Tag Archives: Marc Wadsworth

Exposed: The distortions that made anti-Semitism smears possible

Marc Wadsworth (left), introducing the family of Stephen Lawrence to Nelson Mandela.

A great deal of attention has been given on the social media recently (although not the mainstream media, you notice) to the report by the Media Reform Coalition and Birkbeck on the mainstream media’s coverage of allegations of anti-Semitism in the Labour Party.

It found that there have been “prevalent errors, omissions and skews in the mainstream coverage”, and much of the reporting of it has focused on this headline.

This Writer found much of interest in the case studies, also – especially that which focused on Marc Wadsworth.

Mr Wadsworth has been in the news again recently, after he spoke in favour of Kerry-Anne Mendoza giving the Claudia Jones memorial lecture in his capacity as chair of the National Union of Journalists’ Black Members Council. His comments attracted the enmity of commentators of a certain political leaning, who referred critically to the incident at the launch of the Chakrabarti Report that led to accusations of anti-Semitism against him.

The MRC/Birkbeck report has this to say about it: “The immediate availability of a video recording of the incident offered a useful basis on which to assess the degree to which the activist, Mark Wadsworth, was accurately quoted in reports. Again, this reflects a common theme in much of the related coverage where contentious or controversial statements are paraphrased in reports in ways that can potentially distort their original context or meaning.

“Wadsworth accused Ruth Smeeth, a Jewish MP who had been critical of Corbyn on a range of issues (and especially antisemitism), of “working in hand in hand” with the Daily Telegraph. Given the immediate focus of the event, this was immediately interpreted by some as a veiled antisemitic attack, drawing on a racial stereotype of Jews controlling the media.

“On the face of it, however, Wadsworth’s comments seemed to reflect a widely-held concern amongst Labour members that centrist or right-wing MPs were ‘plotting’ to oust the elected leader of the party, and that this extended to collaboration with some of the Tory-supporting press. As it turned out, these concerns were well-founded as the event was swiftly followed by a wave of shadow cabinet resignations that was at least partly orchestrated with the media, including the BBC.

“Of crucial significance here was Wadsworth’s reference to an interaction he witnessed between Smeeth and a single reporter from a single newspaper. There was nothing in his original comment that either explicitly or implicitly generalized this interaction into a broader accusation of working with the right-wing press or media at large. Indeed, he was subsequently caught on camera having a private exchange with Jeremy Corbyn stating that he ‘outed’ Smeeth for “working with the
‘Torygraph’”. This would seem to support the view that Wadsworth’s charge was not one of collaborating or conspiring with the press in general.

“Yet this is precisely how Wadsworth was indirectly quoted in 13 out of 35 reports. At its most benign, such paraphrasing adopted words such as “colluding with the right-wing press” without any qualification… And at the extreme end of the spectrum Wadsworth was reported in the Sun as accusing Smeeth of being part of a “Jewish media conspiracy” and in a separate article, simply “attacking her for being Jewish”.”

The report added: “It would appear that several journalists had taken cues from Smeeth herself who, in a formal response, had alleged that Wadsworth used traditional antisemitic slurs to attack her “for being part of a ‘media conspiracy’”. In spite of the seriousness of the allegation, nearly half of the reports in the sample (15 out of 33) either quoted Smeeth directly or referred to her allegations without mentioning Wadsworth’s denial. This was a clear subversion of the journalistic principle of offering a right of reply to those who face reputational damage from an allegation of harm.

This was all the more perplexing given that journalists did not have to rely on second hand accounts of what was said at the meeting. Many were in attendance of  the launch which was also streamed live and the video footage – including the recorded interaction between Wadsworth and Smeeth – was easily and immediately accessible.”

The conclusion was: “Underlying the evidence presented here was a persistent subversion of conventional news values…  Journalists covering the launch of Labour’s antisemitism report in 2016 routinely misquoted Mark Wadsworth in ways that invoked a notion of media conspiracy that was entirely absent from his original statement, in spite of the fact that a video recording of the event was readily and immediately accessible.”

I know from personal experience that the treatment of Marc Wadsworth was not a solitary case. Gabriel Pogrund’s Sunday Times article alleging that I was a Holocaust denier relied entirely on a ‘leaked’ report from Labour’s NEC which itself was based on allegations by the Campaign Against Antisemitism. My own original words were publicly available – and had been for more than a year, at the time his report was published.

Whilst I was contacted by Mr Pogrund prior to publication of his story, he did not give me a right of reply on the claims he made.

It is clear that this “persistent subversion of conventional news values” has become standard practice in mainstream media coverage of allegations of anti-Semitism against members of the Labour Party.

