Most dangerous rule-change in years is in line for Conference 2017 vote


Every year at Labour’s annual Conference, a number of rule-changes or ‘constitutional amendments’ are debated by delegates and, if approved, become part of the party’s rule-book.

Last year’s Conference in Liverpool, ironically, saw Labour’s bureaucracy break, bend and ignore its own rules to force through an anti-democratic amendment that put two additional, unelected and anti-Corbyn members onto the party’s ruling NEC (National Executive Committee) to try to thwart the will of the hugely pro-Corbyn membership.

But this year in Brighton looks set to see something far worse and even more dangerous, in an apparent attempt by the party’s relic right to position for future advantage.

The list of constitutional changes up for adoption in 2017 are detailed in a party PDF document that contains several innocuous or even welcome rule-changes. But in one section a number of proposed rule-changes on ‘hate incidents’ are grouped together – and contain one whose dangers are unmissable:


This rule-change, if adopted, would mean that a ‘hate incident’ is anything that anyone thinks it is. Any idea of an objective or reasonable definition of a hate incident is gone. Objectivity and reason become irrelevant – literally anything you say or do could, according to the proposed rule, be considered hate-speech or action.

Regardless of your intent or motives – someone else would have the only and final say. And the punishment can even be expulsion from the party.

The huge dangers of this – and the benefits to a bureaucracy still dominated by the right and to the right-wing factions it supports – are obvious.

If the right wants to rule out left-wing members from a future leadership vote – no problem. Even being careful online won’t help – the right can identify anything it chooses as a hate-incident and get ‘inconvenient’ members suspended or even expelled.

If a faction wants to shut down debate on a topic – easy. Just define a certain viewpoint as ‘hate’ – and then expel any members not cowed into silence by the fear of expulsion.

We’ve already seen that the Establishment and right wing will not hesitate to use antisemitism smears to try to get their way – and this would be carte blanche for the same factions to use that smear or any other to intimidate or remove opponents.

The rule-change document also contains a different version of the proposal – one only fractionally less dangerous in that it put the power of deciding what constitutes a hate-incident into the hands of the NEC instead of just anyone ready to voice an opinion:


Tellingly, however, an NEC member says that this – the less dangerous version of a very bad rule change – has been ‘ruled out’ from the discussion.

But the ‘anyone’ version has not, so it is still in line for discussion and adoption if right-wing delegates can engineer its passage or the party bureaucracy simply rigs the process as it did in 2016.

This proposed change is so bad and so clearly open to abuse by the unscrupulous that no one could miss the dangers it poses. Which means that the unscrupulous are trying to stack the deck in their favour – yet again.

It’s essential that this is defeated in September, no matter what tricks are pulled to try to get it voted through.

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  1. As someone who is already purged by the party for an innocuous ‘Green’ Tweet I find this amusing. At any level the Mandleson’s etc can abuse the leader of the party yet stay and yet anyone showing clear intent to vote for Corbyn last leadership election was and still is purged.

  2. The perfect example of dishonesty and prejudice based on sexual identity was Angela Eagle’s followers’ bogus allegations of homophobia against members of Wallasey CLP, who remain suspended 14 months later after a welter of #FakeNews that was loyally crayoned across tabloids and broadsheets throughout Summer 2016.

    Merseyside Police eventually called out the associated lies on #brickgate but that came 6 months later after the MSM circus had packed up and moved on. Statement here:


  3. The key problem with the National Rules in this area, which is essentially that of disciplinary procedures, is the total absence of any effective and recognisible due process. In practical terms, and the wording of the proposals highlighted in this article are typical examples which can be found in key sections and parts of the National Rule Book, the rule structure and processes give whoever controls the NEC at any one time powers not dissimilar from the old Central Soviet.

    If there are no rule proposals this year to address the lack of due process in the National Rule Book perhaps some kind of amendment to deal with that issue can be formulated to replace the proposal featured in this article?

  4. the internal politics within the LP are very nasty and ruthless realy a fraud by the right wing to use mass subscriptions to maintain them in power with snouts in the trough. limited to a few.

  5. The minutiae of Labour infighting usually pass me by, but I was struck by the very close resemblance of the proposed definition of a hate incident:

    “…. being defined as something where the victim or anyone else think it was motivated by hostility or prejudice based on disability, race, religion, transgender identity, or sexual orientation…”

    to the CPS’s definition for the public at large:

    “A Hate Incident is any incident which the victim, or anyone else, thinks is based on someones prejudice towards them because of their race, religion, sexual orientation, disability or because they are transgender.”

    And, indeed to their definition of a hate crime:

    “…Any criminal offence which is perceived by the victim or any other person, to be motivated by hostility or prejudice based on a person’s race or perceived race; religion or perceived religion; sexual orientation or perceived sexual orientation; disability or perceived disability and any crime motivated by hostility or prejudice against a person who is transgender or perceived to be transgender.”


