A man in a T-shirt walks into a supermarket. Nek Minute…

Photo supplied to Whaleoil

We often write on Whaleoil about how freedom of speech is under threat in the UK, with people getting arrested by the police for liking or sharing a post on social media that someone found offensive.

Not so long ago we posted a video of an Englishman in the UK being removed from a sporting event for proudly wearing a jacket with the Union Jack on it. English cup fans have been told that they are not allowed to bring and wave their Union Jack flags at sporting events because England’s head of football policing Mark Roberts warned that the flag could be seen as ?imperialistic? and would upset foreigners.

You might want to believe that what is happening in the UK would never happen here, but you would be wrong. For those of you who want to pretend that everything is fine, now is the time to hide your heads under the blankets, put your fingers in your ears and start humming.

Here is what happened to a New Zealander this Thursday when he wore the above T-shirt on his regular grocery shop.

Thursday afternoon, Feb 29th, my wife and I were going about the weekly chore of gathering the groceries at Richmond?s Pak ?n? Save, near Nelson. It was all fairly innocent stuff until the long arm of the law reached out and harassed my good self. Yes, in the supermarket, in broad daylight just by the Appleby ice cream.

?I?d like to have a word with you about your T-shirt?, said the large, intimidating officer.

Hmm, I thought, this will be interesting. ?There has been a number of complaints, both from members of the public and store staff, they find it offensive.? the officer said. I chuckled and replied that I found that rather amusing and almost as amusing as it was confusing.

I informed the officer that ?the T-shirt isn?t illegal, they are readily available online, I wear it everywhere and I wear it with pride.? The officer responded with ?No, it?s not illegal it?s more the sentiment?, which I found to be a rather odd statement as the T-shirt highlights my love of New Zealand.

He then spouted the real clanger; ?what are you going to do about it?? I replied with ?as it happens we?re done here so we?re leaving.” I did wonder if that question shouldn’t have been directed at himself as I had no intention of doing anything about it. He left, again muttering something about the shirt being offensive. There?s no point in getting into an argument with police, I?ve done that before and it doesn’t work.

The shirt has a naughty word on it, so what? If Marama Davidson can reclaim the ‘c’ word in public and Hone Harawira can refer to Europeans as “white motherfuckers” in public then I fail to see the problem with this shirt. Maybe I should contact the Human Rights Commission and ask if I’ve been victimised or harassed?

I will now make it my mission in life to ensure the shirt is ready for use every Thursday so that I can wear it with pride in Pak ?n? Save when we go to get our groceries and we?ll see what happens. Maybe I’ll be banned from Pak ‘n’ Save, who knows?

Free speech, don?t ya love it?

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