After it was discovered at the St Ann's Labour Party selection candidate selection meeting that there were people present and voting who should not have been, I came home from the pub (where I'd heard about it) and wrote this article. It has subsequently been edited by site admins to remove the names of people who were embarrassed or in the final case where a journalist said it was potentially libellous. Well here I will attempt to summarise what we have subsequently found out and hopefully take people's attention away from my original appalling rant.
*An individual has asked that their name be replaced with their function in this post on the grounds that they are not seeking public office. This has been done.
Let's be careful about this 'evidence in the incident at The Salisbury'. It is my understanding that the case was somewhat nuanced and short of a full and balanced accounting, I need to point this out.
On 17 February LibDem blogger Mark Pack commented on his website here about the latest instalment in the St Ann's scandal.
Mark got a copy of the famous John Blake letter before it was taken down. Unlike John Blake, Mark has grasped that the key issue for the selection and the May election, is signing-up by twenty-one "members" who don't live in St Ann's ward; nor in several cases, are their homes in the Tottenham Constituency. And the impact on the result of the selection ballot when five of these people voted.
Mark Park expresses his doubts about the police response to tweets by John McMullan and Phil K.
"Given that the accusations about the tweets don’t involve incitement to violence, high volumes of abuse, personal threats or the like, the intervention of the police is rather worrying on free speech grounds."
I know that many Labour Party members and supporters are very concerned about St Ann's for the same reasons. Although there's still a deafening silence by key people in the Labour Party on both the vote-rigging and the issue of free speech.
I was surprised Mark didn't mention Emine Ibrahim being a whistleblower who has had the courage to stand up and tell the truth as she sees it - on both issues. (And yes, I'm aware that different people can have differing recollections of the same events.)
(Tottenham Hale ward councillor. My wife Zena Brabazon is one of the two deselected councillors in St Ann's ward.)
Before it disappeared I saw the leaked email. The long, fratricidal diatribe showed little restraint and poor judgement. Should the branch secretary not consider his position?
I remain surprised that the Labour leadership continues to allow the matter to fester. My remarks may be seen as self-serving, but someone at Labour ought to get a grip on this soon.
It's not just that Labour's 'official' St. Ann's candidates will be seen as selected as a result of a tainted process. It taints all politics. If Labour leaders don't act quickly to clean up the mess, it could be exploited for electoral purposes by their opponents. Like me.
The involvement of law enforcement officers is likely to have raised eyebrows. Was that sanctioned within the Labour Party? If so, I wonder at what level. Events at No.10 Downing Street show that the police service needs to be careful indeed before involving themselves in matters having a large party-political component.
I am a prospective councillor candidate
Highgate Ward, Liberal Democrat Party
People who have followed this thread may not yet have spotted a new discussion posted here by Osbawn. He draws attention to the new Private Eye magazine which includes a summary of this story in their Rotten Boroughs column. (21 February - 6 March edition; page 14.)
The summary is broadly accurate. Although Private Eye makes a small error in referring to John Blake, Branch Secretary of St Ann's Labour Party ward as "David Blake". (Elsewhere he writes as John David Blake.) They also describe Peter Morton - one of the selected Labour candidates - as "a senior Labour Party press officer". This was accurate at the time of the branch Selection Meeting in September 2011. However, Mr Morton subsequently left that job.
(Tottenham Hale ward councillor. My wife Cllr Zena Brabazon is one of the deselected candidates in St Ann's ward. The other is Cllr David Browne.)
A news item about Margate has again raised the question of when genuine online debate and disagreement crosses a line and is treated as "harassment".
Today (23 February 2014) The Observer reports that very strong feelings about a new Tesco store led to two Facebook sites with Margate people taking for and against positions. This has now led to Police involvement following a complaint by Louise Oldfield a campaigner against Tesco.
The Observer reports that Ms Oldfield "... suffered online abuse from what appeared to be a number of people hiding behind a pseudonym." She referred the comments to police who, initially decided not to pursue the matter. But "changed their minds after Ms Oldfield approached the office of Kent's police commissioner, Ann Barnes".
I've not seen the Facebook sites, so I'm not going to comment on the Police action. Except to say that it seems the Crown Prosecution Service needs to keep a close eye on these cases and ensure its guidance is kept clear, up-to-date, and as practical and helpful as possible
A further thought. I don't deliberately publish things which are untrue about other people. I assume that most people don't. But I do sometimes get my facts wrong. So please tell me.
The LibDem councillor Jim Jenks wrote something critical of the Council (fine) but got some of his facts wrong. I raised this with him. Jim listened, promised he'd check and did so. Very quickly correcting what he'd written. That's a man who earns my respect and trust.
(Tottenham Hale ward councillor)
John, a joint contribution from me and Zena transferred to your Bindman's client account today.
Also, we've been told that a couple of new people have - separately - contacted Private Eye magazine about the so-called "Notice of Harassment". - a.k.a. harassment of citizens' right to the expression of free speech as is necessary in a democratic society.
Thank you very much Alan. Hopefully we get our legal costs back as mine is money destined for other purposes, as I imagine yours is.
According to this post from 2010 James Stewart lived in Hornsey Ward in Hornsey & Wood Green constituency. Pray Labour Party, when did this man, who is Ed Miliband's spokesperson, move his membership to St Ann's so that he could take part in this selection meeting?
Im sorry Justin, that you did not feel able to comment on my post on your laughable election leaflet which made its way into the Guardian....but to be consistent.....you haven't commented on this post either!