Opinion: Dear David Ward – drop it, please

David WardOn his website, David Ward MP carries an article from his local Telegraph and Argus which begins:

David Ward has lashed out at his Liberal Democrat bosses – accusing them of wrongly claiming he has been ordered to attend “language classes”.
The Bradford East MP insisted no such punishment had been imposed, following his controversial comments about Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians.
Mr Ward also said it was his understanding that any disciplinary process was now over – despite the Lib Dem chief whip stating it was merely “adjourned”.
And he spoke of his “anger” at the way the issue had been handled, not disputing that Lib Dem party procedures had been exposed as shambolic.
The MP told the T&A: “I’m very disappointed and angry about this, because what has been said does not reflect what I believe was decided.
“And, as someone who has run race awareness classes, I find the idea that I have been sent on some sort of correctionary course to be patronising and quite offensive.”
The comments risk a fresh storm over Mr Ward’s condemnation of “the Jews” in Israel for “inflicting atrocities on Palestinians…..on a daily basis”, made on his website. And they are particularly high-risk, because the latest disciplinary meeting – on Tuesday – was attended by both leader Nick Clegg and Simon Hughes, the deputy leader.

I agree that a letter should not be put out apparently expressing an agreement when all parties appear not to have agreed to it.

As this is my last post as a member of the Liberal Democrat Voice team, I feel this is a unusual opportunity to be frank.

Dear David Ward, please drop this. You made a really stupid, crass mistake by using the phrase “the Jews” in a statement on your website. It was an act of stupidity of mind-blowing proportions. A colossal misjudgement. Even someone taking their GCSEs should’t make a thunderously daft mistake like that. And you say you have run race awareness courses! Unbelievable!

You should just accept that you made a mistake and stop blaming Alistair Carmichael, Nick Clegg and Simon Hughes for doing their jobs.

If you don’t like it, stand as an independent at the next election.

Message ends.

* Paul Walter is a Liberal Democrat activist in Newbury and West Berkshire. He is Wednesday Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and blogs at Liberal Burblings.

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51 Comments

  • Stuart Mitchell 4th Mar '13 - 6:11pm

    Very well put Paul. The really disturbing thing about all this is that Ward still seems to feel that he has been hard done by – which tends to give the impression that the word “mistake” does not adequately describe his decision to use such appalling language.

  • Well when in a huge hole why stop? Just swap the shovel for industrial digging equipment…

  • In full agreement with you Paul.

  • I’ve been looking for a big shovel I wonder if he will lend it me when he has finished deepening and widening the hole he has been working on since the original statement..l

  • I agree with David Ward, the party has not followed proper procedures and what is more, the party should stop pandering to the Israeli lobby and allow free debate on the Palestinian issue.

  • Richard Church 4th Mar '13 - 10:19pm

    It’s impossible to comment on what might or might not have been agreed at a private meeting, but sending David Ward on ‘language classes’ is daft. Yes he has been foolish in his choice of words, but the pro-Israeli lobby are pursuing him for that to the ends of the earth.

    They should drop it.

  • My understanding that these are not party disciplinary proceedings. Certainly they don’t follow any of the procedure as I understand it.

    These may have been disciplinary proceedings of the Parliamentary party.

  • I imagine most people opposed to the objectionable actions of the Israeli government feel about David Ward the way most mainstream animal rights campaigners feel about the idiots who post animal carcasses to medical researchers.

  • David Pollard 4th Mar '13 - 10:53pm

    Somebody had better tell me what is wrong with what David Ward said. As far as I know there are no non-Jews in the Isreali cabinet and all the people who have objected formally to what he said have been connected to Jewish organisations. Please let me know if it is any different. What I have suggested to David Ward is that he brings together a group of British Muslims and British Jews to see if they can find common ground to put to Israel and the Palestinians, on the assumption that if British Jews and Muslims cannot reach agreement on steps forward, then there is no chance that those on the ground will ever be able to do so.

  • Sam Barnett 4th Mar '13 - 11:09pm

    I am alarmed by the number of people who are arguing for Ward on the basis that he is being ‘hounded by the Israel lobby’. Everything he has said and done recently has been wrong and offensive.

    Judeophobia is more subtle than many other forms of racism. It manifests in treating all Jews as part of a vast, inscrutable ‘Other’ with malevolent intentions, regardless of what they do in practice. Ward did precisely this, he continues to do it, and all the commentators who suggest he is being silenced by a Jewish lobby are doing it right now.

