There’s one response from people feeling ‘cheated’ after Labour Leaks that should really worry Starmer & co

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Ed Sykes

Left-wingers around the UK are feeling cheated and betrayed in the wake of the Labour Leaks scandal. And there’s one particular response to the apparently consistent undermining of former leader Jeremy Corbyn that should really worry the party’s new leadership.

The campaign to undermine Corbyn

On 12 April, Sky News revealed that Labour lawyers had essentially stopped the party from sending a highly revealing internal investigation to the Equality and Human Rights Commission. This has since generated widespread anger among people who have supported the party in recent years, because they feel the report shows they were right to defend Corbyn against widespread hostility from British elites. The investigation claims that “hyper-factional” opposition to the ex-leader among former senior officials was a key factor in hindering effective handling of complaints regarding alleged antisemitism. At the same time, it argues there was “no evidence” that such complaints received different treatment from other complaints.

This is a particularly significant revelation in light of the years-long smear campaign which sought to convince British voters that Corbyn and his supporters were somehow raving antisemites. As The Canary reported previously, Corbyn is a peace-prize winner and veteran anti-racist campaigner; and his leadership marked an ethical break from the party’s warmongering and corrupt foreign policy. A large majority of Labour members and left-wingers saw the propaganda against his movement to be “wildly exaggerated by the right-wing media and opponents of Jeremy Corbyn”. But others in the country didn’t feel the same way.

Perhaps the biggest Labour Leaks scandal for members and supporters, however, is the allegation that senior figures at Labour HQ actively undermined the party’s almost-victorious 2017 election campaign. The report claims, for example, that these people “openly worked against the aims and objectives of the leadership of the Party, and in the 2017 general election some key staff even appeared to work against the Party’s core objective of winning elections”.

Justice now!

In light of these allegations of high-level efforts to derail Corbyn’s leadership and election chances, many people were livid. And one author raised a possibility that should really push new Labour leader Keir Starmer to act decisively to ensure such alleged sabotage never happens again:

In short, there is a possibility that, if Starmer does not act accordingly, many current or former members could demand a refund on the money they spent trying to put Corbyn’s Labour in power.

Numerous people responded to this post by showing their support for such action. And there is clearly widespread anger and disappointment across the country following the Labour Leaks revelations:

In fact, left-wing Labour MPs have also expressed their anger over the leaks:

A disgusting betrayal

As Al-Jazeera reported, Starmer announced on 13 April that Labour would launch an investigation. This would look into “why the report was commissioned, its findings and also how the document was released into the public domain”. But this response hardly inspired confidence:

As one Labour councillor put it:

Perhaps the threat of mass legal action demanding refunds may help Starmer and his team to understand just how angry people are right now.

