Right’s ‘outrage’ over vexatious claim penalty gives away their real agenda

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’:

rr penal.png

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 dire.png

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.

shooting gallery.jpg

 

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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24 responses to “Right’s ‘outrage’ over vexatious claim penalty gives away their real agenda

  1. It may not be explicitly stated in the Rule book but Vexatious complaints are covered by the rules about bullying and harassment.

    Just needs someone to make a complaint 🙂

    • Seems the only specific mention of vexatious says vexatious, abusive or frivolous complaints can be dismissed. Not good enough

      • They may be dismissed but but that does not mean that false accusations are not bullying and harrassment. The rules do cover this.

  2. I’m not sure “vexatious” (causing or tending to cause annoyance, frustration, or worry) is specific enough. “Knowingly false” might be better.
    If someone knows, or should know, that the accusation they are making is false, that should be a matter for the disciplinary procedure.

    • ‘Knowingly false’?

      That’s all the MP’s in the clear, then.

      They’re born liars ffs. All they have to say is: ‘I MIGHT have inadvertently….’ or: ‘I was misinformed…’ and that’s them coming away smelling of roses, a-effing-gain.

      They know exactly what they can and can’t get away with – with the help of the (lax) rules as they stand now, as well as the law; and that’s why extra measures need putting in place.

      Nail each and every one of the bastards that distract from the harm of toerag austerity – indeed, aiding and abetting toerag policies – by causing a shitstorm and trying to sway the public conception of the party for no other reason than they don’t like Corbyn and the policies of the left.

      • If an MP accuses Momentum members of throwing a brick through the window of the building which houses her office, with no evidence.
        If an MP makes false, old, indirect allegations of paedophilia against a candidate in a leadership election.
        If an MP invents an anti-Semitic trope of being too close to a right-wing newspaper owned by identical twin Catholics and then feigns distress in order to get a supporter of a political opponent wrongly thrown out of the party.
        If an MP accuses a fellow MP who has spent decades fighting racism of all types of being an anti-Semite and racist, just because she wants to protect Israel from legitimate criticism.
        All of these are evidence-free, politically-driven smears. Chuck the people who make them out of the party.
        Appeasement won’t work. When you sacrifice the likes of Marc Wadsworth and Ken Livingstone to appease them, it just encourages them and they move on to the next target! The party needs to stand up to them firmly. Even if they leave to form another party.

  3. Why reinvent the wheel?
    Attempting to Pervert the Course of Justice is a principle that is well understood throughout the legal profession both by advocates and judges.

    • Why reinvent the wheel?

      Simple really, as a check to the likes of smeeth making absurd and dishonest claims of antisemitism, and that f***ing godawful berger from shrieking: ‘It’s the new holocaust’ on each and every claim – now matter how spurious or ridiculous. It might actually do her a favour and stop her making a right tw*t of herself as she is wont to do.

      Maybe it’ll inhibit that shithouse mann from making ridiculous and snide claims involving his family, too…One can only hope.

      The CPS wouldn’t even bother to look at those instances of the things they’ve done or said, so it’s left to the party to deal with them. And deal with them they MUST.

  4. We already have libel and slander which could be taken up by the Party instead of leaving it to the member, which is what seems to be happening now with ‘Damian from Brighton’

  5. I just happened to finally get round to watching The Lobby last night, and anyone who’s watched it will know how the woman who was asking pertinent questions at the Labour Friends of Israel stall at the LP conference ended up being falsely accused of anti-semitism by Joan Ryan (in Pt 3), who just blatantly fabricated stuff. Absolutlely outrageous.

    Thank goodness the undercover guy was there filming at the time!

    https://www.aljazeera.com/investigations/thelobby/

    The reality is that the vast majority of complaints made to the NEC – whether it be allegations of anti-semitism or sexual abuse or homophopia etc, etc – are false and bogus and contrived, and THAT is precisely the reason why they are not upheld by the NEC, and it’s absurd beyond words that there are not the most serious repercussions for LP members resorting to such abhorrent and despicable malicious tactics. They should be barred from the LP for life….. WHOEVER they are!

    • And there should also be serious sanctions in place to deter the rent-a-quote rat-pack mob from commenting on, or criticising anyone who’s (NEC) case is ongoing, and accusing them of being guilty in effect and speaking about them in derogatory terms and denigrating and vilifying them as if they ARE. It’s absolutely outrageous that they are allowed to get away with doing it.

    • One way to stop a lot of it is for Labour to stop suspending members the moment a complaint is made.
      There should be a presumption of innocence until a transparent investigation is made.
      The vast majority of “false” complaints are only intended to stop people participating in the democratic processes of the party temporarily to stop them voting or standing as candidates.
      What’s good enough for Margaret Hodges … etc.

      • I don’t think it has very much to do with stopping people from participating in the democratic process – ie THAT isn’t the reason why it’s happening – and has EVERYTHING to do with undermining JC’s leadership and demonising the Left, and THAT has been more than obvious for a long time now.

  6. I was a union rep for years. It is perfectly normal in work places for an employer to provide employees with a Grievance Procedure its something that is recommended and encouraged by ACAS. However it is also usual that employees are advised that any misuse of such a procedure by making untrue or malicious or complaints could make the complainant the subject of disciplinary proceedings. Placing such a condition on how a “complaints” process may be used is entirely sensible and reasonable and it is a practice that is widespread within many institutions and organisations in our society other than just the work place.
    Of course people should be penalised for deliberately misusing such a procedure and attempting to exploit others by basically lying.

  7. This seems an entirely sensible and normal thing to do. At a time when we see numerous attacks based on the numbers of accusations rather than the number of those actually found guilty of misconduct, then it would seem this kind of thing needs to be tackled and soon…

    • Try it with the Police. You can be charged with wasting the police’s time. All these malicious allegations mean that the NEC’s time is wasted.

  8. I keep thinking of Max Shanly, a young activist who was suspended for two years, after accusations associated with the contentious election of Jasmin Beckett as youth delegate to the NEC. Iain McNicol dropped the suspension when he ‘resigned’ because there was ‘no evidence’.

    I find this beyond outrageous… two years suspended when there was no evidence … and at an age which will have blighted his employment prospects, either within or without the LP.

  9. Excellent article ,and excellent responses to a very important subject.

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    • Legal action – nothing the party’s rules can do to change that. But penalties within the party lay down a marker that complaints will be scrutinised and where appropriate rejected.

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