The SKWAWKBOX has detailed a number of options available to Labour’s NEC (National Executive Committee) to strengthen the party’s Code of Conduct when – as appears certain – the NEC votes to incorporate the remaining examples of possible antisemitic behaviour from the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s (IHRA) ‘working definition’ of antisemitism into the Code.
The examples were previously described in outline – and clarified – by the original Code of Conduct to protect free speech and Palestinian rights from examples that have been abused to inhibit free speech and the ‘Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions’ campaign against illegal Israeli settlements.
The IHRA introduction to its examples, which states clearly that the examples might constitute antisemitic behaviour, but only depending on context, has also been routinely ignored by media and by pro-Israel activists to apply the examples as absolutes against their opponents.
The most contentious of the options put forward – and certainly the one which has most worried right-wingers hoping for a purge of their opponents – has been a possible amendment to Labour’s disciplinary protocol: the inclusion of penalties for malicious false accusations.
But this is manufactured outrage aimed at gaining a political advantage. A false criminal or civil accusation can carry penalties in law and natural justice suggests that the complaints process cannot be consequence-free if abused.
Any penalty included in Labour’s rules would, of course, apply to malicious accusations in any category – although, deeply unsurprisingly, it has been misrepresented by the ‘MSM’:
The manufactured outrage at the idea has been sufficient that mainstream media and pundits have pressed Labour for a statement on the issue and the party – accurately at the time – stated that such a provision was not on the agenda for the next NEC meeting. This has been picked up by the likes of Robert Peston – and Peston, at least, has noted the likelihood of other protections being agreed by the NEC:
But the SKWAWKBOX can reveal that this is no longer the case – as the resolution below has been submitted by an NEC member for inclusion on next week’s agenda and while it references the current antisemitism issue for context, it applies to all categories of complaint, as it should:
– Notes that an unfortunate side-effect of the party’s renewed determination to root out antisemitism has been that, in a small number of cases, false accusations have been made about Labour party members, officers and elected representatives.
– Believes that maliciously-made accusations are damaging, hurtful and cannot be accepted in a democratic party.
– Resolves that:
(1) Labour must be tough on vexatious claims made about its members and must never accept such behaviour becoming the norm.
(2) To be taken seriously, formal complaints about alleged wrongdoing by party members must therefore be precise and based on facts and must take into account the context within which the alleged behaviour took place.
(3) Complaints that do not meet these standards may be considered vexatious, in which case they may result in disciplinary charges being pursued against the complainant.
The resolution will, as usual, be subject to debate and possible amendment according to the democratic view of the NEC. However, a number of member and union representatives on the committee have expressed support in principle and insiders think it has a good chance of passing in some form.
This resolution is good news for everyone genuinely concerned to implement authentic protections for this nation’s Jewish citizens. Preventing antisemitism is in no way at odds with the protection of free speech, the rights of Palestinians and the rights of Labour members to support the Palestinian cause if they see fit.
However, an increased volume of faux-outrage can be expected between now and next Tuesday’s NEC meeting from those who want to use the issue cynically as cover for a purge of political opponents amid a deluge of politically-motivated complaints in an environment with no repercussions for those making them.
The SKWAWKBOX needs your support. This blog is provided free of charge but depends on the generosity of its readers to be viable. If you can afford to, please click here to arrange a one-off or modest monthly donation via PayPal. Thanks for your solidarity so this blog can keep bringing you information the Establishment would prefer you not to know about.
If you wish to reblog this post for non-commercial use, you are welcome to do so – see here for more.