Letter demanding full refund of £25 Poll Tax from the Labour Party

THIS is further to my Appeal against my Expulsion from the Labour Party – an open letter, published seven days ago. You may read my appeal letter here.

 

20 September 2016

 

WITHOUT PREJUDICE

 

Iain McNicol

General Secretary of the Labour Party

The Labour Party

Head Office

Southside

105 Victoria Street

London

SW1E 6QT

 

 

Dear Mr McNicol

 

Membership Number: Lxxxxxxx

 

I write further to my email/letter of 13 September 2016 (copy attached) and my appeal against expulsion from the Labour Party.

 

While I still hope my appeal will be successful and I will be reinstated to the party I love, I realise that as of today, it is too late for me to vote in the current Leadership election.

 

I had been a member of the Labour Party from 1989-2003. I rejoined with letter of acceptance and membership card on 18 July 2016 and began paying monthly membership fees. You then accepted my £25 Poll Tax payment as a Registered Supporter on 28 July to allow me to vote in the Leadership election.

 

Your action to expel me, of 7 September 2016, and your acceptance of full membership and supporter status are all retrospective of the alleged offence of 28 June 2016.

 

You therefore took my voting fee under false pretences.

 

I therefore demand a full refund of that £25 fee within the next 14 days.

 

Yours sincerely

 

 

 Nic Outterside

Illegitimacy: once a shameful secret but now a celebration

William

UNTIL fairly recently British society placed great emphasis on the bonds of marriage, and those who deviated from this social norm faced condemnation from their community.

And having a ‘bastard’ child was a stigma too far for many families.

Such was the shame that families went to great lengths to keep their guilty secret under wraps.

“We don’t think twice about illegitimacy now; it’s really hard to get your mind around the idea that the shame was once so awful that women were prepared to kill their babies,” says Ruth Paley, author of Was Your Ancestor a Bastard?

But that awful stigma of the past has given birth to two joyous reconciliations for me, my mother, my immediate family and a new extended family.

And here lies two stories:

My aunt Betty was my father’s eldest sister, born in 1919 to my grandparents Tom and Alice Outterside in the tough mining village of Throckley, near Newcastle-upon-Tyne. Her sister Win was born in 1922 and dad Ray and his twin brother Geoff came eight years later in 1930.

On the back of the Depression and in search of better job opportunities, in 1933 my grandparents and their four children, moved south to an expanding manufacturing town on the outskirts of London.

It was a good move all round as my grandfather quickly gained the prestigious job as clerk to the town council and over the next 13 years the four children acquired careers in aircraft design, nursing and civil aviation.

But while my dad, Geoff and Win soon found happy domesticity in married life, Betty was left as the spinster sister living at home with my grandparents.

She had got a good secretarial job, but true love and a husband was to pass her by.

But then, in 1946 Betty enjoyed a brief and loving relationship with a man she met through work. The problem was, this man was already married.

And as fate would have it, at the age of 27, Betty found she was pregnant.

The stigma of their daughter expecting a baby out of wedlock was too much for my grandparents and they sent Betty to live 50 miles away until the time came for the birth.

And in 1947 she gave birth to a bouncing baby boy, whom she named Richard.

It should have been a joyous occasion, but my grandparents had already planned Betty and Richard’s futures. And when the baby was just two weeks old he was given away for adoption, and Betty sworn by shame to NEVER mention the birth or speak of her now lost child.

So the years rolled by. And while family whispers of Betty’s child perpetuated, they were only whispers.

And true to her promise, Betty never talked about her son. But she became an amazing aunt to five nephews and nieces and a great aunt to many more.

In 1997 she died tragically and suddenly after routine operation on an internal ulcer went wrong. She was 78 years old.

She died, never knowing her son.

Over the ensuing years I tried in vain to trace her child, but despite the growth of the internet, all I was ever able to find was confirmation of his birth.

Then two years ago something remarkable happened.

Out of the blue, a 67-year-old man got in touch with our family.

It was Richard – now called John – who had traced us!

His wife Sue explained: “John had a very happy and loving upbringing with his adoptive family and is now so happy that he has finally found his biological family.

“He didn’t feel it was right to try to find his mother while his adoptive parents were still alive and so sadly it was too late to meet Betty.”

