Reading Council’s executive member for the environment has been sacked after an apparently racist tweet about black MP Chuka Umunna was exposed by Political Scrapbook. Liberal Democrat Warren Swaine used Twitter during a recent episode of Question Time to attack the Streatham MP:

Swaine refused to defend or explain the remark, other than to claim it was “satirical” and that those complaining were “muppets”.

After the row erupted on Monday, Swaine then upset the Reading Council for Racial Equality (RCRE) by attacking it in his blog the next day. The organisation’s director told the Reading Post:

Cllr Swaine always uses the fact that his mother is Sri Lankan but you don’t have to be white to be racist.

Seizing the opportunity presented by the Twitter gaffe, the final straw for Swaine seems to have been a challenge to Reading Council deputy leader Kirsten Bayes asking “if Cllr Swaine’s comments represent the position of the Liberal Democrat group.”

Warren now has a lot more time available to tweet about black people on TV.

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  5. Thank goodness that being judged for one throwaway comment using a TV catchphrase can with the help of a Blog sink your entire career in the mire.

    Amazing how PC’ness created the “1984” that we always thought a totalitarian regime would make.

  6. That’s right, Anti-Chris, we basically live in 1984 don’t we?

    It’s pretty much exactly the same.

    Thank God that visionary George Orwell stood up for the right to be able to make throwaway racist comments in the privacy of an online social networking website.

  7. Someone lost their job because of an Ali G quote? Really?! That wasn’t racist, that was stupid. There’s a big difference.

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  10. Reality check time! Swaine was a member of the ruling executive for a borough council. This is 2011 and (non BNP) councillors can’t get away with connecting someone’s race with their being a “muppet”, whether using an Ali G catchphrase or not. This tweet is at best very poor taste and at worst casual racism.

    There was plenty of time to engage with the criticism after we posted on Monday. If he had done the following he would probably still have a job:

    1: Apologise for any offence caused
    2: Delete the tweet
    3: Explain any mitigating context

    The fact that the only on-the-record comment he offered to the Reading Post was “It’s complete bull***t” says all we need to know about his attitude and political skills.

    From what we’ve heard, it sounds as though numerous people in the Reading Con/Lib coalition will be relieved to see him sacked, ahem sorry, resign.

  11. Actually PS, I think the councillor had already concluded that Chuka Umunna was a muppet and was wondering if the muppet would be stupid enough (and wrong) to use his race as a defence.

    The councillor himself did not connect the Umunna’s “muppetry” with his race.

    The only conclusion I think can be made is a lot of people think Umunna is a muppet.

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