Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Damned & Discredited By Her Own Reticence

Those who have dealt with Carol Gustafson in the sometimes bitter world of Sefton Labour politics will all agree that reticence is not one of her character traits. It seems strange, therefore, that she should now declare a Garbo-esque wish to be left alone & not talk about her support of Norman Bettison's appointment as Merseyside Police Chief Constable in 1998 (http://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/liverpool-news/local-news/2012/10/09/merseyside-politician-who-oversaw-norman-bettison-police-appointment-should-hang-her-head-in-shame-100252-31994540/ ).
Moreover, it's instructive to read Cllr Gustafson's response when questioned about her decision: "I don't want to talk about Norman Bettison at all, it was a period of my life that was hell. I really don't want to talk about him."
I'm sure the families of those who died at Hillsborough will understand that Cllr Gustafson's hellish period should preclude any inquiries or discussion regarding her decision to back a discredited copper.Why persist with the trifling notion of securing justice for the 96 when we have the bruised ego of safe-seat Labour councillor to worry about?
Her unwillingness to be reminded of her association with Bettison is a source of surprise, as David Bartlett notes with his comment that "a rummage through the Post and ECHO archive shows that the pair were clearly not averse to doing photo calls together during Bettison's six years in Merseyside" (http://blogs.liverpooldailypost.co.uk/dalestreetblues/2012/10/carol-gustafson-and-norman-bet.html ).
Cllr Gustafson was re-elected as Labour representative for Bootle's Derby Ward last May. Given her refusal to account for the most fateful decision of her political career, the voters of Derby Ward may wonder about the character of the person they returned to office. It is, of course, possible that Cllr Gustafson's colleagues (of whom there are more opponents than allies, it's said) within the Sefton Labour Group will be forced to address the issue internally. They know as well as anybody else that this matter won't go away. The families of the 96 will see to that.

Postscript: It's worth noting that one of those Merseyside Police Authority members who supported Bettison's appointment was Doreen Jones, wife of well-known local businessman & former city council Liberal leader Trevor Jones (http://hillsborough.independent.gov.uk/repository/docs/MPA000000090001.pdf ). Perhaps "The Dame of Disaster" (http://liverpoolpreservationtrust.blogspot.co.uk/2010/11/letter-from-florence-gersten.html ) could now account for her decision.

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