Everybody who is angry at the Labour leadership and deputy leadership candidates who have signed up to the Board of Deputies of British Jews’ 10 pledges, like turkeys voting for Christmas, should read a new article by blogger Kay Green.
It has been suggested that perhaps Rebecca Long-Bailey, Lisa Nandy, Jess Phillips, Keir Starmer and Emily Thornberry (leader candidates) along with Dr Rosena Allin-Khan and Ian Murray (deputy candidates) signed up to these pledges without reading them, simply to get the BoD off their collective backs.
If so, they would at least have some excuse for failing to realise the huge amount of harm they would be doing to the Labour Party if they follow through on the demands.
They would trigger an all-out witch-hunt, with members expected to be expelled upon being accused, no matter how dodgy the accusation or suspicious the accuser.
Many believe the majority of party members would not accept this ill-treatment by the leadership and would walk out, declaring an intention not to support the party until this nonsense is purged. That is my belief.
This would critically weaken the Labour Party, making it unable to win any general elections, possibly for decades to come. It would also end the careers of all those who signed up to the pledges as politicians who should expect to be taken seriously.
So we’ve established that the 10 pledges are an attempt at sabotage by an organisation – the BoD – that is dominated by Conservatives who intend nothing but harm to the Labour Party.
Now here’s Kay Green with an alternative.
She has taken the BoD’s headline pledges and crafted 10 of her own, using the same wording where available but attaching different – and much improved meanings.
So, for example, where the BoD suggests pledge 1: Resolve outstanding cases should mean “All outstanding and future cases should be brought to a swift conclusion under a fixed timescale,” Ms Green suggests:
Many members are hampered in their political activities by the lingering uncertainty of what they suspect are vexatious, politically motivated complaints. We are a well-funded organisation. If you haven’t got the staff, please employ some to get these cases looked at speedily and, where not justified, thrown out.
Isn’t that a million times better than the nonsense from Marie Van Der Zyl and her vicious Tory cronies?
Under pledge 2: Make the Party’s disciplinary process independent, the BoD stated “An independent provider should be used to process all complaints, to eradicate any risk of partisanship and factionalism” and this may be viewed as one of the more reasonable demands. But Ms Green’s version is better:
Stop taking instructions from organisations that have, one way or another, managed to present as the uncontested voice of people who don’t necessarily agree with them, and please endeavour to stop MPs being fooled by such organisations.
We can all get behind that! And yes, it is a criticism of the Board of Deputies itself, which claims to speak for all British Jews despite specifically excluding some individuals and organisations in a manner which is itself anti-Semitic.
If you don’t believe me on that, examine the Board’s pledge 8: Engagement with the Jewish community to be made via its main representative groups, which states: “Labour must engage with the Jewish community via its main representative groups, and not through finge organisations and individuals.” These groups would all be chosen by the Board and would exclude organisations like Jewish Voice for Labour or Jewdas.
Ms Green’s version of that pledge is exemplary. Re-worded as “Engage with the membership, and with the people of this country, as efficiently and as directly as you can”, it states:
When you engage with “the community” please take some time to work out exactly who you are engaging with, and what actual proportion of the actual people in this country you are dealing with. If it turns out to be a strangely small number of voices speaking for a larger group, do some research and try again.
This is another criticism of the Board of Deputies, of course.
Other pledges by Ms Green demand that Labour give a better account of itself and its processes to members. I particularly applaud pledge 4: Prevent re-admittance of prominent offenders, which states:
Resist giving shadow cabinet posts or other power positions to MPs or execs who have repeatedly briefed against the party and/or the manifesto in ways that clearly go against the members’ wishes, or who have seriously misrepresented or slandered the membership.
The fear at the moment is that such people will in fact end up in positions of considerable power.
But probably the best of the lot is Ms Green’s version of pledge 5: Provide no platform for bigotry. Her version exposes the Board of Deputies for what it is – bigotry writ large.
The BoD version of this pledge demands that “Any MPs, Peers, councillors, members or CLPs who support, campaign or provide a platform for people who have been suspended or expelled in the wake of antisemitic incidents should themselves be suspended from membership” – in other words, anybody with opinions the Board does not personally support should be removed from the party. Yes, there is reference to “anti-Semitic incidents”, but who decides that they are genuine examples of anti-Semitism? The Board of Deputies, which has a political agenda? That is bigotry.
Indeed, among its pledges, the Board actually names individuals it demands should never be allowed back into the Labour Party.
Ms Green has recognised this, and her version really puts a seal on what the BoD has been trying to do:
Bigotry means disrespect for, or abuse aimed at, others whose ideas disagree with yours.
Do not let anyone with a powerful voice in the party demand the silencing or no-platforming of members, former members, or citizens generally, unless those individuals are clearly breaking the law by, for example, inciting violence.
On the other hand, on no account name or label individuals you happen to disagree with in a way that encourages the public to see them as ‘fair game’ for abuse or disrespect, especially don’t do this just because you don’t want views that challenge your own heard.
There are more, and they are also good. I recommend you visit Ms Green’s site (address below) and see for yourself.
I would extend this recommendation particularly strongly to the individuals named at the top of this article.
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