As ‘re-admit Chris Williamson’ demands swell, Labour’s leaders sit on their thumbs

Jennie Formby: She acts fast when there’s an opportunity to look tough, but when those decisions turn out to be wrong, she’s nowhere to be found.

When less than 200 MPs, peers and staff wrote to demand Chris Williamson’s re-suspension after his Labour membership was restored following an investigation into false allegations of anti-Semitism, general secretary Jennie Formby acted at once. Now more than 6,000 party members have demanded that this decision be reversed, and she has done nothing at all. Why?

To put this in proportionate terms, more than 30 times the number of Labour members who had Mr Williamson re-suspended have said the decision should be reversed. Labour is supposedly a democratic party and the will of the majority should prevail. But Ms Formby has done nothing.

The figures come from a LabourList weekly survey, which also revealed that an even larger majority of respondents believe that Labour’s disciplinary process – which sends serious cases to the “quasi-judicial” National Constitutional Committee – is subject to political interference and should be scrapped in favour of an independent process. The treatment of many cases – in which mere accusation was taken as an assumption of guilt – led to the NCC being dubbed the “National Kangaroo Court” by many, including This Writer.

And this is not the only development. The Labour Party of Northern Ireland has published a statement on Mr Williamson’s suspension, along with a motion that may be taken as a model for other Labour constituency parties.

The statement quotes in full the words said by the MP which have been selectively quoted by his critics, and also quotes analysis of anti-Semitism in the party that shows it is a negligible issue with only 0.05 per cent of members being said to have engaged in any activity that could even be claimed to have been anti-Semitic. This compares with a national average of around five per cent (which in itself is a shocking figure).

It continues: “All anti-semitism should be considered a scourge and a problem that needs addressing. However, it is a fair comment to say that the Labour Party does not have any form of particular problem with anti-semitism . It is also fair to say that Labour Party members are not to blame for the narrative that suggests that there is a particular problem with anti-semitism in the party.

“It logically follows that members of the Labour Party should not feel that they should be apologetic about something that has been shown to be false.

“It does not diminish the scourge of anti-semitism to state these things. Members are entitled to feel proud of the Labour Party’s history of anti-racism and support for minority communities and for all of those facing discrimination and oppression. They are entitled to encourage others to join the party and to support it on the basis of its anti-racist and wholly inclusive credentials.

“Any member is entitled to say that those who are agreeing and apologising for the Labour Party having a particular problem with anti-semitism, is a concession to falsehoods and distortions. In a climate where such falsehoods and distortions proliferate, members are entitled to challenge the narrative. They are entitled to scrutinise complaints. They are entitled to adopt an inquisitorial approach to allegations. Every member who is accused is entitled to the absolutely fundamental principle of justice; that they are considered innocent until it is established otherwise.

“Most of all, every member is entitled to be subject to the democratically determined rules and procedures governing the Party and to demand that those rules and procedures be upheld and not be subject to the arbitrariness of public opinion and pressure.”

In my own case, I was treated as though I were guilty from the moment I was falsely accused. Chris Williamson has had the same treatment. So have many others.

And those who endorse the falsehoods and distortions are still being given the oxygen of publicity by mass-media news organisations. Only last week, Labour Lord Falconer appeared on the BBC’s #PoliticsLive to deplore Mr Williamson’s perfectly reasonable comments as anti-Semitic and to damn him further by association with (among others) Jackie Walker, who had been accused of saying that Jews were chief financiers of the slave trade – except, of course, we know that she didn’t say that. The other person in the video is Tosh McDonald, a friend and supporter of Mr Williamson.

I reckon Charlie Falconer knew that what he was saying wasn’t true. Ms Walker would have made it perfectly clear in her defence and I made it perfectly clear in mine (two of the charges against me related to my support for her). He referred to notes, so he should have had that information. And now, of course, the BBC has confirmed the falsehood of the claim.

Yet Lord Charlie Falconer has faced no censure whatsoever for his words. When will his party membership be suspended? When will his misbehaviour be investigated? When will questions be asked about his motivations?

I reckon we all know the answer to that: Never.

Labour’s general secretary, Jennie Formby, was bombarded with tweets demanding action to reinstate falsely-purged party members including myself, Ms Walker and Mr Williamson after the BBC’s admission. To my knowledge, she has not responded in any way at all. She is running away from her party’s mistakes prejudice.

Perhaps she’ll respond if a party member – or several of them – makes an official complaint.

