The ‘Red Roar’, more commonly referred to among Labour members as the ‘Blue Squeak’ has been attempting to whip up outrage about the idea that a penalty for vexatious or malicious claims might be included in Labour’s disciplinary code when Labour’s NEC (National Executive Committee) meets to discuss the party’s Code of Conduct either next month or in October.
That’s right – Labour’s morally-bankrupt right, for which the Squeak is an unprincipled mouthpiece – thinks it’s a bad idea that people should be penalised for making false claims designed either to bog the party down in nonsense or to smear someone with an undeserved and lifelong taint.
The SKWAWKBOX had detailed likely options for Labour’s NEC to strengthen the Code to ensure that free speech and the rights of Palestinians are protected when the IHRA ‘examples’ of possible antisemitic behaviour are incorporated into it, as is almost certain to happen – and to protect members against cynical exploitation of the rules by unprincipled right-wingers.
Ignoring anything so inconvenient as facts and the meanings of words, the rag pivots to pretend the proposal is about penalising people for ‘calling out antisemitism’:
This deliberately avoids the obvious: that a claim having ‘no merit’ is not the same thing as it being ‘vexatious or malicious’. Of course, nobody with any experience of the Squeak will be surprised by such nonsense.
The article has had, as of this moment, some 1,400 shares – far more than the typical handful for its articles – showing how much its right-wing readers are concerned about the idea that they might get ‘called out’ and penalised for making false complaints.
The proposal, of course, is not limited only to false complaints of antisemitism, but would address false complaints of any type – and is entirely in line with usual legal principles.
If someone makes a deliberate false accusation of a criminal act, they can be charged and suffer legal penalties. If someone makes a false, damaging statement about someone in the media, they can be penalised for defamation.
So the Squeak getting its knickers in a twist reveals more than they might wish – because only people who want to make false and malicious accusations are likely to worry that there might be a penalty for doing so.
It’s a dead give-away of the plans of the Labour right – of course only false accusations by Labour members would be subject to any penalty in Labour’s rules.
The Squeak was not the only one to bleat about the idea of consequences for malicious dishonesty. Former compliance head John Stolliday, who recently left his post with a dreary elitist speech, made a dire ‘contribution’ to the discussion by tweeting a claim that Labour’s rules already ‘deal with’ vexatious complaints:
Stolliday’s idea of ‘dealing with’ a malicious complaint – vexatious, frivolous or abusive – is simply rejecting the complaint. There is no element of consequence for even an abusive complainer.
This amounts to a one-way process, where the worst that could happen to someone maliciously and abusively making a false complaint is: not succeeding.
In other words – “bad luck this time, go away and try again”.
It’s the equivalent of making Labour members the targets in a shooting gallery – with unlimited free reloads for the abusive and dishonest – if the first shot misses just keep shooting until there’s a hit.
This makes it all the more obviously essential that a provision – a general one about all malicious complaints – must be included in Labour’s disciplinary to ensure that any Labour members making a malicious, vexatious or abusive complaint face a penalty equal to that which they tried to invoke on their target.
This will not prevent genuine complainants reporting their issues and concerns – but will inhibit those of ill will, at least those who are Labour members.
If anyone thinks the issue is not likely to be abused if there is no such provision, they only need to look at Red Roar’s manufactured outrage about the mere possibility of it being included.
The Labour right intends a deluge of complaints against its opponents – and it must be deprived of the impunity it hopes will underpin its planned purge. Such a step is no more than the application of natural justice to Labour’s rules.
So what can Labour members of good will do? Find the details of your member or union representatives on the NEC and demand that they ensure that a motion for the inclusion of a penalty for vexatious, malicious or abusive complaints is on the agenda for the next NEC meeting – and that they both support it and lobby their colleagues to do the same.
Depending on how the NEC interprets its standing orders, the discussion could be as soon as next Tuesday, so act now.
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