Wadsworth expulsion: Did Labour just throw away its chance to take London?

Jeremy Corbyn: Can he talk his way out of this tight corner?

Labour made a huge mistake on Friday.

After 40 white people escorted another white person to the hearing in what looked like a lynch mob, a panel composed entirely of white people found an innocent anti-racism campaigner – who happened to be black – guilty of a form of racism.

Just on the face of it, that makes Labour look like the racist party.

We are told the verdict on the allegations of anti-Semitism facing Marc Wadsworth went against the evidence.

According to Grassroots Black Left, “The panel … ruled the case against Wadsworth could be proven based on solely on the perception by some people that what he said at the launch of the Charkrabarti report on June 30, 2016 was anti-semitism.”

That would certainly run against the meaning of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of anti-Semitism to which Labour has subscribed. That document states that anti-Semitism “may be expressed as hatred towards Jews”; it is not behaviour that may be inferred as offensive by Jews.

In other words, according to the definition which Labour supports, a person’s behaviour should not be deemed anti-Semitic because someone else took offence at it; it would have to be informed by, and motivated by, hatred towards Jews.

And criticism of an individual Jewish person, or a group of them, should not raise accusations of anti-Semitism unless it is informed by hatred towards all Jews. Such criticism may be entirely reasonable, depending on the evidence supporting it.

So the decision against Marc Wadsworth is doubly wrong. And it could jeopardise Labour’s ambitions in the local elections taking place on May 3.

Black and minority ethnic people are infuriated, and you can see why.

As one commenter to This Site put it: “To see Marc Wadsworth shouted down for daring to express an opinion, “How dare you, how absolutely dare you,” like [a] servant being berated by the white mistress of the house, makes me shudder. Do they ever think how much courage it takes for a black person to stand up and speak honestly in a room full of powerful white people?”

And then the Labour Party expects black people to come out and vote it into power in councils across London.

It has been suggested that New Labour expected black and minority ethnic people to vote for the party because they had nowhere else to go. That assumption was wrong; they just stopped voting.

The arrival of Jeremy Corbyn gave them a reason to start voting again – and for Labour.

But the Wadsworth decision suggests that Labour will not support the BAME community; that Labour does not support justice.

In that case, why should the BAME community support Labour?

The party has painted itself into a corner in an attempt to appease liars.

I do not know if there is a mechanism in place that can reverse the damage before Thursday.

If not, I hesitate to speculate on how much harm the NCC panel, Ruth Smeeth, Wes Streeting and the posse of MPs and Lords who supported her at the hearing have done to the people of the United Kingdom.


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18 thoughts on “Wadsworth expulsion: Did Labour just throw away its chance to take London?

  1. Wanda Lozinska

    The NCC had better come up with some excellent explanations for their decision PDQ.

  2. groovmistress

    It would seem the panel were mistakenly paying homage to the old, much misused ‘Section 5 of the Public Order Act 1986 – insulting words or behaviour’ when ruling on this…

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      That still doesn’t work. It doesn’t reach anything like even the lowest threshold for a criminal offence.

  3. john thatcher

    Yes,an all too plausible scenario.Not only was the decision wrong in principle,but does political damage too,but this was precisely the point of the exercise.The only question to ask is, were the people making the decision,acting out of malice,or sheer stupidity.

    1. Simon Cohen

      Well, I think we’ve had stupidity all round. I agree with Craig Murray’s blog post on this ( http://www.craigmurray.org.uk/archives/2018/04/funnily-enough-mark-wadsworth-was-guilty-of-bringing-the-labour-party-into-disrepute-but-not-of-anti-semitism/)
      that Marc made a MISTAKE using that forum for his quite legitimate concerns-he should have had the political savvy to not walk into that media trap.

      The Labour NCC has also been stupid for not making a VERY clear distinction between the antisemitism issue (which was clearly fabricated) and Marc’s maladroitness (as Murray puts it). The NCC should have made it absolutely clear that this was NOTHING TO DO with antisemitism and should have spelled it out in such a way so that no media spin was possible.

      The whole thing is still a case of: ‘that’s another fine mess we’ve gotten ourselves into.’

