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

Right wing Labour MPs exposed by their own voting record

AMID all the rhetoric, propaganda, smears and double talk, perhaps the best way to isolate the right wing Labour MPs is to examine their recent voting records.

Over the past 10 months, under Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership, there have been three key House of Commons debates where MPs showed their true colours to the Labour membership.

In many ways these votes exposed the real “Enemy Within” and those who will undermine Mr Corbyn at every turn.

The first occasion was last October when Labour had the opportunity to vote against George Osborne’s fiscal charter, which introduced a law to ban governments from borrowing money to fund infrastructure, housing or public services “during normal times”.

It was a key vote to secure the Tories’ Austerity programme and stop future public investment.

The second time was in December, when MPs debated and voted on whether to extend British bombing to Syria. An extension which has already killed hundreds of innocent civilians.

And the third occasion was on 18 July this year when MPs backed renewing the Trident £200 billion nuclear deterrent by 472 to 117 – a majority of 355 votes.

On Wednesday 14 October Labour voted against George Osborne’s fiscal charter. But a group of 20 MPs from Labour’s right wing felt they could not vote against the Tories’ Austerity proposal and instead abstained.

The abstainers were:

  • Rushanara Ali 
  • Ian Austin 
  • Adrian Bailey 
  • Ben Bradshaw 
  • Ann Coffey 
  • Simon Danczuk 
  • Chris Evans 
  • Frank Field 
  • Mike Gapes 
  • Margaret Hodge 
  • Tristram Hunt 
  • Graham Jones 
  • Helen Jones 
  • Liz Kendall 
  • Chris Leslie 
  • Fiona MacTaggart 
  • Shabana Mahmood 
  • Jamie Reed 
  • Graham Stringer 
  • Gisela Stuart

The debate and vote on whether to extend British bombing of Isis into Syria was high profile and controversial for many reasons.

Labour MPs were given a free vote and allowed to vote according to their views.

Most Labour MPs – including the majority of the Shadow Cabinet – opposed the bombing, in line with Jeremy Corbyn.

But 66 Labour MPs voted with David Cameron in support of the military strikes.

They were:

  • Heidi Alexander
  • Ian Austin
  • Adrian Bailey
  • Kevin Barron
  • Margaret Beckett
  • Hilary Benn
  • Luciana Berger
  • Tom Blenkinsop
  • Ben Bradshaw
  • Chris Bryant
  • Alan Campbell
  • Jenny Chapman
  • Vernon Coaker
  • Ann Coffey
  • Yvette Cooper
  • Neil Coyle
  • Mary Creagh
  • Stella Creasy
  • Simon Danczuk
  • Wayne David
  • Gloria De Piero
  • Stephen Doughty
  • Jim Dowd
  • Michael Dugher
  • Angela Eagle
  • Maria Eagle
  • Susan Elan Jones
  • Louise Ellman
  • Frank Field
  • Jim Fitzpatrick
  • Colleen Fletcher
  • Caroline Flint
  • Harriet Harman
  • Margaret Hodge
  • George Howarth
  • Tristram Hunt
  • Dan Jarvis
  • Alan Johnson
  • Graham Jones
  • Helen Jones
  • Kevan Jones
  • Liz Kendall
  • Peter Kyle
  • Chris Leslie
  • Holly Lynch
  • Siobhain McDonagh
  • Pat McFadden
  • Conor McGinn
  • Alison McGovern
  • Lucy Powell
  • Bridget Phillipson
  • Jamie Reed
  • Emma Reynolds
  • Geoffrey Robinson
  • Joan Ryan
  • Ruth Smeeth
  • Angela Smith
  • John Spellar
  • Gisela Stuart
  • Gareth Thomas
  • Anna Turley
  • Chuka Umunna
  • Keith Vaz
  • Tom Watson
  • Phil Wilson
  • John Woodcock

In July this year when MPs backed renewing the Trident nuclear deterrent by 472 to 117, some 140 Labour MPs voted for the renewal, compared to 47 who voted no. A further 41 abstained or made themselves scarce.

Those who voted for Trident were:

  • Heidi Alexander 
  • Rushanara Ali
  • Rosena Allin-Khan
  • Ian Austin
  • Adrian Bailey
  • Kevin Barron
  • Margaret Beckett
  • Hilary Benn
  • Luciana Berger
  • Clive Betts
  • Tom Blenkinsop
  • Ben Bradshaw
  • Kevin Brennan
  • Chris Bryant
  • Andy Burnham
  • Liam Byrne
  • Alan Campbell
  • Jenny Chapman
  • Vernon Coaker
  • Ann Coffey
  • Julie Cooper
  • Rosie Cooper
  • Yvette Cooper
  • Neil Coyle
  • Mary Creagh
  • Stella Creasy
  • Jim Cunningham
  • Nic Dakin
  • Simon Danczuk
  • Wayne David
  • Geraint Davies
  • Gloria de Piero
  • Stephen Doughty
  • Jim Dowd
  • Peter Dowd
  • Jack Dromey
  • Michael Dugher
  • Angela Eagle
  • Maria Eagle
  • Julie Elliott
  • Louise Ellman
  • Bill Esterson 
  • Paul Farrelly
  • Frank Field
  • Jim Fitzpatrick
  • Robert Flello
  • Colleen Fletcher
  • Caroline Flint
  • Yvonne Fovargue
  • Gill Furniss
  • Mike Gapes 
  • Pat Glass
  • Mary Glindon
  • Kate Green
  • Andrew Gwynne
  • David Hanson
  • Harriet Harman
  • Helen Hayes
  • Sue Hayman
  • John Healey
  • Stephen Hepburn
  • Meg Hillier
  • Margaret Hodge
  • George Howarth
  • Tristram Hunt
  • Dan Jarvis
  • Alan Johnson
  • Diana Johnson
  • Gerald Jones
  • Graham Jones
  • Helen Jones
  • Kevan Jones
  • Susan Elan Jones
  • Mike Kane
  • Liz Kendall
  • Stephen Kinnock
  • Peter Kyle
  • Chris Leslie
  • Emma Lewell-Buck
  • Ian C Lucas
  • Holly Lynch
  • Justin Madders
  • Khalid Mahmood
  • Shabana Mahmood
  • Seema Malhotra
  • John Mann
  • Rob Marris
  • Christian Matheson
  • Steve McCabe
  • Kerry McCarthy
  • Siobhain McDonagh
  • Pat McFadden
  • Conor McGinn
  • Alison McGovern
  • Liz McInnes
  • Catherine McKinnell
  • Ed Miliband
  • Madeleine Moon
  • Jessica Morden
  • Melanie Onn
  • Chi Onwurah
  • Albert Owen
  • Matthew Pennycook
  • Toby Perkins
  • Jess Phillips
  • Bridget Phillipson
  • Lucy Powell
  • Jamie Reed
  • Steve Reed
  • Christina Rees
  • Rachel Reeves
  • Jonathan Reynolds
  • Geoffrey Robinson
  • Joan Ryan
  • Virendra Sharma
  • Barry Sheerman
  • Paula Sherriff
  • Gavin Shuker
  • Andy Slaughter
  • Ruth Smeeth
  • Angela Smith
  • Nick Smith
  • Owen Smith
  • Karin Smyth
  • John Spellar
  • Keir Starmer
  • Wes Streeting
  • Gisela Stuart
  • Mark Tami
  • Gareth Thomas
  • Nick Thomas-Symonds
  • Stephen Timms
  • Anna Turley
  • Karl Turner
  • Stephen Twigg
  • Valerie Vaz
  • Tom Watson
  • Phil Wilson
  • Rosie Winterton
  • John Woodcock
  • Iain Wright

And the hard core of 14 right wing/Blairite Labour MPs that refused to vote against the Tories, voted TO BOMB Syria AND for the renewal of Trident are therefore:

  • Ian Austin 
  • Adrian Bailey 
  • Ben Bradshaw 
  • Ann Coffey 
  • Simon Danczuk 
  • Frank Field 
  • Margaret Hodge 
  • Tristram Hunt 
  • Graham Jones 
  • Helen Jones 
  • Liz Kendall 
  • Chris Leslie 
  • Jamie Reed 
  • Gisela Stuart

It is easy to see without looking too far, just who are Labour’s Red Tories and those who might be advised to find a different political party to represent.

  • For more background you may also like to read: The right wing incontinence of the Progress plotters.

https://seagullnic.wordpress.com/2016/07/27/the-right-wing-incontinence-of-the-progress-plotters/

 

The twisted power of loaded language in the Labour Party

YESTERDAY, Labour Deputy Leader Tom Watson claimed that Trotskyists (sic) were seeking to influence the result of the party’s leadership election.

In an article in The Guardian Mr Watson said that members of the Socialist Party (formerly Militant), the Alliance for Workers Liberty and the Socialist Workers Party had infiltrated Labour as part of the surge of support for Jeremy Corbyn.

He claimed that these “Trots” did not have the party’s “best interests at heart”, but saw it as a “vehicle for revolutionary socialism” and were “not remotely interested in winning elections” and they were “twisting young arms in this leadership process”.

Mr Watson’s “Trotsky Twist” claim is interesting for many reasons, primarily because he has introduced the word Trot or Trotsykist (it is Trotskyite, Mr Watson) as terms of abuse against the followers of Mr Corbyn.

This word Trot can be added to a growing dictionary of abuse used by the anti Corbyn camp vis: Hard Left, Loony Left, Commies, Infiltrators, Extremists, Momentum Thugs, Entryists, Dogs, Mob, Brick-Lobbers, Cyber Bullies, Trolls, Anti Semites, Sexists, Vandals and many more.

Remarkable double standards when less than two weeks ago Labour’s NEC decided to ban Labour Party members from using the word Blairite under threat of being barred from voting in the leadership election.

The word Blairite has been added to a list of proscribed words – which also includes Scab, Scum and Red Tory – provided by Labour HQ.

Interestingly the edict didn’t ban Labour right-wingers from using the slanderous, misleading and abusive terms defined above, to describe the 300,000+ new members from all ages, areas and demographic groups attracted to the Labour Party since last summer.

