Posts Tagged ‘Andi Fox’

‘I’ Report on Walkout by Left-Wing Labour NEC Members

November 27, 2020

Starmer’s attack on the Labour left and his drive to centralise authority around himself and the Blairites continues. On Tuesday the left-wing members of the party’s NEC staged a Virtual walkout at an online meeting in protest against Starmer’s imposition of Margaret Beckett as chair. Starmer’s action had breached party rules stating that the position was elected. The I published a piece about this, ‘Left-wingers ‘walk out’ after Beckett wins NEC chair’ by Harriet Line and Alan Jones in its edition for Wednesday 25th November 2020. This ran

Members on the left of Labour’s ruling National Executive Committee staged a digital walkout in protest at the election of veteran MP Dame Margaret Beckett as chairwoman.

In a letter to the party’s general secretary, David Evans, a dozen NEC members said the “longstanding protocol” of the vice-chair being elected as chair was not being followed.

They said Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer had lobbied for Dame Margaret to be elected to the position, and accused him of “promoting factional division within Labour”.

The members staged a Virtual walkout from the NEC’s “away day”, which was being conducted via Zoom, yesterday morning.

In the letter, they said: “We believe the true reason for the leader lobbying for Dame Margaret, and indeed the reason that had been given by senior party MPs in private, is because the vice-chair, Ian Murray, was a signature to the previous correspondence sent to you seeking admonishment of the Leader.”

Signatories to the letter are believed to include the NEC’s outgoing chiar, Andi Fox, Mick Whelan, the Aslef general secretary, former MP Laura Pidcock and youth rep Lara McNeill, as well as Mr Murray. Ms Fox said the “disregard and disrespect for the left is something we could not allow.”

Some in the NEC had already expressed anger at Sir Keir’s decision to withhold the whip from Jeremy Corbyn, despite the body allowing him to return as a party member.

On Monday, Labour’s chief whip Nick Brown asked Mr Corbyn to apologise for claiming that the scale of anti-Semitism in the party was “dramatically overstated for political reasons.” In a letter seen by the PA news agency, Mr Brown said Mr Corbyn’s response to a damning Equality and Human Rights Commission report caused “distress and pain” to the Jewish community.

This looks to me like Starmer trying to keep control of the NEC after a large number of people from the party’s left were elected. As for Starmer’s imposition of Beckett as chair, of course it’s not democratic. Starmer’s a Blairite, and Blair hated grassroots democracy in the party along with anything that smacked of traditional Labour values and policies. He did everything he could to centralise power about himself and the New Labour faction.

Corbyn’s comments about the exaggeration of anti-Semitism in the party for political reasons was absolutely correct, and he has nothing to apologise for. The actual incidence of real anti-Semitism in Labour was very, very low. In 2019 the party had the joint lowest level of anti-Semitism of all of them. And contrary to what we’re now being fed, anti-Semitism, like racism generally, comes overwhelmingly from the fascist and populist right. But the right-wing British political and media establishment exaggerated its incidence in Labour in order to smear Corbyn and his supporters. They took their cue from the self-proclaimed Jewish establishment – the Board, Chief Rabbinate and various other malign organisations – who don’t represent all of Britain’s diverse Jewish community by any means. These organisations just represent the United Synagogue and were not concerned with protecting Jews from real anti-Semitism as protecting Israel from criticism for its barbarous, inhuman treatment of the Palestinians.

The left-wingers on the NEC were entirely right to protest, especially as Starmer is continuing his abandonment of Corbyn’s genuinely popular policies. Policies that this country and its working people, Black, White, Asian, Muslim, Christian, Jew, Hindu, Buddhist, atheist or pagan, desperately need.

But Starmer doesn’t want to represent them, only the interests of the elite and affluent, and the neoliberalism that enriches them.

Bristol South Letter about Leaked Report and Its Inquiry to Labour Party

April 27, 2020

The officers of my local constituency Labour party, Bristol South, sent a copy of a statement they had written to the national party attached to the email update they sent to members. In it they expressed their concerns about the leaked report into the plotting and sabotage of Labour’s election campaign and the forthcoming inquiry into it on behalf of the constituency party’s members. It runs

Statement from Bristol South Constituency Executive Committee members to:
Keir Starmer MP Leader Angela Rayner MP Deputy Leader and Labour Party Chair,
Andi Fox NEC Chair and Jennie Formby General Secretary

The undersigned members of the Bristol South Constituency Executive are extremely
concerned about the alleged pattern of extensive misconduct in the 851 page document leaked last week. The document outlines how some Labour Party staff members have made a concerted effort to undermine our democratically elected Leadership, compromise our Election Campaigns, even wishing or working for our defeat, and contributed to or impeded the fight against anti-semitism, racism, bullying and sexism within our party.

