Haven't you people heard of #SelfCare?

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