Featured image via Wikimedia – Rwendland

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  • Show Comments
    1. I am not in Labour, nor do I ever want to be. I have voted Labour twice, in 1997 (I know …) and last year – campaigning in Shipley (Philip Davies is one of the most vile Tory MPs and the fact he has been MP there for years speaks for itself) with a lovely group of mostly Labour members, but which was painful in its last-minuteness and ‘parliamentary naivety’.
      Surely this scandal teaches us one thing: neoliberal ideas are hegemonic (dominant and considered common sense) even in large parts of Labour. A social democratic party, even one as mildly inoffensive as Corbyn’s Labour, will face an external onslaught, but also an internal battle.
      This should come as no surprise, seriously – what do you expect? The really surprising thing is that people who so obviously did not agree with Corbyn – MPs and ‘staffers’, especially the latter – were allowed to continue in post after Corbyn won the leadership and particularly after the second time, attempted coup etc. The senior staff all should have gone in 3-6 months, the MPs should have been mandatorily reselected over the next 6 months. There would have been internal and external furors about this, but is that worse than what happened?
      The next choice for those on the left is: do you want the Tories to win the next election and maybe the one after? If the answer is no, then you should do exactly what John Lansman says and unit behind Keir Starmer, but go further and do what Paul Mason is saying and build alliances with the centre, as that is the only way – in England – to defeat the Tories under first past the post – but also keep the pressure on from the left to make Labour and any formal or informal alliance, or coalition, as progressive as possible, before and in government.
      If you don’t see keeping the Tories from power as top priority, as you see a longer term struggle as more viable to bring about left objectives, then don’t put your efforts into Labour – there are many other struggles to be in and lots of very boring meetings to avoid. And arguably, Labour will be one of the European social democratic parties that will eclipse itself (as many others have and the German SPD are doing at present) and spaces will open for a Podemos or Syriza kind of formation in England (the UK is over and needs to be: see Tom Nairn).
      However, the English left – apart from the former Communist Party – do not have a history of great works outside the context of the Labour Party. Even if you count every one of the 10 million people who voted Labour last time, all of them are not committed to left ideas, let alone politics outside Labour. Things can change quickly, but there are enormous breaks on that in England and do we have time? As Aaron Bastani and many others have pointed out elsewhere, even before Covid-19, environmental catastrophe is knocking at our door.
      And remember how bad it was/is with the Tories in power. Even with New Labour there was a difference, but would the Tories have gone to war in Iraq? Hard to say. One thing is certain, the left in England was hardly anywhere between 1987 and 2014 – and capitalism nearly collapsed in 2007! Those of you who were around then, think about how hard it was to do things outside the frustratingly ubiquitous context of Labour. Left Unity tried it in 2012-14, but as soon as Corbyn was elected, most of them – Ken Loach et al – rushed into Labour. As for the People’s Ass(embly Against Austerity) God help us.
      The World Transformed was a silver lining on an otherwise pretty boring cloud and Novara Media helped to lively up that in great ways. TWT should be one of the things that becomes an open source franchise happening throughout England, physically and virtually, including Labour and non-members and people in other parties. I live in County Durham and could imagine holding an event in my village hall, or on the riverbank, or online – dealing with local and national issues. This would tie local stuggles into national debates and link us marginal town-country peasants with you ‘middle class’ (sic) urban types. This is not a panacea, but part of a new platform of creative ideas that should include an international peoples’ alternative to Facebook.
      Labour should say Covid-19 would be radically better in the UK if you were in power; but the left really don’t know what to do, apart from faint protests at the lack of PPE, even wishing F*cko the Clown (Chunky Mark) well, instead of a lingering death that most scousers (like me) have no hesitation in voicing. Yes of course if the NHS had not been criminally degraded and creepingly privatised; but if Labour had won in 2019, would Jonathan ‘I’m sorry’ Ashworth (continuity cringe) be doing significantly better than Matt Handjob? There would be less lying, there would not have been the turd immunity plan, there might be basic income – there would be more timidity and a hurricane of Bolshevism accusations. There would still be grand corporate bailouts (Unite and GMB would insist on that to protect jobs – like they do with nuclear power and HS2, for example) but more actual nationalisation. The Tories, Liberals, the media and the same former Labour people (allegedly) caught with their collective ‘Executive’ kex down in this report, would be ‘politicising the crisis’ in any way they could, actively trying to make things worse, to remove Labour from power asap. People dying are a price worth paying to them, to protect the nation from dangerous radicals like Corbyn and his cronies.

      1. Is that your windbag of an answer – to relentless malicious insider orchestrated muckraking that eventually led to defeat of Corbyn – is to move back to being like the Tories again in order to be electable?

        Jeez!

      2. ” … but go further and do what Paul Mason is saying and build alliances with the centre, as that is the only way – in England – to defeat the Tories”.

        You moron. This is exactly what Labour must not do unless you want to recreate Tony B’Liar’s Tory Lite “New Labour”. New Labour was so far to the right of center it would have been considered a Tory party a couple of decades earlier.

        Labour must represent labour, the workers, first and build an economy based upon fair wages, good healthc are and excellent education at acceptable cost.

        So take your drivel and enjoy a long walk off a short pier.

        1. Didn’t Mrs Thatcher once say that Tony Blair was her highest achievement or words to that effect. I remember seeing a poster (I think from the Scottish Socialist Party) showing Mrs Thatcher at the top left hand corner gradually morphing diagonally into Tony Blair in the bottom left – said it all.

    2. I spent more than 40 years campaigning at every level. Slogging my guts out, stress even caused a heart attack, just to be betrayed by people who,s wages we paid. I have already resigned and would be more than willing to join any legal action proposed. I am completely devastated, lost. Another heart atteck would be doing me a favour right now..

    3. There will be no credible investigation. Just as there was no credible investigation when we watched Labour MPs and officers conspiring with officials of the Israeli Embassy to remove Corbyn. Anti-Palestinian bigotry is too entrenched in the PLP and the leadership of the party and enjoys the support of the vast majority of the UK media.

