Welcome To Zelo Street!

This is a blog of liberal stance and independent mind

Sunday 9 October 2016

Corbyn SWP Foot In Mouth

There are few in and around the Labour Party more supportive of Jeremy Corbyn than Aaron Bastani. One thing that usually never needs checking is whether he supports the Labour leader on any given issue - because he is always in unequivocal support. At least, that was the case until this weekend. Then Bastani began to have doubts: Jezza had once more indulged in taking one step forward, then two back.
His shadow cabinet reshuffle had passed off without too much trouble, although even here there may be fallout following the departure of Rosie Winterton from the post of chief whip. Others in the whip’s office are reported to be unhappy at her leaving. But that was not the worst of it: Corbyn attended an anti-racism rally yesterday, an event which had been promoted by the SWP, an organisation proscribed by the Labour Party.
As Politics Home put it, “Jeremy Corbyn has defended his decision to speak at an anti-racism rally which has been described by some activists as a front for the Socialist Workers Party (SWP) … The Labour leader had previously said he would not attend the ‘Stand Up To Racism’ event, which is promoted on the SWP’s website … Organisers have insisted it was not an SWP event but a coalition of different groups”.
The site also explained why there is a problem about anything connected to the SWP: “Membership of the SWP has been proscribed from the Labour party for many years, while it faced accusations of failing to deal properly with claims of rape and sexual assault by senior figures in the movement”. Owen Jones was another less than happy bunny.
Corbyn’s spokesman simply saidthe Labour leader attended a Stand Up to Racism event on Saturday co-convened by a senior member of the SWP as he ‘wanted to show his support for the campaign against racism and xenophobia, particularly given the rise in hate crime since the EU referendum in June’. Claims from Jones, and others, that the event was organised by a front organisation for the SWP were denied”.
But the disquiet was clear. Bastani told “Utterly appalled at this. Jeremy has to understand his leadership is bigger than his (here dreadful) instincts. He isn't a backbencher now … Was told last week Corbyn had pulled out after politics surrounding SWP and sexual assault made clear to him. Him changing mind puzzling”. And there was more.
Pretty much the whole SWP CC was there. The active desire by some to defend JC no matter what isn't good in long term … he agreed not to go … He then goes. I like the guy, I've batted for him. But that's not good”. Owen Jones added “A left politician, however venerated, who speaks at SWP events will swiftly fray the patience of some of their most committed supporters”. These voices are doubly important (calling it an "SWP event" may be overdoing it, though).

Because, unlike many on the centre-left who have either remained silent or been openly critical of Corbyn, both Jones and Bastani have been prepared to back him. They are part of that core support that have invested so much in Jezza’s leadership.

If he’s going to alienate them, there will be precious little of the media left prepared to put a good word in for him. And that’s not an ideal prospect in today’s political climate.


Anonymous said...

This was not an SWP event. It was an anti-racism event. Ask @SteveHartUnite who co-chaired the meeting.

"Not implausible, absurd. I'm Chair local Labour Party, Owen Smith supporter, against ultra-leftism"

"Anybody got a problem with Alf Dubs speaking at today's big Stand Up to Racism Conference? He was great, as was Jeremy Corbyn"

"It wasn't an SWP event. Stand Up to Racism is a broad organisation - I'm vice chair - and I was Owen supporter"

In response to Bastani claim it was an SWP event?

"But it wasn't. It was a fantastic broad anti-racist conference with 1600 activists. Speakers from Jewish Council for Race Equality, TUC, MCB"

"Alf Dubs, Eddie Friedman, of JCORE, MCB, TUC, Refugee Council, Migrants Rights Network. 1600 people. SWP involved, not dominant."

"The anti-fascist movement at Cable St was all about stopping anti-semitism. Yesterday's conference was about uniting against anti-semitism"

Nor according to Hart did Corbyn say he was pulling out then go anyhow, and he is adamant it was NOT a SWP event.

Too many jumping on the anti-Corbyn bandwagon again without thinking through. Should he have refused to go along and speak out against racism with many others? What would the media and you have made of that?

He can't win can he?

Watcher234 said...

Didn't Hamas The IRA Iran TV etc teach these people nothing Corbyn grew up with these hard lefties he is one See Jackie Walker & Smeeth abuser at Anti Semitsim report both are friends of his

Anonymous said...

'Smeeth abuser' Marc Wadsworth (he didn't abuse her, he did rudely interrupt the launch) knew Corbyn 'as a friend'? That's probably stretching it far. He was very wrongly reported by much of the media and by Smeeth herself, who told untruths about what had been said. There is video evidence showing what he did say exactly.


