Jacobson's filthy time

Howard Jacobson has told a Manchester audience how he felt “cleansed” to be the target of “antisemitic filth”.

Debating “Britishness and Literature” with fellow novelist Martin Amis at Manchester University, Mr Jacobson said: “One good sign we have in our society is that we have comedians. I don’t think you can live a decent life unless somewhere the whole idea of decency is being trashed.

“At the Embassy Club 10 minutes from here, you had Bernard Manning. As soon as he saw me he made anti-Jewish jokes, and it felt good — I actually felt cleansed to have Bernard Manning spew antisemitic filth at me.”

He also told the 400 audience: “There is a monstrous assumption that people have a right not to be offended”.

Mr Amis doubted if multicultural Britain would survive the economic downturn. “The virtues of multiculturalism are really polite fictions — the pretence that we’re all alike. These polite fictions will be seen as luxuries.”

    Last updated: 5:16pm, July 22 2009