David Cameron’s not the only one in trouble over morris dancing

Plus: The best places to complain to Google, and the worst places to commit bestiality

18 October 2014

9:00 AM

18 October 2014

9:00 AM

Dirty dancing

David Cameron was accused of causing racial offence by posing with blacked-up Morris dancers, though it was pointed out that the tradition dates from 16th-century jobless labourers covering their faces with soot. Other Morris dancer controversies:
— In 2011 the Slubbing Billys were thrown out of a pub in Durham for breaking a rule against music. They weren’t dancing, just drinking, but had bells on their trousers.
— In 2013 officials from Lancashire County Council accused the Britannia Coconut Dancers of breaching health and safety rules when their dance strayed onto the road.

Forget me, forget me not?

Where have people been most successful at persuading Google to remove links they claim infringe their ‘right to be forgotten’?

No of requests
Austria 10,611
Germany 25,272
France 29,250
Luxembourg 220
Percentage successful
Austria 54%
Germany 53%
France 52%
Luxembourg 50%

No of requests
Italy 11,512
Portugal 1,512
Slovenia 527
Percentage successful
Italy 24%
Portugal 25%
Slovenia 26%

The UK is roughly halfway down the list, with 35% of its 18,597 requests successful.

Unequal struggle

FTSE100 directors earn 120 times that of their average employee, up from 47 times in 2000. How does income inequality compare worldwide, with income of the richest 10% as a multiple of that of the poorest 10%?

US 16.6
Japan 10.7
UK 9.6
Italy 9.2
France 7.4
Germany 6.9
OECD average 9.8

Animal passion

The Danish minister for agriculture announced that the country is to ban bestiality. Some countries have legalised bestiality through the repeal of sodomy laws. The current situation:
Legal Brazil, Denmark, Finland, Hungary, Mexico, Romania, Thailand and 11 US states including Texas and Ohio.
Subject to fines Germany (max. €30,000)
Subject to imprisonment Most other countries, varying from a year in the Netherlands, two years in France and the UK, to life imprisonment in Ireland.
Subject to death penalty Iran, but only on conviction for fourth offence.

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Show comments
  • John Cronin

    Q: Why are there no Jewish Morris dancers?
    A; You have to be a complete prick to be a Morris dancer.

    • Bonkim

      How do you know there aren’t?

      • Fenton!

        I thought it was a good joke and so does my husband, even though he isn’t a complete prick, either.

    • Mitzi

      A sad remark from someone who knows nothing of tradition.

    • Neil Ashley

      I know of at least one Jewish Morris Man; he is based in Huntingdonshire.

      • John Cronin

        Look it was a joke fer chrissakes: is this the Grauniad website?

        • Bonkim

          That is even worse – report you to the Race Relations Board if it still exists. Jewish jokes are not on! Insulting two racial minorities with one shot! Make it three including the English that do the dancing.

        • Neil Ashley

          I wasn’t criticising your joke just saying that I know a Jewish Morris Dancer. BTW: both he and I enjoyed your witticism.

        • Fergus Pickering

          But why is it funny?

    • Fergus Pickering

      Of course there are Jewish Morris Dancers. You just haven’t looked.

  • Smiffy51

    I love morris dancers, and hate the way our traditions are being taken from us one by one under the guise of ‘political correctness’.

    • Bonkim

      Morris Dancing is an import from North Africa.

      • Roger Hudson

        The Korcula Moreska sword dance is worth watching, Moor vs Turk.

        • Jackthesmilingblack

          Isn’t that in a later Addam’s Family movie?

      • edithgrove

        From Moresque to Morris, Moorish. Mixed with centuries of British experience and tradition. The Britannia Coconutters are a joy to watch, as beautiful as anything. They are a national treasure and should be celebrated.

        • Bonkim

          ” King James was generous to all kinds of people, including Black Moors, as the following entries from the Treasurer’s accounts demonstrate:To celebrate Shrove Tuesday in 1505, several Africans including a ‘taubronar’ (drummer) and a choreographer were present in Edinburgh. Twelve dancers (including Italians) performed in specially made black-and-white costumes costing £13 2s 10d. Was this the origin of Morris (Moorish) dancing?

      • lucath

        No it is not

    • Fenton!

      Yes, but what do you think of the dancing?

