Code+/IHRA back on 4 Sep agenda – but avoiding delay to Democracy Review discussion crucial


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The header of the NEC’s ‘standing orders’

The Labour National Executive Committee’s (NEC) standing orders state that the issue of Labour’s Code of Conduct should not be discussed until October at the earliest – after the three-month minimum from the July NEC meeting that first approved the Code expires.

In spite of that rule – and the fact that it was not on the agenda for the meeting at the end of last week – expectation among NEC members is now high that the issue of amending the Code to include the adoption of the remaining ‘examples’ of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s ‘working definition will be discussed at Tuesday’s meeting of the NEC, along with the issue of strengthened protections for members, free speech and the rights of Palestinians.

A number of NEC members still believe that the topic is ‘out of order’, but even though Tuesday’s meeting is an ‘extraordinary’ one specifically for the discussion of the Democracy Review recommendations to be put forward to Labour’s annual conference this month, it’s now essentially certain to be discussed and taken to a vote.

Resistance among the membership to the wholesale adoption of examples considered dangerous to free speech on the issue of Israel’s oppression of Palestine is still high, but as long as the examples and protections are passed as a package most members recognise that it will be the best achievable solution at least in the short and medium term.

Of far greater importance is that the issue should not be drawn out in order to hinder the passage of Democracy Review recommendations that will democratise the party and protect it from being re-seized by a small number of hardline right-wingers against the wishes of its members.

Those recommendations need to be finalised so that delegates from around the country can vote them into place when conference takes place in Liverpool and the NEC must ensure that no grandstanding or other diversionary tactics are tolerated.

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  1. Where is the evidence for this:
    “most members recognise that it will be the best achievable solution at least in the short and medium term.”

    Margaret Hodge has just given the game away (as if we didn’t already know) that the AS issue will not go away as long as Jeremy is Leader. They want his head no matter what damage they do to the Labour Party.

    This is why anymore appeasement or entertaining of the idiotic IHRA definition and its examples should be ditched.

    1. I noticed a typographical error in the Guardian’s reporting of this:

      It said: “The Barking MP…”

      It should have said : “The barking MP…”

  2. ‘Margaret Hodge has just given the game away (as if we didn’t already know) that the AS issue will not go away as long as Jeremy is Leader. They want his head no matter what damage they do to the Labour Party.’

    Agreed. I’ve just witnessed it on the always impartial bbc. Just what else is hodge gonna be allowed to get away with? Grow a pair of bollocks and f***ing well expel the arl zealot and if she carries on – SUE the arl cow.

    And berger too. The reason she “doesn’t feel welcome” is that her politics and constant hyperbolic shrieking is severely pissing off not only her CLP & constituents, but plenty of members and non-members alike all over the place.

    ‘Bodyguard’ indeed. Pay for additional security yer fookin’ self if you feel it so necessary. Godawful twunt.

    1. This is interesting:

      “Dame Margaret also clarified comments in which she likened the party disciplinary investigation into her conduct to the persecution faced by Jews in Nazi Germany.”

      She said: “Obviously none of us here would in any was think that what is happening to us in the Labour Party is analogous to the Holocaust.”

      So why did she make the analogy and then appear to repeat it?

      “But the Holocaust didn’t happen in a vacuum. We had a build up to the Holocaust.”


      1. “But the Holocaust didn’t happen in a vacuum. We had a build up to the Holocaust.”

        Isn’t this more or less what Ken Livingstone said?

  3. The Conservative Party haven’t adopted ‘the Examples’ in their ‘Code of Conduct’ but despite anti-Semitism being more prevalent in the Tory Party than it is within Labour we haven’t heard a squeak from the BofD about this

    Discrimination includes victimising or harassing any other person because of race (including colour, ethnic or national origin, nationality, citizenship), sex, gender re-assignment, sexual orientation, marital or civil partnership status, disability, age, religion or belief [which should be interpreted as fully adopting the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s definition of anti-Semitism], pregnancy and maternity status.

    Although as you can see they have recently shoe-horned in a reference to adopting the full IHRA definition (which Labour has already done) there is absolutely no mention of the ‘sacred’ 11 Examples whatsoever.

  4. According to the BoD, of the 280k Jews in the UK only about 26% are ‘traditional’ the others are either orthodox, secular or progressive. If that is the case, if we ditch the idiotic IHRA definition and its examples, as we should, we could actually GAIN votes rather than lose them.

    It is a fact that ultra orthodox Jews do not want Labour to have anything to do with the IHRA definition, why should we ignore them in favour of Zionists who want to destroy Jeremy as Leader?

  5. What are labour’s rules for again? I mean if there is a rule that says it can’t be discussed for 3 month and they do it anyway, whats the point? Does anyone realise that only this shows labour NEC is a joke? How can members accept their elected representatives changing the game when it suits them? That is utterly shameful and to me enough to discredit the entire body.

    1. Couldn’t agree more. They (NEC) were elected to make a stand and make a change from the mcnicol cabal. It’s about time to say ‘NO’ and put and end to the issue.

