Letter: Scousers can take a joke so long as it's funny

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The Independent Online
Your article "Racism, sexism, now scouseism" (30 March) coincided with a letter I received from the Broadcasting Standards Council. I contacted the council concerning a phone-in "joke" on Radio 1 which had the punchline "scouse scumbag". My complaint was that this was an extension of racist, sexist and homophobic "jokes". The DJ and his studio assistants all burst out laughing at the punchline - how amusing and acceptable would it have been if "scouse" had been replaced in this context by "Jew", "Arab" or "Irish"?

This is not about Liverpool people being unable to take a joke; it is a case of confronting ignorance and prejudice. It was this negative image of Liverpool people that was reflected when the Sun falsely accused Liverpool supporters at the Hillsborough disaster of urinating on police officers and picking the pockets of the dead.

The Broadcasting Standards Council's complaints committee decided that the joke, "would not have caused widespread offence". They should have added "to those outside Liverpool".

Frank Kenny