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Get over yourself, Kate Godfrey

Oldham byelectionLast time I checked, the aims and values section of the Labour Party constitution did not include the advancement of the career of Kate Godfrey among its guiding principles. So unless it has subsequently been so amended and I somehow missed the press release, the special snowflake’s failure to make it onto the longlist of potential Labour candidates for the Oldham West and Royton by-election hardly the merits comparison to what happened to poor old Leon Trotsky in Mexico in 1940.

Yet that’s how it is being bigged up in the rightwing press. Telegraph political journalist James Kirkup is keen to paint a selection panel that include MP Keith Vaz as wannabe Ramon Mercaders, gleefully lodging an ‘icepick’ – his word – into the cranium of said Westminster hopeful.

The decision, he argues, presages the start of a Corbynista ‘purge’ that will send a ‘chilling message’ to those with the temerity to cross the mighty Jezza. Why, Ms Godfrey and her ilk have had ‘their careers cut off’, poor lambs.

Will future historians come to regard this development as some dangerous precursor to a coming Show Trials of 2016?

Must Blairites fear a midnight knock on the door from the Momentum NKVD, ready to whisk them away to some God-forsaken Islington North Lubyanka, prior to the extraction of false confessions by torture?

Perhaps a novelist of the stature of Koestler will one day limn this new Darkness at Noon, with our Kate in the Rubashov role?

Probably not. Meanwhile, it should be stressed that Ms Godfrey had no special claims to a shot at the seat. A quick perusal of the information about her in the public domain does not reveal any connections whatsoever with the constituency, for instance.

So why the fuss? Well, the woman has of late been in the forefront of criticism of the Labour left. Following her unsuccessful general election campaign in Stafford, for instance, she claimed to have been subjected to shocking treatment by people she identified as supporters of the Labour Representation Committee.

Her allegations include intimidating late night phone calls and the circulation on social media of photographs of her head photoshopped onto pornographic imagery.

On her account, she rang the office of LRC chair John McDonnell, now shadow chancellor, several times, but did not get a response.

But what is being alleged here is the commission of serious criminal offences. Her correct course of action would surely have been to take the matter to the police. As the Comrade Delta imbroglio that engulfed the Socialist Workers’ Party a few years back underlines, there are numerous reasons why no small leftwing organisation has the competence to investigate such matters.

It goes without saying that the incidents Ms Godfrey describes are utterly reprehensible, and I would be the first to support the expulsion of anyone properly proven to have perpetrated them. Meanwhile, she has also recently been in the headlines after describing Seumas Milne, Corbyn’s new communications chief, as a ‘fascism apologist’, a charge that in itself suggests a shaky grasp of political theory.

Now, say what you like about Seumas’s highly-publicised analysis of the Russian revolution or the prism through which he views current questions of international relations. But to upbraid Milne as fascist sympathiser by way of a cheap publicity stunt is as offensive as it is inaccurate, and it is hardly surprising if readiness to badmouth senior Labour appointees counts as a black mark against her when seeking another stab at being a PPC.

Yet her sense of entitlement on this score is palpable. Prior to throwing her hat into the right for Oldham West, Ms Godfrey already seeed to anticipate defeat, telling the Guardian:

If anyone turns around and says you’re not the right type of Labour, and they have rejected a disabled, working class woman candidate who has in the past depended on benefits, that would be a remarkable statement about the people who matter to the Labour Party now.”

No it doesn’t. All the longlist tells us is that Labour council leaders and former MPs have a considerable advantage when safe seats come up. Incidentally, front runner Jim McMahon is identified as on the Labour right. A Corbyn stitch-up this ain’t.

So sorry you didn’t make the cut, Kate. We’ve all gone for jobs that we thought we would easily land and inexplicably didn’t even get an interview. It’s disappointing, but life’s like that sometimes.

You are free to apply for future selection contests on the same basis as any other Labour Party member. In the meantime, do please try to get over yourself.

