In pantomime it’s usually the villain who’s “behind you”. There is strong evidence that behind Marshall, in his dealings with Julian Saunders, lurked Cllr. Steve Eling, Labour leader of Sandwell Council.
According to Saunders, a third party arranged a meeting in a pub between him and Eling and Marshall. Its purpose was to set up an “information” link from Eling and Marshall to Saunders for him to put out on social media. Labour councillors were to be named and shamed.
Saunders evidence on this point is reinforced by what is later said between him and Marshall.
14/09/2016, 19:23 - Richard Marshall: On that note , would you be happy to bump into us in a pub again at some point
14/09/2016, 19:24 - Jules: Of course!
14/09/2016, 19:24 - Richard Marshall: Share notes, have a catch up. Leaders request
14/09/2016, 19:26 - Jules: Good. Pretty busy at mo but sure we can fit something in but let's go to a decent pub this time!!!!
14/09/2016, 19:27 - Richard Marshall: Definitely. I wont have to arrange through a go between this time! Going to be a few weeks , like to be able to have us all something to properly celebrate by then
Even the arrogance of Marshall does not extend to use of the royal plural to mean himself.
So “bump into us” means Marshall and another.
“Again” means this has happened before.
The previous “go between” is not being involved so “us” must mean Marshall and Eling.
Confirmation comes with “leaders request”.
A further exchange also provides evidence of the initial meeting and Eling’s willingness to repeat it.
28/04/2017, 17:10 - Jules: I gave SE [Steve Eling] the chance months ago to explain the situation but he wouldn't. Same old Sandwell!
28/04/2017, 17:11 - Richard Marshall: Julian, you have better access to him than you've ever had, he'll sit drinking with you in the pub at the drop of a hat for goodness sake.
Eling was foolish if, having set up the scheme, he left Marshall to his own devices and failed to monitor what Marshall was doing.
There is evidence, however, that Eling was no innocent bystander but was pulling Marshall’s strings and was aware of matters being discussed.
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'
It’s legitimate to wonder who, other than Eling, would have asked Marshall to make that request and to question whether Eling was active in the skulduggery, from which he clearly benefitted.
In another passage, Eling’s involvement is more overt;
23/09/2016, 12:30 - Richard Marshall:. Who is the Cllr you've reported to police??
23/09/2016, 12:32 - Jules: Can I hang fire on latter please. It isn't you!!!!
23/09/2016, 12:34 - Richard Marshall: Good. Steve is asking me
23/09/2016, 12:34 - Jules: It isn't him either!!!
23/09/2016, 12:34 - Richard Marshall: Who then??
23/09/2016, 12:35 - Jules: I would not like to say just yet.
Littered throughout the transcript are passages showing Eling’s involvement in and knowledge of this shabby business;
27/09/2016, 10:16 - Richard Marshall: I dug into this yesterday as at I was at OCH , Steve will no doubt tell you more as you've asked him direct….
27/09/2016, 10:25 - Richard Marshall: …..I've passed all info back to Steve and he's going to reply I belive so I don't want to steal his thunder if that's OK?
When Julian Saunders first becomes suspicious that he’s being used, it’s Eling he contacts;
07/10/2016, 18:54 - Jules: I wrote to SE yesterday. I want to bow out but only when certain matters finished.
Ultimately, it’s to Eling, that Marshall refers Saunders;
27/04/2017, 09:37 - Jules: So Hackett caught out and Steve covered for him. Not good.
27/04/2017, 09:38 - Richard Marshall: I've not a clue what you're on about?
27/04/2017, 09:39 - Jules: Steve (and Council) lying about Hackett disclosure of child's info. ICO say DPA breach.
27/04/2017, 09:47 - Richard Marshall: I've had no dealings with it so do not know, have you asked Steve?
27/04/2017, 09:49 - Jules: Yes but he is up to neck in it
Blog later. Why did he make up a statement months after the event? Crazy.
27/04/2017, 09:51 - Richard Marshall: I really do not know what you're on about, have you spoken to him?
Whether Eling is fool or knave, he must bear responsibility along with Marshall. The lewd comments, sexism and bigotry aside, the conduct is far from comradely, attacks other members of the Labour group and must be detrimental to their party.
It’s a measure of how far standards in the Labour party have sunk that local senior members behaved in this way and remain undisciplined. A public hearing before the council Standards committee is the least that is needed, but Sandwell socialism has few standards.
Or as Marshall put it [ 13/10/2016, 08:59]: I dont think the party ……….. have any reputation left to salvage do they?