'“I saw that the Telegraph handed a copy of a press release to Ruth Smeeth MP so you can see who is working hand in hand. If you look around this room, how many African Caribbean and Asian people are there? We need to get our house in order"

Sky News has been reporting this, I think gleefully is the word, in its headlines all afternoon as an “anti-Semitic attack” on Ms Smeeth. Sky have not however shown what he actually said, although they had cameras at the event, and their journalist who was present described the comments without qualification as anti-Semitic without saying what the comment actually was.

Mr Wadsworth denies knowing Ms Smeeth is Jewish. I have no idea if that is true; I didn’t know myself, nor care. But neither what Wadsworth actually said, not his denial that he knew she is Jewish, is being reported by the broadcast media. What is being reported very widely is Ms Smeeth’s subsequent statement:

“I was verbally attacked by a Momentum activist and Jeremy Corbyn supporter who used traditional anti-Semitic slurs to attack me for being part of a “media conspiracy”. It is beyond belief that someone could come to the launch of a report about anti-Semitism in the Labour Party and espouse such vile conspiracy theories against Jewish people.”

Ms Smeeth’s statement contains one stark dishonesty. She puts “media conspiracy” in inverted commas, when Mr Wadsworth did not use the phrase, or even either of those two words separately. Ms Smeeth appears to have deliberately misrepresented what Mr Wadsworth said, which I presume she checked.'

Smeeth's own employment history is interesting. Perhaps she had a vested interest in ensuring there was an 'anti-Semitism row' given Corbyn's support of the Palestinian plight?

The man next to Smeeth whispering 'that's anti-Semitism' in her ear was non other than Kevin Schofield, formerly of the Sun, now @PolHomeEditor. Hardly a Corbyn supporter either.

As for Jackie Walker, also with Jewish ancestry, despite the media outcry again whipped up by the pro Israel lobby, for yes, Jackie is a campaigners for the plight of the Palestinian people, nothing she said was anti-Semitic. Much of what has been reported has been taken hugely out of its original context and selectively quoted. Gullible people without the ability or desire to delve further carry on smearing her.

And if it's 'hard left' to be anti-racism and speak out against it as Corbyn has done (and it was NOT an SWP rally on Saturday) then I think many many decent people would be happy to be called 'hard left'. I'd prefer to be an anti-racist than the converse, if that's the stark choice? I presume the poster above is therefore a racist?

Anonymous said...

The journalist Marc Wadsworth was suggesting Ruth Smeeth was working 'hand in hand' with (see reports of how Smeeth had been seen with her before the start of the launch, which makes the context of his comments more clear ) was one Kate E McCann of the Telegraph?

That's the same @KateEMCann who first published in the Telegraph the recording taken at the anti-Semitism training meeting run by the a pro Israel Jewish Labour group the JLM. I suggest some delving into the background of the JLM group and the person, Adam Lengleben of JLM, making the leaked recording (in what should have been a 'safe space' to raise questions, discuss idea) be made by those interested.

There are further details here. Certain sections of the Labour party working 'hand in hand' with the right wing media to try to damage Corbyn and smear him as having anti-Semitic friends?



Nothing to do with his support of the Palestine cause, of course...

Class of 68 said...

Corbyn has many principled policies which will he presumably wishes to be in a position to implement. His one overriding principle for the next 4 years (or maybe 8 months) must be to weigh up every potential action or statement and, as far as possible given the media environment, decide whether it will make his ever being in a position to implement his principled policies either more or less likely.
Other principles must be relegated to this overriding one. Anything else will just be vain posturing and inevitable impotence. He and some of his supporters need to grow up a little.

LiamKav said...

"As for Jackie Walker, also with Jewish ancestry, despite the media outcry again whipped up by the pro Israel lobby, for yes, Jackie is a campaigners for the plight of the Palestinian people, nothing she said was anti-Semitic."

The quotes I've seen are of her doing an "#AllLivesMatter" about the holocaust, and saying she was anti-Zionist rather than anti-semitic. I know it's not scientific, but if you find someone claiming to be anti-Zionist on the internet, there's a 99% chance you've found a racist.

LiamKav said...

My main worries about Corbyn are more about him coming across as a bit limp, both as a leader and a politician, so I'm mainly confused as to why he said that he's pulled out and then went anyway. Unless he never actually did pull out and that's a fib that's going around.

Anonymous said...

Anti Zionism is not racism or anti-Semitism, no matter how much the pro Israel lobby would like to say it is. Walker is a black woman who identifies as a Jew.

And Corbyn had a clash of dates, when he found he in fact had a free day he said he would attend.