    Does it not occur to the people on this thread that Jews just get offended when he suggests that we, as a race, should ‘know better’? I don’t like Netanyahu. He doesn’t like Blair. But neither of them are comparable to Hitler, and I hardly think you should expect the Jew to ‘know better’ than the Brit because his ethnicity was the victim of the world’s greatest atrocity. Rather, one would expect, it would make him rather warier or people with explicitly anti-Semitic agendas- like, say, Hamas. If the Israelis are heavy handed and often illiberal, that makes them the same as Britain, America or maybe Pakistan, It does not, as Ward seems to think, make them the world’s greatest war criminals. To suggest as much smacks of an agenda on his part.

  • “Somebody had better tell me what is wrong with what David Ward said. As far as I know there are no non-Jews in the Isreali cabinet and all the people who have objected formally to what he said have been connected to Jewish organisations. Please let me know if it is any different.”

    The problem with what David Ward said – obviously – is that he blamed “the Jews” in general for actions of the State of Israel that he disapproved of.

    To think that that would be justified by the fact that the members of the Israeli government were all Jewish is to fall into a logical fallacy that should be obvious to anyone of reasonable intelligence. Think “All horses have four legs, therefore all animals with four legs are horses”. That kind of thing.

    As for all the people who have “formally” complained being Jewish, I doubt it’s true, but if so it can easily be fixed. Just tell me what I have to do to complain “formally”.

  • Richard Dean 4th Mar '13 - 11:34pm

    But, Sam Barnett, your idea that “Jews get offended when …” is also “treating all Jews as part of a vast, inscrutable ‘Other’”.

  • @ David Pollard
    By saying “the Jews” he was making an unwarranted, sweeping generalisation, implying that the actions of the Israeli government reflected on all Jews everywhere. Now, he may not have meant that and it may just have been a clumsily-worded remark, but it’s still pretty offensive – just as it would be offensive for someone to say “the muslims bombed the twin towers” or “the catholics molested children”.

    And actually, the one thing people who make such generalisations accomplish (apart from making themselves sound stupid and possibly prejudiced), is to play into the agenda of those who really do want to group all people of a certain religion together under the same banner. That’s something Zionist settlers often try to do – claiming they represent Judaism at large. Liberal Jews (and even many moderate Israelis) will tell you they find it pernicious when settlers try to make out that they speak for them, but comments such as David Ward’s play into that narrative. Likewise, radical Islamists will often claim to be “standing up” for muslims everywhere, but – again – moderate muslims find that pernicious, and it’s equally unhelpful when some politician tries to group all muslims under one banner because – again – it just plays into the extremists’ agenda.

  • Tony Greaves 4th Mar '13 - 11:52pm

    Oh dear, what a lot of hot air. The fact is that David Ward is a brilliant MP and he hads a perfect right to stick up for himself in the T & A – the Bradford daily paper. The way in which top LD MPs have treated him is a disgrace in my view, and similar to the way they treated Jenny Tonge, another Liberal who is worth more than a lot of her critics put together.

    If the powers that be in this party think that shooting their own troops in the foot whenever the Jewish establishment in this country cry foul, and doing so by crass briefing of hostile national journalists, is the right way to go about things, they have a lot to learn. And if they think that treating elected MPs like naughty children is the way to win respect from those MPs (and hold seats at the next election)…

    As for the suggestion that David should “stand as an Independent”, such a comment is beyond contempt.

    Tony Greaves

  • Lord Greaves

    And you don’t think that condemning all Jewish people on the basis of the actions of the Israeli government was just a teensy weensy bit illiberal? A slight shadow on the surface of your “brilliant” MP?

  • Paul Holmes 5th Mar '13 - 12:30am

    Paul Walter seems to have abused his position as an -outgoing-member of the Lib Dem Voice Team. His comments are the sort of personal attack that he and his fellow team members supposedly will not allow lesser mortals to indulge in when commenting on LD Voice.

    As for David I agree with Tony Greaves that he is an outstandingly good Liberal Democrat MP. I told him at the time that I thought he should have used the term ‘State of Israel’ rather than ‘the Jews’ but otherwise I fail to see how anyone can disagree with what he said from an objective, factual point of view.

  • Sam Barnett 5th Mar '13 - 1:03am

    @ Richard Dean: Hardly, I’m not supposing motive or intention, just shock that in this day and age someone has the presumption to lecture a race then expect them to be grateful.

