Tag Archives: sabotage

Senior Labour staff urged to publish WhatsApp messages IN CONTEXT if they think #LabourLeaks report misrepresented them

I haven’t contributed to the so-called Forde Inquiry into the allegations in the (also so-called) #LabourLeaks report because I think it’ll be a stitch-up.

My own court case against Labour will go to trial on October 2 and I’m happy to let Mr Forde QC come to his own conclusions, which I may then find easy to use against the party if my own legal action is successful.

You will understand why I see no point in contributing when I make this point: if Mr Forde’s inquiry was above-board, why did a small left-wing blog have to suggest that disputed WhatsApp messages be published in full?

The demand is an obvious one, but it has been made on the Skwawkbox blog, not in the mainstream media or by anybody directly concerned with the inquiry. The article states:

Former staff accused in a leaked Labour Party report of abusive comments toward other staff, racism, obstructing disciplinary processes to facilitate media attacks – among other things – and even of sabotaging Labour’s electoral campaigns are trying to sue the party for breach of confidentiality.

They also claim that their WhatsApp conversations were used out of context to incriminate them – a defence remarkably similar to the one that Keir Starmer just abandoned in order to pay ‘whistleblowers’ a huge amount of money in a case Labour’s lawyers said the party was likely to win.

If those attempting to sue the party believe the context of:

  • comments such as ‘pube head’, discussions of bra-less female employees and women’s weight and glee at Labour’s first black woman MP allegedly crying in a toilet
  • the diversion of party campaign funds to an ‘Ergon House’ account to use for their own priorities
  • comments expressing horror at Labour’s strong performance in the 2017 general election
  • actions to block and derail investigations into antisemitism and other racism

would show that those comments and actions were innocent and entirely in keeping with the positions they held and the substantial salaries they received for filling them, then the solution is simple:

Publish their conversations in full, so everyone can see for themselves.

How suspicious that none of the individuals concerned seem keen to take up that offer!

Perhaps they fear the evidence will serve merely to corroborate that of others who have gone public with their own submissions to Forde – assertions which support the leaked report’s claim that senior officials of the Labour Party spent years sabotaging Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership and succeeded in preventing him from winning a general election in 2017 (and possibly in 2019 as well).

Here‘s a piece on Open Democracy that provides ample information on the subject. I am grateful to a Facebook friend who summed up its claims as follows:

The Offices of the Leader of the Opposition are less than half a mile away from Labour party headquarters on Victoria Street. Labour party HQ is responsible for setting up the party leader’s offices. They should have been up and running when Jeremy Corbyn took over from Ed Miliband. Joe Royle has submitted evidence to the internal Labour inquiry, chaired by Martin Forde QC into sabotage by party employees before the 2017 general election.
1) There were no ‘handover notes’ left for the new leader’s team.
2) Many of the office computers had gone missing.
3) The computers that remained were old and kept crashing.
4) There were not enough monitor screens for computers.
5) John McDonnell’s offices had been completely gutted.
6) The walls were bare, with staples and blu-tak left behind.
7) There were desks without chairs or computers.
8) Attempts to hire new staff were delayed, frustrated or blocked.
9) Jeremy Corbyn had only 16 staff. Ed Milliband had twice that.
10) The party refused to hire a former treasury economist (James Meadway), so he had to be seconded from a trade union which did hire him.
11) Discussions from meetings were leaked to journalists instantly.
12) The leader’s office could not trust Labour HQ not to leak every policy announcement in advance.
13) A rally for John McDonnell was held in the middle of nowhere to deter members from turning up and prevent press coverage.
14) This tactic had been used before.
15) Press releases were blocked.
16) Staff members briefed against Jeremy Corbyn’s office.
17) The party’s message was deliberately kept off social media.
18) Coordinated staff resignations
19) The 2017 manifesto was leaked (never happened before).
20) Facebook adverts designed to be seen by Corbyn’s team only but prevented from being seen by the public (£5,000 cost per one).
21) Staff disappointed that the party did so well in 2017.
22) Corbyn’s staff’s access to Labour HQ was revoked in anticipation of losing the election.
23) Resources, including campaign organizers, were diverted away from winnable marginal seats to safe Labour right-wing seats.
24) Labour lost the seats necessary to win the 2017 election by 2,227 swing votes.

