With members like these, how can the Labour Party reunite?

Look at this, found outside the offices of Bethnal Green Labour Party yesterday:

160706 blairite scabs graffito

Reprehensible – and certainly regrettable, as it gave supporters of Tony Blair an opportunity to attack supporters of Jeremy Corbyn, even though they do not know who was responsible for this graffito.

The assumption was that it must have been a Corbyn supporter. If so, it would be extremely disappointing, as Jeremy Corbyn himself has appealed strongly for anyone who supports him to join with him in offering the hand of friendship to the Blairites. This graffito appeared after he did so.

Was it a supporter of Mr Corbyn? Was it a ‘false flag’ attack – by another party, in order to ensure blame was laid falsely on supporters of Mr Corbyn? Or was it done by somebody who is not connected with any group that might be expected to be interested, in protest at what has happened to the Labour Party since June 26, when Hilary Benn announced that he had lost faith in Jeremy Corbyn and Mr Corbyn fired him.

There are a lot of unknowns. What is known is the response by members of Bethnal Green Labour to an innocent query by This Writer, that perhaps they could understand that the perpetrator may have felt they had good reason for it.

160706 Mike tweet1

Take very careful note of the first part of the tweet: “I don’t support this”. I didn’t at the time and I still don’t now. We’ll see what certain people did with that information later.

The answer was evasive:

160706 BG tweet1

Of course, my query was intended to encourage Ms Mulready to consider whether the behaviour of Mr Corbyn’s opponents within the Parliamentary Labour Party – the months of secret plotting against him after he won the leadership election last year, the apparent sabotage of Labour’s work by people in key Shadow Cabinet roles, the intention to mislead the public with a ‘coup’ timed to coincide with the result of the EU referendum – encouraging people to think that it was prompted by a lacklustre performance rather than having been pre-planned over many months (and in spite of the fact that Mr Corbyn’s performance was the best of any party leader in getting the vote out for ‘Remain’), the co-ordinated, on-the-hour resignations of Shadow Cabinet members throughout June 26, the hasty and unconstitutional calling and passing of a vote of ‘no confidence’ in the Labour leader – carried out quickly in order to ensure that Constituency Labour Parties would not have time to discuss matters and tell their MPs to support Mr Corbyn (although at least one was able to do so in any case), the alleged bullying of fellow MPs to make them side against Mr Corbyn, the attempted bullying of Mr Corbyn himself at a meeting of the Parliamentary Labour Party, the letters to Mr Corbyn urging him to resign when he retains the support of the vast majority of party members, the threat of a leadership election with challengers such as Angela Eagle and Owen Smith (that has yet to take place because Mr Corbyn’s opponents know they cannot field anybody who can challenge his popularity), the legal bid to ensure Mr Corbyn is kept off any future leadership ballot paper (doomed to failure because the rules are crystal clear), the fabrication of smear stories intended to lower him in the estimation of Labour members, and members of the public generally (my favourite was the claim that Diane Abbott was blocking the door of the Labour leader’s office to prevent anybody from seeing him, when she was tweeting pictures of herself from the House of Commons balcony to prove it wasn’t true)…

My query was meant to get her to consider whether, in the context of all these lies, this deceit and – let’s face it – downright evil by those I have come to describe as the Labour mutineers, whoever put paint to wall may have believed they had reason to feel frustrated, let down and angry at those responsible – who have most often been described as Blairites, supporters of Tony Blair’s neoliberal, Tory-lite version of the Labour Party.

It’s quite hard to get all of that into a 140-character tweet. I suppose I could have made an image file and posted that, but I had not expected to be drawn into any very involved discussion; I was just asking if this person could see the other point of view or accept that there was one.

From the response, one may be justified in thinking: Apparently not.

To be honest, I was a little taken aback. My first reaction was that the other person was avoiding having to admit that the graffito may have stemmed from a genuinely-felt grievance, so I asked again:

160706 Mike tweet2

Once again, the issue was avoided in order to attack my choice of language.

160706 BG tweet2

By now, I was beginning to feel a little aggrieved, and to sympathise with the graffito artist. If this is the way Bethnal Green Labour treat their comrades in the Labour Party, I do wonder how they treat other people! Still, I had another go:

160706 Mike tweet3

There were no further comments from Ms Mulready. However, it seems our little dialogue had drummed up interest from her fellows – or at least from those who were keen to cause trouble.

