Welcome To Zelo Street!

This is a blog of liberal stance and independent mind

Friday 20 April 2018

John Mann MP - We Have To Talk

John Mann, the combative and indeed outspoken Labour MP who sits for the constituency of Bassetlaw, made a contribution to the Commons debate on anti-Semitism earlier this week that has been lauded by the easily impressed, but is now being questioned by an increasing number of those uncomfortable at its potential lack of veracity, and Mann’s use of Parliamentary privilege to say things he might not say outside the Chamber.
Might be best to keep that North and South shut more often

Let’s first consider what he said. “I didn’t expect today, when Labour members stand in solidarity with our Jewish colleagues and the Jewish community, for not just no solidarity, but to be targeted by an organisation called Momentum, which has happened to all of us who stood in solidarity. But worse than that, explicitly targeting Jewish members of the Parliamentary Labour Party because they are Jewish”. There was more.

That is what is going on at the moment. I didn’t expect when I took on this voluntary cross-party role, for my wife to be sent by a Labour Marxist anti-Semite a dead bird through the post. I didn’t expect my son, after an Islamist death threat, to open the door in the house on his own, as a schoolboy, to the bomb squad. I didn’t expect my wife, in the last few weeks, from a leftist anti-Semite, in response to the demonstration, to be threatened with rape”. And there was yet more.

I didn’t expect my daughter, similarly, and have to be rung up in the last few weeks by Special Branch, to check out her movements in this country, no I didn’t expect all of that”. There was much more, but this is the part of Mann’s speech which is causing disquiet.

There are good reasons for that disquiet. Momentum, whatever one’s view of it, was founded by Labour NEC member Jon Lansman - who is Jewish. He is a ferocious opponent of any tendency to excuse anti-Semitic behaviour. Yet Mann has asserted, using Parliamentary privilege, that Momentum targets Labour members who are Jewish, because they are Jewish. The dead bird incident has caused further disquiet.
Mann’s wife Jo White was sent a dead bird in the post back in 2012, more than three years before Momentum was formed, but the MP has clearly inferred that Momentum is somehow connected to the incident. The culprit, Roger Dyas-Elliott, was a longstanding Labour member and indeed attender at Conference, but there was no allegation of anti-Semitism or indeed Marxism levelled at him. Nor, at the time, was the incident connected in any way to Mann’s work to combat anti-Semitism.
Nor, indeed, does the “Islamist death threat” appear to be. Mann has claimed to have been in receipt of death threats from pro-hunting campaigners, and two years ago claimedI have had three death threats which have been taken seriously during the last 15 years … I have had Islamic death threats, extreme right death threats and one from a drug dealer”. But until that Commons debate, not even a mention of anti-Semitism, or “Leftists”.
Mann has not done his cause any good by responding to those uneasy at his accusations, and use of Parliamentary privilege, with threats and abuse. And as he has responded via an open Twitter feed, he has, indeed, left himself open to more than just criticism. Here is his opening salvo: “These anti semites from Momentum can’t help themselves in their desperate attempts to rubbish Tuesdays debate. Time now to sue each and everyone of them for libel. You cannot say you were not warned”.
I can say with a significant measure of confidence that John Mann will not be suing anyone, whether in Momentum or elsewhere, for libel any time soon. Nor will the Labour Party be taking any action after he responded to a Tweeter who asked him three questions with “Anyone have an address for this man so the writ can be served and his expulsion from the Labour Party Fast tracked?”. There will be no writ. Even if it’s a Labour member.

