Tuesday, 10 January 2012

I used to be politically correct but I'm all right now

Sometimes I think I should stop reading the Guardian.

Brand loyalty is all very well, and I'm normally happy to define myself as a Guardianista - with all that implies. (I own a bicycle, but rarely use it. I hate supermarkets, but shop at Tesco. I worry about climate change, and drive a car.)

But sometimes I do get annoyed.

They ran a rather sweet article in Saturday's magazine called What Did Santa Bring? where they interviewed a cross-section of mothers and children about Christmas presents.

And it wasn't the rich Russian who bought her daughter a £5,000 rocking horse from Harrods that annoyed me.

It was the mother who gave her son a stocking full of 'arts and crafts', a satsuma, and an adopted snow leopard from WWF. And started her interview with the words 'Being ethical informs my whole world view.'

Just think about that. Would any of these parents, if asked, have actually said 'Being unethical informs my whole world view'?

There's the struggling mother who saves £20 a week to give her family a decent Christmas, and tells her kids there are others worse off than themselves. Is she less ethical? The mother who returned one present because she didn't want her son to have too much. Even the Harrods mum, who doesn't let her daughter take an expensive present for granted.

It's not just smug, though, it's ignorant. 'Ethical' doesn't mean what this woman thinks it does. The word has been hijacked by the greens and the anti-consumerists, but ethical doesn't actually mean being green and anti-consumerist. It means being concerned with morality. That's a lot wider. And sometimes, I can't help thinking, a bit more important.

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