Richard North, 04/03/2006  

In another wonderful snapshot of this England, we learn from the Daily Telegraph that police have seized three golliwogs from a shop window display after a passer-by complained that they were racist.

Officers told Donald Reynolds, the owner of Pettifers hardware and gift store in Bromyard, Herefordshire, they were acting on the complaint. Mr Reynolds, 53, said the seizure, rather predictably, was a case of "society gone mad". He said: "I can't really see what I have done wrong. The town thinks it is hilarious. Many people have told me they had gollies - I can't say golliwogs - when they were younger."

This was West Mercia Police, cited as Britain’s "best performing" police force by Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Police. They said they had acted under Section 5 of the Public Order Act 1986. It outlawed the display of offensive material, "which might cause or was likely to lead to alarm, harassment or distress."

Of course, one fully appreciates that the plods were quite right to take immediate action to deal with this egregious offence, just as the Metropolitan plods were absolutely right to take no action whatsoever against those harmless Muslim enthusiasts who, one month ago, paraded their messages of peace and harmony through the streets of London.

As for the golliwogs, it is also comforting to see that Worcester racial equality council is on the case. Its spokesperson said the sale of golliwogs could cause offence, even: "It may lead to a worsening of race relations." Quite.


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