Before I go any further, I want to clarify that I am in full agreement that the deaths in Paris were outrageous.
Murder is always appalling, be it one person or one thousand.
My problem arose when I attempted to explain to Annabelle what had gone on.
Admittedly, my explanation, which loosely consisted of “A load of terrorists went mental because some French dudes were drawing rude pictures of Mohammed’ was probably not the most concise description of events, but I couldn’t have expected the barrage of questions that ensued.
And bizarrely, the majority of the questions were ‘Top Gear’ inspired.
She wanted to know how come French people are allowed to be offensive when Jeremy Clarkson causes a ‘national outcry’ every time he leaves his house.
Are all the Muslims terrorists, she wanted to know. “Well, no” said I.
<She attempts to follow me into the bathroom here but I kicked her foot out of the doorway and managed to lock myself in>
Undeterred, and shouting through the door, she wanted to know why taking the mickey out of an innocent person’s religion isn’t wrong.
<I couldn’t think of an answer to that so I pretended I was an electric toothbrush>
Eventually, and mistakenly thinking I was safe because she’d probably gone to school, I crept out of the bathroom but was ambushed at the top of the stairs, where she was laying in wait.
The questions continued.
She wanted to know what Freedom of Speech in this country actually means because as far as she can see it means something very different in continental Europe. Or as she put it, I only let her make Irish and Chav jokes at home and tell her off if she does it in public.
Top Gear did a gag about Mexico a few years ago and a large proportion of the UK public lost their freaking minds, not to mention the furore about the ‘slope on the bridge’ during the 2013 Burma Christmas special.
People have been sacked from their employment due to the expressing of their biblically inspired Christian beliefs about homosexuality; in fact a devoutly Christian couple who ran a guest house were fined for refusing to let a pair of homosexuals share a double bedroom.
None of us can say ‘Hey Fatty Boom Boom’ any more and calling a generously proportioned male Ro-Land is considered a hate crime. Try shouting ‘Slackers’ outside a Prayer Room at 3pm in your office building and see what happens.
But seemingly, and in an unforeseen quirk of law making, drawing rude pictures of religious icons is okey-cokey.
So listen up Jeremy, stick to drawing pictures of Jesus with sparkly glasses, a clown nose and a pink tutu.
That’s not going to get you in any trouble, it’s apparently called satire.