by Martin Odoni

Another template readers can use for submitting e-mails to the Labour Party’s complaints team – at complaints@labour.org.uk.

Siobhan McDonagh

McDonagh endorses Tom Watson and Joan Ryan, both of whom are demonstrably involved in criminal conduct

To whom it may concern,

I demand the immediate suspension of membership of MP Siobhain McDonagh, for using anti-Semitic tropes, and for soliciting criminal activity. On BBC Radio, 4th March 2019, McDonagh used such a trope to identify Jews as inseparable from capitalism, as outlined below; –

https://nyebevannews.co.uk/labour-mp-siobhain-mcdonagh-to-be-anti-capitalism-is-to-be-anti-semitic/

During the interview, McDonagh agreed with the suggestion that anti-capitalism is anti-Semitic, implying that Jews are, by definition, capitalistic and bourgeois in nature. Many Jews will find this grossly offensive in itself. But worse, this is in keeping with one of the examples given in the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of anti-Semitism, which the party has expressly adopted; –

Making mendacious, dehumanizing, demonizing, or stereotypical allegations about Jews

By any standard, implying that Jews are all capitalistic is a stereotypical allegation, and in a democratic socialist party like Labour, it should be seen as demonising too.

Moreover, McDonagh, when discussing the recent poor conduct of Deputy Leader Tom Watson, endorsed his illegal request for complaints to the party to be submitted through himself. This instruction is, as the General Secretary herself pointed out before the weekend, expressly in contravention of General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) laws. For McDonagh to endorse the practice is for her to encourage it, which is solicitation. Criminal behaviour in the Labour Party, especially on matters relating directly to the way in which the party is run, cannot be tolerated under any circumstances.

I therefore demand that McDonagh’s membership of the party be suspended with immediate effect, pending a full and rigorous investigation into her conduct past-and-present, with a view to her possible expulsion.

With polite regards
[YOUR NAME]

 

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by Martin Odoni

This evening, a little-known former leader of Camden Council implied over Twitter that Hampstead & Kilburn’s constituency Labour Party is guilty of anti-Semitic behaviour.

Sarah Hayward, wording her tweet carefully so she could deny making any libellous accusations, kicked up a stink about Hampstead CLP barring delegates from the Jewish Labour Movement from attending the local Annual General Meeting the previous evening.

I shall come to the real reason why the JLM delegates were barred presently. Firstly though, I would like to suggest that Hayward should pause and consider warnings from the party’s General Secretary to the party’s Deputy Leader, which she published this evening. Jennie Formby’s warnings were against Tom Watson’s recent, very blatant habit of making public complaints about goings-on within the party via media, including social media, and trying – illegally let me stress – to interfere directly in the party’s disciplinary process.

The reason I mention this is that, instead of reporting her concerns about Hampstead & Kilburn to Formby in the first place, Hayward simply went public with a Twitter thread that was quite insinuating, but essentially provoked anyone reading to leap to conclusions of anti-Semitism.

Now, to put it euphemistically, it is quite mysterious (READ: pretty bloody obvious) as to why Haward did this as a first step, and failed to contact either Formby or the Hampstead & Kilburn CLP about her concerns. Moreover, her public show of outrage was in a Twitter thread that, again ‘mysteriously’, did not tag either Formby or Hampstead & Kilburn CLP.

To add to the ‘bewilderment’, Hayward retweeted other people who replied expressing well-meaning but uninformed outrage. However, I can see no evidence that she has retweeted anyone who responded with the explanation for why JLM delegates were barred from a CLP meeting. That explanation is actually very simple, by the way, and not remotely underhanded; –

It is because JLM had not paid a high enough subscription for more than one delegate.

Here is Hampstead & Kilburn CLP responding to Hayward’s insinuating remarks; –

Hawyward stirring faeces

It is as simple as that. Only one JLM delegate was allowed in to the AGM, and all others were barred, because one delegate at the AGM was all to which JLM were entitled.

It is curious to note that, as best I can tell, Hayward has not, at the time of writing, retweeted this response from the CLP. (There are two retweets that do not appear in the list generated on my screen due to the security settings of the users. It is just about possible that one of them is Hayward, although that seems unlikely given how publicly loud she is being about this. Why suddenly go all coy about it?)

retweet list

This failure is doubly curious when you see some of the replies Hayward has retweeted. As a very striking example, take this one, which Hayward seems to be using as a corroboration of JLM’s ‘martyrdom’, from Sara Gibbs (former writer on Dead Ringers, if that interests anybody) who was not even present at the meeting!

explaining the rules to Sara Gibbs

Sara Gibbs being presented as a reliable witness to an event she openly admits she never even attended.

How come Gibbs’ hearsay is considered worthier of spreading far-and-wide than the CLP’s right-of-reply?

