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Sometimes politicians deserve humiliation. NSFW

October 28, 2013

Councillor Mo Larkin, Mayor of Basildon and possibly rising internet star.

There are many people who go into politics for the right and proper reasons, which is because they have a sense of duty to represent the wider population in Parliament or local government. There are others who start out good but later become time-serving party hacks, others who are puffed up with self importance and make themselves remote from those who voted for them, and some to be frank who are just plain bent or even not all the full ticket**.

Over recent years there has been a significant drop in the levels of respect that parties, elected members and candidates are held. That I would argue is not only because the idea of deference to those in authority has waned, but also because the quality of politicians has fallen short of what we should be able to expect.

A constant barrage of political misdemeanour’s, expenses fraud, corruption in both local and national government, a lack of transparency about political agendas, damaging policies, and sometimes downright dishonesty, have robbed politicians of the respect that they once had. The growth of social media has allowed the angry voter a between elections voice, something that has hitherto been missing from the political system.

This new form of the voice of the elector is a good thing. It means that no longer can a politician do something stupid and disrespectful such as using a mobile phone during an Armed Forces Day parade, which was the behaviour of the Conservative Mayor of Basildon in Essex, Mo Larkin, and expect it not to be noticed, or commented on.

After the military parade various people were disgusted by her actions. This disgust snowballed after a picture of her using her mobile whilst being saluted by a service person started to circulate. After that a very scurrilous (and NSFW) animation about her, referring to her as Camel-Toe Moe and showing her on a reviewing platform giving birth to Tony Ball the Conservative council leader of Basildon, started to go viral However, Ms Larkin’s overriding concern was not to appologise for an obvious faux pas, as she should have done, but to set up an investigation to find out who circulated the photograph, and banned her staff from watching the video. Ms Larkin also used her powers to instruct Essex Police to arrest the animators for ‘malicious communication’.

Ms Larkin said in an interview to the Essex Echo that she should not have expected the sort of ‘humiliation‘ she got. I would say, well what else did she expect? She may not have been humiliated in this way in an era of more deference to politicians, but the times are different, the profession and calling of politics has been damaged, chiefly by politicians themselves.

A society where politicians like Ms Larkin cannot be mocked, abused, pilloried, taken to task or humiliated, is not a free society. Ms Larkin’s post-phone cock up actions, are the work of a politician who has grown too big for her probably very expensive taxpayer funded boots.

The political classes by their actions have made themselves disreputable, it should be no crime to point out disreputable actions by a politician, even if it is, as is quite plain to see from the animation, in a pretty offensive way. In her arrogance she thought that she was immune to criticism, and tried to silence those who criticised her, but it has backfired.

This story does appear to be heading for a happy-ish ending because by kicking up a fuss and throwing her weight around, Ms Larkin has ensured that as each day goes by, more and more people know the name Camel-Toe Mo and have viewed the ‘offensive’ video. Ms Larkin may have started out as only being the Mayor of a concrete new-town in Essex, but now she’s world famous, but she may not be liking the sort of fame she’s got very much.

If she can’t tolerate the slings and arrows of outrageous cartoonists and photographers with an eye for a good shot, then maybe politics is not for her. Some other career such as prison warder or nightclub bouncer could be a more suitable outlet for her worrying tendency to authoritarianism. Hunting down cartoonists? It’s like something that would be more in the Taliban’s line.

Those of us who mock politicians have different styles of mockery, I for example try not to attack a persons looks because I think it is unfair to attack that which a person cannot change, but others think otherwise on that issue (see some of the commentators on the Guido site for example). However what should be agreed on by the growing number of political cynics out there, is that politicians from all parties and from all levels of government are often in dire need of being mocked mercilessly. This lampooning is necessary in order to let the politician know that the voter is ultimately, the boss.  

 

Links and background

The original and very much not safe for work, Camel Toe Mo animation.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rV5fQMGe1Tc

Because of Ms Larkin’s attempt to suppress the Camel-Toe Mo story she only succeeded in spreading the story. Here is the American Tomo News site with their take on the tale

http://www.youtube.com/watch?annotation_id=annotation_477771913&feature=iv&src_vid=rV5fQMGe1Tc&v=OxpiYEB0c9w

Background to the story, and also some evidence as to how much time and money was wasted on obtaining revenge for Ms Larkin. This is also from the Tomo News site

Published on Oct 11, 2013

Basildon mayor Mo Larkin is upset by a cartoon depicting her as Camel Toe Mo. The police have been ordered to investigate the animation, which was sent to Basildon council members. The crime? Malicious communications.

The funny caricature pokes fun at Mo Larkin for being absorbed with her mobile phone instead of receiving a salute on Armed Forces Day in June. The hilarious cartoon shows Larkin giving birth to council leader Tony Ball. 

After the email containing a link to the video was sent to council members and staff, the council advised workers not to click on it. The council then called the police to investigate. Essex Police have confirmed a probe is underway.

An Essex police spokesman told the Echo newspaper: “We are investigating allegations of malicious communications and inquiries are ongoing.” 

Mo Larkin said: “You can expect criticism as mayor, but no one should have to put up with this sort of humiliation — it is disgusting.”

This is not the first time public resources have been used to launch an investigation into online content Larkin has found embarrassing. 

When the photo circulated of Larkin using her mobile phone instead of receiving a salute on Armed Forces Day, the council ordered an employee to spend a full week investigating whether someone was out to embarrass the mayor. That staff member spent 42 hours trying to find out who took the photo. 

Newsflash: Someone is out to embarrass the mayor! That person is … the mayor!

So now the mayor wants to know who is behind the cartoon Camel Toe Mo. We would suggest the cartoonist is someone who doesn’t like the mayor very much or her heavy-handed tactics. 

Ironically, few people were likely to have paid attention to the cartoon. But now that police resources have been tasked to track down its creator, the animation is likely to receive a wider audience.

Congratulations mayor Mo Larkin. Perhaps we should rename the Streisand effect for you.

Watch Camel Toe Mo here:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rV5fQ…

 

Sort of on topic: Check out the difference between the first film, a very deferential interview with Sir Alec Douglas-Home from 1964 and the second film which is an interview with Gordon Brown from I believe, 2009. The Gordon Brown interview is much less deferential and it is right that it should be that way.

Alec Douglas-Home interview

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kBezNAaEE3c

Gordon Brown interview

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5nwF7ySKTpM

**Into this category I would put those BNP councillors like ‘Clueless Kelley’, who not only couldn’t get his head round council procedure, but probably had difficulty working out which way round to sit on a toilet seat.

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