Sadly for John the reconciliation was too late for him to know his real mother. And sadly too late to meet my father, who died in 2008.

But our family have showered John and Sue with photographs and personal treasures and he has visited and laid flowers at Betty’s grave.

Family stories are exchanged and one by one he is meeting all his long lost relations.

Most importantly he has gained a new family and we have gained a new cousin.

Love never dies.

And yesterday that truth came home again, in the most unexpected way.

My maternal great-grandmother Lucy Eastman was born in 1875 to a farming family in Hampshire, and after basic schooling began a life as a servant and seamstress, downstairs for an aristocratic family.

No-one now knows the circumstances, but she became pregnant while in service and gave birth to my grandfather Eric in 1904.

But rather than throw her into the workhouse or the streets, the family took care of her and her baby.

Then in 1907, aged 32, a stunningly attractive Lucy met and married my maternal great-grandfather Stephen, who helped her raise my grandfather like his own child.

Due to social pressures of the time, my grandfather was not told about his illegitimacy – he was given his stepfather’s surname – until preparing for his own wedding to my grandmother in 1926.

Then confronted by the minister, and his hastily obtained birth certificate, the full truth began to emerge.

He lived the rest of his life never publicly acknowledging his illegitimacy until shortly before his death in 1978 when he confided in my mother and his other children.

And so it may have remained.

But something remarkable happened at his wedding all those years earlier.

He had invited two cousins to the event in downtown Chelsea: Gwen Eastman, who was his mother’s niece from nearby Fulham, and Bill, who was his step-father’s nephew.

And romance blossomed at the wedding reception… Gwen and Bill fell in love and three years later in 1926 were married.

For the ensuing years they were always my grandfather’s closest relations, carrying the family blood of both his mother and stepfather.

I have fond memories as a child of my grandparents taking me for visits to Gwen and Bill’s wonderful smallholding on the Hampshire/Berkshire border.

And then something remarkable happened again…

After six months of working for Momentum and the re-election of Jeremy Corbyn as leader of the Labour Party a small personal miracle occurred.

Among hundreds of new Twitter Followers, yesterday I suddenly acquired a new Follower, a lady called Liz with a surname I recognised… a surname that like Outterside, is rare and rather unusual.

A quick exchange of Twitter messages, plus a phone call to my mum, and Liz and I both realised we are related…. twice over!

She is the grand-daughter of Gwen and Bill, and like me has similar memories of visits to their small-holding!

Now 24 hours have passed and we share the same excitement of discovering long lost family.

If it wasn’t for my great grandmother’s illegitimate child and his wedding to my grandmother; neither of us would be here now!

I attach with this blog a copy of the memorial notice of our shared great-great grandfather!

Life can be remarkable at times.

 

The real enemies within the Parliamentary Labour Party

Memory, ecstasy, tyranny, hypocrisy

Betrayed by a kiss on a cool night of bliss

In the valley of the missing link

And you have no time to think

 

TEN days have passed since I was expelled from the Labour Party as part of Iain McNicol’s “rigged purge” of Jeremy Corbyn supporters.

I was expelled for publishing a blog piece entitled Hanging from Traitors’ Gate – Progress: Labour’s right wing Militant  some 10 weeks earlier. In my piece, in which I use the proscribed word “Traitor” I listed the MPs who displayed treachery to Jeremy Corbyn, and to us the membership of the Labour Party.

You can read my appeal against the expulsion here.

Yesterday a close lawyer friend of some 24 years standing, described my appeal thus:

“You’ve done exactly the right thing from a legal point of view and you should carry on to the bitter end to exhaust your remedies and keep all your options open.

“And, as you’re well aware yourself of course, you’ve done exactly the right thing from an activist’s point of view by standing up for yourself so eloquently and movingly and by sharing what you’ve done to encourage and strengthen the resolve of others.

“I have no doubt there will be legal action here, and you may well be a good candidate for one of the test cases.”

Anyway, on with the show…

There is some personal irony that just 24 hours after I emailed my appeal letter to Iain McNicol, a member of Jeremy Corbyn’s campaign team leaked a list singling out 14 Labour MPs, including deputy leader Tom Watson, who it claims have abused the leader and his allies.

