If Ken Livingstone does not win his misconduct hearing, justice in the Labour Party is dead

Ken Livingstone arrives at the hearing that will discuss whether his comments about Hitler and Zionism brought the Labour Party into disrepute [Image: PA].

Having done a great deal of research on this case, This Site knows that Ken Livingstone has not brought the Labour Party into disrepute, but has accurately quoted facts.

Whether that is accepted by the panel from the Labour Party’s National Constitutional Committee is a different matter, of course.

Mr Livingstone is right to say there had been “real collaboration” between Nazis and German Zionists in the 1930s – there was.

He is also right to say that this does not mean Hitler was a Zionist and that he never suggested this. The reasons for Hitler’s deal with the Zionists are well-documented in other articles on This Site and it is to be hoped that they are fully explored in the hearing.

Of course a huge amount of the case against Mr Livingstone is that his comments caused deep hurt and offence to Jewish people including Holocaust survivors. One must question the truth of that statement.

Are these people offended because the statements were untrue? Clearly not, because it isn’t.

Are they offended because it contradicts what they thought was true? Possibly.

Are they offended because they were told to be offended by people who were distorting the facts? This is likely. The right-wing mass media were full of anti-Livingstone commentary at the end of last April and the beginning of May – all of which could be refuted very easily if one only mentioned the facts.

So Ken Livingstone’s comments weren’t responsible for any damage at all; on the contrary, it was done by the comments made against him – and it is those within the Labour Party who made those comments who should be facing disciplinary action.

The hearing concludes today (Friday, March 31).

Ken Livingstone has dismissed criticism of his controversial comments about Hitler as he headed into a disciplinary hearing.

The former London mayor could be expelled from Labour by a misconduct panel over his claim that Hitler had supported Zionism in the 1930s.

As he arrived he said there had been “real collaboration” between Nazis and Zionists before World War Two.

But he said claims he had said Hitler was a Zionist were “fake news”.

Source: Livingstone defiant in misconduct hearing – BBC News

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12 thoughts on “If Ken Livingstone does not win his misconduct hearing, justice in the Labour Party is dead

  1. spirit

    “Are they offended because they were told to be offended by people who were distorting the facts?”

    Mike, it seems very clear that ‘facts’ will be playing no part in the case. Of course it is being held in camera, but that doesn’t eliminate the subsequent spin nor obscure the obvious, that the motivation behind this ‘disciplinary hearing’ (read: trial) is transparently political and about one particular faction advancing their cause within the party. The article in today’s Guardian quotes McNicol admitting it is not about ‘fact’ but whether Livingstone’s conduct was “grossly detrimental” to the party. If it was, then shouldn’t John Mann be facing similar charges for his histrionics (conveniently in full view of the media) when he ambushed Ken? Or, for that matter, McNicol himself for the way he has steered the NEC (as well covered by you) to be deliberately, institutionally destructive toward the democratically elected leader of the party as well as a membership that may be more left wing than is convenient for him? It’s more than a little ironic that the article currently appears on the website directly above the one detailing Israel’s official approval of the first West Bank settlement in two decades. I think it’s safe to assume that the ‘Labour Friends of Israel’ (along with its equivalent in other parties) will ensure that, at best, any criticism will be muted.

    I, like many on the left, as well as all those with whom I have been comrades over the years, have actively fought against anti-Semitism my entire [political] life. It was and is at the core of my being in the same way as being anti-apartheid, anti-racist, pro-gender equality or more recently, from depressing necessity and in spite of my own atheism, standing against growing Islamophobia. Witnessing such wildly and wilfully misdirected accusations of anti-Semitism being weaponised in such a cynical and calculated way is profoundly depressing. To me such behaviour is as far removed from honesty and integrity as it is possible to get and would contend, if I may be so bold, that being manipulated by a right-wing authoritarian Israeli government in this way (or at least having no qualms about riding their coat-tails or playing on people’s natural revulsion toward anti-Semitism) does Jewish people no favours whatsoever. So congratulations to the FoI who have managed to tar Labour, quite wrongly, with the brush of anti-Semitism – if you wanted to keep the party away from power in its current form because you are a self-declared ‘moderate’ then you have done a good job. (Another article in the Independent quotes polling done for Jewish News that confirms this and doubles down on demands for the head of Livingstone). If anyone wants to see quite how deep the rot has gone allow me to give another plug for the recent four-part AJ investigation ‘The Lobby’ (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ceCOhdgRBoc) which does an excellent job in exposing how these underhand, cynical and disingenuous weaponising tactics are being used by certain factions and individuals to discredit honest and honourable members and groupings within the Labour movement.

    I’m unable to influence the 11-strong NCC – mine is just one unheard voice against the QC who successfully defended the £25 ‘fees’ levied during the last leadership election or Jeremy Newmark who has found the time to produce a 170 page ‘dossier’ when he should’ve been opposing the Conservatives, along with many a ‘grandee’ and PLP careerist – but I would like to let them know that many people see exactly what is going on and see it as a huge disgrace.

  2. John Thatcher

    I suspect the right are hoping that when their kangaroo court expels Livingstone there will be mass resignations from the left membership of the party.The Zionist have their own agenda which includes damaging the left led Labour party to further their own agenda.

  3. Terry Casey (@tcliverpool)

    Yes I would love to comment but having already been suspended once and having been threatened with expulsion if I any further actions to bring the party into disrepute occur, sadly they failed to inform me what my misdemeanour was other than statements on social media so in effect have gagged me on everything.

  4. Zippi

    Ken did actually say “[Hitler] was supporting Zionism.” That said, it was Vanessa Feltz who distorted everything and steered the interview and subsequent phone-in; this went on all week. I was disgusted and wrote and e.mail to her, which I did not post, because I thought to myself, what’s the point? Had Vanessa not reacted as she did, none of this would have happened. Equally, if Ken had done his research into Naz Shah’s post, he would not have fallen into her trap.
    I remember this episode VERY well, because it is what led me here!

  5. Paul

    It’s always stupid to bring an incendiary monster like Hitler into discourse without good reason. Like John Prescott poor sad old donkey Ken Livingstone doesn’t know when to leave the stage and retire to private life. He really is and has always been a most silly and outspoken fellow.

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      The person who brought Hitler into the discourse, really, was Vanessa Feltz.
      While you’re entitled to your opinion about what such a person should do, you really should direct that opinion at the appropriate person.

  6. Pat Sheerin

    Justice is already dead in a Labour Party controlled by Iain McNicol. I and a few thousand other members discovered this last year when we were suspended or expelled on spurious charges without a hearing. Our votes in the leadership election were removed. We were clearly targeted for expressing support for Jeremy Corbyn on social media. It has to change.

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