Analysis Breaking comment

Breaking: Unite email confirms leadership is behind ban on film and book exposing antisemitism smears

Skwawkbox has for months reported on union’s measures to block showings of ‘Oh Jeremy Corbyn/The Big Lie’ – and the excuse of supporters of Unite’s general secretary that she wasn’t directly involved now lies in shred

Skwawkbox has reported extensively on the misdeeds and alleged misdeeds of the Unite leadership, most recently exposing the union’s ban on showings of the documentary ‘Oh Jeremy Corbyn/The Big Lie’ that exposes the scam of the antisemitism smear campaign against former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and the left – a scam now thoroughly exposed after the findings of the (reluctantly commissioned by Starmer himself) Forde Report – which confirmed that antisemitism was weaponised for factional attack – and the Al Jazeera ‘Labour Files’ documentary series, as well as by long-standing journalism by Skwawkbox and other independent news sites.

And a leading figure in the exposure of the tissue of lies that helped end the Corbyn era, Electronic Intifada‘s (EI) Asa Winstanley, is at the centre of a new development that has destroyed the attempts by supporters of Unite general secretary Sharon Graham to claim that she was not personally involved in the attacks on free speech through bans on showings of the film in Unite buildings – and even to block branches’ attempts to make donations to help show the film in other venues.

Winstanley was scheduled to speak at an event tomorrow, in Unite’s Tony Benn House in Bristol, to support and promote his important new book ‘Weaponising Anti-Semitism: How the Israel Lobby Brought Down Jeremy Corbyn – an exhaustively-researched and compellingly-told record of the smears, lies and misrepresentations used by right-wing Labour, pro-Israel groups and the UK media to attack Corbyn and all who support him.

But Unite told the local Unite Community branch, which had organised the event, that it was cancelled.

And in an email seen by EI and Skwawkbox, Unite assistant general secretary Gail Cartmail confirms that she was acting on the express instructions of Sharon Graham, because her boss ‘has numerous industrial commitments at the moment’ and didn’t have time to respond directly – blowing apart the claims of Graham’s supporters that she was not personally involved and that orders to cancel were just local or low-level decisions.

And Cartmail confirmed that the union was following the line of Keir Starmer and right-wing pro-Israel groups that the film and particularly the book were being blocked because of supposed ‘deep hurt’ caused to UK Jews – an excuse that has been wheeled out again and again, not only to attack showings of the various films exposing the ‘concerted and coordinated’ smears and demonisation against Corbyn and the left, but even to bully a hospital into removing artwork by Palestinian children.

Skwawkbox told EI:

Skwawkbox has extensively covered both cover-ups of abuse and racism at Unite, the union management’s attacks on democracy and freedom of speech in its ban on showings of the film exposing the Labour right’s sabotaging of Jeremy Corbyn and the left, and the growing cosiness between Unite’s management and the current hard-right Labour regime.

So the move to ban an event involving Asa’s book is only surprising in that the Unite leadership has put its fingerprints directly on it this time in the form of a communication from Unite’s assistant general secretary, instead of letting staff further down the chain send notice of the ban.

This latest letter demolishes the delusion indulged in by some of Ms Graham’s supporters that these appalling manoeuvres were only local issues or decisions that couldn’t be laid at her and her team’s door.

Sharon Graham has been slammed for allowing Starmer to pitch his lies to delegates at Unite’s recent policy conference in Brighton when Labour is routinely blocking Unite-backed candidates from selections – and was promptly humiliated when Starmer immediately broke his main promise to repeal union legislation and organised Labour’s National Policy Forum to block Unite’s and GMB’s attempts to put workers’ rights into Labour’s policy platform.

Graham’s tenure as Unite boss has also been marked by a string of allegations – which neither she nor the union has denied – of abuse, cover-up and failure to protect women:

Now, the Unite management has put its own fingerprints all over attacks on members’ free speech – and confirmed months’ of Skwawkbox reporting to the woe what remains of her support base. Will the penny now drop?

Read the full EI exposé UK union cancels “Weaponising Anti-Semitism” book launch | The Electronic Intifada.

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  1. If General Secretary, Sharon Graham’s office’s claim, ‘not to have been involved,’ is going to continue to be peddled as true then, surely, now they have been informed, they are at liberty to rectify their error? Either that or she should be required to justify her stance? With factual evidence! Has she even watched the footage?
    The narrative is slipping from the grasp of the lobbyists and the liars. Hopefully, admittedly all too late, now we are on the verge of finally debating what really happened.