Nor will Mann do his cause any favours by responding to a perfectly reasonable question from Kevin Maguire of the Mirror with “Disgusting, smearing, and of course entirely uninformed speculation. I suggest you delete it and apologise now. How dare you add insult to my family in this way”. Maguire had shown sympathy for Mann’s wife.
Nor will Mann take legal action following his bullying response to another question: “Let me give you the opportunity to withdraw your libel and apologise”. The litany of bluster goes on, with another Tweeter receiving the response “Suggest you actually listen to my speech then remove this libel”. We have. And that Tweeter won’t. Because there isn’t one.
There may, though, be grounds for one of Mann’s targets to take legal action against him, after he doubled down with “A man who didn’t bother to listen to the speech or to find out the facts of the case. Apologist for anti Semitic attacks. Oh and factually wrong”. His target is not an “Apologist for anti-Semitic attacks”. Mann has defamed that person.
John Mann has, by his thuggish and intemperate behaviour, turned the whole debate on anti-Semitism into a laughing stock, the situation summed up by Crispian Wheldon who replied to him “Momentum was formed in 2015. Corbyn became Labour leader in 2015. Your wife was (horribly) sent a dead bird by a disgruntled local in 2012 (widely reported as relating to council matters not antisemitism). Seems to me you twist the truth to suit your agenda. Sue me. I'd win” and then added “In fact, call me an anti-Semite again and I'll sue you”. He would, whisper it quietly, win that one too.
Anti-Semitism is a serious matter, serious enough not to be left to self-promotion artists like John Mann. Labour members, politics watchers and sceptical pundits not only have a right to question the veracity of his contribution to the Commons debate on anti-Semitism, but a right to be answered, honestly and civilly. He has no right whatsoever to use his position to defame and indeed threaten those who question his claims.

John Mann should withdraw his threats, apologise for any defamatory behaviour, and then answer the questions put to him. But he won’t. Because he’s a spineless coward.


Anonymous said...

Well, I warned years ago what kind of repulsive individual is John Mann. Every time he opens his mouth he demonstrates he's from the same kind of right wing political mindset as Simon Danczuck. Neither of them should have any place in a party supposedly founded to further and protect the living standards of working class people.

The classic example of his thugishness was after Ken Livingstone's stupid "contributionn" to the "anti-semitism debate". Suddenly, there he was, "coincidentally" attended by media cameras, all but physically assaulting Livingstone while hurling verbal abuse. The same kind of behaviour manifested in him when Corbyn was elected leader. No media, NONE, then or since took him to task for it - but were all too ready to give the likes of him air time to peddle his poison. His repulsive behaviour during the HoC "anti-semitism debate" - in reality a cynical political diversion, as it has always been - was again all too typical of a fellow in dire need of some form of counselling. Is it really necessary to add that he's New Labour before he's anything? The only difference between him and the likes of Bomber Benn and Umunna the creep is that they've gone to ground like the cowardly opportunists they are and left him to spit his hate-filled nonsense.

Mann is a political disgrace and always has been.

Sam Best said...

I've tried to give John Mann MP the benefit of doubt but the man is a repulsive liar and opportunist. The 'dead bird' incident happened when Mann was a local council member several years before Momentum was born and before Corbyn was even thought of as a possible leader or there was any discussion on antisemitism.
And that was a council which entirely ignored or was oblivious to shocking cases of organised child abuse by (now convicted)council worker pedophiles.
Mann then went on to promote the falsehood of a "VIP Pedophile ring" with the usual claptrap about Geoffrey Dickens' "dossiers" etc that led to travesties like the failed "Operation Yewtree" and the mendacity of Exaro.
Even worse- he uses awful attacks upon his family in a disgraceful political manner entirely out of context. Why do Labour members have to help elect this goat?

Anonymous said...

Excellent blog Tim. And I couldn't agree more with Anonymous above.
Why John Mann was not suspended from the Labour Party for 'uncomradely behaviour' and verbal abuse when he confronted Ken Livingstone I do not know.

I can only surmise.

MP John Mann clashes with Ken Livingstone - BBC News https://youtu.be/GRUTpypkV0I via @YouTube

Arnold said...

I can only think that he has a pre-Internet mindset, and assumed that everyone would only have a hazy recollection of the dead bird incident, and that short of someone spending a day trawling through newspaper archives, the exact details wouldn't emerge.

