Miriam says she and Nick knew about Jared O’Mara’s comments but he refused to go negative

Miriam Gonzalez Durantez was on Peston this morning as one of the panel of 3 guests who are there throughout the programme.

The subject of Jared O’Mara’s appallingly racist, misogynist and homophobic comments came up and Miriam said something very interesting instead. She said that Labour must have known about his past because she and Nick did.

That, of course, begs the question that if we knew why on earth didn’t we use it during the campaign. She answered that one as well, saying that Nick refused to run a negative campaign.

She pointed out the hypocrisy of Labour allowing someone with such deeply regressive views to present themselves as a progressive candidate.

It is very typical of Nick to take the high road and not the low one. He is, sometimes to his detriment, an idealist at heart who has always behaved with integrity.

Would it have made a difference if he had used what he knew about O’Mara? Well, let’s look at the change in vote share since 2015. The Labour vote only went up by 2.6%. It was an advance by the Tories of 10.2%, Tories who had hitherto voted tactically for Nick. They unsqueezed themselves presumably to give Theresa May the strong hand she craved in the Brexit negotiations. 

If they were Brexiteers anyway, would they have voted for the archest of arch Remoaners even if the alternative was shown to have he most regressive and unpleasant views? Possibly not. We’ll never know. Might some of the Labour voters who were still voting against us because of the coalition have been tempted back to us? Maybe. Would it have been enough for Nick to hang on? Maybe.

In the end, Nick lost with dignity. The whole country is poorer without him in the Commons, though.

I wonder if there are any times when he wished he wasn’t so principled.

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

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24 Comments

  • I really hate to disagree with Miriam & Nick on this but what Caron sees as “taking the High Road” looks to me more like a refusal to get your hands dirty. Mark Pack makes an excellent case for raising O,Maras comments, Politics is about personal behaviour in the end – Trump has proved that surely ?
    We sometimes come across as distant, snobbish & smug & that is part of our problem.

  • Ruth Bright 30th Oct '17 - 8:16am

    Well of course if you want to throw stones you have to dismantle your own glass house first. Respect to those in the Lib Dems who criticise O’Mara AND criticise misogyny and transgression in high places in our own party.

  • These views held by this Labour MP are abhorrent and the Labour Party are right to suspend his membership of the PLP.

  • Steve Trevethan 30th Oct '17 - 9:52am

    Personal morality and political strategy are not the only bases for communication action.
    Communication involves the transmitter, the receiver, direct and indirect, and the audience, in this case a set of electors who have been deprived of relevant information about a possibly significant problem.
    Perhaps a phone call to an appropriate Labour person might have helped us to avoid a difficult constitutional problem.
    The attached may be of interest and/or relevance.
    http://anotherangryvoice.blogspot.co.uk/

  • Maurice Leeke 30th Oct '17 - 10:32am

    I agree with Mark V.

  • It seems, from multiple sources, that O’Mara’s ” racist, misogynist and homophobic comments (quote)” were common knowledge in Sheffield LibDem circles…In view of the opening remarks on threads about this matter, it seems to me that there should not have been any discussion about publicising his comments rather a DUTY of those who knew to make his party aware of the timebomb that his election would trigger…

    I address this question to those intimately involved in Sheffield Hallam politics: “Why was this action not taken?”

  • Joe OttenJoe Otten 30th Oct ’17 – 10:56am
    My warning not heeded….
    Expats, there are no sources to that point, not “multiple” sources. Unless you can provide one.

    The multiple sources I am referring to are Nick Clegg, his wife, you (and from your posts; I doubt if you kept it secret)…and heaven knows how many more….

    If you alerted the LibDem campaign why not inform Labour? Anyone with proof that Labour were told officially should demand why O’Mara was not confronted with copies of his e-mails, or if he was, what was his response…

  • Denis Loretto 30th Oct '17 - 12:31pm

    As Caron points out the crucial objective in Sheffield Hallam was always going to be holding on to Tory tactical voters and clearly the brexiteering ones were in the event happier to see a Labour candidate of any stripe become their MP rather than vote for Nick, who incidentally did not deviate one inch from his prominence as Lib Dem remainer in chief despite knowing what he was risking in his own constituency. The overall turnout went up, no doubt reflecting the Labour surge for Corbyn and his acolytes and it was remarkable that an increase of only 2.6% was achieved in the Labour vote. As for the potential Tory tactical voters would they have been inspired by grubby personal attacks on the Labour candidate by Nick or others clearly acting on his behalf?
    I doubt it.

  • Denis Loretto 30th Oct ’17 – 12:31pm………… The overall turnout went up, no doubt reflecting the Labour surge for Corbyn and his acolytes and it was remarkable that an increase of only 2.6% was achieved in the Labour vote…..

    Considering that we are being told that Sheffield Hallam is one of the most affluent areas in the country ANY increase in the Labour vote is remarkable…It can’t all be due to the ‘students’; after all, it was our promises to students in 2010 that helped Nick..