In light of the facts highlighted by the report, it seems clear that Labour’s National Constitutional Committee, which examines allegations against members, needs to revisit the case of Mr Wadsworth – and reconsider whether it should continue with the cases against myself and others who have suffered similar accusations.

And then the Labour leadership would be well-advised to consider suing the press outlets mentioned in the report, not only for wasting all our time but for libelling the party as a whole.

It is these so-called newspapers that have brought the Labour Party into disrepute, and not the members whose names they have dragged through the mud.

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Calls mount for Corbyn to ‘come out fighting’ in support of falsely-accused Marc Wadsworth

Marc Wadsworth.

This is what happens when the Labour Party refuses to acknowledge the facts in a false accusation of anti-Semitism.

I hope you remember the case of Marc Wadsworth, the anti-racism campaigner who was instrumental in helping the family of Stephen Lawrence get an inquiry into his death, and who was then accused of anti-Semitism by right-wing MP Ruth Smeeth for no reason at all.

A judging panel from Labour’s National Constitutional Committee later expelled him from the party on the grounds that he had brought it into disrepute, even though it was the behaviour of Ms Smeeth that had done the damage. She remains an MP and a member of the Labour Party, although her actions certain warrant her removal from both positions.

Calls have been mounting for Mr Wadsworth’s case to be reviewed. At last week’s Labour Party Conference, MP Clive Lewis called on party leader Jeremy Corbyn to “come out fighting”

The Morning Star reported: “Mr Lewis said Mr Wadsworth had merely been making a political point about right-wing MPs working with right-wing newspapers.

“‘It was not an anti-semitic trope. It was a political observation,’ he said to applause…

“He added: ‘You’ve seen what happens when you stick your head above the parapet on this issue. It gets shot off,’ but he had had to stand in solidarity with a comrade and for the principle that ‘people should be able to express themselves politically.’

“He declared: ‘I would like to see Jeremy Corbyn come out fighting on this issue.’”

A crowdfunding campaign to fund the cost of Mr Wadsworth’s appeal has raised £30,000 since it was launched in April, and all I can say is I wish my own attempt to raise funds to clear my name had that kind of back-up (I’ve raised more than £5,000 since June – only a fraction of his total. Anyone willing to help me out is invited to visit my JustGiving site). Then again, our situations are slightly different as Labour has yet to arrange a hearing to judge my case.

It’s a curious coincidence that, just when the tide was beginning to turn in favour of this honourable and principled man, someone had to try to put a spanner in the works.

That person was Sarah Ditum, a critic, columnist and fellow member of the National Union of Journalists.

She waded into this matter after attending a meeting of the NUJ in which Mr Wadsworth, in his capacity as chair of the union’s Black Members Council, spoke supporting the choice of Canary editor in chief Kerry-Anne Mendoza to deliver the Claudia Jones memorial lecture (an issue I have discussed in a previous article; NUJ members also voted to support her).

She tweeted:

https://twitter.com/sarahditum/status/1045932834404347904

Notice that it was a carefully-worded attack. Mr Wadsworth had suggested that Ms Smeeth and the Telegraph reporter, with whom she was exchanging a leaflet that he had been distributing, were “hand in glove” – but there was no mention of her Jewishness until she started hollering about it herself. Her tweet stops short of saying that he was engaging in an anti-Semitic trope but that is clearly her implication. And the use of the word “defending” in reference to Kerry-Anne as “The Woman Who Publishes Steve Topple” makes it clear that we are to consider any publication of Mr Topple’s articles to be a bad thing, without having any reason to do so. Sinister.

And she drew out a series of tweets in her support, which I won’t mention any further as it is far more instructive to examine some of the comments in favour of Mr Wadsworth.

Chris Williamson, a Labour MP who has long supported Mr Wadsworth’s cause, wrote:

Mr Wadsworth himself had something to say:

And I think the following is especially pertinent:

https://twitter.com/PeterTwohey/status/1045837536982183936

This is the real issue, is it not?

It isn’t about any claim of anti-Semitism against Mr Wadsworth, that is easily disproved.

It is about his willingness to stand up and talk about what those in positions of power and privilege would prefer to keep hidden.

That’s why a false claim of anti-Semitism was cooked up against him.

It is also why that claim was reheated when he spoke in favour of a social media journalist who the right-wing, mainstream press wanted to silence.

And it is why prominent figures like Mr Lewis are asking Jeremy Corbyn to weigh in and take action.

But Mr Corbyn has been, himself, targeted with false accusations many times – especially over the summer months.

