Sunday, 27 September 2009

Cllr Cheetham

... is a Labour councillor in Barnsley. He tweeted, adversely, about the veneration of St Therese's relics, and this post on his blog is the attempt on his part to undo the damage.

My own comment to that post is, roughly, as follows (I should have copied it verbatim before posting it, but forgot to do so). I expect that the dear Councillor will post it in due course.
Dear Tim

I quote from the post above this one on your own blog:

I can't pretend not to be upset not to be there [ie Labour Party Conference], it's an important time for the party, the country and for me. Most of all though, I really needed to spend some time around like-minded people. Having been plagued of late by some of the most obnoxious and unpleasant people at almost every department of my life, I'm suffering with a bit of a downer on the world.

Most of the people I know would face disciplinary action if they were to refer to their clients or colleagues in this way, even in private. As a trade union representative, I would find it impossible to defend someone against evidence as public as this in a blogpost.

I was with council colleagues recently including a Tory member, hatcheting Tory policy with some vigour and sweary gusto, when I thought to interrupt myself to say 'I don't mean you obviously, you are the acceptable face of conservatism'. He just grinned at me and said 'You ****ing ******'. We laughed and finished our pints. Because that's how it ought to be.

The foul language suggested by this part of your post could readily appear as evidence in a harassment case, should your colleagues be ill-disposed towards you. And the claim that it was "humour" would not be effective as a defence.

As far as your remarks about the veneration of the relics of St Therese go, I object to them, yes, as someone who expects to venerate the relics at a later point during their visit to England, but also because they reflect a general disrespect that you show towards people in general.

Cllr Cheetham's remarks are certainly objectionable to Catholics. What I find quite incredible, though, is that someone in elected office feels able to refer to his colleagues and clients in the way that Cllr Cheetham does, to conduct himself with colleagues as he does - all on his own admission - and to find it normal and acceptable. And this is not just a "foot soldier" councillor, but one of the cabinet members for his council. His remarks about the veneration of the relics of St Therese are, in this context, just par for the course. I think a resignation is in order ....

PS. Some of the other comments on Cllr Cheetham's post are worth reading.

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