In the release, Owen Smith, the challenger for the Labour leadership, was accused of being the “real disunity candidate”, who has failed to tackle abuse meted out by his own supporters.

The list, obtained by Press Association, highlighted the behaviour of a number of Labour MPs, including Jess Phillips for telling Corbyn’s ally Diane Abbott to “fuck off”, John Woodcock for dismissing the party leader as a “fucking disaster” and Tristram Hunt for describing Labour as “in the shit”.

Watson was highlighted for calling the grassroots Corbyn campaign Momentum a “rabble”.

The list emerged just hours before the final Labour leadership hustings between Mr Smith and Mr Corbyn, who is the overwhelming favourite to win the contest.

At the Sky News debate, Smith branded it a “deselection list” that would be used by some activists to target MPs considered hostile to Corbyn.

Mr Corbyn responded by defending the accuracy of the release and urging Smith to focus on policies.

“There was information put out there, which is statements made by colleagues on the record and is all out there in the public domain,” the leader said.

He went on to say he would rather Watson had not referred to activists from the Momentum group of Corbyn supporters as a “rabble”.

The others identified on the list were Ian Austin, Neil Coyle, Ben Bradshaw, Frank Field, Anna Turley, Jamie Reed, Karl Turner, Stephen Kinnock and Tom Blenkinsop.

Coyle, the MP for Bermondsey and Old Southwark, who was among those criticised, said he was “fuming”, while long time vocal critic of Mr Corbyn, Woodcock was similarly angry.

Now the list of names – and offences – is out in the public domain, all the claims can be checked and verified and appropriate action taken.

One wonders, as the information was in the public domain already, why the Labour Party’s Compliance Unit had not taken the requisite steps on its own initiative.

It is welcome to see Owen Smith criticised – after all the times Jeremy Corbyn has been accused of allowing abuse to continue – of failing to tackle his own supporters’ inappropriate behaviour.

As for those who were named – the MPs who have already complained haven’t got a leg to stand on and I’m surprised the list isn’t much, much longer. I would certainly add Luke Akehurst and John McTernan to that list.

 

Neil Coyle, for example, abused Jeremy Corbyn by claiming he had presided over the “Farage-ification” of the Labour Party. Now he is complaining about “trial by troll”. Forget it, Mr Coyle. It isn’t trolling if you did what is claimed.

John Woodcock tweeted that Jeremy Corbyn was a “fucking disaster at PMQs” back in March and quickly deleted the message – but it was caught by the mainstream media nonetheless and members of his own electorate launched a petition calling for his deselection – months before that became an issue in the leadership election.

Now he’s saying a list pointing out this abusive behaviour is “shabby” and is complaining that it “targets colleagues for more abuse”.

Isn’t that exactly what he was doing when he wrote about Mr Corbyn, all those months ago – inviting others to abuse the Labour leader alongside him?

As for the claim that the MPs mentioned are on a “deselection list”: Their future is not a matter for Mr Corbyn or his team. It is for Labour Party members in each constituency to decide whether their sitting MP is representing them in a sufficiently courteous manner.

In Mr Woodcock’s case, alas, considering his constituents are already petitioning for his removal, an apology may be too little, too late.

Of course it is not the first time a list of disloyal and potentially treacherous Labour MPs has been released.

Back in January my blog The Enemy Within – the 28 Labour MPs who Oppose Mr Corbyn listed those MPs who were most likely ready to oust their democratically elected leader.

And of course on 23 March there was the now infamous list of the 36 MPs “most hostile to Mr Corbyn”.

So let’s look more closely at a few of the names on the most recent list of Labour MPs who have gone beyond the call of duty in their hostility.

