A union activist was branded a racist for producing a leaflet with an image of the Three Wise Monkeys proverb.
Onay Kasab, secretary of Greenwich Unison, is one of four branch officers facing a disciplinary hearing after handing out the pamphlet at last June's conference for the union, which represents more than a million public sector workers.
The four say the leaflet used the image of the "hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil" monkeys to lampoon the committee for removing important issues from the agenda. But union bosses said the image was a "racist" slur aimed at one black committee member.
Mr Kasab, 40, from Bexley, said: "It's upsetting that I am accused of racism by my own union. We felt it was an apt image to illustrate our point that the committee were refusing to listen to members' concerns over issues such as the funding of the Labour Party, the election of full time officials and control over strike action.
"But in the conference hall the Unison president denounced it as racist and when we went to respond the microphone was switched off. We have been gagged and subjected to a witch hunt."
Now, up until this point I had some sympathy for Kasab, trade union activist though he may be. After all, the Three Wise Monkeys is well known imagery, devoid of any racial connotations, and there appears to be nothing indicating any racist intent or content in the leaflet in question. Rather, the Unison bosses just seem to be adopting the traditional leftist strategy of silencing an opponent by invoking the demonic chimera "racism".
But my sympathy rapidly diminished to the point of non-existence, when I read the next paragraph. For Kasab continued:
"I have dedicated a lot of my life to representing Unison members in Greenwich from all backgrounds. I led a 13-week strike against the civil service over the employment of a senior BNP activist. I am Turkish-Cypriot and have faced racism so to be accused of being something I despise is terrible."It really does take a special kind of hypocrisy to be able to complain that one is the subject of a witch hunt, and then in the next breath to boast of having led a witch hunt against someone else. And a witch hunt which, if successful, would have had far more serious consequences for its victim (who would have lost his livelihood) than the alleged witch hunt against Kasab will have for him.
The three other members under investigation are Glenn Kelly, secretary of Bromley Unison, Suzanne Muna, secretary of the Housing Corporation Unison branch, and Brian Debus, chairman of Hackney Unison. All are also in the Socialist Party. Matthew Waterfall, who is not a member of the Socialist Party, was investigated but not charged.
"The fact they cleared Mr Waterfall shows that this is motivated by the New Labour supporters in Unison against the Socialist Party," said Mr Kasab.
Again, Kasab's hypocrisy is evident. He resents the fact that he may perhaps be being hounded out of his trade union because of his involvement with a far-left political party. However, he also believes that membership of a "far-right" political party should not only disqualify one from union membership, but that it should also disqualify one from the right to earn a living, full stop. Certainly, it is hard to put any other construction on his attempt to have the unidentified "senior BNP activist" dismissed.
Sadly for Kasab, hypocrites do not make very suitable objects of sympathy. Kasab has made his bed - he has willingly helped to create a situation in which "anti-racist" witch hunts are the order of the day, and in which people deemed "racist" can safely be subjected to inferior treatment - and now the time has come for him to lie in it.