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A brief observation on Maria Gatland

I have never met Mrs Gatland, although I may have been in the same room as her. She represents an adjoining ward to mine, by the way. I have equivocated about writing this, as I try to steer clear of writing about UK issues that are already major news. More here.

Anyway, the first parallel worth drawing is that unlike in a Labour controlled borough on the wrong side of the river, she resigned from her post as soon as her embarrassing past entered into the public domain.

Further, her muscular sympathies with the 'Bold Fenian Men' ended some 35 years ago, she having repented at the time. While I do not think that time automatically wipes the slate, it does not appear that she has done anything that would have Special Branch, the RUC or whatever slavering at the prospect of a prosecution, were it not for the Good Friday Agreement and so forth.

If councillors are selected by the Conservatives in the same way that prospective MPs are, then her most grievous sin this century was in giving a less than a full and frank answer to the boilerplate text of 'have you ever done anything that has the potential to embarrass the Conservative Party'.

Were she asked that she should have given the answer we all now know, and even if she were not, it is more than arguable that she should have volunteered it.

However, judging from the photos of Mrs Gatland, she appears to be no older than in her early sixties, suggesting that she would have been associated with the Provos when she was in her early twenties or younger. Since then she appears to have led a blameless life and furthermore has engaged in good works and I would argue that this entitles her if not to forgiveness than at least to a degree of sympathy.

Moving swiftly on, a little light googling of the whistle blower, one Peter Latham who researches for a group called 'Save Our Schools', throws this up for 2006:

Broad Green - Peter Latham (Communist Party of Britain) 177.

They might not be one and the same. Furthermore, the same individual stood on the PR list for the 2008 GLA elections on the Unity for Peace and Socialism list, this being the CPB under another name. It won less than a tenth of the vote of the Stop the Congestion Charge list.

Given the ambiguous relationship between the British extreme left and Irish Republicanism, one does have to wonder whether the outing of Mrs Gatland - supposedly under sentence of death by the IRA - was motivated by more than concern over education in Croydon.

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Blogger Praguetory said... 10:41 am

Resign from council? She may well have to find a new identity.

I wait for further details to emerge (and I'd hope that she had informed her council leader), but the tactics of the whistle-blower make me feel angry to the pit of my stomach.  

Blogger disenfranchised said... 12:44 pm

There is a huge difference between being active in an organisation which openly supports violence against other people and being a member of a political party which operates within the law - however left wing.

"Hoodies" younger than Maria Gatling was are pilloried for existing, let alone carrying knives.

If Cllr Gatling is in such danger, how has it been so easy to expose her past? It is to be hoped that no-one will be so stupid as to threaten her in any way, but Croydon voters do have a right to know who they are voting for. The Tories are being two faced if they disagree, since they have dirtied their hands trying to dig the dirt.  

Blogger Croydonian said... 2:20 pm

D - Maria left the Provos 35 odd years ago, and denounced them at the time. If I thought she was a fellow traveller now I would not be equivocal in my condemnation now.

I agree that my fellow Croydonites should be able to vote based on full, relevant disclusure  

Blogger The Wilted Rose said... 5:19 pm

Is this the same Communist Party which murdered TENS OF MILLIONS under Stalin?

A few more than the Provos, it seems to me...  

Blogger andromache said... 8:11 pm

Same Communist Party that murdered millions? The CPB is actually a splinter group that runs the Morning Star. Depending on your point of view, an independent leftwing newspaper or a dreary broadsheet.  

Anonymous Anonymous said... 6:48 am

She was young and naive... and just having a bit of fun.

Send your words of support to the scum bag at:


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