Tag Archives: members

Keir racism: Black Lives Matter isn’t a ‘moment’, mister


Keir Starmer just can’t help himself, can he?

Look at the arrogant racism in this statement:

He was telling us that, as far as he was concerned, Black Lives Matter was a photo opportunity and its time has now passed.

He doesn’t care about racism against black people or other ethnic minorities (and those of us wrapped up in Labour’s ongoing anti-semitism scandal should bear that in mind because it applies to Jews as much as anybody else).

He only cares about his approval ratings, and what will improve them in the “moment”.

But we’ve cottoned on to him:

Here’s a former Labour candidate in 2018’s local elections:

He’s not the only one to quit Labour either. Glance at the social media and you’ll see message after message from disillusioned members quitting the party – some of them after decades of support, sickened as Starmer turns it into a cesspit of right-wing factionalism and racism.

Perhaps this denouncement is the most damning:

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Who is the worst threat to Labour over the leaked report on right-wing factionalism?

For the many: it seems Labour’s apparent failure to live up to its slogan could do more damage to the party than a few defamation/data protection claims.

How surprising to see The Guardian reporting on a financial threat to Labour after a report was leaked alleging misconduct by party officers that meant the party lost the 2017 general election!

Instead of stating that rank-and-file party members were getting together to demand their subscriptions – that they could argue were taken under false pretences as party officers were working against winning the election…

I found that the people accused of the misconduct are planning to sue the party for defamation and data protection offences.

On one hand I am encouraged by this. I have taken Labour to court over data protection offences after (false) information about me was leaked to the national press by a party officer.

The fact that others are considering the same suggests that I was well within my rights to accuse the party (because, as data controller, it has ultimate responsibility for leaks).

On the other, it is doubtful that any defamation claims should be allowed to go anywhere – at least, not yet.

The information about party members in the report is taken from emails and WhatsApp messages that were placed in the hands of party investigators legitimately and it would be premature for anybody to launch lawsuits on the basis of it, until evidence is brought forward that disproves it.

Also, consider the words of the lawyer concerned, Mark Lewis. He said: “For four years, people in Labour have said there is no antisemitism in the party, it’s just a smear. Now they say that of course there was antisemitism, ‘but it just wasn’t us’. They have not noticed the absurdity of their change of position.”

Nobody in Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour leadership said there was no anti-Semitism in the party. I haven’t said that. None of the other higher-profile members who were accused has made that suggestion (to my knowledge).

So who, exactly made that claim? I notice that Mr Lewis did not elaborate on its origin and that is another reason to doubt the usefulness of these threatened lawsuits.

Are they just an attempt to bully the current Labour leadership? Why would anybody expect that to work?

On the other hand, going back to the wider party membership, it seems far more likely that action brought by rank-and-file members would succeed in restoring their subscription money to them.

If enough people do this, then it could put Labour in serious financial difficulty.

And it is entirely possible that the party would deserve to be put in that predicament – if the allegations in the report turn out to be accurate.

Source: Labour party faces financial peril over leaked report | Politics | The Guardian

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Here’s how equality watchdog’s threatened investigation of Labour may be worthwhile

Would it surprise you to read that This Writer would welcome an investigation into Labour’s handling of anti-Semitism cases?

If so, you may be even more surprised to discover that I have written to the Equalities and Human Rights Commission, encouraging it to start such a probe.

Of course, there is a caveat which I’m sure wasn’t part of the submissions by the Campaign Against Antisemitism or the Jewish Labour Movement.

Rather than restricting itself to investigating whether Labour discriminated against Jews, I asked for the EHRC to find out whether the party has wronged any party members at all.

I’ve been through Labour’s complaints procedure myself, remember.

The party failed to follow its own rules, and in fact expelled me on the basis of a rule that didn’t even exist when I wrote whatever it was I wrote that someone found so offensive.

Oh, and I don’t even know who accused me. That information was never passed to me so, in legal terms, no such person exists.

The party’s disciplinary tribunal found against me because its members had been told to find against me in the particulars of the case that were passed to it (and me) by the party’s National Executive Committee.

The reasons given for finding against me had nothing to do with the particulars of the case.

This is because the charges themselves, the evidence, the rules and the reasons were all secondary considerations. I had to go because I was a left-of-centre party member who had been accused of anti-Semitism – and in Labour at the moment, accusation is the same as guilt.

The party discriminated against me because of the protected characteristic of “race” – I suffered indirect racial discrimination – and therefore may be investigated by the EHRC.

I continue to suffer harassment from members of the Labour Party – and others – who describe me using insulting and offensive names as a result of the Labour Party’s discriminatory treatment of me and its decision to put the desires of people who claimed to represent people of a particular ethnicity above the facts.

It’s an unusual case because it is about the abuse of equality rules to victimise the innocent.

I think the EHRC would be unwise to refuse to investigate it.

After all, there’s no point in having a law if people are allowed to abuse it.

