Saturday, October 07, 2006

If You are a Councillor Lose Your Sense of Humour or Else!

What do the Amish and Bournemouth Liberal Democrats have in common? Laughter is considered a sin among the Amish community, so I learn from the newspaper this morning. Well Bournemouth LibDems - and, sadly Bournemouth Conservatives - would feel quite at home in Pennsylvania. A Bournemouth Conservative Councillor, David Clutterbuck, has resigned from the Council, and the Conservative Party over a jokey email he sent. The Times reports...

The joke was made in response to a tongue-in-cheek e-mail about all the bureaucratic problems that Noah would encounter if he were building the Ark in 2006. The e-mail said that he would have to obtain planning permission, abide by building regulations, carry out an environmental impact study, install a fire sprinkler system and seek advice from the RSPCA. In his reply Mr Clutterbuck said: “I imagine now it would be illegal to only have animals of the opposite sex!” His comment was then sent to all the members of the Liberal Democrat-run Bournemouth Borough Council, which had been on the e-mail’s original mailing list. They demanded that Mr Clutterbuck apologise and that he undertake compulsory equality training. However, it was Mr Clutterbuck’s own Conservative group that took action against him yesterday. Stephen MacLoughlin, the leader of the council’s Tory group, said: “In the light of derogatory comments made by Councillor Clutterbuck regarding gay people, we have taken immediate action. His statements have caused offence, particularly in Bournemouth’s gay community. They are contrary to the council’s equality and diversity policies. “His comments are unacceptable, especially from someone who deals with personnel and community issues. I hope he thinks seriously about the offence he has caused, and that he will act appropriately.”

The full story is HERE. I see nothing at all homophobic in that remark, and you all know where I'm coming from on this. By those politically correct standards my blog ought to be shut down immediately. Now you know why I would never want to be a councillor.

UPDATE 5pm: Cllr Clutterbuck has made other comments HERE and HERE. Cllr Nick King is the Press spokesman for Bournemouth Conservative councillors and has emailed me this statement...

Councillor Clutterbuck’s original comment was tasteless in our opinion, but not a disciplinary matter. However, as a result of a local paper article the national press picked up on the story and it was in these subsequent interviews that comments, deemed by the Conservative Group’s officers to be offensive, were made. As a result of these comments Councillor Clutterbuck was suspended from the council scrutiny and review panels upon which he sat (which deal amongst other things with council and community equality programmes), but not the Conservative Group, until the next Group meeting. At that point he was to be given an opportunity to address the Group, explain himself, apologise if he saw fit and then the Group would decide upon what disciplinary action, if any, should be taken. We are saddened that he has decided to take this course of action before discussing the matter further with his colleagues.

66 comments:

beethoven writes said...

Hear hear, Iain.

People are confusing jokes with derogatory remarks, and there is a difference.

C4' said...

I would say that this is madness, but I am afraid that some lefties would read that remark and accuse me of discriminating against the mental challenged.

MTK said...

There was an old cartoon in Private Eye along these lines. It had someone telling Noah (who, let us not forget, was a very old man so at least YHWH wasn't discriminating against him on that ground) "They insist we take a gay couple".

The "they" in question were unicorns.

nadders said...

Clearley the concil muppets invloved in this have no idea why the vast majority of people think politicians are a bunch of expensive irrelevant XXXXXXXX

verity said...

Amish is spelled thusly.

Cllr. Gavin Ayling said...

I laughed at that e-mail when I received it.

There, censure me.

C4' said...

This post reminds me of my time in Lampeter where this sort of stuff happened all the time. It got so bad that one day wrote a bogus and satirical Students' Union email and post it to every student. The email was about how the Union had renamed itself the 'Soviet Union' and that all hetrosexuals, Tories and those with religious beliefs were now barred from membership.

Horrible place!

Jeremy Jacobs said...

....did you hear about the one the Rabbi, the Priest and a prostitute?

C4' said...

Slightly off-topic, why do you have an ad for George Galloway's "War On Want" Mr. Dale?

Iain Dale said...

It's an advert for Message Space, not War on Want, but I have no objection to taking an ad from them anyway. Why should I?

C4' said...

