Wednesday, 31 October 2012
WE CAN DRAW LESSONS FROM THE PAST BUT WE CANNOT LIVE IN IT.
By now most of you will have heard that the Labour Party's candidate for the Police and Crime Commissioner elections in Northamptonshire, Lee Barron has been forced to quit the race after it emerged he was arrested during a town centre disturbance 22 years ago.
I do feel sorry for Lee, despite all my troubles with the party I still consider him to be a friend, and the law in this case is truly an ass when it allows for Prime Ministers and Home Secretary's to hold office with aged convictions but disbars others from standing in PCC Elections.
I also have a conviction from when I was 19, and I don't try to hide it, I was at the time arrested for supposedly kicking a drunk in the "lower testicle region" after he had stumbled into me. I did push him off me and over on to the floor, but I did also point out to both the Police and Court at the time that I had 24 stitches in a leg wound following an accident at work (I cut through my leg and muscle with a stanley knife when working on a roof in London) and that I was walking only with the aid of a stick, when this drunken buffoon walked into me driving his knee into my damaged leg, I also pointed out to them to little avail that if I had of kicked the guy, then like the proverbial one legged man in an arse kicking contest, I would have fallen flat on my backside, and if I had meant him any harm, wouldn't I have hit him with my stick rather kicking him with my only good leg? The court was not impressed and still found me guilty of Actual Bodily Harm and fined me £250
But like so many others have said, I know see it as part of who I am, and as part of me becoming a different person in later life, and despite my own brush with the law I still went on to stand for election and become an MP, and also became a warranted Police Officer.
People should therefore judge Lee and indeed all of us, on who we are now, not what silly things we did as teenagers. And I ask you one question, who is better served to represent the local electorate? people like Lee and myself who got into scrapes as youngsters? or people like Sally Keeble who is Labour's candidate again for the Parliamentary seat of Northampton North despite having been caught abusing parliamentary rules leading her to "misclaim" expenses to buy new kitchen fixings and beautify her garden in her Northampton Home when she was last in office?
The Tory press also attack Lee for encouraging union members to break the law during speech he gave at a demonstration in London last year.
During the rally, Lee can be heard saying “Every time we refuse to cross your picket lines we break the law but we’d rather break the law than break your picket lines any day of the week.”
So let me also be clear on this like him I would rather risk breaking a rotten law before I crossed any picket line, it's called principle, something sadly missing within the current political climate.
However the response to Lee's plight from the Labour Party is as always so predictable and also so stomach churning, Lee points out in a statement to the local newspaper that they knew all of the above all along and that they supported him and his candidature. And then he talks about hoping he has not let people down and of building his party's position in the future, and the party in the same piece then drop him like a ton of bricks by saying they were "disappointed" to learn from Lee something they presumably already knew and then they suspend him, withdraw their support and organize another local witch-hunt, sorry investigation.
What really puzzles me though is this. I knew all about this rule 5 months ago when ex Falklands war hero Simon Weston was forced to withdraw his candidature and I first heard rumours that this story might break about 2 months ago and yet no one in the party it seemed deemed it necessary to check the position until after Lee's £5000 deposit had been paid, leaflets had been printed, and the date for withdrawal and replacement candidates had passed!
Speaking of ineligible candidates I was also told at roughly the same time that candidates with live IVA's (debt repayment arrangements) were also not eligible to stand and yet the Lib Dem's candidates Paul Varnsverry's IVA is listed on the net as in place until Jan 2013?
Of course he could have got himself released from it early in order to stand for election, but in the circumstances I think he should inform us all of his situation or else we might see the field reduced even further!
Back to main story though , expect further internal problems within the Local Labour Party as they all now distance themselves away from a decision and a region intent on destroying any essence of local autonomy at the price of keeping the Labour Party in Northampton permanently off the East Midlands map.
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