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Scott Begbie: Janey Godley row is no excuse for rage, hate and venom

Stand-up comedian Janey Godley
Janey Godley was at the centre of a row over past Tweets.

When did rage, hate and venom become acceptable ways to express an opinion in our society?

And at what point did the ideas of forgiveness and redemption, the belief people can make mistakes and learn from them, go out of fashion?

As the Janey Godley row escalated last week, it was horrifying to watch how much bile was being spewed by online trolls at the comedian, and anyone and everyone associated with her.

That included, sadly, the innocent family-friendly treat that is His Majesty’s panto, the very last place you’d expect as the target of blind hatred.

Janey Godley’s past tweets were offensive and unacceptable. Making racist jibes and taking swipes at disabilities isn’t on and can never be condoned or tolerated.

Have you never, in your entire existence, made a joke or said something truly offensive?”

But she put her hand up straight away, made a full and dignified apology – while making the point she, like every single one of us, is a work in progress.

That was never going to be enough to halt the inevitable – her withdrawal from Beauty And The Beast and the axing of the Covid campaign which she was fronting.

Janey’s comments were appalling. But so was the vicious pile-on that happened online – one driven relentlessly by politics as much as outrage at her comments.

I have a question for those demanding Janey be cancelled not just for Christmas but for life.

Janey Godley was to star in the Aberdeen Performing Arts' pantomime at His Majesty's Theatre this year.
Janey Godley was to star in the Aberdeen Performing Arts’ pantomime at His Majesty’s Theatre this year.

Have you never, in your entire existence, made a joke or said something truly offensive?

Thank goodness, there was no social media around when I was growing up. An online trail of some of the gags I used to crack back in the day doesn’t bear thinking about.

There wasn’t a single vulnerable group or minority I didn’t think was fair game for a punchline if it was “funny”.

Why? Because that was the sort of humour I was seeing on TV back when Love Thy Neighbour ruled supreme. Bernard Manning was family entertainment.

We told these jokes in the playground, later in the pub. Then we realised – well most of us did – that wasn’t on. It wasn’t funny, it was vile.

We will never learn, never grow, never become better people or a better society.”

I learned. I changed the way I think. I’m human and that’s what we do. Grow.

And as humans, we forgive. Or we used to.

Now, thanks to social media, too many people use the anonymity of technology to be as nasty and cruel as possible without thinking of the damage they inflict, not just on the object of their hate, but society as a whole.

If all we do is sit in our silos, convinced of our own rightness, put our fingers in our ears and scream at anyone who disagrees, we will never learn, never grow, never become better people or a better society.

It would be sad if future historians look back on our age as the time humanity built the tools to instantly share our experience, knowledge and wisdom, then used it to call each other nasty names instead.


Tour of Britain was a delight to behold

Tip of the hat to everyone involved in bringing the Tour Of Britain to the north-east.

The air of excitement along the route was a delight to behold, especially in Stonehaven where there were so many shops with cycling-themed window displays and the like.

Sadly, I wasn’t here for the big event itself, due to flitting the princess we live with back to uni in Glasgow.

But catching the highlights on the box at night was a treat – especially the massive reception the cyclists were given at the top of Cairn O’ Mount by a huge crowd of fans.

We know how to party in these parts.

Even better was seeing the city and shire looking absolutely fabulous on the TV coverage.

That and the introduction piece lauding Aberdeen as a place of fantastic architecture, beautiful beaches and a city of culture what we need to be letting the rest of the country know about.

As well as spreading the word about how brilliant the north-east is, the tour being here might also encourage folk to get on their bikes and give cycling a rattle.

Even I might be tempted to look out the Lycra, what with all the modern advances in the humble bike.

Who knows, I might even be in good enough shape to ride along the route when the Tour Of Britain returns to Aberdeen for its opening stage in 2022.

They do let e-bikes take part, don’t they?


Spiders book a date with destiny with Scott

Autumn is a time of terror and fear.

This is when spiders come scuttling indoors to scare the bejesus out of us poor arachnophobes.

Apparently, all they are doing is looking for a mate. Which is fine if they were discrete about it and kept out of the way.

But, nope, they need to go swaggering across the living room carpet, some of them the size of Shetland ponies. I swear I saw one wearing a saddle.

There are many tips for keeping them out of your house from leaving conkers lying around to smearing doors and windows with lemon juice.

My preferred deterrent is a guidebook to Belgian’s best beers. Dropped from a height It is rather effective at stopping our eight-legged friends in their tracks.

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