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Saturday, 14 May 2016

Ian McNicol Restages Franz Kafka’s The Trial (minus the literary drama)

I am invited to a Labour Party Investigation into Allegations against me, I am not allowed to know the nature of these allegations
Alice in Wonderland in her trial - Labour Party practice is modeled on her trial
I was suspended  from the Labour Party on the 18th March. Despite repeated requests, the Labour Party’s General Secretary Iain McNicol has refused to release any details of the allegations made against me.  I apparently made certain comments to which persons unknown took objection, but I am not allowed to know either the comments nor the persons who were so aggrieved. 
Little could Franz Kafka have known that the Labour Party would model its witch hunts on his  book
McNicol’s reticence in letting me know the reasons why I was suspended, did not extend to that well known Labour newspaper, The Telegraph.  On April 2nd it led with a story on my suspension Corbyn told to‘exorcise’ anti-Semitism in his party and The Times followed suit the same day Labour welcomes back blogger who compared Israel to Nazis 

I have now been summoned by Harry Gregson, Labour’s acting Regional Organiser, to an investigation hearing.  Gregson has not provided me with any details of the allegations against me, despite my having requested this of him.  Any questions that he might put to me could only be asked as a form of ambush.  Such a method of inquiry, if an employer tried it on, would result in a finding of automatic unfair dismissal.  No court of law would allow cross-examination on the basis of refusing access to evidence.
Alice dismisses her judges as a pack of cards
Of course I would have little difficulty swatting away questions from a minor apparatchik such as Gregson but that would be entirely besides the point.  There is a principle involved.  Anyone who is accused of an offence, however trivial or grievous, is entitled to know the nature and detail of those allegations.  Only in a police state are you not given the details of what you are accused of.  It is a damning indictment of the Labour Party that they are incapable of adhering even to the most basic rules of fairness.

For the Labour Party to tolerate such a situation sheds much light on the nature of the accusations I am facing and the people who have made these allegations.  Because of course in Israel when Palestinians are administratively detained without trial for periods of 6 months at a time, they too have no right to see the evidence against them.  This is the system that Blair brought in for terrorism trials, with its system of special advocates, whereby the accused was not informed of much of the prosecution case.  It would seem that Blair's rules of justice have now seeped into the Labour Party.

Perhaps attacking Apartheid Israel and Zionism is a form of political terrorism?  Most people would think that a state that discriminates in every area of its life against the indigenous population and locks people up without trial is the terrorist.
Exactly my position!
Fortunately the Labour Party isn’t able to detain or torture me and since the Blairites who put McNicol and co. in office are not in power themselves, they can’t extraordinarily render me to a country that will carry out third party torture on their behalf.

I have therefore written to Gregson saying that the dates and times of the proposed meeting are not in any event possible but that I have no intention of meeting up with him until I am provided with the requisite details.  In any event I have put in a Subject Access Request under the Data Protection Act 1998 and if Gregson isn’t forthcoming any investigation meeting will have to wait until the information I have requested is delivered to me.

I can’t imagine what Alice in Wonderland in her trial would have made of it.  She would probably have dismissed Gregson and McNicol as just a pack of cards!  Or as Humpty Dumpty said, 'When I use a word, it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.  The question is which is to be master — that's all.'

Tony Greenstein


13th May 2016

Dear Mr Gregson,

Thank you for your email which I received today.

I am unable to attend for an interview on the day suggested, May 21st or on any weekend because I have shared responsibility for my autistic son, Daniel.  I am only therefore able to make meetings on a weekday.

Further I do not normally travel outside Brighton both for reasons relating to the care of Daniel and the need to be on hand in case of an emergency.  I also do not usually travel long distances for reasons to do with my own health.  I would therefore expect you, as the acting regional organiser, to attend such a meeting in the Brighton & Hove constituency.

Thank you for the NEC Advice Note.  I was already in possession of it.  As you are aware, since I have both written and spoken to you, I wish to be informed of the details of the allegations which have been made against me and the complainant(s).  This is a basic precondition of any open, fair and transparent investigation.

Having practised in both Employment Tribunals and the Employment Appeal Tribunal I can assure you that someone who was subject to an investigation on the basis of unseen and undisclosed allegations would be considered to be automatically unfairly dismissed.  Even the worst employer wouldn’t fail to inform someone of the charges or allegations made against them.  I can see no conceivable reason as to why you are continuing to refuse to disclose the allegations against me and I note that the NEC Advice note states that: 

‘Unless the complaint or allegations being investigated are about intimidation by the respondent, the respondent should be notified of the investigation and the nature of the complaints or allegations at an early stage.

I have this week submitted to the Labour Party General Secretary Iain McNicol a Subject Access Request under the Data Protection Act 1998 for the above information.  I would therefore suggest that instead of waiting the statutory 40 days before handing the said information over to me, that you voluntarily disclose it now.  You also made a promise to the Chair of Brighton and Hove Labour Party, Lloyd Russell-Moyle, so he informed me, to provide me with the relevant information.

In the event that you continue to refuse to send me the requested information, then I shall wait until you are forced by law into disclosing it.  I am not prepared to be interviewed ‘blind’ and subject to questioning about matters I cannot prepare for in advance.  Any fair and unbiased investigation would, as a matter of course, disclose all such information because otherwise it is interview by ambush.  Any such investigation would be bound to be seen as unreasonable.

The NEC advice states that I can suggest names of witnesses who you will interview.  Again it is not possible to suggest names of possible witnesses when I am unaware of the nature of the allegations to which there might be witnesses.

Given that the Compliance Unit has already leaked details of the complaints against me to The Telegraph which, together with The Times, printed a story on 2nd April 2016, there cannot be any possible reason other than an ingrained unfairness for your failure to comply with my request.  I would therefore ask you once again to supply me with the details of the allegations which have apparently been made against me together with the name(s) of the complainants.

You will also be aware that both The Times and The Telegraph retracted any suggestions that I was anti-Semitic, which I understand to have been the tenor of the allegations which have been made.  They also printed letters from me to that effect.  I have made it clear to Mr McNicol that I will not hesitate to issue claim for defamation should The Labour Party make any finding that I am anti-Semitic.

I look forward to receiving a positive response to my request for information and an agreement as to time and place when an investigatory hearing might take place.
Yours sincerely,


Tony Greenstein 

Harry Gregson inviting Tony Greenstein to an 'investigation' meeting

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