lucylucyWHO knows what Camden Labour party activist Lucy Reese asked to be captioned as when she appeared on Newsnight on Thursday night? The fact they just put ‘parent’ might have seemed innocuous, but it meant she ended up on the widely-read blogsite MediaGuido the next day as it was pointed out that her political affiliation had not been declared in a debate about government’s education policy.

The suggestion was that it was all a little too deceptive, rubbed to give the impression that all ‘parents’ – let’s face it, that vague caption could apply to half the people who appear on Newsnight – are against the coalition’s free schools.

Lucy was there arguing against headteachers of shiny new free schools, extolling Camden’s ‘family of schools’ model. It would probably just have been better to give full disclosure from the off. She has been suggested as a future Labour councillor in Camden and linked to the seat in Camden Town with Primrose Hill earlier this year.

That said, it isn’t the worst sin in the world, is it?, and maybe not even one of her own making. Most sensible people watching the programme would detect from her comments that she was unlikely to be a fan of Michael Gove and almost certainly not a Conservative or Liberal Democrat voter. The assumption, whether it should have been left to the viewers to make or not, must have been that she was a Labour bod. Fair enough to MediaGuido, which let’s just say gets a few more views than these humble pages, for making the point. It’s a valid thing to raise. But the anger in the comments it has attracted is pretty forceful; maybe just a teensy bit out of proportion and then, as it goes on, sexist. As a collection, it’s a rude awakening to the realities of sticking your ahead above the parapet, even at a local level, and offering an opinion. Below are a sample:

“That is a political and an ideological decision” should have made half a brain known she’s a commie bastard…

“Lol, Labour caught out again. Look at her shifty eyes and you can tell she is a Labour drone.

I thought twice about including the next two, but they illustrate, with a wince, what lies in wait for politicians and more widely and more worryingly, women, when they go on television…:

“She’s quite bummable.”

“Nice cheekbones, both sets. Wonder what her other lips are like.”

6 Comments on ‘Parent’

  1. Does Guido ever complain about Mark Littlewood’s caption? He’s often on Newsnight as Director General of the Institute of Economic Affairs, supporting the coalition Government’s policies. Shouldn’t it say he is a Lib-Dem member, and a former spokesperson for Charles Kennedy? We all have different allegiancies and various identities and no caption can describe them all! Lucy wasn’t there as a Labour member but as a parent, and a person who cares about education, and her opposition to Michael Gove’s plans is not simply the result of her Labour membership… Guido and his readers have just to accept that Labour members are normal people, expressing normal concerns!

  2. If Guido knew anything about school governance he’d know that local political parties have nominating rights to schools up and down the country. That a school governor might be Labour, or Tory, or Lib Dem is nothing new – it’s actually part of the system! It shouldn’t shock that in Camden there are more Labour governors than Tory ones.

    The comments are the usual right-wing filth that otherwise trolls Comment is Free instead of doing a day job.

    In passing: Much like the current vogue by right wingers to say that Ed M’s Haverstock school is “in Primrose Hill” or “between Primrose Hill and Hampstead” and therefore “posh” (rather than serving Haverstock and Gospel Oak and therefore not), the ward is called Camden Town with Primrose Hill and the Camden Town bit is one of the poorest parts of Camden.

  3. Richard Milestone // December 18, 2012 at 10:45 am //

    I do know about school governance and I know that school governors can be of any political party or none. However, Lucy Reese wasn’t introduced as a school governor (I don’t know whether she is or she isn’t), she was introduced as a “Parent” who was brought on as the antidote to the nasty people trying to set up nasty free schools that are ruining the education system.

    As soon as she opened her mouth I typed “Lucy Reese Camden” into google as it was quite clear that she was more than just a concerned parent at Torriano Junior School.

    I also think Lazzaro misses the point- Mark Littlewood is brought in to comment in a professional capacity as a spokesperson for the IEA and there is an expectation that he will have some sort of political stance, be that Labour, LibDem or Tory. Lucy Reese was not there in a professional/political capacity of any form, but as a caring mother in a personal capacity when she quite clearly had underlying motives- to that end, there is no doubt in my mind that they were intending to mislead viewers.

    As for the right-wing filth on Comment Is Free, Theo, people in glass houses etc… etc…

    • “As for the right-wing filth on Comment Is Free, Theo, people in glass houses etc… etc…” –

      I’m not sure what you mean here, can you clarify or is it just a snide comment because you can’t think of anything else to say?

      • Richard Milestone // December 23, 2012 at 12:06 am //

        I mean that there is plenty of “filth” from people on the left on Comment is Free as well and I don’t see that the right have the monopoly on this. I’m not condoning what was written about her, merely pointing out that there are just as many nasty comments directed at other people on there as well.

    • Richard, today on BBC Radio4 there were three experts discussing about the financial crisis: the above mentioned Mark Littlewood from IEA, one from the Taxpayers Alliance and one from the Policy Exchange. They were expressing “neutral and technical” (!!!) views on the economic situation and the cuts: unsurprisingly all three supported the Government! The voice of a parent would have been much appreciated…

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