Seven bullies fail to make a dent: what really happened at Monday’s PLP

Sky’s Beth Rigby reported on Monday evening that Labour general secretary Jennie Formby was ‘hammered’ by a queue of seven MPs at the evening’s weekly ‘PLP’ (parliamentary Labour party) meeting:

The ‘news’ was apparently leaked by an MP present at the meeting.

But the reality of the meeting was rather different – although seven MPs did behave atrociously.

One member present told the SKWAWKBOX:

It was nowhere near as bad as was reported, because they ended up making a bit of an arse of themselves. They made the mistake of focusing on the Observer story [about staff consulting on disciplinary cases] – but it seemed they hadn’t actually read to the end of the article.

McNicol’s (Formby’s predecessor’s) team started sending complaints to staff outside governance and legal to consult on their opinions – this was all going on long before Jennie was general secretary.

No decisions were taken, just views given – and it stopped within a month of her becoming GS because it wasn’t appropriate for anyone outside governance to be asked for views on cases.

But by the end of the evening she received really positive feedback from shadow cabinet members and some back-benchers as well.

According to witnesses, a distinctly unintimidated Formby – who is not answerable to MPs – told MPs she would be happy to meet any of them individually or in groups to try to allay their concerns and listen to their suggestions.

She also took the ‘high road’, telling them she is actively working to reinforce the message to all Labour members to attack the Tories and not each other.

The SKWAWKBOX understands that Formby is working with the party’s regional directors to ensure that all local party meetings are conducted with dignity and respect for people of all views – and that the party is a place where all Jewish people feel welcome.

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44 responses to “Seven bullies fail to make a dent: what really happened at Monday’s PLP

  1. What makes me smile is the PLP can act how they like swear, sling mistruths constantly broadcast secrets to the media and send private members information out and nothing is even done. Heck even ignore the whip and then ….silence…

    One hint of something in a normal member your suspended yup we’re all equal right Jenny…

  2. The conduct that certain MPs are so proud of braying to the press about would see them suspended in any business.

      • To be fair to Mr Bradshaw he said he was more interested in getting Labour into power than anything else.

  3. “She also took the ‘high road’, telling them she is actively working to reinforce the message to all Labour members to attack the Tories and not each other.”

    I bet the PLP loved being told that!

  4. ” and that the party is a place where all Jewish people feel welcome ”

    NO its just “and that the party is a place where all people feel welcome ”

    no matter what you are — ALL people .

  5. Little confused why there are these onging problems. Someone, somewhere is not doing his/her job perhaps

  6. I’d really like to know who the seven MP’s are? Name them, so their CLP’s can take action against them. It’s time the party went on the offensive and suspended these MP’s, yes we’d take a hit in the media but that’s happening already.

    • It’s time to go on the offensive by re-admitting Galloway, Livingston, Wadsworth, Walker & Hatton to the party for starters.

      If that doesn’t provoke the centrists into leaving the party nothing will!

      • Greenstein too! Plus anyone else who has been witch hunted out.

        Get rid of Blair, Streeting, Woodcock, Smeeth and Watson. Get the picture? ( I nearly said Berger as well,, but of course she’s fcuked off to join the Tinge. plc.)

  7. Wonder if PLP meetings could be livestreamed to members (who are checked to be bone fide) – just a thought?
    Or at least minutes shared with members and those who make points named?
    This is common practice for branches, unions, CLPs.
    As democrats surely this would make the PLP more accountable?

    • No that wouldn’t work. It’s the same for members having sight of the minutes of the NEC or the Regional Boards meetings. Or even being informed about what they were discussing, by making public an agenda. That would be a step too far in the democratic overseeing what the party’s hierarchy are doing in your name.

      After all, it’s only the members subscriptions and donations that enable the party to (mal)function in secret. Why would the ordinary members need to know what skullduggery they get up to.

      No I can’t see accountability to the membership working at all.

  8. Sad to read that there were MPs in bullying mode but glad to hear reason prevailed.

  9. What makes me laugh is Charlie Faulkner being put in charge of overseeing the disciplinary process in respect of alleged antisemitism cases.

    From what I’ve read, Charlie, one time flatmate and bezzie of Blair, has offered to do this job. HE has already decided what his terms of reference will be, including reopening an investigation into Riverside PLC. This will be to placate Louise Ellman and allow her to feel more “comfortable” in the Labour party.

