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Jeremy Corbyn: Blairite coup attempt post Brexit referendum
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Whitehall_Bin_Men
Trustworthy Freedom Fighter
Trustworthy Freedom Fighter


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 09, 2019 10:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Jonathan Cook: the Blog from Nazareth - www.jonathan-cook.net
Guilt of anti-semitism now needs no evidence
8 July 2019
https://www.jonathan-cook.net/blog/2019-07-08/guilt-of-anti-semitism-n ow-needs-no-evidence/

A deadly serious tweet at the weekend from Armando Iannucci, the comedy writer responsible for the hugely popular Westminster TV satire show The Thick of It, reveals something significant about the problem of resolving the so-called Labour anti-semitism “crisis”. In response to a tweet by a follower discussing my recent blog post entitled “The plot to keep Corbyn out of power”, Iannucci observed: “Fresh insight on the Labour antisemitism story. It’s all a lie stoked up by Jews.”

It is very unlikely that Iannucci had actually read my post beyond the headline. If he did, it would suggest he has significant problems with basic comprehension. More likely he was simply demonstrating his own misunderstanding of what those of us who challenge the narrative of a Labour anti-semitism “crisis” are actually saying.

There is much nonsense written about how we all now live in our own echo chambers. That may still be largely true if your opinions fit neatly inside the so-called Overton window, which in the UK spans the short leap from Blairism to Conservatism. Stick within this narrow manufactured consensus of supposedly rational policy – neoliberal orthodoxy at home, and neoconservative warmongering abroad – and you will rarely be exposed in depth to any other ideas unless you consciously seek them out.

Cocooned from real debate

But those of us whose politics are considered “radical” or “dissident” are confronted with the ideas of these consensus-enforcers almost every waking moment. There is no escape from the BBC, or the topical TV shows recycling the issues dominating the pages of the billionaire-owned press, or the policy agendas of a political class owned by the global corporations that now run our societies, or the conversations of friends and family shaped by these upholders of the status quo.

Unlike those in the political centre who are reassured each day by the consensus telling them that they are sensible, responsible, sane people, those on the supposedly “radical fringes” of politics must listen to a public discourse that characterises them as deluded and dangerous, as prey to wild conspiracy theories and populism, and now – after Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has threatened to break one side of the Overton window’s frame by rejecting neoliberalism and endless foreign wars – as unconscionable anti-semites.

Those in the centre may have spent a lifetime cocooned from real political debate but in recent years they have faced two massive disruptions to their peace of mind: the entry of a “radical”, in the form of Corbyn, into mainstream politics; and the partial democratisation of public debate with the growth of social media. Both developments have proved most unwelcome to the centrists.

They are now horrified to hear other kinds or voices saying things that once would never have been allowed near a newspaper or microphone. When they are exposed to critical voices on new media platforms, they react by characterising them as “offensive”, “populism”, “fake news” or “demonisation”. Their instinct is to impugn their critics’ credibility and motives rather than engage with their arguments, and to shut down or limit the platforms where these alternative opinions can be aired.

Shouting into the wind

Although they have been brought superficially into contact with these ideas, like most people used to the comforts of privilege they can afford not to listen. They understand enough to know that we disagree with them, but they do not care to make sense of why. They hear our noise, they fear it even, but they do not stay quiet long enough to learn anything about what we have to say.

And for that reason we are shouting into the wind, our words carried far off where they can do no harm. When we fall silent, all we hear is a caricature of the arguments we have articulated clearly.

This could not be more evident than in the case of Chris Williamson, a political ally of Corbyn’s who like so many others has found himself consumed by the evidence-free consensus that, when Corbyn was elected party leader four years ago, Labour became “institutionally anti-semitic” overnight.

Corbyn’s commitment to tackling all kinds of racism, of course, risks smashing the consensus on Israel, a country that has been indulged by European and US leaders for decades. Israel has long been firmly in the west’s privileged fold – provided with diplomatic, financial and military assistance – even though, under Netanyahu, it no longer tries to conceal its ever more repressive policies towards the Palestinians.

Incredibly, Israel’s easily documented policies of ethnic cleansing and apartheid are not only still unpunished but it has become ever harder to talk about them. Month by month, more western states move towards outlawing the world’s first major solidarity movement with the Palestinians – an entirely non-violent one – which calls for boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against Israel until it concedes the same rights to Palestinians as it does to Jews in the region.

Not daring to listen

The consensual public narrative about Williamson is that he made an anti-semitic remark to Labour party members. All wings of the UK media, including supposedly liberal outlets like the Guardian, have reported that Williamson was caught saying Labour had been “too apologetic” about anti-semitism. The fact that a video recording of his statement is all over social media, showing that he didn’t say anything of the sort, is of no significance to them. The centrists aren’t interested in the evidence. They are determined to keep the privilege of their echo chamber.

The problem for the so-called “radical” is that the unwillingness of the centrists to listen is compounded by a deeper problem – that like Iannucci, they dare not listen. The mischaracterisation of Williamson’s statement can help us understand why.

What Williamson said was not that Labour had been “too apologetic” about anti-semitism, but that Labour had been “too apologetic” in the face of smears that party members were anti-semitic. He wasn’t minimising anti-semitism, he was defending the membership from a campaign of demonisation that portrays them as anti-semites – something you might think delicate centrists, so ready to take offence, might have understood.

But the centrists aren’t listening to what Williamson actually said. They hear only what they need him to have said for their worldview to continue making sense.

Trapped in an echo chamber

Here is what Iannucci, Billy Bragg, Owen Jones, Tom Watson and Margaret Hodge apparently believe Williamson said:

We in Labour are not interested in the fact that Jews experience racism from our party. We are determined to ignore the problem of anti-semitism they have identified. Instead of taking responsibility for our racism, we are going to blame Jews for the problem. When we say anti-semitism has been weaponised, what we mean is that Jews are plotting against our party. We are writing a new Protocols of the Elders of Zion.
Seen like this, Williamson and most of the Labour membership are anti-semites. But only someone trapped in their own echo chamber could really believe this is a view anyone in Labour has actually endorsed. Williamson and the members who support him aren’t saying Jews are behind the smearing of Labour. They are saying the dominant forces of our society are.

And this is where the real chasm between the centrists and the radicals opens up. The issue of anti-semitism has become a shadow play for centrists, offering them a supposed moral high ground, as they try to hold the fort against the ideological barbarians at the gate.

Two views of social conflict

There are two ways of understanding conflict in our societies.

The centrists have adopted as their own an understanding of the world cultivated for them by a lifetime of listening to, and trusting in, the state-corporate media. It presents conflict as a battle between personalities, individual and collective: between Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt; between Republicans and Democrats; between Trump and Antifa; between Julian Assange and two Swedish women; between Apple Mac and Windows; between men from Mars and women from Venus; between social conservatives and the LGBT movement; between blacks and whites; between Brexiteers and Remainers; between Jews and anti-semites.

This understanding of the world – as a battle between personalities, and the ideas and values they embody – is the one we are encouraged to focus on by the political and media class. That is for three reasons. First, presenting politics as exclusively a battle between people and ideas keeps most of us divided and feuding rather in solidarity with each other. Second, it has been relatively easy to determine the winners of this kind of conflict when the narrative can be controlled through the state-corporate media. And third, the focus on personalities stops us thinking about a much more profound and meaningful way of viewing conflict – as a class-based, economic struggle.

