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Labour Party Shadow NEC

Demand for Natural Justice and Due Process

Month

June 2018

Spirit of Justice

As regular readers of this blog will know we show the effect of the unprofessional, unjust disciplinary system used by the labour party. It has been shown over and over again how the system has no respect for due process or natural justice. You can find on these pages an analysis of the rulebook, a letter to the NEC, and a cross-section of members who have been seriously affected mentally and emotionally by the lack of care or justice that characterises the system.

We have seen signs of improvements since Jennie Formby took over as General Secretary, but much still remains to be done. We are hopeful that the needed changes are all in the pipeline. We are actually in the process of doing a further analysis and would welcome the NEC being open to listening.


Meanwhile here is a case I came across recently that illustrates another factor that is missing – the common sense to read any situation in its context. True justice will always do this. Paul Harnett is someone who has my full respect and admiration. A person dedicated to social justice, and who, as a member, put in much time and effort to the cause, to get a labour government.

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He was expelled from the party because he broke a very important rule. The rule that says we must not support another party. We absolutely must have such a rule and it requires no explanation to justify why. However what I consider has been a major failure here is that absolutely no consideration was given by the investigator for a) the SPIRIT of the rule and b) that it was inadvertent, and c) that it was known to be harmless. The judgement that it was harmless was supported by a number of M.P.s and also Ann Black (and we all know how well versed in, and a stickler for, the rules Ann is), but she asked that leniency was shown.

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This is a perfect example of when looking at the circumstances alongside a rule the sensible and just thing to do is to read and apply the SPIRIT of the rule, and the intention and motivation of the individual who broke the rule. What follows is Paul Harnett giving us an overview of his situation. I say that anyone who reads this with a sense of true justice would not hesitate to say Bring Him Back to us, he should be a member.

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The Spirit of the Rules

I was banned from the Labour Party in September 2017, the day after I had agreed to stand for chair of my local branch in Chorlton, Manchester. I had inadvertently broken the rule which doesn’t allow for members to nominate a member of another party.

I had done this in my own constituency as my co-director of World Basic Income Ltd., Laura Bannister, was pregnant and desperate for nominations to be the Green Party candidate. Apart from it being unlikely that Labour would lose a 15,000 majority.

I did it on the understanding that the Greens were not targeting Withington during the election (they didn’t – and LP almost doubled its majority), and was unaware of the rule preventing members nominating other parties. I stand guilty of stupidity.

I have been political my whole adult life. I was a volunteer teacher at the infamous Croxteth Comprehensive in 1982 during the successful campaign to keep it open. I was an active member of the Liverpool-Corinto Direct Links Campaign supporting the Sandinistas in Nicaragua. I lived in Corinto and then Managua 1985-86, 1987-88.

I was a worker for SANE (US equivalent of CND) as well as the Committee in Solidarity with El Salvador in 1986. I worked in Namibia the year after it gained independence in 1992. I have worked in international development since 1990. In 2015 I founded World Basic Income Ltd. with a view to ending world poverty.

In 2015 I was so astounded by the Labour Party’s manifesto (austerity light), I immediately went out and joined a political party for the first time in my life – the Greens – the only party who opposed austerity. I was subsequently astounded by the rise of Jeremy Corbyn to the leadership of the Labour Party, which left me a choice of 2 socialist parties after waiting for just 1 for most of my life.

I was more and more drawn to the Labour Party and after the second leadership contest in 2016, decided to join. I worked tirelessly to gather support for Corbyn locally and challenge the branch at the AGM. Then the 2017 election was called.

After some local canvassing for the LP many of us decided to also hit the marginals in the North West. I took 2 months off work. We went to Weaver Vale, Chester, Lancaster, Bury North and Bolton West – all on multiple occasions. My car was the vehicle of choice for many. The election night party for Labour in Chorlton was held in my house. Signs were all over my house/garden for Labour.

On 26th June 2017 I received a letter from Sam Matthews, Head of Disputes, asking for a statement as they had evidence that I’d nominated a Green candidate.

I sent in a statement with support of 4 MPs (including my own MP who I had canvassed with on a few occasions), Trade unionists and others with evidence of all my campaigning during the election. I also managed to contact Ann Black of the NEC who showed me her emails of support asking the committee for leniency) (n.b. Ann did incorrectly say I hadn’t campaigned in my own consituency – I think because she was mindful of me organising campagins in the local marginals).

I presumed I would get a slap on the wrist, and got on with organising the left in Chorlton for the forthcoming AGM.

In September 2017 I decided to run for the Chair position in my branch. The day after, a letter came through from Complaints saying I was banned and could appeal after 5 years or in exceptional circumstances 2 years.

Since then I have started Chorlton Socialist Club which has made a big impact locally and also inspired other similar ventures across the country.

