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Sunday 26 July 2020

Let’s Play Labour Blackmail!

The whole premise of the legendary Monty Python sketch titled simplyBlackmail” is that it’s all a bit furtive - “Blackmail, behind the hot water pipes, third washroom along, Victoria Station” - because it happens to be illegal. That, though, has not stopped the inmates of the Northcliffe House bunker going there, such is their desperation to do a bit of damage to the Labour Party, while taking the taint of anti-Semitism off themselves.
So it was that the Mail on Sunday, which is rapidly becoming a rogue newspaper under the editorship of Ted Verity, told readersLabour anti-Semitism whistleblowers 'could drop legal action that could cost the party millions if it expels former leader Jeremy Corbyn’”. Nice party you members have there, pity if something were to happen to it.

There was more. “Expelling Jeremy Corbyn from Labour could spare the party legal action over a leaked anti-Semitism report that would bankrupt it [speculation] … Some ex-party staff now poised to take part in multi-million pound lawsuits against Labour say they will drop their claims if the former leader is thrown out of the party”. Really? Do go on.

The Mail on Sunday revealed in April that Labour could face a legal bill of between £3million and £8million over the leak of an internal party report into the handling of antisemitism complaints during Mr Corbyn's leadership … More than 30 individuals whose identities were exposed by the leak or who faced 'unfounded' allegations in the report were considering legal action against the party”. Quote marks doing some heavy lifting there.
So what’s the point here? Here we go: "sources close to some of the ex-party staffers confirmed they would drop the legal action if Mr Corbyn was ejected from the party … The source said: 'Labour says they have zero tolerance to anti-Semitism. Zero tolerance means no Corbyn and no Corbynistas. It's Keir's choice - zero tolerance or zero money.'

The eagle-eyed may have noticed the false premise here: the idea that to have zero tolerance of anti-Semitism means that Jezza and anyone allied to him must be removed from the party, that anti-Semitism is solely down to him and his allies. And it has to be said that this premise is one big steaming pile of horseshit.

Worse, the only way the party could justify such an action is to demonstrate that Corbyn was solely responsible, or heavily implicated, in the leak of the now infamous internal report. That would be a tough ask, given that Keir Starmer became Labour leader on April 4 last, and the report was leaked around a week after that time.
On top of all that is the mildly inconvenient fact that blackmail is a statutory offence created by Section 21(1) of the Theft Act 1968. That means it’s illegal, and punishable by a term of imprisonment not exceeding fourteen years. No wonder the MoS source is anonymous.

But this does show that settling the legal action brought by the so-called Panorama whistleblowers has not succeeded in putting the critics to sleep. Instead, it has turned them into a vengeful, vindictive, baying mob, with a flair for creative journalism.

The new Labour leadership appears to be in check. Hopefully it is not check mate.
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Anonymous said...

'the Mail on Sunday, which is rapidly becoming a rogue newspaper under the editorship of Ted Verity, told readers “Labour anti-Semitism whistleblowers 'could drop legal action that could cost the party millions if it expels former leader Jeremy Corbyn”'.

I disagree; it's in lockstop with all the other newspapers, regardless of their alleged place in the political spectrum. Here's The Guardian from yesterday: 'Another informed source said: “If the party agrees to settle this, which it will if it has any sense, it will cost Labour a few hundred thousand pounds. If it reaches court and Labour loses, it will cost the party many millions.”'

There's the same unquestioning use of anonymous briefings; there's the same carrot and stick; there's the same assumption that the complainants are correct; and there's the same refusal to refer to evidence in the public domain.

The only surprise is that it was Rawnsley and not Cohen that got to write "You may come across someone gazing with nostalgia-moistened eyes at a picture of Jeremy Corbyn when he was leader of the Labour party. This could be one of the small but noisy gang of continuity Corbynites who even now try to defend the toxic record on antisemitism when he and his clique had charge of the party."

Anonymous said...

I will repeat myself
They have no intention of suing either the Labour party or Jeremy Corbyn, if they did the truth would come out, and the last thing these people can afford to happen is for the truth to come out.

As an extra point, is it possible in these times of crowdfunding for members and ex members to sue the labour party for the obvious shenanigans that have gone on over the last few years

Anonymous said...