This is yet more blatant trouble-making by the right wing of the Labour Party, and Hayward, while not exactly lying, has deliberately misled people, which is really just as bad as lying.

And here is the big matter for me, and one that makes it so infuriating that so few people are prepared to ‘brain up’ about this endless hysteria. If anti-Semitism really is as rife in the Labour Party as people like Hayward want us to believe – and we know conclusively that it is absolutely not – why, on the few occasions when attention can be brought to specific instances of it, are so many of them clearly made up? Remember Kevin Clegg? Why do the accusers need to keep contriving examples of a problem that is supposedly ‘endemic’?

I think we all know the answer to that, do we not?

by Martin Odoni

Another template readers can use for submitting e-mails to the Labour Party’s complaints team – at complaints@labour.org.uk.

To whom it may concern,

I demand the immediate suspension of membership of former-MP Tony Blair. By explicitly backing the new ‘Independent Group’ of MPs that has broken away from the Labour Party, he is guilty of, in effect, campaigning for a different party, given the group have made clear that they aim to form a new party in the near future. This is an express violation of the party rules. Clause I, section 4, sub-section B expressly identifies as an ‘Exclusion’ from the party, as follows; –

A member of the Party who joins and/ or supports a political organisation other than an official Labour group or other unit of the Party, or supports any candidate who stands against an official Labour candidate, or publicly declares their intent to stand against a Labour candidate, shall automatically be ineligible to be or remain a Party member

(Emphasis added.)

‘The Independent Group’ is, by its own self-description, a political organisation other than an official Labour group, therefore any Labour member supporting it is ineligible to remain in the party.

I demand Blair’s membership be suspended with immediate effect, and a full and rigorous investigation into his conduct past-and-present be undertaken, with a view to his possible expulsion.

With polite regards
[YOUR NAME]

by Martin Odoni

I have no wish to make light of the childish tantrum thrown by the Labour Right today. The first batch of what will doubtless be a considerable number of Labour MPs resigned the whip today. I suspect more may follow this very week, to keep the story at the top of the headlines. The danger of splitting the Labour vote by going their own way is potentially as big a gift to the Conservatives as the breakaway of the Social Democratic Party was in the 1980s. Considering the media history of giving MPs who leave the Labour Party – at least via its right wing – enormous positive publicity for months afterwards, that danger is quite genuine.

ELIMINATE SNAKEs 7

Sort of like Blake’s 7, only all seven of them are Vila.

Nonetheless, most of the sting has been taken out of the day by a couple of absolutely hilarious blunders the breakaway faction have made, making the day less resemble the launch of the SDP and more resemble the maiden voyage of the Titanic. Angela Smith, the central source of hilarity, managed to contradict herself completely during the faction’s press conference, re-stating her wish for a ‘People’s Vote’ over Brexit, while effectively insisting that she would not support a Labour move for another General Election – or offer up her seat for a by-Election – on the grounds that people are bored of voting. Doh!

Somehow, the Blairite wing of the party just cannot stop being the most laughable hypocrites. They always try to appear ‘charismatic’ and ‘sincere’ by being regimented and strictly ‘on-message’ at all times, even when the message is inherently absurd. Automatic soundbites abound – today’s being the constant repetition of the term “broken politics” – making them sound machine-like and cold, rather than charismatic. They have learned nothing from the 2015 Leadership contest.

But of course it got very much worse after the press conference was over. An endorsement from Katie Hopkins of all people immediately caused blushes for the faction, but they could always say, “We can’t control that”. But then, in an interview with the BBC, Smith managed to discredit the single biggest pretext the faction had for breaking away from Labour in the first place. That pretext was the wildly-exaggerated ‘anti-Semitism-in-the-Labour-Party’ controversy. “We can no longer, in good conscience’ remain in a party so mired in racism!” was the message.

Angela Smith Guess Who?

Just imagine what she’d be saying if she had a couple of drinks in her…

So Smith’s use of the term, “funny tinge” or “funny tint” (still not sure which) to describe the skin of people-of-colour was perhaps the greatest media backfire in left-leaning politics since Gordon Brown’s ‘bigoted woman‘ remark was caught on microphone nine years ago.

Chuka reacts to Angela Smith

When your non-party leader is Chuka Umunna, it’s not a wise move to talk about other races having skin of a ‘funny tinge’ (or ‘tint’).

Now, this is more funny than insidious. There may be an element of a Freudian slip, but I think it likelier that Smith was struggling to find the correct synonym and blurted out something she did not mean. I do not believe Smith is a closet racist.

But really. This was barely three hours after the faction had officially announced their departure from the Labour Party, and already one of them was bringing shame and embarrassment on the entire manoeuvre, by implying an attitude it was supposedly hoping to escape.

