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Friday, 24 November 2017

Natural Justice Goes Out the Door as Labour’s Expulsion Circus Rolls On

Labour’s National Executive Committee is Struck Dumb – not least its left wing members

Stop the witch-hunt of socialists in the Labour Party - let's turn our fire on the Right



 On 30th June Shami Chakrabarti produced a Report on Racism.  It has now been taken down on the orders of Labour’s General Secretary Iain McNicol from Labour’s website.  The reason for this is that the recommendations of the Chakrabarti are clearly inconvenient to McNicol’s apparatchiks in the Compliance Unit who would not recognise a breach of natural justice if they had stumbled into Ronald Freisler’s Peoples Court (he was Hitler’s favourite judge).


I have therefore copied it to my google drive and people can access it there!

In a section on Publicity Chakrabarti stated that:

It is completely unfair, unacceptable and a breach of Data Protection law that anyone should have found out about being the subject to an investigation or their suspension by way of the media and indeed that leaks, briefing or other publicity should so often have accompanied a suspension pending investigation.  

She spoke about ‘the application of the vital legal principles of due process (or natural justice) and proportionality.’ and noted in respect of Labour’s complaints and disciplinary procedures that ‘they are wanting. They lack sufficient transparency, uniformity and expertise in delivery.’
Peter Mason of the JLM is a member of the NCC - this right-wing twerp has previously expressed the view that Ken Livingstone should not be part of the Labour Party 

You might think, given that McNicol’s monkeys in the Compliance Unit had taken 17+ months to bring a case against me, that the NCC would have no objection to me having more than 4 weeks within which to prepare a reponse to a bundle comprises 189 pages.  However you would be wrong.

Labour’s witch hunters are in a hurry.  After having received a knockback over the expulsion of Moshe Machover, an Israeli anti-Zionist, they are determined to get the ball rolling.  I am one of the three main targets of the witch hunters, the other two being Jackie Walker and Marc Wadsworth.

The Jewish Chronicle predicted on October 31st that ‘Three forthcoming NCC hearings will involve Jackie Walker, Marc Wadsworth and Tony Greenstein – all of whom face charges of antisemitism.’ and sure enough two days later I was emailed a Bundle of nonsense. Expelled anti-Zionist Moshe Machover readmitted to Labour Party

One suspects that even the notorious Justice Melford Stevenson, whose house was named ‘truncheons’ would have had some difficulty in refusing an application for a postponement when the person is in hospital!  However Labour’s nominally independent National Constitutional Committee is made of sterner stuff.

I won’t bore people with the details as I am copying below the relevant correspondence.  A Jane Shaw, who is one more party apparatchik, has only once shown signs of humour.  That was when she told me that The Party never discusses matters relating to individual members with third parties.”  Given that the first I learnt of why I was suspended, back in April 2016, was when the Telegraph and Times printed stories on the basis of leaks from the Compliance Unit, I can only assume that this was said in jest.
Moshe Machover's reinstatement was a severe setback to Labour's witch hunters.  They are determined to gain their revenge with further expulsions and 'auto-exclusions'

What is clear is that McNicol and Labour’s Blairite bureaucracy, after the Left’s success at Conference, are determined to pursue the witch hunt and to do their best to ensure that right-wing MPs are protected against reselection.  It is to the shame and discredit of the Left on the National Executive Committee that they have been silent on the witch hunt. 

The major mistake of Jeremy Corbyn so far has been to refuse to move against Iain McNicol. As long as the Labour apparatus is in the hands of Blair’s appointees then the Party will not be in full support of its leader.  We saw that in the last election when on McNicol’s instructions the Party’s main efforts were put into defending the position of Progress MPs and not in supporting candidates in winnable seats.  McNicol is a treacherous snake whose head should have been cut off long ago.  As long as this viper is allowed to remain in post he will do as much damage as he can to the Labour Party.  His first loyalty is to Labour Friends of Israel and Progress/Labour First.

I have also written to Ms Shaw stating my objection to Peter Mason, from the Zionist Jewish Labour Movement, having anything to do with my case as he was elected to the NCC.  In the Jewish News  of July 2016 he expressed the view that 'Ken Livingstone’s continued membership of the party is no longer tenable.'  I realise that Mason probably thinks he is in Greater Israel where convictions in military courts, which try Palestinians (not Jews of course) are running at 99.7% but I have let the NCC know that I object to this creature being anywhere near a tribunal hearing my case.

It has been a slow process getting people together but we have the next meeting of Labour Against the Witchhunt on Saturday 2nd December at 12.00-3.00 at the Calthorpe Arms, Gray’s Inn Road, Kings Cross.

Tony Greenstein


Jane Shaw
Governance and Legal Unit
The Labour Party
Southside,
105 Victoria Street
London
SW1E 6QT

Friday, 24 November 2017
Dear Ms Shaw,
I don’t want to be offensive but corresponding with you is akin to arguing with a dictaphone.  You or those who instruct you seem incapable of responding to the points I have made. 

I sent you a detailed letter of 21st November.  I referred you to the sections of the Chakrabarti Report in respect of due process.  What was your response?  Nothing.

By your own admission the time limits, which are a minimum not a maximum, in Appendix 6 have not been adhered to yet no flexibility has been shown on the question of time limits.

I have also pointed out that Appendix 6 of the Rules which governs the proceedings of the NCC is in any event advisory i.e. it is not part of the Rule book.  In other words the NCC retains its discretion but has chosen not to exercise it.

I have also pointed out that section 6(D)(i) of Appendix 6 states that complaints about the procedure adopted by the Party prior to the presentation of charges will ‘not be entertained by the NCC or panel thereof unless it is material or relevant to the consideration of the evidence to be used by the presenter in support of the charges.’  (my emphasis)

You say that ‘Your email includes no new information or evidence to support your contention that you are unable to provide an answer to the charges by 1 December.’ 

