Oh Danny Boy…

9 May

I suppose everyone has heard. Danny Baker the wit, the wag of Radio 5 Live has been sacked by the BBC for tweeting a picture of the happy royal couple holding hands with a chimpanzee. Well you can imagine the twitterstorm.

What first occurs to me is why on earth Danny Boy should be bothered enough about Meg, Harry and Archie to tweet in the first place. Putting that aside, Dan the man must be twitter-savvy by now, although he is cast in the role of cheeky chappie  so a little bit of inappropriateness seems to be in his DNA. He tweeted his defence.

Sorry my gag pic of the little fella in the posh outfit has whipped some up. Never occurred to me because, well, my mind not diseased.

I go along with this. When I think of chimps, I think tea adverts,  PG Tips and the years of chimp-exploitative adverts which gave us a giggle. I’m guessing there is a society for the prevention of chimpism these days. I can understand the opprobrium shooting across the ‘platforms’.

Mate, I love your show but you just can’t do that.

The BBC does not need racists like you.

You’re a disgrace.

…and so on.

However, I liked Chris Nicholls’s tweet.

If admitting a mistake and apologizing isn’t the sort of thing we should be acknowledging/encouraging, it is clear to see why we’re a society of victims too scared to own up to a mistake.

Danny Boy isn’t really a victim. He’s a silly boy who might have known better. But to lose his job? Like Jonathan Ross, he is a phoenix who will rise from these ashes but the wider issues of freedom and the cult of PC and victimhood are becoming stifling. We can’t say it like we see it for fear of the right-on police.

Jokes will be taken the wrong way on occasion but to elevate mistakes and misjudgements to sacking offences is to go nuclear far too quickly. And the BBC should, as all reasonable parents or aunties, sleep on it.

I move on. Suspension from the workplace had become increasingly common in my career as a teacher. The act of suspension was supposedly ‘without prejudice’. Yeah right. Differentiating between cases will always be tricky. The quick fix? Suspend anyone about whom a complaint has been made. Of course there are always extreme cases of misconduct where action should be swift and the innocent protected. Sometimes the accused are the innocent. A dear friend was once the subject of spiteful and false accusations. It took three years to clear his name. The stress took a terrible toll.

Perspective is a tricky thing and in so many ways we are losing it. My eastern European buddies who did work on my house (please don’t go home – we need you!) are far more clear about the state of the world. They offer opinions about race, colour, creed, national identity, men women, LGBTQ, politics, knife crime, Manchester United, Theresa May and everyone and everything under the sun. When I say, naively, You can’t say that! they will argue that they speak from their experience, not from prejudice. I don’t go all the way with them on that one but their honest chatter over a cup of coffee (only a five minute break as there is work to be done) is refreshing, energizing even. They wouldn’t understand the fuss about Danny Boy. I’m afraid, I do.

ps. Two glory nights in a row. Bring it on in Madrid. Spurs v Liverpool!


4 Responses to “Oh Danny Boy…”

  1. John Trotman May 9, 2019 at 12:26 pm #

    Hi Sorro. Well, it had to come sometime… : I have to disagree with you on this one.
    The racist slurs around Ms Markle, echoing those in the US around Michelle Obama (of whom similar tropes were/are used), have reached a considerable, surprising and disgusting volume in some quarters. Danny Baker, as someone professionally in the media swim, could reasonably be expected to be aware of that. We live in fevered times and it is incumbent on commentators (and, yes, comedians can be counted as such) to be alive to the cultural zeitgeist and sensitivities. His ‘joke’ was at best, crass. At worst (as it will be interpreted and celebrated by many of the hooligan element) it was wicked. Either way, the BBC would have been in an impossible position had it chosen to defend him. Maybe he has committed no crime, but he has certainly offended against the values the BBC rightly espouses..

    • simplysorro May 9, 2019 at 2:43 pm #

      Well I agree on that he crassness of it all. I perhaps chose a dodgy example to make a wider point. Hey ho.

  2. rocket1101 May 11, 2019 at 9:16 am #

    Love your blogs Paul but Danny had it coming. Imagine your (OK my) outrage had he suggested it about our offspring. They haven’t given birth to a chimpanzee and to suggest it takes us back to colonial attitudes.

    • simplysorro May 11, 2019 at 9:35 am #

      Yes. Danny Boy would argue that his joke was of a completely different nature. See his twitter feed for explanations and interesting discussion/comments. I’m not that convinced by the colonial attitudes argument but I see it and it is clear that Danny B, as a regular tweeter, should have kept this joke to himself.

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