Nothing wrong, I just thought for a moment that you and Galloway had gone into business together.

What a pendantic and active imagination I have. No wonder I get in trouble all the time.

Anonymous said...

Pathetic- no wonder nobody is interested in politics any more if this is what it is reduced to

Fruning Graplecard said...

I must admit to being puzzled by the fuss about this councillor.

I read it very carefully and do not understand how it could be construed as homophobic. If anything, it is a dig at political correctness.

(Why do they do this? Why is it that so called minorities jump up and down and throw their rattles out of the pram at the slightest provocation? Is it because they can?

Does it really help? I think not.

So, comedians out there, remember...from now on you can only make jokes about white heterosexual males because apparently we are the only members of society who are a. big enough to take it, and b.deserve all the abuse we get.

(Incidentally I do hope you get a lot of feedback from gays on this. I am interested to know what the putative injured parties think.)

Andrea said...

Did you read the other remarks made by said councillor or ot?

Just a few:

""I'm always pleasant to them (gay people). They've as much right to be a councillor as anyone else,"

(well, thanks...I thought it was implicit that gay people can be councillors....the fact that he needed to specify it already speaks volume).

But he goes on...

"Although I don't go to church I hold strong Christians beliefs and still find it's an abomination as far as I'm concerned. The law of Moses are more important than the laws of David Cameron but those are my own personal feelings - as long as they don't ask me to join in and it's not compulsory."

(apart it's not still clear what the laws of David Cameron are....it's not even clear what he doesn't want to be compulsory...the abomination as homosexuality is, maybe)

Finally:
"I'm not a religious fanatic. As long as they do it behind closed doors, I don't mind, but now they [homosexuals] control the media, the television.
"They have much stronger control over this country than they should have."

(ok, gays are controlling the media, the country....)

C4' said...

Welcome to 'PC World', where jokes, hetrosexuality, men and capatialism are all outlawed by 'common agreement'!

MJ Martin said...

I have a feeling there's more to it than that.

Fruning Graplecard said...

Andrea,

So it is implied by your contribution that he may have said a few things you do not agree with, or even find unpleasant. Is it because some of those things he said are uncomfortably true or is it that they do not fit into your cosy view of the world?

He certainly would not be the only councillor whose views I disagree with.

You owe it to society to get over this kind of petty squabbling, which seems to me to be based on a kind of politically correct pecking order that you and those like you need to be at the top of to make you feel important.

He is an elected representative. If his constituency really find his views repellent they can vote him out. That is what we call democracy, as opposed to Stalinism.

Ross F said...

Diversity does not, it seems, include diversity of opinions. At least for Liberal Democrats.

verity said...

(ok, gays are controlling the media, the country....)

Hey! I thought that was the Jews' job! Or maybe it's that the Jews have the concession to control the international media, and the gays are sort of sub-franchisees in different countries.

Nell said...

I think every councillor in the land ( me included) has probably seen the original email, and had a laugh, shame that some folk have had a sense of humour by-pass.

Peter Hitchens said...

Gay people in Bournemouth?
I don't buy it, not unless they have just sold up the chipping norton antique shop and retired.
I have visited Bournemouth a few times and there were definitely no gay people there, if there were, they were keeping their heads down.

Rick said...

Actually Noah was lucky - he received his instructions and knew anyone not included in his coterie would suffer death by drowning

Torymory said...

"theinjuredcyclist" is right.

As a woman I find a lot of 'sexist' jokes funny.

As someone who is half Scottish/German - I am used to anti-Scottish and anti-German jokes. (Mean/dour Scotsmen; Germans bagging deckchairs etc).

I work in the fashion industry - yes the cliche is correct - I have lots of homosexual colleagues. They often make 'gay' jokes - just as the best Jewish jokes are made by Jews and Goodnes Gracious me was written by Asians...

All minorities - whether based on gender, sexual orientation, racial, religious, national or cultural criteria - need to lighten up.

I accept that there are situations when jokes are unacceptable - if they are pesistent and aimed to intimidate particular individuals.This does not appear to be the case in this instance.

