Who – exactly – is to be held accountable by these new rules? When Labour MPs were faced with a list of their abuses, they were the ones who demanded an apology.*
How transparent will the process of policing these new rules be?
Who will enforce them and what will be their criteria?
Labour’s NEC – which has just voted in this new, tougher policy on abuse – has been pilloried for enforcing current rules according to their own perceived bias (with detractors of Jeremy Corbyn allegedly using them to disenfranchise his supporters), and using the flimsiest of excuses to do so.
Are these new rules to be exercised in the same slapdash way? If so, they won’t be worth the paper they’re written on.
Considering the abominable way Labour’s National Executive Committee has managed this issue during the leadership contest, it seems clear there must be supervision of any work done in this regard, in a fair and impartial manner.
What guarantees are being offered to the membership?
And, if this new set of rules is abused as badly as the last lot, how may we get rid of them – and the members who foisted them on us?
Labour is to try to stop a “tsunami of abuse” by making all existing and new members sign a pledge about online behaviour or face being barred from the party.
The national executive committee (NEC) agreed to toughen up Labour’s stance on internet abuse during a crucial meeting on Tuesday, which comes as the party’s acrimonious leadership battle draws to a close.
the group unanimously agreed to a new statement on social media behaviour that will be included as a separate item in the terms and conditions of any membership.
Party members will have to explicitly promise “to act within the spirit and rules of the Labour party in my conduct both on and offline, with members and non-members”.
The statement they will have to sign adds: “I stand against all forms of abuse. I understand that if found to be in breach of the Labour party policy on online and offline abuse, I will be subject to the rules and procedures of the Labour party.”
Punishments could include being suspended from the party or eventually being expelled.
The pledge will be linked to a social media code of conduct, drawn up by the party, which warns that “harassment, intimidation, hateful language and bullying” will not be tolerated. It also lists discrimination on the basis of gender, race, religion, age, sexual orientation, gender identity or disability.
“Abusing someone online is just as serious as doing so face to face. We stand against all forms of abuse and will take action against those who commit it,” it adds, warning against the use of anonymous accounts, trolling, sexualised language, or the publication of private information.
*I still want to see a full explanation of – and apology for – the behaviour of most, if not all, those people, by the way. Why should they get off the hook just because they’re MPs?
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