The great Bananagate slip-up

First published in Editor Ian Murray's Blog

As political crimes go it was up there on a par with the great Westminster Salad Scandal.

OK, I made that one up, but then again who would have thought in these times of austerity, valuable public funds would be used to investigate the strange case here in Hampshire of ‘BananaGate’?

Oh, it’s a slippery slope.

Like you I was shocked to realise that Fareham Borough Council leader Sean Woodward was being investigated by the authority’s monitoring officer after a complaint he had failed to show due respect to local residents during a debate. It was serious stuff. Public funds were spent in considering if he had breached the code of conduct.

His crime? He was spotted eating a banana during discussions into who should run Portchester Community Centre.

There was worse. Councillor Woodward had, it was claimed, not only nibbled on the fruit in full view of the assembled chamber, but actually peeled the thing to get at the flesh before taking a bite.

How provocative is that!

In a rare moment of clear sanity, the council’s monitoring officer cleared the leader of any wrong-doing.

But I have to admit Councillor Woodward did show an amazing lack of political savvy, not for snacking during the meeting – after all, we all get the munchies – but for his choice of fruit.

A banana for heaven’s sake! Former Foreign Secretary David Miliband was almost a shoe-in to become Labour leader until those pictures of him using a large banana as a yellow moustache ripped the heart out of his campaign. Who could take him seriously after that? A Kiwi Fruit maybe, but never a banana if you are a politician.

And so, for the many local politicians who I know follow slavishly this column, let me provide just a short guide to fruit and political life – or what your choice of healthy snack says about you to the voters.

• Apple: healthy teeth, patriotic – just make sure it’s not a Golden Delicious (they’re French) or, if female, a Granny Smith.

• Orange: you support Holland at football.

• Satsumas: your children also support Holland.

• Blackberry: understands modern communications.

• Pineapple: brave to the point of foolhardy, with no sense of proportion.

• Passion Fruit: stay well clear unless truly ugly.

• Fruit cocktail: can’t make a decision.

• Grapes: you think you an emperor – and where do you spit the pips?

• Pear: steady there!

• Peach: see pear.

• Plums: see both of the above.

• Banana: denotes healthy lifestyle, but impossible to peel, eat or wear without appearing a plonker.

• Raspberry: No need to explain.

Happy snacking.

Comments (1)

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10:27pm Tue 24 Jul 12

Stella Bell says...

Dear Ian Murray, There was no investigation into the eating of this banana, just a letter to say it was ok for him to eat it. Also I would hope to get an apology from your paper by allowing an obscene comment about me on the 'banana eating story not only to be printed on the web but also allowing to stay on their for four weeks. I am sure Andy Bissell will fill you in on the details when you return.
I am making inquiries to see if there is a way for you to trace this person in order that he can be prosecuted.
I copied the 26 comments on the story just before they were deleted.
I hope you will be able to assist in this matter.
Stella Bell.
Dear Ian Murray, There was no investigation into the eating of this banana, just a letter to say it was ok for him to eat it. Also I would hope to get an apology from your paper by allowing an obscene comment about me on the 'banana eating story not only to be printed on the web but also allowing to stay on their for four weeks. I am sure Andy Bissell will fill you in on the details when you return. I am making inquiries to see if there is a way for you to trace this person in order that he can be prosecuted. I copied the 26 comments on the story just before they were deleted. I hope you will be able to assist in this matter. Stella Bell. Stella Bell
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