35 Comments

  1. whether Ms Godfrey rang the office of the now shadow chancellor re her complaints I do not know and whether the LRC was involved I do not know. But as I am active in Stafford I can say that the complaints of internet abuse where investigated, 5 members were suspended but I understand the investigation was not concluded as insufficient evidence was given.

    It is a fact that the suspensions have been lifted. I spoke to one of the people concerned last week, who is concerned his reputation has been damaged

    Trevor Fisher

    1. My left foot says:

      Unfortunately those who have been accused on tenuous evidence at the very least have never been given the chance to set the repord straight. The NEC are well aware of this and should suspend Ms Godfrey and carry out a full investigation instead of condoning her uncomradely comments in the Tory press. However, it almost seems as if there is plot to support her and ignore the democraticly elected leader.
      I did not vote for JC and simply appalled how a friend of the PLP gets away with this.

  2. Ann Tonks says:

    Kate Godfrey may be a ‘poor lamb’ or ‘special snowflake’ (insert – your own sixth form attempt at being patronising) yet she has obviously upset some very thin skinned people. All achieved with a few blogs. jeez.

  3. David Ellis says:

    Milne is a cheer leader for Putin.

  4. gerry says:

    David – I couldn’t care less about nobodies ike Kate Godfrey. But on one point she is right – Milne is not only an apologist for fascism of the clerical- Islamic variety ( see his disgusting Guardian articles empathising with the killers of Lee Rigby, the Charlie Hebdo writers, the kosher supermarket shoppers) , but he is also an apologist, and enthusiast for Vlad Putin, and for the murderous theocrats who rule Iran: see ANY article he has written in the last few years! His politics are disgusting, disgraceful and twisted

    1. John P Reid says:

      Got there before m, what ever Godfrey is saying about intimidation, she should call the police,but Milner is an apologist for fascism.

      1. gerry says:

        John – Facts are facts, and you are 100% right about Milne.

    2. David Pavett says:

      This is what Seumus Milne wrote about the murder of Lee Rigby.

      The videoed butchery of Fusilier Lee Rigby outside Woolwich barracks last May was a horrific act and his killers’ murder conviction a foregone conclusion. Rigby was a British soldier who had taken part in multiple combat operations in Afghanistan. So the attack wasn’t terrorism in the normal sense of an indiscriminate attack on civilians.

      The killing of an unarmed man far from the conflict, however, by self-appointed individuals with non-violent political alternatives, isn’t condoned by any significant political or religious tradition. Quite apart from morality, the impact was violently counter-productive for the Muslims that Rigby’s killers claimed to be defending, as Islamophobic attacks spiked across Britain.

      You can agree or disagree but I fail to see what is “disgusting” in this.

      I have my disagreements with Seumas M, sometimes very strong ones, but let’s base any criticism on what he actually says.

      1. gerry says:

        David – that excerpt shows Milne’s whole modus operandi in his articles. He says the murder was an horrific act but then later in the article agrees that the killers’ motives (revenge for perceived or actual attacks by “the West “against the “Muslim world”) were correct, and that every act of terror is” blowback” from the “War on terror”!

        Similarly, in another article he says the Charlie Hebdo and kosher supermarket murders were horrific, then agrees with the killers’ motives that these acts too were revenge for Palestine, or insults against Islam.

        Typical for Milne, he then attacks Charlie Hebdo who ” focussed its racialised baitings on the most marginalised sections of the population” (ie Muslims in France)….this is, David, disgusting victim-blaming and he does it time after time against the murdered victims of Islamic terror, victims of Putin’s aggression in Ukraine.

        Like the jihadists, he shares their narrative to a t – West vs “Muslim world”, and if ” we” leave their “lands” then terror against “us” will stop. Simplistic, unhistorical, Al Qaeda narrative – easy to disprove, and a totally reactionary view of the world in any case. He is a disgrace.

