Sunday, October 29, 2017

Should the Lib Dems have exposed Jared O'Mara?

Miriam Gonzalez Durantez revealed on Peston this morning that her husband Nick Clegg and the Liberal Democrats knew about the allegations against Jared O'Mara before June's general election.

Mark Pack suggests that we should have made use of this knowledge during the campaign in Sheffield Hallam:
Taking care over when to criticise the personality of an opponent is wise. But when you have evidence about issues as serious as sexism and homophobia and the person in question is bidding to become an MP, then – if you have solid evidence – raising them I would even go so far as to say is necessary. Democracy requires the cases for and against candidates, parties and policies to be put before the public.
Liberals tend to fight shy of this sort of campaigning - "When they go low, we go high" - but Mark is right. It can be your duty to reveal your opponents deficiencies if they are sufficiently serious.

I do not trust the idea that it is only what Tony Benn used to call the "ishoos" that matter. So many political questions arrive out of clear blue sky that the character of the people you elect to tackle them is immensely important.

And if you know your opponent has a bad character, you should say so.


crewegwyn said...

Two problems. The Phil Woollas precedent. And would O'Mara voters have been shifted?

Jonathan Calder said...

Or would Conservatives have been more likely to vote Lib Dem tactically? Their failure to do so is what did for Nick.

But all these are pragmatic considerations. It is the underlying morality that interests me.

John H said...

But where do you draw the line. Jeremy Corbyn is on his 3rd wife after 2 divorces. In the 1980s that would have mattered. It would have spoken to his character. Today it isn't mentioned. Probably right. He has other problems and we did have something against conformity back in the day.

Jonathan Calder said...

I rarely find "where do you draw the line?" arguments compelling. You draw it where you judge it right to draw it. Where else would you draw it?