Hatton suspension suggests gangsterish behaviour by Labour

Derek Hatton: Victimised?

I’m not buying the Labour leadership’s claim that it suspended Derek Hatton after two days because of a tweet, of which the party had been “not aware”.

I don’t know much about Mr Hatton; he was kicked out of Labour when I was still at school.

But I do know that his return to the party has been under discussion for a considerable period of time. In the case of a controversial figure like Mr Hatton, it is inconceivable that party officials would not research his behaviour thoroughly before that decision was made.

Not only that, but the basis on which the tweet is being used to justify the suspension appears to be false.

According to The Guardian, the 2012 tweet stated, “Jewish people with any sense of humanity need to start speaking out publicly against the ruthless murdering being carried out by Israel!”

I imagine the attempt to generate outrage is around the suggestion that any Jewish people might not have a “sense of humanity”, but this is hard to justify considering that the tweet as a whole is a plea for an end to the killings of (we take it) Palestinians by a land-grabbing Israeli government.

There are several considerations to be made here:

Firstly, according to the party’s rules, this tweet cannot be used to suspend or expel Mr Hatton because it was made when he wasn’t a member. The appropriate action would have been to discuss it with him before readmitting him.

Secondly, even if he had been a member at the time, the tweet would have to be judged in relation with the party’s rules of the time, which allowed expression of opinion in a much wider sense than current rules do.

I am forced towards a conclusion that the Labour leadership did know about this tweet before readmitting Mr Hatton, and always intended to use it as an excuse to suspend him, to send a message to others.

Several of us have been expelled due to false accusations of anti-Semitism. I am challenging my expulsion; I know Marc Wadsworth is going to court over his.

Mr Hatton’s treatment seems, to me, to be an expression of intent: If we succeed in gaining readmission to the party, Labour’s witch-hunters will dredge up something else we have written, or said, or done, and kick us out again.

That’s victimisation.

It’s also the threat of victimisation.

It is the tactic of the gangster.

It is an attempt to instil fear in the innocent.

It is a message that Labour’s leadership will not tolerate those who debate anti-Semitism allegations rationally, and will not accept any criticism of the apartheid state of Israel.

Whatever Mr Hatton may or may not have done, it is unacceptable.

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11 thoughts on “Hatton suspension suggests gangsterish behaviour by Labour

  1. John Lincoln

    You wrote –

    “I am forced towards a conclusion that the Labour leadership did know about this tweet before readmitting Mr Hatton, and always intended to use it as an excuse to suspend him, to send a message to others.”

    I don’t believe you are ‘forced’ to this conclusion. I think it suits your purpose to interpret what has happened to Hatton, the way you have, because it fits your view of Labour and how it has treated you.

    I don’t know the facts of either your case or Hatton’s and I think conclusions are best delayed until we do.

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      It’s a valid opinion to think that my own experience might give me a perspective on this that is deeper than that of some other people, certainly.

  2. Bob Vant

    Hmmm. I’m getting a bit worried about you, Mike. Might I write freely?

    If you “….don’t know much about Mr Hatton..” then might I suggest you find a bit out about him before making any comment?

    If he’s allowed back in after all the harmful posing and posturing he engaged in which got us all a bad name…..then I’ll have to think about how much – if any – effort I can give to the Party. He and his Militinfant attitudes will make us into a joke. Again.

    “I am forced towards a conclusion that the Labour leadership did know about this tweet before readmitting Mr Hatton, and always intended to use it as an excuse to suspend him, to send a message to others.” WARNING! Oh, this DOES sound paranoid!! Me, I tend to COCK-UPS, rather than CONSPIRACIES.

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      You may certainly suggest anything you want. I didn’t feel the need to find out about Mr Hatton because my findings would not have been relevant to the issue at hand, which was whether the words Labour had highlighted justified a claim of anti-Semitism against him.

      As for your comment about cock-ups v conspiracies – Labour has suffered so much unwelcome publicity that it is going to be extremely careful about that subject. I would suggest that your use of the word “conspiracies” is misplaced, though. For it to be a conspiracy, Labour would need somebody else to conspire with.

  3. deliasarto

    I haven’t yet been on the receiving end of any threats about my continuing membership but I find Mike’s conclusion quite a reasonable one. This is yet another shameful “showcasing” episode.

  4. the ramblings of a deluded mind

    I agree with John Lincoln on this one Mike! You can be lead to a conclusion following the evidence but you have suggested, by linking the guardian, that you do not have access to it. All you have is what they have stated and reference to the twitter post. however the available evidence seems to point to a tweet from before he became a member again. Thus you are correct in the way the labour complaints procedure is failing in its responsibility to act true to the rules it has in place. You are also correct in that the rules now cannot be used against anyone in retrospect of their joining or of anyone already a member who infringed before their implementation.

    From a very long memory, I remember the problems caused by Derek Hatton when he was a Labour councillor in Liverpool. There is always a chance he has changed or become less loud mouthed and less outspoken in his views on issues. Having not looked at his twitter posts or researched his behaviour since his last expulsion, I cannot make a case for or against his latest apparent ‘infringement’ of labour rules.

  5. Neville

    Why would the likes of Hatton and Galloway want to return to Labour? The party has changed beyond all recognition.

  6. jill4gaza

    Thank you, Mike, for publishing the tweet itself. I personally would totally agree with it.
    Nobody yet seems to have come up with a way of distinguishing Jews from Israelis.
    How do we consider the behaviour of the military in that area, for instance. Are soldiers Jews – or Israelis?. Or, are they Jews who are considered to be Israelis for the duration of their period of ‘service’? If so, do we know how this affects their delight in misbehaving? If not – are those who criticise their behaviour (including me – amongst millions of other humanitarians) considered to be antisemitic? It’s all too stupid for words.
    And how about those who – knowing that the army will support their thieving of Palestinian land and property – choose to live in Palestinian villages? Are they Jews? Will I be labelled antisemitic for condemning their phenomenally cruel and illegal actions? Or are they – by means of their stolen residential position – now ‘promoted to the ‘superior’ status of being accepted as Israelis? Therefore any criticism is not antisemitic?
    As a first step towards reality, truthfulness and responsibility, I would suggest that all adult Israelis and Jews clarify their loyalties – and their understanding and use of the term ‘antisemitic’; if only to prevent in turn, the actions of Labour’s NEC from risking being considered as merely – and often conveniently – opinionated.

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      It’s actually quite simple. All you have to consider is, on whose behalf are these people acting?
      So Israeli soldiers are acting for the government of Israel – not all Jews everywhere, you see – and therefore we refer to them as Israelis.
      Those who criticise their behaviour are only considered to be anti-Semitic by people with a political point to score.
      The land-grabbers you mention would be Israelis who support this particular policy of the Israeli government. Referring to them as Jews would make them representative of all Jews everywhere, and diaspora Jews certainly have nothing to do with it. I doubt if all Israeli Jews really support it.
      I don’t think there’s any need for Israelis/Jews to clarify their loyalties. To my way of thinking, that would be asking them to go beyond anything asked of other races/populations and may therefore be considered anti-Semitic.

      1. Zippi

        You make a very good point, Mike however if the same were said of black people, it would not be considered racist. This is what I don’t understand. People go to great lengths to make this distinction and often site other “races” yet if a similar situation occurred, regarding people of other “races” it would not be seen as racist. This, to me, is a double standard and something that frustrates people.

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