Ben Sellers: Duty of Care

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I don’t think it’s an outrageous suggestion that the Labour Party and other institutions of the Labour movement have some kind of a ‘duty of care’ for it’s members. I’m also going to suggest that, as a movement, we have a moral duty to protect, defend and support those who are picked off, bullied and witch-hunted, irrespective of the finer details of any disagreements we might have with them. Recently, one of the members of our Red Labour group has had their suspension rescinded, without an apology or explanation. We’ve seen the Labour members in Wallasey exonerated and countless examples of members who have had no information on their exclusions and suspensions, who have spent months in limbo. Some have even become notorious by their suspensions. I’m thinking of friends who have been abused in the street, shouted and spat at, have had lies told about them in the local and national press. But if they are ‘pardoned’, if things are swept under the carpet, is that all ok? Is it ‘natural justice’ to be defamed, to have been caused mental and even physical distress? Is that a situation we can tolerate and a party we can be proud of? I think not.

Recently, one of the members of our Red Labour group has had their suspension rescinded, without an apology or explanation. We’ve seen the Labour members in Wallasey exonerated and countless examples of members who have had no information on their exclusions and suspensions, who have spent months in limbo. Some have even become notorious by their suspensions. I’m thinking of friends who have been abused in the street, shouted and spat at, have had lies told about them in the local and national press. But if they are ‘pardoned’, if things are swept under the carpet, is that all ok? Is it ‘natural justice’ to be defamed, to have been caused mental and even physical distress? Is that a situation we can tolerate and a party we can be proud of? I think not.

I’m also going to suggest that, as a movement, we have a moral duty to protect, defend and support those who are picked off, bullied and witch-hunted, irrespective of the finer details of any disagreements we might have with them. Recently, one of the members of our Red Labour group has had their suspension rescinded, without an apology or explanation. We’ve seen the Labour members in Wallasey exonerated and countless examples of members who have had no information on their exclusions and suspensions, who have spent months in limbo. Some have even become notorious by their suspensions. I’m thinking of friends who have been abused in the street, shouted and spat at, have had lies told about them in the local and national press. But if they are ‘pardoned’, if things are swept under the carpet, is that all ok? Is it ‘natural justice’ to be defamed, to have been caused mental and even physical distress? Is that a situation we can tolerate and a party we can be proud of? I think not.

You see, much of this vile treatment has a political root: huge parts of it are caused by nasty, vindictive and bitter people within the party machine and local officials and “representatives” with a sense of entitlement which means that they think it’s ok to screw anyone over to preserve their power.

All this is done with impunity in “our” Labour Party, yet it has done untold damage to people’s reputation and people’s mental health. And while the blame lies firmly with these bitterites, whose goal it is to punish those responsible for taking their ball away, there’s something else going on: for what has “our side” of the party done about it? Mostly kept quiet, with some going even further – actively helping the people who are doing this to our comrades. Is this, in turn, acceptable? No, of course it isn’t – but some people, supposedly socialists, have made a Faustian pact to rid them of a temporary problem. Sod the long-term damage, there’s a scrap to win. I can’t think of a more disastrous strategy. That ‘duty of care’ extends to everyone who has taken part in this ‘revolution’. It’s not “owned by one, privileged group. It’s all of ours – and it’s not anyone’s to throw away.

Ben Sellers

 

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The disaster that is the Compliance Unit and the disciplinary (non) process carries on unabated. We have unnecessary suspensions (even where there was evidence of unsavoury words to simply suspend someone is ludicrous – at most all that was and is needed is a letter asking that the member desists – if they don`t then a warning letter).

But what is especially appalling is that the NEC knowingly allow the trust given them to use immediate suspension for an individual in extreme circumstances: of real threat to an individual or the reputation of the Party – for this mechanism to be used for thousands and thousands of members.  And this is an abuse of power, and the irony that it abuses members is not lost on us. Not to mention the irony that by this (non) process the reputation of the Party has been, and continues to be damaged. It is unbelievable that the Party for justice and fairness is guilty of meting out such treatment, and even when known, continues and cannot be stopped.

