Delingpole: Farage Demands Police Action over BBC Comic Jo Brand’s Battery Acid Joke

LONDON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 22: Jo Brand attends the British Comedy Awards at the O2 Arena on January 22, 2011 in London, England. (Photo by Ian Gavan/Getty Images)
Ian Gavan/Getty Images
JAMES DELINGPOLE

Wouldn’t it be just hilarious if instead of throwing milkshakes leftist agitators instead threw battery acid at their opponents?

Actually, no, BBC-promoted comedienne Jo Brand, it really, really wouldn’t. But that didn’t stop her making light of the subject on BBC Radio 4.

She joked:

“Certain unpleasant characters are being thrown to the fore, and they’re very, very easy to hate, and I’m kind of thinking, why bother with a milkshake when you could get some battery acid?

That’s just me, sorry, I’m not gonna do it, it’s purely a fantasy, but I think milk shakes are pathetic, I honestly do. Sorry.”

I quite understand why Nigel Farage — one of the victims of milkshake attacks — has called for police intervention over Brand’s appallingly ill-considered joke.

Actually I take back that “ill-considered”. My suspicion is that Ms Brand considered all too well what she was saying — and decided it wasn’t a problem.

For years, now, there has been a terrifying mismatch of tone and understanding between those on the liberal-left and those on the right. (Yes I agree the left/right distinction is not always helpful, especially not since Brexit, but you know roughly what I mean so let’s stick with it for the moment.)

Righties consider their opponents to be comical, misguided, foolish, laughable, ridiculous.

Lefties consider their opponents to be hateful, wicked, loathsome, verminous, reprehensible.

Righties go for the laugh: jokes that are funny.

Lefties go for the virtue signalling: ‘jokes’ that get a round of applause from the audience in smug, mutual celebration of just how woke the observation is.

Ms Brand’s battery acid joke is classic leftist humour. It’s not particularly funny but it does reinforce a particular world view, much as nasty, unfunny racist jokes used to do back in the 80s.

“Right-wing people/Brexiteers/people who don’t vote Corbyn are so hateful and disgusting that the only language they understand is to have their faces melted with acid!” it jovially quips.

If a right-wing comedian were to make such a joke it would, of course, be the end of his career: leftist social media would make sure of that, badgering any venues still prepared to host his gigs; the BBC — in the highly unlikely event that the BBC gave space to a right-wing comic — would cancel his contract, under pressure from the usual leftist suspects (who would in any case be pushing at an open door).

But when a left-wing comedienne such as Brand does it, we’re supposed to just grin and take it on the chin.

Not only is this not fair but it’s also dangerous.

Politics, as Andrew Breitbart said, is downstream from culture. The more often licensed members of the left-wing comedy establishment like Brand vilify and dehumanise their right wing opponents on the BBC, the more socially acceptable it becomes for impressionable listeners to treat right wing people like a lower form of life which may deservedly be crushed under foot.

I see from Twitter that this is an issue which is dividing right-wingers.

Some are saying: “Give her a break. Comedians should be free to say what they like. Isn’t that what freedom of speech is all about?”

Others are so appalled by the double standards they think the BBC should make an example of Brand.

Even though I suggested just now on a podcast I did with John Gaunt that Jo Brand should be sacked, I actually don’t think she should be. I don’t even want her reprimanded because I think there’s something hollow and insincere about these kind of skin-saving, sanctimonious public apologies. Also, I believe that comedians of whatever political hue should be able to crack tasteless jokes because being tasteless is part of a comedian’s job.

Tell you what I would do, though: scrap the BBC licence fee. That way if viewers and listeners want to make a principled objection to the relentlessly leftwards direction the BBC is headed then at least they can vote with their feet — and hit the BBC where it most hurts: in the budget.

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