He may conclude that it would not be productive for him to speak out at this time – a decision that, I’m sorry to say, may have been the sole intention of his own accusers.

That is why people like Mr Wadsworth – and myself (don’t forget that JustGiving page) need the help of people of good conscience – from all parts of the political spectrum.

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Labour’s ‘institutional’ problem isn’t racism – it’s right-wing, authoritarian MPs

This is deliberate needling by Chuka Umunna. He’s trying to provoke an aggressive reaction from among the membership of the Labour Party – as he was with his dehumanising tactic of calling us all “dogs”.

Well, every dog has its day, and ours is coming.

Here’s Mr Umunna’s latest outrageous claim:

Notice that Sophy Ridge asked a leading question, allowing Mr Umunna to wax lyrical on this theme. He immediately goes off-course and crashes. He claims that the Labour Party has met the Macpherson report’s definition of “institutional racism” – but fails to elaborate on what it is.

Allow me to fill in the blanks. According to the report by Sir William Macpherson to the Stephen Lawrence inquiry, “institutional racism” is “the collective failure of an organisation to provide an appropriate and professional service to people because of their colour, culture or ethnic origin”. And it does not apply to the Labour Party at all.

Labour, as an organisation, has always provided an appropriate and professional service. Where party members have been found to have been exhibiting racist behaviour, it has not been in their capacity as members or officers of the party – it did not reflect Labour’s policies or procedures. And we know that the vast majority of accusations that have been levelled at Labour members have been false. Right?

Mr Umunna, a supporter of Labour Friends of Israel – an organisation that has now been proven to have been supporting the interests of the Israeli government in UK Parliamentary affairs (right?) – went on to say that Labour had failed to address “the racism known as anti-Semitism”. But Labour has been addressing it since 2016; it is the intervention of MPs like Mr Umunna (whose questioning of Ken Livingstone over anti-Semitism that year clearly showed he had already decided on the senior Labour member’s guilt) that induces the public wrongly to believe otherwise.

He demands that Labour should have adopted the IHRA definition of anti-Semitism, rather than its own code of conduct, failing to mention the fact that the IHRA document is vague, allows critics of the Israeli government to be falsely labelled anti-Semitic (because he’s involved with Labour Friends of Israel?), and was intended to be a tool to help investigations – not as evidence, or indeed proof, of claims against any party member his gang would like to accuse.

The dishonesty in his next comment is staggering. He claims that, if Labour had adopted the IHRA working definition, the party could have moved on to discuss the big political issues of the moment. This is not true. He knows – and we know (right?) that the accusations of anti-Semitism will not stop while Jeremy Corbyn is leader of the Labour Party. The Israeli government does not want a supporter of peace between its country and Palestine in line to be the next Prime Minister of a country as influential as the UK still remains, and that is why these claims continue. One was made the very morning after Labour adopted the IHRA definition, if I recall correctly.

His claim that there are still outstanding complaints is false, as you can see from this tweet by NEC member Claudia Webbe:

That being said, This Writer has been facing action under Labour’s disputes procedure since May 2017 and at the time of writing I am yet to be given details of the date and location of the first hearing at which I will be allowed to give evidence, which indicates that the process up to now has indeed left much to be desired – especially as I am utterly innocent of the charge against me, including all its particulars.

I am currently crowdfunding to carry out legal action against all my accusers and you should be able to find information on how you can help me, at the end of this article.

I cannot discuss the claim that Labour has not told MPs about threats of violence to them. I do know of a claim that a supporter of Joan Ryan MP threatened to kill a youth member who intervened when he tried to pressure a female vote-counter and then tried to assault the same young man on a second occasion. The Metropolitan Police has said it was ‘assessing’ the complaint.

Labour organisations, MPs and officers have made their opposition to Mr Umunna’s claims clear:

The mention of Trevor Phillips refers to a former chair of the Equalities and Human Rights Commission who has claimed that Labour “is led by anti-Semites and racists, who basically want to essentially eliminate anyone who disagrees with them” – in a staggering reversal of the facts. It is right-wingers like Mr Umunna (and, one must conclude, Mr Phillips) who want to eliminate anyone who disagrees with them. I make no comment about whether they are racist in any way.

This is true. Many have questioned why Labour right-wingers seem able to come out with any old claptrap and go unpunished for it, while rank-and-file members such as myself can be suspended – and indeed expelled, as happened to Marc Wadsworth – on the basis of similar claptrap, sometimes uttered by other Labour MPs (Ruth Smeeth in the case of Mr Wadsworth).