    1. YAWWNNNN ad-tedium Hindson
      For those who don’t yet know one should bear in mind the following fact that HIndson wrote in an earlier reply thread,
      Graham Hindson 30/07/2017 at 3:44 pm · ·
      “As a life long Conservative voter it’s unlikely to be my CLP! ”

      Thus there you have it , self confessed Tory Troll and hence any and all comments by this troll need to be viewed bearing this fact in mind.
      One day, years from now he’ll be sat in a chair in an old folks home when the cloak of that self righteous mendaciousness will fall away and he’ll realise, with horror, that his career long trolling has amounted to absolutely nothing of any real importance to anyone, especially Labour supporters.

      1. I don’t normally reply to this sort of thing, but there’s absolutely nothing mendacious about my post above.

        It’s all absolutely factual.

      2. rob writes One day, years from now he’ll be sat in a chair in an old folks home when the cloak of that self righteous mendaciousness will fall away and he’ll realise, with horror, that his career long trolling has amounted to absolutely nothing of any real importance to anyone, especially Labour supporters. will there be any old peoples homes left id rather doubt it he be on the streets like many others who cant afford tory prices oh dear

    2. The difference is, that ‘hate crimes’ are dealt with in a court of law with due process, including a right of appeal.
      The proposals here are set to be prosecuted, judged and juried by people who may have a political axe to grind – there’s plenty of evidence of precedent.
      Unlike the tories, Labour have a tradition of openness, honesty, and integrity – that’s what’s at stake here.

      1. The court scenario doesn’t apply to hate incidents, which the reporter doesn’t want investigated but merely recorded by the police to identify patterns.

        But that’s a detail; I suppose the question for Labour is – should there be rules about hate incidents at all? (Hate crimes, of course would always be a police matter)

        If not, then the arguments over definition go away.

        But if there should be rules, what should the definition of hate incident be, if not the ones proposed in the two versions above?

      2. “But if there should be rules, what should the definition of hate incident be, if not the ones proposed in the two versions above?”
        It’s not about the rules; it’s about how the rules are interpreted, and how they are enforced. With current systems, those definitions are wide open to abuse, as eny fule kno.
        Like the tory troll you are, you deliberately miss the point. Unless it’s just that you’re thick. You tell me.

  6. @ Graham Hindson 21/08/2017 at 11:50 am · ·
    I don’t normally reply to this sort of thing ,…

    GREAT well don’t then shut the fuck up !

    it wasn’t an invitation to debate it Hindson , its a statement based on all your other deceitful,duplicitous comments made on this site.

  7. I read an article by Caroline Flint about Israel and I posted that she hadn’t mentioned the Palestine problem, that was all I said and was immediately pounced on and called a racist and anti-semitic, I am neither nor did my tweet attack, insult or racially abuse anyone, but shortly later I was suspended from the Labour Party, To be honest and fair I don’t really know if that was the reason for my suspension but I scratch my head at the reason I was given as the vagueness was written large, Perception of racism or anything else cannot be read into my post, but if that was the reason it was based on the dishonesty of the reader who had an agenda in attacking me. This policy is a danger to all free speech in the party and should be stopped,

    1. Anyone – even the trouble-makers of the right – is entitled to know why they have been suspended / expelled. And the process should be independent of political bias, not done on a whim.

  8. How about an amendment that said “Any member who uses any media to undermine or discredit the elected party leadership shall be expelled”?
    But of course that would be screamed down in all the Murdoch press as ‘unreasonable’.
    I agree that ‘hate speech’ is a real issue – but to use this as means of disenfranchising the left is undemocratic. There are better, more honest, more independent ways of dealing with the problem.

  9. @Andrew Heenan

    I’d hoped that we could discuss this without the insulting language, but apparently not.

    I’m unclear whether you think that there should be reference in the rules to hate incidents or not. Perhaps clarifying that would be a first step because, as I said earlier, if you think that there should be no rules then the issues of definition and enforcement would go away.

    1. WTF is any of this to do with YOU HINDSON you’re not even a member of the Labour party and being a lifelong Tory voter you should keep your suggestions the fuck out of our business . Talk about a fucking hypocrite take a look at your own back yard the Tory party is FULL of HATE .


  11. Let’s not beat about the bush here, this proposed rule change is mainly about trying to shut up those who criticise Israel and Zionists for the illegal occupation of Palestine. The JLV and the LFI, as we have seen from the Al Jazeera documentaries and their attacks on Jeremy Corbyn, are ruthless in their determination to protect Israel’s actions and have far too much influence in the Labour Party.

    However, in the LP and elsewhere there is more than one Jewish voice and non-Zionist Jews are now reacting against the Zionist faction to assert that they should also be heard. At Monday lunchtime during the forthcoming conference, the Free Speech on Israel group FSOI will be holding a fringe event where they will describe a legal challenge to the definition of antisemitism currently adopted by the Labour Party and which has a direct bearing upon the rule change mentioned in the article. At that event will be a speaker of world wide acclaim who will also be speaking at a major event later in the day at the Mercure Brighton Seafront Hotel.

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