Tag Archives: Nottingham

Is Whittome Labour’s latest hypocrite in the Corbyn/suspension/free speech controversy?

Nadia Whittome: her behaviour is all the more vexing because she has no reason to be loyal to Keir Starmer – he sacked her as a Parliamentary Private Secretary because she voted against a Bill that would have protected soldiers from prosecution if they participated in acts of torture overseas, and briefed the right-wing Guido Fawkes blog about the sacking BEFORE telling her.

A Labour MP who had been considered to be on the left of the party and who said Jeremy Corbyn should be reinstated when his membership was suspended has become a turncoat, it seems.

Despite her own comments about Corbyn, it seems Nadia Whittome does not believe that her peers in the party should have the same right, as she stated in a Tweet following a meeting of Nottingham East Labour Party (she is MP for that constituency but not a member of the CLP):

It seems the agenda of last Friday’s CLP meeting included a motion that called for Corbyn’s reinstatement, the lifting of disciplinary measures from others for discussing the issues as well as for the removal of David Evans, General Secretary of the Labour Party, who imposed Corbyn’s suspension and the ban on discussing it that led to the suspensions of other party members.

Ms Whittome objected to the motion, despite having spoken against Corbyn’s suspension herself, it seems.

What are we to make of that? That she considers herself to be above her party colleagues? That she agrees that, while she may discuss such matters with impunity, it is right that rank-and-file party members be suspended for daring to do so? That she thinks party members should not be allowed to register their opposition when party officers flout rules and regulations?

That’s how it looks to This Writer.

Worse, Ms Whittome passed comment on an incident in which a Jewish CLP member left the meeting, claiming they did not feel safe there.

It appears that all was not as she led people to believe. Here‘s a statement from the CLP itself:

“There was only one interruption during the meeting. This arose when one member stated that in his personal experience he had never witnessed any antisemitism in any of our meetings. As he continued with his personal view, another member shouted out – in a manner that some found to be aggressive – that he himself had suffered personal, antisemitic abuse from the person speaking, who was taken aback and stated that this wasn’t true; the Chair intervened and tried to calm things down. At this point the member who had interrupted declared that he no longer felt safe at the meeting and left.

“The member who left has changed his narrative on social media to stating that the member he accused had ‘witnessed an anti-Semitic attack’ on him rather than had attacked him personally.”

Ms Whittome also mentioned the possibility that disciplinary proceedings had been launched against a member of the CLP. This appears to be CLP chair Louise Regan, a former NUT president and (I really hope this has nothing to do with it) vice-chair of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign.

It seems Ms Regan’s party membership was, in fact, suspended:

This can only be for allowing the motion to be heard (it was passed by 23 votes to 10). Ms Regan’s conduct during the meeting was described in the CLP statement as “exemplary” and Ms Whittome is said to have joined in thanking her for the way she chaired it.

If that was everything, it would be bad enough, but it seems even worse than that, as evidence has come to light claiming that Ms Whittome actually participated in a smear campaign against Ms Regan. Read:

Maybe Mr Kazmi has his own axe to grind (although, considering the number of Tweets by other people linking Ms Whittome with this AWL group, this seems doubtful). In any case, This Writer will be happy to hear what the MP has to say about all this.

At the moment, it seems likely she has fatally wounded her reputation among the very people on whom she would have to rely in order to be re-elected in any future Parliamentary poll.

And at the very least, it seems likely that she should expect a flood of complaints to Labour’s Governance and Legal Unit, that her comments have brought the party into disrepute – the very charge which, when used against her colleagues, she supported.

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.

https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/mike-sivier-libel-fight/


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Auschwitz image: Did Tom go too far?

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It’s a matter of judgement, isn’t it?

The image above is the parody of the Conservative Party’s infamous ‘Road to Recovery’ poster showing the railway line leading to the World War II extermination camp at Auschwitz, as tweeted by fellow blogger Tom Pride with the words, “The new Tory campaign poster featuring a German road’s a bit controversial”.

