Friday, September 21, 2007

More on Miranda Grell

I suppose it was inevitable that some smug Tory would have been the one to tell me the result of this case.

I feared this would happen, on face value the case looked damming, but I again reiterate that what I know of Miranda and her reputation within the Labour Party does not correspond with this. If it is true, and I doubt that it is, then I am very saddened indeed.

I am also painfully aware that had this happened to a Conservative or a Liberal Democrat and I did not know them, I would have been inclined to believe it because, ahem, deep down it would suit my political prejudices. Maybe I shouldn't say that, but at least I have the honesty to say so and I wonder if any of Miranda's detractors from the other parties would do the same. It has certainly taught me to be more careful about attacking others from other parties. In any case I would suggest to fellow Labour readers and bloggers that if you get into a conversation and a Conservative brings this case up, do them the courtesy to remind them that their yard isn't so clean either at the moment.

For now, it's just awful to reflect that a promising star in Labour's ranks is facing a ruined political career, which is a shame because Miranda looks like she has a lot to offer the Labour Party and it also reflects badly on political activists in general (I knew we want the public to believe that the Party we are in, Conservative, Labour, Liberal Democrat, is morally superior to the others, but they see us as all the same when it comes to allegations of corruption). I suggest that others reflect on that before they get drunk on moral righteousness.

UPDATE: I meant to mention this last night and that's that I hope Miranda will appeal. I can understand if not because it is a hammer-blow of a verdict, but I hope she does because this seems so unfair

22 comments:

Anonymous said...

What exactly is unfair?

She admitted to making false statements of character during the trial.

Sounds fair enough to me.

I don't know if I'm angrier about what she has been found guilty of, or the righteous indignation of the Labour blogging community and theeir 'I know Miranda and she wouldn't do that' attitude.

She actually admitted to raising his sexuality with voters! Regarding her political future, the verdict should have been almost immaterial.

Paul Burgin said...

It's unfair that her comments appear to have been blown out of proportion, there is a difference between raising his sexuality with voters and labelling him a peadophile. Of course I don't expect you to have known anyone to have been accused of anything like that, falsely or otherwise, so I am sure that makes you the morally impeccable person with morally impeccable friends to make such statements. In a way I don't blame you, I was all too ready to gloat when senior tories were in trouble in the papers but maybe now I will look at things differently!

Chris Paul said...

The judge - a district judge acting as a stipe in a magistrate's court - decided to believe the Lib Dem witnesses and to not believe Miranda.

This is anot a particularly respectable level of the court system to be blunt.

That Dale has stated that neither of us covered the verdict does not reflect very well on his wish to be seen as a superior and professional commentator.

He's not at the moment. Leaving his post up saying these untruths is LYING.

Paul Burgin said...

To be fair though Chris, whilst I am disapointed and rather irritated that Iain stated that we did not comment on the result, at least he published our responses and the flow of Internet traffic towards Mars Hill this weekend shows that people have noted that

Praguetory said...

Whilst I wouldn't wish to comment on the particular case, I am pleased that an example has been set. That said, I understand your personal disappointment when it's someone you know.

Paul Burgin said...

Well thanksyou for being so charitable (seriously). Not many would have the grace to recognise the hurt that can happen to political friends and colleagues, whether that person is guilty or innocent. And for those who do, fewer still refrain from gloating

Jon Worth said...

I understand there will be an appeal... I know Miranda well, and I was one of the other people cited by Dale. Let's wait to see what happens.

There is a wider issue here, and I see this with Miranda's case, and also in Southwark where I live - local politics in London is grim, and you have to have a skin as thick as an elephant to manage to not be severely damaged by it.

Paul Burgin said...

Have heard Miranda will appeal Jon and am v.pleased to hear it.
As for local politics in London being grim, that is certainly true in certain pockets and some of the more unpleasant members from all political parties seem to be London based, but that is simply because it is a large capital city and therefore more scope for the more rotten aspects of democratic politics to emerge

Stephen said...