As far as the NEC is concerned it’s perfectly fine for Labour right-wingers to damage the reputation of the Party by referring to hundreds of thousands of their own members with vicious and inaccurate slurs, yet anyone who refers to Tony Blair acolytes as Blairites has committed such a severe crime that they could be stripped of their right to vote in the leadership election.

Yet, it’s obvious to anyone with even a rudimentary understanding of British politics that the Blairites are the entryists who took over a left-wing political party and switched it to the promotion of Rupert Murdoch approved Thatcherism (driving away 5 million Labour voters between 1997 and 2010 in the process).

It’s remarkable how so many of the terms of abuse that the Labour right-wingers hurl at Jeremy Corbyn supporters (bullies, infiltrators, cultists, entryists) are so much more applicable to themselves than the victims of their slurs.

But that is how psychological bullies operate.

They project their own character traits onto their victims, and then continually blame their victims for the abuse they subject them to.

Loaded language is their stock in trade, learned assiduously from their Tory friends and their pals in the print media.

Last December, then Prime Minister David Cameron was repeatedly asked to apologise for labelling MPs who might vote against bombing in Syria as “Terrorist Sympathisers”.

It was a failed but oblique attempt to score points against Jeremy Corbyn for his historical support for Hamas and Sinn Fein.

Biased use of language, with a nakedly political motive, is clearly poisonous.

UK tabloids like the Murdoch-owned Sun that has compared immigrants to cockroaches recall the dark days of the Nazi media attacking those they sought to eliminate, says the UN’s human rights chief.

“The Nazi media described people their masters wanted to eliminate as rats and cockroaches,” said UN high commissioner for human rights, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein.

He singled out an article by far right media columnist Katie Hopkins, published by the Sun, in which she wrote: “Make no mistake, these migrants are like cockroaches.”

The use of language to load news reporting and political rhetoric is used regularly in domestic situations.

The British press regularly use the adjectives Far Left, Hard Left and Loony Left to describe Jeremy Corbyn and his supporters in the Labour Party, while referring to more right wing MPs as being Moderates.

Never do they seek to define what the word Moderate means or ever refer to David Cameron or Theresa May as being Far Right or Hard Right.

What we are observing is an adjectival degradation.

Every report, coming from inside governments or institutions outside is, if it contains some form of criticism, therefore “damning”, “devastating” or “scathing”.

Warnings, which most of the time were not heeded anyhow, are “stark”, differences of opinion between politicians of the same party are “dramatic splits“, developments are “alarming” – the consumer of the media is confronted with a permanent linguistic overkill.

Remember how Tony Blair and his spin doctors rebranded the Labour Party as New Labour and Blair’s Labour as he courted Rupert Murdoch and the so-called Middle England vote in the 1990s.

For marketing and propaganda purposes he even banned the use of the word socialist or socialism among his MPs.

The final irony is that now almost 20 years later the word Blairite is considered a term of abuse by the Labour Party.

Is that the final abuse?

 

Corbyn’s chimes of freedom give hope beyond the Blairite lies

blair

YOU usually only get the true measure of a person when you meet them face to face.

And so it was for me when I first interviewed erstwhile Labour Prime Minister Tony Blair, soon after his election victory in 1997.

I had briefly met Mr Blair two years earlier in Glasgow while he was celebrating Labour’s landslide wins in the local council elections. He was triumphant, beaming and pressing flesh in every direction. The Scottish faithful loved him.

I had helped elect him and his Labour Government on 1 May 1997, thus ending 18 years of Thatcherism and Majorism and the class-ridden Tory ruination of our country.

Like millions of others I was now hopeful for a brighter and more socially equal future… after all, things could only get better!

So when, in early December I was asked by my news editor at the Sunday Sun (a North of England Sunday tabloid, not to be confused with the poisonous rag the Sun on Sunday!) if I would like to interview the new Prime Minister on his return to his Sedgefield constituency, I jumped at the chance.

On a sunny Saturday morning, armed with a hand-held tape recorder and full of questions, I made my way to the Labour Club at Trimdon in County Durham.

The club was full with the local faithful and many more had gathered outside. Here was the return of the conquering hero.

Looking tall in a dark suit, white shirt and equally dark blue tie, Mr Blair addressed the audience inside the club about his hopes and plans for a New Labour Britain.

It was typical political rhetoric, the type I had heard many times from other party leaders. But Blair was convincing and comfortable in the knowledge that he was among friends.

He finished to a standing ovation and began to mingle with party activists.

I approached his agent John Burton and requested a few minutes of the PM’s time for an interview which I could guarantee we would run the next day.

Ten minutes later John tapped me on the shoulder and told me Mr Blair was ready for ‘a chat’.

So I faced our new leader, introduced myself and asked him about his proposed cuts in benefits to lone parents. He noticeably winced at this first question, and in words which would not be alien to David Cameron, he said: “I think most people understand that we have got to reform the system. Because if you are spending more on benefits than you are on schools, hospitals and law and order put together, there is a problem.”

Asked if stalwarts in his constituency shared many fellow Labour MPs’ fears over benefit cuts, he became slightly more agitated.

He said: “Look, I have always said that whenever you are doing change then it is always difficult to begin with. We have got to make these reforms and I think people will accept them as changes we have to make.”

Then in words which could have come straight from Conservative Central Office he gave a stark indication that the disabled and sick would be the next to face an overhaul of their benefits.

“We spend more on disabled and incapacity benefits than we do on the entire school system in the UK,” he told me, before adding: “Benefit fraud – estimated at £4 to £5 billion a year – is enough to build 100 large hospitals.

“If we achieve these reforms then it will be a magnificent legacy that the New Labour Government has left us in a new millennium.”

We talked for another ten minutes before the Prime Minister moved away to the safety of his constituency friends.

This was my political watershed.

Personally I felt my interview with Mr Blair was enlightening for many reasons.

Primarily because during the course of the conversation, Mr Blair avoided any eye contact and instead looked right through me, as if reading from an auto cue.

Secondly, because these were not the words, or message to the poorest in our society, that I was expecting from a new Labour Prime Minister. A Prime Minister charged with turning back almost two decades of Conservative pillage and division.

And finally, when all else failed, Mr Blair seemed to rely on cheap soundbites and a pre-learned script.

There was not one ounce of sincerity in anything he said.

He had lost me!

And over the next four years, the actions and policies of Mr Blair’s New Labour government confirmed my worst fears.

While I still voted Labour in the June 2001 General Election, I had lost all confidence in this light blue successor to Thatcher or any dreams of a more equitable Britain.

The events of post 9/11, Mr Blair’s unswerving support of the moronic George W Bush, the illegal invasion of Afghanistan and the lies over the justification for war against Saddam Hussein and Iraq, finally nailed it.

I felt that like many, I had been caught in a web of lies and propaganda and lost in a smokescreen of rhetoric and deceit.

The poor were poorer, the rich got richer, and the innocent victims of Blair’s wars lay charred and dead.

So by 2005, for the first time in my life I did NOT vote for any party or political leader.

Under Thatcher, Major, Blair and Cameron our country had been sleep walking into a world of personal greed, arrogance and self-importance with totems such as The X Factor, Top Gear, designer clothes labels and Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?

Human kindness, gentleness, peace, society and social justice were jettisoned for a winner takes all mentality and a scapegoating of the homeless, those claiming benefits, Muslims, asylum seekers and the poor in general.

All of this was underpinned by our malicious gutter press who daily smeared and pilloried anyone who dared question the status quo or suggest alternatives.

And the Labour Party, which should have been standing and campaigning for a more just society crumpled into a Tory Lite modelled in the image of war monger Tony Blair.

Following Cameron’s election victory in May 2105 I published a lengthy report stating that the Left “must begin now to unify around a leader or leadership we can all trust, organise and start the fightback, or we wave farewell to any hope for a fairer and better future.”

Deep inside I cried a million tears as I thought it was a vain hope.

Then something dramatic, wonderful and unexpected happened.

Last September’s landslide election of Jeremy Corbyn as the first truly socialist leader of the Labour Party since Clement Atlee was a pivotal moment in British politics.

And profound moment for me personally.

Two months ago I re-joined the Labour Party.

Jeremy Corbyn’s messages of justice, care, peace and equality caught the hearts and minds of millions and a world away from the capitalist greed of Tony Blair and his minions.

The world was turning again and people became engaged with their own future and the power that collectively we can wage for a better tomorrow.

Now as Jeremy Corbyn is under daily assault from those same minions and their friends in the media, we must dig deep and ensure his re-election as leader on 24 September.

#Together4Corbyn

Far between sundown’s finish an’ midnight’s broken toll We ducked inside the doorway, thunder crashing As majestic bells of bolts struck shadows in the sounds Seeming to be the chimes of freedom flashing Flashing for the warriors whose strength is not to fight Flashing for the refugees on the unarmed road of flight An’ for each an’ ev’ry underdog soldier in the night An’ we gazed upon the chimes of freedom flashing

Through the mad mystic hammering of the wild ripping hail The sky cracked its poems in naked wonder That the clinging of the church bells blew far into the breeze Leaving only bells of lightning and its thunder Striking for the gentle, striking for the kind Striking for the guardians and protectors of the mind An’ the unpawned painter behind beyond his rightful time An’ we gazed upon the chimes of freedom flashing

Through the wild cathedral evening the rain unraveled tales For the disrobed faceless forms of no position Tolling for the tongues with no place to bring their thoughts All down in taken-for-granted situations Tolling for the deaf an’ blind, tolling for the mute Tolling for the mistreated, mateless mother, the mistitled prostitute For the misdemeanor outlaw, chased an’ cheated by pursuit An’ we gazed upon the chimes of freedom flashing

Even though a cloud’s white curtain in a far-off corner flashed An’ the hypnotic splattered mist was slowly lifting Electric light still struck like arrows, fired but for the ones Condemned to drift or else be kept from drifting Tolling for the searching ones, on their speechless, seeking trail For the lonesome-hearted lovers with too personal a tale An’ for each unharmful, gentle soul misplaced inside a jail An’ we gazed upon the chimes of freedom flashing

(Bob Dylan, 1964)

 

 

The longest suicide note in history and time to deselect a Labour MP

AT 1pm today (Tuesday) more than 600 members of Wolverhampton South West Constituency Labour Party were informed by email that their Leadership Nomination meeting – scheduled for tomorrow – had been cancelled.

