Anthony Browne has just published a pamphlet, “The Retreat of Reason” with the think tank Civitas, which can be downloaded here. It’s already prompted quite a bit of blog-discussion, partly, I think, because Browne (Anthony) and Brown (Yasmin Alibhai-) were tearing strips off one another at 8.20 or so yesterday morning on the Today programme (you can still, I think, listen to them here), and people like to blog about what they hear on the Today programme.
The pamphlet is dreadful, of course. (But then I would say that, wouldn’t I, as a leading PC guardian of strict orthodoxy and general thought-policeman? So the Browne-boosters needn’t worry about me. Anyway, I thought that Civitas was supposed to be the non-barking centre-right alternative to the loons at the Adam Smith Institute and so on: was I wrong?)
Melanie Phillips, on the other hand, thinks it’s marvellous. She writes: “Browne is one of the few who very clearly understands that ‘political correctness’ is not some ludicrous absurdity that can be laughed away, as it is so often depicted. It is instead a terrifying, totalitarian and in Britain wholly successful putsch against truth itself, the weapon of subversion of a moral, political and social order.” So opinions differ.
Browne’s pamphlet ends with a rather engaging ten-point “Guide to Purging the Political Correctness Within” for all citizens to follow, and I thought it would be fun to see how Browne’s text performs in light of his concluding recommendations. Read onward, or upwards, as the case may be.