16 July 2016

Suspension of Brighton & Hove Labour Party Shows the Hatred of Progress and Labour Right 4 Democracy

The Lies of Warren Morgan & Kyle Rebound on Them

Corbyn needs to start fighting against bans on members voting, surcharges on democracy, the suspension of Brighton & Hove Labour Party and the expulsion of activists like Ruth Cashman - he has surrendered too much
The media social, print and broadcast, have been full of the unprecedented suspension of Brighton & Hove Labour Party today.  At the weekend the largest meeting of the largest unit in the Labour Party nationally – Brighton’s District Labour Party consists of 3 constituencies with 6,000 members – voted decisively, by majorities of 2-1 at a meeting of over 600 members – to support the pro-Corbyn/ Momentum left candidates.

The rotten and useless old right-wing Executive was decisively defeated as members wanted a change from a Labour Party which was seen as a life support service for Councillor Warren Morgan and his fellow cutters and slashers.  Services in Brighton have been cut to the bone.  Hove library was only saved because the Greens and Tories united together to prevent Labour’s plan to close it. 
Peter Kyle - the right-wing Progress MP for Hove who some see as more right-wing than the Tory he defeated

We even had the absurdity of the 'Campaigns' Officer Nicky Easton opposing a motion supporting the doctors' strike and asking Labour Party members to go on to the picket lines.  Unsurprisingly Easton was defeated by the heaviest majority of any candidate.
The slash and burn leader of the Council and signed up member of Progress - ex Lib Dem - he has been the author of false allegations of intimidation whilst presiding over the racial attack by friends of his last Saturday
Disabled and Old Aged Peoples Centres such as Belgrave Centre and Tower Hill have been closed in Brighton and Hove at the same time as Warren Morgan sacked the previous Chief Executive, because he couldn't get on with her, at the cost of £1/4 million.  Brighton & Hove Independent today carried a story from UNISON showing that the Council had wasted £15m on expensive agency labour because they had cut so many jobs they didn't have enough social workers and other vital staff when needed.
The only intimidation was off a Black woman and her friend by a New Labour thug
The Labour Group has cooperated, without a whimper, in the Sustainability and Transformation Plan (STP) which is part and parcel of the Tory’s programme of privatisation of the NHS.  Their cooperation in the stealth privatisation of the NHS is disgraceful but is part of the corrupt Progress politics.

We have a local Labour MP, Progress’s Peter Kyle, who refused to go on the doctors' picket lines or even support their strikes or opposition to Jeremy Hunt's proposed contract.  Kyle refused to support Caroline Lucas’s excellent NHS Reinstatement Bill because he supports the involvement of the private sector in the NHS.  Caroline Lucas’s Bill would have overturned the provision in the 2012 Social Care bill which removed government responsibility for maintaining the NHS.  Legally today there is no obligation on the government to run a national health service.  

When Kyle defeated the Tory candidate for Hove, some wags said that the most right-wing candidate had won!

The reaction of the Labour Right to their defeat was simple – false allegations made against unnamed individuals.  Apparently someone spat at Peter Kyle, but when the alleged offender made a complaint against Warren Morgan, the instigator of the complaint, for making a false allegation, Brighton & Hove Labour Party was suspended an hour later.

Instead of accepting their defeat and their unpopularity, Warren Morgan resorted to a mixture of the normal McCarthyist red baiting plus the usual generalised mixture of allegations of intimidation.
People will recall the brick that was thrown through the office Wallasey Labour Party window, Angela Eagle’s constituency.  It became the most famous broken window in history as the BBC made it the news story of the day.  No mention of the consistent intimidation of left activists, the witch hunting, the false allegations of anti-Semitism.  These people, who brought us Iraq and extraordinary rendition (kidnapping of people in the West and illegal deportations to undergo torture in third world countries) are now complaining of ‘intimidation’ because they know they have nothing to offer except the same Tory lite and austerity programmes.

Both Owen Smith and Eagle portray themselves as ‘left wing’ candidates despite their record of supporting the Iraq war and all manner of cuts to benefits and services.

The suspension of Brighton & Hove Labour Party is therefore on a part with their removal of the right of 130,000 new Labour Party members to vote in the leadership elections and the raising to £25 the cost of registering as a supporter.  The Right in the Labour Party are fundamentally undemocratic and in particular they are hostile to participatory democracy.

The suspension of Brighton & Hove Labour Party and the ban on other Labour Party meetings is not a sign of strength though but fundamental weakness.  It is because they cannot command a majority any longer that they have to ban the electorate or part thereof from voting.  They hope to frighten existing Labour Party members into voting for the Right-wing candidates at the same time as they conduct a massive purge of members.

There are already reports of a massive search of activists social media posts as a means of suspending them.  We can expect the suspension of thousands in the weeks ahead as they try to fix the leadership elections.

