Tag Archives: miranda-grell

Leyton By-election: 14 February

The Leyton by-election has been called for 14 February. It has been suggested to me that many of us who have been blogging about the Miranda Grell affair should be putting our boots where our mouths/keyboards are and help Winnie Smith get elected. I entirely agree.

Details can be found over at the Flock Together website. So far, just two of us are registered on the site for more information about the by-election. My challenge is to get that number up to five as quickly as possible. Anyone with me?

If it is successful, we might want to consider trying to organise a few special Liberal Drinks in order to make it a bit of a social event. Any other ideas about getting people there?

UPDATE: Four registered, one to go!

Miranda Grell: stop fighting, start saving your soul

Shortly after I posted my own comment on Miranda Grell’s failed appeal, she posted her own:

Following yesterday’s decision at Snaresbrook Crown Court to uphold my conviction for two offences against the Representation of the People Act 1983, I have, this morning, resigned from both the Labour party and my job working for the Deputy Mayor of London, at the Greater London Authority.

Although I know I am innocent, what I have been convicted of amounts to bringing the Labour party into disrepute and gross misconduct of the Greater London Authority constitution.

I cannot expect either of these organisations to continue to formally support me in these circumstances.

I have also resigned from the Compass Management Committee.

Many thanks to all of you who have today sent through messages of support.

Our fight continues.

All fair enough, but she seems to have conveniently forgotten that she admitted, in court, to spreading unsubstantiated rumours about her opponent’s sexuality door-to-door (even if she denies ever calling him a paedophile, which the court decided she did). She also continues to fail to even recognise the huge consequences that had on Barry Smith’s personal life.

Denial is a horrible thing; it’s so all-encompassing. I really do plead with her, and her friends, to recognise the damage she caused and to contemplate on that fact. Apart from the fact that this looks very much like a fight she cannot win, there is a danger that it will end up consuming her.

I can’t presume to know the mind of Barry Smith, but if ever there was a case for restorative justice, this is it. Both of them could gain enormously from sitting in a room together with a mediator and talking over their experiences.

I don’t think Miranda Grell is a homophobe. I think she got carried away by a party strategy of dirty tricks and discovered she was a little too good at it. It’s clear to anyone who has walked in Labour circles that she was well liked and a lot of people thought she was set to be the next big thing. I think she’s capable of redemption, but she needs to recognise her guilt first.

Stop fighting Miranda, or you’ll destroy yourself.

Miranda Grell: just desserts

Despite the occasional slippage, I’ve resisted the temptation to blog much about Miranda Grell’s fall from grace. She is entitled to defend her reputation and mount an appeal, but now that appeal has failed, I thought I’d make a few points myself.

Though it appalls me to realise this fact, I’ve been around the block a few times now, so when I read people make extravagant claims that this court case is the thin end of the wedge which will lead to councillors being convicted of making slurs they did not utter left, right and centre, I can only laugh hollowly. This is the first conviction brought forth under the RPA 1983, and only came about because it appears that Grell was so blatant that even her own ward colleagues baulked at her behaviour and that the consequences were so severe that a blameless man was driven out of his home. I can recall at least one occassion when a coucillor of my acquaintance was subject to a concerted campaign to out him on the doorsteps of his ward. It wasn’t a pleasant experience for him by any means but it didn’t lead to any action.

Secondly, what I truly don’t understand is that despite the fact that Grell has even admitted some culpability (making a qualified admission that she may have suggested that Smith was sleeping with an above-the-age-of-consent-but-still-young-nudge-nudge-wink-wink 19 year old), absolutely no mea culpa has been forthcoming. She’s a young woman, a three year ban is no hindrance to a politician playing the long game. Why didn’t she simply accept she had behaved appallingly, take it on the chin, personally apologise to Barry Smith and start her political rehabilitation?

Lib Dems out for blood may not have been satisfied, but it would have calmed things down and, apart from anything else, would have been the right thing to do. It would have been the Christian thing to do.

Instead, we’ve been witness to this pantomime where she has managed to turn the whole thing into an attack on both her ward and on black politicians generally. Without a hint of irony, she’s plastered a photo of her as a baby on her website – what the hell does that mean? We’ve had at least one example of blatant sock-puppetry from her campaign designed entirely to confuse the issue. Thus far, she does not appear to have shown even the slightest remorse over the fact that, for whatever reason, Barry Smith has been attacked in the street and forced to move out of the area. If she’d won the appeal, and I’ve never personally discounted that possibility, it was clear that a torrent of self-righteous abuse would now be being rained down upon everyone who even hinted that she may have been a little bit naughty.

Yet a man’s life has been wrecked.

She is still a member of the Labour Party and still a member of Compass’ Management Committee. Is it really too much to ask that both organisations now take swift action to rectify this situation?

Hat tips: Antony Hook, Lib Dem Voice, Andy Mayer, Liberal England.