Corbyn Suspension is a Declaration of War on the Left.

The long-awaited EHRC report into Labour antisemitism came out, widely anticipated by the right of the party to be a bloodbath of condemnation of racist Corbyn and his hard left acolytes, but if that was the case, they were set to be disappointed, because actually, I found it reasonably balanced for the most part. It only examined 70 cases for all the time it took, covering the period 2016–2019, so covered the time up until April 2018 where Jennie Formby became General Secretary and the report found that things were massively improved under her. Her reforms to the NEC and the panels she set up dealt with 242% more complaints in 2019 than in 2018, the expansion to the NCC allowed more cases to be heard, the sanctions system was improved. It condemned breaches of the Equality Act too, by members of the Leader of the Opposition’s Office — note it does not specifically say the leader however and most of these actually were found to be attempts to speed processes up.

That said, there was certainly room for improvement too. The media focus on antisemitism meant other ethnic minorities had become disadvantaged — such is the pressure adverse media attention brought, aside from the innate unfairness of focusing solely on Labour and not other Parties. Of course the EHRC has resisted investigating Conservative racism so far, but there’s much to say on that and better kept for another vid another day.

It criticises the Party for not fully implanting the findings of the Chakrabarti report, commissioned by Corbyn and making several recommendations to improve procedures, but contentiously the EHRC report implies that dismissing any complaints as smears is antisemitic, making the implication that Jewish people are incapable of lying — which is just weird.

I expected to be pulling this thing apart in more detail, but a brilliant analysis has already been written by @Rachael_Swindon so check her article out for that. All in all, it’s far from perfect, but is a lot fairer than we on the left expected. The fact the right were collectively bursting aneurysms over it bears that out. But the release of the report ended up not being the biggest story, sadly, that’s what happened afterwards.

It all kicked off with Jeremy Corbyn’s statement:

Jeremy Corbyn’s Statement on the findings of the EHRC Report into Labour Antisemitism.

This statement got him suspended from the Labour Party. What did it for him in the eyes of the current Labour leadership was the line ‘but the scale of the problem was also dramatically overstated for political reasons by our opponents inside and outside the party, as well as by much of the media. That combination hurt Jewish people and must never be repeated’.

It’s alleged that this breached Labour’s rules and warranted suspension, but in a twist of irony, the EHRC report itself shows Corbyn’s statement actually isn’t contentious at all as was flagged up by Unite Lawyer Howard Beckett, who called Starmer out over the suspension:

Howard Beckett clearly spent more time reading the EHRC report than Starmer and his team did.

Clearly this shows that he is entitled to his opinion on the scale of antisemitism within the party and is a clear defence. Not only that, a Survation poll from last year showed that a much of the public thought at least a third of Labour members were antisemitic, when the reality was 0.3%. Now do explain that, without exaggerating the issue, how public perception was so skewed? Corbyn was right. Oh dear oh dear. So who suspended him?

What rule did he breach then?

Well the LabourList reporter Sienna Rodgers posted this showing that new General Secretary, the Blairite David Evans told the NEC that he had suspended Corbyn, however it would appear that he doesn’t have the power to do that, since NEC members took him to task over this since the rulebook states only NEC panels or governance and legal have this power. But yesterday morning Starmer himself was doing the studio rounds and appeared to imply that the decision was his, whilst bleating on about how disappointed he was in Corbyn and how scathing the report was. It wasn’t that scathing. It still made recommendations for improvements, but also acknowledged much improvement had been made and it had been made under Corbyn & Formby. It also made it abundantly clear that the Party was not institutionally antisemitic. Either way, the NEC want to know exactly what rule Corbyn breached to warrant suspension — David Evans couldn’t tell them!
So Corbyn’s suspended, the membership as you can imagine are up in arms about it, the Labour leadership can’t or won’t give a reason why he was suspended and Corbyn has a cast iron case to take the Party to court using the EHRC report itself as his main piece of evidence! Here’s James Schneider, a Jewish Socialist, formerly part of Corbyn’s team on the subject.

Clear, concise, a better explanation of Corbyn’s position I haven’t heard.

Starmer has ballsed up royally. If he reinstates Corbyn, he’ll look weak. If Corbyn is reinstated by the NEC, or takes court action and wins reinstatement, Starmer will look a fool. There’s no outcome here where Starmer will look good. Here’s Starmer talking to Tory boy Nick Ferrari about it.

Keir Starmer was elected lest we forget on a platform of unity. We already know from various sackings that this turned out to be nonsense, but him going on the radio and having to repeatedly say there’s no need for a civil war means he knows how divisive this — controversial lets call it — decision to suspend Corbyn has been. You’ve already made a declaration of war on the left Keir. The fact neither you, nor David Evans have stated the rule breach Corbyn committed shows that this was a kneejerk factional decision made by a poor leadership team. Members are leaving in droves, no doubt a desired outcome since its already been reported that he’s been courting donors New Labour style, but its happening so fast Evans can’t cope with it, pleading for extra help for the membership team. When your party is reliant on donations, it becomes the party of those donors and nobody else, the party of what they want, not what the country needs — just look at the Tory Party for proof of that. Blair nearly bankrupted the Party as the membership withered under his leadership, Starmer is taking things this way again at a rate never before seen, a party riddled by debt, debt that Corbyn was responsible for clearing, no longer its own boss, looks set to return.

