August 15, 2010
On Any Questions I apparently told a joke so offensive that it had to be censored by the BBC.
I say “apparently” because I wasn’t even aware I’d told a joke, let alone one worthy of censorship, till I discovered that the BBC had cut it out of the Saturday lunchtime repeat of the programme.
The “offensive joke” was something I’d said while prefacing some remarks about our wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. I referred to the Irishman who, when asked for directions says: “If you want to get there you don’t want to start from here.”
I suppose if I’d considered it a joke, I might have essayed an Irish accent, or prefaced it with “Sure” or “Begorrah” or “Bejaysus, shor” or some such, and maybe done a little jig with my hands stapled to my sides while drinking a pint of Guinness and wearing a St Patrick’s Day comedy shamrock hat and then left a little gap afterwards so that the audience could express their delight in gales of laughter. But as far as I understand it – as, indeed, I believe most sane people understand it – is that it’s one of those old sayings, more often than not told by the Irish themselves, to illustrate a kind of perverse, quirky, counterintuitive streak that makes the Irish way of thinking so comically, lovably Irish.
This isn’t to say that I’m in any way against the telling of Irish jokes nor that I would have refrained from telling one if I could have thought of an appropriate one on Any Questions. All I’m saying that on this particular occasion I wasn’t telling an Irish joke, let alone an offensive one. The fact that the BBC is so foolish enough to believe otherwise speaks volumes about the culture of political correctness, hypersensitivity and gratuitous offence-taking in which we now live.
My friend Douglas Murray writes of even worse experiences – again at the hands of chippy Irish grievance mongers – in the Spectator this week.
If this is where we’re going, truly I fear for our country even more than I was doing already when I woke up this morning to read in my paper that David Cameron has pronounced himself happier to be governing in a Brokeback Coalition with a bunch of bizarre, Lib Dem ecofreaks and crypto Communists than he would have been had he won a Conservative majority.
- Britain: still stuffed under joke Tories
- Nick Clegg’s riot inquiry panel is beyond a joke
- Giles Coren says: ‘Climate Change. It’s SNOW joke!!!’
- Just what is it that greens like George Monbiot find so offensive about prosperity, abundance, happiness?
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