On Tuesday yet again there is a meeting about the appalling abusive (non) procedures of the Disciplinary system currently used and DEFENDED by the NEC.
a) that from now on each and every single case of discipline is automatically allowed an appeal.
b) that every person who is under `investigation` (that must be in quotes because the lack of investigation for the majority is conspicuous by its absence) is automatically notified that they can appoint an Advocate (that may seem extreme but needs must when confronted with the abusive way most members have been treated in relation to the disciplinary `procedure`).
c) that any Administrative suspension absolutely MUST be followed by a full and proper investigation where the accused is given the opportunity to fully hear and respond to every aspect of the accusation. In other words no Warning letters without a full enquiry and even then an appeal must be allowed.
It is clear from reports and responses to date that the NEC is not taking responsibility for this abusive shambles. They are making noises that it `won`t happen again` – this is unacceptable as it HAS happened and unless they take full responsibility for the mess it can happen again. It is unacceptable that they consider it just to behave like the police policing themselves.
Now given the dismissive attitude that we and members have so far received none of that will be considered. That is the measure of just how little respect the NEC is displaying toward members.
Lets see if they even have the decency to immediately advise people that any warning is time limited (quite ludicrous that it is not already the case).
For your interest here is a cross section of the heartbreaking and ludicrous aspects of this situation, and it continues:
Clive Andrews: To be suspended for comments that are less bad than many others such as MPs etc and then have no power of appeal or indeed no appropriate process to challenge judgment is unprofessional, unethical and frankly is a disgrace. I now have on file a black mark that I am not allowed to contest given by a group I do not trust or feel have any legal right to have done so. I have written to Compliance, Legal and Ann Black and have been dismissed or sideswiped or ignored. It’s completely disgusting.
Pamela Ann: I think the warning letters are intimidating, and threatening.
Gordon MacIver: What is missing, in my opinion, is the right to have the evidence against you with chapter and verse as to why it merits suspension as well as the right to a hearing ALL before suspension can occur: particularly when suspension denies the right to vote or hold office. I have demanded same and more before I will meet with them. One other thing is this ‘chat on the phone’. Imagine that being a procedure at work …….. that is truly laughable and I have told them I will not dignify it. It is for them to justify their accusations, before we defend ourselves. I need to know EXACTLY what I am accused of before I can respond.
Marilyn Browne: I was reinstated after being excluded on the grounds of repeatedly supporting another party on twitter. This was on the basis of one retweet and one taking part in a poll. I don`t call this repeatedly but also as it was based on a trawl for the phrase green party was misconstrued and out of context. SAR did not show any discussion at NEC and who reported or decided to exclude. In fact not very much sent to me on my SAR at all. I now have this on my record which they may set against me in the future. No one spoke to me about my intentions on the tweets and no one contacted or notified my branch where they actually know me and know that I supported the Labour Party all my life. It was clearly used as a means of taking my vote out of the system. Funny too that I am reinstated just before membership fees are due.
Sheree Bell: I was accused of Abusive Conduct and told that my actions were detrimental to the Labour party. My crime was expressing an opinion about an MP in a private message that nobody else could see! I am a qualified Social Worker, with a 40 year career in safeguarding vulnerable adults, who fights for equality and social justice constantly, and so to be labelled an ‘Abuser’ was one of the hardest things I have ever had to read. After complaining to Ian McNicol I was reinstated to the party but with ‘a warning’ on my file. Can you imagine how this feels for a public servant working in Health & Social Care to have it recorded on a government system somewhere that I have engaged in abusive and detrimental behaviour? And that recording has been done with no investigation and no access to appeal? I am furious and devastated at the same time.
The only reason I am writing now is in the hope the the NEC is serious about wanting to learn lessons. To be honest, I am not overly confident that they really want to. I suspect they would prefer to try and brush the whole thing under the carpet. But that strategy is doomed to failure and will simply hold the Party back. Only an independent review will work and even then it requires a genuine commitment from the NEC to accept the findings.
IF THE NEC STILL CONSIDER IT IS REASONABLE TO ISSUE A WARNING WITHOUT EVEN A RIGHT OF REPLY INVESTIGATION THEN YOU MAY THINK THAT THEY WOULD AT LEAST HAVE THE DECENCY TO MAKE THAT TIME LIMITED (you know a bit like that which happens in criminal law), But nope. They act as judge jury and lifetime executioner.