Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Simon Hughes, and that taxi....

I am going to put my hand up here and confess to having adorned the back of Simon Hughes' taxi with a 'Maloney 4 Mayor' sticker when I found it parked outside my home. It was 2004, and I was working with Frank Maloney, who was running for mayor of London. Hughes was the Lib Dem candidate. It was one of the most enjoyable campaigns I have ever worked on, and you couldn't meet a nicer bloke than Frank.

As much as Hughes has always irritated me - he was my MP for many years - I do think however that these guys might have gone a wee bit too far. There was also an attack on Hughes' office. There is a fine line between protest and intimidation, and an even finer one between intimidation and violence.

Some years ago I was working on what we generally call 'Gulf War Syndrome'. The Ministry of Defence were pulling out all the stops to shut us up, and to discredit the campaign. One aquaintance, a very sick ex-Para, was actually physically threatened by what we assume to have been MoD police - Mod Plod.

There came a point when we realised that depleted uranium poisoning was a major factor, thanks to the US Veteran's Administration and a leaked document from Porton Down. One veteran had been diagnosed in the US, and shortly afterwards Mod Plod raided his home, and took away all his medical records and his computers. HMG can play dirty when it wants to cover something up. The longer they could string it out, the more people would die, and then they would have less to pay out.

Before we went live with all this, I asked Hughes, who was then the Lib Dem health spokesman, for his opinion. He clearly did not have one, and simply repeated the official MoD whitewash line. His office also claimed, through the Southwark News, that I was an extremist, and that I myself had never served. This was grossly offensive to me. I did get my revenge a few years later through the Sun newspaper. Revenge is truly a dish savoured cold!

On one memorable night, the Porton Down document was faxed to as many relevant people as possible. I received 15-20 copies that night from people across the country as we broke through the wall of silence. They could hardly arrest every recipient!

There are many politicians who talk a lot, but actually do very little of any substance. I put Hughes into that category. I do not, however, condone attacks such as those that he has been subjected to, no more than I condone the vile campaign his party conducted against Peter Tatchell during the Bermondsey by election of 1983. People who live in glass houses......

How not to park a car...............

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