Source: Equality watchdog to decide if Labour broke law over antisemitism | News | The Guardian

New plan means local Labour members will have a chance to choose election candidates

All smiles: Jennie Formby and Jeremy Corbyn know the plan to give local Labour members greater control over the selection of Parliamentary candidates will be hugely popular.

This is interesting, from Skwawkbox:

[A Labour] NEC source has told the SKWAWKBOX that the NEC has made a statement of intent – and of the party’s preparedness for a new general election – by authorising Labour general secretary Jennie Formby to prepare a plan to ensure that CLPs have the opportunity to call a selection process if they so wish, even if Theresa May calls a new ‘snap’, short-campaign general election.

On the face of it, this is excellent news. It means constituency Labour Party members will be able to end the cronyism that corrupted New Labour, when candidates were parachuted into safe seats because it suited the leadership of the time.

But there’s no plan yet, and rumours are circulating that an election may take place as early as February 28.

If she was minded to do so, it would be in Theresa May’s interest to call an election before Labour can put candidates in place who will command the support of the general public, rather than just party loyalists.

And Labour’s NEC cannot meet to approve any plan that Ms Formby concocts until March.

I’m not saying Mrs May will call an election – just that she would be wise to do it before Labour is prepared.

But then, who could ever accuse Theresa May of wisdom?

Visit our JustGiving page to help Vox Political’s Mike Sivier fight anti-Semitism libels in court


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The Conservatives are now the Party of Upskirting

Selfie-centred: This has never happened (thank goodness) but it is exactly the kind of thing Sir Christopher Chope was supporting.

The practice of taking photographs of female celebrities’ private parts by pointing a camera up their skirts or dresses has won a ringing endorsement from Conservative backbencher Sir Christopher Chope and his ever-willing henchman Phillip Davies.

Mr Chope filibustered a private members’ bill calling for upskirting to be criminalised. Along with his supporters, he spoke for a total of four hours in order to prevent the legislation from progressing through Parliament.

He has defended this indefensible behaviour by saying he hates private members’ bills – shurely shome mishtake as he has tabled dozens of them himself:

Mr Davies is on the record as a supporter of men’s rights, which he believes are being eroded by feminists. Does he believe men have a right to examine the quality of a lady’s underwear if she doesn’t agree to it?

Prime minister Theresa May has expressed her own dissatisfaction with the outcome:

But she was lying again, I expect. If Mrs May was all that upset about it, she would have punished her errant MPs, perhaps by withdrawing the Tory whip from them.

But that would mean losing her majority in Parliament.

So her hands are tied.

And for all her fine words, her actions show tacit support for what her MPs did.

The official Conservative Party twitter feed also tried to de-legitimise the backbenchers’ point of view as an expression of Tory taste…

… and failed:

On Twitter, some of the usual suspects have been having a fine time satirising the sexists on the Tory benches:

One has to ask, though – why defend this intrusive and demeaning behaviour?

Other than perversion for its own sake, what exactly is the point of upskirting?

What do the paps who profane themselves with this practice possibly hope to find?

A long-lost masterpiece by Van Gogh?

The Titanic sailing back into harbour at long last?

Extraterrestrial life?

No.

The best they can hope to see, no matter how many such photos they take…

… is what Christopher Chope sees every time he looks in a mirror.

MPs are due to vote on giving the vote to people aged 16 and 17. Will you ask your MP to attend?

Members of Parliament are being asked to support a private members’ bill to give the vote to young people aged 16 and 17.

The problem is, the vote on the Representation of the People (Young People’s Enfranchisement and Education) Bill – 2nd reading will take place on Friday, when many MPs travel back to their constituencies to carry out business there.

People aged 16 and 17 were able to vote in the Scottish independence referendum of 2014, and this led to a huge increase in the number of people that age taking an interest in democracy.

No doubt filibusterers like Philip Davies and Jacob Rees-Mogg are awaiting their chance to hang around the green benches and talk the bill out. The only way to stop this is to have enough MPs supporting the bill on hand to demand a vote.

So, what do you think?

Will you ask your MP to stay and take part? Or are you happy with the system as it is?

At least one MP, besides Jon Trickett, has promised to attend:

Where will yours be?


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Could this be the beginning of the end for MPs who ‘talk out’ private members’ bills?

Christopher Chope (left) and Philip Davies (right) ‘talked out’ a private member’s bill to end ‘revenge’ evictions by private landlords.

Perhaps you think it’s okay that private members’ bills – attempts at making laws that are not part of a government’s programme – can be stopped by the likes of Philip Davies and Jacob Rees-Mogg.

These buffoons gleefully block useful legislation such as the bid to give free hospital parking to carers (while Mr Davies charged his own parking to the taxpayer, please note) and the proposal to force landlords to ensure their properties are fit for human habitation (Mr Davies himself is a landlord).

They happily hide behind a Commons rule that a “closure” motion, stopping a Bill from being talked out, can be called if its sponsor can muster 100 MPs to support it – and the legislation should not pass if it does not have the support of 100 MPs.

