I've often wondered why Hancock's wildly inappropriate text messages sent to vulnerable constituent 'Annie', which emerged in late 2010 and which he never denied sending, weren't enough for any kind of action from the Liberal Democrat Party at that time, given that he was a Cabinet Member of Portsmouth City Council with oversight of policies and practices which affected the lives of vulnerable people.
The Liberal Democrat Party, either locally in Portsmouth and federally, or both, could and should have acted on the behaviour which Hancock admitted to in 2010 - irrespective of any other pending matters. In fact as far as I can see, those pending matters became a handy excuse for inaction, and helped set up a convenient screen that the local Party and the federal Party chose to hide behind. For years. They left a victim in painful limbo for years. That the Police weren't charging Hancock was transmogrified by leading Lib Dems into 'alternative fact', as they tried and tried to cast a spell upon us all that no wrongdoing had been shown to have taken place. And at a number of points the inaction and delay in dealing with the wrongdoing were blamed upon the victim having complained.
This was the deception that was spouted by Lib Dems from Portsmouth up to London and repeated ad nauseam. So to some extent, this is an essay about the nature of collective denial, protection, fear and illusion-making within a group of people, using what is to me a very stark example of wrongdoing at its heart. For me, living through it, as a colleague of both Hancock and the Council Leader Gerald Vernon-Jackson, both forceful characters, it was troubling and worrying, and life within the Council Group became a toxic miasma of shape-shifting and discordant echoes. The day I finally resigned was a bitter-sweet liberation. Read More