Once more, the perpetually thirsty Paul Staines and his rabble at the Guido Fawkes blog have been diverting attention from the Tories’ increasing problems with racism in their ranks - not only Islamophobia, but other forms of racism, including anti-Semitism too - by kicking Labour. And as so often with the Fawkes folks, the careful use of language shows that the claim being made about The Red Team is not supported by the evidence.
Under the heading “Three Labour Activists Arrested Over Anti-Semitism”, and backed up with the claim “Three Arrested Over Labour Anti-Semitism”, readers are told “After the Met Police chief Cressida Dick was handed a dossier of anti-Semitic comments by Labour members by LBC in September, the police initiated a criminal investigation and have now made three arrests”. Sounds incriminating for Labour. And there was more.
“On the advice of the Crown Prosecution Service, two men and one woman from Wandsworth, Birmingham, and Tunbridge Wells were arrested on suspicion of ‘publishing or distributing material likely to stir up racial hatred.’ The Police said they ‘will not comment further on the details of the investigation’ … These three people were all Labour members when Cressida Dick was first handed the leaked Labour dossier by LBC”.
Hold it right there. “Were all Labour members”? Were? So were they still members at the time of arrest? Ah well. The Great Guido isn’t telling us about that, so perhaps one or two more reliable mainstream sources could fill in the gaps. Sadly, the BBC report is no more conclusive than that of the Fawkes rabble. But the Guardian is.
Here’s their version: “In a statement, Scotland Yard said that two men and a woman had been arrested during March on suspicion of publishing or distributing material likely to stir up racial hatred. Each has been released pending further inquiries … It is understood the people arrested were Labour members or suspended from the party at the time the complaint was made but are no longer members [my emphasis]”.
That is entirely consistent with the Labour Party’s internal disciplinary procedures working as they are meant to work. The whole idea of picking up on anti-Semitic, Islamophobic or any other form of racist behaviour and going through the disciplinary procedure is that members are given the benefit of due process, and if found to have broken its code of conduct and/or brought it into disrepute, they are no longer entitled to be members.
It also gives the lie to all those, in the press and elsewhere - including some in the Labour Party itself - who claim that nothing is being done about allegations of anti-Semitism. Because if nothing were being done, the three (now former) members would not have left the party. Also, the Fawkes claim is wrong. The three arrested are NOT Labour activists.
And, of course, The Great Guido continues to say diddly squat about the Tories’ own considerable racism problems. Which include anti-Semitism. If we’re going to get serious about racism - and this blog takes any and all racism seriously - then we have to get serious about all racism, in all political parties. End of story.
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