March 25 2019
The Left has always stood in solidarity against racism and alongside its victims. That will never change.
But allegations have to be proved, and the accused are entitled to due process at disciplinary hearings. This means open tribunals, where the evidence is interrogated and judgements are available to all – justice must be seen to be done: equality before the rule book – no special treatment for anyone, however venerable; and accusations that are considered to be vexatious should attract appropriate sanctions.
A respected member of the Jewish Socialist Group said, way back in 2017: “accusations of antisemitism are being weaponised to attack the Jeremy Corbyn-led Labour Party”. That is the observation of a Jewish member of the Labour party.
The statistics that Jennie Formby has released are revealing. For example, of 1100 complaints received between April 2018 and January 2019, 433 related to people who were not Labour party members – nearly 40%.
200 complaints were submitted by one MP. They concerned 111 people. Of those, 91 were not Party members. 200 complaints – but only 20 party members.
And that is before evidence has been tested or defences made. The MP? None other than Margaret Hodge.
As a matter of urgency these figures should be re-examined and double checked. If it can be proved that 91 of those accused out of the 111 are not even Labour party members, why did Margaret Hodge submit the complaints? Was she careless, and did not carry out due diligence, or did she know they were not Labour party members? So what are her reasons? She too is entitled to a fair hearing, but we must demand answers given that mass allegations clearly bring the party into serious disrepute.
Calling the leader of the party a ‘f……g racist and antisemite’ also brings the party into disrepute. Why was Margaret Hodge not charged on that occasion? Equality before the law!
Chris Williamson has fought as hard as anyone to advance the party under the leadership of Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell. There is no way he is antisemitic. Read the speech in question, and it is obvious that he is talking about how we should respond to the present situation. Clearly there is no implication of antisemitism in what he has said.
Jackie Walker speaks with great honesty about how her own background demonstrates the history of racism. Again, there is no way Jackie is antisemitic.
And there are others who have been unfairly targeted.
Recent terrible events show the Far Right is on the march. They are the real racists. As ever, it is people like Chris and Jackie, and others in their situation, who will lead our fight back.