What Next, The Rehabilitation Of Pervert Barry Phelps?

Following on the disturbing news that ex-Councillor Mark Daley is planning a comeback (see http://barryphelps.posterous.com/email-scandal-ex-councillor-mark-daley-seeks ), readers might well ask if Phelps would have the audacity to do the same?  Clearly, the piece in the Kensington and Chelsea Chronicle was testing the water for a possible return to public life for Mark Daley, so might we expect the supporters of Barry Phelps to attempt a similar PR exercise soon?  Well, that might depend on how well things go for Mark Daley.  Phelps’ supporters could only take heart from a positive reception, or just a lack of protest, to any possible return to politics made by Mark Daley.  Just as Mark Daley’s supporters are becoming more and more vocal, so Barry Phelps can rely on his supporters who have been vocal from the day he resigned.  We remind our readers that the so-called “independent” member of the Standards Committee, Jennifer Ware, was outspoken in her support for Barry Phelps on his resignation.  Also, Gay Wilson, the spokesperson of the “Earls Court Village Residents’ Association” was quoted in the Kensington and Chelsea Chronicle in support of Phelps and even called for his reinstatement as Councillor!  See http://kensington.londoninformer.co.uk/2010/07/councillors-resign-over-email.html

But we should also remember that some of Phelps’ supporters also went so far as producing an extraordinary leaflet during the Earls Court by election, defending their man and attributing his resignation to some ridiculous conspiracy theory of his being ousted by a group of senior Conservatives.  You can read more on this here http://barryphelps.posterous.com/residents-groups-in-earls-court-back-pervert  There is even some conspiracy theory being circulated that Mark Daley was ousted by the Leader of the Council, Sir Merrick Cockell!  This painting of Mark Daley as a victim is as preposterous as painting Barry Phelps as a victim.  Both these individuals resigned from the Council over a very serious matter concerning Barry Phelps sending images sexualising young underage boys, using the Council’s email system, and evidence that Mark Daley was one of the recipients of this material on the Phelps exclusive list.  Any other reason for their resignation is ridiculous and has the serious implication of diminishing the importance of the issue of condemning child abuse images and protecting children from being the objects of sexual gratification.  Their conduct in this matter was more than sufficient and fully warranted their resignations.  Sir Merrick Cockell was right to accept their resignations.  The residents of the borough and public opinion would expect nothing less than their resignations after hearing of their conduct.  It reflects well on the Council that it took this matter seriously and after being presented with the evidence these individuals had to resign not least to maintain the integrity of the Council in child protection matters.

It is disgusting that political machinations appear to be manifesting themselves with respect to Mark Daley as well as Barry Phelps with a view to a rehabilitation of each individual by their respective supporters.  For the blog the fact that Phelps was a supporter of Cockell would not be a reason for him to deserve opprobrium and to resign, as his support for Cockell was a political matter.  In our opinion, the reason Phelps had to go was always about his sending emails sexualising young underage boys, using the Council’s email system.  This misconduct was of a totally different order, and although not quite reaching the criminal standard, it was nonetheless morally repugnant and totally unacceptable for a person in public office to behave in such a manner.  With Mark Daley, this blog believes that there are many important questions which he has not answered and it would be totally unacceptable for him to seek to return to public life without fully responding to these questions so that he has provided corroborating proof to exonerate himself from all concern arising from the existing facts concerning his being on the select recipient list of Phelps’ perverted emails.  As far as the blog is aware, it should be noted that Mark Daley accepted the allegations against him and resigned.   He did not contest in a public forum at the time the evidence against him.  These questions which he has so far not answered, and neither has his supporters responded to, are reasonable and he can expect that these questions will follow him wherever he might seek a point of entry into public life again.  This blog would not ignore the failure of Mark Daley’s story so far to respond to the obvious question of why he alone among all the Councillors on the Council was sent the perverted emails?  Why would Barry Phelps choose Mark Daley to send this material on spec to?  Phelps would need to trust somebody to send them such risky material, and this might explain why the known email list was very small, and yet Daley’s email address was on it. Then we have the testimony concerning one of the willing recipients of this material that he had to gain Phelps’ trust before being added to the list.  Considerations such as these make it very difficult for the blog to exonerate and pronounce Daley completely innocent.  In our opinion, we believe that the public would feel that he would need to answer all these questions to their satisfaction before he should make any return to public life.  Ignoring them is just not acceptable.  The blog would lack all credibility with its readers if we too decided to declare Mark Daley completely innocent as they would rightly point out the elements of his story which do not add up.  The blog will not support any initiative which seeks to rehabilitate Mark Daley and repackage him as ready for re-entry to public life, such as working for Boris Johnson’s re-election as London Mayor in 2012, or running for the Council again.

