26 September 2021

Book Review – Labour, The Anti-Semitism Crisis and the Destroying of an MP

 It was the Betrayal of Chris Williamson by Corbyn, Formby and Lansman That Paved the Way to Starmer's Stasi

Lee Garratt, Thinkwell Books, 2021

The suspension and forcing out of Chris Williamson from the Labour Party was a watershed moment in the death of the Corbyn Project. Alone amongst Labour MPs, Chris understood that the Zionist 'anti-Semitism' campaign was not about anti-Semitism but the removal of Jeremy Corbyn from the leadership of the Labour Party. For anyone interested in how a popular Labour leader went from near victory in 2017 to humiliating defeat in 2019 this book is essential reading.

The book opens with a quote from Nietzsche, that ‘there are no facts, only interpretations.’ Why Lee Garratt opened with this post-modernist nonsense is unclear but the Nakba of 1948 when ¾ million Palestinians were expelled is a fact, regardless of the Zionist interpretation that they ran away. Likewise the holocaust is a fact. I can only assume that it was included as a reference to the fake evidence that was used to 'prove' that the Labour Party was overrun by anti-Semitism.

Tommy Sheridan, the former Scottish Socialist Party MSP, provides a foreword and makes the point that the ‘creation of a narrative during the last decade that casts (Corbyn, Livingstone and Williamson) as anti-Semites underlines the preposterous and perverse power of the billionaire-owned mainstream media.’ This is the basic political lesson that Formby, Corbyn and McDonnell forgot.

There is a preface on the origins of the word ‘anti-Semitism’ and the question of whether to hyphenate it. Garratt argues, in my view correctly, that to hyphenate ‘anti-Semitism’ is to forget the hidden intersections between Jews and Moslems and the history of the term ‘semite’. It also reminds us of how anti-Jewish racism became racialised in the latter part of the 19th Century.

There follows an interesting discourse on the definition of ‘anti-Semitism’ and the Zionists’ IHRA definition. Lee points to one of the illustrations of ‘anti-Semitism’

accusing Jewish people of being more loyal to Israel than the country they live in’.

arguing it is a fact that many Jews proudly declare that their first loyalty is to Israel. Indeed fundamental to Zionism is the belief that Israel is the nation state of the Jews which therefore demands their allegiance. This is a good example of how the Zionism and anti-Semitism coincide.

Unfortunately the book has a potted history of anti-Semitism that accepts the Zionist myth of an eternal 2,000 years of Jewish suffering. In fact Jews were both oppressors and the oppressed. As Abram Leon wrote in The Jewish Question: A Marxist Interpretation:

 ‘Zionism transposes modern anti-Semitism to all of history and saves itself the trouble of studying the various forms of anti-Semitism and their evolution.[i]

Lee Garratt also argues that the Israeli state itself has changed since 1948 when it was ‘leavened with left, egalitarian views e.g. the kibbutz movement.’ In fact the Kibbutzim were the pioneers of Zionist apartheid. Arabs could not be members of a kibbutz. They were Jewish only stockade and watchtower settlements.

When Chris Williamson was suspended, after his speech to Sheffield Momentum had been twisted and distorted to mean its exact opposite, I wrote that ‘The Suspension of Chris Williamson MP is Shameful – This May Be the End of the Corbyn Project.’

The suspension of Williamson and the refusal to support him when under attack by Tom Watson and the Right was perhaps the most shameful aspect of Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership. More shameful even than the suspension and expulsion of Jackie Walker, Marc Wadsworth, Ken Livingstone and myself.

It is to the discredit of John McDonnell, Richard Burgon, Laura Pidcock, Dianne Abbot and the other members of the Socialist Campaign Group that not only did they fail to offer any solidarity with Chris but Pidcock told him not to come to SCG meetings anymore. Richard Burgon’s excuse was ‘What can 10 MPs do against 100?’ It was an attitude of utter defeatism.

Ian Lavery as a former President of the NUM knew better than anyone what the meaning of solidarity is yet he too failed to utter a single word of support to Chris Williamson. The sole exception to this scabbing by the SCG being Laura Smith, the MP for Crewe and Nantwich, who unfortunately lost her seat at the last election.  And ironically Fabian Hamilton, the Leeds NE MP who is also a Zionist! (p. 67)

When Corbyn was suspended the SCG ‘released a few ambiguous, wishy-washy faux solidarity statements to the media.’ They expressed regret at Corbyn’s suspension whilst at the same time wanting him to issue another apology. Garratt is right when he says that:

‘it has been these erstwhile supporters that have done the most damage to the left. It is much easier to deal with one’s enemy when he or she is out in the open. Right-wing bully boys such as Ian Austen can easily be seen for who they are and their comments are taken as such. But when people like John McDonnell express support, yet saddle it with further conditions, one would be better off without that support in the first place; their crocodile tears and misplaced concern serving only to give further credence to the lies and calumnies.’

