Residents’ association issues apology for ‘Chinese virus’ tweet

Our south of the borough correspondent, PEARL LEE, reports on how a Tory-backed group in Coulsdon has cause to regret handing its social media account over to a far-right agitator

Peter Morgan: thought to have written racist tweet on behalf of his RA

The Coulsdon West Residents’ Association, only reformed recently with the help of their local Conservative councillors, was forced into issuing a hurried apology yesterday after tweets issued on their account used the Trumpian – and racist – phrase “the Chinese flu virus”.

According to the CWRA’s chair, the person responsible has been issued with a reprimand.

It is understood that CWRA had handed the passwords and some responsibility for handling their Twitter account to Peter Morgan, who is notorious as a far-right campaigner and sometime member of UKIP. Morgan’s views were so abhorrent, the Croydon branch of UKIP was forced to expel him. Morgan has now been embraced by the Conservative Party in Croydon.

Morgan has been an active and enthusiastic member of the Alliance of British Drivers.

In his time, Morgan has campaigned against the building of Tramlink, used multiple anonymous social media accounts to try to undermine the democratic process over the introduction of 20mph zones around the borough, and has claimed – apparently in all seriousness – that driving children to school is safer than allowing them to walk or use public transport.

Creatura announces the re-launch of CWRA, with Peter Morgan tucked in alongside two other Tory councillors

Last month, Mario Creatura, the failed Tory parliamentary candidate, together with his Coulsdon Town councillor colleagues Luke Clancy and Ian Parker, announced the re-launch of the supposedly apolitical Coulsdon West Residents’ Association. Morgan was named as a member of  CWRA’s new committee, placed in charge of “roads, parking, membership”.

Since when, there has been a barrage of tweets from CWRA’s Twitter account, mostly on Morgan’s pet subject: motoring and roads.

Earlier this month one Croydon councillor, Labour’s Sean Fitzsimons, accused Morgan of using the CWRA Twitter account “to campaign against measures to stop speeding on the A23 Coulsdon bypass”.

Although Fitzsimons challenged Creatura and Parker on whether they supported such a campaign, the Tories chose to remain silent on the subject.

They may now have cause for further discomfort caused by Morgan.

The CWRA account published a complaint just before 8pm on Thursday about a “serious dangerous fly-tip in Portnalls Road” which had yet to be removed by council staff.

It is known that council staff across a range of departments, including rubbish contractors Veolia, have been working at full stretch during the coronavirus epidemic, coping with the requirements of the lockdown while also trying to cope with colleagues who have been off sick or in self-isolation.

According to the CWRA tweet: “Council blame Chinese flu virus for delay.”

The tweet, published by the CWRA, which they were forced to delete after complaints

A Town Hall source today strongly refuted any suggestion that such racially-loaded language has been used by anyone working for the council.

In the United States, when President Donald Trump used similar racist language to describe the virus, there followed a spate of hate-crime attacks on Asian Americans and on businesses run by those of a Chinese background.

And while it is not in dispute that covid-19 was first recognised at the end of last year in the Chinese province of Wuhan, there is no scientific evidence to suggest that it owes its origins to China.

The CWRA soon received several complaints over its use of the racist phrase.

Someone at CWRA stepped in to delete the racist tweets and issue an apology

“Can we have an RA with some sense please?” one resident complained on Twitter.

“We can see the expelled UKIP influence with the ‘Chinese references’ and the panic being created by sensational tweets. Be responsible and grow-up or shut-up.”

Another resident responded: “It’s not Chinese flu, it’s covid-19. Bit disrespectful.”

This Croydon Tories tweet from last month shows Morgan lurking, suitably, on the far right

And Fitzsimons stepped in, too, to ask questions of CWRA and their councillors.

“Why is Coulsdon West Residents’ Association allowing Peter Morgan to use their account and spread racist nonsense about covid-19?” the Labour councillor asked. He also challenged Creatura and Parker to “do something about this”.

By yesterday morning, one CWRA official had stepped in to delete the offending tweet and apologise “for some of the inappropriate references in previous tweets”.

Lynne Rothberg, the chair of CWRA, told Inside Croydon: “CWRA considers these tweets were insensitive and wholly inappropriate and the person who posted them has been reprimanded so there should be no repeat.”

Rothberg declined to identify who had been responsible. “It is not appropriate for me to name the individual,” she said.

With the exception of a single tweet to claim that they had “flagged” an issue, Creatura and Parker, true to form, offered no condemnation of the racism and remained silent on the racist tweets, widely thought to have been written by their fellow Tory Party member.


About insidecroydon

News, views and analysis about the people of Croydon, their lives and political times in the diverse and most-populated borough in London. Based in Croydon and edited by Steven Downes. To contact us, please email inside.croydon@btinternet.com
This entry was posted in Community associations, Coulsdon, Coulsdon West, Coulsdon West Residents' Association, Ian Parker, Luke Clancy, Mario Creatura and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Residents’ association issues apology for ‘Chinese virus’ tweet

  1. Instead of just reprimanding him, Rothberg and the other committee members should remove his access to their Twitter account and then kick him off the committee. Anything less would show that Coulsdon West Residents’ Association has been turned into Coulsdon West Racists’ Association.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Is terminal stupidity contageous?

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Bob Bayliss says:

    It is stupid to label it “flu virus”, because it is clearly much more serious than that. But I don’t have a problem with labelling it “Chinese Coronavirus”. While the priority right now is to fight the disease, when the dust settles China must be held to account for the practices in its markets which led to so much loss of life, not to mention the financial hardship now face by so much of the world.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Dan Maertens says:

    Fruitcakes have to live somewhere, and I’m rather heartened that it’s in the south of the borough where all of those nice suburban roads should of course be restricted to 20mph, preferably with speed bumps, and where Mr Toad is ‘encouraged’ to slow down and enjoy the view along the A23 bypass a little bit longer.

    My guess, however is that Mr Morgan may be getting a little bit stir crazy as he’s only allowed out of the house once a day, and for someone with his self-importance that’s no good at all. Now, if only he could ask Mr Creatura to stay in Coulsdon under lock-down rather than bother the rest of Croydon ………

    Liked by 3 people

    • Nick Davies says:

      Like everyone else “Super” Mario mustn’t leave the house unless to perform some essential function. I’m not sure helping Lord “Gav” Whitgift tie his shoelaces, or whatever it is he does all day, counts as essential.

      Liked by 2 people

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