Tag Archives: Len

Labour civil war: unions weigh in, former MP signs out, and Margaret Hodge contradicts herself

.Margaret Hodge: she once praised Jeremy Corbyn glowingly but is singing a different tune now. Why the change of heart? Political expediency?

For a leader who said he wanted to bring unity to the Labour Party, Keir Starmer has certainly caused a lot of division.

This Writer thinks the best conclusion to be drawn by those of us who are watching is that he lied; Starmer’s plan was always to cause the maximum amount of upset possible and ensure that Labour is incapable of opposing the Conservatives at a time when the Tory government is itself weak.

That is the only explanation that makes any sense at all.

So today the antagonism has intensified – as witnessed in the articles of that exhaustive follower of Labour’s woes, Skwawkbox.

I’ll level with you: this story is likely to develop so quickly and in so many different directions that it will be hard to keep up. But I’ll try to keep tabs on developments and point you to those that are of interest.

Skwawkbox tells us first that the unions have condemned Starmer’s continuing persecution of Jeremy Corbyn:

Unite’s Len McCluskey condemned Starmer’s ‘vindictive and vengeful decision which despoils Party democracy and due process‘ – and for acting in ‘bad faith’ in his ‘continued persecution’ of Corbyn – and accused him of destroying ‘party unity and integrity’ while undermining the EHRC report he has pledged to implement in full.

Fair comment, I think…

CWU general secretary Dave Ward went even further, describing Starmer’s action as ‘shocking’ – because it gives Boris Johnson a free ride over the serious issues of the day. Millions face redundancy, hundreds are dying every day and the government gets away with it. But Starmer wants a civil war.

Also fair. Read the full report here.

Meanwhile a well-respected former Labour MP has quit the party in disgust at Starmer’s behaviour.

Former Colne Valley MP – and PPS to John McDonnell, meaning she worked as part of his shadow Treasury team – Thelma Walker has resigned her membership of the Labour Party, while expressing solidarity with former party leader Jermey Corbyn.

She made her feelings clear in a tweeted response to another former Labour MP:

“Labour MPs used [the PLP] as a vehicle for self-aggrandisement and personal attacks on those they didn’t agree with.”

“[I] witnessed the toxic atmosphere [in the Parliamentary Labour Party] every Monday evening. My stomach used to turn over before I went in the room. The same people would leave the meeting and report to journalists.”

That’s not the kind of Labour Party This Writer wants to have and I don’t think you want it either. But thanks to Starmer and his cronies, that’s the party we have.

Read the sad details here.

On the subject of Starmer’s cronies, one of the reasons he kept Corbyn from rejoining the PLP seems to have been a threat by Margaret Hodge that she would quit the party if it happened.

Hodge has been a vociferous opponent of Corbyn, having spent several years denouncing him as an anti-Semite. It seems she is also a hypocrite, as a comment uncovered today shows:

“I was fighting fascism and that would be completely up his street. He takes stands on things and he fights his corner. I like that about him.”

How times change. The Skwawkbox article is here.

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McCluskey targeted again: he’s right to apologise – but not for anti-Semitism

Len McCluskey: his words were not anti-Semitic.

Unite union leader Len McCluskey has rightly apologised to Peter Mandelson for comments in a BBC Newsnight report – but claims that his words were anti-Semitic are wholly wrong.

Responding to disparaging comments from Mandelson about the Jeremy Corbyn era of the Labour Party, McCluskey had said that he should go away and “count his gold”.

As this had nothing to do with the matters under discussion – and seems intended as an insult – it is right that McCluskey has issued an apology:

Sadly some people have chosen to interpret McCluskey’s words as an anti-Semitic trope:

There’s just one problem with that interpretation – and it’s a big one:

Peter Mandelson is not Jewish.

Jewishness is handed down by female family members and Mandelson’s mother was a gentile. He isn’t Jewish.

And consider this: isn’t it strange that one person with Jewish ancestors is said to be Jewish (for the purpose of attacking someone else), while another person with Jewish ancestors was told repeatedly that she was not (for the purpose of attacking her), even though she did self-identify as such?

To me, this seems just another opportunistic lie, made to attack a person on the left wing of UK politics.

Type “McCluskey” into the search box on Twitter and you’ll be able to make a list of the names and handles of a large number of fellow travellers who support this lie. Some of them are well-known so it is worth making that list.

And, as there is (clearly) still a strong campaign to disparage and discredit people on the left wing of politics, let’s see if the same names crop up to support the next lie.