  2. In the last few hours Sharon Graham has put out a series of Tweets that are basically an admission the unions have been shafted at Labour’s National Policy Forum.
    In a bad faith move, the party tried to bounce Unite et al into supporting changes by withholding those policy changes until the last minute limiting time for scrutiny. This comes on the the back of Graham making the case for continued affiliation last week.

    Why isn’t it registering that Starmer and co are bad faith actors, who shouldn’t be trusted any further than you could throw them? The unions will be lucky to get even the most modest of reforms to the Tories’ anti-union laws under any Starmer-led regime.

      1. Herr Flick
        Vexatious claims of Anti Semitism are Hate crimes and should be prosecuted
        Whose side are you on, the Vexatious or the Victims

      2. Doug – WTF are you prattling on about?
        I’m guessing you too can’t post a link to this series of tweets by Graham?

      3. You calling Andy a liar, wee nonce case?

        I’ve got no reason to doubt him. Why have you?

      4. Toffee – “You calling Andy a liar, wee nonce case? “

        Not at all. 😲
        On the contrary, all that I have done is very politely ask Andy for further information so that I can read them for myself. Are you now trying to tell me that my trust in Andy was misplaced and that you don’t think that he will be able to provide a link to the series of tweets that he alluded to? 😞

      5. Herr Flick
        No time for the current Mayor of London so as far as I’m concerned it’s just another example of Red Tories stabbingi each other in the back
        Win Win
        Great theatre watching the fuckers slowly disappear up their own arses

      6. Far from it, plums. I think you’ve had plenty of time to concoct your answer.

        And it’s gone against your usual m.o – although the tone is the same as usual.

      7. Toffee – What’s your problem I’ve responded above. You’re the one who has brought his integrity into question, not me.

        We’ll both have to wait and see whether Andy feels able to respond by providing a link to the series of tweets by Sharon Graham that he describes.

      8. …But until he does then you’ll imply it didn’t happen.

        Like you do with everyone else who doesn’t provide the evidence.

        And even to those who DO, when you dismiss the evidence as it not being what it says it is.


    1. Because like so many idiots, people think it won’t happen to them. We’re different, better, special or unique.

      Many moons ago, I was a contractor at a company. One of the middle managers was an arsehole who would happily ice people for the most petty of infringements. After a few years, the company decided to thin the management. Said managers face was priceless when they got the boot. All that loyalty, all those lives ruined and for what?

      Always try to remember quotes from nasty folks. Here’s Alan Dulles;

      “I like to watch the little mice sniffing at the cheese just before they venture into the little trap. I like to see their expressions when it snaps shut, breaking their little necks.”

      In other news, I see kid starver has privatised the Labour party by adding a lobbyist to the policy team

      1. Reply to Steve H
        What Sharon Graham is doing amounts to an abuse of power.She clearly realises she won’t get elected next time round (in 3-4 years time) so she is willing to compromise whatever principles( if any)she has in an effort to keep on the right side of Starmer and secure a place in the House of Lords when the Unite members dump her as they most probably will.
        Sharon is wasting her time. Starmer will be out of mainstream politics and safely esconced in the House of Lords himself by then, and as she will no longer be of any use to him he won’t be interested in furthering her career. Sharon will find out first hand what a disloyal manipulative user he is – a bit like herself in many ways.

    2. Andy, Does Graham really give a damn about the members? Unite held a delegate vote on affiliation last week. Delegates who voted on behalf of the members, and the members were not able to choose them? I certainly wasn’t given a choice to choose the delegate to vote on my behalf. As a consequence I am now an ex member of Unite.

      Graham is another Starmer destroying democracy in Unite, just like Starmer has done with the Labour Party. I’ve got no sympathy with her in any way.

      1. baz2001 – It must be particularly galling for you that the likelihood is that Turner would have won Unite’s GenSec election (albeit without being beholden to Len) if McCluskey and Beckett hadn’t stuck their oar in.

        ps, to be fair to Sharon Graham she appears to have clocked up quite a number of successes on behalf of the Unite members that she was recently elected to represent.

      2. SteveH “Sharon Graham (she) appears to have clocked up quite a number of successes on behalf of the Unite members “

        If that were absolutely true, Unite the Union Members First would not have made spectacular gains in the Unite EC elections recently, and First Manchester bus drivers would not be accusing their union of trying to split them in their current industrial action.

  3. Don’t remember Beckett (or McCluskey for that matter) endorsing graham, soft shite.

    And if graham had stuck to her threat/guarantee of defunding smarmerite labour you’d be singing a different tune altogether.