Garratt gives as an example of the complicity of the SCG in the witch-hunt, the attack by Alliance for Workers’ Liberty supporter Nadia Whittome MP on Nottingham East CLP for having the temerity to discuss the EHRC report. One Jewish Zionist left the meeting after having made false allegations against another member. Other Jewish members supported the motion. The Chair, Louise Regan, quite rightly refused to rule the motion on the EHRC out of order. Instead of supporting the democratic rights of CLPs, Whittome condemned them for not obeying David Evan’s dictat. Ms Regan was suspended almost immediately. Unfortunately the SCG has no procedure for suspending or expelling scab members.

In the Kafkaesque atmosphere of the Labour Party, merely challenging accusations of ‘anti-Semitism’ ‘denialism’ is deemed proof of anti-Semitism. Just as in 17th century Salem, denying that you were a witch was proof of being one.

What were the ‘crimes’ that Williamson was suspended for? There were two major offences:

1.           Chris’s speech to Sheffield Momentum of 23 February 2019.

2.           Booking a House of Commons committee room for a showing of Jackie Walker’s film ‘The Witchhunt’.

The first offence was a classic example of how the words of people were twisted and mangled to serve the Zionist agenda. It is proof of the poisonous nature of the British press and British politics. It was an example of Orwellian Doublethink. War is Peace or in this case Anti-racism = Racism and opposition to anti-Semitism = anti-Semitism.

After being suspended Chris was asked by Labour’s Thought Police about what he had said in Sheffield:

During this meeting did you say “The Party... is being demonised as a racist, bigoted party... I think the Party’s response has been partly responsible... we’ve backed off on too much, we’ve given too much ground, we’ve been too apologetic?” (p.149)

If so please explain what you meant when you said this.

Chris’s response was that this 

‘selective and highly misleading quote above is without context and appears to have been provided maliciously and vexatiously... with the deliberate intention of my words being misconstrued.’

What then were the actual words which Chris had said?

We are not a racist party, are we? We’re not an anti-Semitic party. We are the party that stood up to racism throughout our entire history... It was Labour that was the backbone of the Anti-Nazi League in the 1970s when we confronted the anti-Semites, the racists, the Islamaphobes on the streets and we defeated those fascists, didn’t we? And now we – Jeremy, me and others – are being accused of being bigots, of being anti-Semites. And it’s almost as we’re living within the pages of Orwell’s 1984. You know the Party that’s done more to stand up to racism is now being demonised as a racist, bigoted party.

And I’ve got to say I think our Party’s response has been partly responsible for that. Because in my opinion...– we’ve backed off far too much, we’ve given too much ground, we’ve been too apologetic. What have we got to apologise for?  For being an anti-racist party? And we’ve done more to actually address the scourge of anti-Semitism than any other political party. And yet we are being traduced. And grassroots members are being traduced.

Chris can certainly be criticised for giving too rosy a picture of Labour’s record when it came to fighting racism and fascism. It’s not true that the Labour Party mobilised for the Battle of Cable Street. On the contrary members were dissuaded from going just as Jews were urged by the Board of Deputies not to confront the fascists. It was the Communist Party and the Independent Labour Party and Jewish workers themselves who took the lead.

The record of the Labour Party from the Kenya Asians Act in 1968 to the Blair government’s hostile environment policy (Home Secretary Alan Johnson coined the phrase) was anything but anti-racist. Labour’s record on support for imperialism, from India to Africa to Palestine, is a shocking one.

There is nothing in what Chris Williamson said in his speech that was remotely racist or anti-Semitic nor did it criticise the Labour Party for fighting racism and anti-Semitism. What he was saying was that the Labour Party should have been done more to reject and rebut the false allegations of anti-Semitism. 

Yet what was the reaction to Chris’s speech? The Independent led the mob: ‘Chris Williamson: Labour MP filmed telling activists party is too 'apologetic' about antisemitism’. Matt Greene, also of the Independent chimed in with a particularly disgusting opinion piece: ‘Chris Williamson has given Labour the perfect opportunity to show it is serious about tackling antisemitism’ which compared Chris’s failure to apologise for Labour ‘anti-Semitism’ to the failure of the US Congress to apologise for its ‘maltreatment’, in fact extermination  of the native Indians or the failure of David Cameron to apologise for the Amritsar massacre when he visited India in 2013.