And what are the so-called victims in this case – the ones whose WhatsApp chats were quoted and who say they were misused – doing?

Are they backing calls for the chats to be published in full?

No. They are trying to hide the evidence and have the Forde Inquiry closed down.

Here‘s The Guardian (and shame on that rag for giving this demand column space):

lawyers for the accused officials say the WhatsApp messages were used selectively and edited to give a false impression. They also say the inquiry should be abandoned given the damage already caused by the leaked report.

It’s interesting that these staffers would suggest that a tactic regularly employed by Labour’s disciplinary system to falsify accusations of anti-Semitism against party members (I have personal experience of this) has been used unfairly against them.

Some might call it “sauce for the goose” (suggesting that such treatment is poetic justice for the likes of these people) but I would not be one of them. For one thing, I expect the accusation to be proved false when (if?) the facts come into the open.

And Claudia Webbe, who headed the disputes panel that used those tactics at the time, seems to agree. Although I am uncomfortable with having to side with someone who was part of the system that attacked me, I think she makes points that are worth reading in this matter:

“It’s disgraceful that anyone would attempt to justify racism towards black Labour MPs and misogyny towards women employees, which has driven many of our members, particularly BAME members, to leave our party in disgust.

“If former officials thought quotes in the report – which are clearly copied and pasted from WhatsApp – were misleading, they would welcome the Forde inquiry having the chance to see the full texts. Instead, they seem to want to stop the inquiry from looking at the evidence because they fear it will confirm the accuracy of the WhatsApp messages.”

Ultimately, the Labour staffers whose WhatsApp chats were used (and we all know who they are, even if we can’t mention the names yet) are unsafe whatever happens.

If the Forde Inquiry publishes the messages in context, so we can all judge them for ourselves, then it seems likely they will be exposed as racists and misogynists (and possibly anti-Semites as well).

If they succeed in blocking it, then we will all draw the obvious conclusion that the inquiry would have revealed them to be racists, misogynists etc and their names will automatically poison anything with which they try to associate themselves.

If I were in their position, I’d let the information be published and allow the public to make an informed choice, rather than try to hide it like a coward.

Labour asks police to investigate death threats & abuse on staff said to have sabotaged election campaign

Keir Starmer: he has asked police to investigate death threats on Labour staff accused of sabotaging the party’s election chances – not to investigate whether they actually did work to arrange a Tory election victory.

The Daily Mirror seems to have headlined its story wrongly.

We’re told Labour has asked police to investigate claims that party staff worked for a Tory election victory – and against a win for Labour under Jeremy Corbyn.

But the article itself only states that

Death threats and abuse against staff involved have been reported and police called as the wide-ranging probe gets under way.

To This Writer, the article seems to be saying the exact opposite of the headline.

The investigation is about protecting the staff alleged to have sabotaged a Labour victory.

I should point out that it is perfectly reasonable and responsible for police to investigate death threats. Threatening to kill someone is a serious crime.

But people reading the article would have had reason to believe police had been called in to find out whether the claim – informing the leaked Labour report on the way anti-Semitism accusations were handled – was right.

I don’t think it’s an attempt to mislead the public but it does require an explanation.

Source: Labour ask police to investigate claims staff worked for Tory election victory – Mirror Online

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Treacherous ‘Labour’ campaign chiefs may have robbed the party of the 2017 election

A traitor to his party? Labour’s former general secretary Iain McNicol is among several suspects who may have helped engineer a Conservative victory in the 2017 general election.

Yes, ‘Labour’ – you have to put the word in quotation marks when describing these people because they do not in any way represent the party or its members and should be removed at once. Enough is enough.

