Tuesday, 19 June 2007

Another racist bites the dust.

The nation’s favourite bigot died yesterday.

Bernard - “I’m not a racist me – it’s all political correctness gone mad” – Manning.

I’ve never subscribed to ‘don’t talk ill of the dead’; he was a vile arsehole when he was alive and now he’s a dead vile arsehole.

His was the humour of the school yard bully, mocking any vulnerable minority. Such as the lone black policeman who was the focus of his act at a police charity dinner. Or the two black waitresses at a roundtable event. How sweet was it when a fly-on-the-wall documentary team followed his tour of India ? Manning was determined to show that his paki jokes would go do down as well there as on the white northern club circuit. With the tables turned and him now the minority, he died on his feet in front of bemused and offended audiences.

It was also the humour of the ignorant. He would rant that black and asian people weren’t truly British – how could they be they weren’t with ‘us’ in the war – where were they at Dunkirk ? Again sweet humiliation as he was challenged by Richard Wilson on the Mrs Merton Show, reminding him of the role of empire troops.

It was his appearance on this show that finally forced Manning to show his true colours. Previously he had denied that he was really a racist and that it was all 'just' comedy. He actually came out with the classic ‘just because a dog is born in a stable, it doesn’t make him a horse’ to refute that non-white could ever be considered British.

Doubtless in the inevitable obituaries it will be argued that Manning just reflected the cultural prejudices of working class people of his generation. Bollocks. My parents are of a similar age. It’s true that they occasionally use expressions that are out of step with current attitudes. But at worst they are awkward, like ‘coloured gentleman’. Or they are overly polite to black and asian people because they want to make them feel 'at home'. Embarrassing at times but certainly forgivable. They would never dream of using the kind of language that Manning did, out of basic politeness and courtesy. And of course that fundamentally is all that political correctness is about.

Bernard Manning 1930-2007. Bigot and supposed comedian. Good riddance.

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