There were no depths to which the press wouldn’t sink in order to demonise Williamson. Labour’s ‘anti-Semitism’ was a contested allegation. 70% of Labour members believed it had been weaponised by the Zionists.[ii] A belief that has been thoroughly vindicated by Keir Starmer who in his mission to ‘root out the poison’ of anti-Semitism has expelled and suspended 5 times as many Jews as non-Jews.

Greene’s comparison of Williamson’s speech to the massacre of thousands of native Indians or the machine gunning of a peaceful crowd, of whom at least 400 died, to  Labour ‘anti-Semitism’ where not one single ‘victim’ was identified, was obscene. But it was no more obscene than Nazia Parveen’s article in the Guardian: ‘Chris Williamson: 'no place' in Labour for MP embroiled in antisemitism row’.

Lapsley, a member of the Zionist Jewish Labour Movement, was quoted as saying that 'There is no place for Chris Williamson in my Labour party’ despite the article pointing out that while he was leader of Derby Council ‘Williamson was instrumental in setting up Holocaust Memorial Day events in the city, and he also rescinded the medieval proscription of Jews living in Derby.

MI5’s asset at the Guardian, Jonathan Freedland, joined in: ‘Labour doesn’t have zero tolerance of antisemitism if Chris Williamson is an MP.’ In one continuous litany of lies Freedland, knowing that his assertions on Labour ‘anti-Semitism’ lacked merit, began his contribution with a sarcastic

‘Credit to Chris Williamson for originality. Not many have suggested that Labour’s chief problem with antisemitism within its ranks is that it has been too apologetic to the Jewish community, that it has shown an excess of concern and contrition.’

Freedland quoted that well-known anti-racist Tom Watson ‘who wasted no time in branding Williamson’s apology “long-winded” and “not good enough”, adding that if it were up to him, he’d have removed the whip from Williamson already.

This is the same Tom Watson whose reaction to the decision of the High Court to remove racist MP Phil Woolas from the House of Commons, after having fought an election designed to ‘make the white folks angry’ was that ‘I’ve lost sleep thinking about poor old Phil Woolas and his leaflets.’ And if anyone is under any doubt that this was a one-off, Watson was the campaign manager in the by election in 2004 in Birmingham Hodshrove when Labour issued a leaflet with the slogan ‘Labour is on your side, the Lib Dems are on the side of failed asylum seekers.'

Garratt documents the onslaught of the media, especially the Guardian. On 9 July 2019 a letter from over 100 Jewish people to the Guardian protesting Williamson’s suspension was published. Immediately the Board of Deputies and Hope not Hate protested because two of the signatories, although individual members of the Jewish Labour Movement and HnH were not writing on their behalf. The letter was ‘disappeared’ by the Guardian from the Internet. But even in the age of the Internet you can’t ‘disappear’ the printed word!

Owen Jones played a particularly disgusting role in the attack on Williamson. He was the Guardian’s faux left columnist who, lacking all arguments, resorted to insults describing Chris as ‘king of the cranks’ for having something Jones lacks – principles. Jones joined the clamour against Corbyn writing that Jeremy Corbyn says he’s staying. That’s not good enough a month before the 2017 General Election.

Garratt says that Jones had a ‘blind spot’ on the question of Labour anti-Semitism. I disagree. It is part and parcel of his noxious identity politics which promotes the most powerful and reactionary identities, Zionist Jews against their victims, Palestinians. (p. 114)

Every racist and reactionary, inside and outside the Labour Party, was clamouring for the expulsion of Chris Williamson.

Chris’s second offence was to book the House of Commons to show Jackie Walker’s film Witchhunt which is a sustained polemic against the anti-Semitism narrative.

The Witchhunt was due to be shown by Jewish Voices for Labour at the 2018 Labour Party conference. However this was prevented because of a bomb threat. Instead of calling out this political terrorism by the Zionists Jennie Formby did their work for them.

Instead of defending the democratic right of an MP to organise the showing of a film that offended the Zionists or simply defending the right of free speech, Formby sent an email to Williamson demanding that he cancel the showing of the film ‘with a heavy hint that if he didn’t, she would suspended him’

The Witchhunt was a film produced by Jon Pullman, himself Jewish. It offered a different perspective to that of the Board of Deputies, the Daily Mail, Jonathan Freedland and John Mann. It would have been easy for Formby to defend the right to show the film as a basic democratic right. Instead Formby, acting on behalf of Corbyn and the Leader of Opposition Office, became the emissary of Apartheid Israel and its apologists.  In Israel they administratively detain dissidents. In Britain they rely on ‘socialists’ to do their dirty work. (pp. 61-62)

In this one incident we see exactly where the Corbyn Project went wrong. Instead of defending their supporters against the attacks of Zionists and Israel apologists, Formby went out of her way to appease them.  And a fat lot of good it did because when the 2019 General Election came they wheeled out the Chief Rabbi, the Board of Deputies and all the rest of the Zionist cabal to damn Corbyn as the worst thing since Adolf Hitler.

