Marshall’s motive in engaging with Julian Saunders emerges clearly in their dialogue. Under cover of the Eling swamp draining agenda, Marshall, providing little or no evidence in support, makes serious allegations against a number of his fellow Labour councillors. He makes derogatory or denigrating comments against even more.
A picture emerges of political battles within the Sandwell Labour party in which those who will not worship the golden calf of Eling are to be harried. pilloried and derided.
The impression is gained that accusations of corruption are promoted on the feeblest grounds not with the object of rooting out corruption, because the process itself is corrupt, but with the purpose of destroying political rivals.
Those Sandwell councillors Marshall defends to Saunders are unsurprisingly members of Eling’s cabinet or his supporters. Only gradually does Saunders come to appreciate this;14/10/2016, 21:05 - Jules: .. I know you want me to hit MH & IJ but if one of your side acts really badly you want me to keep mouth shut?
BAITING THE HOOK
Early in his administration, Eling stole Trump’s motto and declared he would be “draining the swamp in Sandwell”. Clearly this was the line sold to Saunders, who has long been engaged in questioning dodgy dealing at the council, while the more established local news organisations have looked the other way.
So early in the conversations there is;12/09/2016, 10:23 - Richard Marshall: Morning, there was a Chief Officers T&C Committee meeting scheduled for all of Wednesday am it has now been cancelled by SE
12/09/2016, 10:23 - Jules: Meaning...
12/09/2016, 10:24 - Richard Marshall: The rumour is its been cancelled because the report dealing the referral of officers in the Wragge report has been described as a "whitewash" by SE.[Steve ELING] Its being said that he has ordered it to be re-written to then come at the end of the month.
12/09/2016, 10:24 - Jules: Interesting!
12/09/2016, 10:24 - Richard Marshall: Yes
12/09/2016, 10:25 - Richard Marshall: Only it's not a rumour as I'm on that committee.
Saunders was not immediately responsive so later in the day he was prodded
12/09/2016, 21:11 - Richard Marshall: That info I gave you re meeting being cancelled? It is for sharing!
The following day brought a reminder; 13/09/2016, 08:42 - Richard Marshall: Morning! I'm being asked if you can tweet that the meet was cancelled tomorrow by Steve E because the report he was given about officers involvement re Wragge was a 'whitewash which he literally threw out'
HUNTING THEM DOWN.
Marshall’s attacks on fellow Labour are neither spontaneous nor incidental. It is clear that they form part of an agreed and orchestrated strategy; 14/09/2016, 19:15 - Richard Marshall: We made a conscious decision to hit them with something new each week which we've achieved, some of that has been with your help so I thank you good sir.
14/09/2016, 19:15 - Jules: My pleasure I can assure you....
The prey Marshall is most keen to stalk are Cllr Ian Jones and Cllr Mahboob Hussain.
He appears as MH or the derogatory Manboobs in the records. Marshall is totally upfront about his objective; 05/10/2016, 08:09 - Richard Marshall: We have been discussing that very thing , the one thing we have to do is bury Manboobs first the amount of staff that still believe he is coming back is untrue he's like bloody Voldermort
During most of the time covered by the dialogue, Cllr Hussain was involved in litigation against Sandwell council, 26/08/2016, 15:43 - Richard Marshall: MH is racking up the Council's legal cost with solicitors letters coming in week after week and repeat challenges to the Court.
Those proceedings obviously put a brake on Marshall’s “revelations” against him.
01/04/2017, 14:15 - Jules: Is there any timescale on Hussain's court case?
01/04/2017, 14:17 - Richard Marshall: Not that I know other than soon . We've all been told we can't discuss as judge heavily critiqued Council for leaks to press and he said anymore could find the case being thrown out
However, the judge’s warning did not prevent Marshall leaking a court document to Saunders, in what is likely to be a contempt of court; 06/05/2017, 15:48 - Richard Marshall: I'm going to forward you something
06/05/2017, 15:51 - Jules: Ok
06/05/2017, 15:53 - Richard Marshall: [Sends Bailey MP's statement to the High Court while case still to be decided]
06/05/2017, 16:20 - Richard Marshall: Obviously you know what you and can't do with it publicly.