It should be obvious that a delay by 17+ months in preparing the case against me is highly relevant as to whether I have sufficient time to prepare my case.  Again you are struck dumb.  There are only two explanations.  Either the person instructing you is incapable of understanding a point that any normally intelligent child would be able to comprehend or that they are determined  to do McNicol’s work as quickly as possible.  My preference is for the second explanation.

You say that my complaint re the above ‘should be directed to the General Secretary.’  But I thought the NCC was in control of its own procedures?  Are you really saying that even over the simplest matters of timetabling that you are taking instructions from the Iain McNicol?  You would seem to be confirming that the NCC lacks even a figleaf of independence from those prosecuting the case.  Iain McNicol is the last person to direct a complaint to. 

As regards providing ‘independent evidence’ regarding my health or caring obligations, the evidence I have provided so far is more than sufficient.  I am not willing to play games with you.  The fact that I was in hospital when you sent the charges and the fact that I am under continual medical supervision by virtue of a liver transplant would be sufficient evidence for most people. 

Whilst I am happy to provide evidence that my son is detained under the MHA and that he is due for release soon I have no intention of asking the hospital to provide what can only be subjective evidence about something they have no knowledge about.  In any event I would not wish to involve them in such a matter.
The real question is what is the objection to allowing a reasonable time within which to fully answer the 59+ separate charges?  The fact that the Labour Party has taken some 20 months since my suspension, which is itself an outrageous length of time for anyone to be suspended, would be considered extremely relevant by anyone who purported to be independent. 

The only conceivable explanation is that the NCC is more concerned about going through the motions in its desire to effect my expulsion.   

As part of your commitment to transparency you have also failed to inform me of the identity of the NCC members who will try my case.  In addition to, of course, the identity of the complainants.  I therefore wish to register my objection to Peter Mason, a member of the NCC being on any panel.  He is a member of the Jewish Labour Movement which has made a complaint against me and whose Chair Jeremy Newmark has tweeted comments desiring my expulsion.  The inclusion of Peter Mason would be what is usually known as a corrupt practice.

Yours sincerely,

Tony Greenstein

November 23rd
Dear Mr Greenstein,

I refer to your email sent on 21 November at 05.59. 

Your email includes no new information or evidence to support your contention that you are unable to provide an answer to the charges by 1 December and be prepared to attend a hearing on 11th December.  The NCC’s position therefore remains as stated in previous correspondence.

As regards your complaints regarding the administration of the investigation and other processes undertaken between your suspension and the charges against you being presented, it is not accepted by the NCC that the matters of which you complain are “material or relevant to the consideration of the evidence to be used by the presenter in support of the charges” and as such in accordance with appendix 6.6.D.ii the complaint should be directed to the General Secretary.

I still look forward to receiving your answer to charge, but regarding the timetable and hearing date, I have to advise you that there will be no further consideration by the NCC of the points you have raised unless you are able to provide independent evidence that your health or caring obligations will prevent you from meeting latest submission dates and/or attending the hearing.

Regards

Jane
Jane Shaw
Governance and Legal Unit
The Labour Party
Labour Central, Kings Manor
Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 6PA

From: Tony Greenstein [mailto:tonygreenstein111@gmail.com]
Sent: 23 November 2017 12:21 AM
To: Jane Shaw

Dear Ms Shaw,

I confess that when I read your statement 'The Party never discusses matters relating to individual members with third parties. ' I had to rub my eyes in  astonishment.  I can think of only 3 explanations for your statement.

i.          Either you are in possession of one of those extendable Pinnochio noses or
ii.         You are in possession of a sense of humour, a quality not normally known amongst Labour's Blairite civil service or
iii.         You are suffering from delusions, hallucinations or other symptoms of a psychotic disorder, in which case you have my sympathy.

I first learnt about the reasons for my suspension when I read the Telegraph and Times of 2nd April 2016.  Up to then the Compliance Unit had refused to tell me what it was that I was alleged to have said that had led to my suspension.  This could only have come from a leak from Labour Party staff such as yourself.  Jackie Walker and others have complained about having been leaked against suggesting that it is an unofficial policy condoned by Iain McNicol. 

McNicol has consistently resisted my suggestion that he Inquire into these leaks.  It is of course understandable that he should resist having a leak Inquiry since there is no purpose in inquiring into that which you already know.

Perhaps I should remind you what Shami Chakrabarti said in her Report, a Report that is no longer available on the Labour Party's website.  In a section titled Publicity she wrote:

'It is completely unfair, unacceptable and a breach of Data Protection law that anyone should have found out about being the subject to an investigation or their suspension by way of the media and indeed that leaks, briefing or other publicity should so often have accompanied a suspension pending investigation.'

Your absurd statement was sent in response to my having pointed out that you were saying one thing to me and another thing to others who are suspended in respect of time limits for preparing submissions. 

You have no said where the NCC hearing is.  Please be advised that because of care for my son I will, like the Investigation Hearing, be unable to make a meeting at a venue outside Brighton and Hove. 

Kind regards

Tony Greenstein


On 22 November 2017 at 15:53, Jane Shaw <jane_shaw@labour.org.uk> wrote:

Dear Mr Greenstein,

The Party never discusses matters relating to individual members with third parties. 