One responder, calling himself @ChairmanMoet, told me my question was “idiotic”. I responded: “Why? Do you not accept that the Labour mutineers have betrayed the members and betrayed democracy?”

He went away but was replaced by somebody calling him- or herself @SteelandFire, who tweeted: “Corbyn did the exact same thing to Kinnock and Foot. he also said MPs shld challenge bad leaders.”

That’s fine by me. MPs should indeed challenge leaders they consider to be bad, and they have a way to do that – by collecting nomination signatures and holding a leadership election. That isn’t what the Labour mutineers have done, though; they have tried to undermine Mr Corbyn and shame him into going. It’s a coward’s way.

I asked Mr (Mrs?) andFire to explain but he (she?) didn’t want to. “Go read up. Don’t you know whom you support?”

Sure. I know who he is now; can’t say I was all that bothered about what he did 28 years ago – all of which was according to the Labour Rule Book, it seems.

“Google it,” he/she tweeted. “I explained it to 20 of your ilk today.”

I don’t have an ilk, but I took this as an invitation to trawl @SteelandFire’s timeline. I didn’t find any explanations, although I saw the same statement. I found some offensive tweets. For example, to someone who said, “I help in a food bank. You ever done that?” this person had responded: “I employ people. You ever done that?” Nice!

How about this one: “Dear Blair can’t be convicted of anything… you failed again like you did all your life. Now fuck off”?

Or this one:

160706 SteelandFire1

Don’t these Bethnal Green Labour folk keep nice company!

There were some halfway decent responses. Here’s David E:

160706 BG tweet3

I can agree with that. After all, my very first comment on it was that I didn’t support it.

Some were less reasonable:

160706 BG tweet4

But most have been downright unreasonable and contradictory. Take a look:

160706 BG tweet5

I wasn’t trying to excuse it, Mr Wilkinson. Why were you trying to misrepresent me?

Here’s another one:

160706 BG tweet6

Note that he quoted a tweet that doesn’t even mention the office vandalism. Here’s Susan King:

160706 BG tweet7

It comes from the unacceptable behaviour of the ‘coup’ ringleaders – who remain too scared to reveal their identities, I notice. Scared of what, if nobody deserves punishment? Scared of the retribution that may be meted out to them by their constituents, perhaps?

How about this, on the same subject?

160706 BG tweet8

I’ve saved the peach for last. Get ready:

160706 BG tweet9

Why? Because I said I didn’t support somebody spraying an abusive graffito outside a Labour office? Interesting creative reasoning there!

This… person went on to demand that I accept he would have a good reason for following through on his threat, so I told him: “No. You cannot support such an attitude.”

“Ah. So only you get to choose what’s a ‘good reason’ and not? See the problem there?”

This is a common ploy by supporters of the mutineers – misattributing words to others in order to distort their opponents’ message. I’ve just (at the time of writing) responded by saying this person’s attitude is not supportable because what he/she claimed was not what I was doing. “I didn’t approve of the graffito so your attitude is not supportable.”

No doubt I have more of this nonsense in my inbox right now.

Here’s the thing: I’m sure the people who have been slating me across Twitter since yesterday evening feel they are defending their good name and that of their local Labour Party.

But the comments have been mistaken, prejudicial and downright rude.

While I still do not approve of the graffito scrawled outside their door, I now believe I understand very well the reasoning behind it.

Rushanara Ali,  the MP for Bethnal Green and Bow, was one of the MPs who nominated Jeremy Corbyn for the Labour leadership. I wonder how she feels about the behaviour of her local CLP’s members and supporters?

It seems clear that, with attitudes like this prevalent, no amount of goodwill on the part of Jeremy Corbyn and his supporters will do any good at all.

But I certainly advise everybody on Mr Corbyn’s side to do their best.

No matter what behaviour faces us, there’s no need to lower ourselves to their level – and that goes for whoever scrawled that graffito in Bethnal Green, too.


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20 thoughts on “With members like these, how can the Labour Party reunite?

  1. Thomas Walker

    Don’t know why you take the time to respond to these people Mike,may as well be talking to the 172 PLP acumen.

