Tory councillor’s nicknames: domestic abuse victims are “screamers”, gay people are “queens”

Brentwood Tory councillor Keith Parker has shown the caring, sharing side of his party in the last week. PinkNews reports:

A Tory councillor in Brentwood who made a joke about promoting gay rights and help for domestic violence victims has been accused of being offensive.

Keith Parker, the councillor for Brizes and Doddinghurst ward, remarked at a committee meeting last week that the “scream team will be conversing with the queen team”.

Following the meeting, he was criticised by Labour and Lib Dem councillors for the remarks.

Lib Dem Cllr Karen Chilvers told the Brentwood Gazette she had made a formal complaint to the council. Chilvers added that Parker’s comments were “offensive to anyone who has suffered domestic violence or is homosexual”.

Cllr Parker’s justification?

if anyone takes offence to that they haven’t seen programmes such as Mock the Week.”

An interesting defence, which suggests Cllr Parker has difficulty understanding the difference between a risque comedy panel show and a council committee meeting. He doesn’t seem very well qualified for either.

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  • Andrew Suffield 28th Jan '10 - 10:57pm

    I dunno, councillors could use lightening up a little.

  • Simon Mcgrath 29th Jan '10 - 5:27pm

    Parker is an idiot. But eevryone should be able to express their view even if we disagree with them
    The complaint from Cllr Chilvers is deeply illiberal. Just becuase someone is offended by something is no reason for a formal complaint.

  • simonmcgrath 30th Jan '10 - 8:49am

    But it also says in the party constitution:
    ‘ We will at all times defend the right to speak, write, worship, associate and vote freely’.
    That includes the right to say stupid things which will offend other people.Your not liking something is no reason to make an official complaint about him. The only people who should judge him on his comments are his electorate.

  • Cllr Karen Chilvers 30th Jan '10 - 10:24am

    There’s also a council code of conduct that we sign up to as elected members. I am proud to stand up for my residents and by registering my complaint I’ve made the electorate aware and they can make their decision.

  • simonmcgrath 31st Jan '10 - 11:36am

    I think we agree then, we are both happy for this to be left to the electorate.
    Does that mean that you will not be wanting the council to take any disciplinary action?

  • Portlllo not Dave 31st Jan '10 - 4:07pm

    Expose him as fool, don’t set him up as a martyr.

  • simon mcgrath 31st Jan '10 - 5:39pm

    so your position is that you do not think this should be left to the voters. you think that people who say things you don’t like should be punished. That is not a Liberal position. The code of conduct is used to shut up unpopular/controverisal opinions – that is not something liberals should have truck with. By all means plaster this man’s ward with Focus leaflets with these quotes on – then the voters can decide. Just to remind you of the Liberal position on free speech from JS Mill:
    ‘If all mankind minus one were of one opinion, and only one person were of the contrary opinion, mankind would be no more justified in silencing that one person than he, if he had the power, would be justified in silencing mankind’

  • Stephen Robinson 31st Jan '10 - 9:54pm

    There is a difference between expressing an opinion (on a matter of policy etc.) and seeking to discriminate / belittle / trivialise on grounds of personal characteristics. We should defend the former not the latter. That applies to anyone, but public representatives should be particularly careful with the language they use. The council chamber is not The Comedy Club (well, not deliberately).

    It’s quite simple. Discrimination is wrong.

  • Yes, it may have constituted a poor choice to make that comment in a formal setting, however, many of us survivors of domestic violence find (light) humor VERY therapeutic – indeed, laughter has been the best medicine for me, and many other women that I know – both gay and straight. If he had made light of a trigger, such as rape, choking, fear of retaliation, etc, I’d buy that complaint. This was a slight gag in a pool of sometimes unspeakable horror. It could be compared to the tasteless jokes that EMT’s sometimes utter amongst themselves after having dealt with a horrific accident. Perhaps your councilor has found need of a similar coping mechanism?

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