Wavertree members: ‘Lansman offered to mediate to persuade us to keep Luciana’

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Momentum founder Jon Lansman and Wavertree MP Luciana Berger

Liverpool Wavertree MP Luciana Berger was again involved in controversy recently when the right-wing press claimed that she was in danger from Labour members had to be accompanied by a police protective detail at the party’s annual conference in Liverpool.

This turned out not to be correct and Merseyside police confirmed she had no individual special arrangements, although officers had been on hand to help any of a number of people. Ms Berger was accompanied outside the conference perimeter, but had no guards or chaperones within it.

She did not answer the SKWAWKBOX’s enquiry why she had not put the record straight.

Momentum founder Jon Lansman has also been involved in controversy, not least when he and a small subset of Momentum’s National Coordinating Group dropped support for fellow National Executive Committee (NEC) member Peter Willsman during the recent Labour elections to the NEC after a leaked recording was misrepresented by the media as antisemitic.

And now local Labour members in Wavertree claim that Lansman attempted to persuade them not to attempt to remove Luciana Berger when they talked to him recently about their concerns over her political positions.

One member told the SKWAWKBOX:

I’m in Wavertree CLP, my MP is Luciana Berger. I was with [redacted] looking round at conference for MPs to get a picture with when we spotted John Lansman. After I got a picture we started a conversation and it soon moved on to Luciana.

I mentioned how she refuses to talk about issues we think are important and how people in the poorer areas of the constituency complain that they want to talk about mental health issues and are unhappy that she resigned as Shadow Minister for mental health. The conversation soon turned to how we hope to deselect her. Jon really didn’t want that to happen and told us it would cause a lot of problems.

The other who participated in the discussion confirmed these events and added:

Myself and my comrade noticed Lansman sitting having a drink in the coffee area so we approached him. We talked for about 10 minutes and were trying to gauge his reaction/views about what we, as the left caucus in Wavertree who have not affiliated to Momentum, should do about Luciana.

He told us we should not try to go down the deselection route or make any noise as Luciana was “pliable” and that he knew her “of old”. He then dramatically and shockingly offered to “mediate” between us and Berger at a meeting. We politely made our excuses and left.

Jon Lansman was contacted about this meeting but declined to comment. He did not deny that the conversation took place.

SKWAWKBOX comment:

In the run-up to Labour’s conference in Liverpool, Momentum campaigned strongly for ‘open selection’ – a process that would require every MP to compete for members’ approval for his or her continued candidacy before every general election.

However, it now appears that during the conference the organisation’s founder attempted to persuade members not to attempt to deselect their MP, in spite of their dissatisfaction with her performance on a number of issues – and even offered to personally mediate to avoid her deselection.

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  1. “Don’t deselect her, she’s pliable” – no worries about pliability being one of the character traits least desirable in an MP then Mr. Lansman?
    You want to keep her because you can manipulate her?
    Wrap her around your little finger?
    See yourself as a kingmaker do you, Mr. Lansman?
    Or maybe you’re more a pretender to the throne than a kingmaker?

    1. Haven’t noticed it myself but then I don’t have the kind of profile that would attract the attention of censors.
      We’ve been expecting it though, haven’t we – in some form or other?
      Maybe it’s time to buy up old CB radios for communication in the revolution they’ll cause if they shut down dissident social media.

  2. Berger was parachuted in to her constituency for no other reason than she had a relationship with Blair’s son. She was so naive when asked she didn’t even know who Bill Shankly is! A Blairite MP who will gladly keep attacking and undermining the leadership of course. Another MP that needs to be deselected.

    1. Indeed. From Wikipedia…

      ”Berger’s selection as prospective parliamentary candidate in early 2010 was controversial within the Liverpool Wavertree party. During the selection process, Berger lived for a period at the home of Jane Kennedy, then the sitting MP, whose partner was Labour official Peter Dowling, who ran the selection process. The completed ballot papers were returned to Kennedy’s home address.[19] In the run up to the 2010 election, the Labour leadership was accused of “parachuting” Berger in as a candidate.[20] Kennedy insisted that she and Dowling had acted properly.”