Then when the catalogue of errors comes to light the Party tries to cover its butt by LIFTING suspensions BUT issuing a Warning letter -EVEN THOUGH NO INVESTIGATION OCCURRED AND THE INDIVIDUAL DISPUTES THE ALLEGATION.  So we advised people to not accept the warning. Not only did the Party drag on the (non) investigations for month after month after month, failing to send alleged evidence to those they suspend, then not allowing a participatory investigation, then sending warning letters, then refusing to acknowledge a letter refusing the warning letter, then also refusing any appeal, they do all this to cover their own butt disregarding  the effect on members and with absolutely no respect for due process or natural justice. AND IT STILL CONTINUES.

We have laughed and cried at the same time at the manner and attitude of the NEC regarding this (non) process. The damage it has caused many individuals mentally and emotional is shocking.

Now they have stopped sending out Warning letters and have started blackmailing individuals. Same situation but not a warning letter but telling them we are lifting your suspension  but only if you sign a Pledge. The Pledge is:

Member’s Pledge:

I pledge to act within the spirit and rules of the Labour Party in my conduct both on and offline, with members and non-members and I stand against all forms of abuse. I understand that if found to be in breach of the Labour Party policy on online and offline abuse, I will be subject to the rules and procedures of the Labour Party
This is so Wooley and allows the NEC to interpret abuse how it wants. And if it does that in the manner it has to date then more damage will be done to the Party by them.  BUT what is worse is that they are sending this out as a blackmail condition, so changing the contract between some members and an unincorporated org (the party) but not for ALL members. And if anyone signs this on that basis when they are ALREADY a member (and so already in contract as per the rules like any other member) then they will be in effect allowing the Party to get away with branding them guilty – otherwise why else would the party demand they sign it? NO. Yet again Iain McNicol shows no regard for due process or natural justice. Members WILL NOT SIGN THIS!!

As for the interpretation and definition of abuse – clearly that must now be looked at – and most definitely a written definition of abuse, and it must be equitable. As it stands if a member calls an MP who took part in the attempted coup (something they did in such a disgusting manner by back room conspiring and linking with MSM rather than legitimately in an acceptable manner openly within the party) a BLAIRITE traitor then they are deemed such a threat that they are instantly suspended, BUT if you say how you could easily beat a party member physically, so long as , to the best of your knowledge you do it privately, even if it then becomes public, you are not guilty of abuse.

If the party wants to find you guilty they will manipulate and distort so called evidence to point that way, BUT if they want to find you innocent, likewise they will manipulate and distort, using different criteria, to find you innocent. WOW.  When they want to find you innocent they say `the context of how those comments were made, both her emotional state at the point the offending comments were made and who she was making the comments to, must be taken into account.` and we find ` we do not believe that Ms X is in clear breach of rule 2.I.8. As such, the Labour Party considers this matter closed. BUT if you call someone a blairite traitor then you ARE in breach of it.  How extraordinary that you can posture your physical ability to beat someone and not be in breach, BUT you can call someone a blairite traitor (after they have plotted and schemed outside of the accepted method of challenging a leader) and you ARE guilty.

ANY MEMBER WHO DOES NOT CONDEMN WHAT IS HAPPENING IS COMPLICIT. Evil flourishes when good men do nothing. The NEC cannot be entrusted with policing themselves on the disciplinary procedure. They have demonstrated that the rules are not sufficiently structured to ensure JUSTICE.

We demand that every member that is suspended or even just being subject to  investigation is notified and IMMEDIATELY sent the so called evidence to support the suspension. AND each such member must also be given the right to name an Advocate to look after their interest and to ensure that the Party uses due process, carries out any investigation in a reasonable time frame,  demonstrates respect for duty of care by responding to emails and letters and phone calls concerning the issue in a reasonable time frame. The full process must not be allowed to take months and months and months and months. If there is any situation that requires months that that should be obvious, and not  like the thousands of situations of months in this `purge` months for each person. and many STILL WAITING. WOW.

 

ajustice

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