This way of understanding conflict sees it as structural, as a battle between those with money and power and those without. On this view, society is structured by the powerful to maintain and expand their power. This theory of conflict regards the corporate media not as a neutral platform for debating ideas and values, but as a weapon, one designed to cultivate only those ideas and values that preserve the power of the existing elite. This is what Noam Chomsky and others have called “brainwashing under freedom” by the western media.

The brutal logic of power
The structural nature of power should be obvious, if we hadn’t been so brainwashed to think otherwise by our media. To gain some perspective, consider a different historical time such as the feudal period. It would sound preposterous to offer an analysis that society then was shaped chiefly by whether the king and his barons were nice people or bad. There weren’t dramatic, structural changes every time a new prince ascended to the throne. There was a great deal of continuity and consistency over many centuries because each king and his courtiers had the same economic motive to justify a system preserving their wealth and privilege. A king could tinker with the system in ways suited to his personality, but the ruthless, brutal core of the system had to be maintained. Any king who lacked these steely qualities would be toppled by someone who didn’t.

The same applies today to the heads of major corporations. So long as it proves profitable, Exxon is not going to stop despoiling the planet to extract hydrocarbons, whoever is appointed CEO. Exxon could never appoint a “nice” CEO in the sense of someone prepared to forgo profit and shareholder value – not so long as the current neoliberal economic model dominates. Even were a ruthless CEO to have a Damascene conversion in the job, suddenly becoming a serious environmentalist, he or she would be removed before they could take any decisions that might jeopardise the corporation’s profits.

That is why genuine radical leftists are much less interested in who becomes the figurehead of a corrupt and corrupting political system than they are in finding ways to challenge the system and thereby highlight how power operates in our society. The goal is fundamental change, now of a kind that is needed to save us as a species, rather than continuing image management.

Corbyn’s rise is so important because he threatens to lift the veil on the power structure, either because he is forced into a clash with it as he tries to implement his policies or because he is crushed by it before he can pursue those policies. Corbyn offers a unique opportunity to hold up a mirror to British society, stripping away the beautified mask to see the ugly skeleton-face below. He risks making the carefully concealed structure of power visible. And this is precisely why he is so dangerous to the status-quo-supporting centrists.

No single Jewish view
But still, aren’t Williamson and Labour members suggesting that “Jews” are the ones behind this, as Iannucci infers? When we speak of plots by the powerful, global corporations, the banks and capitalists, aren’t we really using coded language for “Jews”? And if we aren’t, how do we explain the fact that Jews are so certain that Labour is mired in “institutional anti-semitism”?

“Jews”, however, are not of one mind on this issue, except in the imagination of centrists pursuing the “Labour is institutionally anti-semitic” narrative. Certainly, there are lots of different views among British Jews about Labour. It’s just that only one strand of opinion is being given a platform by the political and media class – the one against Corbyn. That should hardly surprise us if, as I explained, the corporate media are not there to reflect different constituencies of opinion, but to enforce a consensus that serves the powerful.

The problem with Iannucci’s implicit argument that Jews should be left to decide whether Labour is anti-semitic – and that denying them that right is itself anti-semitic – is not only that it assumes Jews are of a single view. It makes two further dubious assumptions: that those who have been given a voice on the subject have actually experienced anti-semitism in Labour, and that they have no other identifiable motives for making such a claim. Neither assumption withstands scrutiny.

When the largely conservative leadership of the Board of Deputies is given centre-stage as spokesperson for British Jews on the issue of Labour and Corbyn, it can speak with no meaningful authority. Its previous leader, Jonathan Arkush, was not only an unabashed supporter of the Conservative Party, but openly welcomed its governing alliance with Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party, extreme Protestant loyalists, as “positive news” for Jews. His successor, Marie van der Zyl, argues that the Board exists “to promote a sympathetic understanding of Israel” – a position that necessarily drives her and the Board into a profound ideological clash with Corbyn and much of the Labour membership behind him.

Examples crumble on inspection
Those Jews inside Labour vociferously promoting claims of a supposed anti-semitism “crisis” in Labour, chiefly the Jewish Labour Movement and a handful of Labour MPs, have been much less forthcoming with actual examples. There is no doubt, as we are often reminded, that former Labour MP Luciana Berger received death threats, but it is much less often noted that those threats did not come from Labour members, they came from the far right. Dossiers like the one submitted by MP Margaret Hodge have shown to be cluttered with cases of alleged anti-semitism that have nothing to do with the Labour party. And MP Ruth Smeeth’s infamous claims of an anti-semitic remark against her by black anti-racism activist Marc Wadsworth crumbled on closer inspection, as did her claim to have received 25,000 anti-semitic comments in a matter of days.

The motives of the leadership of the Jewish Labour Movement need questioning too, as an Al-Jazeera undercover investigation revealed two years ago. It exposed the fact that the JLM was working closely with Shai Masot, an agent inside the Israeli embassy whose job was to help mobilise opposition to Corbyn. Again unsurprisingly given that the media serves the interests of power, Al-Jazeera’s investigation received negligible coverage and made almost no impression outside pro-Palestinian circles despite its shocking findings.



As self-confessed Zionists, and hardline ones at that, the leaders of the JLM – representing only a few hundreds members, some of them not Jewish – regard Israel as a supremely important issue, and seem largely indifferent to what Israel is doing to the Palestinians. The JLM and its allies in Labour Friends of Israel have been central to efforts to force the Labour party to adopt a new definition of anti-semitism that conflates strong criticism of Israel with Jew hatred. Jewish supporters of Corbyn inside Labour, who have been highly critical the JLM and Labour Friends of Israel, such as Jewish Voice for Labour, have been mostly sidelined in media coverage or dismissed as the “wrong kind of Jews”.

In other words, when we hear from Jewish organisations, it is specifically the ones that have an agenda deeply at odds with Corbyn’s – either for his leftwing politics or for his adamant opposition to Israeli oppression. Supposed “Jewish” opinion on Labour has simply become another echo chamber, one selected for amplification because its message is the one centrists want to hear: that Corbyn and his supporters are very bad people who must not be allowed near power.

Polls reveal ugly racism
But even if all that is true, polls suggest a significant number of ordinary Jews think there is a problem with anti-semitism in Labour. How can we dismiss or denigrate their views?

Well, if only one view of Labour and anti-semitism is being aired in the media, it is almost certain that a majority of Jews will end up believing the truth of a supposed “Corbyn threat”. Jews are no different from the rest of us. No smoke without fire, they’ll say. If the media keep telling them that Williamson said Labour was “too apologetic” about anti-semitism, even though it is documented that he didn’t, then most – those who listen to the BBC and read the papers rather than doing the hard work of their own research – will come to believe it must be true he said it. The evidence is irrelevant if a consensus has been manufactured in spite of the evidence.

Further, the fact that a majority believe something is true quite obviously doesn’t make it true – or right. And that applies to Jews just as much as any other group. If you doubt me, consider this. Polls of Israeli Jews consistently show them holding views that would appall most people in Britain, including British Jews. One survey published in December and conducted by Israeli Channel 10 TV showed that 52 per cent of Israeli Jews are prepared to admit that they think Jews are better than non-Jews, with only 20 per cent disagreeing with the statement. Some 88 per cent are disturbed at the idea of their son befriending a girl from the fifth of Israel’s population who are Arab. And three-quarters are worried by hearing a public conversation held in the mother tongue of this large, quiescent Arab minority.