It is regrettable that Chris initially apologised and even more regrettable that once he was suspended he didn’t rebook the film, however he was under immense pressure.

In Appendix 5 there is reprinted a copy of the questions sent by the witchhunters to Chris. There were 4 questions about the film:

i.                   Did you book a room in Parliament for 4th March 2019 to screen a film entitled ‘Witch Hunt’?

ii.                Please explain your understanding of the film

iii.             Please explain why you booked a room in Parliament to screen this film.

iv.             Do you have anything else you think the Party should know about this screening.

If I had been sent these questions my answers would have been short and to the point. I would have asked Formby and the witchhunters why they had a problem with the screening of a film? What did they fear? Do they not believe any longer in democratic debate? Is the Labour Party a replica of the Israeli state? Did they never consider that the Zionists had something to hide?

The shrill and raucous Ruth Smeeth MP, who lost Stoke on Trent North at the 2019 General Election, whined that ‘Giving these people and Jackie Walker a platform at the home of British democracy is a complete and utter disgrace.’ (p.62)

Smeeth, who was previously Director of Public Affairs and Campaigns at the Britain Israel Communications and Research Centre (BICOM) in November 2005 became CEO of Index on Censorship in June 2020 after having lost her seat at the General Election. IoC should be called Index for Censorship. The fact that Formby and Corbyn backed up Smeeth, an utterly reactionary MP, who was an informer for the US Embassy demonstrates the cowardice and lack of any political perspective of these spineless reformists.

Smeeth was defending an Israeli state that has ruled over 5 million Palestinians for over half a century. There are two systems of law in the Occupied Territories – one for Palestinians and another for Jewish settlers. That is the definition of apartheid and that is what Corbyn and Formby were defending. We should bear this in mind next time Corbyn speaks at a Palestine solidarity event or pushes his Peace and Justice campaign.

There follows an amusing chapter on the main Zionist ‘victim’ of anti-Semitism, Luciana Berger, the Blairite parachuted into Liverpool Wavertree constituency in 2010 who didn’t even know the name of the famous Liverpool football manager, Bill Shankly. Despite the false allegations by Tom Watson et al that Berger was driven by anti-Semitism out of the Labour Party, Garratt is right that

‘to this day, there remains no evidence of any anti-Semitism directed at Berger from within the Liverpool Wavertree constituency or from anyone with any serious connections to the party.’ (p.37)

In a trenchant defence of Williamson Garratt points to the stench of hypocrisy emanating from Margaret Hodge, who knowingly presided over the child abuse scandal at Islington Council. Hodge, a tax-dodging millionairess who broke the Boycott of Apartheid South Africa, compared herself to a victim of the Nazis declaring that she knew ‘what it felt like to be a Jew in Germany in the 30s.’

If anyone else had compared themselves to the Jewish victims of the Nazis they would have been labelled as anti-Semitic.

The section on Gilad Atzmon, the anti-Semitic jazz player, is badly researched. Despite quoting Atzmon as saying that ‘(We) must begin to take the accusation that the Jewish people are trying to control the world very seriously’ Garratt says that he merely ‘overreached’ himself and that this was ‘merely clumsy writing’ ,arguing that his subsequent substitution of ‘Zionists’ for ‘Jews’ worked in his favour (in fact Atzmon was covering his tracks). Garratt argues that ‘whether this makes him an ‘anti-Semite’ is another matter. Well it does matter and Atzmon is an anti-Semite.

The use of scare quotes suggests that Garratt disagrees. He is simply wrong and if anyone is in any doubt then I refer them to my blog A Guide to the Sayings of Gilad Atzmon, the anti-Semitic jazzman where we learn that Jewish anti-Zionists are a fifth column

‘who will convert (to Zionism) in the next anti-Semitic wave… who makes Zionism into an eternal struggle for ‘Jewish salvation’.’[iii]

Atzmon has an interesting backstory, having become alienated by what Israel was doing when he fought in the 1982 Lebanon war. However Atzmon didn’t reject Zionism, rather he internalised Zionism’s Jewish self-hatred and turned it into anti-Semitism.

This arose because Islington Council had rejected a booking by Atzmon and the Blockheads on the grounds of his anti-Semitism. Chris Williamson not knowing who Atzmon was tweeted in support of a petition against the ban before deleting his tweet minutes later. The Zionists made hay out of the affair.

