Analysis comment

Analysis: Forde Report recommendations leave Labour right free to continue to whitewash or stitch up

Recommendations still leave party right in ultimate control of disciplinary processes – and history shows what they will do with it

The Forde Report – a curious mix of withering condemnation of the behaviour of the Labour right and a snow-job of their intent and contempt for democracy – gives the party’s anti-democratic right-wingers carte blanche to continue their rigging of disciplinary processes to protect their own and stitch up left-wingers.

Forde’s recommendations for changes to the disciplinary process read well at first glance, recommending the creation of a ‘standalone’ regulatory and disciplinary unit run by staff with regulatory experience and warning the party to think hard before suspending anyone who is involved in a selection process as a potential candidate – but in reality they leave Keir Starmer, David Evans and their cronies in control of who gets pursued and who gets a free pass. History already shows such control will be abused:

Reform of the Party’s disciplinary processes

1. The Party should operate with a standalone Regulatory and Disciplinary Directorate (Directorate) which should be professional and impartial and separate from other aspects of the Party’s organisation.

– The Head of the Directorate should have substantive experience of regulation and be capable of designing, overseeing and implementing a fair and transparent system.

– Complaints should be appropriately logged, and electronic records updated at each stage of the complaint.

– The initial assessment of any complaint received should include a determination whether interim action is needed. The Party should exercise particular caution before imposing an administrative suspension that would adversely affect the prospects of the person so suspended in any impending selection process. Any decision about interim action should be made with full written reasons given and communicated both to the complainant and the respondent.

– Allegations should be screened initially by a panel of two case examiners, one of whom should be a lay member25 . The Party may wish to draw for these purposes from the pool of qualified and experienced lawyers that it is currently recruiting for its IRB and ICB. However it is important that the pool from which such lay members are chosen should be broad and diverse – in both the demographic and ideological sense – so as not to be subject to accusations of factional discrimination. The lay member need not be a lawyer, but should have knowledge and experience of regulation and regulatory systems.

– Cases should be referred to a full hearing before an NEC Complaints and Disciplinary Panel only where both case examiners conclude that (i) there is a realistic prospect of a full hearing finding the allegation(s) proved and (ii) the appropriate sanction falls outside of their sanctioning powers.

Forde gives the party freedom to draw case examiners from its so-called ‘Independent Review Board’ (IRB) and ‘Independent Complaints Board’ (ICB). But it has long been clear that the word ‘independent’ in those boards is for show, as Evans – and through him Starmer – have control of who makes it onto those boards and the pair have already been criticised for excluding, for example, left-wing Jewish people from the boards in favour of ideologically-aligned figures who all share a common view of antisemitism and Israel and right-wing pro-Israel groups have been given a veto.

So Evans and co will decide the people who will be deciding which cases are referred for action – and those cases that are referred will be subject to adjudication by ‘an NEC Complaints and Disciplinary Panel’ whose members will be decided by a right-dominated national executive that has already shown willingness not only to re-admit right-wingers with an appalling record whose disciplinary cases were mysteriously ‘disappeared’, but to publicly trumpet their return and welcome them back.

Similarly, the right-dominated regional structures have shown that they will protect right-wingers even in cases of racism and misogyny, while left-wing figures have been actively smeared and hung out to dry, particularly women of colour.

It is a given that left-wingers will be stitched up while even the worst of the right will be given a free pass as long as the party thinks it can get away with it.

The problems continue in Forde’s ‘detailed recommendations on reform of the party’s disciplinary process’. While barring HQ, parliamentary and LOTO (Starmer’s office) staff outside the new directorate from the disciplinary process, the report allows regional staff to be drafted in – and regional offices are just as much a right-wing cesspit and are staffed by people who ultimately report to David Evans and other Southside HQ figures.

And in that same section, appeals will again be assessed and decided by personnel either directly appointed or vetted by Evans and Starmer, or else by an NEC panel chosen by the right-run NEC.

The only real fly in Starmer’s and Evans’s ointment is that Forde warns the party that it needs to ensure that its processes comply with the European Convention on Human Rights. Labour recently changed its rules to remove the expectation of natural justice under the Convention from some of its disciplinary processes.

But it would be naive to think, whatever lip service Starmer and co pay to such recommendations in the report or its strictures on transparency in recruiting or its disciplinary processes, that they will not continue to bend, break and ignore any rules that don’t suit them while exploiting the parts that align with their interests to justify their actions or claims.

After all, almost two years ago the pair promised to implement immediately and in full the recommendations of the Labour Muslim Network’s report on the horrific levels of Islamophobia and racism among the Labour right. As of now, the LMN remains horrified at the unchecked and unpunished racism against Muslims that has left seven out of ten Muslims saying they cannot trust the party. The LMN has published this thread of tweets in response to the Forde Report:

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  1. However much the New Management gloss the Forde report, there’s much there to damn them. What can be done about it is another matter

    1. He who pays the PROPER piper…mustn’t give your cash to the improper ones, after all

  2. If the owner of this brilliant alternative News Media really wants to do something for the good of all those who were betrayed by this dreadful Labour party including all who voted for it.
    The owner should lead people, it’s readers into voting for an alternative party. Anything is better than voting for the party of betrayal..