    @ Tony and Paul: Just because someone is an excellent MP does not somehow exempt them from restrictions on racist or offensive conduct. I would like to ask how you would respond if an otherwise-excellent MP challenged Muslims to learn lessons from racial violence.

    Jenny Tonge was hardly hounded. She suggested Israeli soldiers were harvesting Haitian organs, a classic blood libel.

  • Richard Dean 5th Mar '13 - 1:25am

    Ok, Sam. But in fact it seems that Jenny Tonge did not suggest that at all, see the link below. Someone else suggested it, and Jenny suggested that one way to counter the allegations was to set up an independent inquiry. Certainly the suggestion was made in a publication that she was connected to, but that does not mean she okayed the article or knew of it before it was published.

    What followed seems to have been something between an innocent over-reaction and a deliberate smear. People seem to have mistakenly interpreted her suggestion as implying that she believed the allegations to be true. But it seems instead that she gave the allegations “no credence whatsoever”, and was attempting to offer what was intended to be a helpful suggestion that recognized the reality that large sections of Western opinion do not give much credence to Israeli denials of bad practices.
    http://www.thejc.com/news/uk-news/27070/tonge-investigate-idf-stealing-organs-haiti

  • Sam Barnett 5th Mar '13 - 2:01am

    Even if that is true she patronised the paper that ran it despite no evidence whatsoever (concerning), and then called for an inquiry to give the whole sorry situation an air of legitimacy. To suggest the burden of proof should be on the IDF to show the world it doesn’t steal organs is a clear message that the blood libel is alive and well. Not to mention the comment that Jewish financial interests control the West and the Lib Dems, which was extremely objectionable. [That said, I will grant that the JC is not above manipulating her words].

    The problem I have with the tone of comments here is the idea that angry Jewish voices are somehow less valid than angry female, BME or LGBT voices, because it’s part of a premeditated, manipulative ‘Jewish Lobby’. At very least, I urge everyone reading to at least consider that there are some Jews out there who are hurt and without motive, and consider David Ward in that light.

  • Richard Dean 5th Mar '13 - 2:17am

    My impression from the Israeli press is that they were astonished that Clegg should cave in and that Jenny was made to resign. For example, the article in the following link seems to be trying to be very clear that Jenny was not to blame. http://www.jpost.com/International/Article.aspx?id=168621

    Organ harvesting rumours are well established in the Caribbean, as are rumours of illegal surrogate mothering, and many different peoples are suggested as perpetrators. While working on a construction site there recently, I was warned by colleagues that, if I was to travel to some parts of Central America, I should make sure I gave the clear impression of being seriously ill, because fit people are targets for harvesters!

  • I am left frankly speechless at some of the comments on this thread. David Ward is wrong. What he said was wrong, when he said it was wrong, his reactions subsequently have been wrong and as has been said here, the cause he was attempting to further has been damaged as a result of his intervention.

    The Party leadership are absolutely right with what they have done, in fact, I believe they should have acted quicker and more decisively as it would have avoided this further furore (yesterday’s chip paper etc) .

    Are we genuinely going to tolerate anyone making sweeping generalisations on a sensitive issue like this whilst also allowing referencing and comparisons to the greatest genocide to have ever occurred? Please.

    Israel is made up of Jews, Arabs, Druce, Christians and those of no denomination at all. It’s also worth noting that all of these groups are represented in the Israeli parliament, so as the sovereign body in that country, David was not only pandering to age old ‘jew’ stereotypes but he was also 100% factually wrong!

    Whether David W is a good MP or not is not what we or the leadership are debating here, this outburst and his subsequent reaction shows he has poor judgement, and certainly is not a team player for the Parly Party.

    For the record, I’m not Jewish, have in the past campaigned for the Palestinian cause and was mortally offended and appalled by David’s comments. Well done Paul Walters for reflecting the views of many of the people I have discussed this issue with over the past few weeks, including when i was at Eastleigh…

  • Paul Holmes 5th Mar '13 - 10:24am

    Sam -I never said they should. Don’t falsely try and put words in my mouth, although you join the many who have tried to over many issues.

  • I don’t know David Ward and I haven’t analysed what he has and hasn’t said in detail. The impression I get is that he is a brilliant Lib Dem MP representing the views of his constituents in a very difficult and hostile situation where he is under constant attack from Labour and Respect. I think he needs our support, particularly with his literature, not our condemnation every time he makes a mistake in his literature.