It seems these people deliberately tried to sabotage Labour’s 2017 election campaign by manipulating social media advertising to ensure that it was targeted at the party leadership and known left-wingers, rather than the wider audience that would have benefited from it.

According to this Guardian article, the non-Corbyn-loyal members of the GE17 campaign team were Patrick Heneghan, Iain McNicol and Emilie Oldknow.

Which of them were the traitors? Or did they all conspire, against the national interest, to re-elect a Conservative government? And was anybody else involved?

Jeremy Corbyn must launch an investigation and expulsions must follow.

Astonishing new information has revealed that had it not been for the actions of a small number of disloyal anti-Corbyn Centrist Labour Officials who actively worked against the democratically elected leadership in the run up to the election, the Labour Party may well have been able to gain the extra votes they needed to form a government.

A new book written by Ed Miliband’s former Director of Communications, Tom Baldwin, has revealed that a number of so-called ‘moderate’ Labour Campaign Chiefs secretly refused to run numerous adverts devised by the Labour leadership team because they did not approve of the left-wing messages contained within them.

The Labour Officials are said to have been able to deceive Corbyn and his leadership team by specifically targeting the [online] adverts at the Labour leader and his closest allies, rather than the voting public as they were meant to.

The deceitful Labour Officials believed that adverts such as one urging people to register to vote were not worth spending money on, and instead decided to pour the money into running adverts with different messages.

Corbyn’s manifesto – entitled For The Many, Not The Few – was leaked early, with rumours emerging at the time that the same so-called moderate Labour Southside Campaign Chiefs who were later to deceive him had leaked the document in the belief that it would be widely ridiculed by the general public, and in order to hasten Corbyn’s exit as leader.

However, rather than go down like a lead balloon as the leakers had presumably imagined it would, the manifesto was received with adulation by both the general public as well as, astonishingly, a large section of the corporate media.

Source: Disloyal Blairite Labour Campaign Chiefs may have sabotaged Jeremy Corbyn’s 2017 General Election Campaign | Evolve Politics

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Why is Chris Grayling trying to sabotage the national finances?

You loved yesterday's meme about Iain Duncan Smith so here's one about Chris Grayling. Feel free to share it across the Internet and tell all your friends to do the same [Image: 38 Degrees].

You loved yesterday’s meme about Iain Duncan Smith so here’s one about Chris Grayling. Feel free to share it across the Internet and tell all your friends to do the same [Image: 38 Degrees].

Here’s further evidence that Justice Minister Chris Grayling is not only unjust but actually evil.

It seems he is drawing up contracts which will ensure profits – for the period of the next two parliaments – for private companies taking over probation services, and massive penalties for the next government if it cancels the contracts.

“Taxpayers will face a £300m-£400m penalty if controversial probation privatisation contracts are cancelled after next May’s general election under an “unprecedented” clause that guarantees bidders their expected profits over the 10-year life of the contract,” according to The Guardian.

It seems the contracts would guarantee the income of two of our favourite outsourcing firms, G4S and Serco, both of which have been at the centre of serious fraud allegations. They have received these contracts during a period when Grayling himself had said they would receive nothing.

Clearly he has misled Parliament.

The Ministry of Justice says it is following Treasury guidance by including the clause, making it likely that we are seeing a conspiracy among Tory-led government departments – and that we will see more of the same in other politically-controversial contracts that will be signed before next May’s general election.

In a time of austerity, inflicted on us by the same government!

Isn’t it illegal for one government to tie the hands of the next in this manner?

Margaret Hodge, chairman of the Commons public accounts committee, has said she was appalled by the discovery, according to the newspaper.

This is a typical Tory tactic in new wrapping. Remember how the Tory-led Coalition has forced budget cuts on councils and the regional assemblies, meaning in return that they had to cut services to citizens – and take the blame for the choices?

Grayling is clearly hoping that a Labour or Labour-led government of the future that cuts the contracts to G4S and Serco will take the blame for the increased cost to the taxpayer that he is imposing.

