It’s been awhile since I have heard of Carter-Ruck

Gabriel Podgrund, a Times Journalist has been shown a letter sent by Carter-Ruck to Sam Matthews, once Labour’s Head of Disputes and acting Director of Legal & Governance who have written to him pointing out his duties of confidentiality and asking him to ‘fess up and tell the Party what he’s said to journalists and what else he has. The rest of this article, below/overleaf, shares the letter and I comment that leaking is not whistle blowing but that maybe the Party should have dismissed him and others who were permitted to leave with compromise agreements and in one case, a peerage. I also remind Wes Streeting and Tom Watson about what whistle blowing is, and how frequently the Labour Party goes to court to defend its rules. … …

Labour & anti-Semitism II

This has been written by a campaigning comrade and I reproduce it here, I disclaim authorship to avoid allegations of plagiarism.


Even before the release of the NEC’s new Code of Conduct on antisemitism, JVL was working as part of a consortium to prepare the ground for a challenge to the IHRA definition which, as you know, has attached to it controversial examples of conduct that it says may be considered to be antisemitic.

On June 15, a statement signed by 27 prominent Jewish figures was published in the Guardian calling for clarity about what antisemitism is and what it is not. This was followed on July 6, just after release of the NEC code, by a supportive statement from an unprecedented array of political and cultural figures.

When the NEC adopted its new code, and was immediately vilified, dishonestly, as rejecting an imaginary “internationally recognised definition of antisemitism” allegedly embraced by the entire Jewish community, JVL produced briefing notes for PLP members and a model motion for CLPs, as well as publishing online an avalanche of authoritative critique, most of it from expert Jewish sources defending the NEC code as superior to the IHRA document. I recommend looking at the JVL website for the full range of material.

Particularly helpful are an examination of the two documents by Brian Klug, a world expert on antisemitism, an explanation by another leading authority, Antony Lerman, of why fighting antisemitism has to be part of a wider antiracist struggle, and a Global Jewish Statement demonstrating how the IHRA document undermines legitimate campaigning on behalf of Palestine. This discussed in a comment piece in the Independent explaining the background to the global statement. …

Labour & antisemitism

On July 5th, Labour’s NEC voted to approve a new guideline defining antisemitism and codifying how Labour should deal with incidents of Antisemitism. Jon Lansman, in an article in the Guardian describes it as a gold standard, however some inside and outside the Labour Party object in that the Labour Party has followed the advice of the House of Commons Home Affairs Committee on antisemitism in that while confirming its commitment to the International Holocaust Remembrance Association’s (IHRA) definition of antisemitism, it has ensured both that free speech rights on Israel and Palestine are defended and that the Macpherson principle is correctly adopted. This has involved the modification of four of the IHRA examples. Brian Klug, again in the Guardian, examines the Code in detail and concludes that, “Labour’s code in fact enhances the IHRA document.”

The Jewish Labour Movement supported by several/many of Labour’s MPs consider the failure to adopt all 11 examples as failure of commitment and are considering legal action. It is reported that  Louise Ellman & Ruth Smeeth plan to move a motion at the PLP meeting tonight calling on Labour to adopt the IHRA definition in full, including the 11 examples several of which are felt by many, including the House of Commons Home Affairs Committee to inhibit legitimate political discussion of the Israeli Government’s actions, and the wider issues of justice in Palestine.

Ealing Momentum, as reported in the Swawkbox have written an open letter to their MPs calling on them to support the NEC and not to support such an emergency motion.

I have written to my MP asking her to do the same, and I have reproduced the Ealing Momentum words immediately below/overleaf. …

Wadsworth’s Out

It’s not been a good week for Labour, in Lewisham, the Momentum branch split, my local Labour Party’s consideration of the antisemitism issues have been smeared in the Times, and today, it has been announced that Marc Wadsworth, one of Britain’s leading black activists, with a life time history of fighting racism has been expelled for conduct “prejudicial or grossly detrimental”. We’ll have to see what people including Marc’s lawyers say, but yet again, the case of antisemitism has not been made and the expulsion of Marc Wadsworth is a disgrace, a vengeful last throw of the dice by the New Labour rump. …

On the Chakrabarti Inquiry

I had reason to have another look at the Chakrabarti report, you can imagine why. It saddens me deeply, that a such a well thought out & evidenced response to the allegations of antisemitic behaviour has not become the benchmark by which the Labour Party judges itself.

When I first read this, to me the implied allegation that the disciplinary process was unsafe because of the lack of professional legal time and latterly the exposure of the fact that the NCC (Judges & Jury) received little or no independent legal advice from the prosecution seemed to me to be possible the most important finding. After the last week, I am of the view that the gentle yet robust definition of unacceptable behaviour in terms of racism and the Party’s response is equally if not more important

However, for various reasons[1] the then NEC, decided not to bring the recommendations to conference in 2016. This was recognised as a partial mistake by both sides of the argument i.e. those that wanted harsher rules and those who wanted vanilla Chakrabarti since the rules were changed at Conference 17 to delete the “free speech” defence which would have previously prohibited disciplinary actions against any racists or misogynists. Successful prosecutions will remain difficult as the decisions to “do” Livingstone & Greenstein on “bringing the party into disrepute” and not on antisemitism or use of abusive language in the case of Greenstein prove because, despite having changed its rules at Conference 2017 any decisions are still potentially subject to judicial review.

We i.e. the Labour Party badly need the rest of the Chakrabarti Inquiry recommendations to offer certainty around behavioural acceptability, ensure proportionality in terms of penalty and guarantee a fair trial if things require it. In this, the intra-party sectarian delay, has served it poorly.

The benchmark by which we i.e. Labour judge ourselves should be the Chakrabarti report, not the IHRA definition.

ooOOOoo

In this case, there is more to read ….. …

Racism in the Labour Party (again)

Racism in the Labour Party (again)

Stories have been circulating about how the Labour Party might change its rules to ensure that racists are excluded and that racism is eliminated from the Party. As is usual this is being conducted in secret. It is reported that the Jewish Labour Movement have submitted a Rules amendment designed to make suspending or expelling racists easier. The NEC is considering forwarding the motion to Conference. …

Anti-Semitism

The article, Crying Wolf at Open Democracy calls out the double standards of the Commons Home Affairs Committee report on Anti-Semitism and the dangerous and missed opportunities. In particular it notes the honesty and forward looking nature of the Chakrabarti Inquiry Report into anti-semitism in the Labour Party and questions the motives of those who voted for the Commons Committee report which spends an inordinate amount of time, conducting an inaccurate and inadequate review of anti-semitism in the Labour Party and its recent responses. The article also looks in detail at the history of the development of  and needs for a working definition of anti-semitism. It does not quote David Schnieder’s but it does make the point that the definition chosen from the EUMC is questioned and never adopted by its authors and is considered to be too censorious of critics of the Israeli government. This is a comprehensive, temperate and critical treatment of the report. I recommend it be read by anyone interested in evidence based and just policy making. …