  • @ Andi Ali, Richard Church & Tony Greaves

    The tin foil hat look is so 1990’s

  • It is beyond dispute that the ongoing conflict between Israel and Palestine is a threat to peace in the Middle East and beyond. If David Ward has awakened debate on this issue ,then, while I hope he will be more diplomatic in future, his ill-judged statement has done us all a favour

  • The BBC is reporting that “The party had said Mr Ward agreed to work with the Lib Dem Friends of Israel to identify “proportionate language” to use in the future to express his views. See here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-21664702
    If true this is very disturbing. Why would an elected MP need to work with the Lib Dem Friends of Israel to identify “proportionate language” to use in the future to express his views? And who decides what is proportionate language? The Lib Dem Friends of Israel ?

  • I can’t believe people are still defending what David Ward said, the right response would have been for him to apologise for using such crass language and leave it at that. Are we really expected to believe it’s impossible to criticise Israel without talking about ‘The Jews’ and that people who object to him doing that are being deluded by (of course) some kind of conspiracy?

    And as for Jenny Tonge, the correct reaction to such a ludicrous allegation about organ harvesting is to dismiss it for the nonsense it clearly was. Unless she really does think that every crackpot allegation should be subjected to an inquiry, but somehow I suspect not – just the ones about Israel.

    And Lord Greaves, I’m sorry but most of the briefing to journalists has come from a series of catastrophic interventions by David himself. I’m not Jewish, but am getting profoundly depressed at the way some people in this party seem to think the usual rules of respect and avoiding unnecessary offence and stereotyping somehow don’t count when it comes to Israel.

  • paul barker 5th Mar '13 - 12:42pm

    Wards reference to “The Jews” is the sort of thinking that ought to be impossible for a Liberal, thats just not the way we should look at the world. I dont care if Ward is a “brilliant” MP, he doesnt seem to be a Liberal.
    This has gone beyond the point where silence from Ward would be enough, the disciplinary procedure should be re-opened with a view to removing the whip.

  • I agree with Tony Greaves, Paul K and others.

    My view is also that David Ward is an excellent MP. I was impressed with his principled stand against the welfare cuts, and wish more of our MPs would follow his lead.

  • ‘The comments risk a fresh storm over Mr Ward’s condemnation of “the Jews” in Israel for “inflicting atrocities on Palestinians’

    That’s not what he said though. My initial thoughts on this issue were that his remarks were crass and offensive for applying the term ‘the Jews’ to the state of Israel. However, this is what he actually wrote:

    ‘I am saddened that the Jews, who suffered unbelievable levels of persecution during the Holocaust, could within a few years of liberation from the death camps, be inflicting atrocities on Palestinians in the new State of Israel and continue to do so on a daily basis in the West Bank and Gaza’

    That is a quite different statement to stating, somewhat selectively, that Ward condemned ‘the Jews’ in Israel for inflicting atrocities on Palestinians. Having now read the original statement think that the people in greater need of language classes are the ones criticising Ward. For a start, he describes the Jews as having suffered a terrible persecution during the Holocaust. That in itself is not an inappropriate use of the term ‘the Jews’ given that the Holocaust was an act committed against Jews on the basis that they were Jewish (but remembering that it was also committed against several million others). Given that the creation of modern Israel is inextricably linked to the flight of Jews from the Holocaust then there is a logical link in the argument.

    I have heard the same point made on numerous occasions before – that those who suffered such terrible persecution in Europe during the war seem indifferent to the plight of Palestinian refugees. Now, you may or may not agree with the thrust of that argument. You might think that the Holocaust is significantly different in scale to the plight of the Palestinians at the hands of Israel. However, it is important that people should be allowed to express and discuss such opinions. The use of the phrase ‘the Jews’ to describe those that escaped the Holocaust and fled to Israel is not inappropriate. Perhaps Ward could then have gone on to phrase the second half of the argument better by clearly making the point that it is the state of Israel, whose birth as a modern nation was inextricably linked with the persecuted Jews of Europe, that is committing atrocities against the Palestinians.

    I find the attempts to portray his remarks as anti-Semitic and the apparent (I’m not exactly sure what has gone on in this regard though) attempts to control his opinions as more worrying than his statement.

  • From the T&A article:
    “Meanwhile, Liberal Democrat Friends of Israel (LDFI) threw doubt on next week’s meeting – attacking Mr Ward for failing to remove the original post from his website.”

    So, Ward is to be condemned for words we shouldn’t be allowed to read and judge for ourselves (other than the ‘selected’ bits that keep getting re-published).

