Labour party must expel Bristol’s racist members


Labour party member Mal Sainsbury informed a Bristol local party Facebook group that she’d like to take a ‘horse whip’ to Bristol Mayor Marvin Rees for the cuts he is beingforced to make to some local services. She goes on to encourage others to join her: "Please join us and bring your metaphorical whip to lick our Mayor ".

As a matter of urgency Labour party head office must suspend its racist members in Bristol until a investigation is undertaken, and sanction those who have supported such appalling rhetoric.


During a Facebook exchange Sainsbury sought to attack the Bristol leadership by stating;  "there are loads more of us angry women who would like to take a horse whip to anyone who votes to strip our city of vital services".  Then Mayor Marvin Rees wades in to seek clarification on her comment when he asks, "are you using the image of whipping me?", to which Sainsbury responds, "metaphorically of course".

The governance of Bristol council has caused a lot of tension in recent weeks, not least because it was seen that the previous Mayor George Ferguson left the city’s finances in a dire situation forcing Rees to make impossible choices or not deliver a balanced budget. But the language some party members feel they can use against Europe’s first directly elected Mayor from a Caribbean background is deeply racist and discredits the Labour Party in general.

Sainsbury’s comments, whichever way they are viewed must lead to her suspension, at the very least.  Imagine for a second if a man publicly stated to a woman that he’d metaphorically 'like to take a horse whip to her’. Would female members say 'that’s okay, we like having men with metaphorically  violent misogynist views in our party'? But in this case the  language from a white person to a Black man can only be seen through the prism of white supremacy and slavery.

Enslaved Africans were regularly horse whipped if the white master/overseer wanted to graphically illustrate who was in charge, and who had the power to inflict the most gruesome pain if their will wasn’t done. And let’s not forget, all of this in a city that has constant reminders of its shameful past with statues and buildings named after one of the UK’s biggest slave owners, Edward Colston.

Sadly though, this is not the first time that members of the Bristol’ s Labour party have sought to make disparaging racial comments toward their first Black Mayor. Earlier this year a city Councillor Harriet Bradley was forced to apologise to the Mayor and his Deputy Asher Craig suggesting they can’t do their jobs because all they know is ‘diversity politics’.

I hope that senior Labour people will act quickly to purge the party of its racists. The leader Jeremy Corbyn has done much to ignite an interest in young Black individuals through his collaboration with grime artists. But doing nothing in Bristol will undermine all of this good work, because it will say, 'because we're socialist we can't be racist in our remarks about Black people, so what we say is okay'.

Well it’s not, and the Labour party should make that abundantly clear.

Simon Woolley