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Popular support for UK’s biggest union as it cuts funding to Labour because Starmer is ‘not listening’

Len McCluskey: as long ago as March 2018, he said if Labour won’t support left-wing policies, it won’t have left-wing funds.

Len McCluskey is providing the leadership the Labour movement badly needs, and right-thinking people across the UK know it.

Late on October 6, the BBC’s Newsnight told us the Unite union general secretary had announced a partial disaffiliation from the Labour Party because new leader Keir Starmer is “just not listening” to the Labour movement.

One of the most contentious issues recently was Starmer’s decision to pay £600,000 to so-called whistleblowers who contributed to a Panorama documentary about anti-Semitism in the Labour Party.

After Labour denied their story, they threatened to sue the party for defamation. Legal advice was that Labour would win – but Starmer decided to pay up anyway.

Now, United has disaffiliated 50,000 of its members, meaning its subsidy to Labour will drop by one-tenth – around £700,000.

This Writer thinks the close correlation between this sum and the amount paid to the “whistleblowers” is no coincidence. Unite – and McCluskey – are saying that if Starmer has so much cash he can afford to blow it on appeasement, he can afford to do without some.

The cash that has been freed will go to left-wing grassroots organisations – a shrewd move if it leads to wider understanding of alternatives to the neoliberal policies of Boris Johnson (and Starmer himself).

And the decision has been met with widespread support from the general public. Here’s This Site’s friend, Cornish Damo (be warned that he doesn’t hold back and you may find some of his language too strong):

We need an opposition, not an “appeasition”. Yes indeed!

Others have also leapt up to voice their support for Unite – and their disgust with Starmer on this and other issues:

AFTERTHOUGHT: Sadly, looking at the social media, it seems the Twitter trolls are trying to take over the discussion with support for Starmer and insults for McCluskey.

Perhaps Unite and all the other trade unions who co-formed Labour in the first place should just withdraw all their funding now, as these so-called members and representatives clearly neither need nor want it.

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We should all support McCluskey over Labour ‘anti-Semitism’ payouts

Len McCluskey: if Labour won’t support left-wing policies, it won’t have left-wing funds.

Len McCluskey has the right idea: if Labour is going to waste its funds, then its funders should pull the plug on the party.

All left-thinking unions – and what’s the point of being in a union if it isn’t left-thinking and doesn’t look out for its members? – should agree.

New Labour under Blair, Brown and Miliband gave us 20 years in which members’ wishes were scorned for a bland, tepid watering-down of Tory policies. It would be an outrage if Labour’s supporters let Starmer take the party back to that.

So Unite is reviewing its political donations to the Labour Party – reconsidering whether it should continue to be Starmer’s largest backer, or indeed back him at all.

The decision came after Starmer decided to pay huge amounts of money to seven so-called whistleblowers who claimed the party had not handled anti-Semitism properly in a BBC documentary.

A leaked report to the party that Starmer failed to release later suggested that some of those involved had themselves held back the party’s response in a bid to smear then-leader Jeremy Corbyn and harm Labour’s chances of election with him in charge.

McCluskey has been clear:

“It’s an abuse of members’ money,” he said. “A lot of it is Unite’s money and I’m already being asked all kinds of questions by my executive. It’s as though a huge sign has been put up outside the Labour party with ‘queue here with your writ and get your payment over there’.”

Unite is Labour’s biggest donor, contributing £7 million to the party since the beginning of 2019. The loss of any of these funds would be a huge blow when it is rumoured that thousands of members are quitting every day in disgust at Starmer’s recent policy u-turns.

It seems clear to This Writer that McCluskey has chosen the right direction.

Starmer seems entirely unconcerned about losing members – in fact he seems to be pushing left-wingers out of the door.

But he needs money, and the party’s business backers – many of whom deserted Labour during the Corbyn years – are unlikely to be hurrying back if the party’s remaining financial base is dwindling.

It could be that the summer Parliamentary recess is the perfect time to judge Starmer’s Labour.

He has just ditched his flagship policy – the one he used to woo enough party voters to win himself the leadership: higher taxes on the wealthy.

Can he be persuaded to reverse that decision? What other decisions has he been planning to make and, if they harm the Left, will he be forced to reconsider?

If he doesn’t, he may find himself with very little Labour left to lead.

Source: Unite sounds warning over Labour antisemitism payouts | Labour | The Guardian

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