‘I at least expected the most basic standards of honesty and integrity. How naive… You can’t even lie competently… How f***ing dare you?!’ Councillor resigns membership and all party offices and tells Keir Starmer he is putting ‘insatiable factionalism’ above the needs of the country
Faringdon town councillor and Labour conference delegate Stephen Smith has resigned from his party membership and all his positions in the local party after being targeted for suspension as part of the Labour right’s attempt to protect Keir Starmer’s acting general secretary from democracy – he has yet to decide whether he will remain a councillor – and has sent a searing letter to Starmer to inform him.
Smith’s letter lists Starmer’s offences against party members, against democracy and against the people of the UK and is full of righteous indignation at a ‘leader’ who ‘can’t even lie competently’ about his intentions and has allowed right-wing racism free rein in the party. It is reproduced in full, with some emphases/notes/links added, below:
My resignation from the Labour Party.
Sir Keir Starmer MP
Leader of the Labour Party
21 September 2021BY POST AND EMAIL
I write to resign membership of the Labour Party and consequently my elected offices as Wantage CLP Policy Officer, Executive Committee member and Conference delegate. I will ask members of the Faringdon Labour Party branch for their view of my continued membership of Faringdon town council; but even if they wish me to continue, will no longer serve as a Labour Party councillor.
I do so reluctantly, having been a Labour Party member for many years, under 5 different Leaders. I am 58, a lifelong and active anti racist, a socialist most of my adult life and take the greatest possible exception to your insinuation I am in any way a racist or an anti-Semite. I cannot in all conscience remain a member of an organisation that would even consider this to be possible.
I am an elected Labour councillor. I am a solidarity member of Jewish Voice for Labour. I was a judge for the Ann Frank Awards in 2009. I visited Israel in Easter 2018 and prayed at the Western Wall in Jerusalem. I am a Grade 2 Krav Maga [Israeli martial art] practitioner. I was NASUWT’s Principal Officer for Equality for 7 years.
A ‘racist’? An ’anti-semite’? How fucking dare you?! How dare you preside over this McCarthyism and establish a Stalinist bureaucracy where lifelong anti-racists like me are being witch-hunted for entirely sectarian political reasons? How dare you allow the cancer of anti-semitism to be weaponised and trivialised for factional disputes – then look at yourself in a mirror when Jewish members are being suspended, expelled and disciplined in unprecedented numbers? It is beyond shameful.
Last week I answered spurious allegations made about me in full. That response has neither been considered nor evaluated – instead, exactly the same material has been used to ‘justify’ an administrative suspension 3 days before Conference. I understand from NEC member Mish Rahman that this has happened to hundreds of Conference delegates. It is a blatantly dishonest, anti-democratic and factional abuse of process and I will have nothing more to do with a Party prepared to plumb such depths.
How can you possibly allow tens of thousands of members to simply drift away from Labour, disheartened your leadership team’s abject failure to oppose the most incompetent and vicious Tory Government in living memory?
Labour is consistently struggling in opinion polls despite hundreds of thousands of unnecessary Covid deaths; leaving the European Union without a feasible deal; threats to peace in Northern Ireland; actively destroying the goodwill of our European neighbours; the Tories breaking election promises unchallenged; and an unprecedented and growing gap between rich and poor. It is an abject failure to offer a credible, coherent, principled alternative and an appalling indictment that you and this Party are consistently trailing in opinion polls and losing safe seats like Hartlepool. The record of the Labour Party under your stewardship is unprincipled, incompetent and abject:
– Refusing to oppose the Covert Human Intelligence Sources Bill, which gave state agents legal immunity for murder, rape, torture and kidnapping.
– Appointing David Evans, a man on record as opposed to the very concept of party democracy, as our General Secretary. A man chosen ahead of two more suitable women, and a Blairite dinosaur with a record of cronyism in Croydon, happily presiding over the McCarthyism destroying Labour’s integrity.
– Sacking Rebecca Long-Bailey on a pathetic pretext and for entirely sectarian political advantage; yet turning Nelson’s eye to Barry Sheerman and Steven Reed’s prima facie anti-Semitism. This was nauseating hypocrisy.
– Ignoring the genuine concerns of teaching and education unions in favour of your data-free and evidence-free grandstanding about ‘keeping schools open’, despite them being (and remaining) hotbeds of Covid infection.