      That’s fellow LFI member and now police commissioner (Who was out of the traps immediately to accuse Corbyn supporters over #brickgate and still hasn’t retracted it.) jane kennedy, folks.

      Terry Fields must be spinning in his grave, God rest him.

  3. And this is well worth watching/listening to if you haven’t done so before, which I hadn’t myself until yesterday evening, and note how many times Dan Hodges gets in his platitudes – like the good propagandist that he is – about anti-semitism in the Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party that is of course, especially towards the end. And he obviously doesn’t realise just how glaringly transparent he is!:

    1. And talking of censorship – as in my initial post above – the comment I left earlier on youtube regarding Hodges has since been removed! A first as far as I am aware. And it’s strange – given that the video was uploaded in April and most of the comments were posted back then – that there appears to have been a sudden flurry of activity since I posted my comment (about how despicable these fascists are causing worry and concern amongst the Jewish community etc). I mean I’m assuming that if youtube gets a bunch of ‘reports’, then they’ll remove it?

  4. Jon is right. Mediation is a good and sensible option of conflict resolution. Put your knives away. Really sensible for Labour which is trying to fight off its ‘antisemitic ‘ image to be deselecting a Jewish MP who has been under attack from antisemites – 2 far-right men in prison for threatening her, and who has been raising concerns about antisemitism in the party, and the mural. You know how this would look to the public. It would not help Labour. Do you think the media would report any detail about why her clp claim to want to deselect her? This recent tone against Jon on this site and in the comments has taken a dark turn. He has said nothing wrong here. The antisemitism i have seen against him in some people’s comments on past articles and on Twitter has woken me up to how some people on the left of Labour really are.

    Also Luciana does a lot for mental health issues and the nhs do I’m not sure what that person is talking about.

    Also Momentum was right to drop their endorsement of Willsman.

    Anyway goodbye skwawkbox

    1. I think you’d find that the vast majority of Momentum members were behind Willsman……. And THAT’S very much part of the problem re Jon Lansman. And I doubt very much that anyone on SB has said anything about him that has anything whatsoever to do with the fact that he’s Jewish (and I have no doubt whatsoever that SB would remove any such comments very quickly). But maybe you could give us two or three examples of what you mean – ie that you’ve come across.

      1. Ang: It’s late, so I’ll leave it to someone else to give a detailed rundown, but if you’ve been following SB during the past two or three years, then you’ll know there’s a whole catalogue of episodes that have led many people on the Left to question Jon Lamsman’s integrity, what with his dismissive putdown of Ken Livingstone who, as Lansman undoubtedly knew, was just referring to an historical fact when he – Livingstone – said that Hitler supported Zionism.

        Ken was referring, in passing, to the Havaara Agreement (between the Nazis and the Zionists), which led to the lifting of the boycott of Nazi Germany by THE Zionists, and the reason Ken was smeared and, as such, falsely accused of anti-Semitism, along with a lot of faux hysteria (an essential ingredient in any smear campaign), is/was solely because he was a high profile supporter of Jeremy’s, and Jon should have been defending him against the smearers, NOT deriding him.

        And the smearers concocted the smear against Ken because they knew that the vast majority of people had never heard of the Havaara Agreement or the Zionist boycott of Nazi Germany, myself included, but a lot more people HAVE since Ken did the interview.

        Then there was the episode with standing for GS of the NEC – to encourage more women to stand! – just a couple of months or so after he was elected to the NEC, and then there was Jackie Walker……………

        And none of it – the criticism and mistrust – has anything whatsoever to do with the fact that Jon is Jewish.

