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Posted: 4/16/2006 4:53:00 PM EST
[Last Edit: 4/16/2006 4:53:26 PM EST by 22bad]
How anti-terror cop's joke misfired
KURT BAYER
Apr 16, 2006
news.scotsman.com/uk.cfm?id=577452006
IT WAS a grand dinner attended by hundreds of Scotland's most eminent legal figures. But when their guest speaker delivered his toast, the tone of the evening went distinctly downhill.

Instead of impressing his audience of lawyers, QCs and advocates, John Vine, one of the country's most senior police officers, left them in stunned and embarrassed silence with a spectacularly off-colour joke about suicide bombers.

The gaffe was made at the annual dinner of the Perth Bar Association, in the regal splendour of the city's George Hotel. Impressed by his command of police anti-terror operations at the G8 summit last year, the legal fraternity had invited the Tayside Chief Constable to speak at their gathering.

With the main course over and the wine still flowing, the 250-strong crowd loosened their bow ties and sat back to listen as Vine, a former president of the Association of Chief Police Officers in Scotland, took the microphone.

But the 50-year-old, nicknamed 'Supermario' by some unkind colleagues for his bald head and bushy moustache, is not noted for his public speaking skills. According to sources at the dinner, his speech began to flounder. As his audience grew restless, he reportedly unfastened his collar and sweat began to line his brow.

In an apparent attempt to rescue the situation, Vine took the fateful decision to tell a joke about bombs.

It may be popular in pubs and building sites, but the one about the al-Qaeda fathers comparing notes about the careers of their suicide bomber sons received a frosty reception among the great and the good of Perth.

And when he reached the punchline - "Ah, kids, they blow up so quickly these days" - sources say eyes widened in disbelief and many in the audience held their breath.

One lawyer said: "He was a dreadful after-dinner speaker and he was dying a death when he started telling the joke. People started looking at each other and shaking their heads. Nobody could believe that he was going to tell the joke, but he ploughed on. When he came to the punchline, you could see everyone slump at their tables in horror. It did not go down well to say the least.

"If he told it to a bunch of cops, he might have got away with it, but not to a group of lawyers and advocates. It was thoroughly distasteful and I bet he is living to regret it now."

Another local solicitor, described the scene. He said: "It had been a grand evening and everyone was enjoying themselves until Vine began to speak. He was struggling to keep the attention of the crowd.

"Vine, who has never been much of a speaker, started to tell this joke, and you knew it was doomed from the start.

"Everyone's head went down and you could tell that they were muttering into their napkins: 'Oh no, please don't say what I think you're going to say.'

"To be honest, I missed the first part of the joke, because I was too busy taking in everyone's reaction. It was a mixture of horror and disbelief. When the punchline came, some people laughed out loud, but I think it was more out of nervousness than in awe of his comedy skills.

"There were many unsavoury comments said about his taste in jokes. I think he lost a lot of respect by a good majority of those at the dinner."

Vine now faces a ticking off from his boss over the gaffe. Colin Young, head of the Tayside Joint Police Board, admitted that he was aware of the matter and that he would be raising it with Vine.

Young said he was aware of individuals who were at the dinner and who were intent on raising the content of the joke. He added: "It was a private event and I'm not party to what goes on at those events. I will be discussing the matter with Mr Vine in due course."

Last night, a shame-faced Vine said: "I did speak at the Perth Bar Association's private dinner in the George Hotel in Perth on Friday March 24 where I did tell an unscripted joke during the toast. I accept that the joke was in poor taste and I apologise profusely for any offence caused."

But critics have rounded on the police chief.

Bashir Maan, a senior Glasgow councillor and Scottish spokesman for the Muslim Council of Great Britain, said: "I don't know what Mr Vine meant by this joke, or in what spirit it was told, but he should've been more careful in his selection of material."

Tayside MSP Shona Robison, SNP described the decision by Vine to tell the joke as "extremely poor judgment".

She said: "I'm not surprised that, by all accounts, the audience were stunned into silence. It's not the kind of joke you'd expect to hear from one of Scotland's most senior police officers."

The error of judgment is not Vine's first brush with controversy. The Yorkshireman, who trained as a lawyer, has become a well-known figure in Scotland's policing circles.

After the G8 Summit, where Vine was in charge of 10,000 police officers, it was revealed Tayside Police paid for £11,000 of double-glazing for his Perthshire home as a "security measure".

Although his home is 20 miles from Gleneagles, the new windows had been required because of his "heightened profile" and "the close proximity of his family home to the summit venue and its isolated position".

He has also received widespread criticism for introducing solo patrols for his officers.

Earlier this month, Vine sparked a row after he called for the number of Scottish police forces to be halved, claiming that policing could be delivered as effectively with four forces as with the current eight.

OUTBREAKS OF FOOT IN MOUTH
IN SEPTEMBER 2005 Cherie Blair, the wife of Prime Minister Tony Blair, asked a wheelchair-bound comedian: "Do you do stand-up?"