The CLP executive said the cancellation was due to: “The High Court ruling yesterday, we would have to invite over 600 members, which can’t be accommodated and it is not possible to find a larger venue in 24 hours and inform all members”.

A final denial of democracy in this gerrymandered leadership election.

Sharp intake of breath.

Then with a bitter twist of irony, a letter arrived from the sitting Labour MP Rob Marris explaining why we (ordinary Labour Party members in Wolverhampton South West) should NOT be voting for the incumbent leader Jeremy Corbyn.

But this was no ordinary letter… it was a SEVEN page epistle of Marks and Spencer’s proportions dripping with bile, innuendo, misinformation and personal vitriol.

It was one of the most nasty and poisonous attacks by an MP on his party leader that I have seen in over 30 years as a journalist and political commentator.

Maybe I shouldn’t have been surprised, after all, Mr Marris is the MP who:

  • Emailed party members on 25 June explaining why he had lost confidence in Jeremy Corbyn – a full five days BEFORE he took his turn to resign from the Shadow Cabinet.
  • Blamed Mr Corbyn’s failure to address Eastern European immigration as the reason for the Brexit referendum vote. In doing so he took a leaf out of Nigel Farage’s book of blame by stating that this was the “perception” of his constituents.
  • And now backs Owen Smith for leader (he included Mr Smith’s leadership campaign leaflet with his letter) – the former PR professional whose blundering handed thousands of Welsh votes to UKIP in the 2014 EU elections.

So let’s address some of what Mr Marris has to say in his seven page assault. It starts quite tamely but gets a lot worse.

My observations and answers are in bold:

  1. I have observed with dismay the declining state of the Labour Party since the missed opportunity of May 2015.  Firstly there was the precipitate resignation of Ed Miliband.  Next there was the lacklustre 2015 leadership campaign, in which I nominated no candidate. That led to the election of Jeremy Corbyn.

“Lacklustre” leadership campaign! I and many others view the 2015 leadership campaign as the most exciting ever witnessed. It engaged young and old alike, bringing in tens of thousands of people who had been disengaged from British politics for far too long.

  1. I loyally supported Jeremy Corbyn as a shadow minister for 10 months.  However, after the PLP ballot showed that 80% of the PLP had lost confidence in his leadership, I then told him that I regarded his position as untenable.

See my note above: Mr Marris had emailed Wolverhampton South West Labour Party members on 25 June explaining why he had lost confidence in Jeremy Corbyn well before the ballot result of 28 June and his resignation two days after that.

  1. The May 2016 results in England were quite a bit worse than they should have been, given six years of an unpopular Conservative government and George Osborne’s failed medicine of extreme austerity. However much he wants to spin and deny it, Mr Corbyn is the first opposition leader since 1985 to lose council seats in a non-General Election year.

Labour’s results in the May elections were better than Tony Blair, David Cameron and Ed Miliband for a leader of party in his first year in office. If we ignore the debacle in Scotland – caused by a Blairite Scottish leadership under Progress backed Kesia Dugdale – Labour finished the elections in control of 58 English councils and 1,326 seats, compared to the Tories 38 councils and 842 seats – in addition the Tories LOST 48 seats! The smokescreen of Mr Corbyn’s poor showing in the May elections, is just that: a smokescreen.

  1. All of this happened before Jeremy Corbyn fired Hilary Benn which precipitated the wave of resignations.

Mr Corbyn fired Mr Benn because the Leeds Central MP admitted that he was organising a coup and telephoning fellow MPs, persuading them to resign from the Shadow Cabinet.

  1. Over the last two months, Labour’s standing in opinion polling has gone from bad to worse. The July ICM opinion poll saw the Conservative lead stretch to 16%, and we are seeing regular double-digit Conservative polling leads in polls generally.  42% of those who voted Labour in May 2015 will no longer commit to voting Labour again at a general election.

During the last week of June – days before the coup against Mr Corbyn, Labour was neck and neck with the Tories in all opinion polls – and ahead in two polls. The demise of Labour in opinion polls is wholly due to the party being split by the coup and those like you, Mr Marris who seek to undermine the leader and party unity. As Joe Public I certainly wouldn’t vote Labour at this present time!

  1. Mr Corbyn has not been able to command the political respect of those who have worked most closely with him and observed him close-up.  His decision not to resign when he is unable to command the support of even a “substantial body” of MPs, let alone a majority, flies in the face of the recognition of the need for such support when the new system for electing the party leader was drawn up.

Why should he resign? He was elected by us, the membership and NOT by you Mr Marris or most of the MPs who have plotted against him. Democracy starts and ends with the members and is NOT vested in the hands of 172 self-seeking career MPs. Let’s now wait and see whether the members re-elect Mr Corbyn. Then maybe it is time for you to seek a new party?

  1. Given the result of that ballot of MPs, on Wednesday morning 29 June I texted and e-mailed to Mr Corbyn saying that I believed his position was untenable.  Rudely, he did not bother to respond.  He continues stubbornly to cling to office.  So on Thursday 30 June I resigned as a junior Shadow Treasury minister.

See my answer to #2 above. Mr Corbyn was hardly the one being rude as he struggled to reform the Shadow Cabinet amid the treachery of MPs like yourself.

  1. Mr Corbyn’s supporters try to hoodwink people as to his mandate.  In 2015 Mr Corbyn got 251,417 (= 59.5%) votes cast by Labour members and supporters.  In 1994 Mr Blair got 507,950 (= 57.00%) of the votes cast by members and supporters – well over twice what Mr Corbyn achieved.

The clue is in the percentage. Mr Blair was elected by a larger electorate. It is still true that Mr Corbyn has the biggest mandate (59.5%) on a first ballot than any Labour leader in history. Political analysts have calculated that if the election had progressed to a 4th ballot (Corbyn v Burnham) his likely share of the vote would have been closer to 70%, as many supporters of Yvette Cooper are now backing Mr Corbyn!

  1. It saddens me to have to say that Mr Corbyn is a hypocrite as well.  In 1988 he and the handful of his fellow MPs in the tiny Campaign Group voted out of the blue to launch Tony Benn’s challenge to the leader Neil Kinnock.

In 1988 Mr Corbyn was a backbencher and free to vote for whoever he wanted in what was then an open leadership election. He was NOT a Shadow Cabinet minister sworn to loyalty to the leadership, as you were in June 2016. And he was never part of coup!

  1. Jeremy Corbyn as an MP voted against the Labour whip over 500 times – and now he lectures us on loyalty! Mr Blair had an almost equally strong mandate from the Party.  In addition Mr Blair had the overwhelming support of Labour MPs.  Furthermore he also won three General Elections.

Mr Corbyn was a backbench MP free to vote on conscience and stayed true to his principles and his constituents. Mr Blair may have won three General Elections, but he also took us into an illegal war in Iraq on the back of a raft of lies. A war which saw the murder of 500,000 innocent people. In addition, undisputed UN figures show that 1.7 million Iraqi civilians also died due to the West’s brutal sanctions regime, supported by Mr Blair. Winning elections and murdering women and children is not why I support a Labour leader. Do I sense a bit of a Blairite in you, Mr Marris?

  1. The problems Labour now faces certainly did not start under Jeremy Corbyn, but he was lukewarm about Remain, and so the Labour Remain campaign never really got out of second gear. The BBC’s Chief Political Correspondent, Laura Kuenssberg, used evidence from correspondence between the Leader’s office and the Labour Remain campaign to report last month how: “documents passed to the BBC suggest Jeremy Corbyn’s office sought to delay and water down the Labour Remain campaign”, verging on deliberate sabotage.

I find it most interesting that you take anything that the Tory BBC correspondent Laura Kuenssberg says as either evidence or true. She is the most overtly politically biased reporter I have ever had the misfortune to come across.

  1. He sounded as if he were comparing the government of Israel to Islamic State a when he spoke his own press conference on anti-Semitism on 1 July this year, reportedly in prepared remarks. He said:  “Our Jewish friends are no more responsible for the actions of Israel or the Netanyahu government than our Muslim friends are for those of various self-styled Islamic states or organisations.”  What a maladroit comparison.

As a history graduate, former history teacher and campaigner for the liberation of Palestine, I suggest you look more closely at (a) How Israel came into being by the wholesale theft of land (b) Its ongoing atrocities against the Palestinian people and (c) The murder of 2,200 (United Nations OCHA figures) innocent men, women and children in Gaza in the summer of 2014. But more importantly, you (like John Mann MP and others) are deliberately equating Jews with Zionist Israel to smear Mr Corbyn and others with the anti-semitism brush. Not all Jews are Zionists, just as not all Zionists are Jews. Something Mr Corbyn was trying the illuminate.

  1. At that same press conference an anti-racist campaigning MP was abused by a member of the audience, yet Mr Corbyn said nothing; nothing.

The MP was Ruth Smeeth – a Progress backed MP and opponent of Mr Corbyn – who span the incident for her own advantage. Mr Corbyn had no locus to intervene as the meeting was being chaired by Shami Chakrabarti.

  1. Mr Corbyn has made several appearances on Press TV, for which he was paid (and duly declared) several times.  Press TV is part of the Islamic Republic of Iran’s tightly controlled broadcasting machinery.  Its director is appointed by Iran’s Supreme Leader – the country’s chief religious and political authority – which means that its output is often biased in favour of strict establishment ideology.

Iran is the victim of black Western propaganda, instigated by the US following the fall of the Shah in 1979 – the Shah was a puppet of the West who came to power in an Anglo-American coup d’état in 1953. Iran is not perfect but a darn sight fairer and less aggressive than Turkey or Israel. It is a bastion of true Islam – unlike the capitalist Islam of Saudi Arabia or the UAE. And judging by recent reporting and the LSE study of media bias, the BBC’s output is also “often biased in favour of strict establishment ideology”. 

