United Kingdom — Let’s face it, we have all had those heart-stopping moments after hitting send when we realise we have made a mistake. *Personal disclosure, I once inquired about a new job and accidentally sent the email to my (then) current boss. Regardless of what our own internet or social media blunders have entailed, they pale into insignificance compared with a mighty indiscretion made recently by a U.K. Tory Councillor.
Conservative member of Portsmouth council, Scott Harris, wrote an email trying to persuade colleagues to join him in a smear campaign against local domestic violence services and women’s rights campaigners. Unfortunately for him, the private correspondence was mistakenly sent out — in a chain to the targets of his venom.
Containing information on a number of political targets, the leaked email detailed a planned smear campaign against local sector workers and campaign groups after they criticised his proposals for £180,000 worth of cuts to domestic violence services.
“Quite frankly it might be a good idea to play dirty this time. I know we shouldn’t go down to their gutter politics but should we continue to stand by and allow this to go on?” Cllr. Harris said.
He added: “I’m also compiling some stuff on Shonagh Dillion [sic], Aurora New Dawn and Sisters Uncut. Interestingly I’ve found some stuff on [local socialist activist] Jon Woods and the SWP locally which will be useful when the loony left come calling nearer May.”
One of Harris’s targets was Sisters Uncut — a campaign group taking direct action to protect domestic violence services. Campaigners are stunned that the councillor is using his energy to de-legitimize their campaign, instead of looking at how to create fully-funded domestic violence services to protect women.
“It has been revealed to us that Conservative Councillor Scott Harris has been conspiring to orchestrate a smear campaign against Sisters Uncut and other campaigners calling for full funding of domestic violence services. In an email recently brought to our attention he says that he thinks it might be a good idea to ‘play dirty’ and is ‘compiling some stuff’ on Sisters Uncut and a local sector worker with the intention of smearing us,” the group said.
However, rather than being intimidated by his grubby tactics, they accuse Harris of diverting attention away from the real issues: “We have zero concerns about Scott Harris, his smear campaign or the dirty politics of Portsmouth City council. Our only concern is that women’s lives will be put at risk from their brutal cuts. Domestic violence services save women’s lives and £180,000 worth of cuts will increase the risk that women already face.”
In addition, the group said it is dangerous and revealing that Conservative councillors in Portsmouth don’t recognise the harm that their cuts are causing and expressed dismay that the priorities are political point scoring — smear campaigns and careerism — instead of women’s lives and safety.