Corbyn Suspension Is a Declaration of War on the Left

The long-awaited EHRC report into Labour antisemitism came out, widely anticipated by the right of the Labour Party to be a bloodbath of condemnation of "racist" Corbyn and his "hard left" acolytes, but they were surely disappointed because I found it reasonably balanced for the most part. 

The report only examined 70 cases for all the time it took, covering the period 2016–2019 — so it covered the time up until April 2018 when Jennie Formby became General Secretary, and it found things massively improved under her. 

Formby's reforms to the NEC, and the panels she set up, dealt with 242% more complaints in 2019 than in 2018. The expansion to the NCC allowed more cases to be heard, and the sanctions system was improved.

 

The report condemns breaches of the Equality Act by members of the Leader of the Opposition’s Office. Note: it does not specifically say the leader, however, and most of these interventions actually were found to be attempts to speed processes up. That said, there was certainly room for improvement. 

The media focus on antisemitism meant other ethnic minorities had become disadvantaged — such was the pressure adverse media attention brought (aside from the innate unfairness of focusing solely on Labour and not other parties). Of course, the EHRC has resisted investigating Conservative racism so far, but there’s much to say on that, and it's better kept for another video, another day.

The EHRC report criticises the Labour Party for not fully implanting the findings of the Chakrabarti report, commissioned by Corbyn, and making several recommendations to improve procedures. But contentiously, it implies that dismissing any complaints as smears is antisemitic — which is just weird.

I expected to be pulling this thing apart in more detail, but a brilliant analysis has already been written by @Rachael_Swindon so check her article out. All in all, the report is far from perfect, but a lot fairer than we on the left expected. The fact the right were collectively bursting aneurysms over it bears that out. But the release of the report ended up not being the biggest story, sadly. That would be what happened afterwards.

It all kicked off with Jeremy Corbyn’s statement:

This statement got Corbyn suspended from the Labour Party. What did for him in the eyes of the current leadership was the line: ‘but the scale of the problem was also dramatically overstated for political reasons by our opponents inside and outside the party, as well as by much of the media. That combination hurt Jewish people and must never be repeated’.

It’s alleged this breached Labour’s rules and warranted suspension, but in a twist of irony, the EHRC report shows Corbyn’s statement actually isn’t contentious at all, as was flagged up by Unite Lawyer Howard Beckett, who called Starmer out over the suspension:

Clearly, this shows Corbyn is entitled to his opinion on the scale of antisemitism within the party, and offers a clear defence. Not only that, a Survation poll from last year showed that much of the public thought at least one third of Labour members were antisemitic, when the reality was 0.3%. 

Now do explain how, without the media exaggerating the issue, public perception became so skewed? Corbyn was right. Oh dear, oh dear. So who suspended him?


Well, the LabourList reporter Sienna Rodgers posted this showing that new General Secretary, the Blairite David Evans, told the NEC he suspended Corbyn, however, it would appear he doesn’t have the power to do that. NEC members took him to task, since the rulebook states only NEC panels or Governance and Legal have this power. But yesterday morning, Starmer was doing the studio rounds and appeared to imply the decision was his, while bleating on about how disappointed he was in Corbyn and how scathing the report was.

It wasn’t that scathing. It made recommendations for improvements, but also acknowledged much improvement had been made under Corbyn and Formby. It also made it abundantly clear the party was not institutionally antisemitic. Either way, the NEC wants to know exactly what rule Corbyn breached to warrant suspension — David Evans couldn’t tell them!

So Corbyn is suspended, the membership, as you can imagine, are up in arms about it, the Labour leadership can’t or won’t give a reason why he was suspended, and Corbyn has a cast iron case to take the party to court, using the EHRC report as his main piece of evidence! 

Here’s James Schneider, a Jewish Socialist, formerly part of Corbyn’s team on the subject:

Clear, concise, a better explanation of Corbyn’s position, I haven’t heard.

