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Friday 19 July 2019

Labour, Anti-Semitism, And Due Process

While the attacks on the Labour leadership over the party’s handling of allegations of anti-Semitism continue, a new front has been opened up, and it is one whose nature should concern all who value the concept of due process for those accused of actions which could see them expelled from Labour, or indeed any other party.
That is because what has been commended to Jeremy Corbyn by three of the party’s own MPs is the effective abandonment of due process, the idea that a mere accusation of anti-Semitism, or any other expulsion level action, would mean immediate expulsion without prior recourse to the party’s disciplinary process. Rather like being thrown into prison without trial, but with the prospect that there might be one if you ask nicely.
Margaret Hodge - vehement Corbyn critic

Anyone thinking this might be a mere scare story may find the contents of a letter to Corbyn from MPs Margaret Hodge, Louise Ellman and Ruth Smeeth instructive. Apart from repeated claims that Jezza is somehow not doing enough to address complaints of anti-Semitism - a strange one, considering the disciplinary process is supposed to be independent of the leader’s office - has come the demand for immediate expulsion.

This can be seen towards the end of the letter, coming after several paragraphs of the softening-up process (although, thankfully, the letter has not yet been leaked to the perpetually thirsty Paul Staines and his rabble at the Guido Fawkes blog, but give it time), the three MPs give Jezza his orders, in their own modest style.
The letter sent to Corbyn today ...

You are the leader of the Labour Party and therefore have an obligation to lead on this issue. If we are to build any common ground on this, you must enact the following much-needed changes now”. And there were all those Labour members thinking that the party was a democracy which built consensus from the ground up. Well, more fool them, eh?

And here’s the second of the four changes demanded: “Establish an auto-exclusion policy for clear cases of anti-Semitism, where offenders are expelled first, and can appeal second”. And who decides how “clear cases of anti-Semitism” are defined? That is a more serious point than might be appreciated, and one example shows why.

Labour First, a group which “sees itself as protecting the tradition of the ‘old Labour right’”, has let us know exactly how this potentially draconian concept would work. Under the heading “Help make sure Chris Williamson is expelled for good”, it tells “Thanks to the pressure of MPs, Peers and thousands of ordinary members like yourself, Chris Williamson has been re-suspended”. Not by use of the disciplinary process.
... and the clear implications for what it would mean

And just in case that was missed, it’s repeated later: “Chris Williamson was only re-suspended because of sustained, organised political pressure from across the party”. So there you have it: a draconian ditching of due process, to be replaced by organised pile-ons against anyone and everyone against whom an allegation can be mustered.

While no-one can object to rooting out anti-Semitism, or any other form or racism, from the Labour Party, the idea of a drift into authoritarianism is deeply disturbing. But it is also tediously predictable: demand an action Corbyn won’t back, in order to kick him with it.

The law gives all citizens the benefit of due process. So should the Labour Party.
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Anonymous said...

Trouble is 'auto-exclusion' apparently applies to supporting and/or voting another party, yet witness the fuss made over Alastair Campbell when he publicly admitted to voting LibDem, and the attempts to stop him being expelled (the reality being that it was a blatant stunt to embarrass Corbyn/the party). Hodge et al. will be all in favour of this process - as long as it applies to the people they don't like.

mirandola said...

Well and concisely argued.

2016 - The Year of the Fuckwit said...

With prats like these, the Tory party can spend their campaign money on Bollinger and Beluga caviar.

Anonymous said...

This is interesting, and relevant. There is certainly a major push to depose Jeremy Corbyn using the weapon of 'antisemitism'. It's such a malicious campaign, and so grossly unfair.

Simon Wren-Lewis (Emeritus Professor of Economics and Fellow of Merton College, University of Oxford) had his blog pulled from the New Statesman.


"My last post was published by the New Statesman as usual. And then sometime later it was unpublished. The line my post took was not one the NS wanted to carry. I do not know the details of what happened but I can guess. The post was hardly extolling the virtues of Corbyn as Labour leader, but it suggested any attempt to get rid of him was both futile and would increase the chances of Johnson winning the next election. I don’t think that message was welcome.

Of course any publication has a right to chose what it publishes, and I have no quarrel with that. What was unfortunate was the implicit confirmation of the main concern in the post, which was that the non-partisan and even left leaning media with the support of the Labour centre really believes they can depose Corbyn using the issue of antisemitism. I gave in the post the reasons why I think Corbyn is unlikely to depart as a result of this pressure and any challenge is unlikely to succeed, and none of the responses to my post questioned this logic."

Quite who they all think the membership would vote in instead if he went I do not know. The Labour party has its own democratic procedures, those who should know better are blaming Jeremy Corbyn for things which are basically not in his remit as leader.

Anonymous said...

So, according to Hodge and the usual gang, the answer is the equivalent of eliminating habeas corpus.

All because Jeremy Corbyn and his supporters have condemned illegal acts by the state of Israel. As have the UN in repeated resolutions.

Hodge's behaviour has nothing to do with antisemitism. She's a right wing fraud and a liar.

Nigel Stapley said...

"...where offenders are expelled first, and can appeal second”

Where have I heard that line of 'reasoning' before, I wonder?

Ah yes:


"Theresa May boasted as home secretary that she would 'deport first and hear appeals later' as part of her 'hostile environment' policy."

Good to have confirmation of whose side the Barking Member is on.

Anonymous said...