Hmmm. We began the week with stories about a report which no one could read for months and then, when published, was widely condemned for NOT investigating what it was supposed to - and we end the week with stories about a report which is widely condemned for investigating what it was supposed to and which no one has read even though it's been available for months.

“Three or four speakers, amongst whom was the First Secretary, rose and complained that some of the most important speeches of No. 1 were not to be found in the library, that on the other hand it was still full of oppositional works, and that books by politicians who had since been unmasked as spies, traitors and agents of foreign Powers had until quite recently occupied prominent positions on the shelves; so that one could hardly avoid a suspicion of an intentional demonstration. The speakers were dispassionate and cuttingly business-like; they used carefully selected phrases. It seemed as though they were giving each other the cues for a pre-arranged text” (Arthur Koestler, Darkness at Noon)

David said...

"That would be a tough ask, given that Keir Starmer became Labour leader on April 4 last, and the report was leaked around a week after that time."

The events are not related, I am sure.

J said...

Radically moderate centrists... proving they have the righteous moral authority by *checks notes* using blackmail...

Well we all saw that coming, its not like they said it - whistle-blowing - "wasn't political and they had no axes to grind"... oh wait, they did!

Anonymous said...

John Smith, have a look at Mark Howell's fundraising page.



Anonymous said...

If the Starmer Quiff Gang of ranting righties was to try this, they would endanger the additional two-thirds membership of new recruits who joined because of Jeremy Corbyn policies.

If said recruits resigned en masse and formed a new party of the Left it would total over 300,000 and dwarf a rump right wing Labour Party. Moreover, it would consolidate true Socialist policies and oppose red tory quislings everywhere. The Starmer Quiff Gang would rapidly become the squalid memory they deserve, like the SDP.

Anonymous said...

Has Toby Young weighed in yet on the intolerable restrictions being placed on Mr Corbyn's free speech?

I seem to recall him saying something like "If someone at work writes to your boss to complain about something you’ve said, we’ll write to them, too, and explain the importance of intellectual tolerance and viewpoint diversity. If self-righteous social-media bullies pick on you, we’ll return the fire. If someone launches an online petition calling for you to be sacked, we’ll launch a counter-petition. The enemies of free speech hunt in packs; its defenders must band together too.”

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the info anonymous

Pledged, Ironically this would not have been the first thing I would have thought of suing for, but a good cuase non the less

Unknown said...

As mentioned above, the Guardian and the Daily Mail are two cheeks of the same fundament. In fact, the Guardian is in some ways worse. At least with the Mail you know what you are getting – a nasty, vicious anti-left propaganda organ which employs vermin like Richard LittleJohn and is owned by a billionaire tax dodger. Guardian journalists, on the other hand, pretend to be different. They whine about poverty and social injustice on a daily basis, but as soon Labour chooses a leftist leader who looks as if he might enact a few mild social democratic reforms to bring the UK in line with the rest of Western Europe, they launch a relentless and sustained campaign of character assassination to make sure he loses the next General Election. Andrew Rawnsley was at it again in today’s Observer, peddling the same old clapped out anti-semitism canard and claiming Labour’s 2019 defeat was the party’s worst election result since 1935, a shameless example of fake news since Corbyn won over 10 million votes, 600,000 more than Blair got 2005 and a higher share of the vote (32%) than 4 of the last 5 labour leaders – Brown in 2010 (29%), Miliband in 2015 (30%), Kinnock in 1987(31%) and Foot in 1983 (28%).

But most ludicrous of all is the spectacle of Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour left being lectured by the same Guardian liberals, centrists and Blair cultists who cost Labour the 2019 election by campaigning so successfully for another EU referendum that it was incorporated into the party’s manifesto following a conference vote in September 2019. In the election which followed, Labour lost 59 seats, of which 55 had voted Leave in the 2015 referendum. Hardly surprising since, according to an Opinium poll in the Observer (26th October, 2019), only 23% of the electorate wanted another referendum.

Anonymous said...

"The events are not related, I am sure."

Hold on, are you suggesting that party officials loyal to the previous regime acted to undermine the current leader because they had personal and political axes to grind? If so, you're an evil and horrid and evil man and a fantasist and making things up even though you've got evidence and are a dirty lefty and a Trot and evil ... ad nauseum.

Andy McDonald said...

As a Spartan general once said, "if".

What I think is happening here is that the right are creating a new talking point. "Wharrabout the report?", they'll cry, long after most people have forgotten what the report was all about.

