No surprise to those of us who have known it for years, of course
The Forde Report, which was finally released today two years after it was promised, has been rightly criticised for its determination to ‘both-sides’ abuse by party staff when the evidence is overwhelming that racism, abuse and more was perpetrated by right-wing factionalists at Labour’s ‘Southside’ HQ.
And it has been condemned for claiming, risibly, that there was no intentional sabotage of Corbyn’s leadership and the 2017 general election campaign, soft-soaping or outright ignoring abundant evidence to the contrary, leading cynics to conclude that the two-year delay involved the insertion of various sections or phrases helpful to the Labour right’s attempt to spin away the unavoidable damning sections of the inquiry’s conclusions – of which there are many.
The inquiry has already been shown to have found that right-wing Labour staffers were racist abusers who wrongly diverted election funds for their own purposes and – crucially – that the issue of antisemitism was indeed weaponised against Jeremy Corbyn for factional gain.
And it also concludes – again as Skwawkbox revealed at the time and many Labour members agreed – that party staff conducted a purge during Corbyn’s second leadership election in 2016 specifically designed to remove as many members and supporters as possible who condemned the disgraceful behaviour of right-wing MPs and were likely to vote for Jeremy Corbyn to remain leader:
None of the GLU witnesses we spoke to accepted that there None of the GLU witnesses we spoke to accepted that there was any particular focus on removing ballots from members on the Left (and indeed some suggested that the focus had in fact been on Right entryism): “there was absolutely no coordinated attempt to ‘block’ Jeremy Corbyn supporters from voting, unless their application failed to meet the rules of the contest”.
The fact is, however, that GLU staff had a substantial role in deciding how those rules were interpreted, for example by choosing the list of search terms in relation to abusive posts. The list of flagged words should have been agreed by GLU and the NEC, and published transparently.
We can see no legitimate non-factional reason why the search tool was apparently designed only to catch abuse aimed at MPs on the centre and Right of the Party, and to ignore the majority of abuse aimed at MPs on the Left (including Jeremy Corbyn).
The names of all MPs could easily have been included. Instead, it seems likely that problematic behaviour by individuals on the Right (for example, abusive tweets at Jeremy Corbyn) were not investigated, because they were not searched for. If the concern was about Right entryism, that was a strange decision.
C2.25 In our view the intention and effect of both validation exercises was to remove ballots from individuals who would otherwise have voted for Jeremy Corbyn. It does not seem to us credible to suggest that the exercise (in particular the social media component) was not targeted at applicants and members on the Left.
The inquiry’s conclusion – based on a mass of evidence – that party staff tried to oust Corbyn by blocking his supporters in the leadership ballot shines an even more unflattering light on its determination to whitewash the campaign of intentional sabotage conducted to try to remove him via a planned heavy general election defeat the following year.
But that whitewash also makes even more damning the findings on the behaviour of right-wing Labour figures that the report cannot help but acknowledge.
SKWAWKBOX needs your help. The site is provided free of charge but depends on the support of its readers to be viable. If you’d like to help it keep revealing the news as it is and not what the Establishment wants you to hear – and can afford to without hardship – please click here to arrange a one-off or modest monthly donation via PayPal or here to set up a monthly donation via GoCardless (SKWAWKBOX will contact you to confirm the GoCardless amount). Thanks for your solidarity so SKWAWKBOX can keep doing its job.
If you wish to republish this post for non-commercial use, you are welcome to do so – see here for more.