Frankie my dear, it’s time to give a Ma’am

Harefield Gazette - - OPINION -

AMEDIC has re­vealed that huge num­bers of peo­ple are claim­ing to be wheat or gluten in­tol­er­ant when, ac­tu­ally, they are not. Dr Max Pem­ber­ton writes in the press that he is sick of peo­ple claim­ing to have a food al­lergy when they ‘sim­ply don’t like any­thing, or want to feel spe­cial’.

Be­tween 20 and 40 per cent of the pop­u­la­tion be­lieve they have food in­tol­er­ance but ac­cord­ing to Al­lergy UK, fewer than two per cent re­ally have a re­ac­tion to food and only one per cent can­not di­gest gluten.

So many din­ers are mak­ing a fuss about in­gre­di­ents and de­mand­ing spe­cial at­ten­tion that restau­rants are get­ting fed up and start­ing to ig­nore their re­quests, which puts real suf­fer­ers at risk. Only an os­trich (low in choles­terol and fat) could ig­nore the wis­dom of Dr Pem­ber­ton’s ar­gu­ment to call a halt to this fash­ion­able fad.

I have a se­ri­ous in­tol­er­ance for comics who en­joy mak­ing crude and cruel jokes about an elderly woman. While homage is paid, like Mag­gie Smith and Judi Dench, the woman who has served this coun­try for more than 60 years is of­ten the vic­tim of cheap laughs.

It is ridicu­lous that peo­ple like Kim Kar­dashian, who achieved fame by tweet­ing and pout­ing are held in such high re­gard, while our monarch is ridiculed.

When comic Frankie Boyle chaired Have I Got News for You re­cently, his re­marks about the Queen had to be cut be­fore the pro­gramme was aired.

We pride our­selves on free speech, and pok­ing fun at our lead­ers – in­clud­ing politi­cians – has al­ways been a na­tional pas­time. Spit­ting Im­age was one of my favourite pro­grammes, and yes, the Queen and ‘Philly’ and the Queen Mother were in­cluded. But it was witty and funny and never seemed de­lib­er­ately vi­cious.

But Boyle’s re­marks were said to be highly of­fen­sive and it was made very clear that that was why he was cen­sored; very un­usual in Ian His­lop’s pro­gramme that prides it­self on push­ing bound­aries.

Isn’t it time for such per­form­ers to draw a line un­der the cheap and of­ten very per­sonal jokes and give the Queen a break?

She’s 90, for good­ness’ sake, and looks in­creas­ingly vul­ner­a­ble. You don’t have to be a monar­chist to know it’s wrong…. and it must make many peo­ple, like me, feel very un­com­fort­able when it hap­pens.

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