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Thursday, 6 September, 2001, 10:03 GMT 11:03 UK
Tory's golly joke 'moronic'
Bristol council house
The golliwog has been removed from the council offices
Conservatives have denounced one of their own senior councillors for having a golliwog as an office mascot.

Richard Eddy resigned as deputy leader of the six-strong Tory group on Bristol amid a barrage of criticism.

He insisted the golly was a harmless joke.

But Colin Bloom, chairman of Bristol West Conservatives, said: "It was one of the most stupid and moronic acts that a councillor could do.

All this notion of gollies being derogatory to black people is a nonsense

Councillor Richard Eddy
"Many of us are working very hard to build bridges in our community and this is at best unhelpful and at worst extremely damaging.

"The Conservative Party is not racist and people need to know that."

Mr Eddy told BBC 5 Live on Thursday that the former Robertson's jam mascot was a Bristol tradition, because the company had a factory in the city's Brislington area for many years.

But Mr Bloom responded: "I don't think that gives us any right to use it as a mascot. It's something that was a huge mistake.

The Robertson's golly
The Robertson's golly
"Richard acted on his own - certainly no one else knew about it - and it has been hugely embarrassing."

The doll was perched on a filing cabinet in Mr Eddy's office, after being brought in by a member of staff.

Mr Eddy said the golly was "a bit of an in-house joke".

He said: "He [the golliwog] has been exiled to outer darkness because of the tide of political correctness.

"All this notion of gollies being derogatory to black people is a nonsense."

'Silly season story'

But he told BBC Radio Bristol: "I think sometimes one has to put their hand up and say I made an error of judgement.

"It was a silly season story which was misrepresented.

"I very much regret the embarrassment it has caused both to my party and indeed to friends and others in the ethnic minority community who may have got the wrong end of the stick."

The Conservatives' most senior black politician, Lord Taylor of Warwick, said: "It is quite extraordinary that politicians should be so out of touch with the feelings of decent people of all racial and cultural backgrounds.

"I sincerely hope that Kenneth Clarke and Ian Duncan Smith show their disapproval of this ill-judged prank."

Logo dropped

Peter Courtier, director of the Bristol Racial Equality Council, said: "Politicians should concentrate on eliminating racism and should not do things that offend people."

Robertson's dropped the golly logo two weeks ago after using it for 90 years, but insisted it was not in response to protests.

The company said it was no longer recognised by schoolchildren.

Colin Bloom, Bristol West conservatives
"When we realised we had a problem we acted on it and Richard has now gone."
See also:

23 Aug 01 | Business
'Controversial' golly to be shelved
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