So if Israeli Jews can be so obviously wrong in their beliefs and values, if the ugliest forms of racism are rife in their society after long exposure to simple-minded Arab hatred from their own political and media class, why should we expect more from British Jews – or from ourselves – after long exposure to a similar media-constructed consensus? To believe otherwise would be to assume that most of us are capable of building our own value systems from scratch, that we can develop a worldview in total isolation from the information and narratives we are bombarded with every day by the media and our politicians.

Whipping up fear
There is a plot against Corbyn to stop him getting anywhere near power. It is a very obvious one, as I documented in my last post. It has taken many forms over the past four years, but has settled on anti-semitism as the most effective smear because it is such a difficult accusation to deny if the actual evidence is not taken into account, as Wiliamson’s case – and so many other examples – illustrate.


Is it not telling that the media, while going to such lengths to alert audiences to the Jewish identity of those offended by Labour anti-semitism, have so rarely mentioned that many of those supposedly doing the offending – including those suspended and expelled by Labour for anti-semitism – are Jewish themselves?

The media and status-quo-enforcing politicians on both sides of the aisle have whipped up fear over anti-semitism among a portion of British Jews, just as their US equivalents did among a majority of Americans during the McCarthy witchhunts for Communists and during round-ups of Asians during World War Two.

They have done so because Corbyn poses a genuine threat, not to Jews but to a power structure the political and media establishment are deeply invested in – ideologically, financially and emotionally. This class is at war with ordinary people, Jews and non-Jews alike. And it will use any means necessary to prevent disrupting the continuing dominance of turbo-charged neoliberalism, an economic system that threatens all our futures on this planet.

One day, if we survive as a species, when neoliberalism looks as archaic and outmoded as feudalism does to us today, all of this will look much clearer. By then, we may finally understand that we were played for fools – all of us.

No one pays me to write these blog posts. If you appreciated it, or any of the others, please consider hitting the donate button in the right-hand margin (computer) or below (phone).

_________________
--
'Suppression of truth, human spirit and the holy chord of justice never works long-term. Something the suppressors never get.' David Southwell
http://aangirfan.blogspot.com
http://aanirfan.blogspot.com
Martin Van Creveld: Let me quote General Moshe Dayan: "Israel must be like a mad dog, too dangerous to bother."
Martin Van Creveld: I'll quote Henry Kissinger: "In campaigns like this the antiterror forces lose, because they don't win, and the rebels win by not losing."
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 11, 2020 11:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Labour antisemitism investigation will not be sent to equality commission
A report found factional hostility towards Jeremy Corbyn amongst former senior officials contributed to "a litany of mistakes".
https://news.sky.com/story/labour-antisemitism-investigation-will-not- be-sent-to-equality-commission-11972071

Tom Rayner - Political correspondent Political correspondent @RaynerSkyNews Saturday 11 April 2020 20:08, UK
Labour antisemitism investigation will not be sent to equality commission
Image:
A Labour antisemitism investigation will not be sent to the equality commission

An extensive internal investigation into the way Labour handled antisemitism complaints will not be submitted to the Equality and Human Rights Commission, after an intervention by party lawyers.

The 860-page report, seen by Sky News, concluded factional hostility towards Jeremy Corbyn amongst former senior officials contributed to "a litany of mistakes" that hindered the effective handling of the issue.

The investigation, which was completed in the last month of Jeremy Corbyn's leadership, claims to have found "no evidence" of antisemitism complaints being treated differently to other forms of complaint, or of current or former staff being "motivated by antisemitic intent".

Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn speaks to the media on the coronavirus pandemic outside the Finsbury Park Jobcentre, north London.
Image:
The investigation was completed in the last month of Jeremy Corbyn's leadership
Instead, the report concludes there was a lack of "robust processes, systems, training, education and effective line management" and found "abundant evidence of a hyper-factional atmosphere prevailing in Party HQ" towards Jeremy Corbyn which "affected the expeditious and resolute handling of disciplinary complaints".

As well as 10,000 separate emails, the dossier uncovers thousands of private WhatsApp communications between former senior party officials and singles out for criticism some who gave whistleblower evidence to last year's highly-critical BBC Panorama investigation on antisemitism within Labour.

These include the former General Secretary Lord McNicol and the former acting head of the governance and legal unit, Sam Matthews.

Those involved in compiling the huge dossier insist it was intended to provide additional context to the equalities watchdog and supplement the party's main submissions to the investigation into institutional antisemitic racism.

Indeed the report directly addresses the EHRC on several occasions, including urging the watchdog to "question the validity of the personal testimonies" of former members of staff and to "focus instead on the documentary, primary-source evidence that the Party has made available", leaving little doubt as to the intention of its authors that the document be submitted to the investigation.

However, Sky News understands party lawyers have told General Secretary Jennie Formby the report entitled: "The work of the Labour Party's Governance and Legal Unit in relation to antisemitism, 2014 - 2019", should not be submitted to the Commission, due to fears it could damage the party's wider case.

A Labour Party spokesperson disputed the suggestion the report was ever intended to be submitted to the EHRC, saying:"The Party has submitted extensive information to the EHRC and responded to questions and requests for further information, none of which included this document."

It is understood party lawyers consider the document to be a draft internal report covering a time period and breadth of issues that are not within the scope of the watchdog's investigation, and that it should be used to inform and enhance the party's understanding of the situation.

But that decision has prompted widespread concern amongst those who worked in the most senior positions in the leadership office of Jeremy Corbyn, with one telling Sky News: "This report completely blows open everything that went on".

"We were being sabotaged and set up left right and centre by McNicol's team and we didn't even know. It's so important that the truth comes out", the source added.

Iain McNicol was the Labour Party General Secretary from 2011 to 2018
Image:
Iain McNicol was the Labour Party General Secretary from 2011 to 2018
The report claims private communications show senior former staff "openly worked against the aims and objectives of the leadership of the Party, and in the 2017 general election some key staff even appeared to work against the Party's core objective of winning elections".

The report says the WhatsApp communications in question, which included some of the most senior figures in the party headquarters and Lord McNicol's office, were leaked by one of the group's members.

The examples from chat archives published in the document include:

Conversations in 2017 which appear to show senior staff preparing for Tom Watson to become interim leader in anticipation of Jeremy Corbyn losing the election
Conversations which it is claimed show senior staff hid information from the leader's office about digital spending and contact details for MPs and candidates during the election
Conversations on election night in which the members of the group talk about the need to hide their disappointment that Mr. Corbyn had done better than expected and would be unlikely to resign
A discussion about whether the grassroots activist network Momentum could be 'proscribed' for being a 'party within a party'
A discussion about 'unsuspending' a former Labour MP who was critical of Jeremy Corbyn so they could stand as a candidate in the 2017 election
A discussion about how to prevent corbyn-ally Rebecca Long-Bailey gaining a seat on the party's governing body in 2017
Regular references to corbyn-supporting party staff as "trots"
Conversations between senior staff in Lord McNicol's office in which they refer to former director of communications Seamus Milnes as "dracula", and saying he was "spiteful and evil and we should make sure he is never allowed in our Party if it's last thing we do"
Conversations in which the same group refers to Mr. Corbyn's former chief of staff Karie Murphy as "medusa", a "crazy woman" and a "bitch face cow" that would "make a good dartboard"
A discussion in which one of the group members expresses their "hope" that a young pro-Corbyn Labour activist, who they acknowledge had mental health problems, "dies in a fire"
The investigation also accuses the former General Secretary Lord McNicol, and other senior figures of providing "false and misleading information" to Jeremy Corbyn's office in relation to the handling of antisemitism complaints, which the report claims meant "the scale of the problem was not appreciated" by the leadership.