In the same manner, it is hoped that we have heard the last of Barry Phelps as a person holding public office or intending to run for some prominent political role.  However, after what has been reported concerning Mark Daley, we can no longer be confident that Phelps will not re-emerge in some public role and this would send absolutely the wrong message to society that people can engage in sexualising young underage boys and still find a way back to positions of influence and respectability. 

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Blog Reaches Over 52,000 Site Views

We would like to thank everybody who visits this site for helping us reach this truly amazing number of site views since this blog went online in July this year.  We will be doing our best to justify this degree of support and interest by providing you with more articles on issues as they affect the borough, and an important developing news story which we hope to bring to you soon.

Email Scandal Ex-Councillor Mark Daley Seeks To Resume Political Career

In what is both an amazing and profoundly disturbing news report in the Kensington and Chelsea Chronicle,  it appears that ex-Councillor Mark Daley is positioning himself to make a political comeback, perhaps in helping Boris Johnson in his re-election campaign for London Mayor.  You can read the story here:

http://kensington.londoninformer.co.uk/2010/09/ex-councillor-defends-role-in.html

Readers of this blog might know that our policy concerning ex-Councillor Mark Daley has been that as he had resigned as Councillor and had appeared to wish to remain in obscurity, this blog believed that there was no further purpose in focussing our readers attention on this particular recipient of Phelps’ emails as he had already paid the price of receiving them.  However, this situation has radically changed now that there appears to be a campaign to rehabilitate Daley and in some way prepare him for a return to a public role in politics.  This would be an absolute outrage in view of the evidence which this blog has presented, notwithstanding any further evidence which may be presented.

This blog has not been convinced by anything so far said in defence of Mark Daley for the reasons stated in the article posted on 27 August entitled “Mark Daley Revisited” which can be found at the following link: http://barryphelps.posterous.com/mark-daley-revisited-0

It should be emphasised that Barry Phelps’ pervert emails were sent to a select and small number of individuals, and did not constitute part of Phelps’ mass mailings on Earls Court matters, as Daley misleadingly implies.  It should also be noted that one of the willing recipients on Phelps’ email list has stated that he had to gain Phelps’ trust before being included on the email list.  Why was Mark Daley, alone among all the Councillors on the Council, a recipient on the pervert email list?  Are we to believe that this was just purely random, that Phelps just happened to include Daley on this list, perhaps risking Daley not taking too kindly to them and reporting him to the Council Leader, or even the police?

There are many unanswered questions concerning Daley’s role in being a recipient of the pervert emails.  We cannot accept uncorroborated and self interested statements which appear to be motivated by a desire to return to a political career, when the known facts appear to be incompatible with what Mark Daley is saying.  From taking an honourable decision to resign and return to a private life, which this blog believed he was entitled to have after sacrificing his political career, we can only view with disgust and dismay this cynical attempt to return to public life while not giving the full facts and answering all the questions concerning why he was one of the few individuals who were in receipt of Phelps’ pervert emails.  It is pure obfuscation to allege that he had blocked Phelps’ emails because they were about Earls Court matters that did not concern him, when the emails in question were never mass mailed by Phelps and are in a totally different category.  For these reasons, this blog will campaign to inform the public concerning the many questions concerning this man which he must answer fully and convincingly before he should ever re-enter public life.  There is nothing in what Mark Daley, or his defenders, have said so far which resolves the doubts and concerns about his role as a recipient of Phelps’ disgusting emails.  Indeed, it makes absolutely no sense for some individuals who are seeking to rehabilitate Mark Daley, for them to condemn Barry Phelps for sending these disgusting emails, while seeking to find excuses for Mark Daley on the basis of only his self interested testimony and nothing more.

More BS Than “Big Society”

The ConDem Coalition’s “Big Society” And How It Will Affect The Borough

There is a scene in the film “Angela’s Ashes” where Frank McCourt’s impoverished mother, played by Emily Watson, went to a local welfare board to plead for some money to feed her family.  It was a humiliating experience.  If the ConDem Coalition Government has its way, this will be the future for many impoverished families throughout the country, as the “Big Society” manifests itself as a postcode lottery for social welfare provision by local charities and voluntary organisations staffed by local busybodies and individuals with missions to moralise the poor.  Readers of this blog might be sceptical that this is where the “Big Society” will take us, but some of those experts who have studied what exactly this notion of the “Big Society”, so often referred to by the Coalition, actually means have come precisely to the conclusion that it involves the dismantling of the welfare state and collective provision of government services.  You can read what one of these experts has to say here:

 http://www.neweconomics.org/blog/2010/07/19/camerons-big-society-will-leave-the-poor-and-powerless-behind