Regards

Jane
Jane Shaw

From: Tony Greenstein [mailto:tonygreenstein111@gmail.com]
Sent: 21 November 2017 07:08
To: Jane Shaw <jane_shaw@labour.org.uk>
Cc: akerr <akerr@cwu.org>; Alex Rowley <alex.rowley.msp@parliament.scot>; Alun Davies <alun.davies@assembly.wales>; Andi Fox <andydaisyfox@hotmail.co.uk>; Margaret Beckett <beckettm@parliament.uk>; HollandDiana <Diana.Holland@unitetheunion.org>; george howarth <george.howarth.mp@parliament.uk>; Jasmin Beckett <jasminbeckett@hotmail.co.uk>; Jim Kennedy <jim.kennedy@unitetheunion.org>; birchk <k.birch@unison.co.uk>; Kate Osamor <kate.osamor.mp@parliament.uk>; Jeremy Corbyn <leader@labour.org.uk>; paddy illis <paddy.lillis@usdaw.org.uk>; pauline.mccarthy@bfawu.org; Rebecca Long-Bailey Parliament <rebecca.longbailey.mp@parliament.uk>; Tom Watson <sarah.coombes@parliament.uk>; John Trickett Parliament <trickettj@parliament.uk>; nicholsw <w.nichols@unison.co.uk>; aliceperryuk@gmail.com; Shabanamahmoodmp <Shabana.mahmood.mp@parliament.uk>

Subject: Lies and Deception

Ms Shaw

I have just received a copy of your email to another person under suspension:

'The relevant section reads:

'The NCC and I take no part in any aspect of the Party's Disciplinary proceedings prior to charges being presented against a member and regardless of process undertaken and the time taken previously; thereafter the NCC proceeds towards hearings without unnecessary delay in accordance with appendix 2 of the Rule Book.  We appreciate that Christmas is imminent and allowance will be made for that when the hearing date is arranged, but being legally represented is not a reason that is normally accepted for deferring the date when the answer to charge is due to be received. Therefore until you hear otherwise I be advise you that your answer etc. remains due on 8 December.

A panel of the NCC will now be appointed  to hear this case and details of the hearing will be given to you as soon as possible.  Hearings are currently being arranged to take place in January 2018 and every effort will be made to accommodate you according to your availability if you can let me know before 28 November which dates you could not attend a hearing in January.

I look forward to hearing from you.'

Perhaps you would like to explain why I was not asked which dates I could make.  It would seem that I am being singled out for 'special treatment' (you can ask McNicol the significance of that phrase for Jews)

I really do not appreciate being deceived

Tony Greenstein

Tuesday, 21 November 2017 03:08:49

A Question of Equity - the proposed hearing by the NCC of charges against me

Dear Ms Shaw,

Thank you for your email of 20th November in response to my previous communication.  Before responding to the substance of your comments it might be helpful to outline the basis of the disagreement that exists between us.

i.               I was suspended from the Labour Party on March 18th 2016 because of comments I was alleged to have made. I was not informed, either then or subsequently, as to the nature of those comments. It is noticeable that the present charges do not refer to those comments. I was therefore suspended first and then a search was made for evidence to justify that suspension. Repeated requests on my part as to the nature of the allegations against me elicited no response from John Stolliday of the Compliance Unit.
ii.             On April 2nd I learnt what the general nature of these remarks were when stories ‘Corbyn told to ‘exorcise’ anti-Semitism in his Party Labour welcomes back blogger who compares Israelis to Nazis’ were leaked to the Telegraph and The Times.
iii.           On April 4th I emailed the Respondent concerning the above whilst simultaneously being refused any information concerning the accusations against me. Iain McNicol replied that he was more concerned at my ‘unwarranted attack on a hardworking and diligent member of the Compliance Unit’, John Stolliday, than the leaks themselves.

iv.           There can be no doubt that the Compliance Unit deliberately leaked this information.  The Telegraph article spoke of:
‘'Evidence compiled by Labour's compliance unit when Mr Greenstein attempted to join the party last summer, seen by The Telegraph.’ (my emphasis)

v.             At no time has McNicol set up an Inquiry or displayed any interest in finding out how confidential material concerning my suspension found its way to the press. Others who have been suspended have also reported experiencing similar leaks to the press. 

vi.           McNicol’s disinterest is understandable. Why set up a leak inquiry into what you already know? The purpose of such leaks can only have been intended to prejudice future hearings into the allegations apart from being a flagrant breach of the provisions of the Data Protection Act 1998.

vii.         On May 30th I attended an Investigation hearing into the allegations which was conducted by Harry Gregson of Southern Region.

viii.       Until your email of November 2nd 2017, over 17 months later, I received no further communication regarding my suspension or any hearing.

The Rules and Procedures of the NCC

ix.           You state in your email that ‘The NCC proceeds towards hearings in accordance with appendix 2 of the Rule Book in all cases regardless of the process undertaken before charges are presented to it.’  Appendix 2 is concerned with procedural guidelines on membership, recruitment and retention.’  I presume you meant Appendix 6.

x.             Appendix 6, the Procedural Guidelines in disciplinary cases brought before the NCC, do not form part of the Party’s rules although they have been approved by the NEC. [paragraph 2, Appendix 6] In other words they are advisory and not binding.

xi.           The NEC has also given its approval to the Report of the Chakrabarti Inquiry of 30 June 2016, which I notice has been surreptitiously removed from the Labour Party’s web site.  In view of the detailed attention paid by Shami Chakrabarti to the Labour Party’s disciplinary process it is, to say the least, remiss that you didn’t also send me this Report or the relevant parts.

xii.         Chakrabarti devotes Section 5 (pp. 15-22) to ‘Clear and transparent compliance procedures for dealing with allegations’ and the opening paragraph speaks of ‘a lack of clarity and confidence in current disciplinary procedures from all sides of the Party, including on the part of those who have complained and been complained against.’

xiii.       Chakrabarti says that it is ‘important that the procedures explain that those in respect of whom allegations have been made are clearly informed of the allegation(s) made against them, their factual basis and the identity of the complainant – unless there are good reasons not to do so.’ 
xiv.        In a section Publicity Chakrabarti states that ‘It is completely unfair, unacceptable and a breach of Data Protection law that ... leaks, briefing or other publicity should so often have accompanied a suspension pending investigation. Indeed such an interim suspension being public ought to be the greatest exception rather than the rule.’

xv.         Under The Power of Interim Suspension Chakrabarti speaks of the ‘application of the vital legal principles of due process (or natural justice) and proportionality.’  It is unacceptable that you have chosen to pay no regard to Chakrabarti’s recommendations and comments which have equal if not greater weight than Appendix 6.

