This letter from Stroud UKIP member Roger Gough is printed in this week’s Stroud News & Journal. The Two Ronnies story referenced in the letter can be found here.
31st October, 2018
The volume of reader’s letters are perhaps indicative of the SNJ’s nose for reporting interesting headline local news. The “Ronnie Clip furore” item from a couple of issues back is even this week still prompting responses. In the hope that I’m not too late to join the party might I be allowed to comment on this storm in a teacup. I have an interest because I have commented on ‘political correctness’ in Stroud before (this story is a prime example of the genre) and interesting background to this “horrific” incident has not been mentioned in the current debate. In the January 28th, 2015 edition of the SNJ it was reported that a few days earlier “Teachers battle(d) for charity” at the now notorious Archway School. The contests consisted of teachers engaging as sumo wrestlers whilst wearing ‘padded sumo suits’ – suits which were grotesque in that they grossly exaggerated the body weight of the teachers in a caricature of the participants of “Japan’s National Sport” (japan-guide.com). As clear a case of disagreeable cultural appropriation as could be imagined yet a considerable crowd of parents, children and guests were pictured enjoying the evening’s entertainment which featured “staff from all departments”. Testament to the lack of “horror” permeating the audience was the fact that they willingly contributed over £400 to charity notwithstanding that the Politically Correct bible (i.e. The Guardian) opined (29.3.15) that “Fat-shaming is as disgusting as any other prejudice”. So then much good and laughter came of poking fun at foreigners (for that was the intention) and long may it continue say I – nobody got hurt or injured and children were helped. But hold hard: sumo wrestling is plainly sexist as the sport traditionally considers women “unclean” (BBC News 28.4.18) and are allowed nowhere near the ring (or ‘dohyo’), so maybe the school’s choice of sport (in 2015) was a gross mistake in the first place.
I’m not trying to ridicule the school’s ethos, its hardworking staff or supportive parents but maybe Stroud can recognise patently unwanted spite and venom as opposed to comedy and tradition of yesteryear. After all, folk with blacked-up faces celebrating old English musical customs can annually be seen thronging Stroud streets and there are no resultant riots to report. Even our hardworking Police apparently see no harm (I hope) in things as they stand,
Photo of Ronnie Corbett is in the public domain.