Thursday, 14 April 2011

Political opportunism is always wrong...

There was an interesting piece in the Lib Dem voice on Tuesday relating to the Derby local elections.  This related to the Labour candidate admitting that they had previously served a two year prison term for being in possession of heroin.  Frankly I'm angered, not that someone with a criminal record could run for local council, but at the reaction of the Lib Dem candidate Dawn Gee:

“If we are talking about honesty in politics, the whole point is to clean up politics. I believe that anyone convicted of a serious crime should not have the opportunity to represent the people of our city. The candidate should immediately stand down.
“In addition to this, the nature of this crime is also very worrying. We are wanting to eradicate drug crime within our city and I do not believe that the way forward is to be represented by an individual that has a background of serious criminal activity in this area.”

 Now, where to start.  It is still, as far as I am aware a Liberal Democrat belief that people can be rehabilitated and this works better than out right punishment.  She appears to be of the opinion that drugs are bad, which is fair enough, but a conviction for a drugs related charge TWENTY SEVEN YEARS AGO does not mean that the candidate would assist in the growth of the illegal drugs market as Ms Gee appears to imply.  I read the second paragraph as assuming that should Mr Sandhu be elected he will be using it as a platform to increase drug use in the town, which is pretty nonsensical.

I would go as far as to argue that his "mistake" that he made aged 25 years old make him a much more rounded candidate than most due to his more varied life experiences.  I would fancy that he has a fairly good idea of the pressures that younger people can be put under by their peers and also it would appear he has the knowledge of what is needed to turn a life around.  I am not saying that he should be elected just because he was once in jail and has subsequently changed his way of life, far from it, but I am arguing that this should not be something that necessarily makes them unsuitable for office.  I would be more worried about some of the comments on the website which appear to question his business dealings, if I were a voter I would look into these accusations to see if they may have had any validity before casting a vote.  

One final point, it appears that Ms Gee is making a point regarding honesty in politics in her statement, surely this is more honest than almost every other political figure and Mr Sandhu should be applauded for voluntarily providing this information before the election.  To me the response stinks of political opportunism, which I hate, of course Ms Gee may have been misquoted, in which case I sincerely apologise. 

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