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Thursday 29 October 2020

Labour, EHRC, And Quality Street

Christmas is coming. And Christmas means that, despite the routine over-indulgence in anything remotely edible, someone during the afternoon will open the Quality Street. This provides an excellent opportunity for those present to be highly selective, to pick out their favourite chocs or toffees. The Purple Ones vanish quickly. The Green Triangles follow soon afterwards. So it is with the EHRC report into alleged Labour anti-Semitism.

Right on time at 1000 hours this morning, the EHRC report was officially published: there had already been some trailing of its main points. This, too, had been highly selective: those who have backed former leader Jeremy Corbyn to the hilt had their own favourite bits. Those who have spent the past five years denouncing Jezza had other faves.

As an example, let’s see which Purple Ones human rights lawyer Adam Wagner has picked out of the family size tub. “Unlawful Acts” is one of them. Labour “breached the Equality Act 2010 by committing unlawful harassment through the acts of its agents in two of the complaints we investigated”. One of those two was the Ken Livingstone case.

He also selected “Political Interference”. Here, “we found 23 instances of political interference by LOTO staff and others. These included clear examples of interference at various stages throughout the complaint handling process, including in decisions in whether to investigate and whether to suspend”. Livingstone was one of those too.

Why home in on Ken? Because the interference, such as it was, was to try and get the suspension decision made, to expedite it. Livingstone ultimately saved his now former party the trouble by resigning. And there have been other selective interpretations.

One of those is the picking out the Green Triangles by Corbyn supporters. Rachael Cousins has been quick on the draw there: “Waiting for someone, anyone, from the mainstream media to confirm the EHRC *did not* find Labour to be institutionally antisemitic”. But the EHRC did find shortcomings, and said so.

Not surprisingly, the Purple Ones and Green Triangles fans do not agree with one another, as Mike Sivier has shown: “[Ruth Smeeth] talking nonsense about the #EHRCReport - the people she's praising were causing the problems, not trying to fix them - as the EHRC report shows”. Selective partisanship is obscuring some of what should be made clear.

For that clarity, we need to go over to Mic Wright, who has taken the time to actually read the report, and as a result is left with the Toffee Pennies. His conclusions are to be commended. “Labour had a significant number of members who were antisemitic (as the Tories also do), the Corbyn team didn’t take that seriously enough to begin with and were too close to people who held those antisemitic views”. And there is more.

Labour HQ was poorly run and acted deliberately to make the antisemitism crisis more serious. The EHRC is ruling that the Party is responsible for the actions of individual members … Labour HQ appears to have exacerbated the problem of antisemitism by creating a backlog of cases. Corbyn was not remotely strong enough in his leadership and the party ‘machine’ was a mess”. The myth of Jezza the Stalinist purger.

There has been far too much selective partisanship on view this morning. So some uncomfortable facts are being missed. Corbyn was not decisive or strong enough in his leadership. Action was taken, but the party HQ’s staff do not come out of this smelling of roses. The criteria to which the EHRC have operated should make uncomfortable reading not just for Labour, but any other political party which might face investigation in future.

Matters improved when Jennie Formby arrived on the scene, but by then the damage had arguably been done. However, in not finding that Labour was institutionally anti-Semitic, the EHRC report suggests that this is more cock-up than conspiracy.

Big tubs of Quality Street are already in your nearest supermarket. But don’t over-indulge.

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JP Janson De Couet said...

Corbyn has been suspended. So somebody scoffed all the purple ones.

Fair and Balanced said...

You'd think that a body called "Equality and Human Rights Commission" would, as a matter of fairness to humans, have mentioned the massive and hostile media pile-on that would have overwhelmed any political party.

David said...

So Adam Wagner claims to have spent two years of "blood, sweat and tears" on a report he campaigned for? You think he may have a dog in this fight?

Anonymous said...

Well, looks like the stitch-up is complete now. Welcome back to a choice between Tory and Tory-lite policies for the foreseeable future.

Of course, I'm an anti-semite probably - I continue to support the Palestinian position, and am of the opinion that certain Jewish Labour MPs (and ex-MPs) are thoroughly nasty individuals. (Not because they're Jewish, but because they're thoroughly nasty individuals).

The best move now would be for Corbyn to be installed as the figurehead of a new socialist party, which I suspect would quickly attract a large membership. Add Chris Williamson to the mix (Corbyn's obvious successor, no wonder he was nobbled on fake A-S charges) and wouldn't that make the next general election interesting.

Anonymous said...

Know what Jeremy Corbyn's biggest "problem" is?

