Respect must go where it is due – and that applies as much to Labour employees as anyone else

Last Updated: August 19, 2016By
Allies of Jeremy Corbyn, left, see Labour’s general secretary Iain McNicol as working with deputy leader Tom Watson, right, against Corbyn [Image: Gareth Fuller/PA].

Allies of Jeremy Corbyn, left, see Labour’s general secretary Iain McNicol as working with deputy leader Tom Watson, right, against Corbyn [Image: Gareth Fuller/PA].

It is the Labour Party way – if an injustice is done to one worker, then all colleagues unite in their support.

This Writer supports that position; united, we are stronger.

Labour employees who work for every member of the party without favour to some and without prejudice against others are indeed entitled to respect and loyalty.

Of course, if just one of these employees is found to have been behaving in a partisan manner – helping one side and/or hindering another – then the argument put forward by their former colleagues must fail. So one hopes the signatories of this letter are very sure of their ground.

(This is not to say that all are then to be tarred with the same brush; it is perfectly possible for some to be sincere in their intentions while others are hiding among the crowd, as it were.)

I am happy to sit this one out. I don’t know any paid Labour staff and therefore cannot comment on their behaviour.

I would advise the MPs who made the comments that form the basis of this complaint to be prepared to show evidence supporting their claims.

The letter from the former employees is here.

More than a hundred former Labour staff have signed a letter urging Jeremy Corbyn and his team to respect the party’s workers, amid fears that senior figures, including general secretary Iain McNicol, could be pushed aside.

The letter says that despite working long hours and having little job security, party staff “remain completely loyal to the party and to their employers, and the least they are entitled to expect is some loyalty and respect in return. To hear members of the Labour party attack their own employees is depressing; to hear talk about ‘clearing them out’ is unacceptable; to hear such statements from the most senior level is intolerable”.

Signatories include two of McNicol’s predecessors, Lord Collins and Peter Watt; and more than a hundred other former Labour staff.

Source: ‘Respect Labour party workers’ say former party staff | Politics | The Guardian


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  1. Florence August 19, 2016 at 1:58 pm - Reply

    Sitting it out is one position that is entirely honorable, as you always are Mike.

    Here come the BUT!

    The letter though implies that the present Labour Party workers are being bullied by the political supporters of Jeremy Corbyn, but is in fact a letter by FORMER LP workers. This is because of the obvious outcome of SOME Labour party workers in choosing to disenfranchise 130,000 members using the party money. SOME Labour party workers are not impartial, serving the party and leader. There may be many current party workers who may in the light of this letter need to be reassured, and I can’t think that Corbyn or his supporters would not rush to do so.

    The generation of this letter is indeed another lever of McNicol, Watson, et al to continue to besmirch supporters of democracy in the Labour party. Democracy is something Watson and McNicol have pledged to roll back and away from. The problem is that McNicol is a blatantly partisan person, not a simple party worker, like the many thousands who are being increasingly caught in the crossfire from CLP upwards, augmented by McNicol and Watson and the PLP. It is not unreasonable that a political appointee like McNicol is replaced if he is unable to support the elected leader, elected with a massive mandate. Indeed McNicol was key to the immediate convening of the Standards and Procedures Committee (himself & Watson essentially) to fight the case on membership voting cut off date, and the same to press for Appeal and costs against the same 5 members who had brought the original case. This is not democratic, this is not what the majority of Labour party members want to be done to other members or in our names, using our money. Which is why SOME Corbyn supporters have called for McNicol – not party workers as such – to be removed and replaced, because he has failed us and cannot command the respect of the larger part of the membership. It is untenable for him to remain in-post when Corbyn is returned with an even greater mandate in September because he has already failed to support the elected leader now. Like so many in the PLP. How many employers would not remove an employee who has misused funds to undermine the Board, and campaigned for the board to be replaced?

    This is another example of insidious political capital being generated from the interested few in the name of the many, in seemingly innoculous ways to justify a bogus narrative about people like me (and you?) being bullies, Trots, Jihadists, Moonies, anti Semites, racists, brick throwers, dogs, rabble, gee, I almost included satanic baby eaters as satire, but I wouldn’t put it past anyone to use that as ammunition too. As a Union rep for many years I hold workers interests very dear to my heart, but this is not an issue about workers. It is another cheap anti-Corbyn shot, unfortunately.

    (You might have realised, that I do not sit on the fence on this one. But I still respect your decision to do so, in unity.)

  2. James Kemp August 19, 2016 at 2:46 pm - Reply

    >>fears that senior figures, including general secretary Iain McNicol, could be pushed aside.

    Like he did to how many new Labour voters and the wasted more money appealing when he lost in court! That doesn’t say respect to me… Not allowing CLP’s to meet and vote how and on what they want is intolerable.

    >> To hear members of the Labour party attack their own employees is depressing; to hear talk about ‘clearing them out’ is unacceptable; to hear such statements from the most senior level is intolerable”.

    Let me get this right we can be constantly be breafed against, called silly names from the past. Told the person we want as leader is unelectable and far far worst attacks about a man with real integrity. Then we are meant to ignore this behaviour and not want the perpetrators to be removed. Lastly senior doesnt mean untouchable and safe from criticism and removal if not doing the job correctly in my book. I make no judgement on what will happen after the leadership election that is down to the NEC.

  3. John Spencer-Davis August 19, 2016 at 2:47 pm - Reply

    Ridiculous scaremongering, stirred up by Margaret Beckett. If anyone is “cleared out” it will presumably start with Iain McNicol, who according to Howe and Co Solicitors has not been acting impartially regarding Corbyn and McDonnell (and this was partially confirmed by the judge during the decision to add Corbyn to the defendants on the Foster case). Prominent signatory on this letter: one Alistair Campbell, more than likely responsible with Beckett for stirring up more anti-Corbyn trouble, as did a prominent employee of the company for which he is strategic consultant. J

  4. roybeiley August 19, 2016 at 3:20 pm - Reply

    Hmmm. Jess Philips publicly stated that she would knife Jeremy Corbyn in the front. What does that sound like? Comradely affection? One rule for for them. Another for supporters of JC. If Iain McNicoll and other apparatchiks are seriously concerned for their futures why not discuss it directly with JC off the record instead of blowing up into a media directed statement which has about as much sincerity as Tessa Jowells tears on breakfast time TV. Boohoo!

    • Mike Sivier August 19, 2016 at 4:00 pm - Reply

      I’m glad I missed that Tessa Jowell moment.
      Yes, Ms Phillips said she would knife Jeremy Corbyn – not in the front but in the face. She later trivialised it with a statement that she did not mean it literally. However, in her comments about why she needed a panic room, she said somebody had thought it funny to create a picture of her with a spear through her heart. That’s clear double-standards.
      Her gang will never admit it, though.

  5. mohandeer August 19, 2016 at 6:52 pm - Reply

    Totally agree. Which is why all those MP’s disrespecting the Labour leader should be treated the same way they treated him and the members. All those who insulted supporters of JC should be condemned for disrespecting the membership.
    The knife cuts both ways!

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