LibLInk: Paul Scriven: Jared O’Mara’s comments are “the most disgusting I’ve seen in 30 years of politics”

Paul Scriven has been writing for Politics Home about the behaviour and comments of Sheffield Hallam MP Jared O’Mara. He says that they are the most disgusting he has seen in politics. I have to say that’s quite a high bar, remembering what I do about the negativity of the Labour Party in Sheffield when I lived in that area.

He makes the point that O’Mara was going for elected office not long after the comments were made and there are recent episodes which suggest that the journey he says he has been on is pretty short.

hese outbursts are not of some teenager sat in their bedroom. In 2004 O’Mara was a Labour party candidate for Sheffield City Council. He stood in multiple council elections for the Labour Party, never making much progress. Pretending he was new to the party, someone unknown who they had just come across, is a weak excuse the doesn’t hold up. They should be called out at every opportunity for clinging to it.

More recently, only seven months ago, he has been accused of sexist and aggressive language to a woman in a nightclub in Sheffield. The Labour Party have themselves now admitted that they didn’t do any background checks when they selected him.

He suggests that the people of Sheffield Hallam are getting a raw deal. 

He costs the taxpayer £74,000 a year and the people of Sheffield are getting a very poor deal from it.

This is a man was never expected to be an MP. A Labour Party which never expected him to be an MP. He is clearly not suited to the role. It is embarrassing to the British politics that he got this far. He has a history of misogynistic, racist homophobic blogs yet still got approved by Her Majesty’s Opposition and was then given the privilege of representing 65,000 people in parliament.

His views do not represent the outward looking tolerant and accepting people of Sheffield Hallam. Parliament deserves better than this. The people of Sheffield deserve better than this.

You can read the whole article here. 

 

* Caron Lindsay is Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and blogs at Caron's Musings

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21 Comments

  • Should we really be making political capital out of this in such a crude and obvious way? What kind of impression does this make in the minds of the electorate?

    Surely, it is a bit rich to accuse the Sheffield Labour Party of incompetence in this matter. O’Mara would not be MP for Sheffield Hallam if the Liberal Democrats had not been so blindingly incompetent as to lose what was once one of their safest seats.

    Liberal Democrats should be going much harder against Sheffield Labour for attempting to have a Sheffield councillor sent to jail for contempt of court. A more damning indictment against the contempt for democracy, human rights and civilised behaviour on the part of some sections of the Labour Party could hardly be imagined.

    What should we be saying about O’Mara? First, a full investigation is needed before we can judge him properly. Second, how is Sheffield Hallam going to be represented while O’Mara is in the Labour Party doghouse?

  • @ Sensenco “Should we really be making political capital out of this in such a crude and obvious way? What kind of impression does this make in the minds of the electorate?” Of course not. Completely agree with you.

    There’s an old saying about people throwing stones in glass houses. As a member for nearly sixty years I could supply a long list of our own lot who caused more than mere embarrassment over the years……. some, but not all, admittedly posthumously.

  • David Raw 28th Oct ’17 – 4:25pm…………There’s an old saying about people throwing stones in glass houses. As a member for nearly sixty years I could supply a long list of our own lot who caused more than mere embarrassment over the years……. some, but not all, admittedly posthumously…..

    You must be a ‘privileged customer’, David…All my commenyts along the same lines have been removed…

  • @expats I assume you gave names. The list was too long for me to do that !

  • David Raw 28th Oct ’17 – 11:14pm…@expats I assume you gave names. The list was too long for me to do that !…
    I made the error of criticising Nick Clegg on Joe Otten’s thread..I suggested that if he lost to a paper candidate like O’Mara his standing in Sheffield Hallam could not have been high…Fatal mistake

  • “His views do not represent the outward looking tolerant and accepting people of Sheffield Hallam”

    I don’t profess to know all the people of this constituency and I doubt the author does either. Sadly I suspect that far more people are in line with his views than regulars on this site would care to admit. In general, outside of the “metropolitan lefties” I think there is a large proportion of Labour voters who hold quite markedly nonPC views.