  • Ian Austin – On my original list of MPs who oppose Jeremy Corbyn. Also on the 23 March list of 36 most hostile MPs. Originally a Brownite. Among a hard core of 14 right wing Labour MPs that refused to vote against the Tories on austerity, voted TO BOMB Syria AND for the renewal of Trident.
  • Ben Bradshaw – Member of Progress. On my original list of MPs who oppose Jeremy Corbyn. A Blairite and vocal right winger. Among a hard core of 14 right wing Labour MPs that refused to vote against the Tories on austerity, voted TO BOMB Syria AND for the renewal of Trident.
  • Frank Field – Member of Progress. On my original list of MPs who oppose Jeremy Corbyn. A Blairite and among a hard core of 14 right wing Labour MPs that refused to vote against the Tories on austerity, voted TO BOMB Syria AND for the renewal of Trident. A long-time vocal critic of Mr Corbyn.
  • Tristram Hunt – Member of Progress. On my original list of MPs who oppose Jeremy Corbyn. Also on the 23 March list of 36 most hostile MPs. Blairite. Former chair of the Progress group. Among a hard core of 14 right wing Labour MPs that refused to vote against the Tories on austerity, voted TO BOMB Syria AND for the renewal of Trident. Has previously openly mocked Mr Corbyn. He is infamous for tweeting that Labour under Mr Corbyn was “in the shit”.
  • Stephen Kinnock – Member of Progress. Two months ago Kinnock was talking openly about a right wing breakaway from the Labour Party – working title: Continuity Labour if Jeremy Corbyn is re-elected as leader.
  • Jess Phillips – Backed by Progress. Mouthy MP who is infamous for telling Diane Abbott to “fuck off”. She also threatened to “knife” Mr Corbyn in the front and suggested she would leave the Labour Party if he was re-elected leader.
  • Jamie Reed – On my original list of MPs who oppose Jeremy Corbyn. Also on the 23 March list of 36 most hostile MPs. Blairite. Among a hard core of 14 right wing Labour MPs that refused to vote against the Tories on austerity, voted TO BOMB Syria AND for the renewal of Trident.
  • Tom Watson – Originally viewed as a mediator until engineering a motion at the forthcoming party conference to replace the current one member one vote system with an electoral college to elect the leader and for MPs to choose the shadow cabinet. Has been highlighted for calling Momentum a “rabble”. He had previously called shadow Foreign Secretary Emily Thornberry a “traitor” in the House of Commons voting lobby.
  • John Woodcock – Member of Progress. On my original list of MPs who oppose Jeremy Corbyn. Also on the 23 March list of 36 most hostile MPs. Blairite. Former chair of the Progress group. Voted for bombing Syria. Resigned from the shadow cabinet in January in protest at Jeremy Corbyn’s so called ‘purge’ of right wing MPs from his front bench team. Has previously openly mocked Mr Corbyn and is infamous for dismissing the party leader as a “fucking disaster”.

These are some of the most treacherous… it is now make your mind up time.

 

 

The one thing bringing the Labour Party into disrepute is this one-sided political purge

And it’s time for Iain McNicol to resign

 

By Stuart King

Iain McNicol, the Labour Party General Secretary put out some figures last week (8 September) of Labour members excluded/suspended around the leadership election.

A spokesperson for the party declared, “The speculation that huge numbers of applicants have been denied a vote has been wildly exaggerated.” They went on to claim that less than 0.5% of the electorate had been denied a vote.

This statement came after growing uproar from those arbitrarily excluded and the Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell’s remark that there was a “rigged purge going on”.

It is worth drilling down into the figures released by Labour’s Compliance Unit. The 0.5% claim refers to the entire Labour Party electorate of 650,000, not to new members where the purge has been targeted.

After the failed parliamentary coup in June there was another wave of tens of thousands of people joining the party to defend Jeremy Corbyn. This produced the decision by the July NEC to deprive these members of a vote in the leadership election by setting the deadline at January 12th. Despite this around 180,000 members and supporters paid £25 to be able to vote. It this group that the purge has been primarily aimed at.

Who is being excluded?

So far, of this group, 21,000 were excluded because “they did not provide details that matched the electoral roll”. This has been interpreted extremely tightly; a slight variation in the person’s name as it appears on the electoral roll, a Flat 1 down as Flat A etc.

Many of these people will never know why they did not receive a ballot paper and will not chase it up and appeal. Another 3,107 have been ruled ineligible on grounds of party rules and a further 1,616 cases are awaiting a decision – that is 4,720 excluded up to 1 September. Another 3,791 people apparently failed to make the necessary £25 payment – maybe because the website process wasn’t that easy. Were they chased up – no chance!

So just taking the first two groups, nearly 26,000 people have been excluded from voting out of 180,000 who applied, that is 14.4% not 0.5%. And this figure is only up to September 1st, the purge is continuing apace up to conference.