I do not know whether or not Ms Grell accused Mr Smith of paedophilia. And the unpleasant nature of local politics all too often make it difficult to tell the wood from the trees.

What I do know however is that the comments she admits to, and now (given that she acknowledges that she knew that they were in part totally untrue) chooses to describe as 'indiscreet' were deeply and offensively homophobic.

Unless the Labour party has made a U-turn of quite astonishing proportions, and now regards such blatant homophobia as entirely acceptable in the pursuit of political advantage, I hope that Ms Grell will never again be put forward as a candidate at any election. In many respects, the natural home for her views would be the BNP.

Paul Burgin said...

Stephen if the Lib Dems have lied in accusing Miranda of making remarks about peadophilia, which is probable, then it is they who should be punished.
You mentioned yourself about the nasty nature of local politics, from what I can gather Miranda made one or two comments (which was unwise) about the sexual orientation of her opponent, that does not mean that she was making homophobic remarks (esp as we do not know what exactly was said in the conversations concerned)although, again, it was unwise of Miranda to have let herself go down that road.
If anything one hopes that, in future candidates will not go anywhere near mentioning anything about their opponents private life as such.

James said...

From what I've read, Miranda Grell unwisely responded to a question from a resident (who knew Barry Smith and her well) asking if Barry Smith was gay. In court, she said she has seen his partner on a number of occasions and truly thought he was 19/ early twenties. I can not understand how her answer (albeit it stupidly and indiscreetly in hind sight) can be described as homophobic. And I am also perplexed at the mixing of paedophillia with being gay. They are two separate issues. Paedophilles like little girls as well as little boys. Miranda made a grave mistake in being indscreet but I do not believe she called the Lib Dem a paedophille and as that is what she's been convicted of I hope she will appeal.

Vienna Woods said...

I’ve been following this case from afar and the information I have is basically from the on-line community and the newspapers,

I’m quite taken aback by the comments here. It does appear to me that nobody commenting here was present at the hearing, has not directly heard the evidence and is therefore also relying on hearsay, or news reports.

Chris Paul wrote, “The judge - a district judge acting as a stipe in a magistrate's court - decided to believe the Lib Dem witnesses and to not believe Miranda.
This is anot a particularly respectable level of the court system to be blunt.”

What on earth is meant by that? Stipendiary Magistrates ceased to exist in the year 2000 and they are all now District Judges. They are fully qualified barristers and much more able to deal with cases than many of the politically appointed unqualified lay-magistrates. What is not respectable about this court system? Maybe Chris Paul will enlighten us!

Like it or not, Miranda Grell, has been found guilty. She has the right to appeal but I would think she is politically finished anyway. As a former councilor, I was also subjected to some vicious personal attacks by political opponents and an awful lot of misguided ambition which did none of them any good in the end. Therefore, I have sympathy with the victim here, whose feelings have not been shown one iota of consideration, and neither has an apology been forthcoming as far as I am aware.

By the way, two wrongs don’t make a right and linking to a news story in a scurrilous attempt to spread more ire and mischief, will only confirm to the public and other political parties that perhaps this is the way Labour chooses to work!

OneHourAhead said...

Within this argument it seems that because of the high emotion, either due to personal acquaintance of Miranda Grell or partisan politicking, people are unable to distinguish between the two strands of the story: 1) did she do something illegal to try to influence an election and 2) is she inherently homophobic and a vile slanderer.

She did do something illegal, the judge has ruled that, and she herself admitted to making those statements. That is how it currently stands - she is guilty. If she appeals and wins, then the evidence suggests that she didn't do it. If she appeals and loses, then she will still be guilty. However much you may feel for her personally, in the eyes of the law she did something wrong and is being punished (NB accusing all the witnesses of perjury and the judge of incompetence is a bit of a 'conspiracy theory' and these political blogs should be above the level of some of the stranger blogs on the web!).

In relation to the second matter, I don't know what Miranda Grell is like as a person but I doubt that she is some kind of fascist witch or holds any massive prejudice against anyone, with the exception of Libdemmers and Tories.

