Saturday 24 February 2018

Heard the one about Paddy, the union, and the pay cuts?

Let's hope we're not slipping back into a state of collective victimhood, writes Eilis O'Hanlon

Jokes are wasted on me sometimes. Take the gag which got a Tory councillor in England into trouble a little while ago. Here's how it goes: a man walks into a bar in Dublin and sees his friend sitting with an empty glass. "Paddy, can I buy you another?" he asks, to which Paddy replies: "Now what would I be wanting with another empty glass?"

When I first heard that joke, I must admit I thought Paddy's response was rather witty. Ask a silly question, and all that. But apparently the joke is racist, because the listener is supposed to think that Paddy is a stereotypical thick Irishman. (Trust this stereotypically thick Irishwoman to get the wrong end of the stick.) That's certainly how it was taken by Irish-born Brian Kelly, who was in the room with Kent town councillor Ken Bamber at the time.

Despite an apology, Kelly made an official complaint to something called the Standards Board, and last week it was reported that compensation amounting to thousands of pounds had been paid to him, some coming from the council, some from Mr Bamber's own pocket.

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