Fire this useless representative

Basil BrushIn a world where we have to worry about which ‘Yoof’ walking along the road has the biggest knife or gun under their jacket, one can only be grateful that we have people like Joseph Jones, a spokesperson for the Romany, Gipsy and Irish Traveller Network, looking after our interests (or is that just the interests of those that are Romany, Gipsy or Irish Traveller).

I wonder if this fine, upstanding member of the Romany, Gipsy and Irish Traveller Network, would be making quite the same fuss about racist remarks being made by Romany, Gipsy or Irish Travellers?

Joseph Jones should be hung out to dry by those he represents, as he’s clearly not the man for the job if the best he can do is watch children’s TV and pick on something that was created six years ago, when attitudes were quite different to those prevalent nowadays. His approach is typical of nothing less than coward that wants to be ‘Seen to be doing something’, while doing little more than indulging some ‘Points Scoring’, and discrediting those that do the job properly.

Want to bet he’d be nowhere to be seen in the face of a street full of yobs hurling racial abuse at some poor individua, but will be at the head of the queue waiting to complain about a defenceless glove puppet?

In my home country, Travellers et al are referred to as Tinkers (something I only learned from another discussion – I only ever used Gypsy), a term I see is missing from his organisation’s title, which means that I will probably be next in line for his attention, even though the term is our usual reference, and not used as an insult.

Basil Brush is being investigated after a complaint was made about an alleged racist joke in the puppet’s BBC series.

A complaint was received by the police following a recent screening of an old episode that features the fox telling jokes about gypsies, reports Metro.

The episode, which was originally shown six years ago, features a sketch where a gypsy woman tries to sell Basil some wooden pegs.

A police spokesperson said: “We can confirm we have received a complaint about a TV show featuring Basil Brush from a member of the public in February. The complaint was logged as an incident of a racist nature.”

Joseph Jones, a spokesperson for the Romany, Gipsy and Irish Traveller Network, said: “Racist abuse of black people is quite rightly no longer deemed acceptable, but when a comedian makes a joke on TV about pikeys or gypos, there’s no comeback.”

The Romany, Gipsy and Irish Traveller Network want to get a grip of their spokesman, have a quiet word, or get someone with sense of reality and responsibility into the job post haste, before they become a laughing stock.

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8 Responses to “Fire this useless representative”

  1. Norman Biddlecombe Says:

    A spokesperson for the Gypsy Traveller Network speaks about an insulting comment about Gypsies on childrens TV. You are surprised. That’s his job as spokesperson etc. He watches Childrens TV. Hopefully most parents do and would not like any racist comments to be picked up by their kids. Thats his job as well. In fact it should be the job of us all to object to racist comments that can lead to resentment and trouble between different sections of the community. it begins with kids TV and can end up with the street attacks you mention. Why not stop it growing in the first place?
    As he says why should it be acceptable for our kids to hear insulting racist jokes or comments on TV. We have come a long way in this country in fighting racist attempts to scapegoat and pigeonhole people. You seem to want to put the clock back. Most of us dont.

  2. You’re partly right, and it is his job to speak out, but it is not his job to take action against today against items which arise from the past.

    If the material is not acceptable, then his action should be to point this out to the BBC, and if it falls foul of today’s rules, then it should be withdrawn. His job is not to go around and look for what amount to revenge, by involving the police. This sort of over-reaction leads to people like me seeking to have people like him held in check.

    His actions lead to contempt and ridicule, and are akin to re-writing history. Better he concentrates on today, and ensures such material is not recreated, and undoes the work you say we have come a long way with.

    I understand your misunderstanding of my criticism of this person’s poor performance in his job, but it is intended to highlight the backward nature of his action, which would be better served by his spending his time concentration on today, and stopping racism growing in the present.

    I made no remarks that suggested turning the clock back, but I will speak up against any sort of retro-censorship that tries to wipe out past events.

    I leave that sort of thing to the Holocaust Deniers.

