Dignity and restraint by some Labour Councillors have been evaporating since the country saw fit to remove the Labour Party from power last year. In Gateshead they are indignant with rage that the Lib Dems have formed a Coalition with the Conservatives rather than keep them in office. This of course ignores the complete lack of interest within Labour ranks last year in forming a Government with the Lib Dems. They wanted to be in opposition and opposition is what they got. Still, their phoney rage is something to be experienced.
We experience it at full council meetings in Gateshead and in recent months their language has become more and more extreme. Last month some of the "socialists" on the opposite benches heaped abuse on us, calling us a virus, Judas, parasites and liars. My ward colleague John McClurey was called a hypocrite on the grounds that he had a car and a bike.
But today the language employed against us sank even lower. Step forward Labour Councillor Tommy Graham. He speaks often at Council meetings and normally at vast length. Today he decided to compare us to Nazi war criminals. I wrote down what he said: "So there you are, just like the Nazis at the war crimes trials in Nuremburg, only following orders."
Cllr Graham also compared Nick Clegg to Colonel Gaddafi.
Rough and tumble is part of politics. Language used by all sides can at times be a bit over the top. But these comments by Cllr Graham were beyond the pale. They are not what should be expected from politicians. They bring politics into disrepute.
As a gay man, Cllr Graham's description is especially vile, given the number of homosexuals who ended up in concentration camps in Nazi Germany and were murdered by them.
And Lib Dem Councillor Ron Beadle was moved to point out to Cllr Graham that he had Jewish relatives who lost their lives in Nazi Germany.
I confronted Cllr Graham after the meeting and told him I never want to hear him descend to such a level again. He started to justify his comments but I left him before he could get his excuses out. The word "sorry" never passed his lips.
The question is, what is the Labour group going to do? Are they going to condone or condemn? Are they going to put an end to the worst of the abuse hurled at us and engage in level headed and calm debate in the council chamber, which many of them are capable of, rather than the shrill, hysteria that has characterised some Labour contributions recently?