The Zionists harassed 3 venues into cancelling a meeting with Chris Williamson in Brighton - however People Power defied the attempts of the racists to close down free speech and we held the meeting, with 200 people in Regency Square

However Chris could have taken my position. I led the campaign against Atzmon with articles in Weekly Worker such as Anti-Semitism in anti-Zionist garb [iv] and for the Guardian’s Comment is Free, The Seamy Side of Solidarity [v] At all times we stressed that we were opposed to Atzmon’s anti-Semitism not his jazz playing. He is a world renowned jazz player. I therefore took the decision to sign the petition and I personally attended one of Atzmon’s gigs in Brighton!

Chris’s one regret was being pressurised into apologising for his speech at the Sheffield meeting. It is understandable that he did so in order to avoid disciplinary action but he made the situation worse:

‘Typically, later that evening, despite the assurances he felt he had received regarding his apology and despite the agreement he had regarding cancelling the film, Williamson was suspended anyway.’

When Len McLuskey and Corbyn claim that Starmer ratted out on promises he made, that if Corbyn retracted his initial statement responding to the EHRC report, he would be reinstated we should remember that Corbyn showed the way.

The reaction to Chris Williamson’s suspension from the grassroots of the Labour Party was overwhelmingly supportive. What was Formby’s reaction? To declare that motions supporting Williamson were ‘not competent’. When it came to Corbyn’s suspension the same device was used by David Evans but who paved the way if not Jennie Formby? Even worse, when Chris was reinstated Formby bowed to a petition from Tom Watson and 100 MPs to resuspend him. The cowardice of Formby and LOTO knew no bounds.

When Chris went to the High Court to obtain an injunction against the Labour Party he was successful. Anticipating the High Court decision the party issued another suspension a few days before the hearing and it was this which the judge refused to overturn.

Garratt shows how the press and the BBC unanimously declared that ‘MP Chris Williamson loses anti-Semitism appeal.’ The judge had ruled that the Labour Party’s excuse for resuspending Chris was unlawful. This was confirmed this when he awarded Chris 100% of his costs despite the Labour Party arguing that it should recover 60%.

When Chris ran into Corbyn in parliament he promised him that he would remain the Derby North MP. However this was a lie. There was no such agreement.

It is no surprise, given Chris’s prominence in the Labour anti-Semitism campaign that the EHRC was preparing to name him as one of 6 individuals guilty of harassing Jewish members of the Labour Party.[vi] In fact a ‘swift and comprehensive legal challenge’ ensured that Chris’s name was entirely expunged from the report. In the end they scapegoated just 2 people – Ken Livingstone and Pam Bromley.

Garratt concludes his book  by quoting from Norman Finkelstein:

‘Corbyn, he did not only present a threat to Israel and Israel’s supporters, he posed a threat to the whole British elite. Across the board, from The Guardian to the Daily Mail they all joined in the new anti-Semitism campaign. Now that’s unprecedented – the entire British elite, during this whole completely contrived, fabricated, absurd and obscene assault on this alleged Labour anti-Semitism, of which there is exactly zero evidence, zero.’ (p. 117)

This was, as Garratt says, a fabricated smear campaign comparable to the McCarthyite witch-hunts in 1950s America. Chris’s real ‘crime’ was in his own words being Corbyn’s

most outspoken supporter in the House of Commons, which made me a target for disgruntled Labour MPs, mischief-making bureaucrats and Zionists. Consequently, I expected trouble, but I never anticipated how serious that trouble would turn out to be. I certainly did not expect to be forced out of the party to which I had devoted my entire adult life.’ (p. 126)

Chris is clearly right that

‘there was never any recognition that the capitulation strategy was making matters worse. Jeremy’s advisers seemed to have the collective memory of a goldfish rather than drawing a line in the sand.’ (129)

The conclusion that Chris has drawn from this is the ‘impossibility of turning the Labour Party into a vehicle for socialism and anti-imperialism’ is one that is currently being fiercely argued over.

This book, despite its flaws, is a welcome and long overdue exercise in setting the record straight. Chris Williamson was not a Jew baiter or an anti-Semite as the Zionists alleged. Jon Lansman and Owen Jones, who propagated the ‘anti-Semitism’ slurs were in fact the grave diggers of the Corbyn Project.

Chris Williamson will long be remembered as a brave and principled Labour MP who was let down and betrayed by those who are only in politics for what they can personally get out of it. All those SCG MPs, such as Russell Lloyd-Moyle who lied to me about Chris Williamson, aren’t fit to walk in his shadow.