Starmer has ballsed up royally. If he reinstates Corbyn, he’ll look weak. If Corbyn is reinstated by the NEC, or takes court action and wins reinstatement, Starmer will look a fool. There’s no outcome here, where Starmer will look good. 

Here’s Starmer talking to Tory boy Nick Ferrari:


Sir Keir Starmer was elected, lest we forget, on a platform of unity. We already know from various sackings this turned out to be nonsense, but him going on the radio and repeatedly insisting there’s no need for civil war, means he knows how divisive and controversial the decision to suspend Corbyn has been. 
You’ve already made a declaration of war on the left, Keir! The fact neither you, nor David Evans have stated the rule Corbyn breached, shows this was a kneejerk factional decision made by a poor leadership team. 
Members are leaving in droves. No doubt a desired outcome, since Starmer’s already been courting donors, New Labour style, but it's happening so fast Evans can’t cope and is pleading for extra help for the membership team. 

When your party is reliant on donations, it becomes the party of those donors and nobody else. The party of what they want, not what the country needs. Just look at the Tory Party for proof of that. Blair nearly bankrupted Labour as the membership withered under his leadership. Starmer is taking things this way again at a rate never before seen, leaving the party riddled with debt — debt that Corbyn was responsible for clearing.

But if Starmer thinks this action has in any way placated the critics, he’s wrong. 

Within hours of the EHRC report dropping, the Campaign Against Antisemitism, responsible for calling for the EHRC to investigate Labour, had submitted yet another complaint to the EHRC, demanding they investigate a list that, for the most part, reads like a who’s who of the Socialist Campaign Group.

A couple of other notable names on there are, for example, Mark McDonald, a founder of Labour Friends of Palestine and the Middle East, and Alana Bates, who was my constituency's PPC last December — a fantastic socialist who isn’t even in the party anymore, such has been her disgust with Starmer. This suggests the CAA don’t do their own homework.

But what of the point Corbyn made that got him suspended? 

I mentioned the Survation poll earlier, showing the exaggerated British perception that Labour is institutionally antisemitic. Well, you can look to our mainstream media to see why that is.

The Mirror headlined with Starmer’s Zero Tolerance after Jeremy ‘refused to accept report’. Well, you’ve read his statement now, I’ve read his statement out, there’s nothing there of the sort. He simply mentioned the scale of the problem, which the EHRC report allows him to do.

The Daily Heil went with RIP Corbyn’s Legacy of Hate — ignoring the fact the report states things improved under Corbyn, but then this is a paper so distrusted, even Wikipedia won’t permit it as a source.

The Murdoch Times went with Battle for Labour’s Soul, completely missing the point that most of the PLP don’t have a soul, and the man who best represents Labour’s soul has been suspended to their glee!

But, of course, there are much better media views to look to.

A Middle East Eye Article out yesterday by Richard Sanders and Peter Oborne (who is definitely not a lefty) is a fair, honest piece about the EHRC report's findings. It explains why they feel Corbyn was done an injustice, how the MSM have done what they always do and put the boot in, despite the facts, not because of them. It also covers much of what was included in the leaked internal Labour report, which the EHRC admit they weren’t given. Their article is one of the best analyses I’ve read on the EHRC report and I recommend everyone read it.

Another vocal contribution came from the Canary’s Editor-at-Large Kerry-Anne Mendoza who ripped ‘Keir Stalin’ a new arse on Radio 4:

We’ve had a report that, although hasn’t exonerated Labour, has shown most problems were caused not by Corbyn, but by those hostile to him. We’ve been reminded, once more, the current leader Sir Keir Starmer is no unifier. He’s a wrecker, creating huge splits over an issue which could've been a fantastic educational opportunity for so many in this country, not just within Labour. It could’ve led to a greater understanding and helped get a better grip on the scourge of antisemitism nationally. Instead, Starmer has factionalised the issue, looked inward. 