      2. And just in case there’s anyone who doesn’t know what Jon Lansman said about Ken, here it is:

        A period of silence from Ken Livingstone is overdue, especially on antisemitism racism & Zionism. It’s time he left politics altogether

    2. Your first sentence got it in three words.
      Jon does indeed appear to be right and to have been heading in that direction for some time.
      Nobody is ever criticised here for being Jewish.
      No need to find three examples – find one.

    3. As soon as Jeremy Corbyn became a candidate for election, Zionists in the Party and elsewhere made it their mission to destroy his chances. It wasn’t Labour members who chose the fight or the weapons, it was Zionists such as Luciana Berger. They cannot now cry victimisation or unfairness if their CLPs decide it’s time for them to go, they brought it upon themselves.

      Jon Lansman who supports the Zionist JLM thought he could use his money and influence to spin and/or mask the actions of Zionists but he failed to recognise how obvious his own moves were and is now ‘outed’ as one of the enemy.

      This has nothing to do with certain critics of Jeremy being part of the congregation in the so called ‘broad church’ it is about ‘sleepers’ in the Party acting against democracy and the interests of us all on behalf of an outside entity i.e. the rogue State of Israel.

      1. Old Lucy just aint as pretty as she thinks. She was our Tone’s kid’s girlfriend and Tone digs thimgamy. I rest my case.

    4. If you are still there Ang,

      It’s not my favourite piece from SB but it has relevance.

      I agree with you that: “mediation is a good and sensible option for conflict resolution”, but what we are looking at here is not a ‘conflict’. It is the outcome of undemocratic procedures and practices and of the weaponising and abuse of the AS banner in order to sustain an unwarranted and malicious attack on the Labour leadership. Unfortunately, aside from the issues around the way that she was “parachuted” into Wavertree, Luciana Berger has been complicit in this. Jon’s alleged assurance about her being “pliable” comes a little late in the day.

      Like you I am concerned about how the MSM like to make things “look”; where we differ is in how that is responded to. JL appears to be taking the appeasement route. This contributes to continuing injustices for individuals; it legitimises and perpetuates, unwarranted attacks on the Labour leadership/Labour left; last, but not least, it falls into a trap that enables and sustains the political hegemony of the MSM and the politicians that they sponsor – as with the Blair years.

      JL is not alone in this respect. I have not always been happy with JC either and for sure. I’m not the only one. However, I understand his good intention, the pressure he has been under and of course his right to hold a different viewpoint to my own!

      There is a huge difference between them though.

      Jeremy clearly does not wish to supress dissenting voices, or criticism of Israel; it would appear, however, that Jon does. There are two clear examples that suggest this developing position. One was his intervention on the code of conduct, though he was not alone in this. The other is his apparent view (there has been some lack of transparency) that a member of JVL should not be nominated to the NCC because this would not be acceptable to “the Jewish Community”. This latter development is profoundly concerning and it is completely unacceptable to me. I am not a member of Momentum, but my position is hardly factional.

      Criticism of Jon Lansman does not equate with criticism of him because he is a Jew. Like many others, I wish we could move on – yes, call out AS whenever you find it; but, currently, the leadership of Momentum is not helping us to do this; neither is it helping us to move on.

      1. For “contributes to continuing injustices” please read “means continuing injustices…”

    5. I’m really staggered by what you have said here. It isn’t Jon’s job to “mediate” about anything to do with Labour MPs. Ms Berger has been subjected to antisemitism, but not to the level you have described here. Jon has been criticised for

    6. I’m really staggered by what you have said here. It isn’t Jon’s job to “mediate” about anything to do with Labour MPs. That is a decision for CLP to make. Ms Berger has been subjected to antisemitism, but not to the level you have described here. Jon has been criticised for his partisan view of JVL on behalf of Momentum? However as a member of JLM he should have declined to be involved. Momentum being a ‘grass roots’ group should have made decision about JVL’s involvement in the A-S ‘watchdog’ group at NEC. Momentum either IS a grassroots, democratic group or it is lead by a hierarchy. Jon needs to clear up this discrepancy.