Regarding the specific points which you make in your letter:

1.             You state that the NCC ‘proceeds towards hearings in accordance with appendix 2 (i.e. appendix 6 - TG) of the Rule Book in all cases regardless of the process undertaken before charges are presented to it.’  (my emphasis).

2.             Not only is this contrary to the most basic rules of natural justice and equity but it also ignores section 6(D)(i) of Appendix 6 which states that complaints about the procedure adopted by the Party prior to the presentation of charges will ‘not be entertained by the NCC or panel thereof unless it is material or relevant to the consideration of the evidence to be used by the presenter in support of the charges.’  (my emphasis)

3.             My complaints are clearly material and relevant to the consideration of the evidence especially in the light of Chakrabarti’s recommendations.

4.             You state that Appendix 6.5.B.i requires letters enclosing the charges and bundle to be relied upon, be sent to the Respondent giving about six weeks’ notice of the hearing.’  Not only is Appendix 6 not part of the Labour Party’s Rules but it has to be seen in the light of Chakrabarti and also the basic principles of natural justice, fairness and equity.

5.             You state that the charges and bundle were emailed to me. There is no provision within Appendix 6 for email. The email did not include a copy of the Rules and being in hospital I was unable to act upon it. Regardless I do not accept service by email.

6.             You state that the package was posted to me with guaranteed next day delivery on November 2nd. There is of course no postal rule.  It is a fact, which you do not dispute that I was in hospital in London until 3rd November and therefore was not at home to sign for the package. I signed for it on Monday 5th November.  Since I was expected to respond in full within 4 weeks, this was clearly less than 4 weeks. 

7.             It is also noticeable that s.5(B)(i) says that ‘Letters shall normally be sent... giving about six weeks notice’ whereas in 5(B)(ii) it specifically mentions ‘two weeks after date of posting of the letter’.  There is no reference in the former to time running from the date of posting as opposed to receipt.

8.             By your own admission the bundle and papers were only technically sent’ within the guideline at appendix 6.5.B.i, and you yourself admit that I was given less than a full six weeks’ notice of the hearing’.   Having accepted that I was given less than the requisite time it is clearly untrue to then go on to state that I was given a ‘full four weeks’ to submit my response to the charges.  Your suggestion that ‘If anything that puts the NEC at a disadvantage’  I shall treat as no more than a rhetorical flourish.

9.             Regardless of whether the procedures in Appendix 6 were strictly complied with, despite admitting that they weren’t adhered to or were only ‘technically’ complied with, my complaint relates to the procedure leading up to the laying of charges which have had a serious and adverse affect on my ability to conduct my defence.

10.         The NEC had over 17 months since my Investigation Hearing or 20 months from the suspension itself before it laid charges.

11.         Although there are 3 separate charges in the Charge Sheet they are broken down into what are, in reality, 54 separate points.  In addition there are 6 separate complaints. Contrary to assurances that were given at a hearing concerning an Order under s.7(9) of the DPA 1998, the identity of the complainants has not been revealed.  That cannot help but be prejudicial since it leaves me unable to assess the complainants’ motivation.

12.         Apart from a copy of my suspension letter and 4 pages of notes of my Investigation Hearing by Harry Gregson there are 152 pages of social media posts and random articles as well as 4 pages of Labour’s Social Media Policy.

13.         Despite the fact that the meeting was tape recorded and a verbatim transcript produced, the NEC has chosen to use Harry Gregson’s inaccurate notes even though the Labour Party produced in the DPA hearing above the actual transcript from my blog. 

14.         Clearly a lot of work has been undertaken assembling the charges and evidence against me and this has taken 17 months. It defies belief as to how you can suggest it is not material to the charges made against me.

15.         Even were I fit and healthy then it would be reasonable to extend the period by which I had to fully respond. In view of the 17 months taken by the NEC then a further period of 3 months would not be unreasonable unless the Panel has reasons for wishing to expedite the process. To refuse all consideration of my requests suggests that the Panel is irredeemably biased.

16.         Your second paragraph makes no sense.  You state that you did not dispute the fact that I was in hospital but you simply required more information.  This is disingenuous.  In your email of 13th November you wrote

‘As regards your request for a postponement of the hearing set for 11 December and for additional time in which to submit your answer to the NEC’s charges, I have to advise you that the it has been brought to the attention of the NCC that although in hospital recovering from surgery when you received the emailed notice of the charges and hearing on 2 November, on Saturday 4 November you travelled to London to attend a PSC march and rally and that that your photograph taken at Brighton station, was posted on Twitter.  https://twitter.com/BrightonPSC/status/926761392203497472

I am therefore instructed to ask you to provide medical evidence regarding the matters that you wish the NCC to make adjustments to the usual timetable for.’

17.         It is clear that you considered that your photograph of me at Brighton station was conclusive proof that I was not convalescing, otherwise why mention it?  I won’t go into the morality of someone who searches the net for photographs of someone attending a demonstration or their motivation or even their identity. 

18.         If you had actually bothered to read the evidence I sent you then you would have realised that my stay in hospital related to having recently had a liver transplant. Being registered disabled, the fact that I went on a demonstration is completely irrelevant to the timescale required to respond to the charges which have been levelled.

19.         I repeat once again that the time which has been given for a response to the charges, which is less than 4 weeks, is wholly insufficient and suggests that the Panel is merely going through the motions by holding a hearing.  If the Panel refuses to review their previous decision then I shall be forced to take legal advice with a view to preventing the hearing on 11th December going ahead.

