John Mann, Labour MP for Bassetlaw, is the liar who accused Ken Livingstone of saying “Hitler was a Zionist” when he had said no such thing. It practically kicked off the so-called “Labour anti-Semitism crisis” that he and others have been stoking ever since.
Now it seems he would rather support Boris Johnson’s government than see his own party arrange a practical solution to another crisis – Brexit.
This man is no representative of the Labour Party and while Bassetlaw party members may think he is a good constituency MP (I don’t know; they may not) I’m sure plenty of other party members may manage the same while being excellent party representatives as well.
Here he is disgracing himself on LBC:
The process by which MPs may be deselected by their constituency parties has been simplified and I would certainly encourage party members in Bassetlaw to start it now.
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.
Frank Field: He knew his days in Labour were numbered so he left.
Does Frank Field really think we are all that stupid?
He did not leave Labour because of the way the party is dealing with anti-Semitism.
He resigned the whip because his constituency Labour Party in Birkenhead overwhelmingly supported a vote of “no confidence” in him as their MP and called for the withdrawal of the party whip, after he propped up the Conservative government by supporting it in a crucial Brexit vote.
And he had the sheer barefaced cheek to accuse his fellow Birkenhead party members of taking part in “a culture of intolerance, nastiness and intimidation”!
His claim that this fake culture “is being driven, in part, by members who in previous years would never have been able to claim Labour Party membership”, coupled with the other assertion, should be justification for members of his CLP to take legal action against Mr Field.
The claim by Labour’s deputy leader Tom Watson – that Mr Field’s resignation is a “wake-up call” for the party – a “serious loss” that “reflects the deep divisions in the party and the sense of drift engulfing us” is bilge of the smelliest water.
Have the mass media forgotten that this is a man who demanded that his own party disregard its disciplinary procedures and abandon action against Margaret Hodge and Ian Austin – for no very good reason – after they accused party leader Jeremy Corbyn of anti-Semitism… for no very good reason?
To me, this smacks of Mr Watson trying to make good on his threat to plunge the party into “a vortex of eternal shame and embarrassment”.
But it won’t work. We all know he’s talking through his hat.
Mr Field cannot remain a member of the Labour Party. He must resign his membership within 14 days or be expelled. He will not be allowed to remain a party member and represent Birkenhead as an independent Labour MP. He is out – for good.
And the possibility of other Labour MPs splitting off and sitting as independents, or even forming a new party? Negligible.
Without the party’s endorsement, they are nobodies. If they resign the party whip, they know they are guaranteeing the loss of their Parliamentary seats at the next general election – which may not be that far away.
Birkenhead CLP is now free to choose a new candidate for election next time – one whose values concur with those of the party in general. And yes, that includes opposition to anti-Semitism.
Mr Field will sink back into the obscurity he deserves.
Remember: He saved the Conservative government – a racist administration which has caused huge harm with the Windrush scandal, with its blatant Islamophobia, with its support for Saudi Arabia’s war against civilians in Yemen, and with its support for the apartheid regime in Israel.
The Labour Party does not need MPs who prop up racist governments.
Jeremy Corbyn has been warned that the resignation of the veteran MP Frank Field from the Labour whip, over antisemitism and what Field called a culture of nastiness in the party, must be treated as a wake-up call.
In a blistering letter to Labour’s chief whip, Nick Brown, Field wrote: “It saddens me to say that we are increasingly seen as a racist party” and added that antisemitism alone would have been enough to prompt his resignation.
The MP for Birkenhead, who recently faced a vote of no confidence from his local party over his support for Brexit, highlighted what he called a “culture of nastiness, bullying and intimidation”, saying this was at best ignored and at worst tacitly tolerated.
Owen Jones is rightly under fire over his his knee-jerk demand for Pete Willsman to quit Labour’s NEC despite not having done anything wrong.
But he’s right about this.
Kate Hoey, Frank Field, Graham Stringer and John Mann defied the Labour whip to vote in support of a Tory government motion – saving the Tories from defeat in doing so.
If members of their constituency Labour Parties say that this defies the values that bind the organisation together, then they are within their rights to vote the Brexit rebels out of any future party candidacy.