      Maybe if it was done in a broad Ulster accent, arlene foster-style, (NOOOOOOOO!) the message’d be better understood by just about everyone.

      The NEC have made so many concessions they’ve spoilt the brats. Time for some ‘tough love’.

  6. It’s JC they want removed, we all know that. I don’t know the answer to this, but I don’t think dancing to their time-scale will work.

    On a more positive note, just like all the previous attacks resulted in a membership influx, I believe the same is happening again.

    Just read Alex Nunn’s ‘ The Candidate’, it explained a lot and was very well researched. Would recommend. Got it through my local library.

  7. I’ve tried to avoid reading about Hodge all day. I watched the cricket went for a walk. then (sigh) I read SB. Thanks Jack T – for your alert – thanks a bundle! Weeks and weeks ago someone said something about the Hodge chucking the toys back out of the pram, no matter what we did – how right they were. So, now she has said Full IHRA and all 11 examples “won’t be enough”. Well, that’s cards on the table then. What a bully, what a narcissist, what a sociopath, what a monster! I cannot think of a better reason for discarding all 11 of them – and I was up for four, maybe.

    Do not go gentle into that good night
    Rage, rage, against the dying of the light.

    1. I’m surprised that some New Labour grandee hasn’t told Hodge to STFU because she’s harming the cause that she supports.

      1. Like this DG and the comment by Sue Ferguson too – makes me feel a bit better…

  8. If, when this definition has been agreed, I will still have the right to call Israel a racist state, like I can call any other country a racist state, or wonder if there is some moral equivalence between shooting unarmed Jews in Europe in the 1930s and shooting unarmed Palestinian demonstrators today, then it will have my support.
    But I still think there must be a better definition that the IHRA one, and the Labour leadership really shouldn’t have allowed the poorly worded IHRA definition to be foisted upon the party.

    1. Dave, the point is you or I will still be able to say what we want but if ‘they’ think it is antisemitic, they won’t care if it they fall foul of the caveats. Most of them aren’t in the LP anyway but you/I will still be labelled antisemitic by them until found innocent and for how long would we be suspended whilst the investigation took place and would they care anyway?

      For probably hundreds of people it would be guilty until found innocent, which is exactly what they want.

  9. Just imagine what Joe/Joan Public would say tomorrow when they are having their tea if the news broke that “Today, the Labour Party have adopted the dictionary definition of antisemitism i.e. ‘prejudice or discrimination against Jews because they are Jews’ ” I bet the majority would say ‘very sensible, but we thought that’s what it was already’.

    The anti-Jeremy crowd wouldn’t have a leg to stand on, they would be laughed out of the room when they started to fumble with ‘ah but yes but’. Just like Jonathan Sacks today when Marr asked him if he ever felt threatened…. by Jeremy? For what seemed like an age, he was stumped whilst he grappled for an answer, which turned out to be NO of course but couched in gobbledygook.

  10. “Labour is dealing with this issue” whilst the Tories ‘Make a Balls of Brexit!’
    And the US Right Wing Barbarians try to blackmail 5m Palestinians to sell their Right to Return, a right which would contribute to the peace process.
    Now is the time for all good people to come to the aid of Jeremy Corbyn, the first ever real socialist leader Labour has ever had.
    I offer JC my 100% support to JC as Labour Leader!

  11. “Labour is addressing the issue” whilst the Tories make a Right Wreck of the Railways!
    ‘Labour is a democratic socialist party which passionately believes in equality for all diverse citizens.
    We wholeheartedly oppose racism in all its toxic forms including anti-Semitism plus we wholeheartedly oppose discrimination shown towards women (and men), the young and old plus LGBT and Disabled citizens.
    In this context Labour also wholeheartedly supports the right of members to criticise any Government in the World including in the UK.
    Furthermore if the Far Right was to ever re-emerge as a serious force in the UK or anywhere in the World Labour totally commits itself to mobilising its full membership and supporters plus the memberships of our allies the trade unions to confront this threat to democracy and we will ask all diverse communities to join us on the front-line in this cause.’
    Solidarity and No Pasaran!

  12. This is a situation where the only fair solutions are the two extremes:

    1) Group everything together in a single sentence, e.g “Any comment that is hateful towards an individual or group purely because of a protected characteristic as described by the Equality Act 2010 will be subject to disciplinary action that may include suspension or expulsion”.

    2) Use the time before the three months are up to freely invite every subset of all nine protected characteristics – individuals or representative groups – to send in their own codes to the NEC for approval, along with expressions of interest to run their own remedial training for offenders. For religion, that also includes every sect and unbelievers; as a christened Methodist who is now agnostic I could submit three codes. Follow the McPherson Principle regardless of the contradictions it will throw up. Hold an EGM to decide which to incorporate into Labour’s Code of Conduct and why.

