Given the current disaster zone that passes for British politics it was something of a diversion to look to Canada to witness the recent antics of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

At one level his embarrassing attempts to explain away his propensity, many years ago, to dress up as a black man was quite amusing, especially coming from someone who has hitherto been so irritatingly politically correct.

But at a deeper level he is another example of a cowardly politician failing to stand up to the ever-increasing number of the perpetually aggrieved competing for medals in the oppression Olympics. Social and political discourse is being shut down by these thought police who are in effect weaponising subjective offence by seeing cultural appropriation, transphobia, homophobia, Islamophobia, (insert your phobia of choice here), etc. Lurking in what in Trudeau’s case was innocent fancy dress, and in other more serious contexts are the expressions of enlightenment values and healthy mockery.

The result is the privileging of particular religious, race and gender-based groups over other ways in which people see themselves.

We have our own local example of this lack of political backbone in Watford Council’s recent supine adoption of a definition of Islamophobia, which will mean that healthy criticism or mockery of what might be construed as “expressions of Muslimness” may prompt charges of Islamophobia.

Rather than making cringe-inducing apologies, grovelling politicians should refuse to join the contrition-fest, and tell the demagogic bullies exactly where they can put their contrived righteousness and synthetic outrage.

Ronald McGrath

Langley Way, Watford