      So, yes mediation can be good; Yes Jon is probably right that deselecting a Jewish MP would be a PR difficultly. What is clear however is that Luciana has not been listening to her local members and has instead been briefing against Labour leadership on a regular basis. Stories in the press that Ms Berger needed PBG were untrue but she did nothing to put that particular record straight. Even when Ms Hodge publicly weighed in about need for PBG and ranted to whoever about Labour A-S, Ms Berger still did not put this right. As far as I am aware no one bothered Ms Berger at conference. Why would they?

      If as you say Ms Berger does a lot for Mental Health then why did she give up her front bench job? According to one report she is not listening to her constituents’ worries concerning mental health provision.

      If my previous job appraisals showed that I was not doing my job properly or effectively it would have nothing to do with my religious beliefs! The basic question here is: Is this person doing their job properly or not? Can they be given training to do their job better? It they can show willingness to do a better job then the decision is whether, on their current form, this person is likely to improve? This is about effective working skills nothing more, nothing less.

    7. Protecting a bad MP because she’s Jewish would be about as bad and discriminatory as deselecting her because she’s Jewish. This is about her behaviour – and Jon Lansman’s – not about religion or ethnicity.

      Ms Berger’s record on mental health is debatable. She was in an excellent position to ‘do a lot’ as minister for MH – but chose to leave that position as part of the ‘chicken coup’, which at least puts a question mark next to her commitment to the issue.

      As for any antisemitic comments here, they’ll be removed if seen or drawn to my attention. But you’d have to provide some examples, because criticising someone who’s Jewish is not antisemitic unless they’re being criticised *because* they’re Jewish..

    8. Well said Ang, I just came upon this by accident after giving up on Skwawkbox months ago for the same reasons that you have. And with respect to Willsman, I still voted for him but fully understand why Momentum couldn’t continue to endorse him. It’s a shame Skwawkbox has gone Pythonesque over Lansman, I used to read and share lots of it.

  5. All Labour MPs should be pliable to the Labour Party as a whole and the best way to achieve that is to subject them to reselection conferences, not to seek to rescue them from that rigour.

  6. There is little doubt that some antisemitism exists in the Labour Party of 550 000 members, but the available evidence is that, like other forms of racism, it is less prevalent than on the right of politics.

    Over three years allegations have been made against only 0.07% of Labour members, and not all were upheld.

    Lansman has failed to provide this true perspective against disproportionate claims in the media of antisemitism being “rife” among Corbyn supporters.

    Just 10 days ago I lost a dear friend, a 92 year old Jewish Labour Party member and Corbyn supporter. He told me he had never personally seen antisemitism from Labour members over almost 50 years of his Party membership. He was horrified and wrote about what he saw as dishonest attacks against Ken Livingstone, Jackie Walker and others, which not only damage Labour but hurt innocent individuals. He told me the antisemitic smear campaign was orchestrated to oust Corbyn and silence critics of Israel’s violations of Palestinian rights, and it was ludicrous to claim that Jeremy Corbyn was in any way antisemitic.

    All those Labour MPs and members who have contributed to this dreadful and relentless smear campaign, including those in the JLM, exposed in the Al Jazeera documentary ” The Lobby”, need to be severely sanctioned or deselected. They have not just damaged Jeremy Corbyn, the Labour Party, and our chances of a GE victory, they have disgracefully undermined the genuine fight against antisemitism, acts of which are perpetrated largely by a growing far right.

    Lansman’s apparent motivation to assess NCC or NEC candidates based on the anticipated reactions of right-wing groups outside Labour driving the antisemitic smear, is also extremely worrying.

    1. AND are subverting democracy and hoodwinking and deceiving millions of people.

      Excellent post.