  1. For many years he has offered apologetics for dictatorship and anti-democracy.  For example, he has championed/made excuses for the IRA, the Venezuelan autocrat Hugo Chavez, the undemocratic Fidel Castro, and of course Hamas and Hezbollah.

A study in the history of the island of Ireland, Venezuela, Palestine, Lebanon and Cuba is recommended. I tend to remember Mr Cameron and Margaret Thatcher describing Nelson Mandela and the ANC as terrorists. One man’s terrorist is far too often another man’s freedom fighter.

  1. On 12 July the NEC met to discuss how to proceed with the leadership election. NEC member Johanna Baxter later said of that meeting:  “The leader of the Labour party voted against the proposal that we conduct our vote in private in order to protect NEC members who were receiving threats, bullying and intimidation. He voted against it. He endorsed bullying, threats and intimidation, by the fact of that vote.”

The bullying smear and smokescreen appears again! Johanna Baxter’s cyber bully was a woman named Claire Khaw – a far right Nazi who had no links to the Labour Party and certainly none to Jeremy Corbyn. At the NEC meeting Mr Corbyn was defending transparent democracy and not the antics of some far right nutter.

  1. On Monday 27 June 2016 Mr Corbyn addressed a rally of his supporters outside Parliament, where several participants were wearing T-shirts emblazoned with “eradicate Blairite vermin”.  Mr Corbyn did not upbraid let alone castigate them for doing so, even though this took place less than a fortnight after a Labour MP was murdered.

There were an estimated 3,000 people at that spontaneous rally. While most were Labour Party members, others (such as two friends of mine) had no party allegiance while others belonged to the Socialist Workers Party, The Greens, Class War and many other organisations. Evidence has also emerged that the people wearing crisp new “eradicate Blairite vermin” T-shirts were backed by Progress as part of a stunt to undermine the supporters.  Mr Corbyn is leader of the Labour Party… he is NOT the Messiah!

  •  Post Script: In my opinion Mr Marris is out-of-touch with the Labour membership, out of touch with his constituents and out of touch with what is happening around him. His letter is the longest suicide note in history and I hope that once the leadership election is over, we as Labour Party members will seek his deselection and that of other MPs with similar views.

 

Ten steps in the denial of democracy

Democracy is two wolves and a lamb deciding what to have for dinner. Liberty is a well-armed lamb.  (Benjamin Franklin)

PROTECTING democracy requires that the general public be educated on how people can be manipulated by the Establishment and media into forfeiting their civil liberties.

After the insidious assault on democracy over the past year by forces within the Labour Party we certainly need protecting.

Or in the words of the late US satirist and political agitator Lenny Bruce, we must “shine a light in their beds”.

On 5 August 2015, journalist and author Owen Jones warned of the scenario which lay ahead: “If Jeremy Corbyn wins the Labour leadership, he will come under attack from the media establishment, the Tories and much of his own party.

“The liberal left and conservatives alike have united, dripping condescension, smarm, contempt or outright bile on Jeremy Corbyn and those who support him.

“The Corbyn campaign may have unleashed the biggest pan-British progressive grassroots political movement for many years. But should Jeremy Corbyn win the Labour leadership, then this movement will be plunged into a political firestorm.”

Now, with 12 months hindsight, what a firestorm that has been, with every Machiavellian trick and smear known to man, used to discredit Mr Corbyn and subvert democracy at every turn.

 

Step 1       

It started on 12 September 2015, when Jeremy Corbyn was elected leader of the Labour Party with a majority of almost 60% of the vote on the first ballot alone, and huge mandate for change.

He received 121,751 votes from Labour Party members, 88,449 votes from Registered Supporters and a further 41,928 votes from Trade Union Affiliated Supporters.

But within minutes of his election Progress backed Labour MPs were briefing journalists in the print media and the BBC on their plans to unseat him.

By 11pm on 12 September 2015, the normally Labour friendly Daily Mirror reported on plans to bring Blair acolyte David Miliband back as leader, the moment Jeremy Corbyn could be seen to fail:

Labour MPs are already plotting to bring back David Miliband after Jeremy Corbyn’s victory, reported the Mirror.

The triumph of left-winger Jeremy Corbyn has spurred on the Labour MPs who are secretly working for a dramatic Miliband comeback ahead of the 2020 general election.

His allies at Westminster believe Mr Miliband could be persuaded to make a sensational return to the Commons by 2018 at a by-election for a safe Labour seat.

A senior Labour MP said:

“If Corbyn is not up to the job as leader, there will definitely be another leadership contest.

“The best person for the job by a country mile would be David Miliband and overtures have already been made to him about a potential return.

“If things turn out as horrendously as we fear they will under Corbyn, David would be the only hope of saving the Labour Party.”

In a separate move, several MPs are also looking at ways of changing the Labour Party’s rules to make future leadership challenges easier.

At present, anyone trying to oust a Labour leader needs to put themselves forward and win the backing of a fifth of Westminster’s Labour MPs.

But a rival plan put forward earlier this year by right wing Labour MP Frank Field would mean just 30 anonymous Labour MPs could trigger a vote of confidence in the leader to get rid of a “deadbeat” leader.

 

Step 2

It became an uneasy autumn and a winter of discontent for Mr Corbyn, with 66 of his own MPs rebelling against him on the vote to bomb Syria and Birmingham Yardley MP Jess Phillips stating she would knife her leader “in the front”, being some of the lowlights.

But nothing quite prepared Labour Party members or the general public for the sinister shenanigans which emerged on 7 January.

Mr Corbyn’s long expected Shadow Cabinet reshuffle led to the revelation, that BBC political editor Laura Kuenssberg, Daily Politics presenter Andrew Neil and Labour MP Stephen Doughty planned his live resignation on their programme, hours before it began.

The producer of the programme revealed in a BBC blog (quickly deleted) that Neil, Kuenssberg and himself manipulated the news to negatively impact Mr Corbyn during Prime Minister’s Questions.

In the blog, the producer – Andrew Alexander – admitted that the BBC team were not just reporting the day’s news but trying to influence it:

“This was a story where we could make an impact,” he wrote.

“We took a moment to watch the story ripple out across news outlets and social media. Within minutes we heard David Cameron refer to the resignation during his exchanges with Jeremy Corbyn.”

The broadcasting set-up was conceived by Mr Doughty – under advice from fellow Progress backed MPs – to create the maximum damage to Mr Corbyn.

 

Step 3

On the morning of 23 March, just hours before Mr Corbyn was to tackle David Cameron in Prime Minister’s Questions on the Tories’ Budget U-Turn, a confidential list of loyal and disloyal Labour MPs was leaked to The Times.

The result was predictable: Mr Cameron used PMQs, not to defend the Budget U-Turn, but repeatedly mock the Labour leader for the leaked ‘list’.

It later emerged that the list was compiled three months earlier, yet it was leaked just as Mr Corbyn’s popularity was increasing in the opinion polls, just as the Tories were taking a big hit, just before a PMQs when Cameron was likely to be in very serious trouble, and weeks before the May council and mayoral elections.

So only an enemy within would deliberately leak the list at a key moment in order to help the Tories and do as much damage to Labour under Mr Corbyn as possible – to make them ‘a laughing stock’, as Labour plotter John Woodcock MP put it.

Ironic then that Woodcock privately tweeted to a journalist that it’s a ‘fucking disaster’, presumably to further damage Corbyn. Only he inadvertently tweeted publicly so we can all see what he’s up to and give momentum to the plot against the leader.

 

Step 4

On 13 June, The Daily Telegraph published an article which gave a deeper insight into the scheming of the Labour MPs, who hoped to topple Mr Corbyn.

The piece entitled: Labour rebels hope to topple Jeremy Corbyn in 24-hour blitz after EU referendum lays out the scheme:

Labour rebels believe they can topple Jeremy Corbyn after the EU referendum in a 24-hour blitz by jumping on a media storm of his own making.

By fanning the flames with front bench resignations and public criticism they think the signatures needed to trigger a leadership race can be gathered within a day.

They see the tactic as a way of securing public support for the move while targeting what is perceived as one of the Labour leader’s major flaws – indecision.

After the referendum Labour splits will return to the fore as the Tories call a string of parliamentary voters on Trident renewal and banning councils holding Israeli boycotts to help rebuild party unity.

While losing the EU referendum is seen as fatal by many to Mr Corbyn’s leadership, continued speculation remains about a challenge if the referendum brings a Remain vote.

Rather than naming a date to make their move – as some had done with May’s local elections – some rebels now believe taking advantage of an opportune row holds the beast chance of success.

“It is not going to be a date in the calendar, it will be on the back of a media firestorm. It could happen within 24 hours,” said one Labour MP.

Asked how the coup could take place, another said: “Things go wrong, people have had enough, you start to see resignations and it spirals from there.”

A third Labour MP who served in the shadow cabinet said: “There is undoubtedly a frustration and a simmering anger. After the referendum there is going to be an immense number of lessons to learn and decisions to make.

“It is likely to be a pang of frustration that makes one colleague say ‘enough and enough’ and just resign. If one person did it and said to others ‘how about it’, things are desperate enough that it will happen.”

 

Step 5

Now fast forward to the so-called Morning After the Night Before: Saturday 25 June – less than 36 hours after the Brexit referendum result.

Eight right wing Labour MPs broke cover to use the Brexit vote to knife their leader Mr Corbyn in the back.

MPs Margaret Hodge and Ann Coffey submitted a motion of no confidence against him to the Parliamentary Labour Party chairman, John Cryer.

Almost immediately six other Labour MPs went on record backing the motion.

Mr Corbyn defended his conduct in the Euro referendum campaign amid criticisms that he offered no more than lukewarm support for remain, blaming government austerity cuts for alienating voters.

Asked about the vote of no confidence, he said: “Margaret [Hodge] is obviously entitled to do what she wishes to do. I would ask her to think for a moment. A Tory prime minister resigned, Britain’s voted to leave the European Union, there are massive political issues to be addressed.