I heard a Lib Dem Councillor and Parliamentary Candidate make a funny but very un-PC joke about elderly people. Perhaps I should have reported him to the papers; the Standards Board; and insisted the Lib Dem Group remove the Whip.Instead like all the other Councillors present - Lib Dem, Tory and Labour - we all laughed.

What would life be like if one could only tell 100% in-offensive jokes?

Slim Jim said...

Yes, yet another example of the touchy-feely-wishy-washy-namby-pampy-please-miss-he's-looking-at-me-funny fagwit mentality that has infiltrated and polluted public service these days. Not only do these cretins weedle their way into important positions of power and influence (like parole boards, etc.), they sometimes even manage to get elected! No, that doesn't mean they have a mandate, just that the great unwashed are so gullible.

Let's get one thing clear: the bastards will continue with this muppetry unless they're forced to stop; that will only happen when enough people make enough noise about it. How about some contact details so that we can bombard them with our 'views'?

Why did the councillor resign? I would have stayed on just to get on their tits, and let them sack me. Now that would have been a better headline. His remarks were not homophobic, but certainly directed against the type of risk-verse, PC phuckwit gauleiters infesting our town halls. The biggest mistake to make would be to ignore this or treat it as minor issue. It may already be too late...

Andrea said...

"A Bournemouth Conservative Councillor, David Clutterbuck, has resigned from the Counci"

Btw, it isn't true that he has risgned from the Council...he'll sit as an Independent until May when the new election will take place (and he'll contest them as an Indy).
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/dorset/5415484.stm
He also claimed that the tories wanted to get rid of him because of his age.

His ward is actually a marginal...2003 result was:
Con 1 1,122
Con 2 1,113
Con 3 (the councillor in question) 1,063
LD 1 1,031
LD 2 1,021
LD 3 913
(the rest was far away)

dearieme said...

It seems to me that the law reform about homosexuality that was of First Order importance was the 1960s abolition of its criminality. I supported that then, and now. Everything since has been of Second Order importance, and I have no views on it, simply because of my ignorance about it. I'm open to persuasion that I'm wrong. Anyway, the joke doesn't seem ill-mannered to me, but the response did.

Anonymous said...

Before the Enlightenment people were hung for making sacriligious jokes. Then it was thought that one's own beliefs were down to one's own conscience, and the hanging of jokers stopped. Today beliefs expressed as jokes are again, it seems being punished with sanctions. Has the Enlightenment ended after 250 years or so?

Andrea said...

Fruning Graplecard, he has the right to say whatever he likes and other people have the right to comden it.

You call "politically correct pecking order"...I call having respect of other people.

"He is an elected representative. If his constituency really find his views repellent they can vote him out. That is what we call democracy, as opposed to Stalinism."

and what's the point here? He's still on the council and people can vote him in or out next May.

The Druid said...

Compulsory equality and diversity training sounds like Stalinesque re-education. No wonder he resigned. Having your wisdom teeth out would be more fun. Imagine it. Soulless sessions with a PC Rosa Krebs dribbling on in front of Powerpoint slides. Plastic coffee and biscuits if you are lucky. My God what a nightmare! The country seems to have lost both its sense of humour and its marbles. Now where's the packet from Australia House.....

The Druid said...

Compulsory equality and diversity training sounds like Stalinesque re-education. No wonder he resigned. Having your wisdom teeth out would be more fun. Imagine it. Soulless sessions with a PC Rosa Krebs dribbling on in front of Powerpoint slides. Plastic coffee and biscuits if you are lucky. My God what a nightmare! The country seems to have lost both its sense of humour and its marbles. Now where's the packet from Australia House.....

Anonymous said...

I couldnt agree with Andrea more. This man sounds like a nasty piece of work.

Perhaps the Lib Dems would have seen it as a humourous comment if it wasnt for the obvious form of the guy.

Andrea said...

"(ok, gays are controlling the media, the country....)

Hey! I thought that was the Jews' job! Or maybe it's that the Jews have the concession to control the international media, and the gays are sort of sub-franchisees in different countries. "

maybe next time they should organize a fringe meeting between him and Baroness Tonge to discuss who control the media... :roll:

Andrea said...