  • Sorry to waffle on, but to underline my point:

    “I am saddened that the Jews, who suffered unbelievable levels of persecution during the Holocaust”

    Does ‘the Jews’ in that context mean the Jewish people as a whole or does he simply mean the Jews (plural) that fled from the Holocaust? Taken out of context, ‘the Jews’ ‘inflicting atrocities’ simply refers to the race (or ‘people’ or whatever collective noun is appropriate) and is, in my opinion, deliberately more misleading than the original statement.

  • Tony Greaves 5th Mar '13 - 6:00pm

    “am getting profoundly depressed at the way some people in this party seem to think the usual rules of respect and avoiding unnecessary offence and stereotyping somehow don’t count when it comes to Israel.”

    Well yes I agree with this but probably from an opposite point of view.

    David’s comments were very clearly in relation to Israel. It is Israel itself that defines itself as the “Jewish state”. Most of the world refers to Israel as “the Jews” in the context of Israel and Palestine. I don’t and I make a clear distinction and have to do so time and again when discussing the issue with many colleagues (including Liberal Democrats) in Pendle.

    Get real.

    Tony Greaves

  • Stuart Mitchell 5th Mar '13 - 6:25pm

    I think I’d worked out by the age of about five that blaming an entire group for the actions of some was plain wrong. I’m literally shaking my head in disbelief that any liberal would seek to defend Ward’s use of the term “the Jews”.

    Ward’s initial apology seemed less than sincere (coming hours after telling the BBC that he didn’t “feel bad about it in any way”), and his latest outburst tends to confirm this. The Lib Dems should ditch him. What they appear to have done instead is give the impression of acting when in fact they have done nothing, in order to sweep the whole thing under the carpet.

  • Referring to the government of Israel as “the Jews” is something like referring to the government of the United Kingdom as “the English” — or rather, by some ambiguous term which could mean either “the English” or “the Anglicans.”

  • Richard Dean 5th Mar '13 - 6:33pm

    There are plenty of people in the Caribbean who believe that organ harvesting is done in that region, to supply the needs of the rich North American market.

    There was an investigation on UK TV not long ago about an arab girl in Israel who was persuaded to sell one of her organs to a rich jewish man. If memory serves, the operation was done in Cyprus, and a doctor interviewed in Israel confirmed that he thought it was not an isolated case. The girl ended up working as a prostitute a few miles from where the rich recipient lived in splendour, proclaiming he didn’t want to know her because she’d be asking him for money.

    I think South East Asia was once rumoured in connection with illegal organ transplants. It seems that these things do happen in several or even many places globally, in different countries and involving different cultures. So it was perhaps not as obvious at first sight that the rumours about Haiti were false. It would certainly have been very remiss if Jenny had heard them and simply assumed they were untrue.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/may/27/kidney-trade-illegal-operations-who

  • Stuart Mitchell 5th Mar '13 - 7:02pm

    David: “Referring to the government of Israel as “the Jews” is something like referring to the government of the United Kingdom as “the English”

    No it isn’t. The Israeli equivalent of “the English” is “the Israelis”.

  • David Evans 5th Mar '13 - 11:15pm

    Stuart,

    Are there any non Jews in the Israili cabinet? Just asking for clarification. Also isn’t the government on the UK technically “the British”

  • Stuart, I think you’ll find that English is only one ethnic group among many in the United Kingdom and that Jewish is one ethnic group among many in Israel. There are many non-Jewish Israelis just as there are many non-English Britons.

  • Kevin McNamara 6th Mar '13 - 2:39am

    the issue is not that david ward criticised the israeli state – he was right to do so even if he picked very, very questionable timing. the problem is that he shows his own ignorance on the issue somewhat – not all jews are zionists, many are palestinians. many jewish arabs want a successful peace process. erasing them will not liberate palestine.

  • Richard – the issue with Jenny was not whether there have ever been allegations or rumours about organ harvesting. It’s whether the appropriate response to accusations that Israeli medics helping out in the aftermath of the Haiti earthquake were actually there harvesting organs was to say there should be an inquiry. Personally I felt she was wildly misjudged in what she said because she appeared to be lending credence to a pretty offensive lie, although there have clearly been some who have tried to exagerrate her remarks.

    Lord Greaves says ‘get real’ but the reality is that as a party we are seen by many Jewish people as tolerating the use of anti-semitic tropes. Now, of course we have to be careful that we don’t allow free debate to be stifled. But it’s fairly easy to do that isn’t it? And to realise that when you cause offfense to a large number of reasonable people then you have probably, even if accidentally, crossed a line? Shouldn’t the Liberal Democrats take it seriously that we are getting a pretty unpleasant reputation over some of this?