        1. David Pavett says:

          I don’t like Milne’s style of argument on this topic but I don’t think he says anything which could be read as saying that the killer’s motives were “correct”. I am not even clear what that means. If members of group A mistreat members of group B so badly that a member of B expresses his frustration by lashing out at a person of group A without direct provocation then that is understandable in the sense that we know it is very likely to happen. It does not mean that we are saying that the “motives” of that person are “correct”.

          Milne puts a argument which I happen to think is unhelpful but it is plausible and articulates what a lot of people think. Therefore I think, as Jeremy Corbyn keeps saying, it is better to deal with the argument than with the person. Describing his argument as “disgusting” really doesn’t help to do that.

      2. David Ellis says:

        David, Milne rationalises the acts of Jihadis as an understandable response to imperialsm. In actual fact Jiadism, Islamism, etc is a fascist subversion of the struggle against imperialist wars and for democratic revolutions in the neo-colonial world. The Islamists are not anti-imperialist they just want a slice of the pie. They are more than happy to work with imperialism when it suits. What the Stalinists and the Islamists have in common and this they have in common with imperialism is their utter, deeply held contempt for the masses and their visceral hatred of revolution.

        1. David Ellis says:

          Islamism is not the `understandable’ if misguided response to imperialism that Milne portrays it to be any more than Zionism was a progressive or reasonable response to The Holocaust.

          1. David Pavett says:

            I think that maybe you take “understandable” to imply some sort of justification. I doesn’t.

            For example, if a section of the population in any given country is systematically discriminated against, there will inevitably be a reaction and some of that reaction is extremely likely to be ill-considered. It is further likely that some people will exploit the frustration experienced for their own purposes. All of that is both understandable and more or less inevitable. If therefore someone says that it is understandable that long-term poverty will lead to a rise in crime and violence that is in no sense a justification of that crime and violence. It is a comment on social causality.

            So, on that basis, I think Milne there is some truth in Milne’s view. The problem is that he doesn’t appreciate that Islamism pre-dates imperialism and that even the forms of it that have grown in response to imperialism have a large purely home-grown component.

            Zionism was well underway before the Holocaust and cannot therefore be considered to be purely a reaction to it. However, I think that there can be little doubt that without the persecution of Jews in Russia and then in Germany and finally the Holocaust it would never have gained sufficient support to achieve its objectives.

        2. David Pavett says:

          @David Ellis. I don’t think there is a contradiction between something being understandable reaction to events (in the sense of very likely to happen in the given circumstances) and that same thing being a distorted and destructive reaction which undermines effective opposition to the source of the problems. All that is needed to see this is to stop reading “understandable” as “appropriate” or “justified”. It doesn’t mean either of those things. The rise of fascism in post WW1 Germany and even its poisonous anti-Semitism are understandable. That in no way implies any sort of approval. If such things were not understandable then history and social events generally would be a complete mystery. The problem with Milne is that he is not clear about these distinctions and this leads to a reaction from people who are not clear about them either. The result is a completely pointless debate.

          1. David Ellis says:

            Would agree normally but with Milne `understanding’ clearly is meant in the empathetic sense. Plus he’s a big fan of Putin so….

  5. Andy Coombes says:

    David Ellis & “gerry”,
    Milne is an exceptionally clear thinker and sees realities in the absence of our prejudices, right or wrong. This is his core capability.
    Both of you have just spouted prejudices, right or wrong. Please take a few minutes to consider this.

    1. gerry says:

      To Milne and all his kin – Fisher, Stop the War, SWP, Galloway, Counterfire etc – the only villain on the stage is the US/West: that is the totality of his twisted politics. Anyone – including Islamic fascists, Putin, Iran, Assad – who opposes the West is to be supported, backed, encouraged. Read John Rees, the Stalin, Putin and Iranian theocrat fanboy who runs Stop the War – he says so unambiguously himself! You call that “clear thinking”… I call it fascist apologism, or bogus anti-imperialism, of which there has been a long and inglorious history by many on the so called left. Milne is truly a disgusting example of it.

