There is a very good piece in today's Guardian by Inayat Bunglawala, "Phil Woolas: a lesson in irresponsible behaviour" in which he asks
"What was the local Labour party thinking of when it allowed this incendiary madness to take place?"
It's a good question and gives rise to a further one.
I had to run every word of every leaflet my campaign team put out during the 2010 election, and the run up to the election, past Conservative HQ because the party was determined to avoid precisely the kind of debacle which Labour has now fallen into over Phil Woolas's campaign. I'm fairly certain that the Labour party had similar arrangements.
So one can also ask, what was the NATIONAL Labour party thinking when it allowed this incendiary madness to take place?
You can read Inayat's piece here.
Yesterday I posted a link to a summary of the judgement on the BBC website. Hat tip to Mike Smithson at Political Betting for pointing out a link to the full judgement here. In spite of the fact that there are 57 pages, this is something that all parliamentary candidates and their agents and literature directors would be wise to read.
I would also defy any open-minded person to read the full judgement without coming to the conclusion that
1) The judges had good reasons to find Phil Woolas guilty as charged
2) The Crown Prosecution service has good reason to consider whether criminal charges should be brought against both Phil Woolas and his agent.
And anyone who is tempted to defend Phil Woolas - or indeed, any voter in Oldham and Saddleworth who is considering casting a ballot for the Labour candidate in the by-election - might usefully ask themselves this question.
What would you say about a Tory or Lib/Dem candidate who fought this sort of campaign? And what would you think of Conservative or Liberal HQ for allowing it?