Leader comment: Davidson ‘joke’ no laughing matter

Ruth Davidson was the subject of a crude sketch at a political rally

Ruth Davidson was the subject of a crude sketch at a political rally

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The rap sketch which portrayed Tory leader Ruth Davidson as a foul-mouthed sexual predator dubbed “Dykey D” has been described as “shameful” and “homophobic”.

Anyone who has been in the audience of shows at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe will have witnessed gags that are much more 
controversial than the one currently causing ructions at Holyrood.

But this satirical skit was performed at a political rally, not a comedy festival. So it’s hardly surprising that it has become a matter of national controversy.

The sketch was written by comedian Karen Dunbar, who is herself openly gay, and performed by the lesbian collective Whatserface. They claim to be confused that people could interpret the piece as homophobic and believe “politicians, whatever their colour or creed, are always fair game when it comes to comedy”. In some respects that is true, but on this occasion it is no excuse.

In the same way as we must fight against racism and sexism, it must be considered unacceptable for a person’s sexuality to be used as a joke at his or her expense.

However, the controversy should not have been turned into a party political point-scoring exercise.

Nicola Sturgeon has rightly condemned the performance, although it would have been better if she had spoken out earlier, rather than a few days later and only when the issue was put to her at First Minister’s Questions.

The public and politicians should heed her call to unite against homophobia. We all must work harder together to tackle an issue that continues to divide and undermine our society.

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