THOSE who hold certain views on subjects such race, immigration, Brexit, Islam, homosexuality, etc. often complain that “political correctness” prohibits them from expressing their opinions. They then proceed to express precisely the opinions they say they are not allowed to express.

The purpose of this ploy is to discredit those who hold a different view by pre-emptively labelling them as members of the “politically-correct brigade”.

For example, C MacArt writes: “Speak out, and you’re branded a racist” (HAS, Feb 2). In two recent letters, Mr MacArt has “spoken out” against “liberals and the left” and the Black Lives Matter movement (BLM). Two correspondents, R Brown (HAS, Feb 5) and myself (HAS, Feb 9), have responded with counter-arguments. Neither of us has branded MacArt a racist.

In the six weeks following the lynching of George Floyd in the US, “political correctness” did not stop the publication of more than 40 letters in HAS attacking BLM, with just 11 written in defence. Not one of those 11 letters included accusations of racism against other correspondents.

Thomas Ball (HAS, Jan 26) praises Mr MacArt for “sticking his head above the parapet”, and Michael Baldasera applauds Mr Ball’s “prophetic” remarks, warning darkly that “fear stalks our great democracy, in which certain controversial issues are never mentioned” (HAS, Feb 2).

Mr Ball complains that “you can’t express Christian values nowadays in case you are labelled homophobic”. A fundamental Christian principle is “do unto others as you would have them do unto you”. It’s hard to see how adherence to that principle could lead to a charge of homophobia.

Treat gay people as you would like to be treated if you were gay.

Pete Winstanley, Durham.