The Compliance Unit now seem to have turned their attention to Labour conference delegates with one Labour blogger learning of five Corbyn mandated delegates excluded in 24 hours!

Ian McNicol has claimed all these suspensions/barrings have “been approved by the NEC” but of course the NEC has not met since July. They are in fact approved by an NEC sub-committee run by the right – the NEC Oversight Panel – the new left leaning NEC does not come into being till after conference.

How members are treated

It is worth giving some examples of the decisions being made to get a flavour of the members being excluded.

One group involves people who, in one way or another, were sympathetic to the Green Party when the LP was lurching rightwards and who now are attracted back to Labour under Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership. Surely a group the LP should really be chasing if we want to win a majority over the Tories?

Take the case of Kristina Veasey, a Paralympian and a disability rights campaigner, which was reported prominently in the Huffington Post. She recounted what happened. “I am a community activist, an artist, a mother, an equalities consultant and until a few days ago I was a Labour Party member.” Two years ago she retweeted something that the Labour Party’s Compliance Unit found unacceptable.

Not an abusive message, but an anti-fracking one by Green MP Caroline Lucas. “For those investigating me this was enough to expel me on the grounds that ‘you supported comments made on Twitter that evidenced your support for the Green Party’.

The expulsion was carried out under Appendix 2.1.B.x of the Labour Party rules – an automatic exclusion clause which prevents her from reapplying for membership for two years unless there are exceptional circumstances.

In another case, Sophie McKeand was sent a letter from the General Secretary saying “You were asked to confirm ‘I support the aims and values of the LP and I am not a supporter of any organisation opposed to it”. A panel of the NEC has considered your application and has decided to reject it on the grounds that you tweeted in support of the Green Party on 8 May 2015”.

Clearly this rule, involving supporting another party within two years of applying to join, was designed for people who stood against Labour in elections or their agents, not against people who tweeted something.

It is a scandalous abuse of the rules aimed at weeding out Corbyn supporters. Of course this rule has never been used against Tory or Lib Dem members who have applied to join Labour because they have generally strengthened the right

Then there are the trade union members who are known to support Corbyn.

Steve Hedley, Senior Assistant General Secretary of the RMT, said recently that many RMT members had been excluded in the current purge.

This included a 38 year long member of the Labour Party who put a “like” against a TUSC candidate on Facebook who was a friend of his. Even the Bakers’ Union General Secretary, Ronnie Draper was excluded on the grounds of past comments made on social media, but with no details provided about the precise nature of the offence. He appealed and was later re-instated, probably because he was so prominent a figure in the labour movement, others have not been so lucky.

An 82-year-old pensioner and lifelong Labour voter and member has been expelled by the party for supporting media democracy. A year ago on social media, she retweeted a post calling for the Green Party leaders to be included in TV debates.

For the Compliance Unit that single retweet justified expelling her and barring her for five years, because it supposedly signified support for the Greens. She tweeted in reply: “Well this housebound carer/pensioner expelled today. Mr McNicol’s way of thanking me for 50 years of votes?? Stunned!”

Then there is the just plain ludricrous examples from this purge. The Labour member who was suspended for saying on Facebook that she ‘f*cking loves the Foo Fighters.’ One assumes this was probably a software error but who knows! The Foo Fighters later commented on social media that they’re surprised to be on the Labour Party Compliance Unit blacklist.

Bringing the Labour Party into disrepute

If anything is bringing the Labour Party into disrepute it is this one sided political purge, using the most ridiculous of pretexts to exclude members/supporters and damage the Labour’s image across a range of social media.

Of course the established press, the BBC, Channel 4 etc ignores these cases because they counter the media narrative that it is the Labour Left and Momentum that are the bullying, bad guys.

Why is the right-wing, ensconced in Labour’s apparatus, going to all this trouble when it looks like Jeremy Corbyn is the favourite to win?

One reason is to reduce his majority, to be able to say “there you are, he is losing support even among the members after a year in office”. Another is to save face, both for Owen Smith and the Labour right in the PLP who forced another election so soon.

A more sinister reason is to try and rig the Labour Party conference by excluding left wing delegates and pushing through Tom Watson’s electoral college idea, a structure that would restore the parliamentary and trade union dominance over the individual members of the party by depriving them of their votes.