"Perhaps the Lib Dems would have seen it as a humourous comment if it wasnt for the obvious form of the guy. "

The original joke didn't make me laugh, but I wasn't offended by it either.
But then I read his following comments.....
I wonder if the Libdems over-reacted to the first joke knowing what the councillor could have gone on saying....or am I too cynical?

Anonymous said...

oh my word...i am amazed by this. I am a cllr and i appreciate that we all need to be careful over what we say these days due to the PC 'police' but this is going too far. i agree that i cannot see anythign homophobic in the comments, i do think that when you hold a public position todya you do need to be wary of what you put into the public domain in this way and he shoudl have been more aware of his actions and a possible reaction, but still!! crazy :-)

MayorWatch said...

I saw that same report and failed to spot the homophobia in there and I like you - I think? - I'm hardly going to be on the side of the bigots.

Samuel Coates said...

Compulsory equality training?!

Sounds very sinister.

Vienna Woods said...

After reading this lot, I'm glad to be living out here. The UK with its overbearing PC was no place for me in the 8o's, so I organised an escape committee before the father of PC (Ken Livingstone) had a chance to be re-elected.

The UK used to be full of humour, but seems to have lost it completely, due mainly to socialist interference and dictates in our Town Halls. This is why we need a 'STRONG' Conservative government again to end this totally irrelevant, obnoxious interference in our daily lives.

Vienna Woods said...

Andrea wrote,

You call "politically correct pecking order"...I call having respect of other people.

That comment explains it all! You can have respect for other people, but the trouble with the PC lobby is that they repeatedly defend others that don't want to be defended. In fact the PC muppets just look for an opening to interfere and demonstrate why they are such clever and upright citizens. In reality they are little more than normally unemployable liberal graduate troublemakers! During the early 80's I remember reading an article about Red Ken's legion of women and their so-called defence of abused minorities. In more than 90% of cases there was no identified complainant and the whole nonsense was supported throughout by the LCC. These buggers appear to have escaped from London now and have been breeding as far south as Bournmouth ...Heaven help us all!

jaeger said...

Lib Dem Cllr Mike Carlisle stormed:
"The comment even in fun is at best childish and at worst shows that certain local Conservatives are locked into the distant past. I urge if we are truly going to embrace diversity all members should have compulsory equality training."

What a miserable toadying creep Mr.Carlile must be, to make such a fuss over absolutely nothing and cost this man his position as a councillor is beyond belief. I'm sure I'm not the only person to find his belief in "compulsory diversity training" more than a little sinister, it sounds like something out of Mao's China or Stalin;s Russia. Having said all this I'm sure there was more than a little political point-scoring going on here and it says a lot about the Lib.Dems that they would stoop so low. An absolute disgrace, they should be ashamed of themselves.

Shotgun said...

Can someone explain what constitutes homophobic?

I don't want homo's to be illegal. I don't want them to be jailed or stoned or made pariahs.

I do think they are perverted and do not have equal status to hetero's, but so what? I think people that spot trains are very strange, but it doesn't mean I hate them or are trainspotteraphobic does it? And if I am considered as such, does that mean I can be arrested for it?

It's getting beyond a joke now and the PC morons are feeding the imbeciles who try and take all this shite seriously.

Anonymous said...

"The UK used to be full of humour"

have you ever thought about why the rest of the world don't usually laugh at British sense of humour?

Andrea said...

Why do people who want to attack the so called "PC lobby" usually end up making insults? (like 2 or 3 people on this thread)
They certainly don't help their arguments.

Anonymous said...

I personally don't find it acceptable to call gay relationships an "abomination" any more than it would be acceptable to say that he finds, say, Muslims an abomination. It is people such as this who make it harder for David Cameron to put forwards his change agenda. His initial comments were not homophobic in themselves, but they hinted as it, which turned out to be entirely true.

JImbo Jones said...

poor guy, i cant believe anyone has jumped on this

bebopper said...

From The Larry Sanders Show:

ARTIE (producer) to PHIL (scriptwriter) Who do you think runs Hollywood?

PHIL the jews?

ARTIE No, dummy, it's the gay jews!

Nicholvon said...