Although the government hasn’t given a detailed programme of what the “Big Society” will mean, from what we know it seems that it will involve the replacement of collective and state provision of services with greater reliance on voluntary, charitable, and private sector provision in such areas of welfare, social services for the poor and elderly, housing, education, healthcare, and even policing.  Some of us who have studied British political history might have the feeling of deja vu all over again, as these ideas, although packaged as new by the Coalition, are as old as the nineteenth century.  The debate concerning state versus voluntary and private provision of services was very lively at the turn of the twentieth century, particularly at the time when Lloyd George was Chancellor of the Exchequer and was laying the foundations of the welfare state. In fact Lloyd George was playing something of a catch up with the rival economic power of Germany, which had pioneered the welfare state and state social insurance in the late nineteenth century.  The debate we are going to have about the ConDem “Big Society” is going to be a rehash of the old arguments we can study in our history books, whereby the case for state collective provision for welfare and other services will have to be made all over again, only this time it will be about dismantling state collective provision rather than establishing it.  Back at the beginning of the twentieth century there were studies by many early sociologists and philanthropists such as Rowntree’s studies of York, which showed considerable poverty was in no way eradicated or diminished by charitable and voluntary sector provision.  This was the main argument of those proposing state provision of welfare and other services, in that charities and the voluntary sector just would not be able to provide what is needed or provide a consistent universal standard of help and service nationally.  Also there was the stigma of those who were poor and needed help having to apply for something discretionary, rather than as a statutory right. 

Anybody studying Rowntree’s periodic studies of poverty in York will note the gradual improvement in the condition of the poor as each instalment of the welfare state was being constructed throughout the first half of the twentieth century.  Charitable and voluntary provision for the poor, as well as other social services and healthcare, were supplementary to the state becoming the main provider for social security, social services, and free health care through the National Health Service.  This is something which Britain could be proud of.  Most Conservatives accepted this arrangement, such as Harold Macmillan and Edward Heath.  Even Margaret Thatcher never went as far as the ConDems in their plans to dismantle the welfare state and even the National Health Service and to take us back to the nineteenth century where such services will be local, and the voluntary and charitable sectors will be involved in service provision.

But how would all this manifest itself on a local scale in the borough?  The blog will try to provide a preview of how the dismantling of the state’s provision of welfare and social services, and many other services provided by the local authority,  will affect local residents.  The devolution of many government and local government statutory services to voluntary and private bodies, will be a recipe for chaos and a postcode lottery for service provision for not just the most vulnerable and poor in our community, but also for all residents who rely on statutory and regulated services from the Town Hall.  It will be a charter for busy bodies and for crones and cronies of the Town Hall to establish themselves with quasi authority, and funded by your Council Tax to govern and intrude in all our lives in many areas of service provision currently provided by the Town Hall.  In a prosperous borough such as Kensington and Chelsea, there might be no shortage of articulate individuals with the time and the money to engage in many local initiatives to bring decision making on many issues away from the Town Hall to Residents Associations, or local societies or local planning campaigns.  This will ensure their voices will be heard more than the inarticulate and those too busy with work to get involved in local decision making or providing local services.  Do we really want to move to a society where a committee of prosperous residents acquire for themselves powerful decision making roles over many aspects of our lives, from local policing, to parking regulations, to planning decision making, as well as local charities being the port of call for when we are poor?  Do we really want a post code lottery for finding a General Practitioner who will be willing to provide an expensive but effective medication for a chronic illness?  Some parts of the borough may be very desirable places to live in, but others may deteriorate with poor standards of service provision, dragging down house prices, and with there never being enough money to maintain the infrastructure of the area.  Also, there will be the risk of increased poverty and crime, as collective provision of social services and welfare is withdrawn in favour of more local initiatives with limited budgets which cannot cope with the extent of local need.  In short we will be going back to how things were in the nineteenth century.  Except that the world has changed much since then, and the problems which gave rise to the intervention of the state in the twentieth century will be even more urgent after we get a taste of what the ConDem Coalition has in store for us.