  • Damned if he did, damned if he didn’t. Alex Sobel’s constituency was subject to a vociferously negative lib dem leaflet campaign which he personally did not agree to. He lost his seat quite comfortably.

  • jayne Mansfield 31st Oct '17 - 1:38pm

    @ Expats.
    Expats, you may find two articles available on the internet useful .

    ‘EUROPP The GE2017 outcome was no Remainer’ s revenge’.

    ‘The Conversation – ‘What happened in this city explains why Britain voted for Brexit’.

    Sheffield Hallam is indeed a very affluent constituency and certainly not fertile Brexit territory. Labour put up a strong challenge in Hallam in 2015, and there was certainly Tory tactical voting for the Liberal Democrat Party then to keep Labour who mounted a strong challenge , out.

    As someone who has never let a racist, misogynist or homophobic comment pass unchallenged, I agree with you that those who were aware of the attitudes displayed by Jared O ‘Mara, had a duty to bring them to full attention so that his party prior to choosing him and the voters prior to voting for him, were apprised of them.

    So many wrongdoers are getting away with wrongdoing in plain sight, because they are not confronted by people who see or know what is going on.

  • Richard Underhill 31st Oct '17 - 1:51pm

    The Labour vote in 2017 in Sheffield Hallam as elsewhere may been inflated by their promise to write off student debt. Their spokesperson has since said that this is unaffordable and therefore is no longer Labour policy.

  • Richard Underhill 31st Oct ’17 – 1:51pm……….The Labour vote in 2017 in Sheffield Hallam as elsewhere may been inflated by their promise to write off student debt. Their spokesperson has since said that this is unaffordable and therefore is no longer Labour policy…….

    Now where have we heard that before? For ‘Labour’, read ‘LibDem’

  • jayne Mansfield 31st Oct ’17 – 1:38pm…………..As someone who has never let a racist, misogynist or homophobic comment pass unchallenged, I agree with you that those who were aware of the attitudes displayed by Jared O ‘Mara, had a duty to bring them to full attention so that his party prior to choosing him and the voters prior to voting for him, were apprised of them……………So many wrongdoers are getting away with wrongdoing in plain sight, because they are not confronted by people who see or know what is going on………………….

    Your first paragraph could have been written by my wife; a very ‘fiery’ individual in such matters. She stood and shouted ‘Chauvinist Bastard!’ during a theatre performance of “Look Back in Anger”..
    Asfor the second; the ‘Me Too’ explosion in the wake of the Harvey Weinstein exposure shows the extent to which such behavior has been ignored by those who knew…. Burke’s, “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.” was never more apt..

  • jayne Mansfield 31st Oct '17 - 10:43pm

    @ expats,
    I think that Mrs expats and I would get along fine.

    I still read Liberal Democrat Voice occasionally, as I struggle to find difference between the values and views of yourself, David Raw and certain others, ( perhaps it is an age thing), but I won’t make a habit of it.

    Please give my regards to Mrs expats and tell her to keep up the good work.

  • @ Jayne Mansfield Good to hear from you again, Jayne. Pleased that my Missus is a chip off the same block having expressed similar forthright views to a future Secretary of State for Scotland in the Major Government (work that one out) when she was a student at St. Andrews.

    On the ‘radical’ issue, I don’t think I’ve changed much since the early sixties (still think I’m twenty one) – tho’ the party has moved to the right, especially in the disastrous last ten years. Neo-liberalism should have been strangled at birth.

    Keep posting when you can.

  • David Raw
    “Neo-liberalism should have been strangled at birth.”
    Well now you have Socialism with Chinese characteristics.

  • Having looked at all these comments, one additional point that needs to be made is the GE2017 campaign took place under the backdrop of the 2 terrorist attacks. In these circumstances for a party to start launching any personal attacks on opposing candidates based on unproven allegations would be seen as particularly petty given the gravity of the situation in the wake of the attacks.

  • Bill le Breton 2nd Nov '17 - 8:35am

    I don’t think Nick Clegg thought for one moment that he was ever going to lose that election.

    The true test of the values propounded here would have been more truly tested had he thought his seat was at risk.

    Having spoken to a number of people (one a firm NC supporter of many years) who, when he visited their constituency, miles from Sheffield, but close to London, asked him in terms, “Why the heck are you here?”, received complacent answers.

    Believing that Labour had shot its bolt in Hallam in 2015, even before Corbyn’s campaign manifested its traction, was the kind of political inexperience mixed with condescension that was responsible for the political shambles of 2007 – 2015.

    Continuing this obsessive hero worship is responsible for the stasis of 2015 – 2017.

  • jayne Mansfield 6th Nov '17 - 6:11pm

    Respect to Mrs expats and Mrs Raw.

    Somehow people are shocked by current revelations.

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