It'll become the new PIE connection, there to be dragged up whenever the Tories are feeling a bit anxious.

Anonymous said...


I would argue that Keeves created it for them. Once he set the precedent, the right were always going to take advantage. You don't blame the scorpion for acting in its nature.

I lack the confidence that you and John Smith have, that the various threatened actions will never take place or end up in court. We all know that the complainants don't have a leg to stand on and that evidence exists to show this. But will it ever be shown in court? The provisions of the Data Protection Act are sufficiently broad that I worry they could be used to exclude all evidence gleaned from WhatsApp messages etc. These provisions would presumably also apply in a libel trial.

I'm not a lawyer so others might know more and therefore have grounds to be more confident. But, as I say, I worry.

Anonymous said...


"In fact, the Guardian is in some ways worse"

I don't think you need to qualify your statement. Research by Dr Justin Schlosberg, chair of the Media Reform Coalition, shows that The Guardian is worse than the Mail: https://www.mediareform.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/Labour-antisemitism-and-the-news-FINAL-PROOFED.pdf The data shows that The Guardian had the highest total number of reporting failures relating to the IHRA definition although The Sun had the highest proportion of reporting failures.

Here's one review of the book version: "What makes his account so disturbing is not the depths of bias and abandonment of usual journalistic safeguards that were revealed – after all we have come to expect no less of the gutter end of British journalism. No, the striking finding was that the violations of journalistic standards were across the board, with higher-end journalism (BBC, Guardian) if anything more unbalanced, more unprincipled than the rest." https://www.jewishvoiceforlabour.org.uk/article/further-reflections-on-bad-news-for-labour/

Here's The Political Quarterly: "the value of this book rests on the objective rigour and empirical tightness of its arguments, which will surely convince any reasonably‐minded reader that media coverage of antisemitism and the Labour Party has been alarmingly tendentious, disproportionate, careless and biased." https://politicalquarterly.blog/2020/02/27/the-never-ending-saga-over-antisemitism-and-the-labour-party/

Here's an interview with Schlosberg, where the title sums up the matter: https://www.thecanary.co/feature/2019/12/11/lecturer-slams-the-absolute-rotten-failure-to-the-core-of-our-media-system-in-its-reporting-on-corbyn/
Check https://muckrack.com/justin-schlosberg/articles for more recent articles. Titles include:
* The UK media got the Labour Antisemitism story wrong: Will they admit it?
* The dominant narrative that Corbyn undermined Labour's handling of antisemitism complaints has been torn to pieces by #LeakedLabourReport.
* The BAFTA award nomination of BBC Panorama's 'Is Labour Antisemitic?' is beyond parody and an insult to Jewish people who never accepted what we now know was a manufactured myth
* BBC Panorama Investigation Into Labour Antisemitism Omitted Key Evidence and Parts of Labour’s Response
* The Labour Party Was Wrong to Apologize to Jeremy Corbyn’s Critics

Strangely enough, The Guardian never reviewed the book. But Andrew Rawnsley did write yesterday: "You may come across someone gazing with nostalgia-moistened eyes at a picture of Jeremy Corbyn when he was leader of the Labour party. This could be one of the small but noisy gang of continuity Corbynites who even now try to defend the toxic record on antisemitism when he and his clique had charge of the party." I am sure that continuing to gaslight the readership will pay dividends. Or not: https://www.theguardian.com/media/2020/jul/15/guardian-announces-plans-to-cut-180-jobs

stanleytoms said...

Succinctly put!The thousands that joined The Labour Party because of JC and his policies elevated the Party to the biggest political party membership in Europe! If they were to somehow oust him,leaving the tag as an anti Semite around his neck would be a massive own goal which could spell tbe end of Labour?
Although I enjoy Starmer taking Bozo the Clowns trousers down at PMQS he's still their preferred man and that in itself could be more damaging to the Party as a whole in the long run?
That he would unreservedly apologize for anti Semitism in the Labour Party during JC's tenure whereas anti Semitism,Islamophobia,blatant racism and xenophobia is rife within the poxy Tory Party shows exactly where he's at!
He's left the Party tottering on the edge of a cliff!
Now to tag a man who has fought all his life against the aforementioned and possibly expel him from the Party would see untold,including myself leave Labour never to return!