  13. no one will vote labour after the four kept the May government in power

  14. Would most agree that the L.P. has to have some kind of code of conduct?

    I will put my fury with Hodge et al to one side. On reflection, Hodge’s sickening pronouncements are perhaps not an entirely sound basis for discarding all 11 examples as I suggested earlier, or anything else for that matter, other than vomit. So, at great risk of being pedestrian and repetitious, let me make an appeal for my own position. If you know it already, don’t read on, you’ve got better things to do!

    I know that some very persuasive voices on the SB have little or no faith in any form of IHRA derivative. By these I mean: the IHRA code, the NEC code and the so-called Code plus. The objections might be summarised, as follows:

    As in “No more appeasement!” The idea that IHRA derivatives offer a distorted code in seeking to appease those who will never be appeased
    Malicious complaints
    The perception that any IHRA derivative will encourage malicious complaints, wreak havoc with the membership and inflict immeasurable damage on individuals and groups regardless of eventual outcomes.
    The “murky” passage of the IHRA code, from a survey instrument, to failure at the EUMC, through to adaptation by the pro Zionist Wiesenthal centre – a group that admitted no distinction between Zionists and Jews.
    Repression of any criticism of the state of Israel
    As with the un-modified/un-deleted examples in the IHRA code
    The misapplication of the so-called MacPherson principle
    As with the IHRA code

    There are plenty of malign internal and external influences who will refuse to be appeased, whether we opt for the simplest of e.g. dictionary definitions, or the full Code plus. Precisely because of this, I would reject the “appeasement” issue as a strong argument for the rejection or support of any particular version of a code per se, unless the code itself appears to not do what it’s supposed to do, other than appease. With this in mind I await, with great trepidation, a manifestation of the Code plus.

    Malicious complaints
    Appallingly, there are malign groups and individuals who will continue to make false claims irrespective of any code that is chosen and they will continue to inflict lasting damage on groups and individuals, regardless of eventual outcomes. The Code plus, which the membership have yet to examine, may well give malign groups or individuals a lot more detail to latch themselves onto and thereby lead to a monumental waste of time and resources, as well as, once again, causing lasting injury to groups and individuals.
    For me The NEC code seems to anticipate such false claims, through its revision of the examples and its fairly concise and incisive comments on them. Once again, probably no code will stop the determined ones.

    Provenance and Macpherson
    The IHRA code with its 11 examples, deliberately conflates Zionism with Judaism. The argument for its rejection hardly needs making,
    On the other hand, for me, the NEC code, does a pretty sound job of unpicking criticism of both historical Zionism and the State of Israel from criticism of Jews, because they are Jewish. Furthermore, whilst the IHRA code would have grossly misapplied the Macpherson principle, the NEC code was adept in finding a clear and much more appropriate context for Macpherson, as well as showing sensitivity to some of the issues that led to it. For me, just because the IHRA code used definitions and examples wrongly, crudely, confusingly and for questionable motives and purposes, does not mean that the issues it covered are in and of themselves irrelevant. It depends of course whether one wants A/S to fall under a much broader BAME definition.

    Repression of Criticism of the State of Israel.
    There is clear evidence that some universities and councils (Barnet) have used the IHRA to repress criticism of Israel and to tout for bans on e.g. BDS. The IHRA is wide open to this kind of interpretation being adopted or exploited, for all the obvious reasons. Again, I have yet to be convinced that the NEC code permits that kind of interpretation, though this is not to say that, like any code, it isn’t open to abuse.

    … Some will disagree, but I am saddened that the actual NEC code, as it stood a few months ago, seems to have been wasted on good people like Len and JC and I cannot understand why the NEC didn’t build on and publicise what has been a rapidly growing groundswell of support, particularly in Jewish groups and communities. One only has to dip into the JVL site to find that there are dozens of groups, eminent individuals, petitions, that have expressed, their support for the NEC code.

    Conversely, in the wider community and particularly since the emergence of a putative Code plus, I have yet to come across detailed analysis, post the emergence of Code plus, that specifically addresses what was wrong with the details of the NEC code as it stood. All comment seems to have morphed into a very generalised comment on opposition to the IHRA definitions and examples, without appearing to distinguish much between the IHRA code the NEC code and the Code Plus, though this isn’t always quite the case:

    Huda Elmi (16 Aug, Independent) speaks out against adoption of the examples “in full” which I take to mean the Code plus, but she fails to comment explicitly on The NEC code. I sense her support, but that’s all.
    (congratulations Huda re the NEC!)

    Annie Cohen (6 Aug, Forward), in a truly compelling and nuanced article, wholeheartedly seems to support the NEC code and offers an argument much more subtle and wide ranging than anything I can muster. However, once again, it looks to me as though the article was written before the announcement of a Code plus.

    There is a magnificent and historically nuanced submission to the NEC, (available on the JVL site) by Roger Silverman of West Ham LP, (2 Sept.) that I would urge those interested to read … And I do believe, in his final comment, that he is urging support for the NEC code as it stands.

    If anyone can point me to a cogent demolition of the NEC code, I will take note and read. Forgive me if I say that I occasionally wonder whether this Code was just a figment of my imagination… apologies, also, for my dismal inability to cut and paste the above references.

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