The report claims McNicol and staff in the Governance and Legal Unit "provided timetables for the resolution of cases that were never met; falsely claimed to have processed all antisemitism complaints; falsely claimed that most complaints received were not about Labour members and provided highly inaccurate statistics of antisemitism complaints".

Responding to the messages cited and the allegations made against him in the report, Lord McNicol said:"The energy and effort that must have been invested in trawling 10,000 emails rather than challenging antisemitism in the party is deeply troubling.

"This a petty attempt to divert attention away from the real issue. It is telling that the Party's own lawyers appear to have ruled that this information was unsuitable for submission to the EHRC's ongoing investigation.

"I have repeatedly stood by the professional staff of the Labour Party who I worked with over the seven and a half year period I was General Secretary, and continue to do so."

The report also claims Sam Matthews, who served first as Head of Disputes and then as acting Head of the Governance and Legal Unit, "rarely replied or took any action, and the vast majority of times where action did occur, it was prompted by other Labour staff directly chasing this themselves".

Sam Matthews was Labour's Head of Disputes and then acting Head of the Governance and Legal Unit
Image:
Sam Matthews was Labour's Head of Disputes and then acting Head of the Governance and Legal Unit
It states that there was a failure to develop "detailed or coherent guidelines for investigating complaints based on social media conduct" and a failure to "implement the Macpherson principle of logging and investigating complaints of racism as racism".

Following what the report describes as a "systematic review" of all complaints received between November 2016 to February 2018, it claims investigations were initiated into only 34 of the more than 300 complaints received in relation to antisemitism.

"At least half of these warranted action, many of them in relation to very extreme forms of antisemitism, but were ignored. Almost all of these complaints were forwarded from one inbox to another, and many of them were identified as Labour members and sent to the Head of Disputes, Sam Matthews, for action", the report claims.

In a statement to Sky News responding to the leaked report, Sam Matthews said: "This latest episode comes as no surprise to me, as an effort by a disgruntled faction who are floundering in their attempts to blame others in order to distract from matters that will be investigated by the EHRC and the Courts.

"I hope Keir Starmer will stand by his commitment to undo the damage that they and their supporters have caused.

Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn (right) alongside shadow Brexit secretary Keir Starmer during a press conference in central London.
Image:
Sir Keir Starmer replaced Jeremy Corbyn as Labour leader on 4 April
Mr Matthew continued: "The proper examination of the full evidence will show that as Head of Disputes and Acting Director, I did my level best to tackle the poison of anti-Jewish racism which was growing under Jeremy Corbyn's leadership.

"A highly selective, retrospective review of the Party's poor record, not deemed good enough for submission by the Party's own lawyers and conducted in the dying days of a Corbyn's leadership in order to justify their inaction, simply cannot be relied upon."

_________________
--
'Suppression of truth, human spirit and the holy chord of justice never works long-term. Something the suppressors never get.' David Southwell
http://aangirfan.blogspot.com
http://aanirfan.blogspot.com
Martin Van Creveld: Let me quote General Moshe Dayan: "Israel must be like a mad dog, too dangerous to bother."
Martin Van Creveld: I'll quote Henry Kissinger: "In campaigns like this the antiterror forces lose, because they don't win, and the rebels win by not losing."
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 13, 2020 1:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Is Democracy Alive Or Dead In Britain?
Take A Deep Breath...
Anti-Corbyn Labour officials worked to lose general election to oust leader, leaked dossier finds
https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/labour-leak-report-corb yn-election-whatsapp-antisemitism-tories-yougov-poll-a9462456.html

News > UK > UK Politics
Anti-Corbyn Labour officials worked to lose general election to oust leader, leaked dossier finds
Call for investigation into ‘possible misuse of funds’ by senior officials on party’s right wing

Jon Stone Policy Correspondent @joncstone
Monday 13 April 2020 13:46
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn arrives at Labour Party headquarters the morning after the 2017 general election result
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn arrives at Labour Party headquarters the morning after the 2017 general election result ( AFP via Getty Images )
Labour party officials opposed to Jeremy Corbyn worked to lose the 2017 general election in the hope that a bad result would trigger a leadership contest to oust him, a dossier drawn up by the party suggests.

A huge cache of leaked WhatsApp messages and emails show senior officials from the party’s right wing, who worked at its HQ, became despondent as Labour climbed in the polls during the election campaign despite their efforts.


The unreleased report, which The Independent has seen in full, was drawn up in the last days of Mr Corbyn’s leadership and concerns the conduct of certain officials, including some who were investigating cases of antisemitism in the party.


The 860 page document claims that “an abnormal intensity of factional opposition to the party leader” had “inhibited the proper functioning of the Labour Party bureaucracy” and contributed to “a litany of mistakes” in dealing with antisemitism, which it admits was a serious problem in the party.

But the Campaign Against Antisemitism said the document was a “desperate last-ditch attempt to deflect and discredit allegations” and amounted to “an attempt to imagine a vast anti-Corbyn conspiracy”.

Read more
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Starmer appoints leadership rival Lisa Nandy shadow foreign secretary
Left-wingers in the party called for new leader Keir Starmer to launch an investigation into the behaviour detailed in the report, including “the possible misuse of funds” by officials.

Tactics by anti-Corbyn staff evidenced in the report include channelling resources to candidates associated with the right wing of the party, refusing to share information with the leader’s office, as well as “coming into the office and doing nothing for a few months” during the election campaign.

The report says hostile staff created a chat so they could pretend to work while actually speaking to each other, with one participant stating that “tap tap tapping away will make us look v busy”.




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Who said it?


An election night chat log shows that 45 minutes after the exit poll revealed that Labour had overturned the Conservative majority, one senior official said the result was the “opposite to what I had been working towards for the last couple of years”, describing themselves and their allies as “silent and grey faced” and in need of counselling.

Another said: “We have to be upbeat and not show it”, while a third told the group that “everyone needs to smile”, describing the result as “awful”. Another very senior party official said it was going to be “a long night”.


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The senior officials keenly watched polls during the election campaign and hoped that the party that employed them would fare badly. When one YouGov poll showed the party up during the campaign, one said: “I actually felt quite sick when I saw that YouGov poll last night”.

A different official argued that the polling bounce for the party was actually “great”, stating: “I shall tell you why, it is a peak, and the polling was done after the Manchester [terror] attack, so with a bit of luck this speech will show a clear polling decline and we shall all be able to point to how disgusting they truly are.”

The report also details large volumes of abusive discussion by senior officials about colleagues and activists from the party’s left wing. In one exchange a senior official said a young activist had “mental health issues”, to which another official chimed in: “I hope [name of activist redacted] dies in a fire”. A third said: “That’s a very bad wish [name redacted]. But if he does I wouldn’t piss on him to put him out.” The second official then adds: “Wish there was a petrol can emoji”.