"Why do people who want to attack the so called "PC lobby" usually end up making insults? (like 2 or 3 people on this thread)"

Probably because they are exasperated beyond measure by the self-righteous sanctimoniousness and lack of humour of the said "lobby". And frustrated too by the knowledge that these ridiculous people occupy positions of power and influence where they have the ability to impose their ludicrous world-view.
I'm gay. I laughed at his original e-mail comment. As for his later reported comments, he's entitled to them. I don't expect people to like, approve or champion what I am or do. I just want the agencies of the State not to discriminate and then basically leave me alone.

Let his electors judge him. Let his opponents or his colleagues criticise him. But that's not how it works in our modern model "democracy". If it's not the inquisition (the Standards Board), it's the threat of compulsory "diversity training" for saying something "offensive to pious ears". Read Erasmus's Praise of Folly and see how today's PC brigade mirror the attitude of the Mediaeval Church to "heretics" or dissenters.

Lighten up people :))

Johnny Norfolk said...

I don't know what we are comming to. Its like being run by the thought police. I have joined up for UKIPs e mails perhaps they can offer us a way out of the PC mess we are in.

Geoff said...

Why do people who want to attack the so called "PC lobby" usually end up making insults?

Because abuse is that is all they are worth. I will never stop being disgusted by their evil.

Vienna Woods said...

Andrea,

I once mistakenly employed one of these women. I couldn't check her C.V. because the PC crowd had already seen that one coming and through one of their earlier forays, had forced the government of the day to prevent former employers from saying anything bad about employees. Within 10 months she had caused so much mayhem in our, albeit small, office that I was forced to fire her after more than five warnings about her conduct. The newspapers at the time were fed such a lot of untrue shit by her that it received national publicity. She took us to a tribunal for unfair dismissal and only then was I able to have her former employers give evidence against her. The fiasco with this woman ended at this point when she lost the case. It was only after it was all over that we received calls from more than 20 organisations and companies about how she and her friends had infiltrated their groups with the sole purpose to dig dirt. Trouble was, that with her at least, if she didn't find any then she'd invent it. This was a woman with a degree in Social Skills, which eventually turned out to be Media Studies, the former being forged by her own fair hand!

Anonymous said...

What is the matter with these people, why don't they get a life.
They must be very insecure to try and draw attention to themselves in such a manner.

I thought that my father sacrificed six years of his life to keep this country from tyranny -is this the result - why don't they join our troops in Afghanistan, that might bring reality into their lives and really give them something to worry about.

Anonymous said...

Well done Mr Dale for pointing out that the Conservative Partys website needs a complete overhaul.

Perhaps they could do something on the lines of Stephen Harpers Canadian Conservatives site.

Have a look Mr Maude.

newmania said...

GAY MEN IN POLITICS

“You all know where I'm coming from on this. “I only discovered where you are, coming from, the other day. You might be interested in the (entirely benign) Necker cube effect it has on your opinions… On the subject of Gay people in politics in our Association Nic Boles is supposed to be turning up possibly for a debate. As I entered a protest Mayoral application I may be the opposition. It would only be a quick PA in reality for him but I would love to ambush him.
Naturally if he likes having sex with men that is his affair but one of the pressing problems for Londoners is that families coping with property prices are under dreadful pressure. Managing time, money and responsibility it the daily life of this group. As a privileged gay man Nic Boles can have nothing to say on this subject. Any thing he did say would be countered by “What the F_____ would you know about it “
So I do think in some contexts a gay man is not the right choice of candidate and as we have plenty in Parliament I would say being gay is a poor part of the package Nic Bole brings.

Sparks! I wondered why anyone would like an obscure, superficial, camp clever but soul free band. Now what sort of person would like a band like that?
Tory Mory- A woman in the fashion industry are you? If so how do you sleep after spending you time objectifying woman. The fashion industry is the worst fascist misogyny peddling conspiracy currently operating today. VERITY is right to point out a worrying pact between the gays and the Jews who by their control of the clothing industry seek to infantilise women and corrupt Christian Western civilisation. Evil endless evil is the design you have for us.

MAYOR WATCH - do you watch ?

Anonymous said...

