Labour deputy leader lashes out as right’s grip loosens in its heartland
Labour deputy leader Tom Watson has been criticised recently by Labour colleagues for ‘foul’ and ‘appalling’ ‘bully’-behaviour.
When disciplinary charges against his allies and opponents were on the agenda for discussion, Watson did not recuse himself because of the obvious conflicts of interest. Instead he disrupted successive NEC (National Executive Committee) meetings with angry tirades and interference in procedure.
However, his apparent tactics backfired when a decision on complaints against one of his close allies then had to be postponed until after the deadline for candidate confirmations and the NEC appointed a BAME, disabled candidate to replace him.
The replacement of his ally – former Sandwell council leader Steve Eling – and a number of others appears to have upset Mr Watson, judging by a rant reported by local West Midlands paper The Express and Star.
Describing the deselections as ‘outrageous’ and ‘brutal factional politics’, Watson told the Star.
This is the hard left wreaking retribution on long serving councillors for no reason whatsoever.
It’s completely anti-democratic and against all normal rules of natural justice.
Of course, if it’s for ‘no reason whatsoever’, it’s not really ‘retribution’ – which by definition is payback for something, but it would be unkind to split hairs.
It’s also hardly ‘anti-democratic’, since Labour members elected their NEC representatives – in many cases precisely in the hope they would use their democratically-allocated powers to change the party’s disciplinary processes and candidate mix to better reflect the membership and protect the party’s mission of changing society for the better.
But the funniest part of Watson’s tantrum is his claim that the rational and rules-based actions of the NEC and regional officials are “against all normal rules of natural justice“.
When the Labour right controlled the NEC and the party’s administrative machine, left-wing members were routinely targeted – and often suspended or even expelled – on the flimsiest pretext.
Not only that, but Watson has been personally accused of “planning [the] destruction” of a councillor in his home borough of Sandwell, as well as of making the life of a female councillor “a misery” by prolonged bullying – while failing to act when his chief of staff was accused of racially-driven bullying and harassment.
Watson’s sudden sensitivity about ‘natural justice’ and democracy is also an interesting development after years of complaints by Labour members of outrageous abuse of their rights and democracy in the area by the right, carried out apparently with impunity because of the right’s then-stranglehold on the party.
In that light, there can be little sympathy for his newly-discovered outrage.
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 or here for a monthly donation via GoCardless. 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.