He thinks - even now - that we live in a democracy, that there can be no internal traitors in the Labour Party and that all party staff want Labour to win and will work toward that end.

He's wrong on all those counts.

In the long run truth may well win out, as it ought. But it has to be defended at all levels. The present "leadership" of the Labour Party has no interest in any of that and will continue to sabotage all of the party founding principles.

Anonymous said...

Apropos of nothing, the US secretary of state was "caught on tape telling Jewish leaders that he would 'push back' against the party’s leadership ...

'It could be that Mr Corbyn manages to run the gauntlet and get elected. It’s possible. You should know, we won’t wait for him to do those things to begin to push back. We will do our level best. It’s too risky and too important and too hard once it’s already happened.'”

Anonymous said...

Lest we forget (which is what the Starmer Quiff wants):

Unknown said...

Corbyn suspended from the party, Margaret the Millionaire gets a column in the guardian to moan about how badly she was treated.

Oh it's a quality street Al right, it's a whole tin of orange creams.

Anonymous said...


In addition to her her 'tax affairs', let's not forget her other 'achievements':

"As leader of Islington Council, a post she held from 1982-92, Hodge was aware of previous, horrendous child sex abuse in the care homes for which she was responsible, and did nothing about it. This was not an either/or. She was incompetent, completely and utterly incompetent, and she knew about it.

She was guilty of rather more than a casual failure of oversight. She dismissed the detailed, accurate reporting of the London Evening Standard – whose editor, Stewart Steven, battled with typical ferocity to hold her to account – as “a sensationalist piece of gutter journalism”. Not content with shutting her eyes to his front pages, our latter-day champion of the whistleblower closed her ears to the courageous whistle-blowing of a social worker, Liz Davies. In an open letter to the BBC after it investigated a range of monstrous abuse (child prostitution, torture, alleged murders), Hodge libelled one of its victims as “seriously disturbed”.

Years later, in 2003, she was forced to pay Demetrius Panton £10,000 in damages for that, though understandably he was not assuaged by her apology."


Anonymous said...


The lickspittles at the EHRC are dumb enough or arrogant enough to have even included evidence that it's 'stitch-up' on pages 46 and 47 of the report. They cite the decision in Chris Williamson's successful High Court challenge:

"it is not … difficult to infer that the true reason for the decision in this case was that members were influenced by the ferocity of the outcry following the June decision … the NEC should decide cases fairly and impartially in accordance with the rules and evidence; and not be influenced by how its decisions are seen by others. Internal and press reaction to a decision are not of themselves proper grounds for reopening a case that was not otherwise procedurally unfair or obviously wrong."

And yet vested interests will brandish a report containing de jure proof that they whipped up groundless hysteria in order to say that AS in the Labour Party exists independently of their hysteria (although their examples fall apart the moment you look at the evidence).

Anonymous said...

So Keeves has refused to allow MPs to vote against bills allowing tortue and giving the police a licence to kill. And now he's suspending someone for thinking it's wrong to bomb Palestinian children. What party is he the leader of again?

I Thought That The 20th Century Was Bad said...

Years ago, nobody thought that a Prime Minister, who's married to a human rights lawyer, would wage an illegal war.
Starmer is highlighting again that legal professionals are supreme at medieval arse licking.

N said...

"and wouldn't that make the next general election interesting"


It would just be another Change Group for Changing, or whatever it was called.

Anonymous said...

@I Thought That The 20th Century Was Bad

I'd overlooked The Smiler and his war crimes. These 'sensible', 'electable' centrists do seem to have form in supporting atrocities.

Anonymous said...

You think ? Consider all the people who joined or at least supported Labour BECAUSE of Corbyn and the opportunity for something different at last.

Many - maybe most - of them will now be disenfranchised. Who do they vote for now ? Not Starmer's Esthablishment 2nd XI, because that's exactly what they were trying to get away from in the first place.

Change UK had no supporters, piss-poor MPs and in any case also included Tories.

If we are going to take the line that a new socialist party can only fail, then we may as well give up now, shrug and say "this is the way its always going to be, and we've just got to put up with it."

Anonymous said...

Quality Street, the most misnamed spogs on the market. They once were, but like all Britain's streets a shadow of their magnificent past. In the days of Empire there were 18 different varieties per tin, made by forced labour in the deep smog of Halifax. Killed by globalization and the rush to the bottom.

A bit like the Labour party they forgot their roots.

Unknown said...

It's also fair to note that a new socialist party to counter three centrist/right parties stands more of a chance than either the sdp or change (names frequently) as they were both centrist projects aimed at the fictional "middle ground"

Look how sinn Fein reinvented themselves in the Republic for a start.