If you need more evidence, look at his zero-tolerance approach, which isn’t

Rachel Reeves remains a minister, despite her glorification of Nancy Astor — that infamous tweet is still up, by the way. Lisa Nandy described antisemitism as "punching up", implying all Jews are wealthy and powerful, which would be an antisemitic trope. No action has been taken so far, let alone as quickly as was taken regarding Jeremy Corbyn. 
Even Blair didn’t dare move against Corbyn, knowing his popularity among the left of the party. For all Blair’s faults, he wasn’t the fool Starmer is proving to be.
For my part: a month ago I was running to be a County Councillor for Labour and I was on the CLP Executive. Not only have I stood aside, but the other night I suspended my Direct Debit to the party. That’s not to say I’ve left, but I have one foot hanging out of the door. I’ll reinstate payments if and when Corbyn is reinstated. 

Starmer says he doesn’t want a civil war, but he’s thrown down the gauntlet. 

He says he wants unity, but only on his terms. The unions need to use more than words, the Socialist Campaign Group need to use more than words, and they all need to remember the words of Harold Wilson who famously said: "Labour is a moral crusade or it is nothing". The current leadership seems morally bankrupt, and we know from history their way leads to the party becoming financially ruined and beholden to donors like Alan Sugar. 

What do we stand for when MPs get suspended without breaking rules, MPs get sacked over single line whips, and CLPs get warned they aren’t allowed to talk about difficult subjects? It isn’t enough to say to members, "it’s us or the Tories", because if it’s a "moral crusade or nothing", if the leadership is as immoral as it seems to be now, then we are nothing.

What is the point of that? You cannot prop up nothing. "Us or the Tories" is becoming the most annoying phrase to people on the left like me. It’s not enough — not when every move makes us more like them. Members are now leaving in droves and the only way to stem the tide and save the party is to reinstate Corbyn, show the party is still a moral crusade, and still does what is morally right, and get rid of Starmer and his team now, which is what needs to be done. Don’t spend any more time wringing your hands.

The Labour Party was created by a man called Keir. It’s being destroyed by a man called Keir. Last word goes to Barnaby Raine.

If you've enjoyed this article and would like to contribute to the ongoing development of my work, or you just think I deserve a coffee for my efforts and can help without hardship, please consider a donation here:

Donate with PayPal button

Donations are hugely appreciated
Thank you for your support

You can follow Damo on:     Facebook        Twitter        Instagram        YouTube






Comments

  1. "... the only way to stem the tide and save the party is to reinstate Corbyn,..."

    But really, why bother - its beyond saving. You could democratically vote Corbyn back as leader and the same problems would still apply - Labour is essentially a right wing party, with a few left wing MPs and - until recent events anyway - lots of left-wing members.

    The PLP will remain right wing. Lots of local councillors are right wing. They wont let anything change.

    Now would be the time to really make a change - a new socialist party, including Corbyn and other MPs on the CAA hitlist, would almost certainly take off big time - thousands of disenfranchised left wing voters willing to fund and, most importantly, organize and work for it. There's the real possibility of trade union support as well.

    Unfortunately, there's no real sign that it's going to happen... the moment will soon pass, and it'll be back to business as usual.

    As for me, I'm watching events and hoping that something new may still rise from the ashes.

    But sooner or later there will be elections and decisions will have to be made regarding my vote. But it wont be for Labour. Green, probably - I'm seriously considering joining them.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I was and still am, delighted to have read your factual and fair assessment of Starmer's leadership. Thank you very much indeed; you have raised my spirit and my hope for a better future for true socialists.

      Delete
    2. Thanks for your excellent assessment of Starmer's leadership.

      Echoing Unknown's reply to you. Jeremy Corbyn's unlawful suspension was the final end of the Labour Party for many, although I haven't left yet. In all probability Starmer will suspend me as well, as I am a supporter of the Palestinians' right to remain in the State of Israel and he removes anybody who have said they support that right.

      I understand that Chris Williamson has put forward plans for a new Party but if Jeremy's disgusting suspension continues, there will be no other option for me, I will join it, although I'm already a member of the Green Party, having joined when it was accepted that voters could be members of both the Labour and Green Party.

      Delete

Post a comment