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RACE ROW OVER CAMERONSATIRE

09-12-2006

The Sandwell councillor accused of posting a racist image on his blog has refused to withdraw the offending item - which he says is just an innocent “lampoon” on David Cameron's desire for votes.

Bob Piper, who represents the Abbey Ward in Smethwick, has an image of Cameron dressed as a black and white minstrel, calling out “Yo Niggahs”. The image, suggesting that the Tory leader will do anything to ingratiate himself with the public, was posted on Thursday night, and you can see it for yourself here (www.bobpiper.co.uk)

The Stirrer was first alerted to it on Saturday morning by an irate reader, and it then attracted further comment on our messageboard - to which Piper has now responded.

It is clear from comments on his own blog that the offence is more widespread. One of his readers, Kaz says: “I don't like this posting and I am surprised you have used this picture.” Another, Michael, adds: “As a member of my local racial equality executive I find this totally insulting.”

The Stirrer has now spoken to Bob Piper, to give him the chance to respond. He told us: “It's not actually my image, I took it from a blog run by a Sandwell resident called Ministry of Truth (www.ministryofthruth.org.uk)

“I can see why people might get upset by it, but it's just lampooning, suggesting that after the “tossers” video [in which the Tories encouraged people not to get into debt] this might be their next route”.

This isn't the first time Labour's attempts to satirise David Cameron have caused controversy. The Birmingham MP Sion Simon withdrew a spoof video in which he appeared as the Tory leader and invited viewers to sleep with his wife.”

Piper won't go down the same route though, vowing that the image will remain. He said: “I'm not going to remove it. Sion Simon made more of a fool of himself when he took his video down than if he had left it.”

Is the image in the great British tradition of satire? Or is it racist and offensive? Leave a comment on our messageboard.

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