So, what can we say about this? Let’s start with Clive Lewis’s excellent comments to BBC News:

He makes a strong point: Labour members have exercised their democratic right to express their dissatisfaction with the behaviour of the right-wing MPs (like Joan Ryan, in the case under discussion) and to demand better.

The current Labour leadership understands that this is democracy – but the MPs under the spotlight – including Mr Umunna – don’t. The reason for this is explored very thoroughly in a Twitter thread by Ben Goren:

So these people – Mr Umunna, Ms Ryan, Mr Phillips, Ms Smeeth, and the others not mentioned above – believe that Labour should be ruled from the centre, with the wider membership only allowed to service the needs of the privileged few in the PLP, NEC and other positions of power. That is why they believe Jeremy Corbyn can “call off the dogs”, as Mr Umunna unappealingly (indeed, unacceptably) described it.

But Mr Corbyn cannot. He did not set these “dogs” loose. And the right-wingers only have themselves to blame for their current predicament.

Indeed, their accusations may be considered victim-blaming of the lowest kind. Consider:

What next? Well…

Yes it does. But we cannot descend to their level because we know that they have an advantage – a set of privileges – that the rest of us do not: They can say what they want with impunity but if we put one word out of line, they’ll use it as a stick and beat us with it. Like dogs.

https://twitter.com/ToryFibs/status/1038445403841220608

This is a debate that requires the ultimate in restraint from those of us who are in the right. We must be polite. We must be accurate. We must be forensic.

And when the other side changes its tactics, we must adapt. For instance:

Back in 2016, during the so-called “Chicken Coup” that led to the second leadership election that Jeremy Corbyn won, Ms Eagle accused supporters of the Labour leader of vandalising the window of her constituency office. This was a lie. The broken window led to a staircase and not the office, and a police investigation showed no evidence that supporters of Mr Corbyn were responsible.

Now she is adopting a conciliatory tone. But note that she is trying to take the lead. We can unite to take on the Tories – if we follow her lead and that of her group within the Labour Party.

No, thank you, Angela. You had your chance and you attacked us.

If you hear someone attacking Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour leadership, using accusations of anti-Semitism against him and the membership at large, or claiming that the members are somehow traitors for using the party’s own mechanisms to stop them… these are the people to oppose.

Politely.

But firmly.

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Expelled activist Marc Wadsworth is taking Labour to court

Marc Wadsworth: We should all stand up against the injustice that Labour has done to him.

Marc Wadsworth, expelled from Labour on a daft charge of ‘bringing the party into disrepute’ after it was proved that claims of “anti-Semitism” against him were false, is launching legal action against the party.

And who can blame him?

He told Skwawkbox this would be a test case for the many members who have been falsely accused and unfairly treated – members like This Writer; I am in the midst of writing an answer to unjust and fabricated anti-Semitism charges from the Labour Party at the moment.

Mr Wadsworth, who is crowdfunding his action, added that it was “a pity” it was necessary at all.

I am also crowdfunding for legal action against my own accusers, including the Labour Party and those who have fed it the false claims about me. If you would like to contribute to that fund, please visit my JustGiving page.

Labour and black rights activist Marc Wadsworth, who played a key role in supporting the family of murdered teenager Stephen Lawrence through their campaign, is about to formally initiate legal action against the Labour Party.

Wadsworth was expelled over an exchange with Labour MP Ruth Smeeth at the launch of Labour’s Chakrabarti report – widely misreported by the media and Ms Smeeth’s supporters as on grounds of antisemitism, but this is untrue as the party downgraded the charge to one of disrepute after it became apparent [a] widely-available video of the incident showed no antisemitic behaviour.

A letter from Wadsworth’s legal team will be sent to the party [today, August 1], with formal proceedings expected to begin next week. The team includes QC Martin Westgate, who successfully represented Labour members in their fight to overturn Labour’s decision, under former general secretary Iain McNicol, to exclude them from voting in the party’s leadership election, as well as solicitors from the highly regarded firm Birnberg Peirce.

Source: Exclusive: Wadsworth launches legal action over ‘unjust’ expulsion | The SKWAWKBOX

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Gwynne seeks to ‘lower expectations’ for Labour in local elections – because of Wadsworth expulsion?

Damage control: Andrew Gwynne.

Shadow Communities Secretary Andrew Gwynne has tried to reduce expectations of a Labour landslide at the local elections on Thursday, in the wake of a decision to expel a prominent black anti-racist campaign – for racism.

This Site reported that black and ethnic minority representatives had responded with outrage after Labour’s National Constitutional Committee expelled Marc Wadsworth – apparently on the flimsier-than-tissue-paper basis that anti-Semitic intent could be inferred if someone hearing what he said at the launch of the Chakrabarti Report in June 2016 felt that it was.