      • miranda

        It’s wonderful – I have an almost irresistible urge to join in. At junior school my best subjects were, apparently, country dancing and religious instruction. My mother said that maybe I would become a dancing vicar. The idea amused her, if not my father.

        Here of course is the real attraction:

  • Catherine Waterman

    How dare the politically correct brigade denigrate our traditions! The border Morris dancers with blackened faces are the BEST of all. As for John Cronin saying you have to be a complete prick to be a Morris dancer, well NO you don’t.

    Here’s a good macho Morris dance on Youtube, with a few blackened women dancers too – enjoy it, you spoil sports. Pick up yer sticks and whoop!

  • Terence Hale

    “David Cameron’s not the only one in trouble over morris dancing”. Being the perpendicular expression of a horizontal desire called sometimes morris, moresca dancing or the Basingstoke waltz is in line with Mr. Cameron’s same-sex policy.

    • Fergus Pickering

      He was not suggesting chaps had sx with bulls. Not to be recommended.

  • Niki Dennis Dowrick

    No one knows where Morris, Moresque or any of its other names originated. It was universal all over Europe and some of the earliest mentions of it are early medieval. Those who are involved with The Morris find it great fun and a very sociable pastime. There is no racial prejudice involved and those shouting their heads off about the ‘blacking up’ should do their homework before berating people who do not fit into their narrow view of the world. I do wish the wishy washy, hearts on their sleeves, don’t think before they speak, humourless, so called liberals would just shut up.

  • Mitzi

    For goodness sake! Are we to ban every traditional dance and song to appease these morons that wait for the least thing to complain of. I say don’t ban anything, let us remember who we are and although there are a lot of things that could be stopped why stop traditional and pleasurable things the we ENGLISH like. None of us are perfect but these people make out we are all doing things like morris dancing to upset when if it was looked into people like things like this no matter what colour or creed because it gives a sense of belonging to your particular country.

  • Gemma Brand

    I used to enjoy watching the Black & White Minstrel Show.

    • davidjwebb1969

      I used to enjoy n*gger-baiting.

      • Fergus Pickering

        What did you catch? With the n*gger bait I mean.

  • Gemma Brand

    There is a pub near me called the Black Boy. The sign was of a very well painted black boy. Needless to say, the pub’s owners were ordered by the council to remove it, which they did. They replaced it with a painting of a white boy who’s face was covered in soot.

    • John Cronin

      There is a pub near Bognor, W Susses, called “The Labour in Vain”. The last time I went there, the pub sign had a picture of an 18th century wench scrubbing a black baby.
      The story was that the landlord’s daughter was swept off her feet in the 1750s by some aristo who owned a plantation in Jamaica. He took her off to the Windies to the estate, and sent her back to Blighty when she fell pregnant, so the kid could be born in a more healthy clime. Unfortunately the baby was black, so the landlord’s daughter used to take him down to the sea every morn to see if she could scrub him white before hubby came back from Jamaica.
      Wonder if the sign is still there??

      • Jackthesmilingblack

        Interesting story, providing you don’t tell it in politically over-correct UK.


      • Paddy Kilshamus

        There was one on the Welsh border about 15 years ago withe the same name and the same sign. Probably gone but many parts of Wales have not been culturally enriched.. yet.

      • Jabez Foodbotham

        The Romans had a pithy phrase for such pointless labour:
        Aethiopiem lavare.
        The wench clearly did not have a classical education.

  • SimonToo

    The right to be forgotten must be handy if you are into bestiality.

  • davidjwebb1969

    I know it’s just anecdotal evidence, but in my experience Norfolk is the best place to commit bestiality 😉

    • Ron Todd

      How do you get the sheets clean after?

    • Suzy61

      In your experience? Oh dear….

    • Fergus Pickering

      Where else have you committed bestiality? I’m told Scottish sheep are sexy.

  • Fenton!

    Jeez. Until now I had no idea you could do stand-up comedy in Britain just by reporting the facts.

  • Jackthesmilingblack

    “the worst places to commit bestiality”
    The White House lawn?

  • Malcolm

    What ever happened to the remake of “The Dambusters”. Problem with the dog ?

  • fred finger

    One of the honours that can be bestowed upon someone is the right to drove sheep across London Bridge. I wonder if there is any additional benefits to that honour, that does not disrupt the traffic.

  • jesseventura2

    And how many goat shaggers have reached Europe thanks to the liberal luvvies?