Who’ll give it a go?

Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.

https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/mike-sivier-libel-fight/


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5 thoughts on “As ‘re-admit Chris Williamson’ demands swell, Labour’s leaders sit on their thumbs

  1. Gary

    I know, and have known, many Labour activists and members throughout my life. I can easily believe that there ARE genuine instances of anti Semitism within the party as there are outwith the party. But what has been happening since Corbyn’s leadership is something entirely different.

    The parliamentary Labour party has done its very best to rid itself of Corbyn. After assuming him to be a no-hoper candidate he unexpectedly (to them) won the membership over with principle and years of hard work. They tried ridding themselves of him by using procedure and when that failed they have begun a smear campaign against Corbyn and, yet worse, against their own party.

    I don’t think this is ENTIRELY down to those in Labour who revile Corbyn though. The have been happily helped by the right wing (see MANY articles in the online far right blog ‘Guido’) and also those who want to promote the politics of Israel. That particular group see Corbyn as unfriendly due to his repeated support for Palestine’s cause and hope a more ‘friendly’ face will change Labour policy (which predates Corbyn) on Labour’s support for Palestinian statehood.

    Parliamentary groups like, but not limited to, Labour/Conservative Friends of Israel are essentially OUR MPs in the pay of a foreign power. They seek, obviously, to have MPs who are amenable to their own country and its ambitions. Which, from their point of view, is entirely understandable. But from OUR point of view would we permit a Conservative Friends of Russia? We should never allow ANY country to have our MPs in their pay, EVER! Regardless of how friendly we are with them it is a very obvious conflict of interest. Declaring it is all the MPs need do to make it alright at the moment but it SHOULD be stopped. This closeness of our MPs to their arm of government running the body is harmful to our politics and results in smear campaigns as we have seen with Jeremy Corbyn.

    This must end. It’s the same as if the CIA were giving money to our politicians and helping them run arm’s length smear campaigns to further the politicians they preferred (not that the CIA wouldn’t do this, but they do do it a little more discretely)

    And, in all of this the issue of anti Semitism is itself being devalued. The many false accusations lead to disbelief of REAL anti Semitism which, as you rightly say, is a scourge and must be ended.

    But finally, what does bother me. We are now living in times where it is perfectly fine to say the most disgusting and racist things about anyone who is Muslim, that those same people would denounce if it was said about Jewish people. If you can’t say it about Jewish people, why do you think it’s acceptable to say it about Muslims? Politicians, newspapers and even to an extent TV news are to blame for stoking the flames of anti Muslim racism in this country. It’s getting worse and when Boris inevitably becomes our PM it will be considered utterly acceptable to say publicly by those who are currently closet racists.

  2. aunty1960

    Billy Bragg is also supporting Chris Williamson being removed and suggests he is gulty and insensitive to Jews, amazing how many people not Jew Not Female Not Gay Not Black Not Disabled say what offends. Stay a few seconds as a group and you soon find there are a lot more serious nasty things than what Chris or Jackie can say/

    1. steve richards

      Billy Bragg…….the troubadour of a generation? a sic sad joke who knows so very little about ………….anything

  3. Dave Rowlands

    AS is now a crime you are guilty of based on an accusation, no proof required, yet, Islamophobia accusations are ignored, is it because one is a Labour accusation and the other a tory one?

  4. Max Cat

    Last year I had a run in, on line, with “Socialists Against Anti-semitism”. They had invited, on line, supporters to join them in demonstrating against David Icke at one of his talks because of his “ant-semitism”. I replied that I would not join their rabble rousing witch hunt and told them that Momentum had lost my support. This brought a storm of accusations down on my head including me being a “holocaust denier” and the reposting of a cartoon that I had never seen before but had apparently been shared by me in 2013. I blocked all this and moved on. However earlier this year I was contacted by the Labour Party, I had joined specifically so I could vote for Jeremy Corbyn and had remained a member. I was told that I had been reported and that I was under investigation, in the mean time I was suspended. I was provided with “evidence” to back up the complaint which was, in fact, no evidence of anything to a sane person and was asked to answer some quite extraordinary questions about posts that I had shared and to confirm that I wouldn’t share similar posts in the future. My response was to resign immediately and I made it very clear why. If anyone wants more details of this then I would be happy to provide them. I haven’t yet made a formal complaint to the Labour Party but am considering doing so in the light of recent events

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