The Guardian reported:

“Gwynne also sought to lower expectations ahead of the local elections on Thursday. He said: ‘We’re predicting that because these were high watermark years when these seats were last fought in 2014, that it’s probably going to be difficult to get anything like that.

“’We’ve never ever held the City of Westminster, we last held Wandsworth in 1978. If we took those it would be a spectacular night.

“’I am confident that we will have a good night – I don’t think it will be anything like some of the opinion polls would suggest because we are already defending about 80% of the seats in some of those metropolitan boroughs and London boroughs – we’re already at a high watermark.’”

It seems clear that he is trying to manage expectations downward – and This Writer would suggest this is a rather desperate attempt to mitigate the effect of the NCC’s disastrous decision to turn BAME voters against the party.

His words also suggest – as I speculated in my previous article – that there is no mechanism available to the Labour leadership to reverse the NCC’s perverse and unjust decision before Thursday, thereby restoring confidence that the Labour Party still supports fairness and justice.

It won’t be enough. I wonder what the official Labour line will be tomorrow – and why aren’t right-whingers like Ruth Smeeth who prompted this disaster speaking up about what they’ve done? They seemed proud enough on Friday.


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Wadsworth expulsion: Did Labour just throw away its chance to take London?

Jeremy Corbyn: Can he talk his way out of this tight corner?

Labour made a huge mistake on Friday.

After 40 white people escorted another white person to the hearing in what looked like a lynch mob, a panel composed entirely of white people found an innocent anti-racism campaigner – who happened to be black – guilty of a form of racism.

Just on the face of it, that makes Labour look like the racist party.

We are told the verdict on the allegations of anti-Semitism facing Marc Wadsworth went against the evidence.

According to Grassroots Black Left, “The panel … ruled the case against Wadsworth could be proven based on solely on the perception by some people that what he said at the launch of the Charkrabarti report on June 30, 2016 was anti-semitism.”

That would certainly run against the meaning of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of anti-Semitism to which Labour has subscribed. That document states that anti-Semitism “may be expressed as hatred towards Jews”; it is not behaviour that may be inferred as offensive by Jews.

In other words, according to the definition which Labour supports, a person’s behaviour should not be deemed anti-Semitic because someone else took offence at it; it would have to be informed by, and motivated by, hatred towards Jews.

And criticism of an individual Jewish person, or a group of them, should not raise accusations of anti-Semitism unless it is informed by hatred towards all Jews. Such criticism may be entirely reasonable, depending on the evidence supporting it.

So the decision against Marc Wadsworth is doubly wrong. And it could jeopardise Labour’s ambitions in the local elections taking place on May 3.

Black and minority ethnic people are infuriated, and you can see why.

As one commenter to This Site put it: “To see Marc Wadsworth shouted down for daring to express an opinion, “How dare you, how absolutely dare you,” like [a] servant being berated by the white mistress of the house, makes me shudder. Do they ever think how much courage it takes for a black person to stand up and speak honestly in a room full of powerful white people?”

And then the Labour Party expects black people to come out and vote it into power in councils across London.

It has been suggested that New Labour expected black and minority ethnic people to vote for the party because they had nowhere else to go. That assumption was wrong; they just stopped voting.

The arrival of Jeremy Corbyn gave them a reason to start voting again – and for Labour.

But the Wadsworth decision suggests that Labour will not support the BAME community; that Labour does not support justice.

In that case, why should the BAME community support Labour?

The party has painted itself into a corner in an attempt to appease liars.

I do not know if there is a mechanism in place that can reverse the damage before Thursday.

If not, I hesitate to speculate on how much harm the NCC panel, Ruth Smeeth, Wes Streeting and the posse of MPs and Lords who supported her at the hearing have done to the people of the United Kingdom.


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Labour fakes who accused Marc Wadsworth kicked a hornet’s nest – and will need more than vinegar to help them

Marc Wadsworth: We should all stand up against the injustice that Labour has done to him.

Unless you were under a rock yesterday, you’ll know This Writer’s reaction to the decision by Labour’s National Constitutional Committee to expel veteran anti-racism campaigner Marc Wadsworth – for “bringing the party into disrepute” by means of anti-Semitism.

That’s right: An anti-racism campaigner – who, by the way, started the Justice for Stephen Lawrence campaign (you may have seen coverage of the memorial service to mark the 25th anniversary of his murder) – expelled for a form of racism. The sheer, fly-in-the-face-of-facts stupidity of it is brutal.