The party’s resources – paid for by party members – were often utilised to further the interests of one faction and in some cases were used to undermine the party’s objectives inter
Leaked Labour internal report
Some senior staff also joked about “hanging and burning” Jeremy Corbyn, and suggested that another staff member who cheered a speech by the party leader “should be shot”.

In another exchange, one senior official laments that political advisors working for members of the shadow cabinet “have stopped wearing bras” and that there are “nipples out at the PADs [political advisors] meeting and not a single tie”. The official then names the advisor and describes her outfit, before suggesting that a male MP only “speaks highly” of the advisor because of their appearance.

One exchange shows a senior official described another from the left of the party as “pube head”. In another months later they called her a “smelly cow” and comment that she “had the exact same clothes on yesterday”.

Party staff around the unit were also documented regularly describing people, including colleagues they regarded as not sufficiently opposed to the leadership, as “trots” – short of Trotskyites, or disciples of Russian revolutionary Leon Trotsky. Chat logs show that some colleagues who denounced “trots” themselves were in turn themselves privately regarded as “trots” by other staffers for being seen as insufficiently critical.

During the 2015 and 2016 leadership contests a large number of staffers at Labour HQ appear to have worked to exclude those they regarded as “trots” from voting in the election – believing that they would vote for Jeremy Corbyn.

The report says staffers trawled social media to find reasons to exclude voters from the contest, work which was referred to on numerous occasions by numerous staff as variations of “trot busting”, “bashing trots” and “trot spotting”. One staffer described themselves as being “trot smasher in chief”, while another said during the 2015 leadership election that the “priority right now is trot hunting”. In 2015 two officials discussed the fact that they were “playing trot or not” while “the real work is piling up”. A senior official described this work as “saving the Labour party”.

Senior officials from the right of the party spoke of their opposition to policy positions adopted by the party under both Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership, but also his predecessor Ed Miliband. In one 2015 exchange, a member of staff said: “Brace yourself. [Shadow chancellor John] McDonnell just called for corporation tax to go up”. Another replied: “You’re kidding me. I can’t quite believe it.”

Commenting after this portion of the report was posted on social media, former shadow health secretary and leadership candidate Andy Burnham said: “Seems right to me. Always felt like the party machine opposed my pro-public NHS and social care policies between 2010 and 2015. Not sure I had even-handed treatment from them in either the 2010 or 2015 leadership elections.”

The report claims that “The party’s resources – paid for by party members – were often utilised to further the interests of one faction and in some cases were used to undermine the party’s objectives.” Ahead of the 2017 election officials spoke of channelling resources to candidates critical of the leadership, with one telling colleagues “we need to try and throw cash” at the seat of then deputy leader Tom Watson, a persistent Corbyn critic. It is claimed that officials operated a “secret key seats team” based in Labour’s London region office in Ergon House, “from where a parallel general election campaign was run to support MPs associated with the right wing of the party”.

Officials appeared to try and hide some of their activities, with the same person stating during a different exchange: “We need to stop digital campaign budgets going to [a named left-wing senior staff member] for approval, he can’t see what we are doing with digital spend”.

We have to be upbeat and not show it
Senior Labour official on morning after party’s unexpectedly good result
In 2017 senior officials in the party discussed making preparations for another leadership election, hoping that one might be trigged by the party losing the Copeland and Stoke-on-trent by-elections. Chat logs show one said “if we lose these elections we could have another leadership election. We should set up at some stage a discrete WG [working group] to go over rules, timetable scenarios and staff servicing the process. Just so we’re prepared”. A very senior official approved the process, dubbing it “Operation Cupcake” and suggesting that Tom Watson could be interim leader. The leadership election would have been the party’s third in three years.

Sky News, which first reported the existence of the dossier, reports that Labour party lawyers have decided against sending it to the Equality and Human Rights Commission, which is currently holding an investigation into antisemitism in the party. It is understood that the report may have been drawn up help the party understand how its own disciplinary processes operated in recent years and not intended for submission to the EHRC.

A statement from Gideon Falter, chief executive of the Campaign Against Antisemitism argued that the material should be submitted to the investigation, but said: “In the dying days of Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership, the Labour Party appears to have invested in a desperate last-ditch attempt to deflect and discredit allegations of antisemitism. Rather than properly dealing with cases of antisemitism and the culture of anti-Jewish racism that prevailed during Mr Corbyn’s tenure, the Party has instead busied itself trawling through 10,000 of its own officials’ emails and WhatsApp messages in an attempt to image a vast anti-Corbyn conspiracy and to continue its efforts to smear whistleblowers.

“It is a disgrace that the 450,000-word report, which itself claims to ‘prove the scale’ of antisemitism in the Party and serves an exhibit of the Party’s failure to address the crisis, is being kept secret. Sir Keir Starmer has the report and should ensure that it is immediately provided to us and the Equality and Human Rights Commission, so that it can be considered as part of the Commission’s statutory investigation in which we are the complainant.”

Labour MP Charlotte Nichols said that “this document should be published in full” and that “Jewish members have a right to know what has happened and to see the evidence”.

Momentum, a group which organises on the left wing of the Labour party, called for a full inquiry into the report, including “the possible misuse of funds”.

“Labour came so close in the 2017 general election. Winning 40% of the popular vote, we were less than 2,500 votes away from forming a government. Had we pulled together, we could have won. A Labour government could have revived crucial public services, built a more resilient economy, and saved lives by giving our NHS the resources it needs,” Momentum national coordinating group member John Taylor said.

“Instead, leaked WhatsApp messages suggest that party headquarters undermined Labour’s chances in 2017 and were disappointed when the Tories lost their majority. For the activists who gave everything working for a Labour government, and for those whose lives depend on Labour winning power, we can never let this happen again.

Protests against Labour antisemitism
Show all 14
“Our party can build a better future. But to do this we need an open, hard working, professional party committed to winning a Labour government. That’s why we’re calling for Keir Starmer to announce a full inquiry into the report, including into the possible misuse of funds. Those responsible must be held to account, and anyone found to have worked against a Labour victory must never again be allowed to hold a senior party position.”

Matt Wrack, general secretary of the Fire Brigades Union, which is affiliated wit hteh Labour party, called for disciplinary action to be launched against the officials named in the report.

“This is clear evidence of what many party members knew all along – that whilst Jeremy Corbyn was trying to deliver a Labour government, senior Labour officials were conducting a vicious sabotage campaign against him,” he said.

“This abuse – which included repeated attempts to weaken Jeremy Corbyn’s position – was taking place at the very same time that Labour activists were knocking on doors day and night to try and deliver a Labour government. Particular shame should be felt by those who were planning to oust Jeremy Corbyn less than four months after he had won a second leadership election.

“This consistent pattern of corrosive behaviour prioritised damaging the left of the party over both winning elections and dealing swiftly with complaints of anti-Semitism and other forms of racism – it cannot be allowed to fester any longer in the Labour Party. Keir Starmer has said he wants a united party. He should therefore use his new mandate to urgently address this issue, including taking disciplinary action, as appropriate.

“These people should never again be in senior positions in the Labour Party. Without this internal wrecking, the hung parliament in 2017 could have instead been a Labour government – those involved should wear that for the rest of their professional lives.”

A Labour Party spokesperson said: “The Party has submitted extensive information to the EHRC and responded to questions and requests for further information, none of which included this document.”