D Abbott said...

To all of you in a panic over my possible Home Secretary position, don't worry.
I dont intend to be Home Sec for long. Jeremy has told me if he ever becomes PM he will hand the PM job to me after a few weeks.

Anonymous said...

Mann is a perfectly suited hand maiden to the Roy Lynk mindset. That's the same Lynk of Nottinghamshire who helped break the Miners Strike with the financial help of the "intelligence" agent David Hart, got double crossed by the tories, then "led" a "strike" by sitting in underground in a mine - which of course had the effect of precisely fuck all.

What the good people of Nottinghamshire have done to deserve the likes of these people - such as Anna Soubry - gawd alone knows.

Burlington Bertie from Bow said...

Time for the Labour Corbyn-knocker MPs to demonstrate their even-handed good intentions by demanding action against Mann and calling for an investigation into certain aspects of anti-anti-Semitism in the party?

The Toffee said...

Mann asked for examples of racist/antisemetic instances on social media so he could get people banned from the party last month.

I sent him stella greasy's example


Greasy said she 'didn't realise it was racist'

But she made that tweet just 57 days after she complained about casual racism towards diane abbot


Of course, mann hasn't deigned to reply... It appears racism is only unacceptable when it's anti-Semitism (Invented or otherwise, eh john?)

Mike C said...

One must never forget the comments of Judge Snelson in his judgement on the Fraser v UCU tribunal http://www.bricup.org.uk/documents/fraserVsUCUjudgement.pdf

Dr MacShane (late of Parliament and HM Prison)gave way to a somewhat hostile display in which Mr Mann made no bones about his view that the union was operating in an anti-Semitic way and that those at its head must address the problem. He did not explain what the anti-Semitic behaviour was supposed to have consisted of besides referring to the boycott debate and characterising any boycott of Israel or Israeli institutions as itself anti-Semitic...

For Dr MacShane, it seemed that all answers lay in the MacPherson Report (the effect of which he appeared to misunderstand). Mr Mann could manage without even that assistance. He told us that the leaders of the Respondents were at fault for the way in which they conducted debates but did not enlighten us as to what they were doing wrong or what they should be doing differently. He did not claim ever to have witnessed any Congress or other UCU meeting. And when it came to anti- Semitism in the context of debate about the Middle East, he announced, "It's clear to me where the line is ... " but unfortunately eschewed the opportunity to locate it for us. Both parliamentarians clearly enjoyed making speeches. Neither seemed at ease with the idea of being required to answer a question not to his liking

Andy said...

John Mann is not above being racist himself. Some years ago he produced a leaflet on anti-social behaviour. In it he listed various examples of ASB and what could be done about them. One of those examples was gypsies and travellers. Not gypsies and travellers doing any particular thing, their mere presence counts as ASB, according to John Mann.

Tim Green said...

Is this an attempt at humour? The secret of comedy is timing. Wrong time, wrong place.

davidjc said...

He’s since answered Kevin Maguire saying he’d reported the bird man’s anti semitism before the bird incident. But hasn’t provided examples of the anti semitism, just asserted it and told Maguire to look in the old letters pages of the local Worksop paper. Gets stranger by the day!

Syzygy said...

In the past,before he had parliamentary privilege, John used sexism and/or disabilty access in a similar way to the manner in which he now seems to focus on anti-semitism. Equality of access was certainly his main reason for wanting to sell our LP building at the bottom of the housing slump. It's now worth about a million and he did all the usual... emergency meetings at 9am with little notification etc etc... to try and force us to sell it for 86k. The reason was that the boundaries were being redrawn and cash is divided up whereas buildings stay with the constituency in which its situated.

I said when I first heard his speech in HoC that I didn't believe him. I had heard the same outrage many times before in a totally different context. It seems that my instinct didn't fail me.

Rosie said...

Please tell us more about John Mann's past behaviours. His behaviour sounds sociopathic.