And now we have evidence that the decision flew in the fact of the evidence presented to the NCC as well. Here’s Chris Williamson who gave evidence for Mr Wadsworth:

His statement reads as follows [boldings mine]:

“I am astonished by the National Constitutional Committee’s (NCC) perverse determination of Marc Wadsworth’s case.

It flies in the face of the evidence that was presented and offends against the principles of natural justice.

“The NCC’s decision has all the hallmarks of predetermination and tramples on the Labour Party’s record of standing up for fairness.

“I will therefore continue to stand four-square behind Marc and assist him in his efforts to clear his name, and his reputation as a veteran anti-racist campaigner, which have been besmirched by this absurd NCC ruling.”

Of course, some prominent (do I mean prominent? No – more accurate to describe them as mouthy) Labour Party figures had to stick their oar in:

Like this?

And what, exactly, is “brave and tenacious” about lying for nearly two years in order to turn public opinion against a fellow party member, and then removing the evidence of the lie from her Facebook page?

Ms Smeeth deleted the following from her page on or around February 24 this year:

https://twitter.com/GHNeale/status/989967000616210434

It’s a fair point, don’t you think? Ms Smeeth deliberately tried to undermine the democratically-elected Labour leader – and continues to do so – yet she has not been disciplined for it. Why not?

https://twitter.com/FlamingoAlan/status/989971275685777413

Media sites and Labour-related organisations have already started broadcasting their opinions – and the verdicts will already be causing huge headaches for whichever genius thought it would be a good idea to make the wrong decision. Here’s Asa Winstanley of The Electronic Intifada.

Jewish Voice for Labour had this to say:

“The expulsion from the Labour Party of antiracist activist Marc Wadsworth marks a new low in the unprincipled campaign by enemies of the left to misuse justified concerns about antisemitism for factional ends.

“In ruling that Wadsworth subjected Ruth Smeeth MP to antisemitic abuse at the launch of the Chakrabarti Report on June 30, 2016, the National Constitutional Committee panel has ignored the factual evidence and based its decision on a distorted interpretation of the incident in question.

“An individual’s clam to have felt abused, and the perception of their supporters, must of course be taken seriously. So the Party was right to investigate Ruth Smeeth’s complaint. But that claim and those perceptions cannot be the deciding factors in the case. Sir William Macpherson’s ruling in the Stephen Lawrence inquiry was precise on that point. (Wadsworth, as it happens, played a leading role in the campaign for justice for the Lawrence family.)

“In this case, a comment by Wadsworth about an exchange he witnessed between one Daily Telegraph journalist and one MP has been represented as a generalised attack on Jews. The NCC have given their stamp of approval to manipulation by media and other commentators, which twisted an unremarkable throwaway comment to claim it as a vile antisemitic slur – that Jews collectively control the media.

“The NCC made its judgement against the background of Wadsworth’s summary suspension 22 months ago, which was itself a travesty of the transparent, fair and equitable procedures one would expect from a labour movement organisation.

“Wadsworth was punished in advance of investigation and hearing of the case. He was universally pilloried in the media as guilty of a detestable hate crime. Headlines described him as “the activist who made Jewish MP weep” and his name was linked repeatedly with antisemitism. Representing this veteran Black activist as guilty of abusing a Jewish politician is not only unjust. It risks damaging the essential cause of combating rising racist bigotry in society by pitting blacks against Jews.

“It is a bitter irony that Wadsworth’s unjust treatment would not have been possible if the relevant recommendations of the Chakrabarti Report had been implemented rather than being obstructed by the party’s entrenched bureaucracy. The machinery in place since long before Corbyn was elected leader has continued to deploy the flawed processes, that Chakrabarti declared unfit for purpose, against pro-Corbyn party members.

“Some cases of genuine antisemitism – hostility towards Jews for no other reason than that they are Jews – have been identified,, and these need to be dealt with in a just, equitable and transparent manner.

“It must be a priority for the new General Secretary to ensure that:

“* Marc Wadsworth has the opportunity to appeal the judgement against him and to have the appeal heard by an independent arbiter

“* other outstanding disciplinary cases, involving antisemitism and other allegations, are reviewed and unjust suspensions lifted,

“* disciplinary procedures and structures are reformed as part of a review process involving the full spectrum of opinions in the party.

“Jewish Voice for Labour looks forward to playing a positive role in this process.”

And here’s Red Labour:

https://twitter.com/Redlabour2016/status/989971092247859201

For clarity, it says:

“We are extremely concerned at the expulsion of long serving anti-racist activist Marc Wadsworth from the Labour Party this morning.