20.         I will copy this to the NEC and other interested parties as the matters above are clearly of more general concern.

Yours sincerely,

Tony Greenstein


Monday 20 November 2017, 14:21
Dear Mr Greenstein,

The NCC proceeds towards hearings in accordance with appendix 2 of the Rule Book in all cases regardless of the process undertaken before charges are presented to it, in which the NCC and I take no part.  Appendix 6.5.B.i requires letters enclosing the charges and bundle to be relied upon, be sent to the Respondent giving about six weeks’ notice of the hearing.  In your case the letter and bundle was emailed and posted to you with guaranteed next day delivery on 2 November.  In addition to the letter, charge sheet and bundle the posted package also included copies of the rule under which you are charged, chapter 6 and appendix 6 of the Rule Book.  Taking account of the fact that although the package was technically sent within the guideline at appendix 6.5.B.i, you had been given less than a full six weeks’ notice of the hearing, a timetable was set and included in the letter sent to you that ensured you had a full two weeks after the letter was received to confirm whether you intended to contest the charges and a full four weeks to submit your answer to charge, witness statements  etc. as required in appendix 6.5.B.ii.  If anything that puts the NEC at a disadvantage in that its’ time to respond to your answer, should it wish to, is reduced.

As regards the request for medical evidence, it was not made because the NCC disputed that you were in hospital when you received the emailed letter and bundle on 2 November, but to confirm and provide more information about matters mentioned by you that could require the timetable as set to be amended to accommodate; i.e. your health issues and your caring obligations to your son.   However the document you provided (there was nothing further sent with your email dated 16 November) only confirmed that you had a two night stay in hospital for elective surgery and when considered together with evidence of you being able on 4 November, the day after discharge from hospital, to travel to London to attend the PCS march and rally, the NCC decided there was insufficient reason to amend the timetable and that your hearing should take place as planned on 11 December.

Regards

Jane
Jane Shaw
Governance and Legal Unit
The Labour Party
Labour Central, Kings Manor
Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 6PA

Wednesday, 22 November 2017

A Friendly Question or Two to Jonathan Freedland - Does the Guardian have a Death Wish?

 

A once in a life-time offer – I will replace Owen Jones AND Nick Cohen at half the price!

Dear Jonathan,

Yours and Katherine Viner’s stewardship of the Guardian reminds me of that saying of Euripides, or was it Sophocles?  Those whom the gods seek to destroy they first drive mad.'
At a time when the Labour Party has had a massive influx of members, some 700,000, when the political centre of gravity has shifted to the left as neo-liberal economics have been seen to fail, the Guardian is full to the brim with repetitious, boring columnists, literally the left-overs of the SDP and New Labour – the Kettles and the Toynbees. All singing from the same songsheet.  I except Owen Jones from these strictures since his decision as to which side he’s on depends on what time of the day it is and what he’s had for breakfast.

In order to make these points obvious I compiled 48 sample headlines from the last two years for a sample of the Guardian’s tedious anti-Corbyn articles. Why no self-respecting socialist or Labour supporter should buy the Guardian What is amazing is how all your columnists got the Corbyn phenomenon wrong.  They sang the same melodies as the Daily Mail and Sun.

Perhaps my favourite was Roy Greenslade’s Yes, Jeremy Corbyn has suffered a bad press, but where's the harm?  If Greenslade really doesn’t know what is wrong with the British press and their coverage of Jeremy Corbyn then what is the purpose of Greenslade? He is but one example of the insipid and lightweight nature of your coverage.  Would it be so difficult to get Greg Philo of the Glasgow Media School to write a media column instead?
The best advice to give about Nick Cohen's predictions is that the opposite is almost certain to occur!
Rather than engage with Labour’s half million new members, who wished to jettison the politics of New Labour, you decided to whinge and moan about how terrible Corbyn is. There was no attempt to engage with his politics as the Guardian became the last ditch defender of the status quo. I sometimes wonder if Guardian editors never sit back and reflect?
If the Guardian had any morality, they would refuse to employ a war criminal with the blood of a million on  his hands
Perhaps, when you decided to employ that old war criminal Tony Blair to tell us that Jeremy Corbyn's politics are fantasy – just like Alice in Wonderland you forgot about the million people who lost their lives for a lie in Iraq?  That was certainly no fantasy.

Or perhaps what Peter Mandelson said about being ‘intensely relaxed’ about people becoming filthy rich (as well as poor and homeless) also escaped your attention? It wasn’t just Tory politics that led to Grenfell Tower. The Arms Length Management Organisation that ran this tower block was put in place under New Labour.  I know because we in Defend Council Housing ran a campaign in Brighton which successfully rejected them.
This absurd article by former Labour MP Martin Kettle sums up the wishful thinking of 'the centre ground' - either you are for free market economics or against them - there is no 3rd way.  As for the 'superior grasp' of Theresa May it would like taking candy of a child to comment!
You have however excelled yourself with the contrived antisemitism campaign, a convenient stick with which to beat Corbyn, as I have documented.  You refused to allow any debate within the pages of the Guardian about whether these allegations were true or the product of a monstrous dirty tricks campaign based in the Israeli & US Embassies.  You refused a right of reply to this one-sided Zionist monologue about ‘anti-Semitism in the Labour Party in your so-called Comment is Free columns to all critics. 

You portray yourself as a liberal Zionist but as in South Africa, you are a liberal apologist for Apartheid.  The fact that there are two legal systems in the Territories, one for Jews and another for Palestinians counts for nothing.  Criticism of Zionism is anti-Semitic. The routine use of torture against (Palestinian) children or even the demolition of Arab villages in Israel itself does not disturb your narrative because all criticism is ‘anti-Semitic’.

