Thursday, 5 May 2011

The Bully's Battle-Cry: 'Can't you take a joke?'

Cameraman’s painfully revealing ‘Calm down dear’ comments to an elected Member of Parliament sitting on the opposition front bench quite justifiably provoked outrage. It took me back to my first experiences of working in offices, when it was normal for men to make blatantly sexist comments, tell disgusting jokes, and demand you wear a skirt so they can see your legs – the sort of atmosphere that today could bring a charge of constructive dismissal and potential compensation. Quite right too. It was a horrible and personally destructive environment to work in and I would never tolerate that level of intimidation and misogynism for my daughters.

Cameron’s ‘it’s just a joke’ come-back compounded the felony.

Was this funny Dave, the day your bike was nicked in Portobello Road when you’d chained it to a BOLLARD? ‘cos, you know, we were all laughing like drains.

And was this funny Gideon? ‘cos we were all wondering if the woman in the picture was trying to ascertain whether or not someone had made off with the Chancellor’s Crown Jewels (and associated jokes I will not repeat).

See? It’s not funny, is it? So, to make it clear Mr Prime Minister and associates, it’s only a joke if both sides are laughing. Sorry to say, Clegg and Cameron are to sit with the juniors until they learn their manners.


While we await the results of the various elections today, and fall out with our loved ones over how we voted, let’s take a serene moment and think back to our glorious weather over Easter. Here I am indulging in a favourite pastime – swimming in a freezing cold lake on a baking hot day.

- Waving not drowning

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