Expect More?

Mervyn Barrett's campaign slogan was 'Expect More', and we did – about another 3 weeks more, but his campaign has come to a sudden and premature end which you can explore by reading the following:-

Andrew Gilligan's Sunday Telegraph Article on the people behind Mervyn – which details the claims of Mervyn's ex-campaign manager 'Matthew De Unger Brown' who styles himself as a neo-conservative, claims links with groups seeking to extend privatisation and reveals lavish spending plans for the election. I was not privy to Gilligan's conversation with Matthew, but I can reveal that I wasn't surprised by the contents, having myself had an apparently similar conversation with Matthew several weeks ago, and having concluded he was a sufficiently curious character to justify some basic internet research.

Like Gilligan, I didn't have enough good quality information on Matthew to publish, but I did manage to cover issues raised by Gilligan's article, with notes on loose ends.

Gilligan used his blog to follow up on Mervyn's withdrawal from the campaign, sharing the legal difficulties in saying more about Mervyn's ex-campaign manager, but he also pointed to an extraordinary blog post from an anonymous blogger who decided to take the risk of sharing an astonishing list of allegations about Matthew. I don't know what's true here – that post may be fantasy – it is certainly 'fantastic', but the blogger in question is himself cited here as a well-respected legal blogger.

Mervyn's withdrawal statement, was issued not on his website, but on Russ Webster's, by Gillian Radcliffe, PR professional, and former would-be Independent candidate for South Yorkshire – both of whom have a long-standing interest in the PCC election. It alleges that Mervyn's entire campaign has been a confidence trick by Matthew, and that Mervyn is trying to work out to which police force it should be reported.

I have spoken to Gillian today, as part of her effort to help Mervyn in a time of need. The difference now that Mervyn has an experienced representative was very evident. Mervyn has confirmed to me what she has said about him, and she has added some detail herself. The result is in italics after some context from me:-

In early August TopOfTheCops broke a story about a senior judge banning magistrates from being PCC candidates. It was very rapidly taken up by the wider press and within 24 hours Mervyn's team had been in touch, taken legal advice, and banded together with a few other PCC candidates, including some magistrates, to arrange a meeting with that senior judge to discuss the issue. The candidates at that meeting were Mervyn Barrett, Gillian Radcliffe, Julie Iles and Craig Mackinley.

Gillian tells me that Matthew was also in attendance, and that after the meeting he tried to persuade her that he should be her campaign manager. She declined, not having the finances, and he suggested that surely she must have a wealthy relative. She disclosed that she had, but that she had decided not to approach this person to fund her campaign.

Subsequently, she says Matthew “contacted me several times over the next few weeks to try to persuade me to change my mind. In some ways, it prompted me to withdraw sooner than I might otherwise have done. After withdrawing, I felt relieved that I wouldn't have the pressure of his persuasive tactics any longer.”

There is also some further detail from Mervyn. Last Friday, having been told by Matthew of 'negative polling results', Mervyn was ready to pull out of the Lincolnshire race, and Matthew agreed with this course of action, but the Sunday Telegraph story broke before Mervyn could withdraw from the election.

Mervyn says he was largely funding the campaign himself, and that Matthew had given
him reason to expect funding from Matthew personally and from a 'rich relative' of Matthew's for certain items. It is now unclear whether these items were ever ordered.

Mervyn says Matthew had complete control of campaign finances, and Mervyn is
currently playing catch-up to see how much money has been spent and on what. He has frozen his bank account.

Yesterday, (Wednesday), Gillian sent a number of tweets (here is one) indicating that Mervyn would be releasing a statement. Matthew called her very soon after. He seemed to be calling from a US number, she thinks New York. He sounded distressed and sorry, but wanted to know whether Mervyn was going to the police.

I don't know what to make of this extra-ordinary story. It is heartening to see some of the people I have dealt with in PCC world over the last few months standing together and supporting each other. That may restore some of your faith in humanity.

Some of us are perhaps too suspicious of people. I'm an ex-cop. I think it goes with the territory. Gillian has worked plenty with the police in the past, which is probably enough to make anyone suspicious!

Mervyn, on the other hand, has worked for NACRO, and they are all about the Care and Rehabilitation (or is it resettlement) of Offenders. He has spent a career doing what he can to change people for the better. That involves an ability to hope for the best, possibly a tendency to be a little too trusting sometimes.