In May last year, the Tories' shadow Scottish secretary, James Gray, was sacked after just a week in the job for suggesting that all MSPs should lose their jobs, including the Tory contingent in the Scottish Parliament.

In January 2005, First Minister Jack McConnell was embroiled in a storm after telling an audience of schoolchildren: "By all means get drunk once in a while" at the same time as his Executive was trying to tackle binge-drinking.

November 2003 saw the former Tory leader William Hague incur the wrath of the equality lobby by saying of Labour spin guru and gay MP Peter Mandelson: "I too wouldn't have a reverse gear if Peter Mandelson was standing behind me."

A month earlier Barclays Bank chief executive Matt Barrett, questioned about high interest rates on credit cards, had said: "I do not borrow on credit cards. I have four children. I advise them not to pile up debts on credit cards."

In September 2002, Rural Affairs Minister Ross Finnie was forced to apologise to the then-director of the CBI, Digby Jones, after calling him an "English prat".

In May the same year, Ann Winterton was sacked from the Tory frontbench for telling a racist joke. Winterton told a rugby club dinner in her Cheshire constituency of Congleton how an Englishman threw a Pakistani out of a railway carriage because, the Englishman said, they were "10 a penny" in this country.

Possibly the gaffe of all gaffes came in 1991, when Gerald Ratner, the director of the eponymous jewellery firm, effectively killed off his own company when he joked in a speech that one of his firm's products was "total crap", and boasted that some of its earrings were "cheaper than a prawn sandwich" and unlikely to last as long. The speech, instantly seized upon by the media, wiped an estimated £500m from the value of the company.
Link Posted: 4/16/2006 5:01:24 PM EST
"They blow up so fast, don't they?" is actually a pretty funny joke.
Link Posted: 4/16/2006 5:06:51 PM EST

Originally Posted By FLAL1A:
"They blow up so fast, don't they?" is actually a pretty funny joke.



And, it's true too, they DO blow up so quickly, and then all you are left with is memories......and the money they pay to the families of suicide bombers
Link Posted: 4/16/2006 5:15:44 PM EST
He'll be unemployed soon
Link Posted: 4/16/2006 5:36:35 PM EST
I have heard the joke but do not remember it all. Will someone please post the entire joke?
Link Posted: 4/16/2006 5:46:48 PM EST
I must be dense, I don't get why that's such a big gaffe. Sort of corny, sure but not a big deal.


That whole group needs to get the sand out of their manginas.
Link Posted: 4/16/2006 5:47:04 PM EST

Originally Posted By FLAL1A:
"They blow up so fast, don't they?"






Yeah, it is funny!
Link Posted: 4/16/2006 5:47:36 PM EST
His mistake was telling an un-PC joke to a very PC crowd.
Link Posted: 4/16/2006 5:50:49 PM EST
What the hell is wrong with some people? If they think thats offensive, evidently they haven't been informed of the real victims, those assholes targets.
Link Posted: 4/16/2006 6:07:11 PM EST

Originally Posted By crashburnrepeat:
I must be dense, I don't get why that's such a big gaffe. Sort of corny, sure but not a big deal.


That whole group needs to get the sand out of their manginas.



+1
Link Posted: 4/16/2006 6:07:38 PM EST

Originally Posted By sum-rifle:
I have heard the joke but do not remember it all. Will someone please post the entire joke?



Two Arab men are sitting in a coffee shop chatting. The talk turns to their families, and Achmed pulls out his wallet to show off family photos. "This," he says "is my baby Jamal, and this one here is his big brother Mohammed. He graduated from Hiugh School last May." "Good looking kids," says the second man. "What's Mohammed doing now that he's finished school?" "Oh," says the first guy, "he joined Hamas and attained martyrdom in a suicide bombing against the Zionist entity in June." "Ah, yes," the second man says. "They blow up so fast, don't they?"
Link Posted: 4/16/2006 6:10:29 PM EST
[Last Edit: 4/16/2006 6:10:41 PM EST by AZ-K9]


Link Posted: 4/16/2006 7:58:01 PM EST
What a bunch of pathetic pussies.
Link Posted: 4/16/2006 11:20:34 PM EST
Fucking stuffed ass Europeans dont know a good joke if it blew up in their face.
Link Posted: 4/16/2006 11:23:09 PM EST
It's a good joke, but not one you'd tell in that sort of company.
Link Posted: 4/17/2006 12:47:40 AM EST

Originally Posted By tac45:
Fucking stuffed ass Europeans dont know a good joke if it blew up in their face.



Perth = Australia.
Link Posted: 4/17/2006 1:21:06 AM EST

Originally Posted By Unicorn:

Originally Posted By tac45:
Fucking stuffed ass Europeans dont know a good joke if it blew up in their face.



Perth = Australia.



Did it occur to you that there may be a city in Scotland by that name, and Perth, Australia was named after that?

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Perth,_Scotland
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