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

Tonight’s Motion of No Confidence in the Government, as expected, was defeated by 325 votes to 306. Not exactly a huge chasm, but reasonably decisive. It is noteworthy though that if the ten Democratic Unionists had voted against the Government, the motion would have passed by 1. Ironically, if Theresa May’s Brexit deal had passed the Commons last night, the DUP would have supported tonight’s motion and the Government would have fallen.

The atmosphere in the House of Commons tonight was as childish and yobbish as I have ever heard it, and never worse than during the Tories’ closing statement, delivered by the obnoxious Michael Gove. The bleating, the drunk-sounding chants and the juvenile bellowing were more reminiscent of brawling rugby players than intelligent, considered debate. I have written more than once of my suspicion that the alienation of so many of the public from politics in modern Britain is partly a result of the horrendous ‘lager-lout’-style of behaviour in the Commons. Tonight will probably have made that even worse.

However, I mainly wish to offer observations on Gove’s speech itself. While it was, as one might expect, a disgraceful tissue of distortions that he would not dare repeat outside the House, where he would be subject to the law of the land, more noticeable was the theme of it. It was largely about Jeremy Corbyn.

Michael Gove

Gove’s speech in ‘defence’ of his Prime Minister was largely just an uncivilised hatchet job on the Opposition leader instead.

Interestingly, early in the speech he mocked Tom Watson’s closing speech on behalf of the Opposition on the grounds that Watson did not mention Corbyn at all. Why Gove imagines that Watson should have to do so is quite inexplicable; the debate was a Motion of No Confidence in the Government, not in Corbyn, and to an extent, it really had nothing to do with Corbyn, at least directly.

But having mocked Watson for not mentioning his leader, Gove made a similar mistake; he scarcely mentioned Theresa May throughout the speech, even though the Motion was about her and her Government. Instead, Gove just spent minutes on end ranting out a malicious hatchet job on Corbyn, regurgitating various tired and debunked myths from the last couple of years about ‘anti-Semitism’ and his supposed lack of credentials for defending the country .

Whether you agreed with all of this, or any of this, or none of this, there is a fundamental flaw in the speech. Hardly any of it had anything to do with whether the present administration is fit to govern. And yet it made up a good three-quarters of what Gove had to say. (My brother has described it as “the Parliamentary equivalent of Kryten’s legal defence of Rimmer” from Red Dwarf.)

Is it just that no one had actually explained to Gove beforehand what the subject of the debate was?

Or was Gove keeping his praise for May to an absolute minimum because he plans to make a new bid for the leadership at her expense in the near future?

Or is it just – and this I suspect is the likeliest answer – that the performance of Theresa May and her administration since 2016 has been so shambolic, so destructive, and so mired in inertia and non-achievement that Gove simply ran out of good things to say in its defence after the first couple of minutes?

These are the only explanations I can think of, and all of them are bad.