A procedure used to destroy a councillor is to discipline them before the council’s standards committee. Eling decides the membership of that committee. The sanctions it can impose are few and slight. But condemnation by it can be used as a ground for de-selection.
Another means of attack is to have a councillor condemned for bringing the Labour party into disrepute. This, usually, ends careers. The following with reference to Cllr. Steven Jones illustrates the method
08/12/2016, 14:26 - Richard Marshall: Can I ask a favour?
08/12/2016, 15:43 - Jules: Try me....
08/12/2016, 15:49 - Richard Marshall: Steve Jones made a complete dick of himself in Cabinet yesterday which is now on the Web, asking questions outside his remit and about things he's already agreed to in Council, hes been reported to the whips in a complaint but if you tweeted about it we could have him for bringing the party into disrepute too , it's from about 31 mins in.
Labour’s Sandwell is an odd world where asking questions, on behalf of those who elected you, can get you thrown out the Labour party and off the council.
A clear objective was to get rid of Hussain; 04/09/2016, 11:39 - Jules: Has MH's appearance before Standards been delayed by his legal stuff?
04/09/2016, 11:45 - Richard Marshall: We are hoping that the party will kick him out this month
In this Marshall was disappointed, leading Saunders to ask; 05/10/2016, 08:16 - Jules: Is MH still facing problems with the Party?
05/10/2016, 08:18 - Richard Marshall: There are still people in the party actively blocking , without Watson and Spellar on our team we'd have no chance
Indicative of the way in which Marshall operates is to make unattributable allegations without volunteering supporting evidence. For example;
18/11/2016, 15:09 - Richard Marshall: Btw MH is under investigation by the DWP for Benefit fraud
18/11/2016, 15:10 - Jules: How do we know? What is the foi thing?
18/11/2016, 15:15 - Richard Marshall: A letter has been written in to Steve, and the three MPs complaining about him being an embarrassment to the party and office of a Cllr saying that hes under investigation and is it not about time they did something about it
18/11/2016, 15:32 - Jules: But how do we know its kosher - or rather halal?
18/11/2016, 15:35 - Richard Marshall: It's been confirmed
18/11/2016, 15:35 - Jules: But DWP won't usually say. I don't get it....
18/11/2016, 15:37 - Richard Marshall: From within.
No further reference is made to this in the conversations. There is no confirmation that an investigation took place. No result of the investigation given. It has all the attributes of mudslinging in the hope that mud will stick.
01/10/2016, 14:39 - Richard Marshall:… I've 'been tasked with burying the Joneses '
In Marshall’s sights are Ian Jones, his wife Olwen and son Steven, all councillors.[ In Sandwell, it’s not unusual for several family members to be Labour councillors].
But Marshall’s spite extends to all members of the family. He and Saunders collude in a venomous attack on a sister of Ian Jones. A woman who holds no public office and is apparently totally apolitical. Their malice extending to exchanging her photograph and commenting on her appearance.
There is typical juvenile sexual innuendo banter based upon Ian and Olwen’s address and involving Cllr. David Hosell.
In the course of this hunt, Marshall discovers that Cllrs Allen and Crompton are holidaying on the same island as Ian and Olwen. Thereafter on the simple basis that “my enemies’ friend is my enenmy” Allen and Crompton become targets;
07/10/2016, 20:22 - Richard Marshall: Like I said, let's work together and f..k these off. Btw have you seen that MC , and the Joneses are in tenerife together for IJS birthday ??
07/10/2016, 20:37 - Jules: Strewth...
07/10/2016, 20:39 - Richard Marshall: Lying bastards have been telling us for weeks that they are 'collateral damage ' and never speak to the Joneses again
07/10/2016, 20:39 - Jules: Well - card marked!
07/10/2016, 20:40 - Richard Marshall: Yup
Next day Marshall commands Saunders; 08/10/2016, 10:46 - Richard Marshall: Don't forget to tweet about them twats on holiday, you terrify them
There follows the particularly disgusting sexual comments which prompted calls for Marshall to be sanctioned.
Nothing escapes Marshall; 04/11/2016, 16:25 - Richard Marshall: Another Luxury purchase for the Joneses in Kinver this time
04/11/2016, 16:25 - Jules: !!!
04/11/2016, 16:27 - Richard Marshall: More caravan park pictures.
