Michael Palin’s fears about stifling comedy apply to wider public debate - The Yorkshire Post says

Sir Michael Palin may have been talking specifically about comedy with his warning about the stifling effect “PC culture” can have on what topics people speak about, but the proud Yorkshireman’s point applies more widely in our increasingly-fractured society.

Michael Palin's views about comedy also relevance in other areas of life. Picture: BBC/Firecrest Films

The 77-year-old Monty Python star who was born in Sheffield gave a typically considered response when asked by an interviewer about the impact of offence and outrage on the jokes comedians can tell. He said that while he would utterly object to getting laughs from bullying and belittling people, comedians and writers must not be “stifled by decree” and prevented from talking about particular areas of life.

His nuanced opinion about the field of comedy also highlights a wider issue in society where there is a growing unwillingness for many people to contemplate opinions which do not dovetail with their own.

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In recent years, The Yorkshire Post has seen an increasing number of complaints about opinion articles from both sides written from both sides of the political spectrum from people who do not believe they should have been published simply because they disagreed with the writer’s particular opinion.

A lack of willingness to consider differing opinions is not healthy for a democracy. Ideas should be debated, considered, argued and then either supported or criticised and their authors held accountable for their words - not prevented from them being aired at all because they do not fit in with a specific viewpoints. As Sir Michael puts it, “Everybody, myself included, should be up for being laughed at or joked with.”

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Thank you

James Mitchinson