Coming Soon: More BS Than “Big Society”

The ConDem Coalition’s “Big Society” And How It Will Affect The Borough

There has been much talk among the chattering classes concerning the Coalition’s big idea concerning the “Big Society”.  But the government hasn’t given a detailed programme of what the “Big Society” will mean, but from what we know it seems that it will involve the replacement of collective and state provision of services with greater reliance on voluntary, charitable, and private sector provision in such areas of welfare, social services for the poor and elderly, housing, education, healthcare, and even policing.  Some of us who have studied British political history might have the feeling of deja vu all over again, as these ideas, although packaged as new by the Coalition, are as old as the nineteenth century.  The debate concerning state versus voluntary and private provision of services was very lively at the turn of the twentieth century, particularly at the time when Lloyd George was Chancellor of the Exchequer and was laying the foundations of the welfare state.  But how would all this manifest itself on a local scale in the borough?  The blog will attempt to provide a preview of how the dismantling of the state’s provision of welfare and social services, and many other services provided by the local authority, and their devolution to voluntary and private bodies, will be a recipe for chaos and a postcode lottery for service provision for not just the most vulnerable and poor in our community, but also for all residents who rely on statutory and regulated services from the Town Hall.  It will be a charter for busy bodies and for crones and cronies of the Town Hall to establish themselves with quasi authority, and funded by your Council Tax to govern and intrude in all our lives in many areas of service provision currently provided by the Town Hall.

David Miliband And Remembrance Of Things Past

This blog wishes to congratulate Ed Miliband on his election as leader of the Labour Party.  He is an intelligent and very able person, and will be no pushover for the Coalition.  Although billed as “Red Ed”,  it would be a big mistake for his opponents in the Coalition to be complacent in typecasting him as unelectable and leading Labour into a ghetto of opposition for a generation.  One of our writers on this blog has both lived through and studied the period after Labour’s defeat in 1979, and he can confirm that the circumstances and facts are just very different to the factional infighting that occurred after Labour’s defeat in 1979.  We have just witnessed an amazingly good willed leadership election, and there is every suggestion that the Labour Party has a self discipline and hunger for power that will make it avoid the fratricidal infighting of the 1980s. 

We also wish to commiserate with David Miliband, whom one of our writers was a contemporary of at the same college at Oxford, and therefore can feel in some small way qualified to make some observations on this very talented individual.  David Miliband would have also made a great leader of the Labour Party, and he will be very disappointed at losing the election.  His closeness to Tony Blair did not help him, and this probably is the reason for his failure to be elected.  Our writer on this blog who knew him as a student has commented that David Miliband was a very popular student in the college, he had a very engaging manner and smile, and lacked the self importance, arrogance, and boorishness of some other students of his generation who were at Oxford at the same time and are now in prominence in all the parties.  He was very down to earth, and to our writer’s recollection was not active in the Labour Club but seemed to be content with his studies and being involved in the College, including being elected as Junior Common Room President.  At least David Miliband did not take drugs, unlike some of the leading members of the Conservative Party in government at the moment, and he was not a member of the Bullingdon Club, and he did not in any way attempt to recreate Brideshead Revisited through foppish buffoonery or ostentious displays of wealth.  Our writer remembers attending the interviews at Oxford with him, as they were both candidates on the Inner London Education Authority/PPE Scheme, whereby state school students were encouraged to apply to Oxford to study Philosophy, Politics and Economics.  He was a charming and very likeable young man, and it came as no surprise to our writer that he should rise in the Labour Party to being in the Cabinet and to the position of being able to run for its leadership.  The blog hopes that David Miliband will remain in active politics as his talents would be a great loss to the Labour Party if he decided to make a career outside of politics.

There is one other observation that can be made about David Miliband and that is concerning his father, the late distinguished Ralph Miliband, a renowned Marxist.  It was quite clear, even at Oxford, that David was of a different outlook to his father concerning Marxism, and he appeared more mainstream and a realist in terms of Labour Party politics.  It is wrong to tar either of the Miliband brothers with Marxism because of their father’s political beliefs and writings.  Ralph Miliband has written some interesting books on Marxism and the relationship of the Labour Party to the state, but as a practical programme for the improvement of the poorer citizens of Britain, Ralph Miliband’s ideas were intellectually interesting but ultimately would lead any political movement of the Left to a dead end.  It seems that his sons have appeared to understand this, and their politics have been concerned with making the Labour Party electable.  Our writer nonetheless believes that as a writer of political ideas, Ralph Miliband is very interesting reading.  On one occasion our writer had a telephone conversation with Ralph Miliband and found him very approachable and friendly, and the impression of our writer is that Ralph Miliband was the sort of intellectual who would brighten up an otherwise dull and boring politics seminar.  Having imbibed politics since a very early age, growing up in a household where political ideas were much discussed, David and Ed will need to deploy every political skill they have learnt to take on the ConDem Coalition and provide effective Opposition.