Duncan Barkes: Taking offence is a national pastime

How easily offended are you? Do you complain at the slightest provocation?

Perhaps you write letters or tweet, demanding an apology or a sacking, because someone holds a view you do not share?

Taking offence is a national pastime and it’s raging out of control.

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The latest “outrage” appears to concern the word “grockle”. It is a fine term. As the tourist season starts, we will waste hours trying to find a parking space in Arundel on a Saturday, happily blaming hapless grockles who are visiting one of the jewels in the West Sussex crown.

Fancy a quick ice cream in Worthing, Littlehampton or Bognor Regis on a hot sunny afternoon? No chance.

The influx of grockles will result in an hour-long queue and chances are the vendor will have run out of flakes for your ninety-nine by the time you get served.

Grockles are to blame for many of life’s frustrations during the summer months, including the excruciating traffic jams to the beaches on the Manhood Peninsula, increased litter on the promenades and caravans straddling both lanes of dual carriageways. One councillor has suggested that the word be banned.

Thankfully, this councillor is not one of ours, but works in the quaint seaside town of Burnham-on-Sea in Somerset.

Louise Parkin believes the use of the word is dampening the town’s appeal.

Instead of simply choosing not to use it, she wants the word banned.

This is a typical example of our increasingly knee-jerk response to perceived offence.

It is lame to suggest that just because you do not like something that it should be forbidden, but, increasingly, we pander to the screeching minority in this country.

And all too often it is the self-appointed guardians in our lives who seem hell-bent on telling us what is right or wrong. Really, is the term grockle derogatory or offensive to tourists? Are there not bigger things to worry about?