_________________
--
'Suppression of truth, human spirit and the holy chord of justice never works long-term. Something the suppressors never get.' David Southwell
http://aangirfan.blogspot.com
http://aanirfan.blogspot.com
Martin Van Creveld: Let me quote General Moshe Dayan: "Israel must be like a mad dog, too dangerous to bother."
Martin Van Creveld: I'll quote Henry Kissinger: "In campaigns like this the antiterror forces lose, because they don't win, and the rebels win by not losing."


Last edited by Whitehall_Bin_Men on Mon Apr 13, 2020 9:47 pm; edited 1 time in total
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 13, 2020 9:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Back in 1996, a young Tony Blair told me at the end of an interview: “You really don’t have to worry about Jeremy Corbyn suddenly taking over — I know everything that’s going on in his constituency party.”

Joe Murphy: Jeremy Corbyn will hang on as leader but the battle is far from over
https://www.standard.co.uk/comment/comment/joe-murphy-jeremy-corbyn-wi ll-hang-on-as-leader-but-the-battle-is-far-from-over-a3350531.html

Despite some olive branches, the re-elected Labour leader is deadly serious about getting his own way

JOE MURPHY
Wednesday 21 September 2016 12:58 The Evening Standard

Back in 1996, a young Tony Blair told me at the end of an interview: “You really don’t have to worry about Jeremy Corbyn suddenly taking over — I know everything that’s going on in his constituency party.”

The boast of the then Opposition leader came sharply back to mind this week as a roomful of Liberal Democrats sang “Tony Blair can f*** off and die” at their conference, and the very Left-winger he once claimed to have under lock and key will get the chance to bury the Blair legacy even deeper.


At 11.45am on Saturday, barring a bigger surprise than both the Brexit vote and the 2015 exit poll combined, Jeremy Corbyn will be re-elected as leader of the Labour Party, probably with an even bigger mandate.


It is the defining event of the autumn conference season. Already, Tim Farron has galloped towards the vacant centre ground in anticipation. Theresa May is honing her campaign to woo the “working poor”, voters earning £16,000 to £21,000 whom she believes are delaminating from Labour because of Mr Corbyn’s perceived lack of patriotism.

As for Labour, it faces the prospect of months and probably years of internal conflict as Mr Corbyn and his enemies wrestle for control of the party’s internal levers. “It will be a continuing war of attrition,” said one MP grimly.



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“We have got to put the band back together,” pleaded deputy leader Tom Watson just before yesterday’s marathon National Executive Committee meeting avoided a debate on his proposals to recalibrate the way future leaders and shadow cabinet members are chosen. But will the ensemble in Liverpool be playing The Beatles’ Come Together — or Frankie Goes to Hollywood’s bleak anthem, Two Tribes?


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Labour staff plead with Corbyn for no 'purge' after leadership contest
Mr Corbyn will be channelling Paul McCartney in his victory address, which allies say will be laden with olive branches. Over the next few days, they say, he will be “reaching out” to Labour MPs who walked out of the shadow cabinet in the summer, offering them “a new settlement”. They say a “significant number” of former frontbenchers have already signalled privately that they want to come back, enough to form a fully manned shadow cabinet in a reshuffle next month.

But the unity he offers comes at a price. For the Corbynites, the leadership contest has been advantageous because it unlocked an opportunity to make policy announcements that form the beginning of a “substantial platform”. Mr Corbyn peppered his summer campaign with pledges that would never have got through the old shadow cabinet without heated debate, including a promise of half a million extra council homes, nationalising the railways and cutting fares by up to 10 per cent, and a £500 billion investment strategy in the green economy. Mr Corbyn’s new settlement, in other words, sounds very much on his terms. The irony is that the old shadow cabinet, before the attempted coup against him, actually contained more centrist Labour MPs than Corbynites. And this radical shift cannot easily be reversed, because Left-wingers like Diane Abbott and Angela Rayner, who filled the gaps after the mass resignations, will cling hard to their promotions. “Jeremy is going to have to appoint loyalists to the big briefs,” says one Labour MP.

The Corbynites’ trump card is their leader’s mandate from the party membership, which a dissident MP interprets sourly as “their mandate to kick the * out anybody who disagrees”. Certainly, the drumbeat of deselections has increased, with MPs such as Walthamstow’s Stella Creasy stalked by Momentum.

Also rising is the sense of foreboding at party HQ that Mr Corbyn will get the NEC to start a purge of officials. John McDonnell, the acid-tongued John Lennon to Mr Corbyn’s McCartney, has already clashed publicly with Labour general secretary Iain McNicol and accused officials of a “rigged purge” of Left-wingers.



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Even Mr Watson, the elected deputy leader, would probably be facing a challenge, say MPs, but for the inability of the Corbynites to muster 50 names with which to trigger moves to oust him.

Some trace the current divisions to the very earliest days of Labour, when syndicalists questioned the need for parliamentary representation to achieve socialist change, with trade unionist Noah Ablett asking: “Why cross the river to fill the pail?” Mr Corbyn, they claim, belongs to a tradition that has always preferred the purity of direct action and protest to the messy compromises of elected power. The Labour leader’s supporters retort that his 30 years in Parliament disprove the idea.

Can anything bring the two tribes together? Probably not, though Mr Watson believes that shadow cabinet elections — where MPs pick the members and the leader allocates portfolios — would help patch up the Parliamentary Labour Party. Mr Corbyn is open to the idea of “an element” of elections but only as part of a wider review of internal democracy.

At the heart of Mr Corbyn’s version of internal democracy is the principle of one member, one vote — the system that put him into power.

It is striking that in all his reforms to create New Labour, Tony Blair never messed with either the leadership electoral college or the shadow cabinet elections. He instinctively knew that to change either would risk toppling the fine balance between the constituent parts of the Labour Party, unleashing unstoppable and chaotic forces.

Incidentally, that boastful-sounding quote from Mr Blair in 1996, which attempted to reassure middle England that New Labour would not revert back to the bad old days of 1980s militancy if voters trusted it with power, did not appear in the printed interview. Why? Because Jeremy Corbyn was such a marginal figure at the time that the idea of him taking over anything sounded ridiculous. But make no mistake: Labour’s leader is deadly serious about getting his own way from now on.

_________________
--
'Suppression of truth, human spirit and the holy chord of justice never works long-term. Something the suppressors never get.' David Southwell
http://aangirfan.blogspot.com
http://aanirfan.blogspot.com
Martin Van Creveld: Let me quote General Moshe Dayan: "Israel must be like a mad dog, too dangerous to bother."
Martin Van Creveld: I'll quote Henry Kissinger: "In campaigns like this the antiterror forces lose, because they don't win, and the rebels win by not losing."
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 16, 2020 11:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

How top Labour officials plotted to bring down Jeremy Corbyn
16 April 2020
Leaked report shows that staff worked relentlessly to damage the party’s leader, including by exploiting antisemitism
https://www.jonathan-cook.net/2020-04-16/labour-officials-plot-corbyn- antisemitism/

Middle East Eye – 16 April 2020

The findings of a leaked, 860-page report compiled by the British Labour Party on its handling of antisemitism complaints is both deeply shocking and entirely predictable all at once.

For the first time, extensive internal correspondence between senior party officials has been revealed, proving a years-long plot to destroy Jeremy Corbyn, the Labour leader who recently stepped down.

The report confirms long-held suspicions that suspected cases of antisemitism were exploited by head office staff to try to undermine Corbyn. Anyone who was paying close attention to events in the party over the past five years already had a sense of that.