Perhaps the Lib Dems should dennd some of their own members on a diversity training course if the following quote from the Seagulls Party website is correct

"Brighton & Hove Albion have attacked the latest leaflet put out by the Liberal Democrats in Lewes claiming that it is deliberately misleading. Chief Executive Martin Perry said, “The lengths that the Lib Dems in Lewes will go, to try to make their case, really are extraordinary,. Not content with falsifying photographs in the District Link Magazine – they published the image of two ramblers in two separate photographs with totally different backgrounds behind them which demonstrates that at least one of them must have been doctored – they have now issued a leaflet which is extremely economical with the truth. The leaflet is very misleading and if people don’t know the facts they could easily be taken in by it”

I trust that the Lib Dems will not be using their well known campaigning slogan "It's a straight choice" (Copyright Simon Hughes) in their election leaflets in this ward, unless they want to end up being referred for equalities training as well

Anonymous said...

What is the matter with these people, why don't they get a life.
They must be very insecure to try and draw attention to themselves in such a manner.


Mental illness is increasing in the form of disordered personality, narcissism and a general need to be at the centre of chaos to feel alive

Andrea said...

"If it's not the inquisition (the Standards Board), "

well, I also dislike the Standard Board and I think it has no place in politics....it's the voters that should decide in the end. But I don't see anything wrong with other people/parties pointing out and criticizing some people's comments (like the councillor's commnets after the email)....here it seems that some people don't even accept it

Anonymous said...

Dawn Primarolo was allegedly overheard complaining that most of her constituents smelt. Osborne makes a witty comment about Gordon Brown and there's a witch hunt...

Anonymous said...

As a gay man, I think he's a fool, but I wasn't particularly worried by his first comment - didn't think it very witty, but he can say it if he wants. It was the attempts at justification that revealed that made me feel less sympathetic to him. If he'd just said he didn't mean any offence, he could have left it at that - I wouldn't have wanted any grovelling apology. But I don't rate his right to disapprove of my sexual orientation very highly - or are we saying he has a right to disapprove of Asians? Or mixed marriages?

Adrian Yalland said...

Oh for God's sake - someone tell this lot to get a life! I seriously doubt if they could find one person (gay or otherwise) who was genuinely offended. No doubt those who claim to be 'offended' are probably being political!

Machiavelli's Understudy said...

How opportune for Bournemouth's new, caring, sharing Conservatives to make a song and dance about an old guard, 71 year-old Conservative councillor and just how out of place he is in the new party.

Utterly pathetic.

Wasn't it Dave who said he didn't mind if people went 'off message' now and again? (Thanks, Dave- do you still want me to put my hand up to go to the toilet, though?)

I've come across far wittier comments, but then, I have a blackened sense of humour. He only seemed to be adding to the lampooning of surreal regulations on Noah's Ark.

Perhaps the most offensive event throughout all this is the reaction that the Councillor must be sent for re-education and that somehow, an elected representative should be subject to a council's diversity and equality commitments, as set by pious, unelected, useless bureaucrats.

This further affront to 'local democracy' is thoroughly offensive. The sooner something can be done about the Standards Board, the better. Their ability to have a primary bearing on what councillors say and do is frustrating their ability to competently and effectively run council business.

Machiavelli's Understudy said...

Having done some further reading on the matter, it's disappointing to see (if true) that Cllr Clutterbuck is allegedly considering a move to the BNP (http://nationalistblog.blogspot.com/2006/10/cllr-to-defect-to-bnp.html)

Whilst I personally consider the BNP to be worlds apart from us, it is disheartening for me (as an open-minded Conservative) for the BNP to be seen by the electorate as 'second choice' to us- never mind by those who stand in our name! Never would I or my fellow Association members stand on the same platform as those who stand for the general manifesto or ethos of the BNP, even in the face of open and profound disagreement with and betrayal by our peers.

I still disapprove of the course of action taken by the Conservative group, but I can't help but feel now that they might somehow be better off.

A disappointing state of affairs all round.

Austin Rathe said...

So it was the Tories which took the PC line, not the controlling Lib Dems.

Caroline Hunt said...

What no-one seems to have picked up on is that Clutterbuck is possibly the most fabulous surname I have heard in a while.

C4' said...

This is why we need a 'STRONG' Conservative government again to end this totally irrelevant, obnoxious interference in our daily lives.