  7. I am not fussed about negative press if Berger is deselected. Surely by now we are all fully acclimatised to how the media works against us. She deserves to be deselected because she actively works against the leadership. I wouldnt place too much importance on the mental health work, seeing as it is from the opposition bench and will not have much effect. She may well win in the process, nothing is guaranteed or written in stone. She will be forced to listen to local members, that is what is important. She can either attack the local membership like Joan Ryan or do the right thing and take on board what is being said about her and the slim hope that she may re-evaluate her place in the PLP. This wont happen of course. I would suggest all members of her CLP refrain from social media attacks on her and keep it frosty ie be cool, at any meetings she attends. Dont give them any ammo, and especially desist talking about things like Israel if you dont have the communication skills that ordinary decent people do that allows them to NOT make anti semitic comments deliberately or inadvertently. I fully expect you to fail for what its worth and you allow Labour to get the stick the actual convicted members of the far right should be getting.

  8. berger cannot be trusted under any circumstance and lansman thinks it’d be a ‘mistake’ to get well rid?

    NO mistake. lansman’s shown his hand now.

      1. Considering how much power and popularity with the membership that he has perhaps he should stage another coup. I just cannot see anyone not voting for his qualities, loyalty, sincerity, love of the underdog and downright decency. Cheers

  9. @ Ang critiquing an MP who continuously undermines the chance for a Labour Govt using false AS accusations and dishonestly lies ( re protection arrangements ) all in order to smear , is NOT anti-Semitic .
    Its called “ holding one to account”

    And know this Ang , and any other like minded readers / commentators , all MPs who continue to undermine and prevent a Labour Govt from entering power are guilty of ensuring the continuation of a Tory party who’s record on AS and bigoted racialism far far far outstrips anything like the record Labour has on the same issues , not to mention all the other murderous policies the Tories have enacted against the citizens of this country . THAT is the overwhelming reason and drive to get a Labour Govt in and anything that undermines that or is a distraction to that goal is to be resisted .Because the result would otherwise be the continuation of the Tories and their destruction of our society for all except the very rich .

    Lansman has done a good job so far but his recent decisions , and they are HIS decisions , such as

    1.The take over coup in 2016 removing the Steering Committee replaced with his own choice, this has lead to many Momentum groups like mine , not affiliating to “Momentum mainstream” under his rule and becoming a “ proscribed grp”
    2.Ken Livingstone
    3.Jackie Walker BTW who for those who don’t know is a BAME Jew
    4.Pete Wilsman
    5.Open Selection sell out at this years Conference
    6.Splitting the Left wing vote on the NCC elections , putting himself at odds with JC who favours a JVL candidate on the slate .

    These are facts not superstitions and they show a very clear pattern now emerging which has led me to conclude that he has now become an impediment to the good work many people are doing within the Momentum organisation and the solidarity of The Left .
    He should step down and allow a new OMOV democratically elected leading governing body ( Steering Committee ) take the movement forward . He has nothing to fear by putting him self and for that matter the NCG forward for open selection by the membership.
    To not do so is hypocritical and more important does not bode well for the future solidarity of Momentum as he does not and will not have a mandate for his actions from the membership without that democratically elected vote.
    People will leave ( like me ) , a trickle at first but as more and more decisive decisions are made then it will become a torrent and I fear that the great organisation for the unity of the left will be lost because of one man .

    1. Totally agree with you Rob, Momentum have been instrumental in getting the word out & fighting to get JC into number 10 BUT Lansman really does needs to step down for the sake of the Party & more so to secure Momentum’s future.
      There will be others who like myself have resigned my membership of Momentum which I did with a heavy heart as I do believe they are a force for good & we need them & more so now with the Tory Party crumbling, I unfortunately do not have a local Momentum.
      I resigned as I just do not like the direction Lansman is taking Momentum but will reinstate once he is gone or stepped down from the leadership, I truly believe Labour & Corbyn need Momentum.

      1. Totally understand the sentiments Hilary and I too do not leave Momentum lightly.There are no doubt others in the same boat

      2. My sentiments exactly Hilary. I feel I was driven out of Momentum by Lansman’s megalomaniac behaviour despite the fact that the majority of the membership are doing a great job. But to stay a member would have implied support for Lansman, an idea I just can’t stomach.

