You’d have to be weak-minded in the extreme to disapprove of Labour’s refusal to suspend members accused of anti-Semitism in this Observer story.
Weak mind enough, that is, to believe that an accusation makes a person guilty; no evidence needed.
That is what Michael Savage and Toby Helm wanted you to believe, of course, when they wrote: “Members of Labour’s high command opposed recommendations to suspend several party activists accused of antisemitism, according to internal emails seen by the Observer.”
The implication is clear; that these Labour leaders were wrong to make decisions based on the evidence – that they should have responded in knee-jerk manner and suspended (or indeed expelled) anybody who has been accused.
These people are really revelling in the witch-hunt, aren’t they?
“The correspondence, dating from March to May last year, covers a period immediately after leader Jeremy Corbyn vowed to be a ‘militant opponent of antisemitism’ and to have ‘zero tolerance for antisemites’,” they wrote, implying that this must be a lie as long as his officers consider the evidence.
Worse still is the knot in which Labour tied itself with its response.
A “party source” is quoted as saying the advice on which these decisions were made was part of the old system that current general secretary Jennie Formby has overhauled – implying that the new system doesn’t pay attention to the evidence?
Sadly, that is what my own first-hand experience of the new system suggests; when I attended my own disciplinary hearing all the evidence I had assembled was ignored in favour of a claim that someone (unnamed) had complained that my articles had “upset” them.
No evidence was provided to prove that such a person even exists – therefore they don’t. If a hearing is said to be quasi-judicial, it should respect the law, and the law does not accept anonymous evidence; a defendant must always know the identity of their accuser.
So the claim on which I was expelled from Labour has no weight at all. If this is indicative of Labour’s new way of handling anti-Semitism accusations, then they must all be similarly suspect.
And that isn’t the worst of it!
The “party source” is quoted as saying the suggestion that party advisors said some people accused of anti-Semitism should not be suspended because the evidence doesn’t support it was “deeply unfair”.
The “source” added that staff were “working in good faith to apply the party rule book to individual cases.”
“Apply the party rule book”?
I was expelled for breaking the new rule on anti-Semitism – Rule 2.1.8 – but there’s just one problem:
When I wrote the articles that formed the basis of Labour’s case against me, that rule was not in force; the articles appeared in late 2016 and early 2017 but it did not appear in the rule book until 2018.
And Labour’s rules cannot be applied retrospectively.
Yes, there can be no doubt. Whichever way you look at it, Labour’s process of dealing with allegations of anti-Semitism is nonsense – in practice, if not in theory.
The only thing that could be worse would be making Tom Watson a part of the process.
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