Sunday, August 09, 2009

Pikeys, Tessa and Toby

A fine example of uptight bien–pensant political correctness’ continuing assault on legitimate freedom of expression in this righteous indignation offering from Guardianista Jodie Matthews last week.
Ms Matthews, it seems, found the epithet “pikey” (in this case by Richard Hammond on Top Gear) deeply offensive and inappropriate (ah, that wonderful catch-all adjective of the thought police), and professed it to have been used (naturally) solely as a racist slur.
For the record, Clameur de Haro has no truck with racism, and neither commits it nor condones it: certain people, or certain ideas, or certain values, may be offensive, but whole races and religions are not offensive per se (although that does not mean they should be exempt from legitimate criticism).
Ms Matthews however seems to have deliberately ignored the overwhelmingly modern usage of the term “pikey” not as an epithet of racist abuse or presumed ethic origin, but as a convenient shorthand for a disparaging value judgment on the target’s lifestyle, ethics and behaviour. In this modern usage it’s equivalent to “chav” – the connotations it conveys are those of disapproval, not of race or even socio-economic group, but of coarseness and vulgarity, cavalier law-breaking, aggression and inconsiderateness toward others, and cynical manipulation of the welfare system.
But that, of course, is precisely the point of Ms Matthews’ article. Like any right-thinking social commentator on the Grauniad, she presumably recoils in horror at anyone making a value judgement about anyone or anything (unless of course it’s a value judgment she agrees with) as being an infringement of enlightened and progressive non-judgmental attitudes.
No doubt then, she will be suitably castigating the producers of the latest UK DCSF storybook for children for making a value judgment of their own that Tess and Toby the Pikeys Travellers are really just nice, misunderstood, and fun people.
Or possibly, bearing in mind they should tick quite a few of her boxes, she won’t be.........
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Anonymous said...

Listen to yourself!!

I can’t believe you are so ignorant to understand 'pikey' is derogatory term used against Irish Travellers. Just as 'nigger' is a derogatory word just against Black people. And 'paki' for Asians.
There are so my words in the dictionary that it just amazes me that ignorant sods like you refuse to recognize it's simple hurtful towards people when you use these words.
It’s easy to tell when a person has no history of prejudice and discrimination when they won’t consider what it feels like to turn on your own T.V and hear people saying these hurtful words.
Put yourself in a black person and a Traveller’s position and consider how you would feel! How would you feel if you had a job, paid your taxes and then returned to your trailer or caravan which you pay council tax on but still felt shame to admit you were a traveller to people on the street as people like you and newspapers have nothing better to do then be racist and continue to say your nothing but thieves and scroungers. It about time this stopped. Go out and meet these people, research and you will find Travellers have been here since the 1800’s. So why do they continue to be treated this way?? Why do they still have nowhere to live?
I think they main reason is people like you.. Born with silver spoons in their mouth have careers in parliament and refuse to take the needs of these people into consideration.

No yahoo account but i would love to hear how you think what i am saying is wrong!

Clameur de Haro said...

You should re-read the post.

From which it should become obvious that what my point was is this – that the term “pikey” has developed away from its original meaning and widened in usage so much that it’s no longer mainly a term of abuse towards genuine law-abiding, honest and considerate people who just happen to be itinerant travellers, but has become, much, much more, a generic label for all the feckless, the dishonest, the thuggish and the inconsiderate, whether they’re travellers or not (and many who thoroughly deserve the epithet aren’t).

And I for one object to the Guardian telling me I must not express any kind of judgment or unfavourable opinion about the feckless, the dishonest, the thuggish and the inconsiderate.

If you have a job, you pay your taxes, you return to your trailer or caravan which you have sited legally and not illegally on someone else’s land, and on which you pay your council tax, you don’t steal, and don’t harass your neighbours, then – however much you might move from time to time, and wherever you hail from – you are not a pikey.

And just for the record, I was by no means born with a silver spoon I my mouth, nor do I have (or want) a career in parliament. I would have thought the briefest examination of the blog would reveal that politicos are not a breed I esteem very highly.