The sound of what sounded like a letter being posted through my door puzzled me. It was last Sunday. No post on Sundays, of course, but there it lay on the floor. It looked like a letter but it wasn't. It was, instead, an envelope containing a campaign leaflet from Jane Kennedy, Labour candidate for the Merseyside Police & Crime Commissioner election on November 15th. Kennedy drew attention to the ConDems' cuts in the budget for Merseyside Police before thoughtfully informing me how I could sign up for a postal vote.
Missing from her missive, however, was any mention of a matter which had just been reported in sections of the media, namely, the role Kennedy & other local Labour MPs played in 1998 when the discredited Stuart-Smith Report on Hillsborough was released. More specifically, the matter related to attempted media management of local news outlets at the time (http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/hillsborough-families-fury-at-spin-operation-8191043.html & http://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/liverpool-news/local-news/2012/09/28/government-aide-of-knowsley-mp-george-howarth-claimed-merseyside-mps-had-agreed-to-try-to-neutralise-local-media-over-hillsborough-100252-31923190/ ).
Also mentioned in the reports, quoting from the Hillsborough Panel's findings, were George Howarth, MP for Knowsley, & Peter Kilfoyle, MP for Liverpool Walton. All three MPs weren't just backbenchers. Howarth was a Home Office minister (working closely with his boss Jack Straw). Kilfoyle was a junior defence minister. Kennedy was the Labour whip.
The phrases used in government papers are very much of the time; the MPs were told of the importance of remaining "on message", a quintessential New Labour phrase.
Predictably, all three have indignantly squawked their innocence. Or, rather, Howarth & Kilfoyle have. Kennedy? Her response should not be confused with a denial:
"This wasn't a formal meeting; it was probably a conversation. The language that is attributable [in the memo] is completely alien to anything any of us would have used."
Sheltering behind the shield of circumlocution is a sure sign of panic & anxiety about being found out, & that very much applies in the case of Jane "Janus" Kennedy.
It is a grotesque turn of events that now sees Kennedy running as a candidate for a post whose remit revolves around accountability, transparency & justice.
So back to Kennedy's election leaflet. She declares:
"Although none of us have sought this election we can send the Tory/LibDems a message.
"Election day is 15th November. It may be cold, wet and dark on polling day but that doesn't need to put you off."
Actually, we can send Kennedy a message: yes, it will be cold & dark on polling day (something to do with winter weather, I'm informed), but voters on Merseyside, particularly her former constituents in Liverpool Wavertree, won't be put off from expressing their disdain for a politician who placed the machinations of New Labour ahead of justice for the Hillsborough families.