The former mayor of Southwark has compared domestic violence with smacking — and refused to apologise after claiming that some see “benefits” in the crime.

Cllr Columba Blango, who is a colleague of Lib Dem deputy leader Simon Hughes and represents the ward neighbouring his house, has shocked colleagues with his views on the subject:

“It’s like smacking. Some people see the benefits of smacking. Some don’t see it.”

In remarks recorded in official council minutes and later attributed to Blango, the councillor claimed “some perpetrators might not be able to prevent themselves” from slapping their partner in “the spur of the moment.”

When a female councillor suggested he should apologise for comments made in the meeting of Southwark Council’s Education, Children’s Services and Leisure Committee, he dismissed her as being “emotional”.

Fellow Southwark councillor and sometime occupant of the BBC Sunday Politics sofa Rowenna Davis — who was in the car-crash meeting — told Scrapbook that “there’s no room for ambiguity when it comes to domestic violence”:

“I have constituents who suffer from domestic violence. The vast majority of Lib Dems would be appalled by Cllr Blango’s comments. But what does Simon Hughes think of his colleague and a supposed community leader propagating this kind of attitude?”

Perhaps the Lib Dem top brass should “encourage” Columba to apologise.

  1. @Kevin: Woops! My bad. Corrected.

    As for the substance of the article, it’s nailed down. The “seeing the benefits” quote is from Southwark News. Not online yet so we can’t link.

  2. I find this very hard to credit and would like independent verification. It is a “muckraking” claim you’re making and, I presume, bar legalistic back-tracking, leaves you open to libel. Supporting evidence please.

  3. My view on this, an some may not agree with this, but there is no such thing as domestic violence. It *IS* violence, either GBH or ABH. It should be tried in our courts as such. Do not differentiate or water down violence.

    And saying that these acts can be done without thinking does not remove responsibility or culpability.

  4. I agree with those who’d like corroboration. Small details here could make a lot of difference. Compare the difference in meaning between the report’s initial
    > some see “benefits” in the crime
    the mayor’s alleged words
    > Some people see the benefits of smacking.
    The presence or absence of that definite article makes all the difference between observing a viewpoint and endorsing it.

  5. Since when has hearsay, or a quote from anywhere been acceptable evidence ? I am not suggesting the the Newspaper article is inaccurate but rather that it amounts to hearsay and is not a witness statement.

  6. @Roy: You’ve missed off “It’s like smacking”. “It” here is domestic violence. He then says “Some people see the benefits of smacking. Some don’t see it.”

    In the respect that some people can see “benefits” and some cannot, he is making a direct comparison between smacking and domestic violence. What about that is so hard to understand?

    @Colin: You don’t make sense. Why does the quote from Blango from Southwark News “amount to hearsay”? I’d stop reading newspapers if I were you. You do realise they aren’t “witness statements”?

  7. steve has posted a link to the meeting’s official minutes. those seeking proof should at least read that. then perhaps contact mr blango and ask if these reflect his views or not?

  8. What are Lib Dems? Liberal Democrats?

    If this story is true (and I always have to verify anything Conservatives say), then this guy is in the wrong party and needs to join the GOP.

  9. What hope is there for this country when “men” like him are given a place in council.

    RESPECT to the female councillor who spoke up.

    How pleased I am to be just the other side of the Southwark/Lambeth border.


  10. Squirrel Nutkin says:

    Does sound like the whole event was a little overheated. Also from those minutes

    “Another member commented that she did not think it mattered if the violence was a one off issue or a pattern of abuse; if someone is not in control they should be in a mental institution”

    Would all commentators care to confirm whether or not they have, at any stage since their adolescence, whether through inner rage, drugs or political fervour, been “not in control” (as a one-off or as a long-term pattern). And if so, to which mental institution should they have been consigned?

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