Labour’s suspension-lifting mass mailing makes mockery of process

Thousands of Labour members have received letters over the past few days, all sent at the same time, informing them that their suspension from the Labour party is being lifted and they are now ‘free to resume active membership’.

Here is one such letter, reproduced (anonymised) by the kind permission of its recipient. This blog is aware of many more:

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Note that there is no trace of apology in the letter and that a ‘formal NEC warning’ is issued – in this instance, nonsensically. The tweet in question put a caption on an image of a senior Tory MP, showing the MP in question calling a homeless person ‘scum’ who is homeless because they deserve it – in other words, it was attacking Tory attitudes, had no bearing on any Labour member and was certainly not in any way ‘detrimental to the Party’.

If it had, in fact, been the person receiving the letter who had called a homeless person ‘scum’, they would have no place in the Labour party. But they didn’t. To issue a formal warning in those circumstances is both ridiculous and confirms that no proper investigation was undertaken.

To add insult to injury, the letter hasn’t even been proof-read before sending the same thing out to thousands of members who, almost to an individual, consider themselves to have been spuriously suspended:

the NEC may individual warnings to any individual member

certainly has, at the very least, a word missing – and is probably meant to say ‘issue formal warnings’, rather than the tautological ‘individual warnings to any individual’.

Just as risible is the language used in the letter about ‘offence’:

Language which may cause offence… will not be tolerated in our party. Language that may be perceived as provocative, insensitive or offensive falls short of the standard expected

‘May’?! Any language may cause offence or ‘be perceived’ as, well, as anything. Any of us can control the intent behind our language. None of us can exclude the possibility that someone may be offended – especially if someone is determined to be.

Standards of language and behaviour that could never be considered offensive by anyone would mean ‘Stepford’-level, anodyne blandness.

The letters (this image is taken from a different one) end with a threat:

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Those suspended – even for the most flimsy of reasons – have a sword hanging over them. The letter will remain on file – no time limit is given – and any future infringement (for example pointing out the arrogance of Tories to the homeless) could, as the preceding page makes clear, result in the end of ‘continued membership of the Party’.

The fact that these letters are being sent out in huge batches – and the fact that the real, obvious point of some of the supposedly-offensive messages has so obviously been missed – shows that no proper investigation took place. The fact that so many suspensions could be imposed and then just be lifted at the same time, suggests forcefully that the reasons for them were never the point and are now being lifted because they’ve served their real purpose.

And with a threat hanging over members who are overwhelmingly pro-Corbyn, just for good measure.

This behaviour on the part of a section of the party bureaucracy reflects extremely poorly on the party. It’s their behaviour that brings the party into disrepute – and which needs sanction.

This blog understands that the letters will continue to roll out until 17 Nov, so if you’ve been suspended and haven’t received within a few days of that, your suspension may not be removed and you should take action.

But in the opinion of this writer, those members receiving these letters should take action anyway to overturn the original judgment and to remove the threat hanging over them that – in the vast majority of cases – appears to have no justification.

46 responses to “Labour’s suspension-lifting mass mailing makes mockery of process

  1. We now need to know ALL the circumstances behind this.
    We need to know WHO did this trawl of the Internet
    Who had the authority to decide to suspend?
    And so on

    Then we need to know WHO acted as Judge/Jury

    Why is it left on file?

    We need to know what has gone on behind the scenes

    How many have been expelled?

    This process of mass suspensions is more akin to McCarthism than my Labour Party. I’m 67+ and am ashamed to belong to this “repression of expression”

    Sid

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  2. I received My letter yesterday, It was verbatim to the one published. Ian McNicholl and those on the NEC who allowed this should be removed from their positions immediately and expelled from the party. It is more blatantly obvious that the action taken against members was an outrageous attempt at vote rigging and should be dealt with by the election Commissioner. Ian Mcnicholl has cost the party thousands in fines for his incompetent handling of the General Election expenses under Milliband. He has not faced any discipline so far. The whole sorry episode has damaged the party severely. Will any sanction be imposed on the people who plotted the coupe? we all know who they were. They have not grasped the facts in that they have lost two elections and not listened to people and realised people are voting anti-establishment politics. They disrespected the democratic vote of the membership. The PLP needs to be more accountable not less. Chris

