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Over the years I have had a number of criticisms of my blog; too political, too opinionated, too little about the RSA, too much about the RSA, much too much about me. But one of the first was a Fellow who included in a lengthy list of my misdemeanours the allegation that I had ‘used the Society’s website to make jokes’. This was a reference, I think, to an early post in which I proudly clamed to have made up my own witticism.

Anyway, time has passed; it is a Friday, the sun is shining and we need something to take our minds off a failing economy, the collapse of Westminster democracy and the threat of an attack by North Korea.

The prompt was my father ringing me, as he often does on a Wednesday, for a joke to use in his Radio 4 programme ‘Thinking Allowed’. The subject was gambling and although he ended up using a different gag, his request led me to discover the following:

I visited the Dalai Lama’s country to go greyhound racing


No, I just like dogs

This is a variance on the classic

My wife’s gone to the West Indies


No, she went of her own accord

When I worked at ippr a few years ago, between renewing the democratic left and finding innovative paths to social justice, we spent an afternoon inventing our own versions:

My sister’s gone to the capital of Indonesia


No, she took the plane

Gradually these became more elaborate:

My brother sells electrical accessories in the largest city in Yorkshire


Yes, and plugs and chargers

And contrived:

My wife’s testing a new product in Poole

In Dorset?

Yes, she thinks it’s great

So, here’s a weekend challenge to my reader (happy birthday for yesterday, mum); invent your own ‘wife's gone to the West Indies’ joke. The best one gets free Fellowship of the Society (but, not really).


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