Labour Members have contacted us expressing their frustration, anger and feelings of being let down by these alleged actions and factional behaviours within the party. So many members have volunteered their time, money, skills and energy to get Labour representatives elected at all levels, in order to build a better society, only to find that their efforts have apparently been mocked and nullified by the very people who should have been supporting them.

The report does document the improvements in complaint handling and proactive work against anti-semitism since Jennie Formby was elected as General Secretary, and whilst we appreciate the recently announced independent investigation by the Leadership Team, we call for:
 The NEC as our ruling body should hold an emergency meeting to set out the terms of
the independent inquiry and a transparent process for investigating the alleged
misconduct
 To publish a timetable for that inquiry and when it reports, that reflects urgency and a
quick turn around
 The full report on the independent investigation to be made available to Labour Members along with any and all recommendations for action
 Administrative suspension, pending investigation be applied for alleged gross misconduct for those named and documented in the report
 Accountability for alleged misuse of funding
 A commitment to cultural and procedural change in the party at national, regional and
local levels

We are concerned about the wellbeing of members who the document has shown to be abused and members who are distraught at its contents, whilst recognising the rights of those accused. The Labour Party needs to work together if we are to be successful; we all need to work to build a more inclusive, democratic, and accountable party at all levels where all members can feel safe and free from the kind of bullying that this report documents. 

This is an opportunity to learn lessons; the membership and our voters need to be shown thatchanges have been made to ensure this can never happen again.

Mabel Hahner, Chair David Meacham, Vice Chair Membership
Jane Britton, Vice Chair Zoe Goodman, Campaign and Data Co-ordinator
James Tuite, Secretary Lee Starr-Elliott, Disability Officer
Gwyneth Brain, LGBT Officer Hribhu Mendiratta, Youth Officer
Bianca Rossetti, Policy Officer Ajay Kumar, Political Education Officer (share)
Ted Powell, TULO Officer (share) Victoria Coddington, Social Media Officer (share)
Thomas Pearce, TULO Officer (share) Geraint Evans, Social Media Officer (share)
Lynn Parfitt, CLP Fundraising Officer Corey Miller, Political Education Officer (share)
Daisy Carter, Women’s Officer Mohammed (Ajmal) Miah, BAME Officer

The local party’s chair, Mabel Hahner, states in the email update itself that it is regrettable that unredacted versions of the report containing people’s identities and their locations are circulating, and states that she nor the local party have passed around copies of the report.

The statement was not marked ‘confidential’, so I believe I can post this up here. I’m doing so because it shows very clearly that my local party, and no doubt very many others, want there to be a genuinely fair inquiry into this matter.

I must say, however, that I differ from the local officers in that I strongly believe from the conduct of those making the accusations of anti-Semitism against Jeremy Corbyn, his supporters and indeed the Labour party itself, as well as the excellent character of very many of those accused, that the truth was the complete opposite of the impression of rampant anti-Semitism under Corbyn’s leadership. There has been ample testimony from pro-Corbyn Jews and Jewish organisation, like Jewdas, Jewish Voice for Labour, Shraga Stern, Tony Greenstein, Jackie Walker, Martin Odoni and too many others that these allegations were false and entirely politically motivated. Many of them were personally victims of this witch-hunt, along with the entirely decent, anti-racist non-Jews like the Black anti-racism activist Marc Wadsworth, Ken Livingstone and my brother, Mike Sivier. I find it absolutely abhorrent that those people, Jews and gentiles, should be viciously smeared and libeled by a corrupt, right-wing political and media establishment.

I personally wish that there was also a will genuinely to tackle and refute the anti-Semite witch-hunt, which would exonerate and restore the memberships of those unfairly libeled and expelled. This may well be far too much to hope for under Starmer’s leadership.

Nevertheless the letter from the local Labour party shows how strong feelings about this affair are in our constituency party and no doubt very many others, and there will be pressure on Starmer and his team to conduct a fair inquiry.