Jill Hope

Northamptonshire County Councillor for Sixfields - a Lib Dem campaigner working all year round, not just at election time Learn more

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IS IT reasonable to expect our politicians to be saints?

by Jill Hope on 28 April, 2011

ONE of my fellow-Lib Dem candidates in South Northants is being given a very hard time in the press, because she is an artist, and has published some of her photographs on an ‘Adult’ website. Don’t misunderstand, this is not a site with naked women on, not a porn site, but a site for experimental photographs including some that she has created – self-portraits showing her bound and gagged.

These pictures may be to your taste, or they may not, but her Conservative opponent seems to feel that being an experimental artist is sufficient grounds for voters to reject her. I understand that now Max Clifford is pursuing her – well I hope it advances her career as an artist.

Anyone who puts themselves forward for election is subject to intense scrutiny. The press and your political opponents are keen to dig up anything negative they can. This must deter some excellent potential councillors from standing in an election.

People are human, and this includes people standing for election. They may in the past have done some really stupid things, but does that mean that they shouldn’t put themselves forward to be elected? Actually it could be argued that someone who’s never put a foot wrong doesn’t really understand the problems and temptations of ordinary people.

Obviously if someone is corrupt or has done something that’s actually criminal, that needs to be exposed, but is being an experimental artist in that category? Clearly not.

I hope that some of the negative publicity during this campaign hasn’t deterred decent community champions from putting themselves forward for election in the future. I would far rather see a council chamber full of slightly flawed individual with passion and flair, than one full of dull individuals who have never put a foot wrong all their lives – they’ve probably never done anything interesting all their lives either.

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