Tony Greenstein

[1]               Abram Leon, The Jewish Question - A Marxist Interpretation, p. 245 . Pathfinder, NY,.p. 247.

[2]               Jewish Chronicle 30.3.21. https://tinyurl.com/4ncmkk9u

[3]               https://azvsas.blogspot.com/2011/03/guide-to-sayings-of-gilad-atzmon-anti.html

[4]               https://weeklyworker.co.uk/worker/894/anti-semitism-in-anti-zionist-garb/

[5]               https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2007/feb/19/greenstein

[6]              https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2020/oct/29/key-findings-of-the-ehrc-inquiry-into-labour-antisemitism

25 September 2021

IF THERE’S NOTHING ELSE YOU WATCH THIS YEAR WATCH Ken Loach savage Starmer for his Treachery, Dishonesty And Contempt For Democracy

Like Brutus, Starmer bided his time, waiting for the opportunity when he could plunge the knife between Corbyn's shoulder blades

It’s not just that Starmer has the personality of a poodle pretending to be a German shepherd dog. Nor is it that when give the choice he prefers to lie. It’s not even that he portrayed himself as the unity candidate standing on 10 pledges from the Corbyn Manifesto. It isn’t even that Starmer has an utter contempt for Labour Party democracy, suspending whole parties for having the temerity to discuss and debate the suspension of a former leader, Jeremy Corbyn. 

It’s not even his treachery in staying in Corbyn’s shadow cabinet and ensuring that Labour’s approach to Brexit would spell disaster. It is all of these things and more. Starmer’s only achievement to date is that he has made dishonesty into a fine art. And let’s face it.  This is the best that New Labour can offer.

I looked at his 10 pledges and there isn’t one he has kept. The first pledge was to reverse Tory cuts to corporation tax.  So what did he do when the Tories raised corporation tax?  He opposed them!

He pledged to ‘put the Green New Deal at the heart of everything we do.’ Which presumably is why he tried to keep the GND off the agenda at this week’s Labour Party conference!

Perhaps it’s Pledge 4, Promote peace and human rights that sticks most in the gullet. He promised

‘No more illegal wars. Introduce a Prevention of Military Intervention Act and put human rights at the heart of foreign policy. Review all UK arms sales and make us a force for international peace and justice.’

So what did he do?  He supported the Tories Overseas Operations Bill, sacking 3 shadow cabinet members who voted against a bill that effectively grants immunity to British soldiers guilty of war crimes and torture! The Spycops Bill that would render the activities of the Metropolitan Police’s Special Demonstration Squad legal, including its rape of women, was also supported by Starmer.

But perhaps the biggest lie of all was Pledge 10 that promised ‘Effective opposition to the Tories’. Instead we have had uncritical support of Boris Johnson throughout the COVID crisis and use of that crisis to further the privatisation of the NHS.

Ken Loach starts off by comparing Starmer to a Mr Bean who is trying to be Stalin, unlike Gordon Brown who took the reverse path! I’m not even sure that Stalin is the right comparison for this tin pot dictator who best resembles an incompetent Asiatic despot.

This is a superb demolition job on Starmer. Loach doesn’t spare Starmer as he pours contempt on this miserable man. The exodus of 150,000 members and the destruction of the party whose membership Corbyn virtually doubled into becoming the largest political party in Europe will be Starmer’s main legacy.

We only have to look at the lie that Starmer’s changing how leaders are elected in order to give power back to ordinary trade union members.  Just another small lie. If Starmer was serious about giving power to trade unionists he would pledge to get rid of the anti-trade union laws.

Starmer promised to ‘root out the poison’ of a non-existing anti-Semitism in the Labour Party. Yet what has he done? Jewish members of the Labour Party are 5 times more likely to be suspended or expelled than non-Jewish members. 

If Starmer (and the Labour Right) had had any honesty they would have admitted that their concern was support for the Israeli state not anti-Semitism.

Starmer waited until he was elected Labour leader to reveal that he was a ‘Zionist without qualification’. Just as he waited until he was elected to reveal that a host of millionaires had funded his campaign including Sir Trevor Chinn, who bankrolls a variety of Zionist groups including Labour Friends of Israel, to the tune of £445,000.

Starmer withdrew of a Ramadan iftar after the Board of Deputies lobbied him to do so after it was revealed, shock horror, that one of the organisers supported the boycott of Israeli dates!

And just to emphasise his racist and imperialist credentials, Starmer and that other waste of space, Angela Rayner, decided to speak at a Labour Friends of Israel/Jewish Labour Movement meeting on the same day as the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinians.

