Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Labour Councillor investigated after abusive message

WELSH Labour confirmed last night it was investigating a councillor and brass band chairman in connection with a “foul and abusive” phone message that has been posted on YouTube.

Carmarthen Labour councillor Marc Scaife, who has put his name forward for selection as the party’s parliamentary candidate in Carmarthen East & Dinefwr, left on Wednesday for a controversial tour of Libya with Burry Port Town Band.

The band have been criticised for continuing with the tour – part of the 40th anniversary celebrations of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi coming to power – after the release last week of the man convicted of the Lockerbie bombing.

In the phone message, a man who identifies himself as Marc Scaife, uses highly offensive language to berate a 19-year-old member of the band who pulled out of the Libyan tour at a late stage, creating a perceived security problem.

The caller is heard saying: “Listen very f****** carefully. You are a f****** idiot...There’s a massive security risk because of you. Do you realise what’s actually going on? Is anything going on in your tiny little mind?

“We are supposed to be playing in front of some of the biggest world leaders out there. Security is 100% tight and it includes the British Royal Family.

“I expect you to sort this f****** thing out. You go up there, you sort it out or expect a call from MI5. All right?

“I’ve had some serious explaining to do because of your irresponsible actions. Call me back as soon as you get this f****** message or I’ll be driving over to your parents’ house tonight to speak to them.

“Wise up, s***head.”

The band member who pulled out of the trip posted the audio tape of the phone call on YouTube. Subsequent messages on the site in the name of Mr Scaife said: “You forgot to tell everybody that you withdrew from the tour on Saturday with just four days to go, leaving us with a gap to fill. Your irresponsibility beggars belief. I’m surprised that you are happy to broadcast this fact.

“I don’t regret losing my temper with you – you deserved it. I stick to my opinions given in the recorded message. I suggest you listen to the actual words used and take note.

“I suspect you are going to get many similar confrontations from others in the future due to your ineptitude. I suggest you abandon your cry-baby ‘I’m just 19’ approach and act like a man – learn to act responsibly!”

The band member responds, saying: “I have not tried to adopt any cry-baby approach. I am merely pointing out that if I as a teenager can try to act in a mature and civilised manner to sort things out, there is something seriously wrong when a man over twice my age resorts to abusive and childlike rants. Indeed displaying your message on YouTube may be considered immature, but I am only trying to make people aware of the vile and foul attitude I have been dealing with.”

Explaining his position in another posting, the band member said: “I had to withdraw from the trip to Libya due to working commitments and the prospect of losing my job, something I was unwilling to risk in the current economic climate.

“I warned Marc Scaife this might be the case over a week ago and confirmed this on Friday. I have acknowledged the inconvenience this could cause and have been most apologetic.”

It is understood that the band member was one of a number of musicians recruited to go to Libya because long-standing members were unavailable.

A Welsh Labour spokesman said: “The party disassociates itself from the foul and abusive language used in this telephone message. We will be contacting Mr Scaife in order to verify the authenticity of the message and to seek an explanation for this situation.

“The matter concerned is not a Welsh Labour event over which the party has any control. This is not the behaviour we would expect of any elected representative of Welsh Labour.”

Mr Scaife had last night not responded to a detailed message left on his mobile phone by the Western Mail.

According to the Burry Port Town Band’s website, Mr Scaife is 41 and plays solo trombone. He has previously played with the Suffolk Fire Service, Colchester, Crwbin and Clacton brass bands. His occupation is listed as “real estate, Bulgaria”, although it is understood that he works as a relief chef.


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