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      Good point, but with the article I wanted to show that some – maybe many – of the people on the other side of this issue are unreasonable and untrustworthy.
      It’s funny that we had such a fuss earlier this year over racism/anti-Semitism. Labour does have a real problem – but it is with entryists into the party who do not accept its founding ideals and who have been undermining the party over a period of years.

      1. Thomas Walker

        I know what you mean Mike, I was brought up on a diet of Alf Garnett,and love they neighbour,I’m not a racist,but used to talk in a derogatory way about foreigners,I’m 60 now and know better,as a labour member I’m ashamed of my past transgressions,and hope my fellow Corbenistas can forgive me,unlike Tony Blair,who will no doubt burn in a top of the range hell.sharing a glass of wine with the milk snatcher.

      2. Sandra Harvey

        What has happened to the formatting of your site? It’s practically impossible to read. It’s been going on for a few days now. Perhaps it’s my computer, but it hasn’t been happening on other sites. Shame, as I really, REALLY, like your site.

      3. Mike Sivier Post author

        I’m trying to look into it but I haven’t seen the problem myself. Can you take a screenshot and send it to my by personal message on the Facebook page?

  2. John

    To avoid any misinterpretation Mike, I treat all of your blog posts with respect (the same to all), but I have to say that I particularly enjoyed reading this one (I’m sure you won’t be surprised by this at all, considering the content). I’m sure you realise that (whether connected to the coup or not), some people just behave this way, full stop. You get the good and the bad (and the ugly 🙂 ), and it’s just part of society.
    It’ll be interesting to see if you get any further comments from these people, especially on this blog (assuming that they want to read it, of course).

  3. Iris

    You’ve lost in, Mike, when you start talking about “punishment” meted out by vigilantes. Shame on you. Fancy implicitly condoning thuggish bullying behaviour like that.

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      When did the Labour Party disciplinary authorities become “vigilantes”? I must have missed that memo.
      I never condone thuggish, bullying behaviour.
      If I thought your comments were anything more than a bad joke that has outlived its time, I’d probably be thinking about banning you. That’s not thuggish bullying either – it’s a warning. Quit making up nonsense or quit the comment columns.

      1. Iris

        How sad. All this talk about punishing and banning people who disagree with your views or dissent in respect to Labour authority. What next? Book burning? Control of the media? Limiting free speech? Putting people up against a wall? Full blown Stalinism? It is not blasphemous to criticise Jeremy Corbyn and I don’t believe that he himself would say anything different. I believe that Corbyn, for all his faults, would agree with me on this not you.

        Shame on you.

        People like you bring the Labour party into disrepute.

        Ban me if you like but it won’t make a single thing I have written untrue, as you will see over the coming months and years. It is the sick, disabled, unemployed, single parents, disadvantaged, homeless and voiceless who will pay the price for this folly.

      2. Mike Sivier Post author

        How sad; more misrepresentation.
        It’s a good thing most of the people reading Vox Political are far too savvy to be fooled by your wordplay.
        For the record: I’m not suggesting punishing people who disagree with me. People disagree with me all the time – look at yourself. I am suggesting punishing people who have tried to sabotage their own political party, helping the Tory enemies of the people to do whatever they want and bringing the Labour Party into disrepute.
        You are right that banning you would not make anything you have written untrue. Your words are false as they stand.
        Many of the sick and disabled have paid with their lives for the policies of the people you are trying to defend. That you can come here in all your hypocrisy and suggest otherwise is sickening.
        You also, clearly, have no understanding of the effect New Labour policies have had on the unemployed, single parents, the disadvantaged, homeless and voiceless – why are they voiceless when Labour is supposed to exist to give them a voice? (Don’t answer that – it will only be more prattle.)
        I won’t ban you (yet), because your comments stand as a shining example of the kind of person who is not wanted. As long as you’re around, readers will know people like you exist. Your comments will therefore act against the very ends you want to achieve.

      3. Iris

        Good luck, Mike.

        I won’t comment on this blog again.

        No point.

        This used to be a great blog once when it used to stick up for the sick and disabled and maybe one day it will return to those causes and be great again. People like me, you say. You mean left of centre members of the Labour party of forty-five years standing, who have worked for and donated to the party all of their adult lives? People like that? People who have spent thousands of hours on the stump, taking to other, distributing leaflets, licking stamps and sealing envelopes? For no reward other than a Labour victory?

