With nominations by CLPs (constituency Labour parties) closing massively in favour of their left-supported rivals, CAC candidates Michael Cashman and Gloria de Piero – who are supported by hard-right Labour factions Progress and Labour First – decided incongruously to change tack with their campaign by re-packaging themselves as champions of the rank and file membership of the party.
Incongruously because they presided last year, along with their fellow CAC members, over decisions facilitating a rule-change that added two unelected, anti-Corbyn members to the party’s National Executive Committee – a move that dismayed Labour’s massively pro-Corbyn membership and involved ignoring the views of those who opposed it and the methods used to achieve it at last year’s annual Conference.
In spite of that, Mr Cashman’s recent campaign statement claimed he was all about making sure “the views of ordinary members are heard”:
It was an interesting move, to say the least. But it didn’t take too long for Mr Cashman to make clear that the views of some Labour members are more equal than others.
Left-wing magazine Red Pepper published an article that lists – entirely accurately, from a perusal of his Twitter feed – a set of statements made by Mr Cashman concerning Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and his supporters – supporters who make up the vast majority of the ‘ordinary Labour members’ Cashman claims he wants to help be heard, including calling them ‘deluded’.
Many, probably most, of those members would voice firm agreement with the Pepper’s conclusion that his comments regarding Corbyn and his supporters undermine his campaign claim about ensuring their voices are heard.
Fair political comment, you’d think – and certainly nothing harsher than some of Mr Cashman’s statements statements on Twitter, for example smearing Corbyn supporters as vicious:
But it seems that Mr Cashman’s history as a prominent LGBT activist – he is a co-founder of Stonewall – which the Pepper article praises, ought to make him immune from criticism of alleged hypocrisy and insincerity:
Friends defend friends, fair enough – but apart from the fact that people still say ‘besmirch’, it’s interesting that having done something good is supposed to render criticism of current actions and statements ‘disgraceful’.
Or besmirching, for that matter.
But it seems that Mr Cashman – surprisingly, for someone who says he believes members’ voices and opinions should be heard – agreed with this assessment. And goes even further:
Stonewall is the largest gay rights organisation in Europe. Mr Cashman compared Red Pepper to people who resisted its creation – presumably homophobic people. Yet the Pepper‘s only mention of Cashman’s sexuality is to praise his work for LGBT rights:
Cashman’s advocacy of gay rights at a time when the Tories were still upholding Section 28 is to be applauded.
Readers will draw their own conclusions about the appropriateness or otherwise of Mr Cashman’s reaction, but it certainly does nothing to weaken the SKWAWKBOX’s recommendation that all Labour members with the best interests of the party and country at heart should vote for Seema Chandwani and Billy Hayes.
They may not have co-founded Stonewall, but they have steadfastly supported Jeremy Corbyn and his vision for Labour as a genuine alternative.
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