Analysis: Forde Report whitewashes sabotage – but undermines its own conclusion

Inquiry team says diversion of funds was wrong and that those who said they were happy on the night Corbyn’s Labour almost took power lacked credibility – but glosses over clear evidence of party staff rigging process, working to their own agenda and hoping for crushing defeat, while admitting they did intentionally obstruct the work of the leadership

The Forde report, as expected by many on the left disgusted at the two-year delay in its publication, whitewashes the sabotage of the 2017 general election campaign and of Corbyn’s attempts to bring Labour back to its roots by right-wing senior staffers, while throwing a nod to the outrageous behaviour of staff for the appearance of balance.

The report’s section on ‘allegation 4’ – that staff intentionally sabotaged the efforts of Corbyn and his supporters – concludes that staff committed serious misconduct but did not deliberately damage Labour’s push for government, even though it admits that claims of some staff that they were happy on general election night when Labour came within a whisker of power lack credibility.

And while it says repeatedly that the diversion of general election campaign funds into the secret ‘Ergon House’ fund for right-wing campaign priorities was wrong, it glosses over the significance of the fact that staffers also were at pains to hide their activities from the leadership .

And the report appears to ignore completely the long-known revelations – first broken by Skwawkbox only a month after the election – that staff also rigged Facebook ads to deceive Corbyn and his team about what they were really doing on social media.

And Skwawkbox also revealed long ago, only two days after the election, that right-wing staff had intentionally defunded campaigns in winnable seats with left-wing candidates – yet this, according to the Forde Report, does not indicate sabotage either.

But the new report shoots its own headline conclusion in the foot, admitting that staff were working against Jeremy Corbyn and obstructing the work of Corbyn’s ‘LOTO’ (leader of the opposition) office:

It is true, however, that members of the SMT WhatsApp groups were focused on what they saw as protecting the Party from Jeremy Corbyn rather than helping him to advance his agenda…

Some comments do appear to show straightforward attempts to hinder LOTO’s work

Emphasis added

Intentional ‘attempts to hinder LOTO’s work’ surely mean case closed and sabotage proven – yet the report’s conclusion whitewashes this deliberate ‘hindering’, which is surely the very definition of sabotage.

Starmer’s mouthpieces have already begun telling the media that the report proves there was no sabotage – but the actual evidence says otherwise and, unintentionally or not, the report confirms it.

More analysis will follow as the report is digested. Jeremy Corbyn is expected to comment on the report this afternoon.

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