        People like that?

        People like me you mean?

        God help us all if the party falls into the hands of people like you as you are now. I say this in hopes that when the dust settles you will regain your senses and become somewhat like the admirable person you always seemed to be before becoming gripped by the current Corbynite hysteria. With my hand on my heart, as I said, I wish you good luck and hope that something remains of the Labour party, my party, when this insane red tide finally goes out.


      4. Mike Sivier Post author

        If I’m sick of any part of the Labour coup, it’s the attitude of some people that their voice should be heard because they’ve been members for longer, because they’ve done more. How do we know you are what you say you are and have done what you say you’ve done? We don’t. In any case, it doesn’t make you more important or worthy than anybody else who cares about the Labour party and wants it to win.

        Left of centre, are you? I don’t think so. In case you haven’t noticed, the Labour colour has always been red. And it isn’t your party. It’s ours.

        I have never stopped standing up for the sick and disabled, by the way.

  4. mohandeer

    It would seem there is enough hate and disgraceful behaviour to go round and round and round in circles. The graffiti was damage to property and therefore against the law. So was killing Jo Cox. At what point do we draw the line re law breaking? I am totally disgusted with the behaviour and mind set of the back stabbing right wingers but feeling utter contempt for them is a long way from behaving like an uncouth yob by defacing property in such a puerile and ignorant way as this graffiti demonstrates. The mind set of some of those who supported this “loser” behaviour is indicative of how low some of those angry at the labour traitors can stoop -that is to say, the same level as those they despise. How does this help Corbyn and the integrity and well reasoned response he has shown? It doesn’t. End of.

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      I think you’ve got the wrong end of the stick. Nobody has said the graffiti was acceptable. The issue is the fact that the behaviour of the people complaining about it wasn’t acceptable either – especially where it comes to lying about my own comments which were there for all to see!

  5. Florence

    It’s odd, isn’t it, that I happened upon some comments BTL in the Guardian which are almost word for word the same as the “Tin-pot&pee” or whatever your Twit adversary. Odd, that, having the same comments I have encountered by a quick pootle through a couple of articles and blogs. It’s almost as if someone had, say, a large budget, and a pre-agreed PR line, and ohh let’s throw in some PAID shills………Make up your own mind.

    senya naughtynakednude 5h ago

    But it was OK when Corbyn nominated Benn to challenge the Foot leadership endorsed by members, or the Kinnock leadership when Benn had secured only 11% of the vote against Kinnock’s 88%….. or was that Corbyn “backstabbing” Kinnock and the party?

    Or this exchange further down

    cherryredguitar InkJetsafe 6h ago

    Corbyn never launched a coup. Ever. Not once.

    senya cherryredguitar 5h ago

    Kinnock, Foot…..

  6. John

    I know that it’s not exactly related to this post, but it IS an example of how certain people think and express themselves on twitter, but I happened to catch the following tweet (unfortunately WordPress doesn’t allow me to post pictures ….. yet), so here’s the text of it

    “How low will #jeremycorbyn sink?! Apologizing about Iraq just to win back popularity ?? conservative must be pissing themselves laughing”

    I was soo tempted to respond to this, but decided against it, after finding that the person has the words “get f***ed” in the profile.

    1. Thomas Walker

      What the hell are you talking about John. we now know they are Criminals,so you are a C/o conspirator by backing the sudoTory twat.

      1. John

        I’m not sure what YOU are talking about either Thomas?! And I definitely don’t know where you get the idea of me being a “C/o conspirator” from. FYI I am against the vandalism shown above. I was purely just giving a half-related example of how certain people behave on twitter, that’s all.
        Funny how Mike has allowed my comment WITHOUT commenting on it, but you have, and in an odd way.
        Might I suggest that you have somehow just misinterpreted it for some reason?

  7. paulrutherford8

    They say that the best form of defence is to attack. I wonder if these people are a] from B-G Labour or, b] knowledgeable about the origin of the graffiti? The other alternative, c] is that I’m an overly suspicious Corbyn supporter!!

  8. Pat Sheehan

    Keep cool Mike Sivier. You provide an exceptionally outstanding service: keep up the good work.

Comments are closed.