These are the dying efforts of a right wing in retreat at all levels in the party; an attempt to fight to the last by gerrymandering elections.

The lesson that Jeremy Corbyn and his supporters must learn from this is to make no compromises when it comes to taking control of the key NEC sub-committees, the full-time apparatus of the party and to deal with the coup mongers in the PLP itself.

The current General Secretary must resign.

The Compliance Unit must be abolished and replaced by something that welcomes new members and holds all members to collective discipline – left or right.

To do this we cannot rely on the PLP left alone, nor even the currently active Labour members. We need a sustained effort to involve the new members into an outwardly focused party, campaigning against austerity and against the Tories.

If we do this, the right-wing will realize they have no future if they continue to obstruct the efforts to radically change the party. Things can and will change.

(Stuart King is a member of Lambeth Momentum)

Appeal against my expulsion from the Labour Party – an open letter

WITHOUT PREJUDICE

 

Iain McNicol

General Secretary of the Labour Party

Compliance Unit

Labour Central

Kings Manor

Newcastle upon Tyne

NE1 6PA

 

 

Dear Mr McNicol

 

Appeal against Expulsion from the Labour Party

Membership Number: Lxxxxxxx

 

I acknowledge receipt of your email of 7 September 2016, and the copy letter, received this morning. I wish to appeal against my expulsion.

 

PREAMBLE

I was born into a middle class Tory voting household and to my eternal shame joined the Conservative Party at age 16. Three years later I was elected Vice Chairman of the Northern Region of the Federation of Conservative Students. I even helped Margaret Thatcher get elected in 1979.

But, life is a great leveller and educator, as I am sure you will agree.

My education began in the early 1980s as a teacher in the South Yorkshire pit village of Darton. I lived in the village for four years among miners and their families, and many of my charges were destined to also become miners. I witnessed at first hand the devastation of the miners’ strike and the evil reality of Thatcherism.

My education continued in 1988 when I was hospitalised in Cardiff for four months for surgery and treatment of lung cancer. Many of my fellow patients in the ward and at the radiotherapy clinic were former miners from the south Wales valleys and sufferers from pneumoconiosis and consequential lung cancer. I listened at first hand to their stories of life in the pits and the betrayal of their futures and communities by Thatcher and her minions.

Over 10 years I had changed forever from a right wing Tory into a true blood socialist, and in 1989 I joined the Labour Party.

Such conversions are not uncommon. I am sure you remember Conservative minister Shaun Woodward crossing the floor of the Commons to join the Labour Party, where he was welcomed with open arms by our then leader, Tony Blair.

Fellow Tory MPs Peter Temple-Morris, Robert Jackson and Quentin Davies did likewise.

And today, under Jeremy Corbyn we are seeing many more conversions from the Greens, the Lib Dems and others, which I hope are being welcomed with similar enthusiasm.

As I said earlier: life is a great educator.

Over the ensuing years, unemployment, bereavement, homelessness and a career in newspaper journalism hardened my beliefs as a socialist and supporter of the Labour Party.

One of the proudest moments of my life came in 1994 when 41 Labour MPs signed an Early Day Motion in the House of Commons praising my investigative journalism into the lies then being peddled by the Conservative government. Some of my all-time political heroes signed that EDM: the late and great Tony Benn, the much missed Alan Simpson, Ken Livingstone, Dennis Skinner and ironically Jeremy Corbyn.

These names next to mine remain a personal shield of honour, which will always remain, whatever the outcome of this appeal.

However, in 2003 I left the Labour Party after being disillusioned and betrayed by Tony Blair’s social welfare policies and for leading us into an illegal war in Iraq against the wishes of the British people and the vast majority of Labour Party members.

For the next 12 years I watched and wrote from afar, dismayed by so-called New Labour and the osmosis of party policy between the Tories and Labour. I became unattached to any political party and described myself as a nihilist.

But, Jeremy Corbyn’s election as Labour Party leader in 2015 reignited a personal belief that things might change and that Labour had rediscovered its soul, cherished under Clem Atlee, Harold Wilson, Jim Callaghan and Michael Foot.

Early in July this year I rejoined the Labour Party and on 18 July received my membership card with an accompanying letter which said: “You are the newest member to add your voice, skills and passion to our movement. Labour’s strength comes from its members.”