  6. Andrew says:

    Ergh, what a petty hateful article.

  7. Chris says:

    Anyone who calls Milne an apologist for fascism is a fascist themself.

    Yes, you above.

    1. John P Reid says:

      No they’re not, he has denied islamofascism, and red fascism.

      Doesn’t mean the accusers are right wing fascist, you could be a anti Israel Jew, like Gerald Kaufman, who dislikes Hamas, and it wouldn’t make Kaufman a fascist

  8. James Martin says:

    The fall out and suspensions appeared to be around a councillor being charged (and later convicted) of housing benefit fraud: http://www.staffordshirenewsletter.co.uk/Political-fallout-hits-Stafford-s-main-parties/story-25973500-detail/story.html

    Did Godfrey suffer the abuse she claims in the media? I’ve no idea, however what she describes (being threatened by a group of men, being followed at night etc.), are very serious criminal acts and yet she refused to report it to the police (apparently the Daily Mail is just as good these days). She also stated that all these men were LRC supporters, however despite being asked by the LRC national office so far as I am aware she never gave them the details so that these alleged members could be investigated.

    I have to say it all reminds me of a certain Natasha Bolter…

    1. Phil BC says:

      I know Kate and I helped her campaign in Stafford. Just so folks are aware, the abuse Kate suffered was real and it *was* reported to the police. Unfortunately no action was forthcoming.

      The suspensions in Stafford are unconnected.

      1. James Martin says:

        Ok, the suspensions are unconnected, that makes sense Phil as I couldn’t spot the link myself. But leaving the police aside, if any members of the Party were involved in the type of abuse that Godfrey has described then they would surely be investigated and most likely expelled wouldn’t they? But no one has been so far as I’m aware – so if the abuse was real as you say then it clearly wasn’t by Party members (and was therefore perhaps another example of net nutters misogynist abuse against a woman with a profile). But if it *was* Party members and Godfrey hasn’t reported it to the Party for investigation, but then tells the Daily Mail that those doing it were all LRC members then what does that tell us? Personally I can’t believe any LRC supporter would do anything like this (sharp political disagreements yes, but not this), so until anyone can show otherwise it would still appear that her response is a calculated political one intended to hurt the left by using papers like the Mail – and that if nothing else that lack of judgement (and I say again, Natasha Boulter), would indicate she is totally unsuitable for the position of a Labour MP.

      2. Another point of view says:

        If people actually visited Stafford and talked to members and ex-members there they would find out what it was like to work with the real Kate Godfrey not just the one sided stuff she’s put in the Tory press. Come on I dare I, ask.

        1. My left foot says:

          So the allegations were investigated by the police and members suspended but never expelled from the party Phil, so why does KG keep bringing it up. I believe she never lived in Stafford either so she must be accusing people in the mining town where her house is ? All rather odd.

  9. J.P. Craig-Weston says:

    Well I live in Oldham and Debbie Abrahams, (who was the first to nominate Andy Burnham for the Labour Leadership,) was formerly involved in the NHS privatizations and she even ran her own company doing risk assessments to cash in on it ,if I recall correctly is now supporting, Jim McMahon.

    It’s not a pretty sight; under Jim McMahon’s Co-operative borough, (basically Cameron’s, “Big Society,” but with a cheap coat of paint as it were,) and under McMahon’s leadership our councilor’s, (all 60 of the buggers,) have effectively been stripped of all their initiative and authority and are no longer even allowed to vote on financial matters until after they have completed a tedious and doubtless expense accreditation program, (undoubtedly being run at a profit by someone, “mates,”) which is preposterous, meanwhile his, (the council’s,) partner of Choice First choice Homes Housing Association are laying off maintenance staff, (just before Christmas,) and other people off at the same time that chief executive has just awarded herself a 12.5% pay rise and are also keen to remove both local councilors and the elected tenets representatives from the board on the pretext that this will facilitate effective management in a changing commercial environment, which most people regard as complete and utter nonsense.

