Corbyn joins Forde’s call for action on Labour racism and Islamophobia. Silence from Starmer

Keir Starmer: after the Equality and Human Rights Commission lifted its special measures against Labour over the way it investigates anti-Semitism, he claimed Labour would “never again be brought to its knees by racism or bigotry”. Those words ring hollow now.

Let’s say it straight: Labour leader Keir Starmer has been accused of lying about processes within the Labour Party to tackle racism, including anti-Semitism and Islamophobia.

Both Martin Forde KC, whose report on the subject was commissioned and then ignored by Starmer, and Jeremy Corbyn, who has been widely – and falsely – accused of allowing anti-Semitism to run wild in the party while he was leader, have demanded action to implement the Forde Report’s recommendations.

Mr Forde rounded on Starmer’s claim that Labour had “zero tolerance of anti-Semitism, of racism, of discrimination of any kind”.

Speaking to a virtual event organised by Compass on Monday (March 20), he said:

We’ve heard it from various politicians, but you can’t implement zero tolerance unless you’re policing things fairly rigorously and you’ve got transparent systems in place.

It’s not enough to say, ‘I’ve been on a course’, and that means I’m untouchable.

And he criticised Labour’s decision not to introduce an independent directorate that would oversee the party’s disciplinary process.

This is interesting from This Writer’s point of view, because a Labour NEC member is on the record as having said the Forde Report’s recommendations were being followed:

I think part of the reason that factionalism has arisen around this is because there is a perception that different groups are treated differently,” Forde said.

Jeremy Corbyn’s comments were, if anything, more harshly critical of his successor:

I’ll reproduce his statement below – not just for people who can’t read image files, but also to provide commentary:

The Forde Report called out the horrific sexism and racism expressed toward Diane Abbott and others among senior members of Labour Party staff who were factionally opposed to me leadership. Eight months on from the Report’s publication, it is appalling that anti-Black racism and Islamophobia are not treated seriously enough by the Party.

There should never be a hierarchy of racism.

This is a criticism of Starmer, who has been attacked for making it seem that it is more important to tackle anti-Semitism against Jews who are Zionists and supporters of the current Israeli government than any other form of racism.

We must stand up to all forms of discrimination, which is why I called for the swift implementation of the EHRC recommendations to improve the Party’s disciplinary processes for handling antisemitism complaints. Concerns about anti-Black racism and Islamophobia, detailed by Forde, must be treated with equal significance.

The Forde Report also details instances of factionalism that hindered our objectives and undermined the democratic mandate of Party members. Since April 2020, this culture of factionalism has escalated.

April 2020 was when Keir Starmer became Labour Party leader. Mr Corbyn is saying that Starmer has either ignored or supported such factionalism (my personal opinion is that he has encouraged it; some may claim he is even responsible for it).

Across the country, socialist members with grassroots and trade union support have been blocked from standing as Labour candidates, denying Party members the right to fair and democratic selection processes.

The recommendations of the Forde Report must be implemented. That is the bare minimum. But we must go further in fighting for a politics of anti-racism, democracy and solidarity in wider society. That means opposing the government’s assault on refugees, rather than pandering to divisive rhetoric. It means offering bold solutions to the compounding crises facing us all. And it means building a vision of hope, which inspires people to fight for a more equal, sustainable and peaceful world.

The factionalist attacks against left-wing Labour members should certainly be brought to the attention of the wider public – because their impact has the potential to harm the wider public significantly, if a Labour government is elected into office in 2024 or 2025.

The reason for such concern may be summed up with the words of “a senior left-wing Labour MP” who spoke after the Compass event. That person said:

“If you want to know how [a] party will treat you in government, look at how it treats its members.”

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One Comment

  1. Outtheredude March 23, 2023 at 11:26 am - Reply

    Apparently, there’s another witch hunt brewing within the Labour ranks to weed out those of prejudiced inclinations yet again, originally based primarily on nothing more than ugly rumours, which conveniently came out sometime during the last election.

    So, how come the MSM has not made anything like the fuss it made with Labour when it comes to the Conservative Party and it’s poster boy of prejudice, former Prime Minister Boris Johnson, along with all his ilk (such as, cough-cough, Suella Braverman) then? Doesn’t seem to be much witch hunting going on amongst it’s ranks when it comes to those of prejudiced inclinations is there? Never mind calls for an independent body to purge the Conservative Party of such elements.

    Looks like presently Tory-Lite Labour’s chances of being re-elected, to finally get rid of the extremist “Conservative” Party, are being sabotaged in advance, yet again.

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