Friday, 7 August 2020

Publish Diane Abbott "Bullying" Messages in Full

Over the past few days, we have seen the claim that leaked messages which show Labour staff allegedly bullying Diane Abbott were deliberately taken out of context and that this was libellous. 

Many people have read these messages and are struggling to see how they could possibly be taken out of context, so the fairest thing all round is to publish the messages in full and let the public see that context. That way we can decide for ourselves.

Diane Abbott posted a Tweet which is currently going viral in which she said the following:

I understand these messages came from a WhatsApp group which was specifically set up for work purposes. I used to work as a complaints manager for a bank and if we received a complaint in which this kind of language was used during work-based communications, then regardless of context, this would have resulted in instant dismissal. 

Indeed I have seen more than one person dismissed simply for using the "F" word in a manner which was not directed at anyone. Yet this language was directed at Diane Abbott and if the messages are genuine (I've certainly heard no-one claim they are fake) then they must surely result in dismissal. Even if they were intended as "banter", it's difficult to see how they can be defended. 

Imagine how you would feel if your colleagues were talking about you in this way. Now imagine you are Diane Abbott who receives more online abuse than all other female MPs combined. Diane was reportedly driven to tears by bullying, hiding in a toilet cubicle while Labour staff mocked her outside. If this story is true, it's utterly horrific.

The Labour Party has rightly pledged a zero tolerance approach to antisemitism. It should equally have a zero tolerance approach to all forms of racism and bullying.

I would like to point out there is more to the above allegations than what I have evidenced in this article. The problem is it's difficult to know where to draw the line on what can and can't be legally published without consulting lawyers, given the claims stem from leaked documents. Clearly, there is public interest in Labour being fully transparent to avoid this problem.

Of course, it's entirely possible I could be missing important context which would change my opinion on the matter. Therefore, in the interests of fairness, I call for the messages to be published in full to let the public see for themselves and decide the full context. It would be completely unacceptable for the matter to be swept under the carpet. If anything, the police should be investigating whether or not hate crimes have taken place.

If the staff are guilty of racist abuse they must be expelled from the Labour Party and if they are innocent, they are owed a huge apology. The Labour membership deserve to know the full truth.

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