We can be sure, if even the most obscure Labour Party member had made a similarly clumsy remark, especially about a Jew or even a Zionist, it would be all over the news bulletins for the rest of the week. It would be cynically-presented, including by the ‘Snakes’ 7′ faction themselves, as conclusive evidence of ‘rampant Labour anti-Semitism’.

As you can see above, I am not so cynical, and I am happy to give Smith the benefit-of-the-doubt, at least on racial grounds – as I say, I think she was speaking clumsily, and is not a racist. (Although if we pity Smith as a fool rather than lambaste her as a bigot, well, how much benefit of the doubt have the Labour Right given Jeremy Corbyn down the years when he has been accused of incompetence?) But no person need be a racist to be disgusting. Just being cynical, opportunistic, willing to lie for advantage, and unhesitating about ruining the reputations of decent people, are enough in combination to make a person disgusting. And the entire breakaway faction have shown these hypocricies in profound quantities.

Berger Angela said what

The woman who cries ‘racism!’ on the flimsiest of grounds suddenly will not call it when the accused is a fellow party-rebel.

If Luciana Berger, for instance, had any honour, she would immediately disown Smith. (And note how Berger once again is only selectively ‘too pregnant’ for political conflict.)  Her grounds for besmirching the reputations of tens of thousands of Labour members as ‘racists’ are every bit as flimsy as calling Smith a racist because of ‘Tinge-gate’. But Berger still besmirched those many, many Labour members, and so should feel compelled to condemn Smith in the same way, following the simple principle of all people being subject to the same rules. But Berger does not, because she is a disgusting cynic. Nor do Chris Leslie, Gavin Shuker, Mike Gapes or Anne Coffey. Because they are all disgusting cynics.

Even the independent faction’s official status as a non-party is probably the result of disgusting cynicism; it allows them to side-step laws capping funding of political parties.

These independents are not a ‘moderate’ alternative to the Labour Party.  They are greedy children who are taking their ball home because they cannot tolerate being in the Labour Party when it is no longer answering to them. They know that splitting left-wing support would stop Labour getting into Government, and give them a self-fulfilling opportunity to say, “Told-you-so.”

Voting for greed is voting for Tories. These MPs have demonstrated once and for all that the term pinned to them of Queasy-conscience Tories is entirely correct.

by Martin Odoni

As we enjoy the most romantic day of the year, it occurs to me that no one could be more romantic than a member of the Conservative Party. (Truly.) This has led me to speculate what kinds of catchy one-liners a Tory would use when ‘out on the pull’. Here are some of the ideas to which my musings have led. Feel free to suggest more in the comments below; –

(You can click on an image to make it easier to read.)

by Martin Odoni

Quick post following up on The Skwawkbox‘s earlier observations of a poor turnout at a pro-Remain meeting at the Quaker Meeting House in Liverpool on Saturday evening. As Skwawk noted, the attendance does look suspiciously lower than the figures that Remain Labour are suggesting. I myself was in that same auditorium back in September, attending a fringe democratisation event at the Labour Party Conference, and the attendance for that meeting was so huge that more people were standing than sitting. Comparing the pictures from this week to what I saw then, I am somewhat confident that Remain Labour have inflated the numbers. But if they insist otherwise, well, I shall not dwell on that.

Instead, what I wish to discuss is that, oho, a familiar figure was addressing the crowd. Wavertree’s beloved local MP, Luciana Berger, was ‘at the lectern’.

Luciana Berger at Remain Labour meeting in Liverpool

Luciana Berger, ‘too pregnant’ to answer for undermining her party, but ‘not too pregnant’ to carry on undermining her party

Now, it is quite ironic enough that an MP who is publicly suggesting she might leave the party is working with a group called Remain Labour, even if it has a different meaning in this context. But what is rather needling about this is that, we are told by Blairites and other assorted Labour right wingers, Berger’s pregnancy, now understood to be at eight months, means she is in too vulnerable a state to face the No-Confidence Motions her local constituency party had tabled in her.

harman berger hypocrisy

Harriet Harman pleading the “rights of the mother”, when the mother is behaving in a very destructive manner.

So, Berger is supposedly ‘too-heavily pregnant’ to be made to answer to her CLP for undermining her leader and her party. But at the same time, she is not too-heavily pregnant to take part in a meeting whose express purpose is to advance a policy that explicitly contradicts the strategy the Labour Party agreed upon in Conference – thus undermining her leader and her party again.

Berger and her cynical allies cannot expect to have it both ways. If she is ‘too pregnant’ to be held to account for her actions and she should be left alone, okay, fine. But she has to stop rocking the boat. As long as she keeps taking part in rebellious activities like these, she is showing that she is well enough for politics, and therefore she is well enough to be held to account for said-activities. If she cannot deal with being held to account, then she must stop what she is doing, she cannot expect a one-way ceasefire.

