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.