How Labour should be reacting to abuse on social media

IainMcNicolAccusations of abusive behaviour by the Corbyn-supporting left began from the moment Corbyn was elected leader. The Labour Party all of a sudden became, according to frequent media reports, a seething cauldron of racism, specifically anti-Semitism. It was also heavily involved, according to reports, in regular threats of violence, homophobia, and sexism. It didn’t matter that these reports were based on a tiny number of alleged cases or that most of the journalists involved (including sadly many leading journalists on the Guardian/Observer) had no interest in checking the truth or significance of these stories. Anything that contributed to the “get Corbyn” campaign was deemed okay.

The wave of alleged anti-Semitism was over in a few months and is now hardly mentioned. The media has moved on to other means of trying to attack the Labour leadership. The upshot has been however to make Labour politicians longing to remove Corbyn feel free to claim, on slender or no evidence, victimisation by Corbyn supporters. Mild heckling becomes “intimidation” and reasonable criticism is equated with “abuse”. The most notable feature of the abusive-Corbynite accusations has been lack of evidence to support the claims. Continue reading

Andrew Fisher’s suspension isn’t about rule-breaking – it’s about factional struggle

pg-1-labour-andrew-fisher-1So a couple of Labour MPs have made complaints against Andrew Fisher, Jeremy’s head of policy, and the NEC have moved to suspend him. His crime? Among other things, publishing a tweet advocating a vote for our anarchist friends Class War over Labour’s Emily Benn in Croydon South almost a year prior to the general election. Not the political crime of the century by any means, but rules are rules. Or are they?

As with all bureaucratic organisations, there are rules covering pretty much every element of the operation. And the Labour Party is no different. There are rules for elections. Rules for members. Rules for affiliates. Rules specifying party structures. Where there are grey areas are rules for governing ‘them’, and rules for governing ‘us’. So it is that if you’re a powerful figure, rules can be flouted with seeming impunity. Continue reading

It’s Labour’s executive being sidelined in party management shenanigans

Exec Board

Spencer Livermore, who started work yesterday, may be a very decent person and turn out to be a first class election supremo for Labour, but the manner and circumstances of his appointment were disastrous for good governance in the Labour party, and an insult to the party’s elected national executive, as well as to its general secretary.

Livermore ‘s appointment was announced just over a month ago alongside the cabinet reshuffle. Unlike the general secretary and other strategic directors, he was appointed without any apparent process, without any consultation with or involvement by the national executive committee which has responsibility under its terms of reference for oversight of personnel functions including ensuring that “recruitment is fair and non-discriminatory“, oversight of equal opportunities policies and the staffing structure. Continue reading

Ed’s office has done him a disservice, but the worst culprits pose as loyal party staff

Since we reported on Monday that Ed Miliband’s office had overstepped the mark in the structure of Labour’s new executive board, things have gone from bad to worse. Further details of the new structure have emerged, the Guardian has reported that the “Labour party staff react with fury to plans for new executive board” and, as blogger Emma Burnell puts it, “there’s been leaking, complaints about leaking and leaking of the complaints”.

Given what he stood for, Ed Miliband has been done a great disservice by his own staff in what has been done in the his name. However, there are also some unholy alliances and hidden agendas about here that the leakers are not keen to expose. Continue reading