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There’s nothing wrong with causing offence – sometimes it’s even a good thing

ROWAN ATKINSON and various other comedians are up in arms about Scottish plans to criminalise absolutely everything which causes offence.

With such a law in place, this would be the best joke you could hear at next year’s Edinburgh Festival . . . 

“An Englishman, a Welshman and an Irishman walk into a pub and the landlord says, ‘What’ll you have, lads?’ ‘Three pints, please, said the Welshman’.”

Or how about another little gem I’ve just thought of.

“A Catholic, a Muslim and an Anglican are told by the pilot of their plane that it’s crashing and there’s only one parachute.

“ ‘Let’s share it’, said the Muslim. ‘OK’, said the other two. So they did, and everything worked out well.”

You may think that people would be allowed under the new law to read from the Bible.

But I’m sorry, you are waaaaay wide of the mark on that one. Because what happens when you get to Ephesians 6:5-6?

“Slaves, obey your earthly masters with fear and trembling, in singleness of heart, as you obey Christ.”

Say that out loud and you’d be on a spike for the rest of time.

The new law is so vague and so stupid and so wrapped up in Left-leaning, right-on, woke gobbledegook that nothing you’ve ever said, seen, heard or read would be allowed.

That’s why it’s not just comedians who are worried. Others to voice their opposition are the Church, the police and even Nicola Sturgeon.

The problem is that there’s nothing wrong with causing offence. Sometimes it’s even a good thing.

For many years I was acquainted with the editor of GQ Magazine, a man called Dylan Jones.

The new law is so vague and so stupid and so wrapped up in Left-leaning, right-on, woke gobbledegook that nothing you’ve ever said, seen, heard or read would be allowed.

One day, I had bought a new jacket and, as he is something of a style guru, I asked him if he liked it.

He took a moment to check it out before saying, in front of several other people: “No. It makes you look like a c***.”

Over the years, until that point, we’d been sniffing each other’s bottoms and making small talk.

But when he said that, it meant we knew each other well enough to go for one another’s jugular. Which was a clear signal we’d become friends.

I think back, too, to the early days of Top Gear, when James, Richard and I didn’t know each other very well.

As a result, we were quite polite to each other and stopped to help when one of us was in trouble. But as we got to know each other better, all that ended and we constantly left one another in the field.

As Stephen Fry once said: “I can only mock those whom I love.” Aussie comic Steve Hughes went even further, explaining in a recent act that being offended doesn’t matter “because nothing happens.”

If you are offended by something you’ve seen or heard, you don’t get leprosy as a result. You don’t get anything. So why moan about it?

In the past, Rowan Atkinson has said freedom of speech is more important to him than having a roof over his head. He talked about the man arrested in Oxford for calling a police horse “gay”, saying this was obviously wrong.

He’s right, of course, but how will they react to this in Scotland? Well, I should imagine they’ll say they won’t take lectures from Johnny English.

EVER wondered what happened to Feargal Sharkey? Well, it turns out that he’s now chairman of the Amwell Magna Fishery, Britain’s oldest angling club.

Meanwhile, Skunk Baxter, legendary guitarist with both Steely Dan and the Doobie Brothers, went on to work for the US defence department, reconfiguring ship-to-air missiles.

Vanilla Ice tried his hand at jet-ski racing before becoming an estate agent, Terry Chimes from The Clash is a chiropractor and Russell Senior from Pulp is an antiques dealer.

So maybe it’s true – the guy who works down the chip shop really could be Elvis.

AN extremely confusing, bicycle-friendly roundabout in Cambridge had to be closed before it officially opened this week after a motorist, baffled I should imagine by the sheer complexity of it, crashed into a Belisha beacon.

Designed by a Dutchman and possible coffee shop enthusiast, the idea of this new-fangled junction is that cyclists and pedestrians have priority from the right and the left, and from above and below, and that motorists should find another route. And here’s the best bit.

Even though it’s just a normal roundabout, with a lot of paint splattered about the place, the council spent £2.3million on it.

Somewhere – probably in southern Spain – there’s a builder laughing all the way to the bank.

THE builders working on my new house explained this week that it’s now easier to buy crack cocaine on the dark web than it is to buy plaster.

One giant company called Lafarge controls the market and it’s taking it longer than they’d expected to restart properly after the Covid shutdown.

This means its trucks are being chased down the motorway by desperate plasterers, who are offering drivers cash for a bit off the back of the lorry.

So an important conclusion is to be drawn here. Instead of planning to do up your house during furlough – which is impossible because of the shortage – set up a rival company to Lafarge. All you need is . . . ?

Actually, I’m not sure what plaster is made from. But whatever it is, start mining it. Because if you pull it off, this time next year you’ll be a millionaire.

IF you are holding a sporting event this week and you need an excuse to have a minute’s silence before the match begins, may I suggest you consider the recent death of Wayne Rooney.

Wayne was one of my Suffolk rams, who passed away this week having fathered 72 lambs.

Surprisingly, the post-mortem revealed he died from a twisted gut.

I thought it was more likely to have been caused by the sheer effort of lugging around his truly gigantic testicle

SIR Michael Palin has warned Russian and Dutch fishing fleets that their giant supertrawlers, with mile-long nets, are no longer welcome in British waters.

I agree they’re a nuisance and am horrified to note that in a pre-Brexit rush to hoover up as much as possible from our waters, they have spent 5,590 hours in protected areas this year – 11 times more than they did in 2017.

However, I’m not sure they’ll care very much what I, or Michael Palin, think.

If the Royal Navy decided to get involved, though . . . 

IN this week’s hot weather, a lot of girls decided to sit on the beach wearing G-string bikinis. I’m not sure, in many cases, this was a good idea.

Some people can pull it off, like Little Mix singer Perrie Edwards.

In the same way that some men can look good in a tiny pair of budgie smugglers.

Most, however, cannot.

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