“Is it really a good idea to start a big debate in the Labour party when I was elected less than a year ago with a very large mandate, not from MPs – I fully concede and understand that – but from the party members as a whole?”

Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell accused many of the would-be assassins of being linked to Progress.

“They all come from a sort of a narrow right-wing clique within the Labour Party based around the organisation Progress”

he said.

“I don’t think they’ve really ever accepted Jeremy’s mandate. I’m afraid they have to recognise that Jeremy got elected with the largest mandate of any political leader from any political party in our history.

“I’m afraid they haven’t respected that leadership election result.”

 

Step 6

Within two days – hot on the heels of Mr Corbyn sacking Hilary Benn as Shadow Foreign Secretary for his part in organising the coup – a battle for the heart and soul of the Parliamentary Labour Party began.

By the evening of Monday 27 June, 34 Labour MPs had publicly announced their intention to try and oust Mr Corbyn as leader – with carefully timed resignations from the Shadow Cabinet.

Paul Flynn MP stated what many onlookers were thinking: “Orchestrated treachery. Resignations on the hour by the future Blair Tribute Party. Self-indulgent party games as steel jobs are in new peril.”

One of Mr Corbyn’s staunchest allies Ian Lavery MP said: “If we don’t respect democracy then we stand for nothing. The Labour Party membership gave Jeremy Corbyn a massive mandate. I’m supporting the membership and Jeremy.”

And as a shock to the plotters, shadow Home Secretary Andy Burnham stood with the membership.

“At an uncertain time like this for our country, I cannot see how it makes sense for the Opposition to plunge itself into a civil war,” he said.

“I have never taken part in a coup against any leader of the Labour Party and I am not going to start now.

“It is for our members to decide who leads our Party and 10 months ago they gave Jeremy Corbyn a resounding mandate. I respect that and them.”

Angela Eagle was among the resignations from Mr Corbyn’s Shadow Cabinet on that Monday, in the wake of the Euro Referendum result and the sacking of Hilary Benn as Shadow Foreign Secretary.

But while heaping the blame for Brexit on Mr Corbyn, Ms Eagle failed to admit that just two weeks earlier she publicly said of Mr Corbyn campaigning for Remain: “Jeremy is up and down the country, pursuing an itinerary that would make a 25-year-old tired, he has not stopped.”

And within hours of her resignation, it was revealed that Ms Eagle’s leadership campaign website Angela4Leader was registered at 6pm on Saturday 25 June, hours before Hilary Benn was sacked and two whole days before she resigned.

The website was registered by Joe McCrea, a PR executive who served as a special adviser in Downing Street during Tony Blair’s tenure.

But as we all now know, Ms Eagle’s candidacy was that of a stalking horse for the more media friendly Owen Smith to step in.

 

Step 7

The next attempt to subvert democracy occurred on Tuesday 12 July, when a hastily called meeting of Labour’s NEC had to determine whether Mr Corbyn needed the nominations of fellow Labour MPs and MEPs in order to stand for re-election as leader.

The crunch meeting at Labour’s Westminster headquarters began at 2pm and continued well into the evening

NEC members voted 18-14 in a secret ballot that he was not subject to parliamentary nominations and could automatically stand for re-election.

The decision to hold a secret ballot at the NEC was taken after some of Mr Corbyn’s critics, including his deputy, Tom Watson, won the argument that some members might otherwise feel afraid to express their views.

Allies of Mr Corbyn said the move to a secret ballot resulted from “black ops” by Watson.

And in a separate decision taken after Mr Corbyn had left the room, the NEC ruled that only those who had been Labour Party members for more than six months would be allowed to vote – while new supporters would be given two days to sign up as registered supporters to vote in the race, but only if they were willing to pay £25.

Then in a further sideswipe at Labour Party members, on Wednesday 13 July, the NEC banned all CLP, Ward and branch meetings until AFTER the leadership election in September. In the cases of South Shields and Brighton and Hove District, the CLPs were suspended completely from the Labour Party.

This was done amid spurious and unfounded claims of bullying and intimidation within some CLPs.

 

Step 8

The firestorm was now ablaze as ordinary members cried foul and foul again.

The Anyone But Corbyn coup plotters decided to disenfranchise over 100,000 existing Labour voters, and in doing so deliberately destroy the incentive for people to join the Labour Party.

What kind of organisation would be so afraid of democracy that they’d openly discriminate against existing members by treating them as second class citizens if they hadn’t joined by an arbitrary date.

Or could afford to pay a poll tax of £25 each!

But the undermining of democracy didn’t end there.

Following the NEC ruling that Labour members who had joined the party since 12 January 2016 had been banned from voting in the upcoming leadership election. They were also denied attending their own constituency Leadership Nomination meetings – even as a non-voting observer.

I, like thousands of Labour Party members, received this email from my local CLP secretary:

I regret to inform you that our Freeze Date Report shows that you are not eligible to vote at the Labour Leader Nomination meeting because the start of your membership is after the Freeze date of the 12 January 2016.

Two days later a second email arrived:

We intend to hold a Constituency LP Nomination meeting to enable members to decide if the CLP should nominate one specific candidate for the LP leadership election or if the CLP should remain neutral with neither candidate being nominated.

A LP membership Freeze Report will be used to identify those members who are eligible to attend and vote. Anyone on the list who is shown as not eligible because they joined after the Freeze Date of 12 Jan 2016 will be emailed informing them they can’t attend the meeting.  Rules clearly state NO OBSERVERS are allowed 

Yet nowhere in the 12 July NEC ruling is any mention made of banning new members from ATTENDING Nomination meetings!

The coup plotters are clearly terrified of democracy, and they’ve tried using all kinds of anti-democratic measures to fight it.

 

Step 9

The next affront to democracy was done in the open, when millionaire and Labour Party donor Michael Foster applied to the High Court to stop Mr Corbyn standing in the leadership election.

But despite the overtly vindictive application, by this close friend of Tony Blair, on 28 July, Mr Justice Foskett ruled that Mr Corbyn could automatically appear on the leadership ballot.

Speaking after the decision was announced Mr Corbyn said: “There should have been no question of the right of half a million Labour Party members to choose their own leader being overturned.

“If anything, the aim should be to expand the number of voters in this election.

“I hope all candidates and supporters will reject any attempt to prolong this process, and that we can now proceed with the election in a comradely and respectful manner.”

 

Step 10

And just when you thought it was all over, the final denial of democracy and the will of hundreds of thousands of ordinary party members came last weekend.

Having exhausted almost every trick, the leaders of the coup are now so convinced that Jeremy Corbyn will win the leadership contest that they are planning to elect their own leader and launch a legal challenge for the party’s name.

Leading Blairites leaked to the Daily Telegraph that they are looking at plans to set up their own “alternative Labour” if Mr Corbyn remains in post.

The move would see them create their own shadow cabinet and even elect a leader within Parliament to rival Mr Corbyn’s front bench team and take on the Tories.

They are also already planning to go through the courts to get the right to use Labour’s name and assets including property owned by the party across the country.

They would also approach John Bercow, the Commons Speaker, and argue that having more MPs than Mr Corbyn means they should be named the official opposition.

“The notion that we’ll all go back to happy families is nonsense,” said one prominent Corbyn critic, saying that the plan would help avoid the “nuclear” option of a full party split.

But support for the move is not universal, with some Labour centralists saying a legal challenge would be unlikely to succeed and warning creating a de facto alternative leader would be too provocative.

But the fact the plans are now actively being considered by some of the party’s most senior moderate figures shows the level of despondency at Owen Smith’s chances of success and their contempt for democracy.

  • So there you have it: Ten steps in the denial of democracy, courtesy of the Labour Party. And to finish where we started: Protecting democracy requires that the general public be educated on how people can be manipulated by the Establishment and media into forfeiting their civil liberties.

 

Democracy doesn’t rule the world

That’s something you need to understand

This world is ruled by bankers

Who use politics as a sleight-of-hand

(Nic Outterside)

 

POST SCRIPT:

At the moment of publication on Monday 8 August, this welcome news is breaking:

Five new members of the Labour Party have won a High Court battle over their legal right to vote in the forthcoming leadership election.

The five accused the party’s National Executive Committee (NEC) of unlawfully “freezing” them and many others out of the high-profile contest between Jeremy Corbyn and Owen Smith even though they had “paid their dues”.

The NEC decided that full members would not be able to vote if they had not had at least six months’ continuous membership up to July 12 – the “freeze date”.

To gain the right to vote, members were given a window of opportunity, between July 18 and 20, to become “registered supporters” on payment of an additional fee of £25. Non-members were given the same opportunity.

But Mr Justice Hickinbottom, sitting in London, ruled that refusing the five the vote “would be unlawful as in breach of contract”.

The court action affects almost 130,000 Labour supporters who are victims of the freeze. The five who won the legal challenge are Christine Evangelou, Rev Edward Leir, Hannah Fordham, Chris Granger and “FM”, a new member aged under 18.

The judge said at the time each of the five joined the party “it was the common understanding, as reflected in the rule book, that, if they joined the party prior to the election process commencing, as new members they would be entitled to vote in any leadership contest”.

The judge added that that was the basis upon which each claimant joined the party, and the basis of their contract with it.

The judge overturned the requirement that they must have been party members since January 12 – that, is at least six months’ continuous membership up to July 12 – the “freeze date”.

He declared: “For the party to refuse to allow the claimants to vote in the current leadership election, because they have not been members since 12 January 2016, would be unlawful as in breach of contract.”

The Labour Party was given permission to appeal to the Court of Appeal. It is understood that the appeal could be heard later this week.

The right wing incontinence of the Progress plotters

IT is more than 30 years since former Labour leader Neil Kinnock began his attack on Militant – as a left wing ‘Party within a Party’ seeking to undermine core Labour values.

Within six years Militant had been proscribed by Mr Kinnock and banned from ever being part of the Labour Party.

Now in 2016, his son Stephen Kinnock is part of a sinister group known as Progress – a right wing ‘Party within a Party’.

More sinister and undermining than Militant ever was.

