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Douglas Murray

British human rights official has 'orgy of Irish bashing jokes' on newspaper blog

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Douglas Murray

The British head of an organization set up to help ethnic communities has defended his decision to allow Irish jokes on his Daily Telegraph newspaper blog. Up to 70 jokes have been placed on the blog in what has been described as "an orgy of Irish bashing jokes.”

Douglas Murray, who is head of the Institute of Social Cohesion, took the step after a British local politician was fined for telling an Irish joke in public. He was ordered to pay the money to an Irish-born union representative who overheard the joke and complained.

Murray published the jokes after the case on the grounds that the fine was ridiculous.

"If people honestly think that in a thriving democratic society you can police peoples' humor when it is not illegal then you are going to be in real trouble.

"There are already laws in this country against incitement. They are very clear laws, I speak about them every day of my life. The law has to step in to stop people calling for murder. It is not something that the law does very often, as we know from various Islamist extremist groups.

"But the idea that you can police jokes or humor which is not calling for anyone to be killed but is simply humor, is simply a nonsense. The law cannot legislate about humor. It cannot legislate about whether you find an Irishman joke funny or I find it funny.
 
"Anyone can make any joke that they want, they don't need me to invite them to do so," Murray told the Irish Independent newspaper. "But I think if you want to remind people of the idiocy of a situation where somebody is able to make thousands of pounds by claiming they are offended by a pretty cruddy joke then we're in real trouble."

However, the Irish community in Britain is up in arms over the jokes. Many remember the  "No Blacks, No Irish" signs in various boarding houses in the 1970s and 1980s at the height of the Northern Irish Troubles.

A number of the posts on his site asked whether Murray would invite jokes about Pakistanis or Israelis.

The Irish Department of Foreign Affairs was not happy with the turn of events
“The response to Murray's blog illustrates just why there are protections in place against abusive racial stereotyping," a spokesman said.

Murray has run the Institute for Social Cohesion since 2007.

According to its website, it was founded "to promote human rights, tolerance and greater cohesion among the UK's ethnic and religious communities and within wider British society."

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