    2. Judging by one of the most recent SB comments, it seems that the delay on the left slate, as a result of the Momentum leadership’s position, means damage has already been done. Rob’s comment above is a poignant reminder also, of some of the wider consequences of Lansman’s evident advocacy for the JLM and the LFI and indeed Israel itself: namely that people like Berger have been actively helping to sustain the “… murderous policies the Tories have enacted against the citizen’s of this country”.

  10. My Labour vote is becoming increasingly jeopardised as each day passes. The Lansman snide would happily keep the Blairites and see the Tories safely back into power. I’m assuming there will be dirty Tory / hedge fund / banker / Israeli funds behind this and desirous of the status quo.

    I’m being pushed towards either the arms of the Green party or spoiling my paper. I voted for treacherous Angela Eagle last time in the hope she and others would be jettisoned. It ain’t happening.

    If Corbyn and @Jenniegensec fail to muck out these stables, and my union @unitetheunion continue to do their profiteering charge card deals with Boots the Chemist’s and Tory donors… I’ll be off. Because it won’t be Socialism as promised will it?

    We will have been sold a PR lie. But I ain’t buying.

    The revitalised New Labour (Phase II) – be it in power, serving the establishment or in opposition – will have to manage without me for another 25 years or longer.

    I ain’t no patsy or pawn queuing up to have his mandate sacrificed. I have a will of my own and won’t be bent to the programme of Lansman, Watson, Berger, et al.

    If this outfit doesn’t begin to clean itself up soon, there will be nothing left to vote for.

    1. I’d hoped that when Jennie Formby became Gen Sec she would have got a grip on the Zionist’s deliberate destabilisation of the Party and called out their tactics and actions. Instead, it seems as though it’s being left to the members but they, including anti-Zionist Jewish members, are being penalised for trying to return democracy to the Party.

      Many are asking how much control and just how far have Zionist agents of Israel infiltrated their way into the Party machine?

    2. As long as Jeremy Corbyn is still leader I will hang in there. But as soon as moves are made to replace him, and I don’t trust McDonnell or Thornbery, I am away.
      Plaid Cymru I suppose.

  11. If Berger is “pliable”, then why hasn’t Lansman managed to stop her from making false or exaggerated allegations of anti-Semitism?
    Lansman’s position gets more precarious by the day, the more we find out about him. I stuck with Momentum when they were being smeared by Tory & New Labour MPs, but these are not smears – Lansman is smearing his own reputation by his actions.
    Maybe it’s time for new leadership at the top of Momentum.

    1. If Berger is “pliable”, then why hasn’t Lansman managed to stop her from making false or exaggerated allegations of anti-Semitism?

      I’ve come to the (rational) conclusion that they’re symbiotic.

  12. Momentum have done an important job but it’s been vastly over exaggerated. I left when they failed to stand up for a good man and it seems to me Lansman is morphing into a poorer version of Tony Blair where principals are easy to dump. They should stick to getting the troops out.

  13. Saying you can’t deselect an MP because of their race, religion, gender etc incase it appears bad to the public is basically giving them licence to behave as badly as they want to as they think that they cannot be got rid of. Just because Berger has focused on mental health issues does not mean that another MP couldn’t just as easily focus on mental health – it’s not as if she was a psychiatrist before becoming an MP and so has some sort of professional knowledge on the subject. MPs all seem to focus on particular issues, it’s part of the job. Front Benchers MPs are hardly ever experts in the field they are given responsibility for. Berger is not a particularly good MP, she does what she has to and all MPs have caseworkers who do alot of the local work. it’s just a career for her – she used to work in PR.

  14. Lansman has once again overstepped his remit, and shown that a pattern is emerging here.

    He seriously needs to step down now. He is a threat to Labour democracy and member-values.

  15. Rob @ 12:21,
    Hahaha, I thought it was an odd choice of word but it still works.

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