Shirley and the Coconuts … Sounds a bit like a band that had a couple of top ten hits with some sharp calypso inflected disco tunes in the early eighties – courtesy of Hopkins, Rogers and Wright, the legendary production team behind Bristol’s ‘Shit Machine’ studios – doesn’t it?
Alas not. This is not an East Bristol Lib Dems story. There’s no tales of excessive cocaine use and basement orgies with a humorous denouement featuring Hopkins later career as an oddly mustachioed lothario during the soft porn video boom of the mid-eighties I’m afraid.
No, this is all about the quality of debate in our very own council chamber where Florida’s Lib Dem councillor for St Pauls, Shirley Marshall, during a budget debate on er, equalities, called Tory Councillor Jay Jethwa a “coconut”!
This occurred immediately prior to Bunter Eddy condemning Peter Hammond as a “wigga” and just before Bristol’s Lib Dem spokesman for George Galloway’s Respect Party, Abdul Malik, had called for the establishment of a caliphate in his Easton Ward under the supreme leadership of contemporary socialism’s finest exponent, the Grand Ayatollah Yoyo Knickers Ridley.
Actually, I might be making some of this up. The real tale in all its grisly glory is available at the Evening Cancer here.
The story’s also now been picked up by The Sun, where we find Shirley – who was forced by her boss, Babs Janke, to apologise just yesterday – now backtracking with all sorts of justifications for her racism. She wails:
The remarks were not meant as a racist slur and they were taken out of context.
And in what context do you think it’s acceptable for you to call an Asian woman a coconut then Shirley? Then we get this good old standby:
How can I be a racist when I’m black?
Quite fucking easily Shirley. In exactly the same way as any person who has a problem with Asians can be. Next question please.
Meanwhile, local black campaigner Paul Stephenson has now waded into the row to shred what remains of his credibility telling the Cancer, “coconut is not a racist term”!
As Stephenson crawls ever further up the British establishment’s arse, jettisoning anything resembling a coherent political outlook, is he adopting the Lewis Carroll approach to racism?
Racism means exactly what I say it does. No more. No less.
All-in-all then a pretty bad few weeks for our ‘Beacon City for promoting racial equality‘.
Just a couple of weeks back we learnt that the city council was partnership working uncritically with notorious Jihadist and anti-semitic organisations. Now we have senior members of the city’s black establishment telling us that calling Asians coconuts is not racist.
Even Marshall and Stephenson’s desperate last-ditch claims that all this equalities funding is vital in supporting severely deprived communities is open to question. Check recent minutes (pdf) of the increasingly notorious Legacy Commission and you’ll find a discussion around how much of an honorarium the committee should award Mr Stephenson for his sterling voluntary work for all these vulnerable people.
Yes. That is the sound of a committee patting themselves on the back and awarding themselves money at the expense of the genuinely vulnerable … Nice.
It must be said, Bunter Eddy’s budget equalities debate has served a really good purpose here. It’s revealed a total crisis in the city’s race relations industry, which appears – to those of us on the outside at least – to be out of touch, out of date and hiding some pretty objectionable attitudes.
Isn’t it time to move on from the tired 1980s-style identity politics promoted and supported by this small clique of vested interests and get some race relations policies for the city that reflect and recognise the multicultural realities of the 21st century?
It’s an embarrassing shambles at the moment.