    But because she acts in a similar autocratic way to smarmer….

    Christ, but you’re every bit as obvious as you are tedious.

    1. Toffee, Well said as ever.

      Turner was endorsed by Starmer, as was Graham, well as for Coyne, enough said. It was all a stitch up to keep Howard away from the leadership, and it worked.

      Unite has been neutered like Unison was too.

      1. baz2001 – Wasn’t Turner ahead in the polls before he was endorsed by Len and Howard.

      2. Mr Chief Turd Polisher. My comment was not addressed to you. I would be grateful if you would mind your own business and not interrupt where you’re not wanted. Speak when you’re spoken to.

  4. I like this idea of cooperation between Skwawkie and other online sites. In this case, Electronic Intifada.

    Let’s have more of it.

    If that is the road taken, don’t forget AAV, Dorset Eye and Vox Political. Support each other.

    I know Mike Sivier is someone who could do with the support.

    1. Didn’t know AAV was still going?

      I haven’t been there for a good while, after nothing new had been posted. Thought Thomas had knocked it on the head.I’ll pop off over there now. Thanks for the heads-up, George 👍

      1. Sorry Toffee, I missed your reply. AAV’s still about, but not as prolific as he was, on FB. I think he got swamped by trolls, and FB started messing him about.

        He does pop up on Twitter, now and again, and has articles published by London Economic.

        As I say, not as prolific. He has to take care of himself, and that’s the main thing.

  5. Starmer’s people have released a video with him speaking at the National Policy Forum and he appears to be speakling in front of a tiny number of people, with camera trickery employed, such as foreshortened shots and heavy depth of field used to make the gathering look bigger. The hall is very dark too. The guardian reported hand votes were taken and an insuffcient number raised their hands to object to the leadership’s proposals. Any wonder with such a limited grouping?

    It’s like BBC’s shrinking Question Time audience, and Labour’s conference with a small number of selected people there in a highly stage managed affair. Such anti-democratic forces at work today in the UK, ‘If you can beat ’em, rig the damn thing!’ seems to be the mentality.

    And his ‘Growth,growth,growth!’ sloganising without any explanation of how it’ll be achieved is ignorant tedious. Economic growth in isolation is meaningless anyway, when the cUK desperately needs more equality along with democratic and constitutional reform. GDP is less important than things quality of life and public services, cheap utilities etc, as high on quality of life index countriees in Scandinavia prove. Growth alone would just allow Starmer and Reeves to swagger around at Davos.

    1. His vacuous, empty speech is covered on LabourList.

      The country needs policies not cliché riddled, platitudinous guff. The more speeches Starmer makes the less anyone knows about what he and the party now stand for.

      LabourList tried to set themselves up as an equivalent to the Conservative Home website, but unlike Con H. don’t allow comments on articles. Typical of centrists, they can’t handle criticism.
      They had a problem with Tory spammers at one point, but it was nothing a decent mod couldn’t have removed. No excuse to shut down comments entirely. Now, it just preaches to the converted centrists. How pathetic is it that the repressive Tories believe in free speech more than Labour do.

    2. Andy – “he appears to be speaking in front of a tiny number of people, with camera trickery employed

      …..and 🥱,
      ……the NPF consists of how many members?

    1. qwertboi

      How convincing an actor was he in the the leadership campaign though, attacking the Sun for the demonising smear campaign against Corbyn.

      He completely hoodwinked everyone into thinking he was, not only pro-Corbyn, but supported his policy agenda. That’s some seriously deranged behaviour. The guardian journos seem to think that deception justified. But for what ? To produce a bland anodyne manifesto that enthuses no one to turnout to vote for the party?

      Even many of the voters they won in Selby maybe only voted for Labour because they berlieve a decent set of manifesto policy proposals are on their way. Starmer says Labour shouldn’t have any policies the Tories can attack them over. which is totally bizarre, that’s akin to arguing the Tories should decide what’s in the manifesto.

      Unlike his 10 Pledges, he know he can’t lie in the manifesto, because every Labour MP will stand on the very same manifesto. Hence, it’ll be an empty, worthless waste of paper and ink.

  6. He completely hoodwinked everyone into thinking he was, not only pro-Corbyn, but supported his policy agenda.

    Not quite….

    1. Toffee – ….and there I was thinking that Keir’s main pitch was that he wasn’t Jeremy.😲

      1. Main pitch when running for the leadership – Adherence to existing policies arrived at by the LP.
        Main pitch after being elected – Dissociate from anything connected to Corbyn.
        Toffee is right.
        You are, at best, being disingenuous.