So, according to Mr Jones, Hoey must go. The only thing keeping Field, Stringer and Mann around is the fact that their CLPs haven’t voted for their deselection…
The objection should not be whether Labour MPs defy the whip – each should have the right to act according to their conscience. But Labour members should surely have greater power to decide whether those actions defy the values that bind the party.
Labour members should have the power to adjudicate on MPs’ voting records, and “not propping up a catastrophic Tory government” should be regarded as a bare minimum.
John McDonnell and Hilary Benn together at an event supporting the remain campaign in June [Image: Dylan Martinez/Reuters].
It’s bizarre to have to point this out – especially in response to reports by newspaper journalists who should know this – but John McDonnell has NOT refused to intervene over Hilary Benn’s future as a Labour MP.
The Shadow Chancellor simply has no power to do so. As he made perfectly clear in his Radio 5 Live interview, Parliamentary candidates are chosen by Constituency Labour Parties.
So Rajeev Syal’s article in The Grauniad, for example, is misleading. I’d like to say I hope this is not deliberate, but it still reflects on the professionalism of the author.
It doesn’t matter whether close allies of Jeremy Corbyn remain angry with Mr Benn after he sided with the Conservative Government over air strikes and Syria, or any involvement of his in the attempted ‘Chicken Coup’ over the summer.
If it is true that supporters of Mr Corbyn have been elected as officers in Mr Benn’s constituency party, Leeds Central, then they can propose any action they see fit – within party rules.
That includes deselection of the incumbent MP, so he may not stand as a candidate in a future election (it would not affect his position as an MP in the current Parliament).
And it is important to clarify that, if anyone has “taken over” positions in Leeds Central CLP, they would have done so by democratic means.
I question why Rajeev Syal mentions that Patrick Hall, a vice-chair of Leeds Central CLP who has spoken against Mr Benn, is a national executive member of the Labour Representation Committee, described as “a radical grouping” chaired by McDonnell.
What’s the implication?
Mr McDonnell will not influence any decision on Mr Benn’s future in any way. If Leeds Central CLP deselects Mr Benn, it will be because Leeds Central Labour members wish it.
Struggling to make an impact: Ed Miliband must reject the Tory Party’s narrative about the need for austerity and bring forward a vision for the future that really does make us ‘One Nation’ again, rather than hanging on David Cameron’s neoliberal coat-tails, as many former Labour voters believe.
The political debate is all about the Labour Party again today – as it has been since the Budget.
The newspapers and websites are full of advice for the party, which is now clearly seen to be struggling to gain any kind of a foothold with electors who have become disillusioned at what might best be called the Party of Very Little Opposition.
Labour “must adopt new principles” according to an alliance of thinktanks and party intellectuals who have written to The Guardian; Ed Miliband has been told “don’t play safe” with the party’s manifesto according to an article on the same paper’s site.
We can probably discount the Telegraph article by Dan Hodges, claiming that Labour is “closed for business”. It plays to right-wing readers’ prejudices just a little too much.
Will Ed pay any attention to these pleas? Evidence suggests he will not.
I should clarify from the outset that, as a Labour member, I want the Party to win in 2015 (and also to gain the lion’s share of the vote in May’s European elections).
But Miliband seems to be living in a world of his own, insulated from the rest of the Labour Party – not to mention supporters of Labour ideals who are not members – by a small group of (not-so-special) advisers who, it’s claimed, intercept any decent ideas before they get to the party leader and spin them until they turn to drivel. Whether this is true or not seems immaterial as this is the perception of the general public.
And perception is everything.
As I write this article I have just received a comment stating that “Miliband’s strategy for the next election seems to be a) to accept the Tory frame of reference for any given argument and b) to then concede the field of battle on that issue, whatever it is, without a shot being fired.” This is a common complaint, and Labour has no answer to it.
Why do Miliband, Balls, Tristram Hunt (notably), Rachel Reeves (lamentably) and all the other Labour frontbenchers blithely accept the Coalition’s terms of reference on any issue, against the wishes of their own backbenchers, their party as a whole and the public at large?
Are they really just a gang of greedy moneygrubbers, determined to screw the country for whatever they can get? That in itself would be a betrayal of Labour Party ideals and their constituency parties should deselect them if members believed that to be the case for one moment.