He isn’t thinking straight, though. G4S and Serco are under investigation, facing serious allegations of fraud. While they were cleared to work on government contracts in January, this came from auditors working for the Conservative government; a future government may disagree with that decision.

This means that contracts awarded to G4S and Serco would be void – and no money would be due to them.

Whatever happens with the contracts, Grayling himself should face legal proceedings for his own involvement in what amounts to interference with the public finances, after he is forced out of office next year. The favouritism he shows towards the two companies is deeply suspicious and he should be investigated for financial connections to them.

Let us remember, also, that Grayling has no mandate for these actions as nobody elected a Conservative government into office to tie the hands of future administrations. It was not in the Conservative 2010 manifesto, nor was it in the Coalition agreement.

This ‘justice’ minister belongs behind bars.

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Marcus Brigstocke v the Government – has he been reading Vox Political?

This is the first pic I could find of Marcus Brigstocke, as he might have looked while delivering the piece quoted below. He's a known beardie so he probably had face-fuzz as well.

This is the first pic I could find of Marcus Brigstocke, as he might have looked while delivering the piece quoted below. He’s a known beardie so he probably had face-fuzz as well.

What a rare and pleasant thing we’ve enjoyed for the last few days – a Bank Holiday weekend with good weather! And isn’t it a shame that this means most of you will have been out, and therefore missed Marcus Brigstocke’s turn on The Now Show.

Here’s a guy who knows how to take the government apart; it seemed as though he’d been reading Vox Political for the last few months because he touched on some of our favourite subjects:

1. The economy

He led with the 0.8 per cent increase in economic growth, mocking the government’s celebratory tone with impressions of how ordinary people took the news, up and down the country (some of the accents were beyond belief).

“Well done, George Osborne,” said Marcus, his voice dripping with sarcasm. “You have proved your theory right, using the Grand Theft Auto model. You have successfully shown that the poor really are like video game prostitutes – if you kick them hard enough, eventually money will come flying out of them.”

Doesn’t this fit nicely with what this blog has been saying about the economy being dependent entirely on the movement of poor people’s money? Those with less spend all – or almost all – of their income and it is this money, being pushed around the system, that boosts profits and keeps Britain going.

He continued: “I know that the state of the economy matters but for the vast majority of people it is as mysterious and cryptic as the shipping forecast… What makes a difference to people is not zero-point-eight-per-cent growth; it’s actual wages and the cost of living.

“The National Institute of Economic and Social Research (NIESR) showed this week that the average worker is £2,000 worse-off since the financial crisis hit,” another common theme here on VP, except in fact it’s £2K per year worse-off. Let’s do a quick shout-out to Jonathan Portes, NIESR’s director, whose Tweets are well worth a read: @jdportes

“I say, ‘hit’. That makes it sound like the crisis swerved towards us. The reality is, the average worker is £2,000 worse-off since the financial sector arrogantly, and with galactic, hubristic stupidity, drove the economy off a cliff, yelling, ‘Does this mean I still get my bonus?’ Of course you’ll still get your bonus. Otherwise you’d leave the country and [chuckling] nobody wants that.” [Laughter from the audience – we’re all in on that joke.]

2. Employment

“More people are in work now; good. But why do employers talk like they deserve a sainthood when they have people working for them? Your company does a thing; you need workers to facilitate the doing of that thing. The workers work, and the thing is done – am I missing something here? Do you feel you need a medal?”

2a. Zero-hours contracts

“One-point-four million British workers are having to scrape a living together from cynical, ruthless, exploitative employers using zero-hours contracts. Value your employees – they are not battery workers; they are people… One in five UK workers earns less than the Living Wage.”

At this point the narrative switches to a spoof advert: “At GreatBigFacelessBastardCorp we care so little about what we do, we pay our workers the minimum wage allowed under the law! That way we can pass on their listlessness and overwhelming sense of defeated apathy to you, the customer! GreatBigFacelessBastardCorp – crushing dreams so you don’t have to!”