    Democratic socialists these people are not and I for one won’t be voting for any of them.

    1. J.P. Craig-Weston says:

      But on a more positive and encouraging note I received this in response my comments about the late Micheal Meacher; already much missed which I very much appreciated.

      Not just that they’d been read but that someone took a moment to respond to them and that’s also how you get people to vote for you, some the people about could usefully learn.

      “Dear JPC-W

      I wanted to thank you for your tribute to Michael Meacher MP. He will be very sadly missed by the Labour movement, particularly here in the North West.

      Best wishes,

      Anna Hutchinson”

  10. J.P. Craig-Weston says:

    ouch, “some the people about could usefully learn.” should be; something the people above, could usefully learn from.

  11. tony nixon says:

    please investigate how stafford north branch of the labour party came to be suspended,and still is. during ms godfreys election campaign complaints were made about the branch which resulted in members being suspended and in one case unable to defend his seat on the borough council. the anonymous allegations have now been withdrawn by the person who made them to avoid a hearing by the ncc.

    1. My left foot says:

      There is something very odd about all of this. KG did go the Police and members were suspended and effectively blacklisted. Yet it appers the evidence has now been withdrawn for lack of credibility ?

  12. soft left says:

    The spin from Dan Hodges and his chums at HSBC has been shown to be even more inaccurate than usual with Progress darling McMahon’s triumph.

    Kate Godfrey’s HuffPo piece promoting intervention in Syria is delusional drivel. She seems to believe that Putin can be shamed into retreating from Syria by collating social media feeds and using them to “tell the world what is happening”.

  13. Another point of view says:

    Kate Godfrey, you tweet incessantly like you have no job to go to, surely your mates in Progress can go you one. We’ve just had a spending review and what do you do? Nevermind what the Tories put in it you don’t appear to care, just pop another go at the Labour leadership. Why can you not use your time for a more constructive way?

    The party in Stafford is bound and gagged about you. They only know what you tell them, no contradictons. I appeal to the press come to Stafford and find out the truth and the lies.

  14. tony nixon says:

    It is about time that there was a full investigation of Ms Godfeys allegations, which I understand have been withdrawn, about members of Stafford North Branch and the involvement, if any of her agent, and the west midland regional officers, which resulted in the Branch being suspended. Why should a few people be allowed to shut down a Branch with over 100 members without giving the members of that branch a full hearing by the NCC. I always put my name to any comments I make because I tell the truth, so why are others allowed to make allegations anonymously.

  15. Another point of view says:

    “…this is what the LRC used to tell me in Stafford, that they controlled union funding. Until the day I rang Unite.” Kate Godfrey tweeted that tonight. Lies! Less than a handful of members, no influence over unions,very doubtful she ever did contact the unions. Again I say come to Stafford and talk to people about Kate Godfrey.

  16. Tim Wilkinson says:

    Tangentially related, Neil Coyle has issued a statement about his brave decision to side with such underdogs as the Sun, his mates in the Labour party establishment, the governments of the UK and US etc., and endorse their plan of bombing some cities while they try to work out how to finish the job of regime change they started back in early 2011.

    Neil bravely states:

    “I think we must have the courage to do what we think is right, irrespective of the inevitable backlash. I have faced physical threats over how I might vote on this issue. Those threats are unacceptable and do not shape my position or decision. Quite the opposite.”

    http://web.archive.org/web/20151203035953/http://www.boslabour.org.uk/syria_statement

    I asked him if he had reported these ‘physical threats’ to the police:

    .@coyleneil “I have faced physical threats over how I might vote” Have you reported this to the police? Duty to help prevent repeat offences
    11:29 AM – 2 Dec 2015

    http://twitter.com/SurelySmMistake/status/672135596882706437

    I haven’t had a response, but I hope he will pursue the matter with the police as it would surely be extremely irresponsible to allow such aggression to go unchecked. Who might be the next victim of these violent people?

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