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Mike's Editorial: Brown's affair a personal, not political, catastrophe

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| Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Mike's Editorial: Brown's affair a personal, not political, catastrophe

So Len Brown’s second term is not off to the flashest of starts. Good day on Saturday, Tuesday… not so good.

So the questions are simple. Does Len Brown’s affair affect his ability to be mayor? If you’d known about this last week, would it have affected your vote? Should he quit because of it? If he did, would he get reelected? Is this any of our business? There are many more questions but let’s deal with the basics.

This is a tawdry business, especially if you read the accounts supplied by the woman concerned. But in the interests of balance, the woman concerned is as bad as Len Brown, perhaps worse. Not only was she a willing participant, she then sold him up the river.

As to what happens out of this, recent experience appears to show us in such matters it depends who you are. In Anthony Weiner’s case in New York, it wrecked his career. There is a mayor in San Diego currently who’s checked himself into sex addiction courses. He remains in office but his future isn’t flash. But in contrast, Bill Clinton came through it if not unscathed. At the time, it certainly didn’t cost him his job and his reputation and legacy wasn’t dented in the slightest. Brown of course is no Clinton, but he’s fessed up which in the long run is going to help him.

Helping him also is the fact he’s never been a morals crusader. He didn’t run on a platform that involves morals. So in that sense you can’t call him a hypocrite.

I think we can also dismiss the fact that a lot of this business took place on council premises. The location is not the real issue, nor is whether it happened on so called “mayoral time”. There is no such thing as “mayoral time”. Mayors don’t clock on or off. If this swings your support or vote, it should do so no matter when or where it happened.

Which brings us to the big question - is this any of our business? Answer – no. Not if you believe it doesn’t affect his ability to do the job which I don’t think it does. Len is about trains and housing and livable cities. Who he’s bonking doesn’t change that.

You don’t have to like his behaviour, you don’t have to think well of him – he’s never asked you to do that. He’s asked you for support to allow him to enact a political agenda. So in that sense, nothing has changed.

What might hurt him are the jokes and the embarrassment and the loss of kudos as a result of the inevitable ridicule. One hopes when he eventually addresses this publicly, he doesn’t start slapping himself again.

But this in and of itself is not a death sentence. He’s a laughing stock and for that I feel dreadfully bad for his family who deserve none of this. But that’s his problem. Because of his actions, and it’s his to fix, but at the end of it all this is a personal catastrophe, not a political one.

Photo: Getty Images

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