    David Ward can, and should, criticise Israel as much as he wants and I hope he doesn’t feel he should stop because of this controversy (something that seems unlikely). But it’s not too much to ask that we try to avoid certain errors , as Tony Greaves admits he himself does, and when we fail to meet that standard to be honest enough to admit it.

  • I think it’s important to mention the Steve Bell cartton in the Guardian last November. This is how it was typically greeted by some right-wing commentators:

    http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/brendanoneill2/100189995/jews-still-running-the-world-implies-the-guardian/

    Bell and the Guardian were labelled anti-semitic despite the fact the cartoon depicts a satrical take on a photograph ( which can be seen at: http://www.bluelight.ru/vb/threads/653185-Israel-and-Gaza/page8 ) probably because the image contains Jewish symbols (the star of David and the menora). Yet, these are symbols of the State of Israel. It is the equivalent of labelling someone as anti-Christian on the basis of a satrical cartoon depicting the British flag (which contains Christian symbols). But there again anti-Christian doesn’t sound anywhere near as bad as anti-semitic does it? – or does it? (A reader of these pages might be forgiven for thinking that anti-Christian abuse is a normal part of our society). Anyway, back to the point – there is a large lobby group in this country that is happy to deliberately depict as anti-semitic anyone that dares to criticise Israel. This was certainly the case with the Bell cartoon. Ward’s words weren’t carefully chosen, however the criticism levelled against him has to be measured against the power and the influence of the lobby group attacking him and previous attempts to depict perfectly legitimate anti-zionism as anti-semitism.

  • @ Tony Greaves

    So you wouldn’t use language, as it is offensive, But it is ok for David Ward to use it because he is your mate?

    Just checking your tin foil hat logic here.

  • Stuart Mitchell 6th Mar '13 - 7:26pm

    David Evans: A more pertinent question is, are there any Jews who are not in the Israeli cabinet?

    Not quite sure why the two Davids take me to task for using the term “the English” when it was very clear that I was quoting the other David (strange how there are so many Davids popping up in this thread!)

  • Richard Dean 6th Mar '13 - 7:53pm

    It seemed astonishing to me that people would claim that UN troops brought cholera to Haiti, but it now appears that they did. At the time it would have been easy to have followed the critics of Jenny Tonge and discounted the rumours, and indeed the UN refused to investigate for a long time. The reality is now described as the “worst cholera epidemic in recent history”.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/feb/21/un-haiti-cholera-victims-rejects-compensation
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2010%E2%80%932013_Haiti_cholera_outbreak

  • Yes. Clearly saying people unwittingly brought cholera to a country is directly comparable to accusing them of deliberately harvesting organs. I don’t know what all the fuss was about.

  • @ Richard Deam

    Intent and negligence are two very differnt things. In particular, negligence must meet a level threshold of carelessness before we criticise people for it (noone is perfect) but intent is binary.

    Can you see that?

  • Stephen Duke 10th Mar '13 - 9:29pm

    Reading some of the comments in this thread is shocking. David Ward was wrong 100% and his reluctance to apologise with even a grain of sincerity questions whether his comments were mistaken or said with malice aforethought. Ward’s comments were offensive on any day of the year but one question which springs to mind is what motivates someone to highlight alleged Jewish crimes on the very occasion set aside to commemorate crimes committed against Jews? I mean that seems like the kind of thing someone who hates Jews might do…

    Regardless of his intentions, Ward’s response has been more appropriate to a sulky teenager than to an elected public servant, In fact, he doesn’t even meet the standard of adult human being; part of being an adult is to accept responsibility for yourself, especially when you screw-up. In the case of David Ward he has done everything to avoid accepting responsibility for his own actions and choices. Its pathetic.

    Ward’s initial comments were ignorant, bigoted and offensive. On top of this, David Ward has shown that he lacks the required maturity and judgement to hold a position of public responsibility. This sorry episode tells us everything we need to know about David Ward’s suitability (or lack of) for public office.

    The weak response by the party leadership has only compounded the offence. Once more the Liberal Democrats’ leadership are giving the impression that they tolerate anti-Semites amongst their ranks. I don’t know, there may be an electoral advantage to this but it isn’t very Liberal. A party with principles that take racism seriously would have withdrawn the whip, its really that simple.

    The comments saying he should have said “State of Israel” rather than telling us what he really thinks are disturbing, as if masking racism is somehow kosher.

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