But if he thinks this action has in any way placated the critics, he’s wrong. Within hours of the EHRC report dropping, the Campaign Against Antisemitism, responsible for calling for the EHRC to investigate Labour to start with, had submitted yet another complaint to the EHRC, demanding they investigate a list that for the most part reads like a who’s who of the Socialist Campaign Group.

The latest list of demands from CAA.

A couple of other notable names on there are for example Mark McDonald, a founder of Labour Friends of Palestine and the Middle East and Alana Bates, who was my constituencies PPC last December, a fantastic socialist who isn’t even IN the Party anymore, such has been her disgust with Starmer, but which also shows the CAA don’t even do their own homework and are emboldened to drive Labour even further. These people will never be placated and why oh why will they never talk about anything other than Labour?

But what of the point Corbyn made that got him suspended? I mentioned the Survation poll earlier showing the exaggerated belief in the British perception that Labour is antisemitic, well you can always rely on our mainstream media to show why that is.

The Mirror headlined with Starmer’s Zero Tolerance after Jeremy ‘refused to accept report’. Well you’ve read his statement now, I’ve read his statement out, there’s nothing there of the sort, he simply questioned the scale which the EHRC report allowed him to do.

The Daily Heil, went with RIP Corbyn’s Legacy of Hate — ignoring the fact that the report actually stated things had improved, but then this is a paper so distrusted even Wikipedia won’t permit it as a source.

The Murdoch Times went with Battle for Labour’s Soul, completely missing the point that most of the PLP don’t have one and the man who best represents one has been suspended to their glee.

But of course there are much better media views to look to.

A Middle East Eye Article out yesterday by Richard Sanders & Peter Oborne — definitely not a lefty — have written a fair, honest piece about the reports findings, states why they feel Corbyn has been done an injustice, how the MSM have done what they always do and put the boot in despite the facts not because of them and also covers much of what was included in the leaked internal Labour party report, which the EHRC admit they weren’t given, but did source for themselves and used where they felt able to corroborate it with other evidence. It’s one of the best analyses I’ve read on the EHRC report and recommend to anyone to read it.

Another vocal contribution came from the Canary’s Editor-at-Large Kerry-Anne Mendoza who ripped ‘Keir Stalin’ a new arse on Radio 4.

We’ve had a report that although it hasn’t exonerated Labour, it has shown that most of the problems were caused not by Corbyn, but by those hostile to him. We’ve been reminded once more that the current leader Keir Starmer is no unifier, he’s an immoral wrecker, creating huge splits over an issue that could have been a fantastic educational opportunity for so many in this country, not just within Labour and this could’ve led to a greater understanding and getting a better grip on the scourge of antisemitism nationally. Instead he chose to factionalise it, to look inward. If you need more evidence of this look at his zero-tolerance approach, which isn’t. Rachel Reeves remains a minister despite her glorification of Nancy Astor — that tweet is still up. Lisa Nandy described antisemitism as punching up, implying all Jews are wealthy, which is itself an antisemitic trope. No action taken, let alone as quickly as was taken regarding Jeremy Corbyn. Even Blair didn’t dare move against Corbyn, knowing his popularity amongst the left of the Party. For all Blair’s faults, he wasn’t the fool Starmer is proving to be.

For my part, a month ago I was running to be a County Cllr for Labour and was on the CLP Executive. Not only have I stood aside from all that, but the other night I suspended my Direct Debit to the Party. That’s not to say I’ve left, but it’s one foot hanging out of the door. I’ll reinstate it if and when Corbyn is. Starmer says he doesn’t want a Civil War, but he’s thrown down the gauntlet at the same time. He says he wants unity, but only on his terms. The Unions need to use more than words, the Socialist Campaign Group need to use more than words and they all need to remember the words of Harold Wilson who said that Labour is a moral crusade or it is nothing. The current leadership is morally bankrupt and we know from history that their way leads to the party becoming financially ruined & beholden to donors like Alan Sugar. What do we stand for when MP’s get suspended without breaking rules, MP’s get sacked over single line whips and CLP’s get warned they aren’t allowed to talk about difficult subjects for said leadership? It isn’t enough to say to members it’s us or the Tories, because if it’s a moral crusade or it is nothing, if the leadership is as immoral as it is proving to be now, then we are nothing. What is the point of that, you cannot prop up nothing. Us or the Tories is becoming the most annoying phrase to people on the left like me. It’s not enough — not when every move made makes us more like them. Members are now leaving in droves and the only way to stem the tide and save the party is to reinstate Corbyn, show the party is still a moral crusade and still does what is morally right and get rid of Starmer and his team now, which is what needs to be practically done. Don’t spend any more time wringing your hands over it.

The Labour Party was created by a man called Keir, it’s being destroyed by a man called Keir. Last word goes to Barnaby Raine.

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Cornish Damo

Labour member & Politics Mouthpiece. Maker of Organic Working Class Media, please support it! #DamoRants!