– Undermining the findings of Labour’s own NEC by withdrawing the Parliamentary whip from Jeremy Corbyn: then lying about it by saying it was done by the General Secretary – then subsequently admitting on Jeremy Vine’s BBC Radio programme that it was in fact your decision. You can’t even lie competently!
– Burying the Forde Report, when the despicable behaviour, racism, bullying and destructive acts of Ian MacNicol [sic], Emilie Oldknow and other staffers should have been exposed and been grounds for disciplinary and legal action. (In short, people who actively worked AGAINST the interests of our Party were protected, for factional reasons) You have as a result undermined the standing of this Party amongst black and minority ethnic communities: it is indefensible.
– Refusing to defend Liverpool Labour council from a political takeover by a hard-right Conservative government: in fact, acquiescing in it. This was both shameful and spineless.
– Making even the discussion of Jeremy Corbyn’s suspension, grounds for suspension.
– Making CLP or Branch motions of confidence, in either you or David Evans, grounds for suspension. Portraying all of the above as, somehow, ‘anti-Semitic’.
– Calling for the resignation of Nicola Sturgeon – subsequently found not to have breached the Ministerial Code – yet refusing to do the same for Matt Hancock, Boris Johnson, Robert Jenrick, Priti Patel and Michael Gove, all of whom HAVE breached the Ministerial Code.
– Not calling for the resignation of Met Police Commissioner Cressida Dick, after the violent conduct of Met Police officers breaking up a peaceful women’s demonstration in Battersea.
– Reinstating staff named in ‘Labour Leaks’ documents, including those who – I can hardly believe I have to say this – actively campaigned AGAINST the Labour Party until 2019 and were involved in bullying, racism, misogyny and helping journalists hostile to the Labour Party, including being complicit in the shameful bullying of Diane Abbott.
– Interfering in the selection of Liverpool Mayoral candidates and sabotaging a shortlist of 3 women, all of whom held senior office within the City council – again for sectarian political reasons.
– Presiding over a Hartlepool ‘selection’ exercise which produced a shortlist (sic) of one white man, an apologist for the barbaric Saudi Arabian regime, who used social media posts to talk about ’Tory MILFs’ and was entirely unsuitable to contest the seat – a seat then lost to the Conservatives for the first time since it was created.
– Then saying you’d accept responsibility for that by-election result – but failing to do so and throwing Angela Rayner under the bus, sacking her from the Party Chair role.
– Proscribing 3 organisations simply for being critical of the current direction (sic) of the Labour Party leadership. This is pathetic, Poundland McCarthyism at the very time when this Government has presided over 150,000 excess deaths, allowing C-19 to rip through the population for the fourth time.
– Doing literally nothing when Labour (sic) MP Neil Coyle called for the mass expulsion of Jewish Voice for Labour – an organisation of exclusively Jewish Labour members! (If that doesn’t meet the most basic definition of anti-semitism, I’m not sure what does…..)
And even today, as I write this, your pre-Conference manoeuvre to tear up something as fundamental as ‘one person one vote’, in favour of a system giving an MP a thousand votes against the one that ‘ordinary’ Party members have. That is laughably undemocratic.
I could go on at length, but will save us both the time and heartache. Under your stewardship, and to the detriment of the people we seek to represent, I see no prospect of Labour being back in government. You made ten ‘pledges’ during the last Leadership election and have already broken each and every one.
You were therefore elected on an entirely false premise and while I did not vote for you, I at least expected the most basic standards of honesty and integrity. How naive…
Instead, you and the dinosaurs who ‘advise’ you have given life again to the notion that ‘all politicians are the same’ and can’t be trusted. There is no future in ‘split the difference’ politics, pandering to right wing media and re-heated Blairism. It is a political cul-de-sac. When a mainstream, experienced member of Labour like myself – a councillor, CLP office holder and a career trade union officer – struggles to offer credible reasons to vote Labour, what chance do other Labour members across the country have trying to enthuse people?
I hope, even now, you will consider your position and put the interests of the country and ordinary people before the insatiable factionalism of the right wing of the Parliamentary Labour Party. That you will either undertake to lead on the basis of your ‘promises’ and Party policies, or make way for someone with the courage and principle to speak up for our Party and our people.
Until that happens, I will remain an ex-member of the once-great Party, a Party you have already shown you are entirely unfit to lead.
Yours,Cllr. Stephen Smith
(ex) Policy Officer and Executive Committee member, Wantage Constituency Labour Party
cc: Chair, Wantage CLP; Executive Committee, Wantage CLP; Faringdon Branch Labour Party, members and officers.
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