THIS week Government minister Amber Rudd was criticised for using the word ‘coloured’ to describe Labour front-bencher Diane Abbott.

Ms Rudd made the comment in an interview with BBC Radio 2’s Jeremy Vine about online abuse suffered by women and later apologised and said on Twitter, “Mortified at my clumsy language and sorry to @HackneyAbbott.”

The use of that term is outdated and offensive to say the least. I don’t think there are any excuses for a senior politician and one who was once Home Secretary to use a term like that. Even more surprising as she was trying to explain people should not be abused due to their race and gender.

Earlier we had MP Angela Smith who made a glorious start on her first day as an independent by referring to black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds as having a ‘funny tinge’.

She then apologised for having ‘misspoke’ and blamed the whole episode on tiredness.

Can anyone who uses such terms be deemed racist?

Much of this comes down to how people immediately around someone behave. I sense that some people can easily find themselves living in a sort of bubble almost devoid of knowing what is and what is not acceptable.

Clearly, one might not think something is offensive if the people one converses with do not find your comments offensive.

But that does not excuse their behaviour.

For instance, if I am with someone, and this in fact has happened on many occasions, who makes a remark about ‘Jews ruling the world’ and others do not speak up, then that person will not know that this could be offensive and feel it is wrong to say that.

Or as I mentioned in the past as the word ‘coloured’ is outdated so is the term ‘gora’ (whitey) that is used in some quarters quite regularly.

Also, I do sense we are in such a state of hysteria right now that we are likely to draw out these episodes for the sole purpose of vilifying that person as much as we can.

But should we continually hold this against them because we feel they should pay for their supposed ‘mistakes?’ And at what point are we able to draw the line under the episode? Once the apology has been made? Or once an admission was made that one was wrong?

Or maybe until someone else comes out with something even more offensive...