More thought needed on who is upset by ‘jokes’

European workers including nurses, social workers and teaching assistants protest outside the Houses of Parliament in London before lobbying MPs over their right to remain in the UK.  Picture: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire

RICK JACKSON: Why aren’t we on the streets protesting about Brexit?

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It’s fair to say it’s not been Ukip’s finest few days on a local level.

Last week, we brought you the story of how Tom Davies, the party’s membership secretary for Fareham and Gosport, wrote to The News questioning if the Tories picked Suella Fernandes as their Fareham MP candidate because of her ‘gender and ethnicity rather than her actual abilities.’

Today, Ukip councillor Patrick Bergin has come under fire for posting jokes on his Facebook page which he accepts ‘might be deemed offensive in one way or another.’

The topics of the jokes range from gays and lesbians, to Muslims, internet grooming and the ethnic mix in Bradford.

As Cllr Bergin rightly points out, the posts were made on a personal website rather than any official capacity in his role as a Gosport councillor.

It should also be noted that some of what he put up could be perceived as harmless fun, not a lot different to what you may hear in workplaces up and down the country on a daily basis or on any TV comedy panel show.

But here is the problem. While Cllr Bergin may not have posted any of the jokes on to his political account, they were there for anyone to see on his public Facebook site.

And in his role as a public servant, more care should be taken to ensure he is not offending anyone he is meant to be serving.

In a defiant response to his critics, Cllr Bergin says: ‘It is my personal page. If you do not like what I do, then do not look. You have that right, too.’

He may well be correct. But without a bit more thought over who he may be upsetting, Cllr Bergin may just see residents in his ward exercising their rights to have their say should he decide to stand for re-election.