Andrew Gilligan closed his original blog post today with the words “I have a feeling this might be a story that keeps on giving”.

As Mervyn Barrett used to say, 'expect more'.


This entry was posted in Independents, Media coverage, Perspectives and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to Expect More?

  1. Richard Enderby says:

    As one of a small group of people in LIncs who probably led to the final exposure after contacting national media as we were concerned enough to get to the bottom of who and why the so called backers were behind Mervyn, and were then accused of being hard on him – I hope people will now accept our position. It was not personal, I would heIp Mervyn in any way I can, but it was the only way we could go as he steadfastly refused at all meetings, twitter, etc to reveal anything before the election and we knew there was something very wrong. I’m all about getting the best non political PCC for my county – nothing more – and I was complained about by them to my MOJ President for doing it too..There is still one blindingly good Indy candidate thankfully – David Bowles

    • lincpsychuk says:

      So that’s why Mr Bowles is the only candidate cited in the Telegraph article? He ruins the election chances (granted, it seems that his excessive trust wouldn’t have made him a ‘strong’ PCC,, despite the strength of his manifesto pledges), whilst getting the chance to promote himself on a national level.

      When you say ‘independent’ candidate – what exactly do you mean? Although David Bowles is not affiliated to a particular political party, his pledges and (largely) representative of right-wing, conservative and, well, Telegraph, ideology.

      I refer you back to your comments on my piece for the New Statesman a few weeks ago – http://www.newstatesman.com/blogs/politics/2012/10/how-keep-politics-out-policing – and ask: who’s electioneering now?

  2. Pingback: Definitive List of PCC candidates 2012 | TopOfTheCops.com

  3. Richard Enderby says:

    Whilst acknowledging his zeal, I seriously doubt this young man’s ability to absorb simple facts – The saga was absolutely nothing about “Electioneering” but about real concerns of literally hundreds of people in Lincs, about its police force being subjected to creeping extremism following the G4S contract – exactly what he is now accusing us of – and we were proven to be right, and we should be thanked not pilloried.

    As I have said it is deeply regretted Mervyn was a victim, but unfortunately he chose, as he has admitted, to ignore everyone else’s advice, and be led by his Agent/Advisor, and look where that has got him! Had he done the same as EVERY other candidate, he could have moved forward with his campaign, and would have probably rid himself of hjis Agent who would have “Scarpered” Had you been at the Boston hustings you would have seen more clearly what the issues were.
    Regarding your article it was ME expressing my views – Not David Bowles, who is more than capable of speaking for himself, and doesn’t always agree with me, which is fine.
    Speak to anyone who knows me, instead of labelling me from articles, etc, and you will find I am very far from extreme right wing, as you put it. I do have some strong views on dealing with crime, which relate to my knowledge and experiences over many years in many places ,including inner city Manchester during the riots in the 70’s where I saw undescribable things – wide experience of such things is perhaps something you still have to gain?
    Wanting a firm stand on drugs and major crime does not make me right wing – sensible perhaps?. This silly labelling – right wing. left wing, centre, etc belongs on the football field but unfortunately some people are proud to be labelled.
    I am not against any form of rehabilitation, but unlike some, recognise there has to be a balance. My position on legalising drugs is NEVER – and we owe the young kids of to-day that stance
    Your right to free speech is defended by me, and has been for many years in Tribunal Appeals – but please get your facts right –

    • lincpsychuk says:

      Not once have I labelled you anything – just your policies and ideas about criminal justice. I merely pointed out the hypocrisy in your comments when compared to the reply left to my New Statesman article, in which, again, I labelled Mr Bowles approach to crime as ‘right-wing’ – not him personally.

      Whilst we will not agree fully on our approaches to crime and justice, I respect that you have strong views. However, you must acknowledge that the measures described in the remaining manifestos are hardly an improvement, or even a change, on existing Government policy. Whilst David Bowles’ fight to keep organised politics out of policing, along with trying to increase funding for Lincolnshire Police, is admirable, he needs to be realistic and realise that the latter is going to be tough – quite simply, rural crime in places like Lincolnshire isn’t a priority for entral Government.

