Last week I was watching Sky News when up came the staggering statistic that reported incidents of what is known as hate-crime have increased dramatically over the past few years.
We Brits are a mostly tolerant bunch, and this news disturbed me greatly. Was it due to the devastating cock-up that is Brexit I wondered?
Or the fact that if you want to buy a really run-down flat within 30 minutes of central London you’ll have to cough up the equivalent of R6 million?
Either of those would be quite likely to deprive you of the milk of human kindness towards your fellow man.
Then the truth struck me. The reason for the dramatic increase in the incidence of so-called hate-crimes is that virtually everything you say - or even think - now qualifies as a potential hate crime.
All it requires is for someone to take offence, and these days there’s no shortage of people - mostly lefty snowflakes - prepared to be offended at the slightest thing.
Obviously, comments about race, religion and sexual preference are out of bounds but they have now been joined by disability, age, body shape and gender preference.
You may not know this but there is now something called a gender spectrum. In the bad old days, when you were born the midwife would announce the arrival of a boy or a girl.
That will soon be illegal because a third party will be imposing his/her will on the freedom of choice of a child.
That child may well decide at the age of 13 that, although born with a male appendage, “he” would rather shower with the girls after a game of football.
While this would have been frowned upon when I was at school, it now has to allowed because we are all entitled to select our gender from a veritable smorgasbord of possibilities. To deny anyone the right to do so is a hate crime.
Similarly, comments about people whom the medical profession once referred to as “morbidly obese” are now to be regarded as fat-shaming.
So if your tailor tells you that you have put on a few inches since your last suit fitting, you can march him down to the cop-shop and accuse him of a hate crime.
Probably the most confusing area of hate-crime is the one governing sexual relationships.
In France (can you believe it?) wolf-whistling at a pretty woman could cost you R11 000 in fines - for each whistle.
By the same logic, not wolf-whistling at a not-so-pretty woman should also attract a fine because it would be more psychologically damaging.
Comparing a woman to a summer’s day might also get you into trouble…..unless you are prepared to elaborate on the climatic condition of that particular summer’s day.
Who wants to be compared to a damp and overcast English summer’s day? Hate-crime.
Now I’m sure this hate-crime legislation (misguided though it may be) is well-intentioned and designed to force us to pretend to love our neighbour or face the consequences.
Sadly, the downside will be the devastating effect this will have on comedy and on the proliferation of bad taste jokes.
Rather like smokers, people with a really good blonde, Irish or racial joke will have to meet in secret to indulge in their vices.
Watch out though.
It won’t be long before the thought police will be able to arrest and fine you - merely for what they believe you were thinking about.
David Bullard is well-known for his love of lunching. He lives in the Western Cape
Did you like this article? Hate it?
Give us your views here