      2. .and there I was thinking that Keir’s main pitch was that he wasn’t Jeremy

        And then

        Or your political naivety


        From the gobshite that tried to lord it over me because you supposedly voted Corbyn TWICE.

        And then ONLY voted keef because he was best of a bad bunch

        Except Corbyn’s to blame for how shite keef is…Even after three years; and for over two of them Corbyn hasn’t even been a labour mp.


  7. Little hope Labour will return to the left. And what remains of the organised left, be they the SCG MPs in the PLP, or the union leadership, seem to have F-All fight in them to make that happen. All that remains really is the fight for proportiional representation.

    And I don’t necessarily think that’ll transform things quickly, with parties that support socialism and radical democratic/constitutional reform instantly winning through, that’s not the reason to support though. The reason to support being the fact every vote will count. The biggest disincentive to voting other than red or blue currently, is the knowledge that your vote won’t count. It’s as good as wasting it by throwing it in the bin.

    Why is it too much to ask to have votes count and everyone be represented?

    1. If only the self appointed guardians of the left had something, anything to offer.😞

      1. And if only the voting public weren’t cottoning on (at an increasing rate) to the fact that keef is worse than fucking useless.

        How many seats has keef gained, in how many by-elections?


      2. Revealing that SH manages to post his inane comment when he clearly hasn’t had time to get, let alone read, the book I mention.
        A chocolate teapot, if there ever was one.

      3. goldbach – ?”book”?
        If you are referring to the Craig Murray article that you have linked to above, I had already read it a few days ago.

      4. SteveH

        The 2019 manifesto was fine. Starmer gave every impression in the leadership campaign that he’d stick with that Corbyn policy platform. Prople thought they were voting for a better salesman than Corbyn.

        Corbyn had historic baggage that was easily misrepresented in the RW tabloids and Johnson had his ‘Brexit deal’ which he and the tabloids claimed would deliver the UK near utopia. Labour were having to argue against a Brexit deal that nobody knew would be good or bad in 2019, to an electorate sick of the whole Brexit issue.

        Starmer has it easy by comparison, and yet he’s still fumbling it by offering nothing worth voting for.

      5. Andy – “The 2019 manifesto was fine”

        The electorate unfortunately had the temerity to disagree.

  8. Here’s an interesting take on the current situation from Paul Rogers.
    Paul is far from being a “leftie” and comes out with statements such as
    “Labour is a troubled party. Its leadership, determined to move the party towards the centre ground.” when it is actually moving well to the right of centre: and, of course, the phraseology which everyone must adopt unless they wish to become non-persons – “Putin’s war in Ukraine “.
    However, he is clearly starting to get an inkling of how English politics is developing – or should I say degenerating.

  9. When such right wing groups attack you, you should have the bottle to tell them where to go.
    Not sure SG has her head around such issues though her Progressive Social Movement policy (IDEAS) is good but if social media is to be believed quite a number of Unite members say they are walking away from Unite which is a mistake, and is worrying when perhaps only the grassroots are fighting back!
    Meanwhile us grassroots weekly on pickets lines and in community outreach try to politicise the masses.
    We don’t do it for our own advancement but to transform our society (and the world) for the benefit of ALL the diverse working class.
    But guess we have to be a bit careful (?) we may be encouraging the masses to rise up and sweep the lightweights at the top of unions and Labour aside.
    Left wing democratic socialists say what they believe and stand for what they believe in.
    Perhaps in this one life We Working Class Make History or otherwise we may have existed!

  10. “SteveH25/07/2023 AT 11:06 AM
    goldbach – ?”book”?
    If you are referring to the Craig Murray article that you have linked to above, I had already read it a few days ago.”
    Oh dear. You should read all my posts.
    I referred to “The Cost of Living Crisis (and how to get out of it) – read it. It offers the “credible alternative” that you keep wittering on about.

    1. goldbach – I would consider giving it a look if I knew where to find it. Where did you post this link?

  11. “SteveH25/07/2023 AT 6:38 PM
    Andy – “The 2019 manifesto was fine”
    The electorate unfortunately had the temerity to disagree.”
    So why didn’t Starmer have the guts to say so when he stood for the leadership?
    Couldn’t be because he is thoroughly duplicitous. could it?

    1. goldbach – I’m guessing that he thought it would be just plain stupid to proselytise a manifesto that had already been rejected twice by the electorate.
      I’ll be quite happy to discuss the manifesto once it has been published.

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