    I hope this makes sense as sometimes my blindness gets the better of me..

  3. Disciplinary proceedings……Panels Sounds more like a borstal than a political institution for the advancement of the people “.Starmers the governor of a bunch of criminals and perverts.This fiasco is too far gone to reform so put it out of its misery….sooner the better.Get organised and get out…!

  4. I have it in writing from the ICO that they are happy for the Labour Party to keep records on ALL members indefinitely just because SOME have been expelled and may attempt to rejoin. So much for transparency, not keeping records ‘just in case’ and handling personal data in ways that people would reasonably expect. Guilt by non-association…

  5. Off-topic, but has anyone signed up to watch the riley v Mike Sivier case?

    I think the last day is tomorrow but would appreciate if anyone could give a brief summary.

    1. The last I heard was that Mr Sivier’s petition to be allowed to use public interest as part of his defence had been granted by the court. As far as I know the date of the judgement is still a matter of speculation.

      1. According to his site the trial started Monday (just gone) and was expected to last 3.5 days which – if it goes to schedule – means tomorrow is the last day.

        Dunno if judgement will be passed them, mind.

        I do sincerely hope Riley gets its comeuppance. If so, I’ll be emailing channel four to urge them to terminate, or offer no future contract.

        But such is the power of the z list so-called ‘celebrity’ these days…😕

    1. One apple that definitely didn’t roll anywhere when it fell, I bet his dad must be so proud of him, Always a pleasure to hear either. thanks goldbach.

  6. Does that Townsend one visit this site I wonder?

    His attitude is uncannily reminiscent of a certain poster’s playbook….Writes load of crap, and refuses point blank to answer a single question, repeating the same shite about how he’s supposedly answered the question over & over & over again…hmmmm…. Nah, it can’t be 🤔

    To his credit, I’m impressed that mate’s phone remained in one piece !

  7. Getting back to the Forde Report – I was away
    yesterday and missed most of the news as
    reported by the MSM and the BBC. However
    what I DID see was the beginning of BBC Politics
    before they got on to PMQ.

    They had Martin Abrams (Momentum) on who spoke
    of the Forde Report and of one or two of its findings.
    He was treated very huffily by Lord Finkelstein who
    insisted that there was a massive amount of
    antisemitism from “The Left”. Starmer was quoted as
    saying that the was “dealing with it”.

    What Abrams should have asked Lord
    Finkelstein was what he thought about the
    preponderance of Jewish people being accused of
    antisemitism and being thrown out of the Labour
    Party? Of course its easy to be wise after the event
    and Abrams got some good points in.

    1. HFM
      Sorry but I disagree, he was and is a thoroughly decent man
      Not what we needed yesterday
      Keir Starmer is now the worst kind of anti semite according to the Isrseli Foreign Minister
      Red Tories cannot exist in the Labour Party, they must leave and be prosecuted
      Otherwise Democracy is dead in this country and we will be living in a One Party State

      1. ‘Red Tories cannot exist in the Labour Party, they must leave and be prosecuted’

        Oh, right, so who’s gonna make them leave, and who’s gonna prosecute them, and what for precisely?

        More meaningless, pointless rhetoric from Doug!

  8. The quotes from the Twitter feed of the Labour Muslim Network highlight a major problem across the entire political spectrum which is practiced by both the neo-liberal/neo-con Oligarchy and their useful idiot water carriers of what is best described as the Regressive Left.

    The LMN Twitter feeds identify what they term a ‘hierarchy of racism’. This, whilst being bad enough represents only a part of the wider problem of a hierarchy of oppression model, based on purity spirals of subjectively generated individualised and atomised self-identity, which has not only undermined class politics it has to all intents and purposes replaced it.

    As the comedian Jonathon Pie observed some two years ago this salami slicing of people into ever tighter self-imposed ghettos is dividing people into ever smaller groups in the name of “unity.”

    Unfortunately, much of what claims to be the “Progressive (sic) Left” are the most enthusiastic adherents of this divisive Thatcherite and Randian paradigm of pseudo intellectual based intersectionalism and self-identity which the Establishment oligarchy are pushing like a virulent drug into the body politic to undermine and destroy Class Politics.

    The sooner we are rid of such parasitic nonsense the better. It represents a dangerous delusional dead end and has no place in progressive politics.

  9. The Forde Report was delayed by over two years, only to be published in the middle of a Tory Leadership election for the next PM. What will MSM choose for their agenda?

  10. “the findings of the “Leaked Report” are described right from the terms of reference and throughout in the Forde exercise as “allegations”, while the findings of the Forde Report are, of course, “findings”…

    his view of the Labour Party is essentially anti-democratic…

    Forde sees this desire to damage Labour under Corbyn by its own senior staff as simply factionalism in which both sides are guilty.

    However no evidence is produced anywhere of Corbyn supporters hoping that Labour will decline in the polls or will lose by-elections to the Lib Dems…

    One of the most stunning of the Forde Panel’s findings appears to have gone almost completely unreported – that Labour HQ staff conducted a systematic exercise to disenfranchise Corbyn supporters in the leadership elections. ”

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