This relates to an argument that Vox Political has been having with Tory-supporting businesspeople for years, going back to the earliest days of the blog. Back in January 2012, I wrote False economies that leave the business books unbalanced in which I stated:

It seems to me that many employees are finding life extremely difficult now, because the amount they are paid does not cover all their outgoings and they are having to work out what they can do without. The cost of living has risen more sharply than their pay, so they are out of pocket.

This creates stress, which can create illness, which could take them out of work and turn them into a liability to the economy – as they would then be claiming benefits.

That’s bad – not only for the country but also for their company, because demoralised employees produce poor work and the company’s turnover will decrease; having to bring in and train up new workers to replace those who are leaving through ill health is time-consuming and unproductive.

Therefore, in taking the money for themselves, rather than sharing it with employees, bosses are clearly harming their own companies and the economy.

In fact, it seems to me that this is a microcosm of the larger, national economy. In order to keep more money, bosses (and the government) pay less (in the government’s case, to pay off the national deficit). This means less work gets done, and is of poorer quality (in both cases). So orders fall off and firms have to make more cutbacks (or, revenue decreases so the government makes more cutbacks in order to keep up its debt payments).

[This seems to have been borne out by subsequent events. More people are employed than ever before, according to the government, yet GDP has improved by only a fraction of one per cent in the last quarter. By rights, it should be about 20 percentage points higher than the pre-crisis peak by now, according to some analysts.]

The message to bosses – and the government – is clear: Cutting back investment in people to keep money for yourselves will cripple your earning ability. Cutting even more to make up for what you lose will put you into a death spiral. You are trying to dig your way out of your own graves.

But there is an alternative.

A reasonable pay increase to employees would ensure they can pay their bills, and would also keep them happy.

Happy workers produce better results.

Better results keep businesses afloat and earn extra work for them.

That in turn creates more revenue, making it possible for bosses not only to increase their own pay but employ more people as well.

Wouldn’t that be better for everybody?

Well, wouldn’t it?

3. Welfare lies

“Young workers are amongst the hardest-hit by the downturn, with pay falling by 14 per cent between 2008 and 2013. Well done, everybody! We pay far more from the welfare budget supporting incomes for people in work than we do for those out of a job.

“The government keep on crowing about the number of people they have in work … most of them are not so much in work as near some work, if only they were allowed to do any.

“If you’re on the minimum wage, kept on a zero-hours contract between 7am and 7pm so you can’t work for anyone else but rack up a grand total of – ooh! – just enough hours so your employer doesn’t have to pay your National Insurance [another VP theme], you get no training, no employee benefits, no hope of any promotion and you hear ‘IDS’ banging on about how he’s ‘the saviour of benefits street’, well, if you can still afford a shoe then please throw it at the radio or through the telly or at his actual face.” This is a reference to sabotage, in which workers threw their crude shoes – or ‘sabots’ into machinery to stop it working, in protest against their working conditions and developments that were endangering their jobs.

“Low pay means higher staff turnover, high absenteeism, poor morale and lower productivity.” That’s exactly as I stated in the VP article from 2012.

4. In conclusion

“I don’t know when money started making money faster than people but… It’s not helping,” said Marcus, truthfully. “So instead of running about with your shirt over your head doing ‘airplane arms’, shouting ‘Nought-point-eight-per-cent’… do something to get the people who actually work to be rewarded, recognised and remunerated for what they do.

“It’s not rocket science and, frankly, if it is, I sincerely hope they’re not on minimum wage.”

When I heard that piece, I very nearly stood up to applaud. If you want to hear it yourself (and I’ve left out enough of it to make it worthwhile, I promise you), it’s available for download here, and starts around eight and a half minutes in.

Actually, it would be better if Marcus hasn’t been reading this blog, because then he would have drawn the same conclusions, from the same evidence, thereby reinforcing my own reasoning.

Now, let’s have your opinions, please. I’ll be very interested to hear from supporters of the current “pay-’em-the-bare-minimum” policy as they almost invariably say things like “We can’t pay them any more” – it’s never “They have good reasons that mean they can’t pay us more”.

Interesting, that.

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