Your claim of 'antisemtism' rests on the false assertion 'that 93% of British Jews said Israel formed some part of their identity.'  Despite the fact that the most authoritative survey of British Jewry's attitudes to Israel, conducted in 2015 found a fall in the number of Jews identifying as Zionists from 71% in 2010 to 59%.
Principle and consistency have never been Owen Jones strong points - I'm not sure you could even describe him as a fairweather friend
Even if what you said had been true and 93% of British Jews had supported an Apartheid state then that would have nothing to do with anti-Semitism.  If 93% of Africans said that FGM was ok would it be racist to oppose it? Would the imposition of the Burka be fine if 93% of Muslims approved of it? 
If what you said was true and 93% of British Jews support Israeli Apartheid that would be a matter of deep shame.  Opposing an identity is not and cannot be racist or anti-Semitic. Fortunately more and more Jewish people are dissociating themselves from Israel’s ethno-religious state, the kind that the French Revolution overthrew in 1789.

What I find amazing is that the Guardian's insidious attacks on Corbyn have become little more than a circulation death wish.  Given that Nick Cohen has a 100% record of getting everything wrong, whilst telling his readers that they are 'fucking fools'  what is the point of employing him?  I would even be prepared to replace him at half the salary. What have you got to lose except a columnist who writes the same column a hundred different ways?

It wasn’t so long ago that Nick Cohen was informing your readers that:

In an election, they [the Tories] would tear them to pieces. … Will there be 150, 125, 100 Labour MPs by the end of the flaying? My advice is to think of a number then halve it.

I'm also happy to replace Owen Jones thus enabling the Guardian to have its first socialist columnist for a very long time as well as the first anti-Zionist since David Hirst.
I hate to boast about it but almost alone I wrote on 20th April that  Labour Can Win if Corbyn is Bold and 5 days before the election, I posted Is Labour on the threshold of victory?

My replacement of Cohen and Jones could only be a win-win situation for the Guardian.   Who knows?  You might be able to abandon your ludicrous web site charity appeal and instead start gaining some readers before they completely disappear!!

Kind regards

Tony Greenstein

Tuesday, 21 November 2017

The Guardian and Jonathan Freedland's tedious Campaign against Corbyn

Why no self-respecting socialist or Labour supporter should buy the Guardian
On and on they go.  I didn't realise just how bad the Guardian campaign has been until someone had the bright idea of doing a compilation.  An incessant drip drip of poison against Jeremy Corbyn allied to a monotonous one-sided propaganda campaign about non-existent 'anti-semitism' in the Labour Party.  There are plenty more of these articles at the bottom of this post.

The fact that the Daily Express, Mail and Sun are so concerned about this 'anti-Semitism' should tell you all you need to know.

You might think that the Guardian's readership having fallen from nearly 1/2 million a decade ago to about 150,000 today that they  might have taken care not to alienate the hundreds of thousands of Corbyn supporters who joined the Labour Party.
Owen Jones demonstrates his fierce independence from the Guardian consensus
No Guardian campaign would be complete without the old war criminal's contribution


The Guardian seems to have a bottomless pit of stupid journalists and vacuum heads

The wit and wisdom of Jonathan Freedland
Subliminal nastiness was not quite correct - Freedland was openly nasty
Owen Jones wrote the same article 3 years running - He demonstrated what he meant when he spoke to the Jewish labour Movement conference, the British branch of the Israeli Labour Party which supports 'separation' and segregation.   
Spot the difference between Owen Jones, the Guardian's resident lefty and Freedland and the Express/Mail
There is no Israeli atrocity that Freedland won't exculpate
More rubbish from the Guardian's resident Zionist
Spot the difference between Freedland and the Express
Possibly the most stupid of all the stupid headlines - the idea of a varied press not controlled by a tiny minority of billionaire press owners probably hasn't occurred to Greenslade
I’m not sure who they are but five filters have done a remarkable job in collating some of the more tedious attacks by Guardian columnists on Jeremy Corbyn.  I have added a few more from the Guardian’s sponsorship of the false anti-Semitism campaign.

They are all on one theme – in the words of Suzanna Moore ‘Corbyn’s Uselessness has lost its charm.’   Their many but not varied columnists deploy a variety of approaches, but all with the same monotonous message. 

There is the bludgeon approach of Nick Cohen ‘Labour has the stench of death – meet the killers’.  Cohen doesn’t do subtle.  There is the smug approach of Jonathan Freedland No more excuses: Jeremy Corbyn is to blame for this meltdown.  Then there is the concerned ‘left-winger’ aka Owen Jones Jeremy Corbyn says he's staying. That's not good enough (Jones always falls on the wrong side even if it is for the right reasons!).

Then there is the resident ‘concerned’ Tory Matthew d’Ancona who misquotes John Donne ‘The bell tolls for Corbyn's leadership, but where are Labour's centrists.’  There is even the fake sympathiser, Polly Toynbee who hawks her social conscience around the TV studios but when push comes to shove backs free market capitalism. Why can't I get behind Corbyn, when we want the same things?  

Toynbee has the gall to write Free to dream, I'd be left of Jeremy Corbyn. as if we have forgotten that the last time Labour went leftwards Polly Toynbee helped found the SDP which guaranteed Thatcher her victory in 1983.  Their hypocrisy is only matched by their dishonesty. 

One should not of course forget the Observer’s pompous and verbally incontinent political correspondent Andrew Rawnsley who professes that The really scary thing about Corbyn? He's not radicalWho would have thought that Rawnsley was a genuine revolutionary!

There is John Harris who is happy to write the first rubbish that comes into his head Twitter parodies won't worry Corbyn. But his supporters deserting him should

Marina Hyde is the Guardian’s resident vacuum head who makes Jonathan Ross seem like an intellectual.  She genuinely believes that ‘His remain colleague’s effort level was not so much half-arsed as quarter-arsed. is amusing in Labour is making the Conservative omnishambles era look like a utopia’.

