Those of you who have studied Classics, New Testament Greek, or indeed English, will know that an ‘apology’ isn’t always something that conveys sorrow, regret or remorse. An apology can be a defence, hence the term ‘apologist’ for a person who defends a particular person or point of view.
My defence of the information disclosed below is the context of all the stuff I decided not to tell you in the last week. When I started this site, it was a way of putting my interest in this election to good use. I was going to find out what was happening and as the internet is at its best as a collaborative effort, it seemed to be worth a little extra work on my behalf writing it down, to save you the effort of seeking it out.
Without intending it, I now find that interest has grown sufficiently for information to begin coming to me. However, I don’t think all of it is fit for sharing. Some may be malicious, or irrelevant, or both, so I am not afraid of moderating the comments section quite strongly. I feel for the candidates, possibly because I am one. They have taken the risk of public embarassment in order to engage in democracy, so I don’t want to treat them badly. In the last week I’ve had…
- An earlier version of this story, where Jan Berry’s candidacy in Kent was allegedly helped along by her brother, except the story quite clearly confirms what I took the trouble to find out – that the interest was properly declared, and nothing improper seems to have gone on. It is only reported here now because it is in the public domain.
- An allegation of police investigating a PCC candidate on suspicion of a criminal offence. At best, it is sub judice. At worst, an abuse of the legal process, possibly for political ends. Sorry, I don’t know which, so I’m not telling.
- Allegations about another candidate’s private life. Not reported here as I’m not sure it’s relevant to the question of whether they are the best person for the job.
So, on to the stuff that is relevant:-
- A few days ago the site featured a Candidate Statement from Matt Taylor of the SOS party, a one-man political party in Sussex. Digging by TopOfTheCops readers revealed this on another site, where Taylor appears to reveal a past conviction, albeit with mitigation, which could render him ineligible to stand in the election.
- Also of note is the striking similarity between Taylor’s policies and those of a David Joe Neilson who also appears to be standing in Sussex. Something peculiar is afoot! These points have been put to Taylor, who has responded since this article was first published.
- Clive Grunshaw…
I know! I know! You’re right. I have brought County Councillor Grunshaw to your attention before.
- It may have been the incorrect claim that he was Chair of the Police Authority that he had on his County Council website (they’ve since chosen a new non-Clive chairman by the way).
- It may have been the controversial decision to send out a personal mailshot for a distant PCC selection when everyone else in the Labour party was working feverishly in the last few days of a critical local election campaign.
- It may have been the astonishing silence from a PCC candidate on a key crime and disorder issue in Lancashire when his colleagues in Preston City Council cut live monitoring of city centre CCTV to save what earth-shattering sum? £10,000.
- It may have been the time he used the Council’s letterhead and stamps to promote his personal political opinions and, when found in breach of the code of conduct and told to apologise, was by his own admission “somewhat sarcastic”.
- It may have been his decision to lament rising reports of domestic violence in Lancashire as ‘unacceptable’ when it is actually better for us to have more of these massively under-reported offences coming to light.
“What’s he done now?”
Don’t take it from me – take it from the Labour Party…
“I am emailing following a recent leaflet from Clive Grunshaw sent to Lancashire members. The leaflet was the cause of a number of complaints. As it contains disparaging remarks about the other two candidates both candidates have been given the opportunity to email members with a statement on the matter. These statements are below. Clive has apologised to the other two candidates and his apology has been accepted.
Anna Hutchinson Regional Director
“Negative campaigning should play no part in an internal Labour Party selection. To do so is inconsistent with the values of the Labour Party and frankly it’s not the Lancashire way.
Lancashire is where I was born and bred. It’s where I went to Primary and Secondary School. It’s where my family have lived for generations and it’s the county in which I was married. I am proud to call Lancashire my home and reject any suggestion that I am not local.
I would urge members to judge candidates on their merits rather than on the negative and inaccurate assertions that have been made.”
“I have been an active member of the Labour Party for the past 20 years and, in that time, have campaigned for many candidates in both local and national elections. I’m proud of the support that I have received in this campaign from major national Labour Party figures such as Jack Straw and Keith Vaz and this is both a clear endorsement of my contribution to the Labour Party over the years and an indication that they believe that I can win the forthcoming Lancashire Police Crime and Commissioner elections for Labour. Recently, confusing remarks have been made about my Labour Party record. This kind of behaviour is not in the spirit of an internal election. It is not fair to either the candidates or to Labour Party members who need the correct information to help them make an informed choice that will benefit the whole Labour Party by ensuring that the best candidate is chosen as its representative at the future election. I would simply ask that you judge me on my record”.
I sent Clive some questions about this, but he has not yet responded.
Clive Grunshaw is a Labour candidate in Lancashire, my very own neck of the woods, and I can feel your suspicion that I have an interest in all this, but ask yourself these questions.
- If I hinder one of Labour’s three shortlisted candidates, do I not help the other two?
- Can I fail to tell you this?
- Are Lancashire Labour about to elect a candidate who can’t even keep to his own party’s rules for how to run an election?
- Is it my fault that he is the gift that keeps on giving?
I don’t want to be partial, but in the Lancashire Labour PCC contest I’m starting to root for Clive. He seems to be the best Labour candidate to stand against.