And Mr Kinnock Junior is now talking openly about a right wing breakaway from the Labour Party – working title: Continuity Labour (or should it be Incontinence Labour?) if Jeremy Corbyn is re-elected Leader in September.

Progress is the Blairite power behind the core group of MPs plotting, since last year, to oust Mr Corbyn.

Progress runs on £260,000-a-year funding from Lord Sainsbury.

He used to fund the Labour Party, giving over £6.3 million between 2005 and 2010. But he stopped funding Labour when Ed Miliband got elected. Angry at Miliband’s shuffle to the left, Sainsbury went on a rich man’s strike.

But he didn’t just take his money and go home. Instead of funding Labour, he funds Progress, whose job is to keep Labour right wing and Blairite. Its income since 2010 is about £1.5 million.

Progress, through its website, its weekend school, its meetings at Labour’s conference and its activist network push the candidates and policies Sainsbury likes.

Tristram Hunt is a particular Sainsbury favourite — he was Lord Sainsbury’s personal spokesman before he became a Labour MP.

Hunt was working for Sainsbury when Progress was formed out of the money left over from the original campaign to make Tony Blair leader of the party.

Sainsbury originally got Derek Draper to run Progress.

He soon disgraced himself and Labour by claiming he could get influence with the New Labour government for corporate lobbyists.

Despite this early link to a lobbying scandal, Progress still relies on money and contacts from lobbyists, alongside Sainsbury’s cash. In fairness, Progress is more open about its income than it used to be. Its website advises that in 2014 it relied on money and support from Bellenden Public Affairs, a lobbying firm that represents privatisers like Serco and NHS outsourcer Care UK.

Progress also took money from Lexington, another lobbying firm whose clients include Interserve, another major privatiser, and the “Giant Vampire Squid” of banking, Goldman Sachs. The City of London Corporation put some cash into the Progress operation as well.

Progress is deeply committed to pro-privatisation and pro-corporate policies. It has also campaigned to reduce trade union influence in the Labour Party.

During last year’s Labour leadership election Progress supported Liz Kendall for Labour leader and Tessa Jowell for mayor of London.

Progress could not pick a candidate for deputy leader — which shows how deeply Progress is embedded in the parliamentary party. The three deputy leader candidates — Caroline Flint, Ben Bradshaw and Stella Creasy — are all Progress members, so they couldn’t choose which one to back.

Progress’s attempts to shift the party towards privatisation and other business-friendly policies favoured by their funders aren’t hard to find.

But they don’t get reported that much because most national journalists both rely on Progress members for their stories and agree with their Blairite arguments.

Only now are people waking up to the sinister nature of Progress’s coup attempt to unseat Jeremy Corbyn.

Paul Flynn MP (Newport) condemned the plotters as:

“Orchestrated treachery. Resignations on the hour by the future Blair Tribute Party. Self-indulgent party games as steel jobs are in new peril.”

Even former SNP leader Alex Salmond – a politician I know personally and someone steeped in honesty – called out the Progress plotters.

The mass resignation of senior Labour MPs over Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership of the Labour Party is a “disgusting, organised coup”, he said.

But their plotting has been an open secret.

An article in the Telegraph dated the 16 June detailed that the Progress led

“Labour rebels hope to topple Jeremy Corbyn in 24-hour blitz after EU referendum.”

Further evidence that these Labour MPs have been plotting against Mr Corbyn and would have assailed his leadership regardless of the outcome of the referendum.

Shadow chancellor John McDonnell described the MPs in Progress as a “narrow right-wing clique”, “conservative” and “hard right”.

“They all come from a sort of a narrow right-wing clique within the Labour Party based around the Progress organisation,” he said.

“I don’t think they’ve really ever accepted Jeremy’s mandate. I’m afraid they have to recognise that Jeremy got elected with the largest mandate of any political leader from any political party in our history.

“I’m afraid they haven’t respected that leadership election result.”

In 2012 the GMB openly accused Progress of being a “party within a party”.

It unsuccessfully submitted a resolution to Labour’s annual conference in September that year to try to “outlaw” the group.

The Labour Party said it would consider the GMB motion but stressed that it was “not in the business of excluding people”. A cruel irony considering what it is now doing to supporters of Jeremy Corbyn.

“We are a party that is reaching out to people, gaining new supporters and offering real change for the country in these tough times. The Labour Party is a broad church and we are not in the business of excluding people,” said a party spokesman at the time.

The GMB expressed concerns that Progress was operating to undermine the party, accusing it of attempting to sabotage Labour’s London mayoral campaign.

A motion passed at the union’s congress in 2012 accused “prominent members” of Progress briefing against Ed Miliband and said was responsible for persuading Labour’s front bench “to support cuts and wage restraint”.

It went on to say: “Congress notes that Progress advances the strategy of accepting the Tory arguments for public spending cuts.

“Congress believes that such factional campaigns to undermine Labour candidates, and to soften opposition to Tory policies, endanger the unity of the party and the movement in our fight against the coalition government.”

Progress hit back claiming there was “no evidence whatsoever” of its members briefing against the Labour leader, and that any attempt to suggest it had not backed Ken Livingstone for London mayor was “uncomradely”.

Detailed research carried out by Walking The Breadline adds more detail to just who is who within Progress:

Progress is chaired by Alison McGovern. Its vice-chairs are fellow Labour MPs Jenny Chapman, Stephen Doughty, Julie Elliott, Tristram Hunt, Dan Jarvis, Liz Kendall, Seema Malhotra, Toby Perkins, Lucy Powell, Steve Reed, Jonathan Reynolds and Nick Smith. Its honorary president is former Minister Stephen Twigg.

Progress is constituted as a private company limited by guarantee, with a legal board of directors in 2012 consisting of Jennifer Gerber, Jonathan Mendelsohn, Robert Philpot and Stephen Twigg.

Prior to 2015, Progress was chaired by John Woodcock – the same MP who viciously attacked Jeremy Corbyn during the Trident debate last week.

Prior to 2012, Progress was chaired by MP and former Minister Stephen Twigg, and the honorary president was Alan Milburn, the former Secretary of State for Health. Jonathan Mendelsohn was its treasurer.

Current members of the Progress strategy board include: Baroness King of Bow, Gloria De Piero MP, Nick Smith MP, Phil Wilson MP, Cllr Florence Nosegbe (Lambeth), Cllr Claire Reynolds (Tameside), Cllr Rachel Hodson (Doncaster), Cllr Paul Brant (Liverpool) Cllr Mandy Telford (Cumbria), Hopi Sen, Joan Ryan and Joe Mann.

Since its inception Progress has had a number of operational directors: Derek Draper (former aide to Peter Mandelson), Darren Murphy (former Special Adviser), Patrick Diamond (former Special Adviser), Jennifer Gerber, Jessica Asato (acting director), Richard Angell (acting director), Robert Philpot (retired October 2014) and Richard Angell.

Progress donations and sponsorship since 2001:

Lord Sainsbury – £2,022,500

Lord Montague (trust) – £875,500

Pfizer/Pharmacia – £52,287.50 (Owen Smith’s former employer)

Sir Frank Lowe – £49,999.98

Lord Bhattacharyya – £20,000

John Mendelsohn – £10,000

Sovereign Strategy – £12,000

Network Rail Infrastructure – £5,875

Total donations – £3,059,673.16

It is also worth noting that Conor McGinn MP who alleged bullying against Jeremy Corbyn might have overlooked mentioning this fact.

Kate is Chair of the Young Fabians, the under-31s section of the Fabian Society and Political Adviser to leadership contender Owen Smith MP.

Seema Malhotra who last week accused aides of Mr Corbyn and Mr McDonnell of violating her security and effectively breaking into her office after her resignation, is also a member of Progress, as is Ruth Smeeth who accused Mr Corbyn of  anti-semitism three weeks ago.

To sum up, these right wing Blairite plotters, who undermine democracy at every turn, must now be put on notice: We are watching you, have noted your actions and your time as a Labour MP is numbered:

  • Alan Johnson (Kingston upon Hull West and Hessle)
  • Alison McGovern (Wirral South)
  • Angela Eagle (Wallasey)
  • Ann Coffey (Stockport)
  • Ben Bradshaw (Exeter)
  • Caroline Flint (Don Valley)
  • Chris Leslie (Nottingham East)
  • Chuka Umunna (Streatham)
  • Conor McGinn (St Helens North)
  • Dan Jarvis (Barnsley Central)
  • Frank Field (Birkenhead)
  • Gloria de Piero (Ashfield)
  • Hilary Benn (Leeds Central)
  • Heidi Alexander (Lewisham East)
  • Jamie Reed (Copeland)
  • Jenny Chapman (Darlington)
  • Jess Phillips (Birmingham Yardley)
  • John Woodcock (Barrow and Furness)
  • Jonathan Reynolds (Stalybridge)
  • Julie Elliot (Sunderland Central)
  • Keir Starmer (Holborn & St Pancras)
  • Kevan Jones (North Durham)
  • Liam Byrne (Birmingham Hodge Hill)
  • Liz Kendall (Leicester West)
  • Lucy Powell (Manchester Central)
  • Margaret Hodge (Barking)
  • Maria Eagle (Garston)
  • Michael Dugher (Barnsley East)
  • Nick Smith (Blaenau Gwent)
  • Pat McFadden (Wolverhampton South East)
  • Phil Wilson (Sedgefield)
  • Ruth Smeeth (Stoke on Trent North)
  • Seema Malhotra (Feltham and Heston)
  • Stella Creasy (Walthamstow)
  • Stephen Doughty (Cardiff South)
  • Stephen Kinnock (Aberavon)
  • Stephen Twigg (West Derby)
  • Steve Reed (Croydon North)
  • Toby Perkins (Chesterfield)
  • Tristram Hunt (Stoke-on-Trent Central)
  •  

Legal view in favour of Jeremy Corbyn

I have been friends with Gordon Dangerfield for more than 25 years. In case you don’t know him, Gordon is one of Scotland’s top lawyers and for the past few years has been handling the Tommy Sheridan v Murdoch case.

