When I grew up in the late 60’s and 70’s, sexism, racism and misogyny were all part of everyday life.
On the telly, scantily clad women danced for your pleasure on Top of the Pops, whilst adverts akin to soft porn, offered us everything from a Cadbury’s Flake to Hi-Karate aftershave.
You could catch a bit of casual racism on ‘Love Thy Neighbour’ or a bit of everyday sexism and misogyny on any number of other TV shows, from ‘On the Buses’ to ‘Are You Being Served’ – You must remember Mrs Slocombe, played by Mollie Sugden, each week she was ridiculed about her age, appearance, weight and the love of her “pussy”.
In the workplace, women were routinely objectified and people of different ethnicities were quietly bullied and racially abused, when the boss was out of earshot, of course.
But that was a different time and we have learnt from the mistakes of the past, haven’t we?
Fast forward forty years and it is quite conceivable that the free world is about to be led by a man who thinks that it is acceptable to “grope” women and to use your power to demean the fairer sex?
These, incredibly, are Donald Trump’s own words; I mean I am all for free speech, but to dismiss this as “Alpha male boasting,” as UKIP leader Nigel Farage did, is incredulous. He will be defending badger baiting, dog fighting and Honey G next.
I know politicians have a habit of saying things they don’t really mean and in Peterborough, we have in the past, been leaders in that field.
The late councillor, Neville Sanders, was something of an expert, squaring up to Charlie Swift and upsetting just about every group imaginable, with his frank, no nonsense style; then again, he did almost singlehandedly rescue the Lido.
Where he led, others followed, former council leader, Marco Cereste, impressed on many occasions, but surely his finest gaffe was when no matter how hard he tried with the budget, he just “Couldn’t make it add up.”
Our MPs have done well on the gaffometer too.
First Helen Clark (nee Brinton) with her headline grabbing antics and now Stewart Jackson, another who tells it like it is and who, from time to time, has had a chew or two on his size 9’s.
At present he is trying to set a record for the number of people you can upset in a calendar year – The only person he hasn’t fallen out with is the bloke in his bathroom mirror, but give him time.
There seems to be so much vitriol and anger flying around at the moment and I think we could all do with a rest from it; it’s as if common sense and respect have gone on holiday.
How else do you explain the actions of Peterborough gymnast, Louis Smith.
Surely he wants to be remembered for his contribution to his sport and his Olympic medals, not for a ridiculous video he shot, after a couple of sherberts, at a wedding.
He has apologised for mocking Islam and I am sure he will have had a clip round the ear from his mum. But he should have known better; he is of mixed race and he knows all about the struggle of minorities in this country and how easily people can be influenced by the actions of their peers.
Those in the public eye have to set a better example and act as role models; there should be no place for nastiness, hate or out and out stupidity.
This is not 1974 and young Mr Grace, would quite rightly, be arrested for his antics today.