by Les May
THE report in yesterday’s Evening Standard gossip column about Simon Danczuk’s continuing suspension from the Labour party should be taken with a pinch of salt. Again Simon is telling us about his understanding what Labour party officials had decided. We had the same sort of story just after New Year when he told the Manchester Evening News, the Daily Mirror and the Rochdale Observer that 'Labour has "no choice" but to accept him back into the party in the new year' and 'I’ve met with chief whip Nick Brown and he says there’s no case to answer.'
Clearly the NEC members thought they did have a choice.
It suits Danczuk to have someone write he’s ‘never been on good terms with the Corbyn gang’. It lets him pose as the innocent victim of a stitch up by Corbyn and his supporters. And it lets him elevate himself to the status of a man of ideas by being thought of as a ‘critic’.
Now it’s certainly true that there are Corbyn supporters, probably quite a lot, who were happy to see him suspended and would like to see him expelled from the party. But, and it’s an important ‘but’, it wasn’t Corbyn who suspended him from the party it was the NEC and the events surrounding the 2016 leadership contest to not suggest that august body is packed out with Corbynites.
Far from Labour having ‘no choice’ but to reinstate him the truth is that Labour had ‘no choice’ but to suspend him over the sexting incident.
As I made very clear in my first comments about this incident in Northern Voices on 4 January 2016 I did not regard it as very shocking. Sleazy Yes! Stupid Yes! Shocking No!
The whole thing seemed to me like an extremely clumsy attempt at flirting by a lonely man with nothing better to do with his time. But as one might expect the media reports saw his antics in a different light. The text messages were 'vile'. The young woman, who it turned out was a ‘financial dominatrix’, had become a 'young girl'.
Had Labour not suspended him it would appear that the party was condoning the sort of behaviour towards someone who was technically a ‘child’, which Danczuk had made his reputation condemning. To save itself a mauling in the ‘holier than thou’ tabloids Labour had to suspend him.
But casting Simon in the role ‘collateral damage’ like this does not get him off the hook. The public expect people in public life to have some sense of decency; some sense of how to behave. In spite of what Danczuk would have us believe this is not about ‘morality’ or ones ‘moral’ view about what he gets up to.
In my professional life had I been found to be to have been exchanging sexually explicit texts with a young woman of 17, serious questions would have been asked about my suitability to remain in my post. The same questions about my suitability to continue in my job would have been asked if I had kicked in a glass door which shattered and shards of which fell on my ex-wife causing her to have injuries needing more than 40 stitches.
Had I been found to be ‘bonking’ a young woman half my age it would no doubt have drawn adverse comment. In which case I would have felt justified in suggesting that the speaker should mind their own business. But, and it’s an another important ‘but’, had I been found to have been using my office for the assignation, I would have been sacked.
I would also have been sacked if I had claimed £11,000 in expenses to which I had no entitlement. No one would have given me the benefit of the doubt if I had tried to claim that it was all down to poor wording of the rules about what could be claimed. I would have been out, probably with my pension rights rescinded.
I expect Danczuk to be treated in the same way that other people in responsible positions would be treated. And I am not alone.