And there in lies the rub. She said something to denigrate her opponent, but did it probably as a purely political decision, not something personal against Mr Smith. She is more stupid than homophobic, or rather more unlucky than stupid. She did something that candidates do in any election, spurred on by every party (my own as well as others). She got caught , but most don't. This should serve as a warning to all, that if you choose to play dirty you stand the chance of being caught and then you risk the loss of your reputation, as has happened for Miranda. I think it is wrong to support her, but I do feel sorry for her. For all those who are supporting her, what are you supporting? What wasn't wrong about what she did? Why should she appeal? For those attacking her very strongly, too soon one of our party(ies) will do something as dumb, as long as you attack tat as vehemently then that is okay, but dirty is dirty, whether it is red, blue or yellow.

Anonymous said...

I find the tone of your blog to be superficial, and unhelpful to the Labour cause of valuing and respecting diversity. Whispering campaigns based on homophobia do Miranda no credit at all. I hope she loses any appeal as her conduct reprehensible.

Tim said...

shes been found guilty and banged to rights as a dishonest person - she should resign NOW

Paul Burgin said...

This has been raked over so mny times, but from what I know Miranda was responding to a question about her opponents private life, i.e. was he gay and Miranda responded to that when, and even she would say this with hindsight, Miranda should have stated that her opponents personal lifewas no one's business, least of all hers. She did not label him a peadophile which is what she was accused of doing.
I agree that many candidates have been vile about their opponents in the past and got away with it and if any good comes out of this it will bring it home that everyone has to be careful and that if they say anything, accidentally or deliberatley, it will come back to haunt them. But I think Miranda was guilty of a moment of naievity, not deliberate malice

Richard Dale said...

Do you mean unfair like subjecting a political opponent to violence by lying about him to claim he is a paedophile? Is that unfair?

What is it about Labour and political corruption, gerrymandering and lies? Not only is it normal practice, but Labour members and supporters like you accept and defend it.

Paul Burgin said...

As I said I think Miranda was being naive, she didn't know that her comments would have been spread and what would happen as a result. She stated that he was gay, not that he was a peadophile.
I could mention a lot of corruption that the Tories have been involved in in the past, as for accusing me of accepting and defending corruption, that is certainly not true as I would not have been involved in defending Miranda if I believed her to be guilty of the accusations made against her.

Merseymike said...

Paul ; its clear that the comments were used as a way of trying to win votes - assuming that the elector concerned would be affected by the fact that the LD candidate was gay.

And since when was a relationship with someone over the age of consent anything remotely to be condemned.

No., I think miranda made a mistake and that just a bit of contrition - and open support for gay equality, absent from her website - would be appropriate.

You don't seem to see that using someone's sexuality as a weapon in this way is in itself deeply homophobic. Let alone suggesting other matters.

Paul Burgin said...

Merseymike, of course I see the use of using someone's sexuality as a political weapon as morally indefensible and wrong. I think I have stated this before, but just so everyone knows, my understanding is that someone asked Miranda a question about her opponents sexuality and she replied, now my view is that she had a moment of naiveity and foolishness which has come back to haunt her. That is different from being homophobic and it is different from labelling someone a peadophile

Left Lib said...

I suppose if you know Miranda personally and you like her that is bound to affect your judgement, but it is highly irresponsible for her to divulge the private life of her political opponent, it has no relevance as to whether he is fit to do the job. Someone who is not homophobic would not even ask in the first place, so she was clearly seeking to benefit from homophobia by telling this person.
Whether legal or not, that should be a red card offence.
The evidence that she spread a rumour about her opponent being a paedophile came from her Labour running mate.
One theory is that he is a principled man who stands up against homophobia.
Presumably the defenders of Miranda believe he is a lyer.
Why?

Paul Burgin said...

I imagine it would, but I thought I would be no one justice, least of all Miranda if I did not consider the possibility and it just doesn't quite add up.
There is also some history concerning what you have mentioned but as Miranda has decided to appeal I am sure we will all learn something in due course as it can be easy for those of us observing on the sidelines to forget some of the finer details of the original case