    Charlie boy has no other plans for the party footsoldiers falsely accused of AS and never given a proper, fair and independent hearing before being suspended or expelled. Call me old Mrs Cynical, but this looks like yet another set up by the right to reinforce the perception of rampant antisemitism in the party. And once again, the left fall for it.

    It’s the Corbyn supporters who are uncomfortable in the party now, not the Zionist zealots who are feeding this moral panic in order to destabilize the democratically elected leader. Make no mistake, this is their latest coup.

    Putting Charlie Faulkner to oversee the antisemitism allegations is like putting the fox in the chicken coupe. No pun intended.

    • I am a grassroots member, and a Marxist, yet I feel supremely comfortable in the Labour Party.

      This is indeed a third attempt at a coup, but like the other pathetic attempts, it will fail.

      Defeatism is our worst enemy, that is what the right want us to feel. But they are out of luck, because we are not buying it. We are strong and we are fighting back. We will win. The Left will prevail.

  10. Local meetings are a place where Jewish people feel as welcome as any other members. The vast majority of abuse that is reported takes place on social media.

    • It all comes down to how you frame the narrative,
      good news is what is known as the ‘daily heil’ phenomenon, the more false news they pile onto JC and Labour party the higher we go in the polls or why have we not been wiped out in polls, Survation is reliable
      Hodge letter published by The Canary ends with her objection to the appointment of Faulkner, methinks desperation stakes now
      Our response repeated ad nauseum should be,
      we are the least Anti Semitic mass membership party in Europe, 12/550,000 0..0023%
      This is the safest country in Europe for the Jewish community thanks to JC and Labour movement
      What are the comparable figures, there is research by various bodies
      From my point of view, this shitfest has failed, it has gained no traction, IG members had to leave because the game is up, MSM are a joke, it takes a few minutes to check out false news and once bitten twice shy, so completely discredited,
      Unless Mayhem calls a GE soon there will no advantage to cheap and nasty party
      From Cable Street to Downing Street

  11. It very honest of Siobhan McDonagh to confess to her own unacceptable Anti Semitism when she herself equates anti-capitalism with anti-semitism

    I understand that for many years she has been both a member and an elected representative of a political party that declares on its membership card that it is a “Socialist Party”. “Socialism” is of course a political and economic theory of social organisation which advocates that the means of production, distribution, and exchange should be owned or regulated by the community as a whole and it is therefore by definition anti-capitalist.

    As she claims that she “studied” Politics as a student at Essex University she appears to have no excuse not to have known this. What action does the LP now intend to take against her?

  12. I don’t think that bellyaching about what is going on provides any more than a safety valve.

    The real issue is finding a way of nailing the terrible totalitarian bias in the media on this issue. (I use the word advisedly – the blackout on alternative perspectives is worthy of a totalitarian regime that directly controls its media). This is coupled with a shaping of perception within which everything is interpreted.

    Take one minor example : John Harris yesterday relates that he spoke to a Labour member who was Jewish who claims she(?) was shouted down at her CLP meeting when raising the issue of Jewish people feeling ‘unwelcome’. This then becomes proof positive of the antsemitic feeling within the Party (Something that most of us have never seen.

    Problem : we weren’t there; we don’t know what happened. Did the delegates know the member was Jewish? Was the person ‘shouted down’. Or was their simply a general outburst of annoyance at the validation of a myth? We really don’t know. But we do know what the reality *becomes*.

    Similarly – same piece – Chris Williamson is filmed uttering an ‘antisemitic’ objection for not apologising about a mythical institutional failing. We can see the evidence – and the comments are not in the least ‘antisemitic’ – it rather simply contradicts the accepted narrative of culpability.

    If the contrary evidence and narrative is blocked from the public domain, it is easy to see how the narrative becomes established. That is propaganda.

    The trouble is that the narrative becomes reality – in a very hard sense. I am sure that there are Jews in this country who genuinely believe that they are unwelcome in the Labour Party and, by extension, are under a wider threat. Why? Because they have been told so by their press and by the purported (fake) ‘leaders of the community’. A bit like the Archbishop of Canterbury telling Christians to be aware of the hidden Satan in Labour. Not all will swallow the narrative – but enough will.

    It is in this framework that everything becomes interpreted, and that is the underlying problem.

