Mr Michael Sylvester – Offensive Statements

Mr. P Hindle
Clerk to Thrybergh Parish Council
Meetings: Contact Clerk
Tel: 01709 546805/07833392976

Dear Sir,

I am attaching a document which contains details of a twitter posting – – made by a Mr Michael Sylvester, who claims to be a Thrybergh Parish Councillor, and which contains the following statement which I consider to be offensive: “I do feel sorry for dyslexic kids who at this time of year are waiting in terror for a visit from Satan Claws!”

Maybe, like me, you may find that it is particularly unacceptable for a public servant and a responsible member of a parish council to engage in conduct which may demean or belittle those members of society, particularly our children, who suffer from such a debilitating condition as dyslexia.

I would be interested to know whether you and the Chairman of Thrybergh Parish Council endorse the comments referred to and whether those comments are wholly endorsed by Thrybergh Parish Council, or whether you, the Chairman and Thrybergh Parish Council wish to take this opportunity to advise the twitter account holder to receive equality and diversity training in order that they can more effectively undertake their duties as a Parish Councillor.

I would also like to enquire whether Thrybergh Parish Council is an inclusive organisation and whether it welcomes applicants as parish councillors who may themselves suffer from dyslexia, and whether your organisation is aware of the protected characteristics defined by the Equality and Human Rights Commission –

Yours Sincerely,
Donald H. Buxton

27 thoughts on “Mr Michael Sylvester – Offensive Statements

  1. I’ll bet Michael Sylvester made no mention of being a complete moron before he was elected.
    Where do they find these people?
    ‘Representative Democracy’? Who does he represent, Retards Alliance Party?
    This man is a complete disgrace. Let’s wait and see if his party disowns him.
    I won’t hold my breath.


  2. If Mr. Sylvester is allegedly a Labour Parish Councillor and if he is responsible for the comment then is this further evidence about the mindset and culture within Rotherham Labour that allowed vulnerable children to be abused.

    Making jokes about individuals with special needs is about as low as it gets!

    Then again this is Rotherham.

    Note to self 1 If Mr Sylvester did make these comments and fails to retract them I will not be buying a bed from his shop.

    Note to self 2 Contact his companies HQ to ask their view on making jokes about disabilities.


    • He has, and a very successful career too, merci beaucoups.

      You carry on and defend the indefensible Nigel Blumenthal.

      I wonder what “joke” our many cap-badged Cllr will think of next … insensitive references to the Holocaust perhaps or Thalidomide children or Down’s children?

      I have had a wonderful letter of support from the brave mother of a brave child with dyslexia, so my comment stands. Sylvester’s comments, were and continue to be, grossly offensive, and particularly IMHO so as he promotes himself as a Thrybergh Parish Councillor.


  3. I get increasingly worried by the politically correct brigade with regard to disabilities. Especially people who purport indignation and yet use the word retard.
    I have been significantly physically disabled from the age of two. I was one of the first in the old West Riding to attend ‘normal’ school. I was fortunate to have had progressive parents and two younger brothers who saw past my disabilities. I learned to mix and get on with able-bodied children, they were my mates! Any problems usually came from their parents. It always seems to me that it is adults who see problems, not the kids.
    I was called ‘peg leg’ and some other colourful names just as I called some kids ‘specky four eyes’ and other derogatory names. Whilst I am not saying this was always acceptable, it is the cruelty of childhood.
    I learned resilience and gained mental strength from the rough and tumble of the playground. Others learned patience and tolerance of kids who were ‘different’.
    Given the chance kids see past disabilities of any kind, I still have mates from school, 55 years on.
    I often did and still do, make references to disability especially my own. My favourite is usually ‘it’s as useless as my left leg’. Does this mean I am the lowest of the low? Of course not!
    We must all learn to laugh with each other and a joke does not make someone a bad person.
    I agree language needs to be used carefully but we shouldn’t become so politically correct that we are removed from the real world.
    Much worse than a simple joke by Michael Sylvester is the UKIP candidate Geoffrey Clark who is calling for disabled foetuses to be compulsorily aborted. What next from that ? Kids who develop disabilities after birth to be destroyed ?
    Let’s keep some perspective !


  4. What a pathetic attack on what is clearly meant to be a harmless joke. In fact, even worse, what an outrageous assault on the principle of Free Speech.
    And before any other holier than thou types decide to have a go at me, I’d best point out that I have a son born with club feet and Asperger’s Syndrome, and my wife works as a special needs teacher, helping kids born with disabilities.
    This kind of Political Correctness doesn’t help these kids, but it can cause resentment.
    The person complaining should be being attacked, not the person being complained about.


    • Carry on UKIP David Wildgoose, your party and its supporters have been publically exposed for the pea-brained vicious nasty group of individuals they are.

      Congratulations on finally beating the Tories into second place to become the New UK Nasty Party.


      • David Wildgoose says:
        December 20, 2012 at 3:36 pm
        I’m an English Democrat, not UKIP.
        Which goes to show how much you know.

        Sorry David, you’re right I don’t know that much as I have trouble keeping up with which Loser’s Cap Badge you are now wearing –

        You keep campaigning, and the good ole British (not English) voting public will keep you a-losing.