More Lies which the sheep swallowed

But Loach does not simply demolish Starmer.  He also provides us with an alternative. The Left has to grapple the nettle now or forever lose the opportunity that the Corbyn Project and its dissolution has provided it with. We need to build a new socialist movement, not a party, that can provide the basis for a challenge to a Labour Party that is now a Tory Party Mark II. 

The Labour Party today under Starmer is a party of the British ruling class and a safe alternative to the Tories when they fall out of favour with the electorate. A party which will not provide an alternative either to capitalism or imperialist war.

Watch it and enjoy.

Tony Greenstein

I am also reprinting this excellent resignation letter to Keir Starmer on Skwawkbox from Stephen Smith, Faringdon town councillor and Labour conference delegate. Stephen Smith has resigned his party membership and all his positions in the local party after being targeted for suspension as part of the Labour right’s attempt to protect Keir Starmer’s acting general secretary from democracy – he has yet to decide whether he will remain a councillor.

Councillor and delegate’s blistering resignation letter lists Starmer’s crimes against Labour, democracy and the people

‘I at least expected the most basic standards of honesty and integrity. How naive… You can’t even lie competently… How fucking dare you?!’ Councillor resigns membership and all party offices and tells Keir Starmer he is putting ‘insatiable factionalism’ above the needs of the country

Sir Keir Starmer MP

Leader of the Labour Party

21 September 2021BY POST AND EMAIL

Dear Keir,

I write to resign membership of the Labour Party and consequently my elected offices as Wantage CLP Policy Officer, Executive Committee member and Conference delegate. I will ask members of the Faringdon Labour Party branch for their view of my continued membership of Faringdon town council; but even if they wish me to continue, will no longer serve as a Labour Party councillor.

I do so reluctantly, having been a Labour Party member for many years, under 5 different Leaders. I am 58, a lifelong and active anti racist, a socialist most of my adult life and take the greatest possible exception to your insinuation I am in any way a racist or an anti-Semite. I cannot in all conscience remain a member of an organisation that would even consider this to be possible.

I am an elected Labour councillor. I am a solidarity member of Jewish Voice for Labour. I was a judge for the Ann Frank Awards in 2009. I visited Israel in Easter 2018 and prayed at the Western Wall in Jerusalem. I am a Grade 2 Krav Maga [Israeli martial art] practitioner. I was NASUWT’s Principal Officer for Equality for 7 years.

A ‘racist’? An ’anti-semite’? How fucking dare you?! How dare you preside over this McCarthyism and establish a Stalinist bureaucracy where lifelong anti-racists like me are being witch-hunted for entirely sectarian political reasons? How dare you allow the cancer of anti-semitism to be weaponised and trivialised for factional disputes – then look at yourself in a mirror when Jewish members are being suspended, expelled and disciplined in unprecedented numbers? It is beyond shameful.

Last week I answered spurious allegations made about me in full. That response has neither been considered nor evaluated – instead, exactly the same material has been used to ‘justify’ an administrative suspension 3 days before Conference. I understand from NEC member Mish Rahman that this has happened to hundreds of Conference delegates. It is a blatantly dishonest, anti-democratic and factional abuse of process and I will have nothing more to do with a Party prepared to plumb such depths.

How can you possibly allow tens of thousands of members to simply drift away from Labour, disheartened your leadership team’s abject failure to oppose the most incompetent and vicious Tory Government in living memory?

Labour is consistently struggling in opinion polls despite hundreds of thousands of unnecessary Covid deaths; leaving the European Union without a feasible deal; threats to peace in Northern Ireland; actively destroying the goodwill of our European neighbours; the Tories breaking election promises unchallenged; and an unprecedented and growing gap between rich and poor. It is an abject failure to offer a credible, coherent, principled alternative and an appalling indictment that you and this Party are consistently trailing in opinion polls and losing safe seats like Hartlepool. The record of the Labour Party under your stewardship is unprincipled, incompetent and abject:

Refusing to oppose the Covert Human Intelligence Sources Bill, which gave state agents legal immunity for murder, rape, torture and kidnapping.

– Appointing David Evans, a man on record as opposed to the very concept of party democracy, as our General Secretary. A man chosen ahead of two more suitable women, and a Blairite dinosaur with a record of cronyism in Croydon, happily presiding over the McCarthyism destroying Labour’s integrity.

– Sacking Rebecca Long-Bailey on a pathetic pretext and for entirely sectarian political advantage; yet turning Nelson’s eye to Barry Sheerman and Steven Reed’s prima facie anti-Semitism. This was nauseating hypocrisy.

– Ignoring the genuine concerns of teaching and education unions in favour of your data-free and evidence-free grandstanding about ‘keeping schools open’, despite them being (and remaining) hotbeds of Covid infection.

