Monday, February 05, 2007

Fiona Jones

(BBC Online)
I was saddened and rather surprised to hear of her death recently, especially the circumstances.
I vaguely remember the case where she was on the receving end of an investigation into election expenses. She was aquitted, but the damage had been done and Fiona lost her seat at the 2001 general election, adding to the cruel maxim of the electorate; " If you are suspected you must be guilty!"
And already a political football is made of her death, suggested by some as a comparison to the current problems facing the PM over cash for peerages allegations, and by others as the cruelty of what happens when your team are not there for you when the chips are down, for fear of being on the receving end of harsh judgement by our enemies.
As far as I am concerned however, we are all to blame, and I do not mean that in a blase way, or as a metaphor, or as a way of trying to ease any guilt. Those of us who are in the Labour Party should have been there for her, helped her at the very least once she was aquitted, but there was the fear of being attacked by our opponents. The opposition are to blame for not sufficently realising that in these allegations there are real human beings among their opponents, who are flesh and blood, who are vulnerable, and who need consideration rather than condemnation. A favourite story of mine is about a Democrat politician, one of Nixon's most virulent opponents during Watergate, who a year after the disgraced President's resignation, visited him at his home when many were too embarrased to be seen with him and the only people who usually visited were journalists coming to gloat and hopefully get some more flesh.
The politician was asked why, when he attacked Nixon (and rightly so), did he deign to make a social call, he replied "Because he needs to know that someone loves him!"
Now that may be a bit twee for some of you, but this political opponent knew that deep down Nixon was a human being. One who had fallen into corruption, one who held grudges, but a human and one who was suffering distress and perhaps a degree of guilt. I would like to think that I would have the guts to do that and it is a pity many of us don't.
As for the "drinking culture" around Westminster. It does exist and I have seen a tiny bit of it first hand (Strangers Bar, after the 10:30 vote on a Monday evening where a no of Whips from all sides were a little bit happy), but at the same time many Westminster politicians and staff are sober and responsible people and perhaps the problem with Westminster is that, like any Democratic legislature, it reflects the nation at large so we see not only humanity at it's best, but also at it's most painful and failible. Perhaps when we judge such incidents and find wanting, we should condemn a little less and show a bit more humanity


tyger said...

I live in Newark. The local paper, The Newark Advertiser, is very pro-Tory. They ran her into the ground.

The wounds are pretty deep in the local CLP.

Paul Burgin said...

I bet the paper is now blaming the govt, if they mentioned her at all!

tyger said...

I'll keep an eye out next week. I think Fiona lived in Lincolnshire (Grantham maybe).

Anonymous said...

Patrick Mercer, rejected the allegations of a smear campaign and insisted he was fighting a "clean" campaign.

Fiona said: "The Tories have been asking people on the doorstep if they knew their MP had been arrested on several occasions. It's very damaging. I was never arrested and the court case was dismissed by the Court of Appeal." Fiona wrote to Newark Conservatives to complain.

Patrick Mercer said: “I have made no form of personal attack.”

Commenting on an endorsement of Mrs Fiona Jones MP by Labour Party members for her to stand at the next General Election, Mr Mercer said: "I hope she will have a little bit more confidence to do her job properly as she seems to break appointments, to snub people and refuse to answer telephone calls and letters.

Let us hope in a year's time we get the result she richly deserves and we richly deserve, because if she cannot do the job properly, I know someone who can."

This Christian lady was done up like a Christmas turkey

Let us all hope that in the time to come we get the result he so very richly deserves and we so richly deserve!!