“The first thing to say is that the hearing could hardly avoid being prejudiced by the media circus around it, not helped by the 40 or so MPs who theatrically marched Ruth Smeeth over to where Marc’s case was being heard.

“The second thing to say is that it wasn’t, as widely reported, about anti-Semitism. The charge against Marc Wadsworth was one of “bringing the party into disrepute”. We have to ask, how many members of the party, never mind the public, will understand that, considering the media storm? In the meantime, a lifetime anti-racist’s reputation is tarnished.

“Thirdly, the evidence of Marc’s “bringing the party into disrepute” was plain for all to see; it was captured on video. Almost everyone who watched that footage will have been perplexed at the idea that his actions were serious enough to warrant expulsion. The idea, promulgated by the MPs mentioned above and their chums in the media, that his intervention was anti-Semitic was so ridiculous that even Smeeth deleted the charge from her website.

“Yes, of course, we can have a debate about what is appropriate behaviour from party members, whether experienced or not. People will often misjudge situations and make mistakes, but they are not expellable offences. Sorry episodes like this really damage the party, and we should do all we can to stop them. Unfortunately, many in the PLP have instead fanned them, in order to undermine the leadership.

“What is so reckless about this, in addition, is the specific damage it has done to the trust and engagement that many BAME members have in the party. Expelling prominent black activists divides those communities and gives a clear signal to BAME activists that already feel marginalised by the party’s structures.

“Lastly, the way the Marc Wadsworth case has been handled undermines faith in the party’s structures and processes. The thing about justice is that it must be consistent to be credible. You can’t, say, have one rule for one member of a party and another for a different member. In addition, that consistency must cut across personal loyalties, favours, power and influence. It’s not about what is politically convenient, ever. It should only be about justice. And when you set a precedent, it must then apply to all. That’s why you must be very careful that you are 100% correct in setting them.

“In other words, we’re looking forward to similar disrepute hearings for our finger-jabbing friends on the Labour benches, who daily rip up the rule book, abuse the democratically-elected leadership and treat the party’s members with contempt.”

So the Wadsworth decision:

  • Flies in the face of the evidence, offends natural justice, appears to have been predetermined and tramples on fairness.
  • Relies on distorted evidence rather than factual information, to produce a result that was pre-demanded by MPs.
  • Gives the NCC’s stamp of approval to manipulation by media and other commentators.
  • In expelling a BAME member under false pretences, has increased concern about racism in the Labour Party rather than calming them.
  • Shows that Labour MPs are abusing the party’s structures in order to harm the innocent, while they get away with huge abuses themselves.

As a Labour member whose case is likely to go before the NCC in the next few months, who has also been subjected to trial-by-media after details of the National Executive Committee’s deliberations about me were leaked to a Tory-supporting paper, who faces accusations that rely on distorted evidence rather than factual information, and who has been frustrated by party structures that have made it practically impossible for me to state my case without it being misrepresented by party officers, it seems perfectly clear that I won’t get justice.

So I agree with Alan Shore (above) – it’s time all Labour members of good conscience made a formal complaint to Labour’s compliance unit and/or general secretary Jennie Formby.

If I recall correctly, both may be contacted at Southside, 105 Victoria Street, London SW1E 6QT.


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POLL: Should Marc Wadsworth have been expelled from the Labour Party?

Marc Wadsworth: Falsely accused?

As detailed in This Site’s earlier article, Marc Wadsworth has been expelled from the Labour Party by its National Constitutional Committee, on two charges of “bringing the party into disrepute”.

The expulsion relates to incident involving the Mr Wadsworth and Labour MP Ruth Smeeth at the launch of the Chakrabarti Report on June 30, 2016.

He had been handing out leaflets calling for the mandatory reselection of Labour MPs, and had seen a Telegraph reporter passing it to Ms Smeeth for a comment.

So he said: “I saw that the Telegraph handed a copy of a press release to Ruth Smeeth MP so you can see who is working hand in hand.”

That is the sum total of the evidence against him. See for yourself:

Ms Smeeth promptly accused Mr Wadsworth of anti-Semitism, even though he had no idea that she was Jewish, claiming that he was using “vile conspiracy theories”. Do you think that was justified?

The BBC report on the NCC’s decision had to hide this fact – in my opinion, for fear that it would expose the decision to public ridicule. Instead, it stated:

“Marc Wadsworth accused Ruth Smeeth of working “hand in hand” with the media to undermine Labour.

“Labour’s National Constitutional Committee found he breached the party’s rules and should be thrown out.”

You can see that the statement is a lie. Mr Wadsworth did not say anything about anyone undermining anything at all, nor did he mention the Labour Party.