– Undermining the findings of Labour’s own NEC by withdrawing the Parliamentary whip from Jeremy Corbyn: then lying about it by saying it was done by the General Secretary – then subsequently admitting on Jeremy Vine’s BBC Radio programme that it was in fact your decision. You can’t even lie competently!

Burying the Forde Report, when the despicable behaviour, racism, bullying and destructive acts of Ian MacNicol [sic], Emilie Oldknow and other staffers should have been exposed and been grounds for disciplinary and legal action. (In short, people who actively worked AGAINST the interests of our Party were protected, for factional reasons) You have as a result undermined the standing of this Party amongst black and minority ethnic communities: it is indefensible.

Refusing to defend Liverpool Labour council from a political takeover by a hard-right Conservative government: in fact, acquiescing in it. This was both shameful and spineless.

Making even the discussion of Jeremy Corbyn’s suspension, grounds for suspension.

– Making CLP or Branch motions of confidence, in either you or David Evans, grounds for suspension. Portraying all of the above as, somehow, ‘anti-Semitic’.

– Calling for the resignation of Nicola Sturgeon – subsequently found not to have breached the Ministerial Code – yet refusing to do the same for Matt Hancock, Boris Johnson, Robert Jenrick, Priti Patel and Michael Gove, all of whom HAVE breached the Ministerial Code.

– Not calling for the resignation of Met Police Commissioner Cressida Dick, after the violent conduct of Met Police officers breaking up a peaceful women’s demonstration in Battersea.

Reinstating staff named in ‘Labour Leaks’ documents, including those who – I can hardly believe I have to say this – actively campaigned AGAINST the Labour Party until 2019 and were involved in bullying, racism, misogyny and helping journalists hostile to the Labour Party, including being complicit in the shameful bullying of Diane Abbott.

Interfering in the selection of Liverpool Mayoral candidates and sabotaging a shortlist of 3 women, all of whom held senior office within the City council – again for sectarian political reasons.

Presiding over a Hartlepool ‘selection’ exercise which produced a shortlist (sic) of one white man, an apologist for the barbaric Saudi Arabian regime, who used social media posts to talk about ’Tory MILFs’ and was entirely unsuitable to contest the seat – a seat then lost to the Conservatives for the first time since it was created.

– Then saying you’d accept responsibility for that by-election result – but failing to do so and throwing Angela Rayner under the bus, sacking her from the Party Chair role.

Proscribing 3 organisations simply for being critical of the current direction (sic) of the Labour Party leadership. This is pathetic, Poundland McCarthyism at the very time when this Government has presided over 150,000 excess deaths, allowing C-19 to rip through the population for the fourth time.

– Doing literally nothing when Labour (sic) MP Neil Coyle called for the mass expulsion of Jewish Voice for Labour – an organisation of exclusively Jewish Labour members! (If that doesn’t meet the most basic definition of anti-semitism, I’m not sure what does…..)

And even today, as I write this, your pre-Conference manoeuvre to tear up something as fundamental as ‘one person one vote’, in favour of a system giving an MP a thousand votes against the one that ‘ordinary’ Party members have. That is laughably undemocratic.

I could go on at length, but will save us both the time and heartache. Under your stewardship, and to the detriment of the people we seek to represent, I see no prospect of Labour being back in government. You made ten ‘pledges’ during the last Leadership election and have already broken each and every one.

You were therefore elected on an entirely false premise and while I did not vote for you, I at least expected the most basic standards of honesty and integrity. How naive…

Instead, you and the dinosaurs who ‘advise’ you have given life again to the notion that ‘all politicians are the same’ and can’t be trusted. There is no future in ‘split the difference’ politics, pandering to right wing media and re-heated Blairism. It is a political cul-de-sac. When a mainstream, experienced member of Labour like myself – a councillor, CLP office holder and a career trade union officer – struggles to offer credible reasons to vote Labour, what chance do other Labour members across the country have trying to enthuse people?

I hope, even now, you will consider your position and put the interests of the country and ordinary people before the insatiable factionalism of the right wing of the Parliamentary Labour Party. That you will either undertake to lead on the basis of your ‘promises’ and Party policies, or make way for someone with the courage and principle to speak up for our Party and our people.

Until that happens, I will remain an ex-member of the once-great Party, a Party you have already shown you are entirely unfit to lead.

Yours,Cllr. Stephen Smith

(ex) Policy Officer and Executive Committee member, Wantage Constituency Labour Party

cc: Chair, Wantage CLP; Executive Committee, Wantage CLP; Faringdon Branch Labour Party, members and officers.