      On the issue of privatisation, I believe our views are quite different. Whilst I would not support a ‘race to the bottom’, I acknowledge that Lincolnshire is a huge county, and has been underfunded for many years. it is therefore simply not possible to police the county sufficiently given the resources currently available. For these reasons, I supported Mervyn Barrett’s ideas to devolve power to local areas, involving collaboration (not ‘privatisation’) between town, parish and district councils, with (predominantly) voluntary sector organisations. On his stance about G4S, he pointed out that enabling back-office functions to be run privately, more public cash could be spent on front-line, visbible, policing – somethng that I think we agree is a priority.

      I personally do not ‘thank’ you or David Bowles for exposing Mervyn Barrett, as I feel that the saga has been handled incredibly poorly. I reiterate my comments about reporting being driven by Telegraph ideology, which was corroborated and reinforced by the comments of Mr Bowles. I’m not so blinded by my loyalty, especially after this story has emerged, to say that Mervyn would have been the best Police and Crime Commissioner – but he would have been a hell of a strategist. I.t’s just a shame that, with many people taking Andrew Gilligan’s claims at face value – tarnishing the reputation of a widely-respected person in the area of criminal justice and rehabilitation.

  4. Richard Enderby says:

    I am not getting into further corresepondence on this matter and these are my last words on the subject – Suffice to say Mervyn has, rightly, in my opinion, done the right thing and “Fallen on his sword” – I hope he will emerge stronger as a result of his unfortunate experience.
    Ironically, again if you check your dates it was David Bowles who first advocated stronger links with communities, parish councils, the voluntary sector, “Community Specials” etc as a key part of his first strategy, and that is dated on record. Why? – Partly because he believes in it, and also having exposed what and where the funding shortfall was, he knew the Government, having “Robbed” LIncs for years, would not easily make more money available
    – Hardly extreme right wing! – whatever that is actually supposed to mean – nor, to my knowledge, is locking up serial hardcore criminals
    – And incidentally -The best right winger I even saw was Sir Stanley Mathews – again before your time

    • lincpsychuk says:

      I appreciate your comments about Mervyn Barrett coming back stronger after this experience – and I’m sure he would too.

      I have acknowledged the parts of David Bowles’ manifesto that I support – being more Special Officers and a bid (because, essentially, that’s all he can guarantee) for increased funding for Lincolnshire Police. Additionally, I don’t think anybody is suggesting that violent (or ‘hardcore, as you say) criminals shouldn’t be given custodial sentences. However, this approach is being taken towards the anti-social behaviour of young people – a very popuar ‘tough on crime’ message, but with little support from the criminological community.

      It’s OK to have business accumen, but that’s all that’s on offer. The PCC role is about being brave enough to take some difficult decisions, possibly upset a few people, but to reduce crime in local communities and encourage ex-offenders to desist. Unfortunately, none of the Lincolnshire candidates have the capacity to do that.

  5. Still Sceptical says:


  6. v70pdb says:

    From the very little I know about lincpsychuk his experience is simply academic. He then draws a pretty picture from what he has read or has been told. However we all know anyone can draw a picture of a monkey skipping with an elephant. Trying to get them to do it is another thing altogether. Such fancies are simply that. Fancies. It’s the bobby on the beat who has to attempt to get them to work and the Chief Constable who becomes responsible.

    As for taking risks – perhaps you should talk to Mr Barret about the benefits of doing so.

    I dont want risks being taken with the policing in my County.

    Just in case you don’t know what this is about. Take a look here…


    …where I have tried to show the affair from my perspective as a resident of Lincolnshire who has curiosity. Not blind faith.

    • lincpsychuk says:

      All that Mervyn, and I, advocate is evidence-based criminal justice. Having met him I believe his account of what has happened in his bid to become PCC, and would urge his detractors and doubters to contact and communicate with him directly.

      Yes, my experience is purely academic but the approach that I describe is the same as those leading criminologists with decades of hands-on experience.

      I can understand the police’s concerns about implementing such reforms as were described in Mervyn’s manifesto, especially given that their experience is based on successive Governments’ inefficient handling of the CJS. However, if implemented correctly, evidence, as opposed to ideology, will prevent new offenders from entering the system and reduce reoffending by those released from our failing prisons.

      Finally, I urge you to read back on my blog and you’ll find that my comments on criminal justice began well before my meeting Mervyn Barrett, and are not out of “blind faith”.

      I reiterate, if police staff implement an evidence-based system properly, crime rates will fall still further.

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