    I have no magic solutions to countering this combined scam from the right and the pro-Israel lobby – especially in an atmosphere where actually stating the facts becomes, by definition ‘antisemitic’. Like others here, my minor contribution is to try to enlighten people who just haven’t cottoned on.But we should be aware that simply letting off steam amongst an already agreeing circle isn’t going to alter the situation.

    • I agree that we are only bellyaching is only a safety valve,though a much needed one at the moment.However,I do think the failure of the Corbyn team to challenge the lies head on in the Corporate media has rendered us all voiceless.I am premoded on Guardian comments and gave up making comments there as none be posted.I do continue to comment in the Independent,but I had to go under a different moniker as I was banned under my own name because I was “repeatedly red flagged”.I don’t know whether that was because of my challenges to Brexiters or my challenges to Zionists, or both.The point is we are easily silenced.Corbyn and co could not be so easily silenced,but they refuse to challenge the Zionist lobby and their friends,so they win by default.

      • Your experience is the same as mine. The Groan tolerated me up to a point (and I was pretty careful to avoid any comment that could be interpreted as ‘antisemitic’).

        But I was a bit persistent in re-posting and picking them up. The ‘liberal’ press hates truth telling about the actuality of Israeli policy – so (and here you see the link with the IHRA ‘examples’) – you can’t mention the fact that a zionist state is, by definition an ethnically discriminatory state that, at best, involves an apartheid constitution. You can’t mention, either, the hard facts of what is, essentially, ‘ethnic cleansing’, as Palestinians are deprived of land and resources.

        The pattern clearly emerged. But what really riled the immoderate mods was telling truth unto power about the lack of proper journalism, with an exclusionary agenda being pursued. Now *that* insight *really* offended ‘community standards’!

        I guess because it rather blew apart the self-satisfaction of the Graun’s claims to independent and ‘fearless’ journalism.

  13. I notice today a report in the Groan about Hodge complaining that individuals have intervened to lobby for sanctions to be lessened for individuals accused of ‘antisemitism’.

    The walking troll obviously has no sense of irony, since the article also contains the following re. Chris Williamson :

    “The party’s general secretary, Jennie Formby, eventually reversed the initial decision and suspended him after several hours of intense lobbying from inside the party.”

    A bit of pot and kettle, I think. Quelle surprise!

    Of course, to those who know of the fakery behind a lot of the suspensions, the dubiously *un*supended libellous Hodge is pretty transparent. The tactic is to cobble together any old accusation under the heading ‘antisemitism’ as a means of dealing with political opponents.

  14. I wrote yesterday about John Harris’s article in the Groan – another in the long trail of false bnarrative confirmation.

    Jonathan Cook has just published another of his penetrating blog posts on the same subject :

    “Harris is such a good journalist by conventional standards and his work here is so lamentable, so lacking in awareness of even basic human psychology, that it cries out for some deeper analysis.”

    It can be found at :

    https://www.jonathan-cook.net/blog/2019-03-04/anti-semitism-smear-corbyn-labour/

    • Just a short addendum, taken from Jonathan Cook’s excellent article :

      “Remember that accusing someone falsely of anti-semitism is as bad as making an anti-semitic statement. It has the same power to do terrible emotional damage to its victim, it can isolate them from friends and family, and it can result in them losing their job.”

      Remember that, indeed.

    • The piece by Cook is excellent and is the best piece on the subject I have read.

    • An interesting link which, if you read it dispassionately shows that there are people who are willing to use the label ‘antisemitic’ to cover anything other than blind consent to the dominant narrative.

      I thought this was also interesting :

      “In 2010, Mr Secker, a leading member of Jews for Justice for Palestinians, captained a boat aimed at reaching Gaza and breaking an Israeli naval blockade of the port.”

      Such winds up the pro-Israel faction, because it, in a way, underlines a more convincing authenticity than simply chanting ‘antisemitism’, as well as breaking apart the idea that the establishment of the BoD etc. represents ‘the’ Jewisgh Community.

  15. I agree that bellyaching about nasty MPs at PLP meetings is just so much of a safety valve but so too is bellyaching about the media whose role in a capitalist society is always to protect the capitalist status quo.

    Our only real power as LP members is, having identified the MPs, to encourage votes of no confidence in them, in their CLPs.

    That seems the key way to eek them out into the TIG.

