Saturday, October 07, 2006

Bournemouth bigmouth

For someone who vowed not to talk about the Tories, I’ve done quite a bit of it this week, and championing underdogs and British bulldogs called Spike to boot. Bournemouth Tory Councillor David ‘Cuttlefish’ Clutterbuck has landed himself well and truly in the chowder by attempting to be witty. Memo from me to all Tories – do not attempt to be funny - ever. A full risk assessment has been carried out and it has been discovered that backfiring jokes are not covered by the party’s insurance.

It all started with a better than average joke email being circulated within the council about the problems Noah might face if he had to build an ark today. All the obstacles like planning permission, building regulations, objections and appeals, environmental impact studies, health and safety considerations and animal welfare would keep him tied up in bureaucracy for ten years. Hilarious and all in the best possible taste. Unaware of the obvious risks, Cuttlefish ad libbed the following embellishment,

I imagine now it would be illegal to only have animals of the opposite sex!’, making sure to press ‘reply to all’. The riposte whizzed around municipal offices faster than you can say equalities impact assessment and Cuttlefish found himself being dangled over a large pot of boiling water for offending gays. Bournemouth Council did confirm that they have not yet received any complaints from gay animals about the content of the email but did suggest that they were among the ‘hardest to reach’ residents in the city, and were ‘often denied a voice’.

From the above picture you can tell Cuttlefish looks as bemused as Alexei Sayle does when someone hands him a spliff, calls him George and pulls his trousers down in a public toilet. (Although you’d think Alexei would be used to that by now). Poor old Cuttlefish had no idea what he’d done wrong. Seriously. Unlike say Sacha Baron Cohen, Ricky Gervais or the Little Britain team who consciously, deliberately and shamelessly lampoon gay people, not to mention ethnic minorities, women and disabled people for the very specific purpose of making bags of money. But it’s ok to insult disadvantaged minorities if you’re being ironic and/or entrepreneurial, innit? Or is it just that everyone’s too scared to challenge a celebrity in case you need them to open a fete or an envelope sometime?

We pillory the hapless while merrily applauding the clout class as they pickpocket our TV licence fees. I love Tony Benn anyway but my affection was permanently secured when he savaged Sacha Baron Cohen’s Ali G character. I’ll never forget when he growled ‘you can’t call women bitches. That’s offensive’. Now that’s what I call embracing equalities – grab them by the balls and give them a jolly old shake. Go Tony!

Bournemouth Liberal Democrat councillors did manage to drag themselves away from lifting up parked cars, painting yellow lines on the road, replacing the cars and then slapping fines on them for long enough to give interviews to the world’s press distancing themselves from Cuttlefish’s reprehensible behaviour. Councillor Michael Carlile, announced ‘I urge, if we are truly going to embrace diversity, all members should have compulsory diversity training’, before rushing off to put on a clean hair shirt, set the table and make sure George Michael and Alexei Sayle don’t have seafood allergies. He wasn’t quite sure which one was going to show up as guest of honour at the opening ceremony for the newly arrived jiffy bag from the Commission on Integration and Cohesion.

Bournemouth Council seems a bit confused about what it actually means by equality and how to achieve it. This is from their Equalities Statement,

‘Every function of the authority will embrace equality and diversity as part of its core activity and all our business plans will be subject to a rigorous equality proofing exercise.’ Let me think about this for a minute. If Bournemouth Council is committed to ‘equality proofing’, shouldn’t they be doing all they can to avoid equalities? Is it not so with water proofing and rust proofing? Your goal is to keep out water and rust, surely. Cuttlefish may be the only councillor faithfully adhering to the policy by steadfastly repelling equality.

In the rush to get the community chowder prepared for distribution to the city’s primary schools before lunch Cuttlefish was thrown in whole and still alive. ‘This is the traditional way of cooking molluscs’, assured Jamie Oliver who was called in to make the chowder using his own special gluten-free recipe. He also offered advice on the development of a special inclusion policy for molluscs, many of whom face discrimination as hermaphrodites, to be appended to the planning application for the proposed ark.

The compulsory diversity training programme, ‘How it feels to be in my skin’, was hastily organised and Cuttlefish was ordered to participate or face disciplinary action. Following the chastening experience of being used as a rather tasty stock for the community chowder, Cuttlefish emerged, predictably red-faced but unrepentant,

‘I believe in the law of Moses. I'm not a religious fanatic. As long as they do it behind closed doors, I don't mind.’

he roared defiantly, sparking a fresh row. George Michael, or it might have been Alexei Sayle, responded angrily,

‘I’m not going in a stall. Men crap in there!’

Photo from BBC.co.uk

No comments: