CAMDEN’S mayor Lazzaro Pietragnoli comes to the defence of Liberal Democrat parliamentary candidate Maajid Nawaz this morning, after the latter found a picture and video of himself in a Whitechapel strip club featuring on the pages and website of the Daily Mail. Lazzaro says he is ‘appalled to see left-wing’ friends sharing the article. Others in his own council group, less publicly, say Maajid is guilty of hypocrisy and have an outright objection to lap-dancing in the first place, regardless of what religion Maajid follows or says about feminism.
It doesn’t really matter, however, what Lazzaro or other Labour members in Camden think of the story, for Maajid it matters more as to whether it affects 1) voter opinion in Hampstead and Kilburn, 2) the respect he has within the Liberal Democrat party, in which he is regarded as an important celebrity, and 3) his personal speaker bookings, on which he thrives. Number three on the list, perhaps the most important in the end for the man himself, will almost certainly not be too adversely affected, for he can prove to be an engaging, sharp panellist even for those who do not buy his views.
As Lazzaro seems to suggest, an old Labour rival in Bradford, Khalid Mahmoud, might have done better to not follow Conservative go-to voice Nadine Dorries in criticising Maajid in the Daily Mail. If Maajid is not setting a good example, as he says, then he might have let the article speak for itself. The pictures would have blown up over Twitter anyway; Maajid was ‘trending’ for several hours in the UK earlier. If she was offered the chance to lend her views, Tulip Siddiq did well to pass here and take a see what happens next approach.
This is because the piece actually splits opinion between WT…? and so what?. Maajid retweeted the article with a play to the second reaction, as if he was being attacked for a bloke being a bloke: ‘Yes, I can confirm, that last summer I had a stag night.’
It’s not the kind of story that would normally feature on these pages, nor in the Camden New Journal, but the reaction is so widespread this morning it is difficult to not at least note how, as calls come for him to step down from our parliamentary contest in Hampstead and Kilburn, it may or may not affect his battle with Tulip and Conservative Simon Marcus.
— lazzaro pietragnoli (@lazzarop) April 11, 2015
Yes, I can confirm that last summer I had a stag night http://t.co/2w640mu3gt
— Maajid Nawaz (@MaajidNawaz) April 10, 2015