There is no aspect of private life he will not pry into in an attempt to discredit.
But of their misbehaviour, there’s little of substance and what’s there is questionable.
01/03/2017, 11:07 - Richard Marshall: Last night the party whip was removed from IJ and OJ for 4 months and BL[Cllr. Bob Lloyd] for 3 months for bullying a volunteer pensioner last summer.
Turns out the pensioner was a member of Wednesbury North Labour party, now its secretary, and an aspiring Labour party candidate in the 2018 council elections. Informed opinion is that event and complaint may well have been staged.
Despite 03/01/2017, 18:43 - Richard Marshall: …. we have them on the back foot, almost ready to call the police in. After the last time the relationship with 'us'and the police is at all time low and they almost are refusing to act without prima facie proof
There appears to have been no police investigation, certainly none leading to any criminal proceedings. It’s certainly unsporting of WMP to refuse to act unless presented with some evidence of wrongdoing but civil liberty requires that approach. It’s reassuring that the police display a reluctance to play Marshall’s game of dirty politics.
OTHER UNFAIR GAME
Lest it be thought that Marshall limits the scope of his bile, we end with brief resumes of others attacked
Cllr. Bawa is identified as complaining about Marshall’s activities; 20/01/2017, 19:36 - Richard Marshall: Btw Bawa is really on the back foot with all this, hes complaining to anyone that'll listen.
Marshall alleges Cllr. Rouf [118/08/2016, 18:06] has been visiting members in my Ward trying to get them to sign friends up to deselect me.
This quickly obtains Saunders promise of assistance;18/08/2016, 18:07 - Jules: Right. I will go on offensive.
Unspecified allegations follow; 06/12/2016, 11:03 - Richard Marshall: Roufs is now also being looked it and is also looking fishy
06/12/2016, 11:06 - Jules: Oh good...
There’s contempt displayed for fellow councillors and a cynical attitude taken to patronage; 01/04/2017, 14:11 - Richard Marshall: Rouf and Zahoor have asked to come and see me this wk as they 'want to tell me everything that's been going on'
01/04/2017, 14:13 - Jules: Oh that sounds interesting - count your fingers after meeting that pair!
01/04/2017, 14:14 - Richard Marshall: Well it's coming up to the AGM and they don't want to loose positions or should I say money.
Similar remarks are made about Cllr. Frear; 16/03/2017, 09:59 - Jules:! Frear looking for work????
16/03/2017, 10:00 - Richard Marshall: Well the AGM is looming and he must feel like his days as planning supremo are numbered
16/03/2017, 10:01 - Jules: Oh!
The Hortons, Cllrs. Roger and Linda are allegedly conspiring against him and he’s in the [31/10/2016, 12:49 ] middle of a nest of vipers
Cllr Hadley is a political enemy so Marshall asks Saunders;11/10/2016, 14:32 - Richard Marshall: Anything we could use against her party wise??
He tells Saunders 13/10/2016, 08:17 - Richard Marshall: Here's one you might like...Hadley is now being investigated by police for malicious communications
The malicious communication turns out to be a complaint against Cllr Simon Hackett. needless to say there is no police investigation.
Cllr Yvonne Davies is mocked for having the impertinence to contest the leadership and, before the vote was rigged, for having equalled Eling in votes.
Cllrs David and Shirley Hosell are derided.
Cllr. Frear appears to be a particular object of hatred; 28/10/2016, 09:08 - Richard Marshall: Any shite you want to sling at frear now would be a good time, he's feeling v v vulnerable
Even West Bromwich West MP Adrian Bailey is not exempt;03/10/2016, 07:48 - Richard Marshall: If you have anything on Adrian Bailey we'd be happy to hear it.
Then ironically because Bailey is the only Sandwell Labour MP who does live in his constituency; 22/01/2017, 22:08 - Richard Marshall: Evening , have you heard anything about Bailey living over in Bridgnorth?
A further irony is that what finally caused a falling out between Marshall and Saunders and ended the diabolical partnership was the latters disclosure that Cllr Eling had a Derbyshire address.
Disagreements happen in parties, briefings of journalists take place but this is the type of dirty politics which rightly disillusions an electorate and should cause Sandwell's electors to ask, if they are thinking of voting Labour, what values that party now promotes.