As yet, information on the reasons for the decision is scarce. Labour has not released any at all.

But I think it is worth asking the question, based on what we know Mr Wadsworth said to prompt the proceedings against him, and what has been said about it since:


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Labour’s travesty of justice: activist expelled – liar exalted

Marc Wadsworth: Falsely accused?

Labour activist Marc Wadsworth has been expelled from the party after its National Constitutional Committee ruled that he had brought the party into disrepute.

This is nonsense.

The allegation against Mr Wadsworth – by MP Ruth Smeeth – arose after an incident involving the two at the launch of the Chakrabarti Report on June 30, 2016.

He had been handing out leaflets calling for the mandatory reselection of Labour MPs, and had seen a Telegraph reporter handing it to Ms Smeeth for a comment.

So he said: “I saw that the Telegraph handed a copy of a press release to Ruth Smeeth MP so you can see who is working hand in hand.”

Ms Smeeth, who we all subsequently discovered is Jewish, accused him of attacking her with an anti-Semitic trope (that Jews – or rather “the Jews” – control the media).

Can you find anything anti-Semitic in what Mr Wadsworth said?

He was calling out a Labour MP for colluding with the Tory press, wasn’t he?

All things considered – and it will be fascinating to learn the reasons for the NCC’s decision – it seems it is Ms Smeeth who is guilty of bringing the Labour Party into disrepute.

What was she doing, falsely accusing a man of anti-Semitism on such a flimsy basis?

Why did she kick up such a huge fuss, that overshadowed the launch of a very important piece of Labour policy?

And why did the party leadership take a frankly silly claim so seriously that it has permanently tarred a perfectly decent man as an anti-Semite.

This is an absolutely despicable decision and all those involved should be ashamed of themselves.

One can only hope that Jennie Formby’s review of Labour’s disciplinary procedures will make any further travesties of justice impossible.

But, considering today’s result, I doubt it.


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Spot the difference: Real anti-Semitism v fake allegations

See the image above? It is obviously anti-Semitic. But guess what? It wasn’t written by a member of the Labour Party, which yesterday considered a high-profile accusation against one of its members – it was tweeted by a Conservative candidate in next month’s council elections.

To the best of my knowledge, the Conservative Party is not taking any action against George C Stoakley – he can say what he likes as far as that organisation is concerned, although I understand Tory chairman and ‘Respect’ pledge advocate Brandon Lewis has been advised of his behaviour.

Other tweets suggest homophobia and deplorable attitudes towards the unemployed.

Meanwhile, the Labour Party’s National Constitutional Committee has been occupied with entirely fake allegations of anti-Semitism against activist Marc Wadsworth.

Mr Wadsworth came to public attention after Labour MP Ruth Smeeth smeared him with the anti-Semitism brush in a bitter exchange at the launch of the Chakrabarti report into racism within the party, back in 2016. She said he had used traditional anti-Semitic slurs to accuse her of being part of a media conspiracy.

Ms Smeeth’s allegations against him have been proved untrue.

As I reported in September 2016: “A Telegraph reporter had handed her a leaflet Marc Wadsworth had been distributing, allegedly (I haven’t seen it) accusing Labour MPs who had rebelled against Mr Corbyn of treachery, and asked her (we’re told) for a comment.

“Mr Wadsworth’s comment was: ‘I saw that the Telegraph handed a copy of a press release to Ruth Smeeth MP so you can see who is working hand in hand. If you look around this room, how many African Caribbean and Asian people are there? We need to get our house in order’.”

To This Writer, it seems clear he was pointing the finger at Labour MPs who would rather side with the Tory press against their own party than support its leader, Jeremy Corbyn – and the fact that Ms Smeeth used the incident to attack Mr Corbyn for allegedly standing back and doing nothing while the confrontation took place, prompting the press to lead on that, rather than the launch of the Chakrabarti Report, supports his claim.

Ms Smeeth deleted her statement about the matter from her website on or around February 24 this year.

But that didn’t stop her making a show of arriving to testify against Mr Wadsworth at his hearing before Labour’s NCC on April 25 – she arrived surrounded by like-minded Labour MPs and members.

Do these people support the use of lies to remove perfectly decent members from the Labour Party while dishonest and disreputable MPs remain in place? That is the message we are getting.

I wonder what the Jewish population of the UK think about this nonsense – from both Labour and the Conservatives. As a gentile, I think there is nothing good to be said about it.

The Conservative Party has not made any statement on Mr Stoakley; nor has Labour publicised any decision about Mr Wadsworth at the time of writing.

We await both with interest.


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