One of the qualities of these empty rhetoricians is their pomposity. Raphael Behr is the most pompous of all in a field with stiff competition. In his Jeremy Corbyn, you broke it – now you must own it Behr summed up the Guardian’s lack of principle when he berated Corbyn over his lack of support for Sellafield and nuclear energy in the Copeland by-election.  

According to Behr Corbyn should act like any other Labour right-winger and bury his deeply held convictions about nuclear energy for the sake of transient electoral approval. ‘The Tories were not shy of reminding people that the Labour leader was ideologically hostile to the engine of their local economy.’   The Guardian, following in the footsteps of the Lib Dems simply does not understand a principled politician. Principles must be sacrificed for pragmatism. 

So when we have another nuclear disaster, as happened at Windscale in the 1950’s who will remember that Corbyn refused to bow to the tabloid’s populism?

In the middle of the first leadership election campaign Michael White, who used to be its parliamentary sketch writer and was from memory genuinely funny, could find nothing else worth saying other than Jeremy Corbyn: is the world ready for his sandals and socks? 

My favourite article is by Islamaphobe Nick Cohen Don’t tell me you weren’t warned about Corbyn.  Written just before the General Election it is a text book example of mendacity and how the class of political commentators and pundits speak to themselves.


Not one Guardian columnist matched this blog's analysis!

In an election, they [the Tories] would tear them to pieces. … Will there be 150, 125, 100 Labour MPs by the end of the flaying? My advice is to think of a number then halve it.
One senior Labour figure told me he thought Corbyn was endangering British democracy. …  The 60% of the population who do not want Conservative rule are faced with Conservative rule without end, with the only pressure for change coming from an ever-more audacious right.
More troubling for you ought to be the question why might May, a prime minister with a fragile majority, not bother to call an early election. One cabinet minister explains her insouciance thus.
He and George Osborne used to worry about how Ed Balls and Chuka Umunna would strike back against their austerity programme. Now ministers do not give Labour a second’s thought.’
The ever thoughtful Cohen finished with a self-righteous flourish of anger: 
In my respectful opinion, your only honourable response will be to stop being a fucking fool by changing your fucking mind.’
Contrast this with my own blog. On April 20th, when Labour was behind in the polls by over 20%, I wrote an article Labour Can Win if Corbyn is Bold – the Key Issue is Poverty and the Transfer of Wealth.  My article began:
It was Harold Wilson who said that a week is a long time in politics.  Seven weeks is a political eternity.  Theresa May has taken a gamble that her 21% lead will hold.  It is a gamble that she may yet come to regret.

There is only one direction that her lead can go and that is down.  Once her lead falls then a snowball effect can take over.  What is essential is that Labour marks out the key areas on which it is going to base its appeal.  The danger is that Corbyn is going to continue with his ‘strategy’ of appeasing the Right and appealing to all good men and women.  If so that will be a recipe for disaster.

No election is guaranteed to be without its surprises.  Theresa May is a cautious conservative.  She is literally the product of her background, a conservative vicar’s daughter.  Reactionary, parochial and small-minded, she is a bigot for all seasons.  What doesn’t help is that she is both wooden and unoriginal.  The danger is that Corbyn tries to emulate her.’

Hindsight is a wondrous thing but foresight is a rarer quality. Unlike the Grauniads I could not understand what the pundits saw in May.  She reminded me of that Agatha Christie title, ‘The Mirror Cracked from Side to Side’.  I had a feeling that St. Theresa would come unstuck but not one Guardian columnist displayed an iota of doubt.  So confident was I that for the first time in my life I entered a bookies and placed a bet, thus enjoying my prediction even more! 

Cast your mind back.  There was a wall to wall consensus that Corbyn was going to fail and badly. Labour's Tory MPs such as Peter Kyle and Joan Ryan of the pro-Israel lobby, appealed to the electorate on the basis that they too hated Corbyn.  

I confess to fearing that I might have egg all over my face.  Perhaps there was something I hadn’t yet grasped since no one else saw it the way I did.  Yet going canvassing in Brighton Kemptown, where a Tory majority of 700 was turned into a Labour majority of nearly 10,000, I was convinced that the tectonic plates were shifting.

Five days before the election I was even more convinced that there was going to be a major upset.  At this stage the polls were firm in the view that May’s wobble had come to an end.  The Guardian was gleefully looking forward to the end of the Corbyn experiment. As idiot Guardian columnist Matthew d’Ancona was writing ‘The bell tolls for Corbyn’s Leadership’ I reaffirmed my view in General Election - Is Labour on the threshold of victory? I wrote

Strong and stable Mrs May found that her slogan had made her a figure of fun as she dodged having to directly debate Jeremy Corbyn.  She even sent her Home Secretary into bat for her in the debate between party leaders earlier in the week, despite Rudd having only lost her father two days before.

It would be a mistake for people to be over confident at the fact that the Tories made major slip-ups over things like the Dementia Tax, taking food of children’s tables etc.  It is clear that the Tories and the Mainstream Media (BBC et al.) are going hell for leather over the question of Corbyn’s devotion to the State, be it Ireland, Terrorism or  Trident.

The essence of what I wrote was correct.   The Tory lead has shrunk.  My fears that Corbyn might backtrack have not come to pass in the economic sphere.  Labour’s manifesto was unexpectedly radical. 