In May this year I took 2 weeks off work campaigning in Brooklands, Trafford during the local elections (we won!). The win there meant the LP was the biggest party in Trafford and now leads the Council. I also do a lot of “other” organising for the left locally.

I still remain active and focused on getting the labour party into No 10 – I would welcome so much being able to do so as a party member.

 

paul H

 

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Is Jennie Formby getting things shifting now

This blog has monitored the appalling lack of  due process and natural justice that the labour party was guilty of during Iain McNicol`s tenure. We have seen some signs of improvement since Jennie Formby became G.S., and we are starting to  see cases that have been left dormant for getting on for two years starting to be addressed.  We watch with interest to see whether or not respect for  natural justice is now at the foundation of the whole system.  

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Nic Outteride was expelled from the party in 2016 for calling Angela Eagle a traitor.  He sent in an appeal, well a protest against this. Having chatted with him we have found him to be a man of principle and deep integrity. His use of the word traitor was as per the dictionary definition:

noun: traitor; plural noun: traitors

a person who betrays someone or something, such as a friend, cause, or principle.
“he was a traitor to his own class”
synonyms: betrayer, back-stabber, double-crosser

Nic Outterside:

Some 21 months AFTER I was expelled from the Labour Party (and two years since my alleged offence, which until now I had no knowledge of!) I have today received a letter from the Labour Party setting a date to hear my appeal!
Complete and utter nonsense! My alleged crime was a tweet of a feature I had written in June 2016 in which I simply described Angela Eagle MP a “traitor”!
This is the Labour Party which I have been a member of since the 1980s.


His full appeal (addressed to Iain McNicol is on his blog here  but here is an extract from it:

  • Your email/letter of 7 September 2016 says: “The Labour Party should be the home of lively debate, of new ideas and of campaigns to change society. However, for fair debate to take place, people must be able to air their views in an atmosphere of respect. They shouldn’t be shouted down, they shouldn’t be intimidated, and they shouldn’t be abused, either in meetings or online.”

I have NEVER in my lifetime shouted down or intimidated anyone. I have also NEVER abused anyone.

As a victim and survivor of childhood sexual abuse and later domestic abuse, which left me minutes from death, I believe the NEC needs to revisit its use of the term “abuse”.

But, if abuse means bullying, I am a long time campaigner against bullying in all its forms.

Indeed, I was the first to alert NEC member Johanna Baxter on 14 July 2016, that the cyber bully who had reduced her to tears was not a member of the Labour Party or follower of Jeremy Corbyn, but was a far right Nazi troll named Claire Khaw, a former member of the BNP.

  • Your email/letter of 7 September 2016 says I am being expelled because “You have made inappropriate comments on social media including a post on 28 June 2016”.

A quick trawl of my own accounts shows that the only comments you might refer to was my blog posting: Hanging from Traitors’ Gate – Progress: Labour’s right wing Militant

I revisited this subject in more detail in another blog posting on 27 July 2016: The right wing incontinence of the Progress plotters

My blogs are always widely shared on Facebook, Twitter, Linked-in and other social media platforms. These particular blogs are typical of the scores of investigative newspaper reports which won me dozens of awards over a 28 year career in journalism.

They shine a light onto facts about Progress and its members.

If your problem is in the title of the blog piece, maybe lessons in English metaphor and history are required.

A view shared by many is that Progress is as much a right wing entryist party within a party as Militant was in the 1980s.

As for the bulk of the piece, it is written with the same dynamism that former Labour leader Neil Kinnock attacked Militant.

If your problem is with my use of the word Traitor/Traitors, I believe that anyone who has committed the treachery to our leader Jeremy Corbyn and to the 121,751 Labour Party members, 88,449 Registered Supporters and 41,928 Trade Union Affiliated Supporters who voted for him, as observed by the so-called #chickencoup, deserves to be called a Traitor.


PREAMBLE

I was born into a middle class Tory voting household and to my eternal shame joined the Conservative Party at age 16. Three years later I was elected Vice Chairman of the Northern Region of the Federation of Conservative Students. I even helped Margaret Thatcher get elected in 1979.

But, life is a great leveller and educator, as I am sure you will agree.

My education began in the early 1980s as a teacher in the South Yorkshire pit village of Darton. I lived in the village for four years among miners and their families, and many of my charges were destined to also become miners. I witnessed at first hand the devastation of the miners’ strike and the evil reality of Thatcherism.

My education continued in 1988 when I was hospitalised in Cardiff for four months for surgery and treatment of lung cancer. Many of my fellow patients in the ward and at the radiotherapy clinic were former miners from the south Wales valleys and sufferers from pneumoconiosis and consequential lung cancer. I listened at first hand to their stories of life in the pits and the betrayal of their futures and communities by Thatcher and her minions.

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This blog asks on what basis, with what authority does Angela Eagle announce she will resolve `this impasse`: Angela Eagle says she will resolve this impasse!  

 

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