People are in danger of uncritical hero worship of Jeremy Corbyn.  We support Corbyn despite the fact that he is essentially a weak leader.  Corbyn has said nothing about the ban on 130,000 members voting.  He has said nothing about the ban on Labour Party meetings or the raising to £25 of the right of registered supporters to vote.  He has said nothing about the witch hunt of activists and now the suspension of Brighton & Hove Labour Party. 

Today I have learnt of the expulsion of an excellent working-class anti-cuts activist in Lambeth, Ruth Cashman.  Again Corbyn has kept silent. 

People need to face the fact that Corbyn’s ‘new and softer’ politics are useless against a ruthless right.  We also have to become ruthless and start removing the Right and deselecting their MPs.


Tony Greenstein

In one of the most shocking revelations during a week which has seen the Labour party lurch from one crisis to another – the operations of a whole district Labour party (DLP) were suspended late on Thursday evening by the National Executive Committee (NEC).

Brighton and Hove (B&H) DLP has been officially banned from holding any meetings for the foreseeable future, in a situation which is a microcosm of the chaos engulfing the Labour party nationwide.
Greg Hadfield - the new BHLP Secretary whom the NEC have tried to depose
The news was broken via the DLP’s secretary, Greg Hadfield, on Twitter:

However, the full background to this decision by the NEC is more complex than the tweets appear – and would indicate an organised campaign by factions within the Labour party to undermine the 6,000 member B&H DLP’s elected officials.

On Saturday 9 July the local party held its AGM and elections for the executive committee. Over 600 
people took part, and a new block of officials were appointed on a pro-Corbyn platform with the support of the grassroots organisation Momentum. Hadfield, the new secretary, was installed with 65% of the vote and the new chair, Mark Sandell, with 62%. B&H DLP issued a full breakdown of the way the result had been reached, as the methods used were admittedly complex.

However, there has been tangible disharmony between the pro-Corbyn bloc of the DLP and those who appear to have been aligned with Progress for some time. As an email from councillor Warren Morgan (a Progress memberreleased by Hadfield shows, there has been a concerted effort to undermine the left of the organisation.

In one, Morgan describes the socialist bloc as trying to instigate:
As Hadfield told The Canary, to imply that the B&H DLP is somehow being overrun by entryists is absurd. Hadfield himself has been a Labour member for over a decade, and has always stood on a socialist platform.

There have been numerous smears in the local press against the socialist element in B&H DLP. In a report in The Argus on 11 July, claims were made against the new DLP chair Sandell – citing that he was suspected of being a former member of the AWL. This suspicion was based on the fact he signed a petition launched by them. And nothing else.

On 12 July, Morgan went on record via the Brighton and Hove News website, saying that the new chair had previously belonged to “smaller, fringe left-wing organisations”, and that him and his bloc of councillors had been:
Add caption
The undertones of Morgan’s statement are obvious – the implication being that the pro-Corbyn group who now run the DLP are not “credible, responsible”, nor a “mainstream political administration”.

But the most crucial element of his piece was in reference to the AGM on the 9 July. He said that:
It is this alleged spitting incident which would appear to have been the catalyst for the suspension of the DLP.

Hadfield explained to me that the individual accused, who did not wish to be named, had been publicly accused by numerous members associated with the Progress bloc. This individual has denied the accusations, and has also gone to the police to report the false statements, and asked the venue at which the AGM was held for CCTV footage.

On Thursday at around 5.30pm, they also submitted a formal complaint to the Labour party about councillor Morgan, on the basis that he was “bringing the party into disrepute” by making uncorroborated accusations and statements.

Within hours, the former secretary of the DLP had been sent a notification from Labour’s NEC that the organisation had been suspended from operations. Hadfield only found out when a member of the press contacted him for comment.

This is the statement from the NEC in full:
Email sent to Greg Hadfield, Secretary of BHLP

There has so far been no evidence presented of the “spitting incident”, nor has there been any of the alleged abuse thrown at Peter Kyle MP.

However, Kyle is a prominent critic of Corbyn. He poured scorn on the Labour leader in May 2016, saying, after a speech from Corbyn, that:

There is no hard evidence to suggest that this is an organised plot against a group of Labour party members who are overtly pro-Corbyn. But it certainly appears to indicate that somewhere within the Labour party hierarchy strings have been pulled to try and get the result of the B&H DLP elections overturned.

The situation in Brighton is not a one-off incident, either. The same thing has happened to Manchester Gorton CLP, with the same reasons cited as have been for B&H DLP.

Amid the suspending of all CLP meetings nationally, the perpetual moving of the goalposts surrounding who can vote in the leadership election, and the legal action being taken against Corbyn’s right to be on the ballot automatically – this is the icing on a very authoritarian cake.

In layman’s terms, the NEC are suspending whole branches of the party on the basis of a few, unverified claims of abuse (without giving the local organisations involved a chance to investigate themselves) and because they appear not to like the result of the way grassroots members are voting.
As Hadfield commented: “This is turning into a battle for the soul of the Labour party”.

If this is democracy at work in Labour, then its soul is one that may well need exorcising.

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