 

APPEAL

  • Your email/letter of 7 September 2016 refers to my application to become a member of the Labour Party… and that my application has been rejected.

I have been a member of the Labour Party from 1989-2003 and rejoined with letter of acceptance and membership card on 18 July 2016. Indeed, not only am I already a member of the Labour Party, but you also accepted my £25 Poll Tax payment as a supporter on 28 July to allow me to vote in the Leadership election.

Your action is therefore retrospective and it could be viewed that you took my £25 voting fee under false pretences.

  • Your email/letter of 7 September 2016 says: “The Labour Party should be the home of lively debate, of new ideas and of campaigns to change society. However, for fair debate to take place, people must be able to air their views in an atmosphere of respect. They shouldn’t be shouted down, they shouldn’t be intimidated, and they shouldn’t be abused, either in meetings or online.”

I have NEVER in my lifetime shouted down or intimidated anyone. I have also NEVER abused anyone.

As a victim and survivor of childhood sexual abuse and later domestic abuse, which left me minutes from death, I believe the NEC needs to revisit its use of the term “abuse”.

But, if abuse means bullying, I am a long time campaigner against bullying in all its forms.

Indeed, I was the first to alert NEC member Johanna Baxter on 14 July 2016, that the cyber bully who had reduced her to tears was not a member of the Labour Party or follower of Jeremy Corbyn, but was a far right Nazi troll named Claire Khaw, a former member of the BNP.

  • Your email/letter of 7 September 2016 says I am being expelled because “You have made inappropriate comments on social media including a post on 28 June 2016”.

A quick trawl of my own accounts shows that the only comments you might refer to was my blog posting: Hanging from Traitors’ Gate – Progress: Labour’s right wing Militant

I revisited this subject in more detail in another blog posting on 27 July 2016: The right wing incontinence of the Progress plotters

My blogs are always widely shared on Facebook, Twitter, Linked-in and other social media platforms. These particular blogs are typical of the scores of investigative newspaper reports which won me dozens of awards over a 28 year career in journalism.

They shine a light onto facts about Progress and its members.

If your problem is in the title of the blog piece, maybe lessons in English metaphor and history are required.

A view shared by many is that Progress is as much a right wing entryist party within a party as Militant was in the 1980s.

As for the bulk of the piece, it is written with the same dynamism that former Labour leader Neil Kinnock attacked Militant.

If your problem is with my use of the word Traitor/Traitors, I believe that anyone who has committed the treachery to our leader Jeremy Corbyn and to the 121,751 Labour Party members, 88,449 Registered Supporters and 41,928 Trade Union Affiliated Supporters who voted for him, as observed by the so-called #chickencoup, deserves to be called a Traitor.

I am sure that as a former trade union leader you have used the word traitor or scab to other comrades in times of dispute.

I know that MPs Tom Watson, John McTernan, Luke Akehurst and others have used the word Traitor, and much worse about fellow Labour Party members.

If your problem is about me naming MPs who should face deselection if they fail to ameliorate their treachery, I am doing no more or less than Neil Kinnock did when he named, shamed and threatened with expulsion Derek Hatton, Tony Mulhearn and Lesley Mahmood.

The Labour Party has thrived amid robust and lively debate. To kill or stifle that debate behind claims of bullying or intimidation is to kill the Labour Party and make it into a pink imitation of the Conservatives.

 

CONCLUSION

I vigorously defend my blog post and request that my expulsion is overturned.

I have been increasingly shocked by the actions of the NEC executive board and certain NEC members over the past three months.

This may not help my appeal, but in my opinion the NEC has acted against the membership of the Labour Party and in doing so has damaged the reputation of the party for the foreseeable future.

The top-down NEC dictats bullying the membership can be viewed as Stalinism.

The purge and witch-hunt of members and electors who do not hold a certain beliefs might be seen as McCarthyism.

And the encouragement for members to report other members for un-comradely actions are those of the former East German Stasi.

I never thought I would witness such behaviour from the management of the Labour Party.

 

Please clarify your reasons for my expulsion and confirm when my appeal will be heard.

 

I reserve all rights.

 

Yours sincerely

 

Nic Outterside