Memory, ecstasy, tyranny, hypocrisy
Betrayed by a kiss on a cool night of bliss
In the valley of the missing link
And you have no time to think
TEN days have passed since I was expelled from the Labour Party as part of Iain McNicol’s “rigged purge” of Jeremy Corbyn supporters.
I was expelled for publishing a blog piece entitled Hanging from Traitors’ Gate – Progress: Labour’s right wing Militant some 10 weeks earlier. In my piece, in which I use the proscribed word “Traitor” I listed the MPs who displayed treachery to Jeremy Corbyn, and to us the membership of the Labour Party.
You can read my appeal against the expulsion here.
Yesterday a close lawyer friend of some 24 years standing, described my appeal thus:
“You’ve done exactly the right thing from a legal point of view and you should carry on to the bitter end to exhaust your remedies and keep all your options open.
“And, as you’re well aware yourself of course, you’ve done exactly the right thing from an activist’s point of view by standing up for yourself so eloquently and movingly and by sharing what you’ve done to encourage and strengthen the resolve of others.
“I have no doubt there will be legal action here, and you may well be a good candidate for one of the test cases.”
Anyway, on with the show…
There is some personal irony that just 24 hours after I emailed my appeal letter to Iain McNicol, a member of Jeremy Corbyn’s campaign team leaked a list singling out 14 Labour MPs, including deputy leader Tom Watson, who it claims have abused the leader and his allies.
In the release, Owen Smith, the challenger for the Labour leadership, was accused of being the “real disunity candidate”, who has failed to tackle abuse meted out by his own supporters.
The list, obtained by Press Association, highlighted the behaviour of a number of Labour MPs, including Jess Phillips for telling Corbyn’s ally Diane Abbott to “fuck off”, John Woodcock for dismissing the party leader as a “fucking disaster” and Tristram Hunt for describing Labour as “in the shit”.
Watson was highlighted for calling the grassroots Corbyn campaign Momentum a “rabble”.
The list emerged just hours before the final Labour leadership hustings between Mr Smith and Mr Corbyn, who is the overwhelming favourite to win the contest.
At the Sky News debate, Smith branded it a “deselection list” that would be used by some activists to target MPs considered hostile to Corbyn.
Mr Corbyn responded by defending the accuracy of the release and urging Smith to focus on policies.
“There was information put out there, which is statements made by colleagues on the record and is all out there in the public domain,” the leader said.
He went on to say he would rather Watson had not referred to activists from the Momentum group of Corbyn supporters as a “rabble”.
The others identified on the list were Ian Austin, Neil Coyle, Ben Bradshaw, Frank Field, Anna Turley, Jamie Reed, Karl Turner, Stephen Kinnock and Tom Blenkinsop.
Coyle, the MP for Bermondsey and Old Southwark, who was among those criticised, said he was “fuming”, while long time vocal critic of Mr Corbyn, Woodcock was similarly angry.
Now the list of names – and offences – is out in the public domain, all the claims can be checked and verified and appropriate action taken.
One wonders, as the information was in the public domain already, why the Labour Party’s Compliance Unit had not taken the requisite steps on its own initiative.
It is welcome to see Owen Smith criticised – after all the times Jeremy Corbyn has been accused of allowing abuse to continue – of failing to tackle his own supporters’ inappropriate behaviour.
As for those who were named – the MPs who have already complained haven’t got a leg to stand on and I’m surprised the list isn’t much, much longer. I would certainly add Luke Akehurst and John McTernan to that list.
Neil Coyle, for example, abused Jeremy Corbyn by claiming he had presided over the “Farage-ification” of the Labour Party. Now he is complaining about “trial by troll”. Forget it, Mr Coyle. It isn’t trolling if you did what is claimed.
John Woodcock tweeted that Jeremy Corbyn was a “fucking disaster at PMQs” back in March and quickly deleted the message – but it was caught by the mainstream media nonetheless and members of his own electorate launched a petition calling for his deselection – months before that became an issue in the leadership election.