  4. aunty1960

    How about

    I AM MARK

    twibbon and campaign poster to share?

    I am really busy and under enormous attacks and pressure myself.Got my own jackboots on my head.

    But can do and will do

    Tories may be bad, but I am not being ruled by this lot and being given it as the only choice.

  5. MerryMichaelW

    I have a lot of sympathy with this view; but it turns out that we are wrong. The lynch mob is seen for what it is; the support for Marc Wadsworth is solid, and well funded; and Marc Wadsworth himself has said that we should get on and fight the good fight. Let us turn our fire on the Tories; and then quietly sort this out, before the coming General Election.

  6. Steve W

    I would like to know what if any input did Jennie Formby have in this appalling decision.

    1. Ceredig

      This is just the question isn’t it? Corbyn pays lip service to members’ involvement and transparency, but we are not informed what is going on behind the closed doors of the NEC and, especially, the NCC. Johnathan Arkush has more power in the Party than the whole membership put together, we are still being treated like mushrooms. Does Corbyn have any conception of the degree of anger amongst us?

  7. Simon Cohen

    I thought that the judgement had made clear that it was the context of Marc’s comments that was the issue, that is, making an anti-Blairite and ethnic balance comment IN THAT context. In other words, he used the forum of the Chakroborty Report to grandstand his own campaign (which in the right context is perfectly legitimate of course an not remotely anti-semitic).

    What I’m not clear on now, from this post, Mike, is whether the anti-semitism issue has been ‘welded on’ by the media and the Board of Deputies and now LOOKS AS IF IT IS PART OF THE EXPULSION.

    The initial reports from the Guardian seemed to make clear that the ‘bringing the party into disrepute’ charge was solely connected with Marc’s use of THAT forum to make anti-Blairite and ethnic balance points (which arguably played into the hands of the media distortion machine)..

    So what are we saying now?- that the anti-semitism accusation stands in the eyes of the NCC? I think we need to clear this up.

    1) Is it purely Marc’s use of that forum to make an anti-Blairite statement and raise issues of ethnic balance that is behind ‘bringing the party into disrepute’ ( without any connection with the spurious antisemitism charge)

    2) Is it 1. above combined with the antisemitism (non) issue as part of the NCC ruling.

    3) Is the NCC ruling only 1. above but now with media and Board of Deputies’ spin making it look like the antisemitism charge still stands or is somehow implicitly part of the package of the ruling?

    I think its is vital we clarify which it is as the blurring of the boundaries will perpetuate the problem-and the neo-liberal, anti-Corbyn brigade benefit from this lack of clarity.

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      No, Mr Wadsworth was accused of anti-Semitism immediately – the same day the incident happened.

      I think you were taken in by misinformation.

      1. No. ‘Bringing the party into disrepute’ was about the anti-Semitism claim.

      2. Mmm… Pretty much just the anti-Semitism claim.

      3. No – the NCC ruling was all about anti-Semitism.

  8. Brenna

    Having looked at the video footage, I believe that Ruth Smeeth was initially defensive of the comment that she was in cahoots with the torygraph, as Marc then moved on to make the observation of the lack of ethnic minorities within the audience, the guy in the pink tie then turns to Smeeth and suggests it was anti-semitic at which point she jumps on this idea and decides to leave. Two female voices can be heard doing the “how dare you” bit, one Smeeth the other the torygraph journalist? To me this was an opportunistic stitch up.

  9. Florence

    The best response to this injustice is to come out even more strongly in the election, and after the election take mass action inside the party.

    1. Brenna

      Totally agree, we need to get rid of them asap. Not one of them deserves to be in parliament, they are self serving s****s.

  10. Ultraviolet

    Mike, it feels from the tone of this article and your second on the same topic that you WANT this outcome, which would mean that the Blairites have won. I would have hoped that this week of all weeks, you would be urging everyone to come out and support the party, so that Corbyn is in as strong a position as possible to deal with the remaining Blairite problems in the party.

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      I want Labour to reverse the Wadsworth decision and admit that it was based on a false assumption.

Comments are closed.