I have thought of suggesting to Guardian editor, Katherine Viner, that I would be prepared to replace Cohen and Owen Jones for half their combined pay.  Not only would the Guardian save a fortune but they would gain someone whose prime quality was not repeating the truisms of the political pundits. 
However I soon woke up and realized that my day dreaming was going nowhere. The function of Guardian columnists isn’t to provide analysis and independent thought.  Their role is to propagandize for the neo-liberal agenda.  Although the Guardian isn’t as crude as the Express or Mail, it shares the same basic assumptions about the free market.
If the Guardian had any self-respect they would have fired Nick Cohen, a useless and repetitious Islamaphobe. They would have promoted Jonathan Freedland to Keeper of the Guardian Cat. Cohen is a permanent testimony to the Guardian’s change from being a genuinely liberal paper, with socialist columnists like John Palmer its European editor. It was a paper that used to have excellent Middle East correspondents such as David Hirst and Michael Adams, whereas today it has surrendered that region of the world to the Independent’s Robert Fisk and Patrick Coburn.
In 1968 I remember how Victor Zorza predicted the Soviet Union’s invasion of Czechoslovakia, putting an end to the Prague Spring.  Even when I was on the dole I ensured that I had enough money to buy the Guardian each day.  Today the only time I get it is when I shop at Waitrose and spend over £10 as it comes for free!  It never fails to disappoint.
Editor Kath Viner, under the baleful influence of Freedland, is determined to exhaust the diminishing funds of the Scott Trust.  The Guardian is losing so much money that it is doubtful that it can survive for more than 2-3 years, hence the pathetic pleas on its website for readers to make a donation.  It is as if, amongst all the good causes, you are going to donate to the Guardian rather than the starving children in Gaza or the refugees of Rohinga. Why should we pay Freedland’s salary when he is the Guardian’s Zionist gatekeeper, determined to ensure that whatever atrocity Israel commits, the Guardian will never question the world’s only Apartheid state.

Ten years ago I contributed a series of articles to the Guardian’s Comment is Free.  My contributions and others attracted the attentions of the Zionist lobby who set up CIF Watch.  The idea of an anti-racist critique of Zionism and Israel was too much. The Guardian ran up the white flag and I and others were excluded.  The late Georgina Henry, who originally hired me, was by then a marginal figure as Matt Seaton, their bicycling correspondent took charge. 

Perhaps if the Guardian survives as an Internet paper in 30 years there will be some bright young journalist who will uncover the story of where the ‘anti-Semitism’ campaign originated.  S/he will no doubt relook at the Al Jazeera programme The Lobby  concerning the Israeli Embassy’s role.  If they are diligent, they will go on to examine the role of the United States in destabilising the second major party of the US’s main ally in Europe.  It is inconceivable that those who have made destabilisation of Latin American countries into a fine art, who ran Operation Gladio in Europe, would be prepared to sit back as an anti-NATO anti-Trident politician became leader of the Labour Party. 

Perhaps if the equivalent of Wikileaks gets hold of US Embassy cables we will learn even sooner about their and Israel’s role in the anti-Corbyn campaign.  Perhaps we will even learn whether Freedland and other Guardian columnists were on the payroll of either Embassy and what the Guardian’s links were with MI5.  If the Guardian had any political integrity it would have already have begun investigating these matters but the sad fact is that the Guardian of today is a pro-war rag that runs with a neo-liberal pro-imperialist agenda. 

An article worth reading on the anti-Semitism campaign is John Booth’s Labour, Corbyn and anti-semitism in The Lobster.  Enjoy these headlines because they tell the sad, sorry story of a once good liberal paper that went to rack and ruin.

Tony Greenstein
The Guardian was nothing if not predictable

One more on the Guardian's boring  theme - yet it will not examine why all its useless columnists sang the same song
What Bloodworth means is Hamas and Hezbollah - the 'worrying connections' of the Tories with the Saudis and Yemen are not of course worrying
Another useless supporter of Progress
The only cruelty is that inflicted on gullible Observer readers who read this rubbish
Despite getting it spectacularly wrong Freedland has learnt nothing
The capacity for self-delusion is endless
Former New Labour MP Martin Kettle seriously believed this utter tripe
One more reason why London needs a genuinely radical Mayor
I suspect that Suzanne Moore thought this was original - it isn't - James Dean got their first
Let's hope she didn't join
I don't know what the answer to this question is - one explanation is that you are a shrivelled reactionary prune
When all else fails, try being polite
Polly is really a radical - if only Corbyn were electable unlike David Owen
One amongst many pathetic predictions
Idiocy without limit - how was Blair going to secure his 'legacy' - wage another useless war?
Let's hope this useless right-winger is deselected
One of the themes of Corbyn's detractors was that they were simply interested in democracy
Yes we hate you and no we will still vote Labour!
Sometimes one wonders whether even Cohen believes this rubbish
The wonder is that Nick Cohen has the audacity to show his face after June 8th 
Gaby doesn't get  why she speaks more rubbish
I won't even begin to ask what a 'real leader' is
Polly is nothing if not unoriginal
I must have missed the eating of humble pie
Poetically batty
Polly seriously expects us to believe that one of the founders of the SDP is to the left of Corbyn
I hadn't realised before that Andrew Rawnsley was a radical -  the only thing he's ever fought for is a good seat in a restaurant
Another empty headed Guardian columnist
Another Guardian empty head - Marina Hyde actually believes she is witty which is a problem  
Nick Cohen is a prophet whose warnings were fortunately disregarded - there has been no mea culpa for getting it so badly wrong
I suspect that Michael White actually thinks he is amusing
The pretentious Rafael Behr
Spot the difference between Owen Jones, the Guardian's resident lefty and Freedland and the Express/Mail
Yvette Cooper, New Labour's war mongering former home office minister was the Guardian's choice for leader
Even for Freedland this is one of the most stupid articles - do Jews suffer from state racism, deaths in custody, violent attacks, synagogue arson - being a minority doesn't make you oppressed - but Freedland is nothing if not superficial
Corbyn should single handedly overcome 30 years of poison from the same racists that Freedland courts
I suspect Freedland still he thinks he was right even if the electorate was wrong