Now he’s saying a list pointing out this abusive behaviour is “shabby” and is complaining that it “targets colleagues for more abuse”.
Isn’t that exactly what he was doing when he wrote about Mr Corbyn, all those months ago – inviting others to abuse the Labour leader alongside him?
As for the claim that the MPs mentioned are on a “deselection list”: Their future is not a matter for Mr Corbyn or his team. It is for Labour Party members in each constituency to decide whether their sitting MP is representing them in a sufficiently courteous manner.
In Mr Woodcock’s case, alas, considering his constituents are already petitioning for his removal, an apology may be too little, too late.
Of course it is not the first time a list of disloyal and potentially treacherous Labour MPs has been released.
Back in January my blog The Enemy Within – the 28 Labour MPs who Oppose Mr Corbyn listed those MPs who were most likely ready to oust their democratically elected leader.
And of course on 23 March there was the now infamous list of the 36 MPs “most hostile to Mr Corbyn”.
So let’s look more closely at a few of the names on the most recent list of Labour MPs who have gone beyond the call of duty in their hostility.
- Ian Austin – On my original list of MPs who oppose Jeremy Corbyn. Also on the 23 March list of 36 most hostile MPs. Originally a Brownite. Among a hard core of 14 right wing Labour MPs that refused to vote against the Tories on austerity, voted TO BOMB Syria AND for the renewal of Trident.
- Ben Bradshaw – Member of Progress. On my original list of MPs who oppose Jeremy Corbyn. A Blairite and vocal right winger. Among a hard core of 14 right wing Labour MPs that refused to vote against the Tories on austerity, voted TO BOMB Syria AND for the renewal of Trident.
- Frank Field – Member of Progress. On my original list of MPs who oppose Jeremy Corbyn. A Blairite and among a hard core of 14 right wing Labour MPs that refused to vote against the Tories on austerity, voted TO BOMB Syria AND for the renewal of Trident. A long-time vocal critic of Mr Corbyn.
- Tristram Hunt – Member of Progress. On my original list of MPs who oppose Jeremy Corbyn. Also on the 23 March list of 36 most hostile MPs. Blairite. Former chair of the Progress group. Among a hard core of 14 right wing Labour MPs that refused to vote against the Tories on austerity, voted TO BOMB Syria AND for the renewal of Trident. Has previously openly mocked Mr Corbyn. He is infamous for tweeting that Labour under Mr Corbyn was “in the shit”.
- Stephen Kinnock – Member of Progress. Two months ago Kinnock was talking openly about a right wing breakaway from the Labour Party – working title: Continuity Labour if Jeremy Corbyn is re-elected as leader.
- Jess Phillips – Backed by Progress. Mouthy MP who is infamous for telling Diane Abbott to “fuck off”. She also threatened to “knife” Mr Corbyn in the front and suggested she would leave the Labour Party if he was re-elected leader.
- Jamie Reed – On my original list of MPs who oppose Jeremy Corbyn. Also on the 23 March list of 36 most hostile MPs. Blairite. Among a hard core of 14 right wing Labour MPs that refused to vote against the Tories on austerity, voted TO BOMB Syria AND for the renewal of Trident.
- Tom Watson – Originally viewed as a mediator until engineering a motion at the forthcoming party conference to replace the current one member one vote system with an electoral college to elect the leader and for MPs to choose the shadow cabinet. Has been highlighted for calling Momentum a “rabble”. He had previously called shadow Foreign Secretary Emily Thornberry a “traitor” in the House of Commons voting lobby.
- John Woodcock – Member of Progress. On my original list of MPs who oppose Jeremy Corbyn. Also on the 23 March list of 36 most hostile MPs. Blairite. Former chair of the Progress group. Voted for bombing Syria. Resigned from the shadow cabinet in January in protest at Jeremy Corbyn’s so called ‘purge’ of right wing MPs from his front bench team. Has previously openly mocked Mr Corbyn and is infamous for dismissing the party leader as a “fucking disaster”.
These are some of the most treacherous… it is now make your mind up time.