The tweet worked on several different levels: It referenced the fact that all three claims made on the original poster were inaccurate – in effect, the Conservative Party lied to the public with its very first piece of campaign material; it also acknowledged the fact that the road in the original picture was not British, as had been claimed by George Osborne on Channel 4 News (and this blog has covered reporter Cathy Newman’s surprise on finding out this was not true), but was a road near Weimar in Germany – another Tory lie; and it also made a strong point about the future the UK might face if voters allow themselves to be persuaded into supporting the Tories, based on this lying campaign.

It is also worth drawing attention to Vox Political commenter (and The Critique Archives blogger) Martin Odoni’s reaction to the revelation about the origins of the Tory poster’s image: “I’m no believer in omens or sympathetic magic, but, after all the economic hardship of the last seven years, that is really bad symbolism. I mean, don’t we remember what economic chaos and an evil, fanatical Chancellor did to the Weimar Republic?”

This writer received several versions of the Auschwitz railway image after publishing an article on the Conservative campaign poster.

Tony Dean commented with a simple reference to this one:

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And commenter marcf28 sent the following image, with the words “Interesting choice of image – with a striking similarity to this one”.

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Neither picture has appeared on Vox Political before because this writer considered them a step too far. The comments were published and readers were free to click on the links if they so desired.

I exercised my judgement and that was my decision.

It seems that Nottingham Labour councillor Rosemary Healy has been suspended because she neglected to make a similar judgement call.

As a follower of Tom Pride on Twitter (and there’s nothing wrong with that; Tom’s articles and tweets often provide an oasis of amusement for those of us who are struggling against the harm being caused every day by the Coalition Government) it is entirely possible that she retweeted his picture automatically, in the belief that her own followers would enjoy some sharp humour.

Alas, the humour was too sharp for some, and crossed the line of good taste in their opinion.

Was Cllr Healy wrong to retweet this image? On balance, she probably was. As a councillor representing the Labour Party, it could be argued that she should not be re-transmitting messages that could be interpreted as making light of a very dark period in human history.

Could be argued. Could be interpreted. It’s a matter of judgement.

It could also be argued that the tweet, and the image, make a deadly serious point about the reality of Conservative government. Many parallels have been drawn – accurately (before anyone starts wrongly invoking Godwin’s Law) – between Conservative-led Coalition policy and the actions of the Nazis (who came to power after the failure of the German republic identified with a town called Weimar, let’s not forget).

Remember Vox Political‘s articles about chequebook euthanasia? That information has been sent to the Information Commissioner’s Office in support of the bid to have the Freedom of Information request on ESA claimant fatalities since November 2011 honoured at last; and it has been sent to the Commons Work and Pensions committee, whose investigation into the effects of withdrawing benefit from claimants began in earnest this morning (January 7).

There is a deadly serious (and the word ‘deadly’ is used advisedly) side to Tom Pride’s tweet; there usually is.

However, UKIP supporter ‘Guy Ropes’ sent this blog the following comment today: “Is it correct that a Labour councillor in the Midlands has tweeted an alteration to a Conservative poster that is so insensitive I’d be disappointed if you even tried to talk about it much less defend it. Thankfully his branch have suspended him. I’m not sure – even if they tried really, really hard – that the BNP could conceive of something so tasteless. So how about calling a truce – instead of slagging people and parties off, let’s stick to discussion of policies.”

The problem here is misinformation. The councillor is accused of creating the tweet (and gets a sex change in the process). The tweet is described as tasteless, indicating the commenter has not considered the serious points on which this article has elaborated. And there will be no truce because no hostilities have been declared. It seems Mr ‘Ropes’ has an issue with this blog’s policy of debunking false claims – such as those in his comment.

So, yes – Cllr Healy showed an error of judgement and should not have RT’d the tweet, given her position; and no – the tweet itself is not “insensitive” or “tasteless” in itself – in the judgement of this writer.

We need bloggers like Tom Pride to bring these connections to our attention.

Follow me on Twitter: @MidWalesMike

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