Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Reading Labour selections

What is below is an edited version of a briefing I received from a well-placed political source.  Just sayin'...

The Reading West selection is between Groulef and Debbie Watson in a sort of New vs. Old Labour way (which seems curiously antiquated). Tony Jones is bigging up Richard Davies for East.  East is, according to a "local source", all about the local candidates but West is Labour's priority. (This is no surprise. Ed.) Davies is heavily backed by the 'young' Labour crowd - the new people that have appeared such as Duncan Bruce, who were all over Matt Rodda in 2011 but had ditched him by this year.    Page has been spotted lurking around Rodda but not Woodward.  James Walsh is a nasty piece of work who goes in for dog-whistle homophobic campaigns elsewhere.  But he won't get it.


Anonymous said...

Interesting stuff. Have to be honest though don't know anything about any of the candidates, will have to look up James Walsh given what you've mentioned.

Anonymous said...

Dear Jane,

Some serious allegations you make here – I trust you are able to substantiate one or two of them in a Court of Law?

I happen to be the James Walsh you refer to as a “nasty piece of work….who goes in for dog-whistle homophobic campaigns elsewhere” and this description of my character and previous activities came as a most unpleasant surprise to me.

I’m no lawyer but, in this one sentence, I believe you have both defamed my good character and damaged my chances of receiving an unbiased hearing at the forthcoming Labour Party Parliamentary hustings. Pretty serious stuff, I’m sure you would agree.

The recent addition of a comment by “Anonymous” is further evidence that your libel has damaged my reputation.

I take this matter extremely seriously and, as such, will be seeking legal advice on how best to proceed this morning. In the meantime, I suggest you think carefully before you post your scribblings on this blog in future and consider the effect your postings have on innocent people. I am by no means a wallflower, but your description of me and my work is extremely upsetting and completely unjust.

In the meantime, you might like to consider the following two actions:

1) Substantiate your claim that I am a “nasty piece of work” publicly with evidence. You may wish to contact Slough Borough Council, Runnymede and Weybridge Labour Party, Hammersmith Labour Party, Westminster North Labour Party, Bracknell Labour Party or Slough Labour Party during your research. I can also point you toward three or four of your former Parliamentary colleagues, including two former Ministers. If you need more sources should the evidence prove thin, I can point you to others from across the public and private sectors.

2) Substantiate your claim that I “go infor dogwhistle homophobic campaigns” with evidence. Again, please contact the above organisations for your evidence. I have also worked for a gay London-based candidate as his election Campaign Manager and I’m sure he will also be able to help - though perhaps not in the way that you now need.

As I said, I will be taking legal advice regarding this extremely damaging libel. I have taken screen-grabs of the offending piece and these shall be submitted as evidence.

James Walsh

Anonymous said...

It's hard for me to know what to make of all this. I was impressed by the thought of Davies's candidacy, and the fact he was seemingly being backed by Young Labour in the area suggested to me nominating him would mark the start of a fresh generation of Labour leadership in Reading.

Nowadays, I still like Richard Davies greatly as a person, but his young backers are worrying me. Whispering campaigns are part and parcel of nomination battles, but the depths to which some of them are going is on a whole new level, particularly against Rodda who from what I hear is the guy they see as the biggest threat. Sometimes I'm told Rodda is too left-wing, then someone else will tell me he's too right-wing. Some in the know have told me they think these young fellas have a thing against him after Bruce lost the Katesgrove nomination in 2011, which they blame on Rose Williams (now a colleague of Rodda) supposedly manipulating the process, which I personally think is a barmy idea.

Then someone from Young Labour, outside of the Davies group, suggested these young backers are less an idealistic group, and more a bunch of 'ambitious sods' running under the label of reformers. This all hasn't put me off Davies completely, but I am worried about the baggage a Davies nomination might bring. Some people I know worry much the same thing.

Davies is undoubtedly the favourite at the moment for Reading East, but with some of the worries people are having about his backers, I will not be surprised if Rodda is able to come up from behind in the next few weeks.

By the way, I haven't mentioned Woodward because I'm not considering him because of a disagreement I have with some of his policies. Wouldn't it be nice if all nomination battles were decided on policy like that?

Anonymous said...

Page is backing Davies (he's listed on Davies website in the endorsement page)

Anonymous said...

Page is backing Davies according to his website

Jane Griffiths said...

James Walsh, this is absolutely excellent stuff. Do indeed seek legal advice. If you imagine you would have an unbiased hearing from Reading Labour Party you would be the first person in history ever to do so. See you in court, what fun we will have! As you might imagine, I have no intention of substantiating anything that has been said to me, I reported it as a briefing and am enjoying all this hugely. Why on earth would I wish to contact any of the Labour Partys you name? I have no intention of doing any research of any kind. This stuff has been said, and has been reproduced on Facebook, Twitter, and no doubt elsewhere. Welcome to public life, matey boy.

James said...

Love the comment by 'Anonymous' where he or she says 'and more a bunch of ambitious sods', only in the Labour Party could it be frowned upon for Young People to actually want to get involved and think of running for office. Seriously kids give it up; come and join us we'll have you any day of the week.

Anonymous said...

So you're happy to libel are you? Reproducing lies from whichever source is still libel, Janey-girl.

Your response speaks volumes about you as an individual. Having met you years ago when I invited you to speak to us at Royal Holloway College, I was always mystified as to why you were later deselected as an MP. If this is a taster of the kind of attitude and behaviour you exhibited as an MP, then all becomes very clear. The only remaining mystery is how you clung on for so long.

I suspect your "source" has me mixed up with a colleague at Slough Borough Council over a standards case against him some time back. Regardless, responding to my post without posting it is rather cowardly and actually puts my mind at ease - I can't get upset by the rantings of someone I pity.

Enjoy your blogging (loving the fact that Martin Salter still features as a bête noir, all these years later) and I'll focus on enjoying my new badge of honour. Being slagged off by failed-MP Jane Griffiths is going to be worth gold in Reading.

Jane Griffiths said...

I know how the libel laws work in the UK, Anon. From experience, As a successful user of them. James, I did not "slag you off" - your own words speak for you. Have fun, boys.

Anonymous said...

I have not made my mind-up yet. I am however, slightly disgruntled that people could be put off by Richard Davies having young, engaged, hardworking and ambitious members campaigning for him. Surely we should be encouraging participation from our younger members and count the fact he has managed to engage them as a strength? Perhaps their participation will encourage more young people to join and become active?

Also if the "baggage" is actually an effective campaigning team, is that not welcome baggage?

If there is truth in the whispers about a whispering campaign then that is bad, but if there isn't then isn’t what you have heard and are now whispering about, part of a whispering campaign?

I will make my mind up on the merit of the candidate; their policies, their ability to campaign effectively and whether I believe that they would be a good MP should the previous points mean that they win in 2015.