But it was only after the intervention of the BBC, the Sun, Kent online political editor Paul Francis and the publication of my blog post on 25th February that they were forced to fess up and offer their apology. Since I published my exposure of this appalling and unethical fundraising tactic, my blogsite story has had almost 21,000 hits which demonstrates the strength of feeling about this emotive issue. I have also been contacted by many people from the Ramsgate Labour Party and elsewhere who have expressed their distaste and anger that Constantine and Ara could have sank so low as to have sold donations destined for vulnerable and homeless people in order to fund their own personal political careers. I agree.
I find it hard to accept that this was a genuine mistake. Most people recognise that taking charitable donations destined for vulnerable people and then selling them for personal gain is morally and ethically wrong. So why did Constantine, Ara, and Peet choose to do it? I can only assume that they didn’t care and don’t share the moral and ethical values that the overwhelming majority of people subscribe to.
As a lifelong socialist who has campaigned all of my adult life against injustice, poverty and discrimination, I’m sickened and disgusted that prominent members of the Ramsgate Labour Party, who claim to hold views similar to mine, thought that it was OK to advance their political careers on the back of filthy lucre raised from the sale of charitable donations intended for vulnerable people.
Where’s the socialism in that comrade? Where’s the sensitivity, compassion and moral principles people expect from prominent members of a party which is allegedly dedicated to social justice? Even the, well-respected, former Thanet Council Labour Leader Richard Nicholson called in a Facebook comment Constantine and Ara to resign. I’m sure that many people, myself included, agree with Richard Nicholson. I’m also sure that Labour Party Leader Jeremy Corbyn would also be appalled about the actions of his party colleagues. They are certainly not part of Crobyn’s much heralded new-politics, but more akin to old fashioned self-promotion at the expense of others which has discredited our democratic system and has led to a growing disenchantment with politics.
Sadly Constantine and Ara are not the first, or the last, politicians in Ramsgate to have been caught engaging in highly questionable election campaign tactics. The Tories and, more recently UKIP, have also been accused of serious breaches of election rules and ironically Constantine was one of their most ferocious critics when they were caught. However the difference in this case is that I would have expected much higher standards of behaviour from members of the Labour Party and am bitterly disappointed that the Party has taken no action against them.Hopefully new candidates might emerge for the Ramsgate KCC election who are open and honest and who will put the interests of local people before their own self-interest and self-promotion.
BBC Newsroom South East 27 Feb