I see the letter, as is usual with this bunch, is 'misleading' and highly selective in the words highlighted about Glyn Secker, what he said about Jews being 'in the gutter' etc.

And many would agree with him about Hodge.

"Secker told the national rally for Palestine in central London that “leaders turn a blind eye to the extreme right, even when their own Zionist Federation embraces the English Defence League, a neo-fascist group banned by Facebook. What on earth are Jews doing in the gutter with these rats?”

This was twisted in tweets from a Jewish Chronicle reporter accusing Secker of telling the rally “Jews are in the gutter.” This has been widely retweeted despite being contradicted by a video recording that is publicly available."

More here: https://www.jewishvoiceforlabour.org.uk/statement/12956/

Glyn Secker is a Jew, and secretary of Jewish Voice for Labour, an organisation for progressive Jews in the Labour Party. Secker captained the Jewish Boat to Gaza in 2010. He is a long-standing executive member of Jews for Justice for Palestinians. He is a Unite trade union delegate to Dulwich and West Norwood (DaWN) Constituency Labour Party general committee and political officer for Herne Hill branch.

The 'Jewish Labour Movement' is pro-Israel anti Corbyn and to be a supporter you don't have to be a Jew or a Labour member.

Anonymous said...

According to Chakrabarti herself, it's untrue Jeremy Corbyn said nothing when Marc Wadsworth spoke at the report launch, although of course Corbyn was not chairing the meeting, Chakrabarti was.

"Chakrabarti... told the BBC the Labour leader “backed me up” when she reprimanded the man for his interjection.

“[Corbyn] concurred with me when I admonished the gentleman in question for heckling, not just Ms. Smeeth, but me [also], and for abusing the privilege of asking a question at a national press conference. The leader completely concurred with me and backed me up.

Chakrabarti was then asked about a blog entry written shortly after the incident by Smeeth, in which she said the Labour leader’s office had not been in touch to apologize.

“Well, she wrote that blog as soon as the events happened,” the barrister replied.

“I went to see her that afternoon and I was in the room when she was speaking to someone from the leader’s office.” "

More here: https://www.rt.com/uk/349163-corbyn-antisemitism-isis-israel/

"He (Wadsworth) acknowledged Corbyn "did have a bit of a go at me" at the time of the incident and said "perhaps I could have used kinder language"." Report in the Sun.

As anyone with a small amount of knowledge of that incident will appreciate, Marc Wadsworth did not in fact make an antisemitic comment as Smeeth claimed, in fact he did not say the words she claimed he did, Smeeth claimed she had been “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.’”

Marc Wadsworth had neither said nor implied anything about Jews. Neither did he use the words “media conspiracy.” He had no idea Smeeth was a Jew.

Smeeth has never apologised for this untruth. She had indeed been seen 'working hand in hand' with Telegraph reporter Kate McCann, by handing her a press release Wadsworth had not wanted her to have, and I gather McCann then at the launch mocked Marc Wadsworth about its contents. Wadsworth's comment needs to be put in that context.

Smeeth was seeking Corbyn's resignation immediately after she walked out of the meeting (not a sign of tears as the press reported) for not intervening, despite the fact he clearly did.

#Breaking Labour MP Ruth Smeeth calls on Corbyn to "resign immediately" over "failure to intervene" on verbal abuse during report launch Press Association tweet.

Marc Wadsworth was not expelled from the party for antisemitism.

I cannot believe the distortions in that letter are not deliberate.

Sam said...

“Establish an auto-exclusion policy for clear cases of anti-Semitism, where offenders are expelled first, and can appeal second."
And just imagine the legal minefield right there setting up the party for defamation actions and a breach of natural justice.
The party could be bankrupted.
This is getting scary. While they rage against Corbyn as somehow being an "extremist" and to the far Left they adopt Stalinist tactics with gusto.

Derek said...

Dear Zelo ,
I’m afraid that Dame Margaret and her fellow co-signatories don’t yet understand that the bandwagon has moved on . Yes they may dream up additional ploys but the revealed association of the whole ‘Labour Anti-Semitism’ scam with the partiality of the Zionist state has completely discredited them . Additionally ‘Labour First’ hankers for a clique-controlled single message party whose ‘organised’ activity equates to the hapless Egyptian announcer of Morsi’s death https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/egypt-news-presenter-morsi-death-samsung-device-video-a8965216.html . ‘Pile-ons’ organised by Labour First are deeply off-putting and should they prevail the party would suffer a haemorrhaging of support similar to the Continental Social Democratic parties . Give it over

abacus said...

Significant rebuttal to msm/bbc smears doing the rounds at the time and still dived into.Where is this information?I have used http://normanfinkelstein.com/2019/02/26/that-labour-antisemitism-crisis-in-numbers/ & https://www.jewishvoiceforlabour.org.uk/article/israel-and-the-antisemitism-playbook/ & https://labourlist.org/2019/05/jeremy-corbyn-pushed-for-action-on-antisemitism-but-was-held-back-by-bureaucracy/ & https://www.jewishvoiceforlabour.org.uk/article/labour-antisemitism-and-the-news-a-media-reform-coalition-report-2/ & http://www.medialens.org/index.php/alerts/alert-archive/2018/879-without-merit-jeremy-corbyn-antisemitism-norman-finkelstein-and-noam-chomsky.html [use this a lot]+++.So much solid information against a back-drop of persistent weaponised antisemitism campaign by the msm/bbc since Corbyn was elected leader.