    I suspect (in fact I know from personal experience) that a trip to a building site, factory or just about any other environment where you find a large male dominated workgroup that you will hear far worse than reported here on a daily basis.

    I’m not excusing this man or anyone else who holds these views, but I think it needs accepting that there are still workplaces and leisure spaces where they are the norm.

  • Steve Way: I would humbly submit that acknowledging is different from accepting and the former would probably be better than the latter.

  • I don’t believe anyone should accept the remarks made by O’mara, or those on building sites, without condemnation…
    However, three separate threads on stupid and offensive comments, made 10 years ago, seems excessive…We seem to have joined the Sun/Mail/Express/ Telegraph in trying to equate O’mara with the ‘Left’ and the wider Labour party….

    If anything good can be said about the Harvey Weinstein scandal is that it seems to have emboldened women, who perhaps felt powerless to speak out against those who used their positions to act inappropriately, to come forward….
    I hope that the full story of such behavior in Westminster surfaces and I further hope, that if any of our party are involved, the indignation, and demand for action, mirrors our response to O’mara….

  • Should we condemn Jared of cause we should. As to throwing stones in glass houses we should do that too. For far too long we have all thought we can’t point out their faults because they might point out the faults of one of ours. All that approach does is enable and embolden the corrupt and perverse, people who don’t belong in power no matter what party they are in. So yes throw stones but remember just because someone belongs to the same party as you that doesn’t mean they get a pass in fact they should be stoned as hard if not harder than the rest.

  • expat,
    If it had only been a thread ten years ago perhaps but as the last allegation is some ten months old it isn’t,
    we can she a pattern and the pattern hasn’t changed. As to condeming those indulging in this behaviour I’d be disappointed if we rushed to the defence of anyone who was guilty of it.

  • Frankie, I urge you to look back at LDV threads (Jan 2014 comes to mind) regarding ‘ours’…
    Unless things have radically changed ‘circling the waggons’ comes to mind…

  • @ frankie “As to condemning those indulging in this behaviour I’d be disappointed if we rushed to the defence of anyone who was guilty of it.”

    Some did. In fact they even unveiled a blue plaque to one of them.

  • Paul clearly leads a sheltered life in the Lords and elsewhere if this is the worst he has heard in 30 years!

    What would be the worst outcome here is the sort of fudge we have seen before where O’Mara makes a lame and belated apology but is still able to continue in sensitive roles like being part of parliamentary delegations or questioning teenage women who attend the youth parliament at Westminster.

  • Steve, I don’t know where you come from, but I would guess it isn’t anywhere near Sheffield. Indeed, I doubt whether you know Paul Scriven that well either.

    Sheffield Hallam is one of the most well to do constituencies in the country; it’s inhabitants have one of the highest education levels of any constituency in the UK; substantial parts of it are in the Peak District National Park; it was rock solid Conservative for decades until Richard Allan won it for the Lib Dems in 1997; and it has the lowest level of child poverty in the country.

    Paul was a councillor in Sheffield from 2000 to 2012, and leader of the lib Dem group when they controlled the council. So I think he would have spent a significant amount of time talking to people in the area.

    So putting it simply, if you took a trip to a building site, factory or just about any other environment where you find a large male dominated workgroup in Sheffield Hallam, you would probably that most of them did not live in Hallam at all. Also, if you went to help the good Lib Dems in Sheffield Hallam in the run up to their council elections in 2018, you would probably meet Paul and learn a lot more about the area.

    Paul knows Sheffield and is right when he says “Mr O’Mara’s views do not represent the outward looking tolerant and accepting people of Sheffield Hallam. Parliament deserves better than this. The people of Sheffield deserve better than this.”