But the depth of hostility from party managers towards Corbyn – to the extent that they actively sought to engineer his defeat in the 2017 general election – comes as a bombshell even to most veteran Labour watchers.

Hankering for Blair
As the report reveals, party managers and a substantial section of the Labour parliamentary party barely hid their contempt for Corbyn after he won the leadership election in 2015. They claimed he was incapable of winning power.

These officials and MPs hankered for a return to a supposed golden era of Labour 20 years earlier, when Tony Blair had reinvented the party as New Labour – embracing Thatcherite economics, but presented with a more caring face. At the time, it proved a winning formula, earning Blair three terms in office.

Many of the officials and MPs most hostile to Corbyn had been selected or prospered under Blair. Because Corbyn sought to reverse the concessions made by New Labour to the political right, his democratic socialism was reviled by the Blairites.

In 2017, one of the architects of New Labour, Peter Mandelson, unabashedly declared: “I work every single day in some small way to bring forward the end of his [Corbyn’s] tenure in office. Something, however small it may be – an email, a phone call or a meeting I convene – every day I try to do something to save the Labour Party from his leadership.”

That sentiment, the report makes clear, was widely shared at the highest levels of the party bureaucracy. Senior officials actively sought to sabotage Corbyn as leader at every turn.

Bid to rig leadership contest
The Blairites found a plethora of self-serving reasons – aggressively shared by the media – for arguing that Corbyn was unfit for office. Those ranged from his unkempt appearance to his opposition to Britain’s recent wars of aggression, resource grabs repackaged as “humanitarian interventions” that had been a staple of the Blair years.

Corbyn was falsely presented as having a treasonous past as a Soviet spy, and of being at the very least indulgent of antisemitism.

While members of Corbyn’s inner circle were busy putting out these endless fires, the leaked report shows that Labour officials were dedicating their time and energy to unseating him. Within a year, they had foisted upon him a rerun leadership election.

Corbyn won again with the overwhelming backing of members, even after party officials tried to rig the contest, as the report notes, by expelling thousands of members they feared would vote for him.

Even this second victory failed to disarm the Blairites. They argued that what members found appealing in Corbyn would alienate the wider electorate. And so, the covert campaign against the Labour leader intensified from within, as the extensive correspondence between party officials cited in the report makes clear.

Blue Labour
In fact, senior officials frantically tried to engineer a third leadership challenge, in early 2017, on the back of what they expected to be a poor showing in two spring byelections. The plan was to install one of their own, Tom Watson, Corbyn’s hostile deputy, as interim leader.

To their horror, Labour did well in the byelections. Soon afterwards, a general election was called. It is in the sections dealing with the June 2017 election that the report’s most shocking revelations emerge.

Again assuming Labour would perform badly, senior staff drew up plans to stage yet another leadership challenge immediately after the election. Hoping to improve their odds, they proposed that an electoral college replace the one-member, one-vote system to ensure no leftwing candidates could win.

These same staff had boasted of “political fixing” and interfering in constituency parties to ensure Blairites were selected as parliamentary candidates, rather than those sympathetic to Corbyn.

It was already well known that Labour was beset by factionalism at head office. At the time, some observers even referred to “Blue Labour” and “Red Labour” – with the implication that the “blue” faction were really closet Tories. Few probably understood how close to the truth such remarks were.

‘Sick’ over positive polls
The dossier reveals that the Blairites in charge of the party machine continued undermining Corbyn, even as it became clear they were wrong and that he could win the 2017 election.

According to the report, correspondence between senior staff – including Labour’s then-general secretary, Iain McNicol – show there was no let-up in efforts to subvert Corbyn’s campaign, even as the electoral tide turned in his favour.

Rather than celebrating the fact that the electorate appeared to be warming to Corbyn when he finally had a chance to get his message out – during the short period when the broadcast media were forced to provide more balance – Labour officials frantically sent messages to each other hoping he would still lose.

When a poll showed the party surging, one official commented to a colleague: “I actually felt quite sick when I saw that YouGov poll last night.” The colleague replied that “with a bit of luck” there would soon be “a clear polling decline”.

Excitedly, senior staff cited any outlier poll that suggested support for Corbyn was dropping. And they derided party figures, including shadow cabinet ministers such as Emily Thornberry, who offered anything more than formulaic support to Corbyn during the campaign.

‘Doing nothing’ during election
But this was not just sniping from the sidelines. Top staff actively worked to sabotage the campaign.

Party bosses set up a secret operation – the “key seats team” – in one of Labour’s offices, from which, according to the report, “a parallel general election campaign was run to support MPs associated with the right wing of the party”. A senior official pointed to the “need to throw cash” at the seat of Watson, Corbyn’s deputy and major opponent.

Corbyn’s inner team found they were refused key information they needed to direct the campaign effectively. They were denied contact details for candidates. And many staff in HQ boasted that they spent the campaign “doing nothing” or pretending to “tap tap busily” at their computers while they plotted against Corbyn online.

Writing this week, two left-wing Labour MPs, John Trickett and Ian Lavery, confirmed that efforts to undermine the 2017 election campaign were palpable at the time.

Party officials, they said, denied both of them information and feedback they needed from doorstep activists to decide where resources would be best allocated and what messaging to use. It was, they wrote, suggested “that we pour resources into seats with large Labour majorities which were never under threat”.

The report, and Trickett and Lavery’s own description, make clear that party managers wanted to ensure the party’s defeat, while also shoring up the majorities of Labour’s right-wing candidates to suggest that voters had preferred them.

The aim of party managers was to ensure a Blairite takeover of the party immediately after the election was lost.

‘Stunned and reeling’
It is therefore hardly surprising that, when Corbyn overturned the Conservative majority and came within a hair’s breadth of forming a government himself, there was an outpouring of anger and grief from senior staff.

The message from one official cited in the report called the election result the “opposite to what I had been working towards for the last couple of years”. She added that she and her colleagues were “silent and grey-faced” and in “need of counselling”.

Others said that they were “stunned and reeling”, and that they needed “a safe space”. They lamented that they would have to pretend to smile in front of the cameras. One observed: “We will have to suck this up. The people have spoken. b******.”

Another tried to look on the bright side: “At least we have loads of money now” – a reference to the dues from hundreds of thousands of new members Corbyn had attracted to the party as leader.

Investigated for antisemitism
In short, Labour’s own party bosses not only secretly preferred a Conservative government, but actually worked hard to bring one about.

The efforts to destroy Corbyn from 2015 through 2018 are the context for understanding the evolution of a widely accepted narrative about Labour becoming “institutionally antisemitic” under Corbyn’s leadership.

The chief purpose of the report is to survey this period and its relation to the antisemitism claims. As far as is known, the report was an effort to assess allegations that Labour had an identifiable “antisemitism problem” under Corbyn, currently the subject of an investigation by the Equality and Human Rights Commission.

In a highly unusual move, the commission launched an investigation of Labour last year. The only other political party ever to be investigated is the neo-Nazi British National Party a decade ago.

The Labour report shows that party officials who helped the Tories to victory in 2017 were also the same people making sure antisemitism became a dark stain on Corbyn for most of his leadership.

No antisemitic intent
Confusingly, the report’s authors hedge their bets on the antisemitism claims.

