Barnet Council haven't banned you from telling mother in law jokes

Something that never fails to amuse me in a good 'PC Gone Mad' story is the idea that if an organisation produces guidelines for their staff, they've banned everyone from doing the thing the guidelines advise against.

'Sense of humour failure: Council slaps ban on mother-in-law jokes for being 'offensively sexist'' said the Mail earlier today, while the Telegraph went with 'Council outlaws mother-in-law jokes' and the Star bellowed 'MOTHER-IN-LAW JOKES: BARNET COUNCIL IMPOSES BAN'. All cobblers, of course. Barnet Council themselves said:
"Barnet council does not have a policy on mother-in-law jokes.

"There is no booklet and no ban on mother-in-law jokes.

"Our advice to staff is that they should be polite and avoid giving offence to any member of the public."

But that was obvious, this being a Political Correctness Gone Mad story. Instead, there was an external training provider that gave 30-35 Barnet Council staff some handouts, which aren't produced by the Council at all.

Still, it's nice to see some comments in the Mail mixed in with ones that attack the Council for supposedly telling its staff what to do, saying things like:
Ignore the morons in council and live as you like. These idiots should be drawing dole money, they are useless non entities musing over such trivia whilst there is work to do.

- Andrew, Essex, 26/9/2010 9:10

How can a Council have this kind of authority to dictate what people say? The spirit of Great Britain is truly dead. You're nothing but a larger version of the East German police state now.

- Frank LeMoyne, United States of Obama, 26/9/2010 14:07

Hmmm. I cannot se that the coucil has any legal right to ban jokes... It used to be the Lord Chamberlins office, but that censership ceased years ago..

I know of no act of Parliment allowing them to do so... ????

And a council could face being sued...

Still love Les Dawsons Mother in law classic jokes..

I think the DM should look into the acts..


- Mike, West Midlands, 26/9/2010 15:33

Won't be long before you aren't allowed to speak.

- Karen, ex pat usa, 26/9/2010 17:53

They have no right to tell you what jokes you can or can't like. Probably some 'Common Purpose' directive in which case ignore it...you did not elect these sinister people.
God gave us all free will - we make our own choices, we do not let the loony left socialists/Marxists think/speak/decide for us.Most of us are quite capable of doing that all on our little ownsome. We can actually do joined up writing too.

Note to Barnet council - get on with the job you are paid to do, remember you work for us not the other way around.

We pay your wages but annoyingly for you, we have minds of our own.

- Cozmikstroll, London, 26/9/2010 16:25
And in the Telegraph:
Yesterday 08:19 PM

I am trying to convert my mother-in-law to Islam. With her looks a burqa would be a definite improvement.

Oh no! A Muslim reference - Get ready of the humourless Barnet backed DT Thought Police delete this one."

Yesterday 07:19 PM

The solution to this issue people is simply to ignore the law. Break it en masse. Although the coalition offers hope and a swing away from almost Nazi like policies (were control is everything), the chip on their shoulder socialists were in power so long that a whole generation of youth and jobsworths know no alternative. They were born into this cold, grey, humorless, victim mentality dystopian culture that so many visionary films of the past predicted.

This has occurred because in the past when such draconian threats to our liberty and commons sense were introduced, people had the physical strength and moral capacity to fight back. We don't any more. Dumbed down programming, a reduction in sports and outdoor activities and more has pissed on the fire in our bellies.

We must undo the damage before it is too late, else bit by bit, more of these repressive laws will be introduced, with the result that in a decade or so, life here will be little different to the Soviet Union or Middle East."
"Your shout is unavailable for this story" in the Star. The Star's own shout is the headline and first word of the article. Always tempted to shout the first word of a sentence like the Star and Express do.

But the story is about a council allegedly producing guidelines for what their own staff should do, not what the general public should do. Not every commenter falls for this one, but you can't really blame the ones that do. Every paper uses the word 'ban' to describe something that even in their own pretend version of the story hasn't actually been banned. Who can blame readers if they read that something has been banned and think that, you know, something actually has?

What you can blame them for is saying 'Liebour', comparing Britain to Nazi Germany and thinking Barnet Council have anything to do with comments on stories in the Daily Telegraph.  There are some interesting ones on the Mail site that try to explain how this would be Labour's fault when Barnet Council is actually Tory, too. Dillons.


Press Not Sorry said...

This is what I hate about these 'ban' stories. People actually go away thinking they're true (I noticed someone saying "break the law en'masse" in the comments, but it's not a law@, then spread the lie around, and a new 'Baa Baa Green Sheep" is born.

Claire said...

Someone (maybe a doctor, maybe a would-be local politician) makes a suggestion, it gets reported in the local press, then gets followed up in the national papers. Then it becomes a 'law'. That's how it works. Amazing how much power these people have, to make laws which affect everyone in the UK without so much as a recourse to parliament. You know, that big building in Westminster where they actually think up and then vote on laws.

A small charity issued a press release suggesting that parents who offer their children alcohol should be prosecuted. Cue angry comments from people suggesting the government was poking its nose in people's home life (when in fact a govt spokesperson said 'it's a bad idea').

A LibDem spokesperson suggested at the next conference they should debate the possibility of GPs prescribing drug addicts their drug of choice (or addiction if you like). This was reported back to me by some nitwit as 'I see they've legalised heroin'.


julaybib said...

In truth, Mother-in-law jokes are FAR funnier when told about tabloid hacks. Here's an example, where, the phrase "Mother in Law" has been changed to "Daily Mail journalist":

Q: What is the ideal weight for a Daily Mail journalist?
A: About 2.3lbs, including the urn.

Akela said...

Fuck fuck fuck!

Don't do this to me! Being a follower of the mighty Barnet FC (following them en route to the Blue Square Premier judging by this season so far) I have every reason to loath Barnet council with every fibre of my being. This bunch of bullying fuckwits and arseholes have spent the last 15 years trying to kill my club including one twat of a local councillor who refused to answer written questions from me because I was not a resident of the borough.

So when I read something that makes me take their side against anyone, even the Daily Mail, it kind of turns me inside out and makes me want to stick rusty pins in my eyes to make the whole sorry mess go away.

I'm off for a lie down in a dark room.