MR PENDLE: You would never have seen Bobby Charlton wearing gloves to play football

some people seem to take great delight in wearing T-shirts that mock the ill and the dead.

First there were those who poked fun - in their eyes - at Margaret Thatcher at the TUC conference by wearing T-shirts showing a picture of a tombstone bearing her name and another of a caricature of the former Premier, who is now in declining health, as a witch and tried to defend them by saying they represented many people’s views of her.

Presumably that was why she remained in power for more than 10 years.

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And, earlier this month, a Greater Manchester man was jailed for four months - deservedly so - for wearing a shirt bearing offensive messages about the murdered police constables Fiona Bone and Nicola Hughes.

On this occasion, it was Pendle MEP Chris Davies who leapt to the man’s defence, saying his arrest and jailing was an attack on free expression that weakened Britain’s moral authority in the world.

Mr Pendle agrees with Mr Davies in as much that if we are to protect freedom in this country, then we have to accept that even offensive idiots have the right to express their views.

But there has to be a line drawn in the sand somewhere over which it is an offence to cross.

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In Mr Pendle’s opinion, the man overstepped that line, and got what he deserved.

He might have thought he was being clever.

He might have some argument with Greater Manchester Police.

But to wear a T-shirt describing the murdered officers as “pigs” cannot be justified and Mr Pendle is surprised to hear Mr Davies speaking in his defence.

YOU know that Christmas is on the horizon when council committees start discussing budgets for festive lighting, pubs start advertising their Christmas menus and decorations start to appear in stores.

And then there are the footballers - bless their pampered little souls - who wear gloves during games to stop their hands from getting cold.

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Now Mr Pendle thinks this is bad enough in the depths of winter, but new ground was broken earlier this month when the Queen’s Park Rangers midfield player Adel Taarabt was spotted wearing them during a televised game.

It might be taken for granted that some players will wear gloves to play in these days, but rugby league fan Mr Pendle cannot help but wonder what managers of yesteryear such as Bill Shankly, Matt Busby and Brian Clough would have said if players such as Tommy Smith, Bobby Charlton and Trevor Francis had dared to cover up his hands.

It goes without saying the words could not be printed in this column.