I know some readers are sick and tired of the current power struggle within the Labour Party. “Why don’t they all just get on with fighting Tories?” is the common refrain.
I would like that to happen. But first we have to ensure that Labour is facing in the right direction.
Angela Eagle’s behaviour has been highly detrimental to the Labour Party. She ignored her constituency party’s wishes in resigning from the Shadow Cabinet, joining a vote of ‘no confidence’ against Jeremy Corbyn and standing against him (briefly) as a challenger for the party’s leadership. When her constituency party planned to hold a meeting to deselect her as a candidate in any future election, she and her followers moved to block this by suspending the party organisation, on these spurious grounds of abuse and intimidation.
She has acted in bad faith all the way down the line.
Now she has claimed Jeremy Corbyn sympathised with her on all these matters, when in fact he was simply expressing regret that she had received abuse – subsequent to the incident she complained about and not – at least, so far – attributed to anybody in Wallasey Labour Party.
There really isn’t any place for homophobic abuse in the Labour Party – but we have yet to see any proof that this took place within the Labour Party, and we certainly don’t have any evidence that Mr Corbyn agrees with Ms Eagle about the behaviour of Wallasey Labour Party. Quite the opposite, in fact – he attended the NEC to speak against the suspensions of party members.
What are people in the Wallasey constituency supposed to think about all this?
I’ll tell you – they’ll think that the Labour Party is falling apart; that its MP and party hierarchy are deliberately and maliciously acting against the people of the Wallasey constituency; that the views of local people are ignored by Ms Eagle and the central Labour Party.
That they should look elsewhere if they wish to receive the democratic representation that should be theirs by right.
But Ms Eagle and her friends don’t care about that. They only care about maintaining their position – especially hers on the Parliamentary gravy train.
They are quite happy to see Labour reduced to a mere “party of protest” if the party’s only chance of winning involves asking her – and those like her – to step aside.
And without a Labour government, the people of the UK continue to be endangered by the homicidal – now verging on fascist – policies of the Conservative Party.
That is why this debate is so important.
In a statement yesterday following the NECDP’s decision to uphold her complaint against her own local party, Ms Eagle said,
I am grateful that Jeremy took the unusual step of both attending and speaking in the meeting and that he expressed sincere sympathy for both me and for my staff” she said. “It is now clear and accepted by the NEC [national executive committee] that homophobic abuse was perpetrated by some members of the local party; I will simply not tolerate it, and I know I have the backing of both Jeremy and union leaders when I say that there is no place for it in the Labour movement either.
As regards the vandalism of my office, I am grateful to both the internal investigators and the NEC for making clear both the facts of the matter and for the support of members up and down the country, including the leader of the Labour party, that such abuse both happened and is intolerable.
Any sensible reading of this statement would lead to the conclusion that Jeremy Corbyn attended the meeting to support her accusations against her local members and that Mr Corbyn agreed that the events she has claimed actually took place.
But is it true?
No. It’s true that the Labour leader attended the meeting and spoke –but not to support her claims or the continuing suspension of Wallasey CLP.
Luke Akehurst, who as a senior member of Progress and of Labour First fancies himself a mover and shaker in right-wing Labour circles, most often serves as a ‘useful idiot’ by giving away details of the kind of plots and schemes he and his co-factionists get up to. But he is well connected in those circles and, on this occasion, he provides useful inside information about Corbyn’s motives and actions at the NECDP meeting. Of course, he intended to undermine Corbyn rather than Ms Eagle, but hey ho. Here’s a Twitter exchange of his from last night:
I’m sure Jeremy Corbyn offered Ms Eagle a few kind words. It’s the kind of person he is. But far from supporting her and her claims, he was there to oppose them. And not just any opposition but a ‘whipped effort to block’ – in other words, a formal and concerted move to prevent her succeeding, which can only have been defeated by an NECDP burdened with a preponderance of right-wingers.
Mr Corbyn attended the meeting to determinedly oppose Ms Eagle’s attempt to brand her own constituents – who include LGBTQ people and the parents of others – as homophobic abusers. And Ms Eagle, with a straight face, used careful wording to make it appear that he was there to support her and continued to support her. Apparently for the sake of appearing justified.
Now here’s the thing. If a person is capable of claiming, with a straight face, that black = white, that up = down, that opposition = support, in order to protect and justify herself – can her claims of homophobic abuse be trusted, or her word about anything else, for that matter? I’ll let the reader decide, but it’s interesting that she decline to take a lie-detector test when her CLP vice-Chair offered to take one if she would.
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