But this argument ignores the fact that private members’ bills are always debated on Fridays, when most MPs are returning to their constituencies to carry out the work they have to do there.

The solutions proposed by Mr Bercow are reasonable, and would enhance Parliament’s reputation by ensuring private members’ bills are of a sufficiently high quality and that they receive the same consideration in the Commons chamber as other legislation.

They could also mark the end of interference by MPs with their own interests at heart, rather than those of the public. One wonders what Philip Davies would do with himself then.

The Commons Speaker, John Bercow, has suggested the system by which backbench MPs bring in legislation needs to be overhauled.

At present, private members’ bills receive limited debate on Fridays and they stand little chance of becoming law without government support.

It is common for MPs opposing such a bill to talk at length until it runs out of time.

Mr Bercow said this situation “has not enhanced the reputation of the House”.

The Speaker highlighted recommendations previously made by the Procedure Select Committee, including:

  • Moving private members’ bills from their traditional Friday sitting, when MPs often return to their constituencies
  • Introducing a “peer group review” with the aim of ensuring fewer, higher-quality bills
  • Enabling time limits on speeches in such debates.

Source: Speaker calls for rethink on private members’ bills – BBC News


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Thousands of Labour members have suspensions lifted. They should protest

[Image: Oli Scarff/Getty Images.]

[Image: Oli Scarff/Getty Images.]

I know. It runs against common sense to protest against the lifting of a suspension – from any organisation.

But the way the Labour Party has organised the thousands of suspensions that were handed down in the run-up to the leader election on September 24 is a disgrace that wronged far too many people and shamed the party as a whole.

Here’s a fairly typical reaction:

Restitution is required – for several reasons.

Firstly, the mass lifting of these suspensions indicates that they were only imposed to prevent people from voting in the election, in an attempt by the party’s main organising committee to influence the result.

Secondly, in support of the first reason, the grounds on which many of these suspensions were made had no substance to them.

Finally, although the suspensions have been lifted, they are to lie on each affected member’s file, and may be used against them in the future. This is unacceptable. It suggests guilt where none has been proved.

This Blog urges Labour Party members, whose membership had been suspended but who have had their suspension lifted under these unacceptable conditions, to unite and challenge this unjust, prejudicial and discriminatory treatment.

Constituency Labour Parties should be preparing motions to the NEC, demanding the reversal of the actions details in the letters and a full apology for members who have been assumed guilty even though no evidence has been tested in any disciplinary hearing.

Here’s a copy of one letter, used as an example by the Skwawkbox blog:

161105-labour-letter-1
161105-labour-letter-2

The blog states:

Note that there is no trace of apology in the letter and that a ‘formal NEC warning’ is issued – in this instance, nonsensically. The tweet in question put a caption on an image of a senior Tory MP, showing the MP in question calling a homeless person ‘scum’ who is homeless because they deserve it – in other words, it was attacking Tory attitudes, had no bearing on any Labour member and was certainly not in any way ‘detrimental to the Party’.

If it had, in fact, been the person receiving the letter who had called a homeless person ‘scum’, they would have no place in the Labour party. But they didn’t. To issue a formal warning in those circumstances is both ridiculous and confirms that no proper investigation was undertaken.

Those suspended – even for the most flimsy of reasons – have a sword hanging over them. The letter will remain on file – no time limit is given – and any future infringement (for example pointing out the arrogance of Tories to the homeless) could, as the preceding page makes clear, result in the end of ‘continued membership of the Party’.

The fact that these letters are being sent out in huge batches – and the fact that the real, obvious point of some of the supposedly-offensive messages has so obviously been missed – shows that no proper investigation took place. The fact that so many suspensions could be imposed and then just be lifted at the same time, suggests forcefully that the reasons for them were never the point and are now being lifted because they’ve served their real purpose.

And with a threat hanging over members who are overwhelmingly pro-Corbyn, just for good measure.

This behaviour on the part of a section of the party bureaucracy reflects extremely poorly on the party. It’s their behaviour that brings the party into disrepute – and which needs sanction.

Apparently the letters will continue to be issued until November 17. Anybody who has been suspended but has not heard anything within several days of that date will need to take action to find out what is happening with their case.

While Iain McNicol’s name is on each letter, some have argued that he is only carrying out the will of the NEC as general secretary. He cannot be absolved of all responsibility, however, as he has a responsibility to ensure that everything Labour does is legal and the suspensions weren’t – a recent court case showed that combining publicly-known information (such as that from Twitter or other social media) with confidential information held by the Labour Party (such as membership details) breaches the Data Protection Act.

This Blog therefore recommends pursuit of both Mr McNicol for carrying out the NEC’s orders without checking their legality, and those members of the NEC who voted in favour of this heavy-handed election-rigging in the first place.

Source: Labour’s suspension-lifting mass mailing makes mockery of process | The SKWAWKBOX

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