John Mann’s ‘dead bird’ rant has harmed his battle against anti-Semitism


John Mann.

What a nasty (John) Mann!

Not only has he apparently lied in Parliament (it used to be a gross offence for an MP but, since the Tories took office in 2010, anybody can do it with impunity) but he has threatened libel action against anybody pointing it out.

The controversy arose from a comment during his speech in the Commons debate on anti-Semitism, on April 17.

As part of his contribution, Mr Mann said, referring to his role as Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on antisemitism: “That is what is going on at the moment… I did not expect my wife to be sent, by a Labour Marxist anti-Semite, a dead bird through the post.”

Many have taken this to be a reference to pro-Jeremy Corbyn campaigning group Momentum, but there are several problems with this:

  • The incident happened in 2012, three years before Momentum was formed.
  • The culprit, Roger Dyas-Elliott, is understood not to be a Marxist of any kind – he is said to be “a slightly eccentric man who has a lot of books and is a big fan of Barbara Cartland”.
  • Mr Dyas-Elliott said he said the bird to Mr Mann’s wife, a councillor for Worksop East, because he was ‘bitter’ for being refused the chance to stand as a Labour councillor by Bassetlaw District Applications Panel.
  • He was given a restraining order by magistrates in Worksop. There was no mention of anti-Semitism at the hearing.

So – the culprit was not a Marxist, not a member of Momentum, and not an anti-Semite, and this was something that happened six years ago, not “at the moment”.

If that is the factual content of just one line of Mr Mann’s speech, it does not bode well for the rest.

Perhaps that is the reason Mr Mann has attacked those who questioned his accuracy so bitterly on Twitter, threatening them with court action for libel – and (inadvertently?) laying himself open to potential libel cases in the process:

What “anti semites from Momentum”? Where’s the evidence? The tweets from those who took issue with Mr Mann were, as far as This Writer can tell, mostly accurate and to-the-point. I haven’t seen one containing any anti-Semitic sentiment.

I am left with just one thing to say about Mr Mann’s bizarre “dead bird” claim:

It has passed on. It is no more. It has ceased to be. It has expired and gone to meet its maker. It is late. It is a stiff. Bereft of life. It rests in peace. It is pushing up the daisies. It has rung down the curtain and joined the choir invisible. This is an ex-claim!

And John Mann likes to exclaim about so many things.

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12 thoughts on “John Mann’s ‘dead bird’ rant has harmed his battle against anti-Semitism

  1. MR

    Thank you for another excellent and informative article. I am a member of Momentum although I cannot help a lot as I am nearly 80 years old, partially sighted and have poor hearing. I guess I am one of the people Mr Mann is threatening to sue for libel despite having had no contact whatsoever with him. How can he hold people like me or any other member of Momentum responsible for something that happened years before Momentum was formed. I have supported the Labour Party for 60 years and I have waited all my life for a Labour Party leader like Jeremy Corbyn, a man of peace and compassion in Downing Street. How wonderful. I personally find Mr Mann’s threats quite intimidating and frightening. It is awful to feel bullied but I will continue to support both Jeremy Corbyn and Momentum. And to read Vox Political, Skwarkbox etc. I love them and don’t buy newspapers any more. Thank you Mike.

  2. Alan

    John Mann the racism in the Labour party doesn’t come from the left it comes from you and your Blairite friends who are pro Israel and anti Palestine! We want you out Blairites

  3. Steve W

    Please correct me if I’m wrong but it seems to me that most of the anti-Semitism accusations directed at the Labour party is coming from the Labour back benches, I am 100% behind Mr Corbyn and the genuine Labour MPs but they must get their house in order.
    Jon Lansman is absolutely right when he said that all MPs should have to put themselves up for reselection every time a general election is called. It is very frustrating and I know many others who feel the same.

    1. Zippi

      Why do all of these claim of “anti-Semitism” relate to events that took place years since? Why is nothing current?

  4. poppy505

    I am not a member of momentum I commented that he lost my support for his speech when he brought the dead bird up , I might be old but I am not stupid, As soon as he said it I knew he was bringing up something that happened years ago when you lie it has a habit of biting you on the backside as in this day and age it is very easy to look these thing up , If Mr Man has not realised that yet then he needs to keep up .

Comments are closed.