Dear Former Lib Dem Colleagues,
Despite the Police talking to a couple of you, and despite the fact that many rational, reflective commentators are telling you to learn from and reflect on what's happened over the past few years, a number of Lib Dem Party members persist in posting online comments about Hancock's victim 'Annie' which are unnecessary and, frankly, pretty vile.
To these people I say: Stop. Just stop. You do yourselves no credit, and you bring down a once great political movement for which I worked hard for over 14 years.
To those Lib Dem Party members who know who the above people are: Report them. Or resign. Do something. Don't stand by while this continues to happen - and please understand that these 'colleagues', whilst on the one hand pleading about 'moving on', actually make each new occurrence of their toxic, misogynistic online abuse of a real-life victim into today's news. They have become the story. They are creating the narrative here - whether you want any part of it or not.
To those in positions of authority in the Liberal Democrat Party: Deal with this. Why are you tolerating people in the Lib Dems - a Party I once loved and cared about, that I worked for tirelessly and relentlessly for so many years - who have let it become such a shit show?
These online abusers of 'Annie' are an embarrassment; and not least because the Party currently (rightly) campaigns for a greater understanding of and for better resources for helping those with mental health issues. There's also a much greater awareness in society now about the dynamics around what some professionals call 'grooming', and around the relative power imbalances where discriminations, 'crossings of the line' and abuses not only are created but are also ignored, exploited and compounded by those with something to gain or something to lose - or by those who are just plain stuck in their sad grooves of needing to belong to something, even if it's Club Hancockiana.
If only 'victim blaming' were a thing of the past. If only.
You'd think the Liberal Democrats would be at the forefront of eradicating such viscerally unfair practices.
Liberal Democrats, you were the future once. We were the future once. We bucked the national trends in Portsmouth and so many of us cared passionately about social justice. How some of you can bear to be in the same meeting rooms, and gossiping on the same chat pages online, as the Party members who think it's OK to take a swipe at a victim - a victim whose anonymity is High Court ordered - actually makes me feel a whole mixture of emotions.
And get this: while such abuse happens, you will be the story.