His brilliant blog piece re-blogged here sets out why his legal opinion is that JC does NOT need nominations to stand as leader. I find his opinion and words refreshing:

NOW THEY WANT CORBYN TO CHALLENGE HIMSELF

By Gordon Dangerfield

As everyone with a functioning brain knows, the Chicken Coup plotters against Jeremy Corbyn — and against democracy — have been coming out with outrageous whopper after whopper ever since the man was elected in a landslide, each one reported faithfully as gospel truth by our utterly corrupt and craven media.

One of the best whoppers, which according to the Herald  will give rise to “intense legal argument”, is that the Labour Party Rules prevent Corbyn from even standing for his own job — the job he was democratically elected to do in a landslide less than a year ago.

Of course, in a functioning democracy, with a media willing to engage in — and intellectually capable of engaging in — independent thought and research, this whopper would be instantly exposed as such.

But then, if we had a functioning democracy, with an independent and competent media, all of the treachery and lies of the Chicken Coup plotters would have been nailed long since.

So let me do here what any journalist capable of actual journalism would have done for you the moment this ridiculous lie was first floated by the plotters.

Let me just quickly show you why the notion of Jeremy Corbyn having to challenge himself for the leadership of the Labour Party is utter bollocks.

You can find the current version of the Labour Party Rules here:

Paragraph 2 of clause II of Chapter 4 of the Rules  deals with the election of the party leader and deputy leader. Part B of paragraph 2 says this:

Nomination

  1. In the case of a vacancy for leader or deputy leader, each nomination must be supported by 15 per cent of the combined Commons members of the PLP and members of the EPLP.

Nominations not attaining this threshold shall be null and void.

  1. Where there is no vacancy, nominations may be sought by potential challengers each year prior to the annual session of party conference. In this case, any nomination must be supported by 20 per cent of the combined Commons members of the PLP and members of the EPLP.

Nominations not attaining this threshold shall be null and void.

So there are two situations covered by the Rules.

In the first one, the leader has resigned, and there is a vacancy. In that case, every candidate for the leadership needs the support of 15 per cent of the Commons members of Parliament and of the European Parliament  (let’s just call them MPs) before (s)he can stand.

In other words, in the first one, there’s no sitting leader, and no challenger, and every candidate is a nominee of equal standing, each requiring 15 per cent support of MPs.

In the second one, things are very different.

In the second one, there is a sitting leader who has not resigned but who is open to challenge at any time. In that case, every potential challenger to the leader needs the support of 20 per cent of MPs before (s)he can stand.

Yep, that’s right. It’s only the challenger who needs the support.

And the support needed to mount a challenge is higher than in the first case — 20 per cent instead of 15.

The reasons for the differences between the first and second cases are blindingly obvious to anyone capable of actual thought.

The Rules are different in the second case precisely to discourage the inevitable turmoil caused by stupid and malicious challenges to sitting leaders (even ones not elected in a landslide less than a year before).

If you need any evidence for that proposition, well, just read the papers or watch the TV news.

But still, don’t take my word for this.

Scroll back up and check the actual wording of the Rules themselves.

See it?

…potential challengers…

Only a potential challenger to a sitting leader needs the 20 per cent support of MPs to be nominated.

The sitting leader doesn’t need any nomination or support because he’s the one being challenged.

There can only be a challenger where there is a sitting leader in place who is not that challenger and to whom the the requirements for challengers do not, by definition, apply.

That’s precisely the difference between the first and second cases.

So this is what the “intense legal argument” comes down to.

The Chicken Coup plotters and all their media pals say that Jeremy Corbyn  must now challenge Jeremy Corbyn for the job of leader of the Labour Party.     

And if Jeremy Corbyn the challenger can’t muster up enough support to challenge Jeremy Corbyn the leader, then…

Well, what exactly?

It’s all bollocks, pure and simple.

Only our brain-dead and hegemonic media could even repeat it with a straight face.

If the plotters are stupid enough to take their “argument” to court, they’ll be laughed out of it right quick.

When that happens, please remember to have another good laugh at our ridiculous media too.

Exposing the right angle on Angela Eagle

A truth can walk naked… but a lie always needs to be dressed  – Kahlil Gibran

Eagle

 Eagle’s Background

Angela Eagle, 55, has been the Member of Parliament for Wallasey since the 1992 General Election. She was born in Bridlington and studied PPE at Oxford University, before working for the CBI and the trade union COHSE.

She served as the Minister of State for Pensions from June 2009 until May 2010. She was elected to the Shadow Cabinet in October 2010 and was appointed by Ed Miliband to be Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury.

In October 2011, she was appointed Shadow Leader of the House of Commons when Miliband reshuffled his Shadow Cabinet. She was appointed as both Shadow First Secretary of State and Shadow Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills in September 2015 in Jeremy Corbyn’s first Shadow Cabinet. She resigned from the Shadow Cabinet in June 2016.

As I reported in January, Angela Eagle is supported by the right wing Progress group.

Progress is the Blairite power behind the core group of MPs who sought a vote of no confidence in Jeremy Corbyn two weeks ago.

Progress runs on £260,000-a-year funding from Lord Sainsbury.

Read more about this shadowy cabal in Hanging from Traitors’ Gate – Progress: Labour’s right wing Militant.

Eagle’s Selection as Parliamentary Candidate

Wallasey is now a solidly Labour-voting constituency, and Angela Eagle, who enjoyed a 16,348 majority in last year’s General Election, has been its MP since 1992.

Before that, by contrast, Wallasey had historically been a Conservative seat. It was represented by Tory MP Ernest Marples from 1945 to 1974, and then by his successor Lynda Chalker from 1974 to 1992.

In 1987, though, Chalker only narrowly held on to the seat, with her majority reduced from 6,708 to 279, in the face of a vigorous campaign by the local Labour party in support of its candidate Lol Duffy.

Duffy would very likely have won, had it not been for the intervention of Frank Field, the right wing Labour MP for the neighbouring Birkenhead constituency.

Field circulated a letter attacking Duffy, who at the time was associated with the Socialist Organiser group. He declared that he would not be supporting Duffy’s candidacy and would refuse to appear on any platform with him. The letter was published on the front page of a local newspaper, during the election campaign, under the headline Marxist Lol slammed by Frank Field.

No action was taken by the Labour Party against Frank Field over this political scabbing that ensured a Tory victory in Wallasey. Instead, in response to his denunciations of the role of Socialist Organiser activists in Wirral Labour Party, the Labour national executive committee (NEC) launched an investigation into the group. A report by the party’s director of organisation, Joyce Gould, led to the proscription of Socialist Organiser in 1990.

One result of the move against Socialist Organiser was to delay the parliamentary selection in Wallasey.

The Wallasey Labour party officers pressed for a prompt start to the selection procedure. After all, this was now a highly winnable seat and it made sense to have a candidate like Lol Duffy in place as early as possible. But the national Labour Party and the regional office prevaricated.

In December 1991 the regional office was forced at last to agree a selection timetable with the constituency officers.

Duffy received over 70% of the nominations including the support of five of the six local party branches, the women’s section and numerous trade unions.

His 24 nominations far exceeded the tally of five achieved by his nearest rival, Angela Eagle.

But in January 1992, in a move which now stinks of a rancid coup, the NEC decided that the imminence of a General Election demanded the intervention of an emergency ‘by-election panel’ to interview potential candidates and shortlist contenders in those constituencies without a Labour candidate already in place.

During the panel’s interviewing of Wallasey candidates, Roy Hattersley asked Lol Duffy how he would reconcile his personal beliefs – notably his support for unilateralism and repeal of all anti-union laws – with the party’s current policy. Duffy made it clear that he would have no problem with this. But Hattersley’s NEC panel then excluded Duffy from the Wallasey shortlist.

Under the rules of the Labour Party, if more than 50% of those who vote in a parliamentary selection return blank ballot papers the selection must start from scratch with new nominations.

Contrary to party rules, no independent scrutineer was allowed into the Wallasey count held at the regional office in Warrington. When pressed, Eileen Murfin (Labour Party regional organiser) admitted that the officials had not bothered to count the blank votes, again in contravention of the rules.

But sources leaked the total to the media, which reported that 163 blank papers had been returned by local members in protest at the exclusion of Lol Duffy. Only 57 votes had been cast for the ‘winning’ candidate, Angela Eagle. Under the party constitution the selection was null and void; but party officials glossed over this detail.

To add insult to injury, the NEC not only dismissed the complaints of party members but threatened to mount yet another ‘investigation’ of the constituency after the General Election.

Lol Duffy worked diligently for Angela Eagle during the General Election. And thanks to the years of hard work put in by himself and others in the constituency, the seat was taken from the Tories, and Eagle became the first Labour MP for Wallasey.

Given this record, it is hardly surprising that Angela Eagle has shown such contempt for the democratic decision made by party members last September, when they elected Jeremy Corbyn as leader with 59.5% of first-preference votes, and has joined his enemies in the parliamentary Labour party in a disgraceful attempt to overturn that decision.

She is firmly embedded in, and indeed owes her parliamentary career to, a political culture that accepts party democracy only when it produces the ‘right’ results.

Eagle’s Voting Record

Angela Eagle’s voting record since becoming a Labour MP makes very interesting reading. Most readers will be aware that she was one of the 66 Labour MPs, who last December, voted for bombing Syria, but thanks to the parliamentary website They Work For You her broader voting on key issues bares closer scrutiny.

Ms Eagle has:

  • Generally voted for use of UK military forces in combat operations overseas
  • Consistently voted FOR the Iraq war
  • Consistently voted AGAINST an investigation into the Iraq war
  • Generally voted for replacing Trident with a new nuclear weapons system
  • Almost always voted for strengthening the Military Covenant
  • Almost always voted against local councils keeping money raised from taxes on business premises in their areas
  • Almost always voted for introducing ID cards
  • Generally voted against a statutory register of lobbyists

Eagle’s Leadership Campaign

Ms Eagle only launched her leadership campaign a few days ago, but it is already marred by murky accusations, duplicity and crocodile tears.

