My post earlier today on the subject of the Darbyshires has drawn some interesting comments, as you can see.
I hold no mandate to defend Leah and Robin, and it ill befits me to try and do so as I really don't know them that well. But perhaps one of them is reading this and so, treat this as an open letter...
Dear Leah and Robin,
I have read your blog since it was launched and, whilst I had some doubts about the wisdom of some of the postings made (and you may remember the occasional polite e-mail suggesting that you might like to rethink/clarify your words), I saw no fundamental harm in what you were doing. Your style isn't mine - and there are some very good reasons for that, gender, age and perspective being just three - and I did think that the comments about your relationship were less than well-suited to being published on a political aggregated blog.
The satirical blog that emerged and, I must admit, remained unseen by me, was just what I feared would emerge. Your style was far too tempting to escape parody for long. You might have been better off giving up the blog, or starting a new one and only releasing details of it to those close to you. Instead, you turned inexcusably nasty, and worst of all, picked on an innocent bystander. And that's when it turned personal and nasty. People started to take sides and, when it comes down to choices, the innocent bystander is always going to win (and worst of all from your perspective, she really was an innocent bystander and most people knew it).
To then start a series of generic attacks on the basis of looks and sexual jealousy was so unnecessary because the neutrals started coming off of the fence too. Not everyone can look like a movie star or a model, in fact. most people don't. You don't either, as far as many of the comments that I've seen are concerned. That's not to say that you're ugly, plain or stunningly attractive, I've simply not given it a huge amount of thought because you're not my type - my friends will testify to that...
And so now you've resigned as Party members. Perhaps politics isn't for you, I don't know. However, whatever you do in politics from here on in, the story of your blog will follow you - people are kind of mean like that. It's a pity because you might have had a successful career in the party if you hadn't taken it all so personally. Politics is a tough game, and that's one of the reasons I don't tend to fight elections (I find the ease with which lies are told deeply troubling).
And now perhaps we can stop worrying about it all and get on with the rest of our lives?
Chair, Dulwich and West Norwood Liberal Democrats