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Wednesday 15 April 2020

Labour Leak - The Stupidity Problem

While the threats of legal action over the leaked internal Labour Party report continue - who is going to be targeted here is not entirely clear - more information is emerging about the report, who was involved in its compilation, and how they came to make their discoveries as to the inner thoughts of other party staffers.
Jennie Formby - commissioned the report ...

What has been established is that the likes of Seumas Milne and Karie Murphy, while they may have provided contributions to the report, had no involvement in its compilation. Nor did Andrew Murray, seconded to the party from the Unite union. Writing up the report was in the gift of General Secretary Jennie Formby. Now consider this from the Guardian.

Peter Walker has noted of the proposed inquiry into the report and its leaking “While the terms and timescale of the inquiry have yet to be unveiled, several MPs on the left of the party have argued that it should be clearly independent; some want a hiatus in top-level appointments. While no names have been mentioned this will be seen in part as a reference to mooted attempts to remove the party general secretary, Jennie Formby”.
... Keir Starmer has inherited the headache

Which is another way of letting us know that Ms Formby will most likely not have any involvement in the inquiry ordered by new leader Keir Starmer. But, before tarring her as some kind of Corbyn stooge, consider this: Ms Formby excluded Corbyn loyalists like Milne and Ms Murphy from the report writing process. And then there is the small matter of the report’s purpose, which was as an appendix to the party’s EHRC submission.

Had this been some exercise in factionalism and retribution, as is being suggested elsewhere, this would not have been a particularly fruitful way to proceed. Nor was there any intent to break into anyone’s WhatsApp group. And here we come to the stupidity problem: the WhatsApp conversations were effectively gifted to the report’s authors.
As Shehab Khan of ITV News put it, “The research for this report granted the writers access to staff members' emails and they looked at approximately 100,000 while compiling the report”, but then, “One source told me they ‘found more than they bargained for’”.

Why so? “In one case a senior Labour staffer had sent themselves their entire WhatsApp conversation history by email - so the researchers were able to access group chats of colleagues at Labour HQ discussing their opinions about Corbyn and Labour’s performance at the 2017 general election”. Thus the stupidity problem in one.

If you have a work email account, it’s no more than a statement of the bleeding obvious that you do not, repeat do not, repeat DO NOT put anything in it other than work-related material - knowing that it could be accessed as part of any investigation or audit process.
And one final thought: while those who advise against setting off a faction fight within Labour at a time when the party needs, more than ever, to hold the Tories’ feet to the fire, are right, consider exactly how those party workers, volunteers and canvassers fell - to know that they put themselves out there, took all the abuse, and saw their efforts fall short, only to discover that their own side was working against them.

Without those people, there is no Labour Party. That is why we need answers.
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Derek said...

Dear Zelo ,
As you state ‘Without those people , there is no Labour Party’ , and you describe the fate of every other European Social Democratic Party . If Starmer presages another bout of ‘Blairism’ my vote will not go to Labour as was the case from 2002-2015 . Pretty obviously their calculation is that that doesn’t matter , what they base their confidence on I really don’t know , with the evidence of the Labour vote , disappearing in Scotland , going/gone in the NE , and surely with Lancs. & Yorks. next in the event that they reintroduce ‘Blairism’ . The type of nauseating supercilious hypocrisy revealed by those Labour Party top staffers is anathema to me ,

J said...

Lets be honest, the people screaming loudest that "Labour shouldn't be looking in to this issue while everything else is going on" would be the very same people screaming for investigations no matter what else was going on if the staff members were from the left of the party.

Were the people involved from the left of the party, and not its hard right-wing, there would be hundreds of trees killed just so the commentators and "independent reporters" could demand that Labour drop everything - especially holding the gov to account for its many spectacular and repeated failings, and lies, over covid - and put all its efforts into routing the nasty hard left people in HQ that were posting such nasty things... but as its the right of the party that are a bunch of racists who deliberately held up investigations into anti-Semitism to damage the party while Corbyn was leader, they all want it dropped and to never be mentioned again. And others who somehow have read the report and think it was all Corbyn's fault that the party machine was working against Corbyn and that it looks bad for the left that the right were racists. Seriously feck me, what alt-world are they living in.

I notice that the usual BBC reporters who normally go full tilt for anything that looks bad for the Labour left are stunningly quiet over this now that its the labour right that look like a bunch of racist fifth columnists... not a tweet. Not even a mention of how bad it was that Labour dropped the ball on anti-Semitism, because the ones who deliberately dropped the ball were on the right of the party. Nothing, nada, ziltch.

Anonymous said...

You might want to consider why the 'leak' of the report was delayed until after the leadership results were announced. Had it been leaked earlier it might have done Starmer serious damage. But it wasn't. It was leaked after Starmer's team had a look at it.

Now of course the report puts Starmer in a position where, to keep party unity, the he needs correctly to take some action wrt getting the NEC staffers under control as well as responding to pressure from the left to ensure that those involved in the sabotage are no longer viable candidates for positions in the NEC. An 'unexpected' silver lining, perhaps.

Jonathan said...

Many dedicated 'Socialist' members of the party, have seen the light and decided its better to leave before being purged or disciplined on some 'trumped up' charges.

It's very sad, been part of the Labour family since the age of 8, when I first developed an interest in politics.

Jeremy Corbyn reignited the party's original mission to protect the poor, sick and those persecuted by the Tories.
Sadly Jeremy, a lovely, kind and decent man, held out the olive branch to the Labour Right, but they snapped it, refused to work with the leader and his team.

Jeremy made the fatal mistake of not following Machiavelli and purging the party of his enemies, instead allowing them to regroup and strengthen their propaganda and undermine him from within

The Greens are more socialist than Starmer's Labour Party.

Zoe Paleologa said...

Some years ago my then manager told me I should never commit to writing (either hard or electronic copy) anything about an individual or group that I would not comfortably say to them eye to eye across a table. Conversation is not subject to Freedom of Information rules - everything else potentially is.

The above advice was and still is good, though I've never even been tempted to share opinions of such petty puerility as this shower seem to have done.

Anonymous said...

One thing you can guarantee: Sudden appearance of tory gammon trolls posing as Labour members who urge leaving the party.

The oldest social media trick in the book. And it will fail.

Anonymous said...

Anon @16.16

No, the oldest Tory trick in the book is persuading people things will somehow be different this time around.

Remember the mantra 'No top down reorganisation of the NHS', or 'We're all in this (austerity) together'?

Fool me once, shame on you...Fool me twice, shame on me.

Anonymous said...

Where is Laura Kuensberg and the BBC anti Labour hit squad? If it was the left of the party behind this it would get more coverage than the Covid 19 crisis. Not a dicky bird from her. Very strange. Not.

grim northerner said...

Kuensberg is currently being berated by the gammons on twitter for not being sycophantic enough at the daily covid briefing. Deluded, Stalinistic and insatiable gammons them all, and they cannot be appeased.