I sure the media and the electorate want to see David Cameron throw Polly Tonybee off the House of Commons' roof garden.

Adrian Yalland said...

caroline hunt my music teacher was called Miss Clutterbuck! For some reason she was universally known as Miss Buttlef**k!

Why are kids so cruel?

Adrian Yalland said...

nicholvon Excellent sentiments - and your comments about the medieval approach to heretics and today's approach to PCness and 'diversity issues' are very true!

My concern is that, at a time when so many people are put of politics, and so many are put of standing for office, things like this just act as another barrier to people entering public life.

whether we like politicians or not, we do actually need them. I would never consider being a councillor now simply because I feel I would forever be clamping my hand over my gob, forever 'exolaining my comments' or forever be away on 'diversity training' courses! And I am quite polite and fairly clues-up on what you can get away with - and what you can't!

Mind you - the corporate environment isn't any different! I remember getting 'invited' by a senior 'colleague' to a diversity awareness course when I was overheard by him making a quip to a work colleague (who was actually a personal freind of mine) about my wife not being able to join us as for a drink that evening as I had left her chained up at the kitchen sink cooking my tea and ironing my shirts!

I promptly told the senior work colleague to stop listening in on private conversations, to mind his own business, to respect the fact that people have the right to think and say what they wish in a private environemnt, to understand that the person to whom I made the comment understood that I was being ironic (my wife is a very successful business women and MD of her own company who doesn't even know where the kictchen is in our house, and probably hasn't lifted up an iron for a decade) and in this particular scenario, to recognise the difference between someone who has a 'socially unaceptable attitudes towards women' and the vast majority of the population who simply have 'a sense of humour'.

I was actually furious at this little snivelling git - and he soon scurried off back to his training manuals!

I didn't last long in the job after that!

Their loss though!

Mind you - I used to work for a famous campaiging organisation, which was refreshingly un-PC. One new staff member tried to stick up for a female member of staff whom he thought might have been offended by a comment he overheard another male staffer make, and he was immediately told by the women concerned that if she had been offended, the guy concerned would have got a 'smack in the chops' for his trouble, and that furthermore, she was quite able to look after herself and didn't need nannying' and that if the guy wanted to last more than a week in his position he should quickly learn that 'around here' when offence is caused, we don't go running to the boss to complain, we don't resort to back biting and we don't run off in hissy fits or tears - but we actually look the offender in the eye and simply ask them to apolgise and stop being such a prick (She did also point out that there were times when resorting to violence to extract an apology was required)! Everyone present just wet themsleves laughing!

As I said, very refreshing, and actually a fantastic place to work for exactly that reason. You were never looking over your shoulder!

C4' said...

Mind you - the corporate environment isn't any different! I remember getting 'invited' by a senior 'colleague' to a diversity awareness course when I was overheard by him making a quip to a work colleague (who was actually a personal freind of mine) about my wife not being able to join us as for a drink that evening as I had left her chained up at the kitchen sink cooking my tea and ironing my shirts!

I promptly told the senior work colleague to stop listening in on private conversations, to mind his own business, to respect the fact that people have the right to think and say what they wish in a private environemnt, to understand that the person to whom I made the comment understood that I was being ironic (my wife is a very successful business women and MD of her own company who doesn't even know where the kictchen is in our house, and probably hasn't lifted up an iron for a decade) and in this particular scenario, to recognise the difference between someone who has a 'socially unaceptable attitudes towards women' and the vast majority of the population who simply have 'a sense of humour'.

I was actually furious at this little snivelling git - and he soon scurried off back to his training manuals!

I didn't last long in the job after that!

Their loss though!


This reminds me of a run-in I had with Jo Salmon almost four years ago at an emergency Students' Union council meeting about getting rid of the then-President (who looked like Jesus).

Before the meeting, a made a joke to the Union chairman about how his then-girlfriend kept him in line with a frying pan. Humourless Jo, exploded at me, claiming I was made a sexist remark. I couldn't believe it, so I looked her in the eye and told her "who are you to gague my state of mind".

Ironically enough, some months earlier Miss Salmon had openly proclaimmed at a Students' Union forum in her role as Deputy President that "men don't need political representation". That remark also got her censured at the next forum.