        Nice jousting with yaz 🙂


        • Seeing as Rotherham is in England it is an English electorate rather than a British one, and the recent Census shows that a majority of people in England have an English identity rather than a British or even an English/British hybrid identity.
          But never mind that, these ad hominem attacks are just getting off the subject. Michael Sylvester may be a political opponent but I can still recognise a hatchet job when I see one!


      • David Wildgoose says:
        December 21, 2012 at 12:06 am
        Seeing as Rotherham is in England it is an English electorate rather than a British one, and the recent Census shows that a majority of people in England have an English identity rather than a British or even an English/British hybrid identity.
        But never mind that, these ad hominem attacks are just getting off the subject. Michael Sylvester may be a political opponent but I can still recognise a hatchet job when I see one!

        Dear David,

        No hatchet job at all, merely a revulsion at his offensive statement.

        Like it or not, you are most definitely a British subject, living in Great Britain, governed by the British Government, protected by the British Army, British Royal Navy, British RAF, British police force, and maybe like me you hold a British passport.

        Maybe like me, you are also proud to be a member of a country which has such a rich mix of religions, cultures and ethnicities. Welcome to Great Britain my friend 🙂


        • I’ve never said I wasn’t a British subject. But my nationality (as can be seen on my birth certificate) is ENGLISH.

          I used to be proud to be British, but that was until Devolution made me and all my fellow English people (of whatever colour or creed) second class citizens overnight.

          Yet another thing we can thank Labour for.


  5. I appreciate anne’s comments and believe that sometimes in life we have to experience the negatives of some behaviours and language, in order to understand the positives. Also it is never acceptable or “right” to respond by comparing one bad situation with another in order to decide which is the most serious.
    anne says
    “Whilst I am not saying this was always acceptable, it is the cruelty of childhood ”
    and this surely sums up the situation that we have here.

    Not only is Michael Sylvester an adult, not a child but he is an adult in a supposedly responsible position as a Councillor representing the people in his ward in an official capacity.
    Unfortunately, from past experience, I am almost certain that if a complaint is made to Thrybergh Council that the result will be that, at the time of making the comment he was not “acting in his capacity as a councillor”.
    The body at RMBC that used to be called The Standards Board, would no doubt come to the same conclusion and say that therefore the behaviour/comments in question is not covered by the Code of Conduct for this same reason and that there is no case to answer.

    This is a loophole which has long made which ever Code of Conduct a council decides to adopt, worthless.
    If our local doctor, vicar, teacher or school governor posted an offensive comment on Twitter or anywhere else which is public reading we would, justifiably, object. Just because the person is not “on duty” at the time doesn’t detract from it being inappropriate.
    Some roles in public life are such that the “professional” must be aware of the occasion and what is acceptable. Mr Sylvester’s comment might have been intended as a joke, but because of it’s nature, it wasn’t and was objectionable. This is nothing to do with political correctness, but COMMON SENSE – something that many of our elected and co opted councillors in Rotherham
    don’t appear to have a lot of.


  6. Two points I’d like to make in response to other posts.
    If my comment about ‘Retards Alliance’ caused offence then I apologise.
    Geoffrey Clark has been suspended from UKIP. His view is not nor never has been part of UKIP policies. All political parties have members who either speak out of turn or say stupid things, this does not however excuse Michael Sylvester who it would seem is free to carry on as an unelected
    (Thanks to Rothpol for pointing that out) council member of the Labour party who will not or cannot discipline him for his offensive remarks.
    How long will we have to wait for answers to Donald Buxton’s questions?


    • Dear Colin Tawn,

      As soon as Thrybergh Parish Council respond then the contents will be made public.

      Iffen Thrybergh Parish don’t respond within seven days then it will go forward as a Complaint against them and the John Innes will engage with the fan, so-to-speak.

      Rest assured all responses will be submitted to RothPol editor.


  7. I read the original post and had to check the date. I thought for a second it must be April 1st. Some of the posters on here really need to stop their vendettas and do something more constructive.


  8. does he not tweet in a personal capacity???? if you don’t like what he tweets why follow? My husband and his dad have severe dyslexia and they found the joke funny. Are you saying that Marbles (Charity for mental health) who refer to losing your marbles is offensive. The joke maybe in bad taste but it was a joke and doesn’t seem to be malicious or bad intention. Rothpol seems at the min to be just pursuing individuals vendettas rather than politics. Surly you have more dirt than one bad joke to blog about!


  9. When Rothpol received this post from Don Buxton, we were undecided whether it merited posting?
    After posting and the many comments it has attracted we feel vindicated by so doing.
    Just like to add a few of Rothpol’s personal thoughts:

    Language used is important.
    Casual abuse of those with disabilities is unacceptable.
    Despite some opinions to the contrary, Michael Sylvester, seems to have been guilty of just such casual abuse of dyslexics.
    Don Buxton is therefore pursuing an important point here, about a matter of principle and his complaint should be taken seriously.
    Language from government, stigmatising everyone with a disability or having to claim, in work benefits to make up their pay, is changing the attitude of the public, in significant ways.
    Open season seems to have been declared on the less fortunate in society, just by the use of careless language, it must stop!


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