Letter: Let the people decide if they wish to support you
This letter sent to the Star was written by Cyril Olsen, Busk Meadow, Sheffield, S5
Your Star, July 24, front page headline 'Something big needed to happen' and accompanying report, together with Nancy Fielder's Editor's Comment, made for very sober reading, especially I suggest for Jared O'Mara's Hallam constituency electorate.
In commending Nancy's 'Hallam and Jared need help' viewpoint, I suggest that rather than his constituents being under the impression that everything which has gone wrong since his nomination and election is down to their MP - they should consider how he came to be put forward as the Labour candidate at the General Election.
I respectfully suggest that the local Labour party association and regional HQ were fully aware of Jared's physical disability and political experience and qualifications, or lack of them, when he applied for nomination for the Hallam constituency. The sitting MP was no less a prominent figure than Nick Clegg, a Liberal Democrat and Deputy Prime Minister in David Cameron's coalition government.
Labour 'powers that be' were of the opinion that their chance of winning the seat from such a prominent opponent were minimal to nil. Rather than nominate a more politically qualified and better known candidate to a distinct probability of defeat - they thrust Jared into the political arena where contrary to all expectations, as was the Brexit result, he triumphed over Nick Clegg - who was not helped by reneging on his students loan pledge. The rest is political history!
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Prominence is given to Jared being the country's first autistic MP, that he cannot shake hands, drive a car - and significantly "worries about things which other people would just shrug off." While I accept his misfortune, I respectfully point out that we have had several MPs in Parliament with I suggest disabilities far worse than his, yet these MPs have had a successful career and done much good work for their constituents. The name of Labour MPs the late Jack Ashley and our own David Blunkett readily spring to mind. Jack Ashley was MP for Stoke on Trent South from 1966-1992. During his term in office he underwent a routine eardrum operation which tragically went wrong and he became profoundly deaf in both ears.
Wishing to resigh his seat he was persuaded by parliamentary colleagues and friends to continue as an MP and champion the cause of disabled people. With the help of his beloved wife actiing as his interpreter he did so even when elevated to the House of Lords. Similarly, David Blunkett has been disabled blind since childhood yet he has worked hard as a local councillor and then MP to make a success of his life and to benefit the people of Sheffield.
I fully agree that a huge area of Sheffield is not being represented at one of the most critical moments in our political history and that if he isn't fit to do the job and lead a team he must go. For a sitting MP to resign from the Labour Party, and I include Angela Smith, Penistone and Stocksbridge who despite being elected on a Labour manifesto has jumped ship to join a Change/Independent party which has imploded - the honourable thing to do would be to resign your seat, stand at a by - election under your new manifesto and let the people decide if they wish to support you.
The fact that neither MP is willing to do so suggests that they fear the distinct probability of not being re-elected under their new political flag. Plus of course the fact that they would lose their current c £79000 annual salary plus expenses which is currently safeguarded until 2022 or a new General Election.