One the one hand, they argue that antisemitism complaints were handled no differently from other complaints in Labour, and could find no evidence that current or former staff were “motivated by antisemitic intent”.

But at the same time, the report accepts that Labour had an antisemitism problem beyond the presence of a few “bad apples”, despite the known statistical evidence refuting this.

A Home Affairs Select Committee – a forum that was entirely unsympathetic to Corbyn – found in late 2016 that there was “no reliable, empirical evidence to support the notion that there is a higher prevalence of antisemitic attitudes within the Labour Party than any other political party”.

Even that assessment was unfair to Labour. Various surveys have suggested that Labour and the left have less of a problem with all forms of racism than the ruling Conservative Party.

For those reasons alone, it was highly improper for the equalities commission to agree to investigate Labour. It smacks of the organisation’s politicisation.

Nonetheless, the decision of the report’s authors to work within the parameters of the equalities watchdog’s investigation is perhaps understandable. One of the successes of Corbyn’s opponents has been to label any effort to challenge the claim that Labour has an antisemitism problem as “denialism” – and then cite this purported denialism as proof of antisemitism.

Such self-rationalising proofs are highly effective, and a technique familiar from witch-hunts and the McCarthy trials of the 1950s in the United States.

‘Litany of mistakes’
The report highlights correspondence between senior staff showing that, insofar as Labour had an “antisemitism problem”, it actually came from the Blairites in head office, not Corbyn or his team. It was party officials deeply hostile to Corbyn, after all, who were responsible for handling antisemitism complaints.

These officials, the report notes, oversaw “a litany of errors” and delays in the handling of complaints – not because they were antisemitic, but because they knew this was an effective way to further damage Corbyn.

They intentionally expanded the scope of antisemitism investigations to catch out not only real antisemites in the party, but also members, including Jews, who shared Corbyn’s support for Palestinian rights and were harshly critical of Israel.

Later, this approach would be formalised with the party’s adoption of a new definition of antisemitism, proposed by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA), that shifted the focus from hatred of Jews to criticism of Israel.

The complaints system was quickly overwhelmed, and delays worsened as officials hostile to Corbyn cynically dragged their heels to avoid resolving outstanding cases. Or, as the report stiffly describes it, there was “abundant evidence of a hyper-factional atmosphere prevailing in Party HQ” against Corbyn that “affected the expeditious and resolute handling of disciplinary complaints”.

The report accuses McNicol of intentionally misleading Corbyn about the number of cases so that “the scale of the problem was not appreciated” by his team – though the scale of the problem had, in fact, also been inflated by party officials.

The report concludes that Sam Matthews, who oversaw the complaints procedure under McNicol, “rarely replied or took any action, and the vast majority of times where action did occur, it was prompted by other Labour staff directly chasing this themselves”.

Amplified by the media
Both McNicol and Matthews have denied the claims to Sky News. McNicol called it a “petty attempt to divert attention away from the real issue”. Matthews said the report was “a highly selective, retrospective review of the party’s poor record” and that a “proper examination of the full evidence will show that as Head of Disputes and Acting Director, I did my level best to tackle the poison of anti-Jewish racism which was growing under Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership.”

But there is too much detail in the report to be so easily dismissed and there remain very serious questions to be answered. For example, once Matthews and McNicol had departed, Labour rapidly increased the resolution of antisemitism cases, dramatically stepping up the suspension and expulsion of accused party members.

The earlier delays appear to have had one purpose only: to embarrass Corbyn, creating an impression the party – and by implication, Corbyn himself – was not taking the issue of antisemitism seriously. Anyone who tried to point out what was really going on – such as, for example, MP Chris Williamson – was denounced as an antisemitism “denier” and suspended or expelled.

The media happily amplified whatever messages party officials disseminated against Corbyn. That included even the media’s liberal elements, such as the Guardian, whose political sympathies lay firmly with the Blairite faction.

That was all too evident during a special hour-length edition of Panorama, the BBC’s flagship news investigations programme, on Labour and antisemitism last year. It gave an uncritical platform to ex-staff turned supposed “whistleblowers” who claimed that Corbyn and his team had stymied efforts to root out antisemitism.

But as the report shows, it was actually these very “whistleblowers” who were the culpable ones.

‘Set up left, right and centre’
The media’s drumbeat against Corbyn progressively frightened wider sections of the Jewish community, who assumed there could be no smoke without fire.

It was a perfect, manufactured, moral panic. And once it was unleashed, it could survive the clear-out in 2018 of the Blairite ringleaders of the campaign against Corbyn.

Ever since, the antisemitism furore has continued to be regularly stoked into life by the media, by conservative Jewish organisations such as the Board of Deputies, and by Israel partisans inside the Labour Party.

“We were being sabotaged and set up left, right and centre by McNicol’s team, and we didn’t even know. It’s so important that the truth comes out,” one party source told Sky News.

Stench of cover-up
The question now for Labour’s new leader, Keir Starmer, is what is he going to do with these revelations? Will he use them to clean out Labour’s stables, or quietly sweep the ordure under the carpet?

The signs so far are not encouraging.

The intention of current party managers was to bury the revelations – until someone foiled them by leaking the report. Predictably, most of the media have so far shown very little interest in giving these explosive findings anything more than the most perfunctory coverage.

Unconvincingly, Starmer has claimed he knew nothing about the report until the leak, and that he now intends to conduct an “urgent independent investigation” into the findings of the earlier inquiry.

Such an investigation, he says, will re-examine “the contents and wider culture and practices referred to in the report”. That implies that Starmer refuses to accept the report’s findings. A reasonable concern is that he will seek to whitewash them with a second investigation.

He has also promised to investigate “the circumstances in which the report was put into the public domain”. That sounds ominously like an attempt to hound those who have tried to bring to light the party’s betrayal of its previous leader.

The stench of cover-up is already in the air.

Fear of reviving smears
More likely, Starmer is desperate to put the antisemitism episode behind him and the party. Recent history is his warning.

Just as Williamson found himself reviled as an antisemite for questioning whether Labour actually had an antisemitism problem, Starmer knows that any effort by the party to defend Corbyn’s record will simply revive the campaign of smears. And this time, he will be the target.

Starmer has hurriedly sought to placate Israel lobbyists within and without his own party, distancing himself as much as possible from Corbyn. That has included declaring himself a staunch Zionist and promising a purge of antisemites under the IHRA rules that include harsh critics of Israel.

Starmer has also made himself and his party hostage to the conservative Board of Deputies and Labour’s Israel partisans by signing up to their 10 pledges, a document that effectively takes meaningful criticism of Israel off the table.

There is very little reason to believe that Labour’s new leadership is ready to confront the antisemitism smears that did so much to damage the party under Corbyn and will continue harming it for the foreseeable future.

The biggest casualties will be truth and transparency. Labour needs to come clean and admit that its most senior officials defrauded hundreds of thousands of party members, and millions more supporters, who voted for a fairer, kinder Britain.
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'Suppression of truth, human spirit and the holy chord of justice never works long-term. Something the suppressors never get.' David Southwell
http://aangirfan.blogspot.com
http://aanirfan.blogspot.com
Martin Van Creveld: Let me quote General Moshe Dayan: "Israel must be like a mad dog, too dangerous to bother."
Martin Van Creveld: I'll quote Henry Kissinger: "In campaigns like this the antiterror forces lose, because they don't win, and the rebels win by not losing."
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