    • I don’t disagree with you, Danny. But it shouldn’t be a first resort. I think that pushing for presentations about aspects of the actual situation in LP gatherings is another way forward – perhaps using Palestine Solidarity Campaign contacts – or other organisations.

      Some churches are deeply involved with working in Palestine, and have large resources of independent witnesses and information. I have found people involved like this to have massive personal credibility in cjhallenging the accepted narrative. Then there are a number of videos that explore aspects of the situation, and can help to disentangle perceptions.

      None of this, of course is ‘a solution’ – just bricks in the wall against disinformation.

      I’m sure that many LP members will recognise my experience – that, whilst ‘antisemitism’ has never been a particular problem, lack of knowledge about the Middle East has been widespread.

  16. absolutely nothing can be done to satisfy these LFI zionists, we all know its nothing at all to do with AS, they want corbyn out, they’ll use any dirty trick including lie to push out anyone who supports corbyn, just stop trying to please them, tell them to report to the police, how independent is that? they don’t want justice they want their will carrying out!

  17. Note the latest :

    “Charlie Falconer, … warned that it is “beyond mad” for staff to be seconded from Jeremy Corbyn’s office to the party’s complaints unit.”

    (The Groan)

    Can we take it to be equally a given that no-one with connections to the JLM or LfI should be associated with inquiries.(And that the ubiquitous Hodge should just shut up)

    … just to ensure a level playing field.

  18. Thank you Skwawkbox for publishing this. I was so disheartened yesterday. Cheers.
    Having said that alarmed by Hodge defaming Mr Corbyn again. It is totally disgraceful. Why doesn’t Labour UK deal with this disgusting miscreant.

  19. French resist effort to censor criticism of Zionism
    “Mr. President, we are French citizens who respect the laws of the republic, but if you adopt a law against anti-Zionism, or if you officially adopt an erroneous definition of anti-Semitism that permits outlawing it, please know that we will break this law with our words, our writing, our art and our acts of solidarity,”
    https://electronicintifada.net/blogs/ali-abunimah/french-resist-effort-censor-criticism-zionism

    • Despite all the UK bollocks about ‘taking back control’, the French of the EU have a rather better tradition of resisting domination than the self-satisfied British faux-patriots, I have to say.

  20. Jonathon Cook’s quality ‘Blog from Nazareth’, begs a great many questions that Jennie Formby should address. There is an enemy within & not just without, & not limited to Tony Blair’s globalist, Anti-Socialist agenda. Adoption of the IHRA definition will always cause the Labour Party problems because any criticism of Israel is, by definition, Anti-Semitism. Will Lord Charlie address this?

  21. Labour HQ tells local parties not to accept motions on disciplinary cases

    advice from the office of general secretary Jennie Formby:
    “Please note that individual disciplinary cases that are being dealt with through the NEC disputes processes are confidential. Motions on individual cases are therefore not competent business for discussion at CLPs and will not be discussed by the NEC or any associated bodies.”

    https://labourlist.org/2019/03/exclusive-labour-hq-tells-local-parties-not-to-accept-motions-on-disciplinary-cases/

    • OK – How about general motions that demand primae faciae evidence of legitimacy before any interim disciplinary measures – such as suspension – are taken.

      As we know, one of the main problems with current procedures is that the pro-Istrael lobby can chuck around nonsense accusations like confetti and have no come-back, whist the accused can be suspended for long periods with no due process.

      I think also, that the NEC should be reminded of a point tellingly made by Jonathan Cook :

      ” Remember that accusing someone falsely of anti-semitism is as bad as making an anti-semitic statement. It has the same power to do terrible emotional damage to its victim, it can isolate them from friends and family, and it can result in them losing their job.”

      … that could be included in a general motion requiring better procedures.

      And, perhaps, PLPs should instigate their own justified complaints against the fabricators such as Hodge. Sauce for the goose …

    • So LFI and JLM members are allowed to lobby on individual cases but CLPs (ie: the membership) have been told in no uncertain terms to be good little boys and girls and keep quiet.

      • Good point, Steve.

        Perhaps, to extend abhorrence of ‘antisemitism’ to the other half of the equation, associations linked with Labour should be able to demonstrate that they actively oppose discrimination, in word or deed, against the Palestinian people?

      • As the Labour Party regard its disciplinary process and quasi judicial and they are subjecting CLPs to quasi sub-judacy restrictions then perhaps it needs to be part of the rules that this should apply to PLP as well.

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