  3. […] comment when I suggested that the spokesperson  for the Romany, Gipsy and Irish Traveller Network should be replaced by someone who could do a better job, the subject has continued to hovered on the border of my […]

  4. Norman Biddlecombe Says:

    I agree ,involving the police if that is what he did and not some bureaucrat after he complained, is going the wrong way about it. Stick to the BBC complaints desk. In fact, like in most cases like this it is the press sarcastic reaction to the simple complain that has stirred it.

    But the programme, daft as it may seem, reinforces negative stereotypes. Imagine a class of Gypsy and non Gypsy kids watching it and their possible reaction afterwards. Gypsy kids have enough insults to put up with without Basil joining in.

    It is not re- writting history to complain about an old programme going out uncritically today. Of course no one put it on to insult anyone. This casual racism just slips through without any of us noticing usually but if it does we need to look at it and decide whether it is suitable for kids today. To go to an extreme I hope we would not, uncritically, show an old nazi programme with anti Jewish jokes.

    There are enough good funny TV programmes for kids and adults without, agreed unintentionally, stirring up a little more anti Gypsy feeing with silly jokes.
    As for the word ‘Tinker”……………………..

  5. I agree with you on all counts, especially on the concept of unintentionally stirring things up. Pointing out the slip is much more productive than wielding a legal sledgehammer.

    Tinker is actually an approved word depending on what part of the country you come from, and I’m informed that it is the norm in Scotland – we are even spending £345,000 to preserve a site of historic significance to our Tinkers. Here at least, the name arose from the noise made by their pot, pans and tools as they walked along.

    See this record here: http://www.secretscotland.org.uk/index.php/Secrets/GypsyWeddingPlace where I happen to know the writer used the term Gypsy rather than Tinker just to make the content universally understood, while the Dunoon Observer (the local paper) used the term Tinker.

    Racism can actually have borders, and while the rest of the country also rebels against reference to Pakis and Tallies, the people of Glasgow, and much of Scotland scratch their collective heads, and wonder what the problem is as they receive torrent of abuse from across the border when they refer to their local corner shop run for decades by Pakistani owners, and the local cafe and ice-cream parlour, run for decades by Italians.

    It’s a sad world, and those same Italians found themselves having to post their naturalisation papers and photos of their children in the British forces in the windows of their shops during the war, lest they be smashed by those who saw fit to mete out revenge on collaborators.

    But, this is getting too deep for a simple blog – thank you for the comments. It’s a nice change to read something sensible instead of the drivel I usually just have to delete.

  6. George Hough Says:

    Tinkers need a good place to live jus like the rest of us. I suggest the local council consider designating the homes and lands surrounding Mr. Biddlecombe’s palatial abode as their residential refuge and festival grounds. That way they won’t clog up the highways and biways of southern France each May.

    (aside) please pass on my email address to Norman Biddlecombe, ghough@cogeco.ca?

    George Hough
    Hamilton, Ontario, Canada

  7. norman biddlecombe Says:

    Thanks George for your predictable unthinking reply. Southern France eh? Gypsies have been going on a pilgramage to Saint Marie de la Mer in the Carmargue for longer than you Canadian tourists have been clogging up Southern France and many other areas of Europe. Shall I rise to the baIt and say “Go Home Canadians”? That would be as stupid as your remarks.
    Gypsies of France I think have a right to live and travel just as Canadians . I am sure I would find George’s lifestyle unattractive but I have no right to restrict it.
    Similarly Gypsy sites should be provided at a rent to enable those who wish, to continue leading a lifestyle their people have been doing for centuries; longer even than the existence of Canada.
    Why do you suppose I live in a palatial abode? Another of your wild generaiisations.
    If you find it interesting I live in a terraced house in a poor area of London known as Peckham. I am an old painter and decorator and i dont hate anyone because of their nationality.

  8. norman biddlecombe Says:

    Woild you believe George Hough gave a false email address at ghough@ogeco.ca?
    Dont believe anything else he says either!

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