Thursday, July 03, 2008

Decline and fall

Some people will regard this as sad. Indeed it is. But it is also a warning of how membership of the House of Commons can destroy people who aren't really mentally equipped to deal with it. When I first met her as a newly-elected Labour MP in 1997, Helen Brinton, as was, was a relatively normal human being.




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15 comments:

David Boothroyd said...

I can't help feeling that in blaming "membership of the House of Commons" you may be being slightly too general. Helen Brinton / Helen Clark may have been "relatively normal" but that was not what came across. After a single rather banal quote she was mercilessly mocked for her views and appearance, and ended up with a media profile much greater than most backbench MPs.

Her private life was also the subject of intense gossip and reporting, which probably made her troubles greater. It seems to me that it is more the media coverage of her as an MP that would be the cause of any problem, rather than being an MP in the first place.

MorrisOx said...

Media coverage may have contributed, David, but as I'm sure Paul can testify it was not the start of her problems.

She is far from the only woman MP to have suffered. One died a drunk. And they talk of one of her tormentors as a potential PM...

jane said...

this is just unkind

Anonymous said...

It is not just the media, there arepeople who mess ip other people' lives and break them down. Look at the way tory trolls go after people on the internet just for dissagreeing with them and then threatening to find their IP address. I am sure alot of people feel like this.
If I was an MP I would end up like this no problem. So you do need to be quite strong too be in the public eye But the bullies should shut up too.

Anonymous said...

It is not just the media, there arepeople who mesh up other people's lives and break them down. Look at the way tory trolls go after people on the internet just for dissagreeing with them and then threatening to find their IP address. I am sure alot of people feel like this.
If I was an MP I would end up like this no problem. So you do need to be quite strong too be in the public eye. But the bullies should shut up too.

UK politics does seem to favour the bully.

Anonymous said...

Make that woman Prime Minister

G Eagle Esq said...

Sehr geEhrter Paul....

mmm

.... did this infeliitous episode really have to be more widely disseminated ... and here of all enlightened places ?

....

From your local knowledge, are you able to tell us how pleasant it is to be involved with the local Derby Labour Party and how supportive the Comrades are, on those who fall on hard times

Is there anything we can do to help this young lady ?

I have the honour to remain your obedient servant etc

G Eagle

Paul Linford said...

I realised this would upset some people and open me up to accusations of voyeurism or worse, but I genuinely do think there is a wider issue here to do with the way that the political system can chew-up and spit out people who are unable to cope.

The background story here is that the 1997 intake of Labour MPs contained a number of people who were not expected to win and who had therefore been given very little prior warning of what to expect and training in how to deal with the pressures of parliamentary life (including, of course, the role of media.) Helen Brinton-Clark and Fiona Jones both fell into this category, in my view, and both experienced huge personal difficulties as a result.

It is possible, on current polling trends, that a similar phenonmenon may occur in 2010, with Conservative MPs. If thids YouTube video achieves anything, it should at least give the Tory Party some food for thought in how it might deal with that.

Paul Linford said...

Oh and by the way, GE (17.55) I am not, never have been, and probably never will be a member of the Derby Labour Party.

G Eagle Esq said...

Sehr geEhrter Paul

Points well-made

Nor has this Eagle been a Labour Party member, although he has been known to associate with publicans, sinners .... and (shockingly) trendy lefties

but perhaps a distinguished local journalist might have some information for us about whether involvement with Derby's Labour Party is (or is not) a congenial, life-enriching experience

Does involvement with Politics have to be like this ???

... presumably you will quietly let us know if there is anything we can quietly do to help this young lady or her (or Mrs Jones's) family

Yr obedt servant etc

G E

Toque said...

What I want to know is whether Helen Clark is talking about Paul Linford here:

'There's more booze drunk by lobby journalists than by politicians,' she says. 'One was sick over my shoes once.'

jane said...

No. Someone else.

Paul Linford said...

Rather surprised you should ask, Toque old chap, but for the record I never threw up anywhere in the House of Commons apart from once in the toilets after the DEFRA festival of food and drink in 2003 when I was a one of a number of lobby journalists who went down with a stomach upset. I don't think Helen Clark was in the cubicle with me at the time.

Toque said...

Pleased to hear it.

Chris Paul said...

Why is this nastiness on your blog Paul? Why would you want to contribute to this woman's destruction in this way?