Miranda Grell, the Labour candidate who was convicted of smearing a political opponent as a paedophile, is back in the news.
She’s appealing the guilty verdict, and Labour supporters are mostly (though with a few exceptions) using the pending appeal to argue that, “oh, nothing’s been proved yet, she’s really a lovely person, all will come right on appeal”.
(Do you notice the irony here by the way? Labour is also the party that is oh so keen for people who haven’t been convicted of any offence to be locked up, given detention orders or have their DNA records kept by the state. So it’s a matter of (1) if you’ve been convicted, you’re really innocent, but (2) if you’ve not been convicted, you’re really guilty).
But – back to Grell. Now, let’s have a look at what Miranda Grell herself admitted in court during the case – and so isn’t in dispute and isn’t a matter of any appeal:
The thing is, even what she admitted to doing – telling voters that her LibDem rival, Barry Smith, was gay and had a teenage Thai boyfriend when she knew Smith’s partner was actually 39 and Malaysian – is bad enough to warrant the party distancing herself from her. [Harry’s Place blog – link now defunct]
And what’s the Labour Party’s official reaction been? It’s been to fund her appeal and to leave her membership of the party intact. Yes, she’s been suspended from her job at City Hall, but that – on its own – isn’t exactly a ringing denunciation given what she has herself already admitted doing. Especially when you consider the terrible effect on Barry Smith:
In the months after his defeat he was abused, threatened and spat at in the street and on one occasion two men followed him home from a shop and accused him of having sex with children.