Enshrined within the Charter of Fundamental Rights, a core criterion that must be met by each member state, is the necessity for freedom of speech. It's in Chapter two, under the ingeniously titled section "Freedoms".
I'm sure you are all too familiar with Eurosceptics complaining that the machinations of the European Parliament, Commission and Council mean such freedoms are rarely filtered down into the actual operation of democracy. But with regards to free speech, the EU have really played a trump card now.
They have decided that all references to gender be banned. Alongside the use of Miss, Madam, Signor, Frau et al ,gender related words are now blacklisted. Sportsmen must become athletes, statesmen must be referred to as political leaders and even the term man-made is to be replaced by synthetic.
At least finally the EU are denying that Climate Change is a man-made problem!
The problem however is what bloody use does this sort of legislation serve other than to get on people's nerves? How can you ban words?!!!They are the fundamental building blocks of thought, speech, expression, debate, communication, freedom and power. If one is entitled to free speech, surely he can pick the words he uses? It doesn't matter where you begin, this is already an infringement of free expression and we can only go downhill from here.
This will, supposedly, especially affect Bingo, where the calls are now seen to be, gosh I don't know, sexist? I've never heard a female pensioner in a bingo hall protest at the number 88 being called two fat ladies. A whole programme featuring two rather rotund female cooks ran under that exact same name without complaint.
I suppose as well under the latest guidance that all food must be labeled in origin perhaps we will next have to return words to their rightful owners. The french can have "duvet" back - we'll manage with "bedding" and "quilt". I suppose we'd have to give India back "Bungalow" and Eskimos "anorak" and "kayak." Whilst we may have custody of "internet" "babysitting" and "cheeseburger" there would likely be a tussle with America.
Repressing the use of certain words will not only affect a large number of organisations and institutions that currently trade under now "outlawed words", it may have an effect on language itself. But whilst it is by no means a laughing matter, there is certainly fun to be found. So I have been thinking of which expressions now face EU censorship...
One would imagine Batman, Superman, Spiderman and even Bananaman have had to rush of down to De-Poll to rectify the problem of their names. Man Utd may have to rethink their acronym. Earl Grey Tea will be cast into doubt. And what on earth will Geordies punctuate their sentences with? Wahaye person?
Well all I can say is the lot of them are the offspring of canines for coming up with such madness.