This is not bullying, it is a simple demand for ordinary accountability. If Berger feels she is above that, it only underlines why many Labour members think she is so unsuitable to be an MP at all.

by Martin Odoni

So there you have it. Anti-Semitism in the Labour Party is to be found among less than 0.1% of its membership. As I have been saying since what feels like the Dawn-Of-Time, the British right wing, especially Zionist factions, have been making a giant mountain range out of an ant-hill.

Zionists after Labour AS stats announced

0.1% of the party MIGHT be anti-Semites. Yeah. Really worth all this fuss, wasn’t it?

The evidence against the accusers, on the other hand, is truly mountainous. Recent, very corrupt smear tactics by Wes Streeting, and the whining response of the Labour Party’s right wing to moves to have dissatisfaction with Luciana Berger placed on formal record in her local constituency, are enough on their own to show how contrived the furore has been. Add in earlier cynicisms, especially from Margaret Hodge, who actually boasts that around 200 of the complaints made were from herself, and you can see how thoroughly the right wing are going out of their way to see vast anti-Semitism where there is very little. On the subject of Hodge, there is a particular reason why the outcome is not to her liking, but do not expect her to mention it; –

Margaret Hodges reports loads of non-Labour members

Hodge and her allies are trying to present abuse from non-Labour members as examples of in-party anti-Semitism.

Beyond doubt, many of them also committed the cardinal sin of conflating anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism – as has happened to accusations against me, an anti-Zionist Jew.

And of course, the Zionist Imperialist Chronicle (I refuse to dignify the periodical smear-rag with the title ‘Jewish’) has been making mischief in another Liverpool Labour constituency, namely Walton. Stephen Pollard, the pathological liar running the Chronicle, and who used to edit the even-more-disgraceful Daily Express, has refused to apologise, even though he published a retraction that he had the nerve to call a ‘clarification’.

Sadly, vindication for those of us who were saying that the furore was a storm in a teacup does not mean satisfaction. Partly, there is inevitable pushback by the usual suspects, arguing that the figures have been massaged in some way. We can expect a lot of heels being dug in over the next few weeks in that regard. But further than that, there is an aggravation that both defenders and detractors of the Labour Party are causing. It comes in the form of a platitude that I am getting a little tired of seeing rehearsed; –

“Even one case of anti-Semitism is one too many!”

Now I must emphasise that I do agree with the statement as it reads. One case of anti-Semitism – indeed of any form of racism – is one too many. But the main reason I want people to stop retreating into saying it is that they only ever seem to say it in response to the anti-Semitism-in-the-Labour-Party hysteria. Sure, when real anti-Semitic behaviour in Labour is discovered, the person behind it needs to go, but that should be true in every party.

Platitudes in general are a bad practice, as they are usually a sign of making polite gestures without engaging the brain. More specifically in this case, it also rather shifts the metaphorical ‘goalposts’. There has been a relentless three-year clamour about anti-Semitism being ‘rife’ in Labour. Then, when the evidence shows that the numbers involved are proportionally trifling, the accusers just cry out, “But even one anti-Semite is one too many!!!” and keep the outrage alive. But the outrage was about the problem being ‘rife’. Now it has quietly become about the problem being present in any proportion at all. It is the same outrage, maintained without a break-in-stride, only it is now based on something quite other than what it was originally.

This means that those who defend the Labour Party over anti-Semitism need to avoid being drawn into saying, “One is one too many,” because they are allowing themselves to support attempts to change the narrative on the quiet.

Such a changed narrative is not only deceitful, it also holds the Labour Party to a standard that is probably unattainable. So long as anti-Semitism exists in society, some of it is bound to seep into all political parties, and it is quite unfair to insist that Labour has to wipe it out from its ranks entirely as a bare minimum, which is what the complaints that the party “is not doing enough” or “does not take the problem seriously” amount to. This is doubly true when nowhere near the same amount of pressure is being applied to  other parties, especially the Tories of course, to combat their own racism issues.

29572657_10156366518233489_4954806921188844906_n

Anti-Semitism is RARER on the left than on the right.

I sometimes hear people arguing that, as Labour aspire to higher ethics than the Conservative Party, Labour need to be held to a higher moral standard. But that is nonsense. It just gives the Tories an excuse not to try, even makes it acceptable for them to say that they are unconcerned about their lack of morals, and above all, gives racists a safe harbour in one of the largest political parties in the country. Real racism should not be allowed to influence Government policy; if you want to see the dangers of that, just ask the Windrush Generation.

In any event, holding Labour to a higher standard does not mean holding them to an unattainable standard. It makes it much too easy for McCarthyite troublemakers like Berger, Streeting and Hodge, whose real reasons for anger are ideological disagreements with Jeremy Corbyn, and provides a needless distraction from the real priority issues facing the United Kingdom; the twin struggles to end Austerity, and to rescue the country from the self-harm of a chaotic and ill-planned Brexit.