    4. It is difficult for me to believe that these conspirators weren’t in collusion with the Conservative Party (it’s something of a strange coincidence that Theresa May called an election at the very time when the heaviest of the shitbaggery was being carried out against Jeremy Corbyn). The diverting of members’ contributions to secret operations must amount to the criminal offence of false accounting and if so all involved – including Tom Watson – are guilty of a criminal conspiracy. I haven’t been able to locate the full report but would like to read it (anyone know where I can obtain a copy?) but this report goods into more detail than did the Guardian or Sky News
      https://novaramedia.com/2020/04/12/its-going-to-be-a-long-night-how-members-of-labours-senior-management-campaigned-to-lose/
      I resigned my membership of the Labour Party on the appointment of Kier Starmer (how on earth can a member of the Trilateral Commission be the leader of a purportedly socialist political party?) I wrote to the Labour Party yesterday informing them that I will be pursuing means to have all of my subscription fees since January 2017 returned to me. I am also seeking a new trade union since the employment by Unison of Emily Oldknow and Jon Stolliday (I had been bewildered by Unison’s support for Starmer in the leadership election but it’s now clear why)

    5. At the same time over the pond, Bernie sanders has betrayed the movement he helped mobilise, endorsing a senile warmongering neo-liberal rapist, who will be ripped apart by Trump.
      “Progressives” as they are called are now saying they “are done” with the democratic party and will look to new strategies of political action.
      Its time to face the facts, the out of control corrupt Labour PLP and the undemocratic right wing largely zionist NEC along with the trade union leadership, is now finished, and like comrades in usa, its time to leave this rotten party to its inevitable self destruction

    6. Use the campaign for return of subs to force Starmer to act. Don’t ask for your money back first; ask him to publish the report and to commit to disciplinary action against those who betrayed the Party and promise to demand a refund if he doesn’t do those things. We must use this to try to force the leadership to do the right thing. If they don’t, then we should call the legal action and have our subs repaid. That threat will make Starmer pause because if the legal action succeeded, and it probably would, the Party would be bankrupt. He wants to be PM, not the impotent leader of a moribund party. To leave the Party or to ask for a refund as a first step is to let him off the hook. Put on the pressure. Let it build and if he doesn’t deliver, then push the legal action. This gives us real power, all of us who worked for Corbyn. Let’s use it.

    7. There is only one action to take now. Corbyn needs to form another socialist party. A real socialist party. Call it “Real Labour”. They should ‘harvest’ the socialists that have been working to get Labour back where it is strongest, representing the many and not the few.

      There has to be some legal recourse for those that have been conned by these Tory Tile scum. I hope every Labour Party member that has been double-crossed by Tom Watson and his ilk of Tony B’Liar wannabes claims refunded dues, donations and that they sue the identified persons for fraud if possible.

      Support REAL LABOUR. Supports real Socialism. Support Jeremy Corbyn’s idealism. Don’t settle for the corrupt Tories and their pet clown Bogus Johnson.

    8. Keir Starmer is nothing but an Israeli Troll. He has not only betrayed the Labour Party but betrayed the UK by serving Israel. There is almost 5 years until the next election, so there is plenty of time to build an alternative. With Covid 19 there is a shift in the public mood concerning the health service, and also concerning benefits with rising unemployment. Sue for your dues back if Keir Starmer does not act, bankrupt the Labour party and set up a new one.

      1. “Sue for your dues back if Keir Starmer does not act, bankrupt the Labour party and set up a new one.”

        I couldn’t agree more. The Labour Party is finished. A return to the centrism of yesterday will not save them, as centrism is everywhere imploding (take a look at the Democrats – it is embarrassingly obvious to everyone that their presidential candidate is suffering from dementia; this is the best they can do). It’s payback time for the last three and half years of lies, duplicity and outright betrayal of Labour Party members and voters. The allegation that senior echelons of the party worked to throw the 2017 election is evidenced in this document in black and white, but that will not stop these charlatans attempting to persuade us that black is white and white is black. Many allegations of antisemitism have relied on this formula, and we have the evidence for that as well, some of it having already been tested favourably in court. The Labour Party had to pay all of Chris Williamson’s costs when he sued them.

        It’s time to make them pay. I urge any party member aggrieved at having contributed to a party that worked to undermine its primary function – to win elections – to sue these people in the small claims courts. Starmer has had long enough to address the most egregious allegations contained in Whatsapp messages that are obviously cast iron, prima facie evidence of gross abuse of the party machinery to undermine the leader during an election. Clearly he won’t do it. I’ve written asking what happens to my subs, but there has been no message whatsoever to those who have lost the very real prospect of a Labour government through this behaviour, no reassurance that these matters will be addressed. Instead, vague legal threats to dissuade anyone from sharing this, most of which appears to have been on Labour Party servers to begin with. Fine. Let’s make some legal threats of our own. Let’s see how kindly a court regards taking money off people fraudulently. The evidence is overwhelming. We knew it anyway, but now it’s confirmed.

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