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    • As I have responded below…

      I am also in receipt of such a letter, and am certainly not going to accept it. I will be replying and stating that I will not accept any formal warnings for breaking a rule in 2015 that wasn’t implemented until 2016, nor shall I be accepting a warning for calling someone a scumbag (( John Mann ) when I said that he shouldn’t wonder others were doing so. I urge others to do the same – do not accept this, demand the apology you are entitled to and question why it is that they only instigated this crackdown on the rules during the leadership election and neither before nor after. They were clearly gerrymandering and I am happy to tell them so. I would like to see this or another blog site take this up as a campaign- I would certainly help and put my name to it.

      Like

  3. I have not been “purged” BUT I am offended by the letter lifting the suspensions. Those who are responsible for handing out the suspensions do not in my opinion belong in ANY democratic organisation. I intend to write to Labour headquarters to tell them so

    Like

    • Please do… I have responded below and urge all members to do the same….

      I am also in receipt of such a letter, and am certainly not going to accept it. I will be replying and stating that I will not accept any formal warnings for breaking a rule in 2015 that wasn’t implemented until 2016, nor shall I be accepting a warning for calling someone a scumbag (( John Mann ) when I said that he shouldn’t wonder others were doing so. I urge others to do the same – do not accept this, demand the apology you are entitled to and question why it is that they only instigated this crackdown on the rules during the leadership election and neither before nor after. They were clearly gerrymandering and I am happy to tell them so. I would like to see this or another blog site take this up as a campaign- I would certainly help and put my name to it.

      Like

      • You were correct in calling Mann a scumbag-the way he harassed Ken Livingston was appalling

        Like

  4. So parts of the NEC including the party secretary are judge & jury, there is no right to reply, no procedure you can start to clear your name, could this happen at CLP level? an appeal be put forward on your behalf?
    I wonder how many who have been purged who joined to support Jeremy will get this letter and think sod it I’m not staying in a party who treats people like this, having no way to clear your name to a lot of people is something they can’t just live with, I know I couldn’t.

    Like

  5. My hubby was suspended & received the above letter lifting his suspension, we thought the infringement he was supposed to have committed was on facebook as he does not have & never has had a Twitter account. In the letter informing him of his suspension the date the NEC referred to was in June this year & the only posts he made in the whole of June was to send birthday wishes to three work colleagues on facebook which I took a snapshot of his timeline & sent it with his appeal letter.
    It came as a HUGE surprise that the letter received yesterday stated that the.supposed infringement occurred on Twitter.
    To make matters worse he is not political, unlike me.
    My hubby feels betrayed & is talking of leaving the party, which I am trying to convince him otherwise.

    Like

    • Yes, that’s exactly what they want, don’t gove them what they want. Everyone receiving these must reply and not accept their warning. I will certainly not accept it. Your husband needs to demand the proof of what he is accused of, else they cannot legally do this. It would not stand up in court and I feel a class action lawsuit coming up.

      Like

  6. As you reprted before regarding my husband Jame – he has recieved his letter same as the one above except for it saying he allegedly made offensive remarks on Twitter. As you know he doesn’t even use a computer. We are even more upset that this will lie on file .Has the purge ended as a whiff of an early election approaches so no Corbyn coup is imminent? Is the reason all this is left on file so we can be purged again for the next coup against Corbyn whenever it takes place.
    All this has left a very nasty feeling at the scale of corruption at the heart of Labour.
    Thank you for keeping us informed and exposing all this.
    Doreen

    Like

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  8. Is it me, or is there something wrong with this? The address on the letter states ‘Liverpool’ (p1) but the cc at the end on p2 says that copies have been sent to ‘Greater London Regional Labour Party’ & ‘Ilford North CLP officers’. I know you southerners don’t know the country north of Watford (allegedly!) but since when has London & Ilford been responsible for members in Liverpool???

    That said, I do support calls for a full investigation, resulting in suitable disciplinary measures, of this fiasco. What happened over the summer with the NEC suspending / expelling members at a whim, on no, little or spurious ‘evidence’ in itself has brought the party into disrepute. Surely?

