By your friends shall ye be known, as they say. It's therefore relatively easy to assess the moral compass that guides Warren Bradley, Lib Dem leader of Liverpool City Council. At a time when the corrosive corruption of the Westminster village is laid bare every morning, it's heartening to know that shameless politicking can be found on Dale Street. How else to explain Councillor Bradley paving the way for discredited councillor Steve Hurst's return to public life (http://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/liverpool-news/local-news/2009/05/26/disgraced-councillor-anger-as-steve-hurst-given-merseyside-transport-authority-post-100252-23709655/ )?
David Bartlett observes:
"[Hurst] will replace Cllr Jan Clein on the passenger transport authority, meaning there will no longer be any women on the board at Merseytravel."
Not content with embracing an individual found guilty of breaking election law, it seems that Bradley is also happy to pay lip service to gender equality whilst acting in the opposite manner.
Hurst will trouser £5,675 per annum in his new post. Bradley is of the opinion that Hurst "should be allowed to move on."
Just in case you've forgotten the outline of Hurst's case, Bartlett recaps:
"In April, Cllr Hurst, who represents Wavertree, was condemned by a judge for dirty tactics of the worst kind after failing to have his conviction [for breaking election law] overturned.
"He was convicted in December last year of delivering a leaflet entitled Walton Scab, attacking Belle Vale Labour councillor Pauline Walton and her firefighter husband in the May 2007 council elections.
"Masquerading as a leaflet from The United Socialist Party, the pink flyer accused Mr Walton of crossing a Fire Brigades Union picket line."
Hurst also charmingly claimed that Mrs Walton was using council taxpayers' money to learn to pole dance. Classy guy, eh?
So what does Bradley say to justify his actions?
"The [Lib Dem] group voted for him through a democratic process. I have got confidence in Steve doing the job.
"He has been tried by the court and accepted what the court has found. That doesn't mean he has accepted any guilt.
"He wants to move on."
Before we let Councillor Hurst "move on", there is a striking contradiction in that statement. If he accepts the court's decision, how can he possibly continue to deny any culpability over thiis tawdry matter?
Explain that, Warren, if you don't mind. Given your statement, it's worth recalling the words of Judge Mark Brown when Hurst had been found guilty (http://condensedthoughts.blogspot.com/2009/04/sewer-politics.html ): "This sort of conduct brings considerable discredit on his party and on local politics in general. This was dirty politics of the worst kind."
At the time I noted:
"Let that be Councillor Hurst's epitaph."
Clearly, it wasn't.