25 October 2017

Warning

This is Jared O'Mara. He is my local Member of Parliament. Back in June, to widespread surprise,  he ousted Nick Clegg from the Sheffield Hallam parliamentary constituency. Clegg was the national leader of The Liberal Democrats and had been Deputy Prime Minister when the LibDems were in coalition with the Conservatives under David Cameron. In June, Jared  had appeared like David bringing down Goliath.

As I am  a lifelong Labour voter, Jared O'Mara naturally got my vote.

Today news broke that he has been suspended from The Labour Party. Why? Is he guilty of financial wrongdoing? Is he guilty of sexual impropriety? Did he enter The House of Commons as drunk as a lord, cursing The Speaker before urinating on The Woolsack?

No. None of these things. The reason he has been suspended is to do with computer algorithms and the fact that these days people's online lives are being recorded and documented for future reference. What we write online will never entirely disappear. It can be raked up so that things we said in the past may come back to haunt us.

Back in 2002 and 2004, Jared O'Mara made some unpleasant remarks in different internet forums. These remarks have been judged to be either sexist, racist or misogynistic. I have read some of them and they are pretty juvenile, nasty and stupid but a long way from being truly criminal and shocking.  It's the kind of thing young online warriors might say late at night when they are going with the flow of online forum banter. 

O'Mara is only thirty five years old now. When he made these comments during his early twenties, he would have had absolutely no idea that it would all come back to bite him. Don't  get me wrong - there's no way I approve of his remarks but I think it's a warning to all of us. Be very careful what you say online.

In the distant past, before the internet came along, our trails were less easy to trace. Youthful stupidity was forgotten or remembered only as vague  hearsay. Now it's different and it is almost impossible to erase incriminating "evidence" from the internet. It's there in black and white. As internet slickness has increased so the ability to capture and archive online activity has also advanced.

I must say that if I still conducted interviews in teaching, I would happily use the internet to find out more about the candidates. One of the key aims of any job interview is to get to the core of someone's being. What somebody says may be at odds with online evidence about them.

Though I feel some sympathy for Jared O'Mara, it is in the end very disappointing that Labour Party research didn't uncover his online wrongdoing before he was chosen as our local candidate. Now there is every possibility that we will be having a by-election here in the near future. 

25 comments:

  1. I too sympathise. A romp with Angelina Jolie would be on my wish list. I don't think the ginger idiot has much chance though as when she was asked to comment she said not while there are dogs on the street. I suspect he now thinks her a fat slag.
    Pin a red rosette on a donkey, comes to mind.

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    1. Plenty of blue rosettes have been pinned on donkeys and in David Cameron's case they even pinned one on a weasel. (My apologies to any weasels reading this remark.)

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    2. They are all fair game. It's just great fun baiting politicians.
      Something you are as guilty of as the rest of us.
      I also had reservations when I heard about the Right Honourable Member in Pigs Mouth.
      I think you will find that Ginger Spice has a few more recent indiscretions to apologise for.

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    3. You seem to have some inside knowledge Adrian.

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    4. YP, I did mention a good while ago that he is a wrong un. I recognised the name, an acquaintance who is involved in music promotion had a little due diligence done on the poor lad. They decided he was a liability. Imagine my shock and amusement when I found where he had ended up. He's in the swamp with many a kindred spirit. What business turn down the Labour Party tolerate and embrace.

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  2. I didn't realize when I read about this situation that O'Mara made these remarks so long ago. It sounds like we're making a mountain out of a molehill, doesn't it? Hopefully he has grown since then. Has he officially repudiated his younger self?

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    1. Yes he has made a fulsome apology. By the way, the lad is afflicted by mild cerebral palsy.

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  3. If we were all held accountable for every stupid thing we've ever said people would be afraid to speak. The thought police are out there just waiting to get ya!

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    1. You are right. That's how it feels.

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  4. In this world of cashed internet histories let that be a lesson to us all

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    1. I am pleased I chose to blog under the psudonym Yorkshire Pudding and not my real name - Lord Marmaduke Ponsonby-Smythe of Stanage Edge.

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  5. I read O'mara's apology and though it was quite eloquent and heartfelt. But I also have to say that the idea of insulting DANES -- one of the least obnoxious people in the world, I would have thought-- with the term "pig shagger" sounds like something out of Monty Python. I admire the wit, if (in the words of Bertie Wooster) that's the word I'm looking for. And, well, that girl who was too dumb to even know who was running for office in her own district is, well, not easy on the eyes.

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    1. I admire your detailed research Vivian. One of the sad things about O'Mara's online "fun" is that it had no panache or subtlety about it. So very juvenile and simply unpleasant but he has mild cerebral palsy and certain allowances should perhaps be made for somebody with such a mind.

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  6. I have made an effort to be polite and moderate online and I have done so well at it that people have actually noticed. Then one day I read a silly question which I answered bluntly and was immediately frozen out of the group where I said it.
    There is no forgiveness for online wrongdoing, we'd probably all be better off if we declined to engage at all.

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    1. In the future, I wonder how far back in time the muckrakers will go to find incriminating material. You may be right that the best idea would be to back off entirely or stick with a pseudonym. You could be Sally. Sally Army!

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  7. Yes,the Internet will keep stuff a who knows who may find it and read something into. Our blogs will be around for a long time.

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    1. Good job you used a pen name Red! However, I know your real name so you had best be nice to me or else all will be revealed in "The Red Deer Advocate".

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  8. Don't use his cerebral palsy defend him, that's a disgrace, and is an insult to other disabled people!
    Anyway his disability didn't stop him getting a first class degree did it? Or maybe they made "certain allowances" for his type of mind!

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    1. I disagree that it is a disgrace and an insult to disabled people. Having taught several children with cerebral palsy and having known a handful of folk with cerebral palsy socially I am very aware that those who have the condition are often wired differently. This is a statement of fact not an insult or an excuse.

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  9. I don't know the details about this person but now I will be reading to find out. But I do know that many leaders in history who were almost revered in their time had feet of clay but it was not widely known at the time and they are still remembered for only the positives (eg. the Kennedys, Martin Luther King). I think most of us have moments we aren't overly proud of, and I don't know how much of that should be forgiven, how much acceptable, and how much a deal breaker. One thing's for sure, it's a different world with the internet around.

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    1. You make a good point about some revered leaders of the past. A blind eye has been turned to many of their indiscretions.

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  10. Mmmm. We live in an age where when it suits people and circumstances, carelessly uttered words can come back to bite us.

    Alphie

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    1. And of course there are whole websites out there dedicated to pulling the rug from under famous people's feet

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  11. Nobody is perfect, and if only people who have never done or said anything stupid or wrong could be politicians, there would be no politicians.
    In my opinion, if someone has done something daft in the past but it does not really affect what they are doing now, it should be left where it belongs - in the past.

    When I was about 8, I nicked a Barbie dress from a neighbour's child I sometimes played with. She did not even realise the dress was gone. I kept it for a while but had no joy in it. A few weeks later when we played at the girl's house again, I smuggled it back among her Barbie things. Now that I have written about my theft here, I wonder how long before I will be asked to step down as Data Protection Officer!

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    1. How long? Perhaps next week unless you transfer one thousand euros into my bank account! Account details to follow.

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Mr Pudding welcomes all genuine comments - even those with which he disagrees. However, puerile or abusive comments from anonymous contributors will continue to be given the short shrift they deserve. Any spam comments that get through Google/Blogger defences will also be quickly deleted.