She resigned from Jeremy Corbyn’s Shadow Cabinet on 27 June in the wake of the Euro Referendum result and the sacking of Hilary Benn as Shadow Foreign Secretary.

Her letter of resignation as Shadow Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, included these sentences:

“I was devastated by the result of the EU referendum. Too many of our supporters were taken in by right-wing arguments and I believe this happened, in part, because under your leadership the case to remain in the EU was made with half-hearted ambivalence rather than full-throated clarity.

“In such turbulent times, we need a Leader who can unite rather than divide the Labour Party. We need a Leader who can heal the deep divisions in our country, stand up for our communities, and ultimately to keep our United Kingdom together.”

But while heaping the blame for Brexit on Jeremy Corbyn, Ms Eagle failed to admit that just two weeks earlier she publicly said of Mr Corbyn campaigning for Remain:

“Jeremy is up and down the country, pursuing an itinerary that would make a 25-year-old tired, he has not stopped.”

But that was only the beginning.

Within days of her resignation, it was revealed that Ms Eagle’s leadership campaign website Angela4Leader was registered at 6pm on Saturday 25 June, hours before Hilary Benn was sacked and two whole days before she resigned.

The website was registered by Joe McCrea, a PR executive who served as a special adviser in Downing Street during Tony Blair’s tenure.

And there was more to come.

Earlier this week a window at the Wallasey Labour Party constituency office was smashed with a brick.

Ms Eagle was quick to blame the vandalism on supporters of Jeremy Corbyn, claiming that it was “bullying” against her that had “no place in politics in the UK and it needs to end”.

The hypocrisy of this outburst beggars belief, as there was no evidence of any kind that supporters of Mr Corbyn had actioned this vandalism. Indeed there has been suggestions that it may have been broken by supporters of Ms Eagle to frighten members of her own CLP who had called for her resignation.

One Labour Party member Mike Sivier wrote a hard-hitting open letter to Ms Eagle on the back of her claims. Part of that letter says: “As a Labour voter of many years’ standing, and a member of the party for the last six, I am writing to express my outrage at your comments following the vandalism of the Wallasey Party office.

“We can agree that the damage to the window – like any crime – is unacceptable. However: How dare you claim that it was carried out by a supporter of Jeremy Corbyn, “in his name”? Do you have any evidence? Do the police already know who did it? I think not.

“Mr Corbyn has made it abundantly clear – many times over the past few weeks, that he finds such behaviour abhorrent and wants members of the party to discuss their differences in a cordial manner.

“How dare you try to pontificate to the rest of the party about “bullying”, after the behaviour you have forced Mr Corbyn to endure, together with the other 170+ PLP rebels?

“Look at the behaviour that has occurred in YOUR name:

  • Months of secret plotting against Mr Corbyn after he won the Labour leadership last year.
  • The intention to mislead the public into thinking the Labour ‘coup’ was prompted by Mr Corbyn’s performance in the EU referendum when it had been pre-planned over many months.
  • The co-ordinated, on-the-hour resignations of shadow cabinet members throughout June 26 in an effort to BULLY Mr Corbyn out of the Labour leadership.
  • The hasty and unconstitutional calling and passing of a vote of ‘no confidence’ in Mr Corbyn in another attempt to BULLY him out of office.
  • The attempted BULLYING of Mr Corbyn himself at a Parliamentary Labour Party meeting.
  • The fabricated smear stories intended to undermine Mr Corbyn’s support among members and, again, BULLY him into resigning – including your claim about this broken office window.

“If you are serious in your claim that bullying “has absolutely no place in politics in the UK and it needs to end”, then perhaps the best way to start would be by ending your own challenge to Mr Corbyn’s leadership, submitting yourself to the mercy of your constituents who are holding a ‘no confidence’ vote on your conduct later this month, and considering your own future in politics.”

Then yesterday the latest instalment of dirty tricks was opened amid claims that Ms Eagle (an open Lesbian) has been subjected to “homophobic slurs” from members of the Wallasey CLP.

But she did not count on local activist and fellow lesbian Emma Runswick who immediately hit back with another open letter exposing the duplicity of the Eagle campaign.

Part of Ms Runswick’s letter says: “I am a queer woman. My mother Kathy is the Chair of Wallasey constituency Labour party, and a Momentum supporter. An attempt has been made to paint Wallasey CLP and Momentum supporters as homophobic and violent, so I’d like to share some personal stories of my family.

“The allegations started when Baroness Tessa Jowell, a Labour peer, said on Daily Politics about the Wallasey CLP AGM: “I spoke to Angela about that meeting, she faced homophobic abuse at that meeting”.

“But Angela Eagle wasn’t at the meeting, and nor was any complaint of homophobia raised in her absence. Since then, accusations have been made, but I struggle to comprehend the abusive language alleged going unchallenged.

“I came out to my family aged 13. Throughout the abuse and ignorance from others, my parents were behind me. When my school banned me and my girlfriend from each other’s form rooms in response to a parent complaint, and I couldn’t face the fight, I had to stop them going in all guns blazing in my defence.

“When I wanted to support a transgender student, they helped me navigate the bullying report system, and held me when I cried in frustration.

“As trade union reps, my parents explained all the legislation, we talked about the Equality Act and the protection it gave me and other LGBTQ people. 

“There is zero tolerance of homophobia in Wallasey CLP. My mother would come down on it like a tonne of bricks. My dad, a branch delegate, would do the same.

“Kathy Miller, the Secretary and proud mother of a gay man, would do the same. Other Wallasey CLP members are LGBTQ themselves and would do the same.

“I don’t believe anybody in Wallasey CLP, Corbyn supporters or otherwise, would allow homophobic abuse or gesture to go unchallenged in any meeting.”

Now Ms Eagle is facing a no confidence vote from own Constituency Labour Party.

But even now, more dirty tricks are at work as Labour’s NEC yesterday announced that ALL Labour Party constituency and branch meetings have been suspended until the completion of the leadership election in September.

Time and the party members will wait for you Ms Eagle.

As Kahlil Gibran once wrote: “A truth can walk naked… but a lie always needs to be dressed.”

 

Moves to deselect Wolverhampton MP after racial comments

Marris

THE sinister spirit of racist Tory MP Enoch Powell lives on in his former Wolverhampton South West constituency, in the surprising words of its current Labour Member of Parliament.

Now moves are underway to deselect the MP, Rob Marris, after he blamed Eastern European migrants for problems in his Black Country constituency.

His outburst, in an abrasive email, came five days before he resigned on 30 June, from Jeremy Corbyn’s Shadow Cabinet, saying he would not serve as shadow financial secretary to the Treasury unless there was “a change of leadership in the Labour Party.”

Mr Marris has been MP for Wolverhampton South West 2001-10, and from 2015 until the present day.

During last year’s General Election both Mr Marris, his main opponent, Conservative Paul Uppal and even UKIP agreed that immigration was no longer a key issue in the constituency. It was therefore not debated between them – all conscious of the legacy of Enoch Powell.

Yet that poisonous legacy reared its ugly head just hours after the Euro referendum, during the black ops propaganda to blame Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn for the Brexit vote.

As an ordinary Labour constituency member I emailed Mr Marris on Friday 24 June to seek his assurance that he would support Mr Corbyn and not be part of any coup to unseat him.

The fact that Mr Marris voted for the Iraq war and is pro nuclear weapons, didn’t unduly bother me at this time, as he had always been seen as a loyal MP.

But a shock was in store.

Just 24 hours after I sent my email I received his detailed reply.

Using words reminiscent of UKIP’s Nigel Farage or Enoch Powells’ infamous Rivers of Blood speech from 48 years earlier, his reply speaks for itself.

Here are parts of that lengthy email:

“Labour from 2004 to now should have been raising the free movement of labour. Labour from 2010 should have been shouting that the main reason that there is pressure on schools and hospitals is public sector cuts made by the Conservative government – not principally because of some builder from Poland.

“However, Labour should also have been acknowledging that the free movement of labour was worsening that situation.

“As it was, Jeremy Corbyn kept saying in the last month of the referendum that immigration is not a problem at all. It may be not in Islington, but it is perceived as a problem in parts of Wolverhampton; for example if a English-born child cannot get a place in the local Primary School, but Polish-born children can; or if an adult child has to pay a fortune for housing because so many of the local houses are occupied by 5 men from Eastern Europe – tenants who, as single young men are wont to do, sometimes add insult to perceived injury by leaving rubbish piling up in the front yard.

“It was over seven years ago that I first warned in Parliament of the issue of free movement of labour. The leaderships of Labour and of the Conservatives and of the Liberal Democrats then and now would not listen, UKIP did… and they have reaped the whirlwind.

“It was almost 10 years ago that I first warned in Parliament about the issue of Turkey’s prospective membership of the EU blowing up. The leaderships of Labour and of the Conservatives and of the Liberal Democrats then and now would not listen, but UKIP did… and they have reaped the whirlwind.”

In my opinion, as a life-long socialist and Labour voter, Mr Marris’s words are simply mindblowing. And with so many of his constituents from South Asian backgrounds the narrative is like a time out of mind.

According to the 2011 Census just 7% of the population of Wolverhampton were born in India or Pakistan. But more telling is that 17% follow a Sikh, Muslim, Hindu or Buddhist religion – indicative of the fact that almost one fifth of Mr Marris’s constituents are second or third generation Asian immigrants.

But rather than fall into the obvious racist trap of skin colour set by Enoch Powell – Mr Marris turns his fire on white EU migrants.

I have already referred Mr Marris’s email to the Equality and Human Rights Commission – the successor to the Commission for Racial Equality.

And tonight at Wolverhampton South West’s AGM I had planned, with other Labour Party members, to table a motion of no-confidence in Mr Marris and demand he steps down as an MP.

But at 1.47pm today (Wednesday, 13 July) – just five hours before the meeting was due to start – I received an email from Margaret Holt, Acting Secretary for Wolverhampton South West CLP, notifying me that the AGM has been cancelled.

No reason was given for the cancellation.

Though after the tortuous machinations of some Labour MPs over the past two weeks, I have my own suspicions.

Watch this space.