There’s been a fairly understandable level of uproar across the city since the city council published then unpublished and then republished its report (pdf) into Lib Dem councillor Shirley Marshall and her notorious ‘coconut’ slur (Blogger passim).
The crux of the problem seems to lie in the rather odd conclusions council officers have drawn from their investigation:
Having studied the various Statutes and case law, I am of the opinion that the term ‘coconut’ undeniably has a racial element to it and is offensive and insulting.
We’re told. Then:
my conclusion is that although the term ‘coconut’ undeniably has a racial element to it, its use in this particular context does not constitute racial abuse. It is, however, an offensive and insulting term.
So they somehow conclude an offensive and insulting term with a racial element does not constitute racial abuse. And:
If I am asked to recommend a sanction then I would say that NO FURTHER ACTION is required.
This perverse conclusion certainly pissed off Cancer editor, Mike Norton, who produced an uncharacteristically brutal editorial on the matter:
The report which recommends no action against Ms Brown is gutless and depressing.
Reject it for the absurd piece of lily-livered, fence-sitting that it is and throw it in the bin.
Norton does have a fair point. The conclusion is bollocks.
But wait. Check carefully and you’ll see the report was written by Shahzia Daya, an employee of Bristol City Council. Shirley Marshall and her Lib Dem leadership are this woman’s bosses.
Is Ms Daya really in a position to state the conclusion that we all want hear – ie. “kick this racist cow out of public life”?
Not if she wants to have a career she’s not.
Perhaps the ‘independent’ Standards Board, made up of members of the public whose mortgage payments aren’t riding on the result, might see things differently?
Marshall’s hearing in front of the Standards Board is on Tuesday at 9.30am at the Council House.
It says much about the quality of the officers at BCC that the first official source quoted in Shahzia Daya’s so-called investigation is …… Wikipedia!
Am I allowed to say whitewash?
….. so Cllr Marshall believes that her comments were ‘wrongly received and misniterpreted’.
that’s OK then, it’s all Clr Jethwa’s fault after all!
Gotta agree 100% with the ‘Post editor, and I suspect pretty much everyone else. Marshall used the “coconut” insult as a racist character attack.
It’s not ok for councillors to start racially insulting each other, she’s shamed the city and her party, if she gets off undisciplined it’ll be disgusting.
The poll on the front page of the new Bristol 24/7 website is about CoconutGate!
Cllr Marshall has been suspended for four weeks… Just long enough for a holiday in Florida! Will anyone notice?