Are they a gang of neoliberals, their political philosophy so close to that of the Conservatives that you can’t get a credit card between them? This rings threateningly true in the cases of Oxford PPE graduats Ed Balls and Yvette Cooper, ex-Bank of England employee Rachel Reeves and Tristram Hunt. But Ed Miliband is (famously) the son of a Marxist. He, above all, should know better.
The trouble is, David Miliband is the son of the same Marxist and he was as much a part of the neoliberal New Labour Red Tory deception as Tony Blair and Gordon Brown.
Oh look – another comment has just arrived. “More people don’t bother to vote because they feel that we as a people have moved on and all we really want is people who will represent us honestly, by majority and with no hidden agendas, backhanders or lobbyists pulling the strings. I don’t see any evidence that the present government or the Labour Party are capable or willing to do just that… They should have the courage to change and become the voice of the people.”
Become the voice of the people. The meaning is clear – Labour is not currently representing anybody at all.
Is this true? Let’s look at some of the other comments on my (left-leaning, let’s not forget) blog. These are from people who are generally sympathetic to Socialism and who should, therefore, see Labour as the natural home of their vote. What do they say?
“[Is it] any wonder [that] 1. People don’t vote because they are seen as “all the bloody same”? and 2. The perceived differences have become so minuscule?”
“Until Labour wakes up and realises it is the welfare cuts that are a major concern to most of us and to anyone who has a conscience, they will lose the next election due to apathy.”
“Labour have to do something different to what they have up to now but they don’t seem to want to. Are they scared of being in government over a country in the state it is?”
“Labour have had four years to do something – anything – to fight against the welfare cuts, and to help the people they are supposed to be the party for! They’ve really done nothing when all is said and done.”
If Ed Miliband was reading this, I would be asking if he was getting the message yet (are you, Ed?) and what he proposes to do about it. You think not? Let’s have some more comments from people who should be supporting Labour – I’ve got plenty of them!
“There has been absolutely no fight in this opposition and I am ashamed of them.”
“People need a reason to apply their votes to Labour and Miliband-Balls are not providing them with one. They are sleepwalking into another hung Parliament and a very real risk of the Tories teaming up with UKIP. Then we’ll really see Nazism grip this country.”
“The would-be voters demand change and need bold new policies to blunt the Tory cutters. If the Labour Party cannot come up with policies which are radical then they don’t deserve to be in power at the next election, or ever.”
“Ed Balls worries me because he seems intent on copycatting Osborne. For example Osborne says he will run a surplus by the end of the next Parliament and Balls promises the same. Osborne say he will be introducing a Benefit Cap on social security spending on working age benefits (which could have devastating effects and lead to real terms cuts in benefits for years on end) and Balls says that Labour will vote with the Coalition to introduce it.”
“Surely we need some clear red water between Labour and the Tories? Surely Labour needs to differentiate itself more from the policies of the Coalition?”
“I sent an email to the Labour Party asking for its policy on TTIP (the rightly-feared Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership that will force employment standards down to third-world levels, or below), amongst other things. They were decidedly equivocal and I felt no reassurance at all. I think it’s about we faced facts, Labour aren’t being coy in a pre-election year to avoid frightening the horses, they really are just another pack of neoliberals.”
This is how left-wing voters (and the squeezed-middle waverers to whom Ed Miliband keeps trying to pander) see the modern Labour Party: Carbon-copy Tories with no fresh ideas who aren’t worth the effort of voting.
If any of Ed’s shadow cabinet is okay with that description, he needs to sack them and bring in someone with a clue. And he needed to do it last year.
If the Conservatives win in 2015, it seems clear that responsibility will lie as much with Labour’s failure to provide any clearly-visible alternative.
We have already seen carnage inflicted on the poor, the sick and disabled, and a Conservative-only government (or in collaboration withUKIP) would increase that bloodshed tenfold (senior citizens take note: the bribe you were given last week was a trick and if you vote Conservative, many of you will not live to rectify your error at another election).
Unless Ed Miliband sorts out his party – pronto – that blood will be on his hands as well, and the people will not forgive him.
Note that I did not say they won’t forgive Labour. I said they won’t forgive Ed Miliband.
Words cannot describe the way people feel at what has been done to them by the Coalition. If Labour reveals even the slightest element of complicity, I wouldn’t give a farthing for Miliband’s safety.
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