  • David,
    I said I’d be disappointed not surprised. It takes brave people to stand up against power and we don’t as a whole tend to be brave. We need to change that mind set my I suggest next time we get to put forward a peer we ask someone who has suffered by being that brave to take the place rather than a place man or woman.
    As an aside I once reported a senior manager who was a pest, it was dismissed as “He is a bit of a lad and he would probably shag her but he isn’t a pest”, I got moved on, he remained, it cost me very little as ambitious I am not but if I had been that would have been me stuffed. By such ways pests prosper and the rest of us stay quite.

  • expats,
    I’m sure you are right, it is unlikely I’d have seen the thread, by that time and I’d rather given up on libdemvoice having been moderated to death for daring to raise the issue that the leadership was driving the party into the rocks and pointing out the Tories where not our friends. However I can understand why people circle the wagons, it is always difficult to accept someone you respect or even idolize is not the person you think they are. The same goes for beliefs and feeling we don’t like to accept we could have been wrong; the problem is loath as we are to accept it we can’t be right in everything we believe or our opinion of individuals .

  • Lorenzo Cherin 29th Oct '17 - 1:11pm

    It has got nothing to do with left or right or centre or any area of the political spectrum.

    Most candidates of parties are decent. This man has said wretched things, was a so called paper candidate, who must be more unpopular with his local party now than with rivals, as they feel tarnished and need not. It is the responsibility of people, individuals ans society , to be civilised in our behaviour.

    If this mp has changed and if the story of his recent behaviour challenged by him, he should speak out and convince us .

    I am not convinced. But that is based on what I hear this week. His local colleagues must have seen worth in him too.

  • David Evans 29th Oct ’17 – 12:04pm……Paul knows Sheffield and is right when he says “Mr O’Mara’s views do not represent the outward looking tolerant and accepting people of Sheffield Hallam. Parliament deserves better than this. The people of Sheffield deserve better than this.”…..

    I’m sure O’Mara’s comments do not reflect the majority in any constituency…

    However, If your post was a true reflection of the voters of Sheffield Hallam and, as Paul Scriven writes, “This is a man was never expected to be an MP. A Labour Party which never expected him to be an MP. He is clearly not suited to the role.”

    Surely the fact that he WAS elected shows the feelings against the previous incumbent?

  • @Jennie
    Agreed acknowledge is better than accept (and were there an edit function I’d change my comment).

    @David Evans
    I never professed to come from Sheffield or know Paul. My point was that this type of hyperbole over the comments ignores the fact that this type of comment is widespread and not found to be offensive by a large number of Labour supporters. Or Indeed Tory’s I know a large number of those that hold the same views.

    Obviously Hallam could be a beacon of political correctness in an otherwise wicked world. Which begs the question why this well educated constituency voted for the man in the first place? Surely the local parties should have done some better research on the man?

  • I think Paul Scriven is wrong to say that Labour never expected O’Mara to become an MP. He was selected after the 2015 election, where Labour were only 4.2% behind and Nick Clegg needed Tory tactical votes to hold on. They knew there was a good chance of winning the seat, which is why they started to throw the kitchen sink at it. The election was during term time, increasing the student vote, and Tories were going back to the fold to give May the “strong and stable” government she wanted. With that background, it should at least have been obvious that Labour could win it, even if they didn’t expect to. You certainly shouldn’t put an unchecked paper candidate in the seat of the unpopular former Deputy Prime Minister where you are within 5% of winning.

  • Neil Sandison 31st Oct '17 - 1:56pm

    Where he got elected is not the most important issue .That he got elected is and shows why we need robust candidate selection procedures regardless of party so in that respect Labours executive is at fault .We are not blameless i do find it somewhat embarrassing the the new current UKIP leader was previously a Liberal Democrat candidate .
    This does strengthen the call for a local community to trigger a right of recall should their MP bring the house or his constituency into disrepute .At the moment unless he is found guilty of a criminal charge the people of Sheffield Hallam are stuck with him until the next general election this would also apply to those MPs who may also guilty of sexual harrassment in the work place.

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