    Like

  9. Just received my letter exactly the same as above. I am disgusted by the behaviour of the Labour Party NEC in this matter. It is abhorrent that a democratic organisation can be abused like this. Ian McNicol should resign along with his fellow travellers.

    Like

  10. Whose idea was this/ who reported me for social media posts? No information given in my letter despite me asking for lots of details (which I will be asking for again).

    Like

  11. I am also in receipt of such a letter, and am certainly not going to accept it. I will be replying and stating that I will not accept any formal warnings for breaking a rule in 2015 that wasn’t implemented until 2016, nor shall I be accepting a warning for calling someone a scumbag (( John Mann ) when I said that he shouldn’t wonder others were doing so. I urge others to do the same – do not accept this, demand the apology you are entitled to and question why it is that they only instigated this crackdown on the rules during the leadership election and neither before nor after. They were clearly gerrymandering and I am happy to tell them so. I would like to see this or another blog site take this up as a campaign- I would certainly help and put my name to it.

    Like

  12. I received my letter, exactly the same as this, stating it was a posting I made on twitter. It does not indicate what was allegedly said or provided any particular date that it was made.
    I am going to contact them requesting this information to either avoid the same happening again or to dispute the allegation with a view to “the warning” being lifted. If they cannot or do not provide this information I will insist that the warning is lifted as I do not believe that I have been “inappropriate” at anytime in my postings on social media.
    Also, how many of us that received a suspension at a critical vote showed our support for Jeremy Corbyn to how many was for Owen Smith?? Be interesting to see the figures?

    Like

  13. done this tried this failed this now sack all the deviants and manipulators and allow the members to meet and debate what have the 172 to fear.
    fear that they are wrong fear of the tumbril

    Like

  14. I CONTINUE TO BE SUSPENDED AND FRANKLY CORBYN HAS NOT DONE ENOUGH TO SORT THIS SHIT OUT – I WILL RESIGN IN 6 DAYS UNLESS THIS IS SORTED…

    Like

  15. Let’s not loose an important perspective here. We all understand that the NEC motivation was gerrymandering, but, perversely, Corbyn and his camp continue to tacitly vindicate these suspensions through their catastrophic ‘mind your language’ rhetoric. The entire Westminster bubble seem to be labouring (ahem) under some moribund notion that the role of social media for a member of the public is the same as its role for a career politician.

    The entire premise of both arguments rests on the idea that if a person is a member, then all of their public activity is subject to NEC scrutiny as though they were an MP. A person expressing themselves through twitter or facebook is as a person expressing themselves in the street, or in the pub, or in their own home. That is to say it is not ‘similar to’ or ‘the equivalent of’ those things, but that it *is* those things – social media is understood by the overwhelming majority, correctly or otherwise, as a civic space, and this is it’s social function.

    The NEC simply has zero business monitoring the activity of members on social media. It is the same as monitoring them in their homes. This is understood intuitively by everyone outside of the Westminster and Media bubbles. We are not famous public figures – we do not need whipping.

    The only exception is, specifically, within NEC administrated group platforms and official pages, wherein a simple and ordinary level of Admin policing is the solution, and which should not extend to membership entitlement overall.

    Corbyn needs to understand this personally and understand it fast, because it is a misaligned perception which could cost him any election.

    Like

    • Thanks all really useful esp ‘the role of social media for a member of the public is the same as its role for a career politician’.

      Like

  16. McNicol can’t be allowed to get away with this. Found guilty without a hearing and given a suspended sentence. What freaking judicial panel did that come from.

    Like

  17. Has anyone suspended /unsuspended whose social media account email is separate to email registered with labour asked how they know it’s them – I’m about to (Did already but got no response).

    Like

    • I’ve heard of members whose social media account is completely anonymous who have been suspended for tweets made on it. Something smells very ‘off’.

      Like

      • Well I think the clp sending me emails with a twitter / Fb logo may have led me to follow them on twitter etc. Did they make it clear the information would be used to monitor my social media activity ? Adding a momentum inspired (I think or possibly labour inspired) twibbon to my social media also singled me out as a Corbyn/ labour supporter – so my support/ advertising labour has been used against me.. was this pointed out when I was invited to add a twibbon?
        No and no.

        Like

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